by Yvonne DiVita - Your 24 Karat Developmental Editor and Book Coach
What makes someone an author?
Years ago, I met a talented woman blogger who said she always felt like an impostor when she told people she was a writer. All she had written were sales copy ads for her local paper and her blog. She despaired of being known as the author of anything, as time went on. Because in her mind, sales copy wasn't writing, and blogs were just...journals you wrote online.
I told her she was a writer. "You write," I said. "Your blog counts as writing. Sales copy is writing. You are a writer. Be proud to say it out loud."
I will never forget our conversation because she later told me I brought her to tears. "No one has ever encouraged me that way," she said. "Telling me I am a writer, that what I write counts, maybe not to the whole world but to a few people right here in my neighborhood, gave me courage to start saying it out loud. I am a writer."
Are you doing the same thing?
Are you writing but afraid to call yourself a writer?
Don't be. Everything you write makes you "the author of." Whatever it is, it counts.
Your Role as a Writer
I'm here to turn you into an author of a book. A solid, inspirational, educational, entertaining book that shares the story of you with the world. When that happens, you become a whole new person. Actually, you become several new persons. Let's talk about that. Your role as a writer encompasses more than just holding up the book you wrote when you attend networking events. And, it's far more than announcing to everyone you know on Facebook that you wrote a book.
Here are some of the roles you will take on, as "the author of"... a book.
Role #1 - You are a taskmaster.
This means the book will not be written if you do not commit to a set time every day, to write it.
My best time to be creative is morning. I'm not fixed on what time of the morning. I don't get up at six and start writing right away, and then only stop when the clock hits noon.
I get up, I get tea, I have a set routine for becoming alert, and then I start to work. The actual timing is relative to the time I got out of bed, which could be six o'clock in the morning, or nine o'clock in the morning.
It isn't the TIME that matters. It's the routine. If this routine is interrupted at all, I find myself floundering all day long.
Therefore, I do my best to both establish the routine and to let others know what the routine is. That way I am less likely to be interrupted.
Role #2 You are a writer.
This does not mean you merely hit keys on your keyboard and create text. That does not make you a writer.
A writer is a conveyor of messages. A writer strives to tell a story. A writer creates ideas. A writer wants the words and paragraphs and pages she composes to mean something.
In high school, we all wrote term papers. We did book reviews. We wrote reports for history or social studies. We wrote. But we were not writers.
To be a writer, the writer of a book - to become the person introduced as "the author of"- you must be passionate about your purpose. Your purpose must serve both yourself and your reader.
You serve yourself by completing the task of writing the book. That sense of accomplishment, seeing your book for sale on Amazon, and other places, is like no other - I promise.
You serve your readers by committing the research, the time and the energy to complete the book in a acceptable time frame. While it's true that some books take 10 years to write, I recommend setting a year or less as your timetable.
Role #3 You are a Marketer
Too many new authors fail to embrace this role as completely as they should. I was one, back in the day. Even now, I find myself working on so many other things, I forget to mention my new book and to be out there shouting it to the world, as I should be.
Don't be like me. Yes, your mother was right. Don't do as I do, do as I say.
One of the first things I teach my clients is to think of themselves as a marketer, and to begin marketing their book as soon as they have a title and an outline or TOC (table of contents). A professional book marketer I know, Penny Sansevieri, says, "...our most successful clients are those who play an active role in their book promotion!"
Marketing a book is not like marketing anything else. One of the unique things about marketing your book is your closeness to the product itself. Writing a book is like birthing a baby. That book becomes so much more than a product you're delivering. It becomes a piece of yourself that you are sharing with the world.
Because this task is so large, and so complicated, I put together two eBooks you should read. One is 15 Ways to Market Big Ideas.
The other is The Ultimate Book Promotion Plan which is due out next week.
Both books are necessary reads. They will get you further along the path of your marketing goals, than you just sitting around saying, "What should I do today?"
