(Some notes and further insights from a talk I gave last night at the St. Louis Publisher’s Association, which is mostly folks who are at varying places along the Author’s Journey)
How many books were published in 2012? A Gazillion.
How many the year before that? Half a Gazillion.
How many next year? Two Gazillion.
But the competition to being an author is not other writers…it is my iPhone. I can write and publish from it. I can also create music and distribute it, I can make video’s that might go viral in a few days. I can do any of this in minutes; and it comes across pretty darn good, especially as most people now accept it (perhaps sadly) as the standard in quality.
What chance does a well researched and well crafted book have against all of this? A project that you have poured your heart and soul into. A message that you are SURE the world needs to hear…frankly, not much unless you know how to use those same tools and resources to support your own efforts.
If you are a writer, don’t let the NY Times or Kirkus Reviews or even Amazon decide if you will be successful. STEP AWAY FROM THE BIG BOYS, they don’t care about us. Don’t try and appeal to everyone…cultivate your niche audience, your tribe, with your own Blog. Make it fun. Do short video’s. Make them fun. Read Bob Baker’s book: “55 Ways to Promote and Sell Your Book on the Internet”. Give your content away…if it has value, your fans will consume it in multiple formats (everyone loves choice). Make parallel products that incite people’s emotions. Look for tiny successes every day, teeny tiny accomplishments. In a month you’ll have thirty…that’s a lot! Remember, it takes time to build momentum for success.
Take a week to watch the first few minutes of 50 TED talks; see how even non-professional speakers can tell a story that grabs your attention almost instantly. Subscribe to Seth Godin’s daily blog: his insights are clear, on the mark, and communicated in very few words.
And take time away from everything I have just suggested. Digital is downright overwhelming even in tiny doses. Real insight will come from moments of stillness and quiet, when truth and wisdom can bubble up and out from the weight of all those, all these keystrokes.