Creating an Audience and a Following
The biggest concern a writer has next to how to write the book is how to get people to know about it and buy it. There are plenty of great books out there that people don’t know about. Will a publicity campaign do it? If you hire a publicist for a few thousand dollars, will he or she get it noticed and sold to the many thousands you pray will love and recommend your book to thousands more? That has been the traditional model, but with today’s new markets, avenues and markets for publishing, it’s good and safe to assume that we need to evolve our sales and publicity methods as well.
As we have seen over the last ten or more years especially, the entrepreneurial model of the self-starter, the boot-strapper, the individual pioneer has become more and more the new model of the so called “American Dream”, but it applies to people all over the world. The Internet and digital sales and delivery of content and products have opened up the entire planet to authors, and with savvy use of ‘social media’ your entrepreneurial opportunities – your ability to reach people and sell your book – are vastly increased. How many people have started some sort of online business and made a living off of it?
The Internet frees us to a large degree from the traditional model of promotion, but we still have to do it ourselves – and wisely. What your publicist has is some knowledge and time to run around and spread the word. But now you, too, can run around the internet and make connections with people, build community, present yourself well and do what is critical to any successful business: build relationships.
Why is it about building relationships and not just the old model of spreading the word that you have a book? Because that’s what customers/readers want. In the old model, it was the publicist who had the relationship with the publishers, catalog printers, bookstore chain buyers, news vector producers and such. That was the world of insiders. Nowadays, you are the insider as well, and the world is your buddy if you know how to build a relationship with it.
Again, what people want in our evolving world, in our world that is a little tired of dried out consumerism, advertising and product after lifeless product is PEOPLE. We want relationships with real people. If you are just a name on a book cover, they have no relationship with you. Even a paragraph about who you are doesn’t do a lot more for building an interest and connection. People want to connect because we are far too disconnected these days, so you need to take advantage of the window on the world of people that we call the Internet and present yourself as a person, not just a name on a book.
You might ask how. First, lets look at what you are being, and then we will look at how to get it in front of people.