Corine La Font, Contributor
I love to paint and draw. It has been a passion of mine since I was a very young child. I had (and still do have) this innate ability to be creative. I even won art competitions in high school and sold works at a gallery. Surprising right! Then life took a turn. Priorities changed and time became a competing resource for other things like family and work.
As time passed, and after trying my hands at many things, I learnt a lot about myself and what I really wanted to do. I figured out that my creative passions worked well with planning and coordinating things - another area of my life that I liked and was good at.
And so I meshed those skills with my ability to be meticulous and strategic. Here I am today as an online book-marketing specialist, author's assistant and virtual events specialist. Why am I saying all this? While I just shared a small part about my earlier life, it is important for you to also look deep within yourself to ask why you are an author.
Was it something you always wanted to do? Did you write in your spare time? While at school, did you enter your work in competitions? Do you have a passion for it? Are you fully utilising your potential as an author and are you driven to succeed as an author by doing whatever it takes?
Distinguishing whether your book, your creation, your masterpiece, your work of art is a hobby or business will determine how far and how successful you will be as an author.
Everyone has a hobby, something that they enjoy doing in their spare time - and some hobbies can turn into lucrative businesses. However, when you decide that your book is a business, you make the decision that you will do whatever it takes to make it a success since the aim of any business is to make a profit. Other benefits include having the flexibility to work at your own pace, putting systems in place to live the life of your dreams and leaving a legacy.
If you approach your book as a hobby, then this is what you will find yourself doing:
1. Marketing and promoting your book in your spare time. For example, when your new book is published, you may get all excited and start telling your friends and family, but after the novelty wears off, you stop and it's only when someone meets you on the odd occasion and mentions the book that you may say something.
2. You may also find yourself losing confidence in your book since sales may be down and the bookstores have started returning your books, or when you walk into the bookstore you can't find your book.
3. You forgot your 'why'. That 'why' that will keep you motivated to push on, no matter what.
4. You start hiding and become an introvert. After a while, you don't want persons to know you were the author of a book because you are ashamed to answer the questions that will follow like, "How is your book doing?" or "How many have you sold?".
5. You feel like a failure and that passion that resided in you no longer sparks the interest to write anymore.
When you approach your book as a business, this is how the picture looks:
1. You have a plan. Yes! A business plan for your book. You have heard of the SWOT analysis, the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. It not only applies to brick-and-mortar businesses, it applies to your book as well. Surprising! This is what is called a competitive analysis. It helps you to determine the strategy you will take to penetrate the market.
2. In the same way an entrepreneur invests in his/her business financially, so, too, should you with your book if you wish to see any real results and it's also a way to demonstrate your belief, seriousness and commitment in what you do.
3. You are seen and heard everywhere that people you meet will say, "I have seen you on TV" or "I heard you on the radio" or "you are just everywhere!" That's what you want to hear. You get yourself out there. Be visible, but being visible is not enough. It must be tied to a strategy!
4. Your confidence levels are high. Sales are moving in the direction you want, there is a buzz around you and your book and you are getting great feedback that stimulates new ideas for your next book or new venture around your book.
5. You are being asked to speak or present at events which helps to build your credibility and visibility. Why? Because your book represents your business card to many other opportunities.
6. You have systems in place to monitor ratings, cash flows, reviews and testimonials, requests for books, joint-venture partnerships and collaborations.
7. You look out for opportunities to enter awards and competitions and attend overseas events that will serve as continuous education, personal development and growth.
8. You remember your 'why' because you have a picture, a sticky note, a quote or memorabilia that constantly reminds you at every waking moment.
9. You are driven. You live and breathe your book because you believe in what you have to offer, you believe that it will help someone, you believe you have something of value, you are putting your faith with action to get results on a consistent basis.
Take the time and look deep within yourself and determine whether you are treating your book as a hobby or business. It may be an eye-opener and one that may force you to change your strategy and put a plan in place to benefit from the desired results. Reignite that passion, awaken that 'why' and get busy!
In the next installment, two weeks from today, I will feature "Cost-effective ways to promote and market your book."
Corine La Font is a Certified Author Assistant and Online Book Marketing Specialist. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or visit her website at www.helpdeskja.com.