When you live in New York you see a lot of street vendors. Some of them are pretty stable people, you know they have their carts, they are where you expect them to be every day. They know your name, make a special effort to remember your order, etc. But then there are those vendors who are just, well, flighty and only care about the immediate sale. I’m sure you’ve seen them, right? They sort of show up with a blanket and a bunch of trinkets or fake Fendi’s. They smile and hold up their wares, hoping you’ll buy something that will, no doubt, turn your neck green.
In my work I’ve found that authors can really be divided into two categories: Authors or Street Vendors. Some are very serious about their work, while others are, well not so much. They don’t think ahead, they don’t plan, they hope that somehow fate will step in and make them famous. You may think “Well, that’s not me!” but Street Vendors can often be hard to spot. Not sure which one you are?
Take this brief quiz and find out!
1. When it comes to the book package and editing you:
a. Hire all the right people. Spare no expense!
b. Barter for some of it, I mean if you can trade something to get the service you want for a lesser cost, why not?
c. Ask your neighbor to help you design the cover. He designed his own website in Microsoft Word and seems to know what he’s doing.
d. Do it yourself on one of those free book cover design sites. No one knows your cover better than you do!
2. You’re starting to plan your promotion, do you:
a. Hire the biggest, brightest and best publicity person and go for their biggest marketing campaign! Go big or go home.
b. You know you need a marketing person but you don’t have an endless budget so you shop around for options and services. You’re not looking for cheap, but you don’t want to break the bank, either.
c. You find a company that does book tours for $100. Yes! That’s the best deal ever. You buy it and then sit back and wait for the fabulous results (and sales!!)
d. You read endlessly about book promotion and then find yourself totally exhausted from it. You don’t really need a book promotion company, you wrote great book. People will naturally gravitate to it!
3. You would describe your website as:
a. Top notch. You hired someone who really knows about SEO and conversion, you’re selling some of your own product, and you’re blogging at least a few times a week and it gets some decent action.
b. Effective. You hired someone to build it and it looks great, you have all the relevant content and you make a point to blog once a week.
c. You went to some freebie site like Angelfire or something and just grabbed a free site from there. You have the pink background and light blue angel wings but they don’t have a ton of templates to choose from.
d. You don’t need a website, you have decided just to use Facebook instead.
4. Aside from your book, what’s your philosophy on connecting with your audience:
a. Content, content, content! I Tweet, I update, I post, I blog. I also try to establish relationships with those who review or feature my book. I love Goodreads!
b. I blog, I get on Facebook a couple times a week. For the most part I have other personal and family obligations that take up a lot of my free time.
c. I don’t really know how to connect with my audience, people read and buy books every day, how much extra work do I need to do?
d. My book is one of a kind, once people find it they’ll come to me and I’ll be ready! I don’t think it makes sense to make the first move. It shows weakness.
5. Your plans for the future as an author are:
a. To keep writing. My next book is almost finished, and I have my next couple books mapped out. I understand the importance of giving my fans and followers something to look forward to. I’m active on multiple social media platforms and I’m also always looking for review and interview opportunities.
b. I want to write another book and have some good ideas. I’m not sure if I can make this my sole career but I would like to, so I’m writing as often as I can and I’m keeping my Facebook page active.
c. I really only planned to write one book and see if that makes me enough money to quit my job and write full time. Otherwise I just don’t see this happening.
d. You went to a psychic and asked for her input and she told you your last book is going to be a movie, so you’ve already starting plotting who will be in the cast.
You are 100% a true Author. Congratulations! But you may want to watch your spending a bit. Remember that most books won’t earn back what you spend on them right away. Pace yourself, you’ll do great!
You are doing your best but writing is likely not your primary occupation, your time is split up between your book, your family, your other job, and perhaps more. But remember, you need to treat your book like a business if you really want it to succeed, stick to a schedule where you dedicate time every day to growing your audience and working on your next book!
You’re dangerously near Street Vendor territory. Be careful of hiring friends, family and other people without the right experience. They may be free but is it worth it? And don’t fall into the trap of feeling like your work is done just because the book is for sale. That couldn’t be further from the truth! You need to be your book’s strongest advocate.
Much like that funky bracelet I bought last year, I bet your book will turn my hands green. Wrap it up as holiday presents to start making a dent in all the boxes in your garage, because it will take a miracle, and a major attitude adjustment, for it to succeed. Also, you should see if you can get your money back from the psychic.