June 22, 2016
If you’ve ever submitted a query letter or book proposal to a publisher, chances are you understand what it means to get a rejection letter. If you get one of those, don’t despair or think you’ve failed. Instead, remind yourself rejection means you’re working. You can’t get rejected if you don’t submit your query or proposal, so give yourself credit for pursuing your writing career and send your query or proposal to the next publisher on your list.
Here are some tips to help you remember that failure doesn’t mean your writing journey is done. It just means you’ve taken a detour.
- Take chances. Doing nothing assures you won’t succeed at reaching your goal of being published.
- Accept that you (like everyone) will make mistakes. Learn from those mistakes instead of trying to hide them.
- Learn to endure temporary defeat. And I do mean temporary. Every time we fail, we earn another opportunity to succeed because we gain information, learn what doesn’t work, and get to try again. Every defeat helps us work toward a future victory.
- Prepare to fail. By that I mean you’re better off to create both best-case and worst-case scenarios, then determine whether or not you can live with the worst case. If you can, push forward. If you can’t, work on a new plan that you can live with.
- Be open to new possibilities. You may have a particular end result in mind, but another opportunity you hadn’t considered could pop up. Allow yourself to consider the new option.
- Learn from your failures. If you get a rejection notice, try to figure out why. For example, how well did you research the types of articles or books the publisher publishes? Did you verify you’re sending your query to the correct person? Well, you get the idea.
- Avoid blaming others for your failures. Taking responsibility for your mistakes isn’t always easy, but if you honestly exam why you didn’t succeed, you might find you dropped the ball or didn’t do everything you could have to get what you hoped for.
- Fix what went wrong. Going through these tips is helpful, but nothing will change unless you do something to change what went wrong. Start by giving yourself credit to trying, create your plan to correct what went wrong, then move forward by doing something.
Failure isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Always be aware that you are not a failure, only the effort you put forth failed. You will eventually succeed as long as you keep moving forward. You will most likely fail if you give up. I say most likely because you may make the decision to stop. That’s not failure. That’s a decision. Happy writing!
June 9, 2016
People can’t buy your book unless they’re aware it exists. Whether you self-publish or royalty publish, the marketing is up to the author. Why? People buy authors, not publishers.
Get creative and set up book signings in various venues, not just bookstores. Again, you may ask the why question. In bookstores you’re competing with hundreds, maybe even thousands, of other titles. In other venues, your book stands out.
Here are some tips for things to do before your next book signing.
- Connect with people. You do this by talking with as many people as you can. Show them you’re human, personable, and someone they want to know better by reading your book.
- Make a list of local media (newspapers, radio, television). Find out who does author interviews in each one. Request interviews with each venue the week of your book signing event. You can do this with press releases, phone calls, email, or any other method that connects you to the right person. I’ve had local newspapers run feature stories on me and my books, along with photos of me and my books.
- Have your picture taken with the directors, managers, and any other key people in the organization hosting your book signing. Use that picture to publicize your upcoming book signing.
- Create an 11 x 17 poster of your book cover, then laminate it and add a stand-up device to the back so you can stand the poster up at your signing table.
- Consider bookmarks or post cards or flyers showing your book cover and offering information about your book so you can pass them out everywhere you go (not just the book signing). Consider putting your website, the book’s website, and your blog information on any or all of these.
Here are some tips for the day of the book signing.
- Bring plenty of books to sign. You can’t sign what isn’t there.
- Arrive at least 20 minutes early, check the signing set-up, then take a few books and walk around so people can see you, talk with you, and perhaps even take a look at your book. Be sure you wear your name tag or some other way to identify you as the author.
- Talk with employees or volunteers working at your signing to give them a very brief overview of your book (in case someone asks them about it).
- Consider gifting those who helped create your book signing with a signed copy of your book as a thank you.
- Send a thank-you note to the person who originally set up your book signing. I send thank-you notes for gifts, nice gestures, enjoyable events, etc., and am constantly told no one sends thank-you notes anymore, so my doing so was really appreciated.
- Smile and thank the people who ran the book signing, even if you didn’t sell as many books as you hoped. Complaining doesn’t help, so focus on the fun you had, and be sure to ask how many signed copies of the book you should leave for those who wanted to come but couldn’t make it.
The important thing to remember is you’re at the book signing to have fun, meet people, and maybe sell a few books. A book signing is just one step of the book marketing ladder, so enjoy it and learn from it. Happy writing!