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Surviving the Book Biz

The book business is fraught with failure. The creative process is draining. Conceiving of an idea, writing the material, having it edited, rewritten, re-engineered reworked can test anyone's confidence. Add in a huge dose of rejection by agents and publishers and the process and it's no wonder most manuscripts don't see the light of day. However, in this era of self-published and hybrid-publishing, more works still hit the marketplace each year.

Most authors believe the process ends when their work is available for sale. The reality is: this is when the work begins. A robust marketing plan is essential. An author needs to be a tireless self-promoter. And, if your skin wasn't thickened by the writing and publishing process, it certainly will be by any combination of reviews, reader reactions and sparsely attended book signings. One has to maintain a sense of purpose of how each piece fits into the equation. Sort of like the insurance agent who must endure a string of "no"s before getting an appointment. Then another round of "no"s at the appointments until a prospect agrees to purchase a product. It could be 10 "no"s before an appointment and 5 appointments until a sale. But the insurance agent knows it's a numbers game. Each "no" to an appointment is seen as a step closer to a sale.

The same is true with marketing books. I recall an appearance at a bookstore in Los Angeles in late May of 2008. I booked the appearance since I was in town to attend the Book Expo America. Not being familiar with the area, I didn't realize the store was located in a revitalization zone. While the owner was pleasant and supportive of my work, there was zero foot traffic and the section of town one block in any direction appeared dangerous. I arrived ahead of time and set up for a book reading/signing and was ready to go at the appointed time. There was precisely one person in attendance…and she owned the shop across the street. Despite this, I forged ahead and shared what inspired me to write the book, shared a few short passages from Tilt and answered the few questions this person had. We had a fine experience, she bought a copy of the book and the bookstore owner purchased several copies for her customers.

The point to this post is simply this. Regardless of what you are doing, commit to doing it to the best of your ability, stay focused on the end game and make the most of the moment. Not all moments will be great, but that doesn't mean you can't be great in the moment.

Take time to Tilt,

John

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