Role #4 You are a Salesperson
Oh, but isn't that part of marketing? you ask.
No, I answer. No, it is not.
In this day and age, all of us are responsible for everything we do, especially if we have a business.
Writing a book is a business. It entails so many of the elements of being in business for yourself, such as
- being your own boss
- getting the work done
- creating a website/landing page
- tracking sales
Obviously there are many more elements of being in business but let's keep our list short for now.
What I want you to notice in the list is the task of "tracking sales." Yes, you will need to keep track of books you give away, books you sell in the back of the room when you speak, and books that are sold elsewhere - other than Amazon which tracks sales for you.
Being a salesperson is part of being a marketer, but it is also more than being a marketer. It entails understanding and tracking all marketing efforts as well as all sales of your book. You can do this using a spreadsheet or by hiring a VA (virtual assistant).
Role #5 You are a Speaker
Once you announce your book, opportunities for speaking will pop up. Because your book is a product you sell, and also a piece of yourself, you will want to take advantage of podcasts, virtual summits, webinars, and collaborative workshops.
As a speaker, I recommend you create a One Sheet. Mine is on my About page.
One thing you cannot do is wait around for these speaking opportunities. You must go in search of them. Find the podcasts (Kathleen Gage and Margo Lovett are two Smart Women Conversation guests and great marketers for businesses and books who work with people on this - check them out).
Research the virtual summits. Go through your business connections to see who might be a good collaborative partner on a webinar or workshop.
You can't reap the benefits if you don't do the work. Follow the advice below.
“I’ve said it before, and by gosh, I’ll say it again-don’t be afraid to toot your own horn.” – Emlyn Chand
“Whatever you do today is directly proportional to what will happen to you tomorrow. So sow what you reap.” Anonymous
By the way, if you need a little help with your confidence, I have an eBook for that. On the Books & Programs page called The Smart Woman's Guide to Becoming Unstoppable. Check it out. Doesn't cost a dime.
Role #6 You are a Teacher/Trainer
Your book brings you immediate recognition as an expert in your field of endeavor.
This lends itself to taking advantage of #5: becoming a speaker. Every time you speak, you are teaching your audience something valuable. Every time you do a webinar or present a workshop, you are teaching and training your audience in ways to be successful in their lives or to overcome obstacles or some other master a challenge they need to master. You provide insight they need to make their lives better.
This means creating more content that works with your book. We have a workbook on marketing, that was created specifically to work with The HOW TO WRITE A BOOK Book. Our workbook The Ultimate Book Promotion Plan takes you through a timeline of what to do and when. And gives you space to do the work necessary!
Another eBook created for our clients is Finding Your Throughline: Electrifying Your Idea written to help you with the purpose, the idea, and the flow of your book.
We are building programs and more to support our work and our new book, just as you should. The ideal way to do this is as you write your book.
Role #7 You are a Networker
This role is perhaps your most important role. It encompasses all other roles. As a networker you will connect with groups, organizations, individual people, bloggers, and other authors to talk about your book's topic. Yes, you will mention the book, but in this role, your goal is to attract readers.
You do that by building relationships.
Building relationships means listening more than talking. Asking open-ended questions. Finding people who perhaps need your advice (your book) or who know others that need your advice and/or book.
Always do this with the give-back principle in mind. You must be willing to share their work as you hope/plan for them to share yours.
A great networker doesn't wait for others to approach her. A great networker asks about others before talking about herself. A great networker knows she will reap her rewards if she does her homework - making sure the groups she becomes part of are people who are interested in what she does. And then, she waits for them to ask - because that is her opportunity to tell a little, a very little, story about herself and her new book.
These are the roles that make you qualified to be an author. Each one is necessary. Make them part of your plan for your book's success.
Remember, that's why I'm here to help. Visit this page on my site and become a subscriber to Smart News, where you get 24 karat Gold advice in every issue.