There’s a story from years ago, the truth of which may or may not be factual, that goes like this. Albert Einstein boarded a train and flopped into a seat, his wild hair unmistakable to the other passengers. A conductor worked his way down the aisle, collecting tickets while Einstein fidgeted in his seat checking pocket after pocket. He seemed a bit frantic as the conductor neared, but the ticket taker put a hand on his shoulder, leaned down and said quietly, “That’s okay. I know who you are.”
As the conductor progressed through the rest of car, Einstein continued to search his pockets for the ticket, pulling out all sorts of things but the missing ticket. The conductor glanced back to see the concerned look on Einstein’s face. After clicking the last few tickets in the rail-car, he retreated to Albert Einstein’s seat.
“Really, it’s okay. Dr. Einstein, I know who you are. You don’t need to present your ticket,” insisted the conductor. Einstein stopped searching and looked up at the conductor and said, “Young man, I too know who I am. What I don’t know is where I’m going.”
Do you ever feel like that? You’re getting this writing thing down pat. You’ve really found your voice. You’re pounding out 5,000 words per day. And then, you finish. You dial up a bunch of Indies Unlimited posts on how to get your book out and scramble for the next three months.
If you’re going to take your book business seriously, then you need to treat it like a business. Unfortunately, marketing is a big part of that business. Too few actually have a “plan” for marketing your books. We shift with the wind and try what works this week. Now, in defense of that plan, I get it. Things change almost daily in the Indie writing world. What worked a week ago may not even feed the crickets today. Regardless, you still need an overall strategy.
It starts with listing all the possible means of marketing your book—from free to paid. Once your manuscript has gone out to beta readers—before final revisions and editing— it’s time to piece together your plan for getting the word out. Make a list of everything you can think of, even if it’s ridiculous or out of reach.
Once you have a list, and it should be a really long one, start breaking it down. Which things can you do right away? Which things are later in the process because you might need 25 reviews before it will be accepted? The key is to develop a timeline that reaches several months out. That way you aren’t wasting energy on the pieces you have no control over today.
Get a feel for the things you enjoy doing. Give yourself plenty of time to get responses back from blog reviewers. It’s a big endeavor if you’re going to do it right. The more organized you can be, the better your results. As for the big, ridiculous plans, put them in there too. I can guarantee you that if they are not in your plan, they will not happen. Why take a chance. You never know what lies ahead. Once you put it in your plan, you’re one step closer to making it a reality.
Will everything work? Of course not. But, you’ll have a much better chance if you’ve written out a solid timeline with each activity or process. Let’s make sure that you leave the station with the ticket firmly planted in your hand and you know where you’re going.