No one asked, but I have advice anyway. That’s the way it goes around here.
Small businesses fail. 80% within the first 18 months, according to Forbes. Publishers fail. I will not name names, but Absolute Write has an excellent column on why publishers fail. I learned a lot from it, and swore not to fall into those traps.
But this blog is about the “Do”s, not the “Don’t”s.
Starting with reading. Do read these three books. You’ll be so excited that you’ll self-publish your bestseller and never look back. Or you’ll want to throw-up, hire someone else to do the dirty work (us, please), and blissfully receive your checks in the mail.
Here’s what changed Supposed Crimes from a vanity press with five titles into a competitive player with fifty (and growing).
How to Win Friends and Influence People
Duh, right? This is the book that teaches people how to smile. Smile. It’s the fundamentals. The basics. Every other book echoes this book. Listen to people. Don’t be a jerk. But this one’s well-written, easy-to-understand, and full of fun stories. It doesn’t take long and it won’t make you feel dirty by the end. It’ll make you a better date, too.
New Sales Simplified
This book builds on How to Win Friends and Influence People. You’ve mastered the smile. Now throw a product–your book–into the mix. Make your book the best thing ever. But what if people hate your book? What if it’s not good enough? What if people read it and shame you? Better not to raise expectations, right? And your book is for a gay audience anyway. What would Aunt Betty say. Keep it on the down low and the right people will read it. These are things I used to think, and this book got me the hell over it. Books may be made of your soul, but there’s no need to self-sabotage. There’s no need to apologize. We’re all just people. Go sell.
The E-Myth Revisited
Marketing your book isn’t enough. You want complete control. Production, sales, cover art, taxes. Employees. Contractors. International distributors. Ingram. Swag. Mailing lists. If that’s not daunting, read this book. It makes a simple point. Artistic creations or skilled labor do not translate linearly into business sense. Business sense is its own thing. This book explains business in simple terms, and is a warning to those who conflate selling (above) with independence.
On the flip side, maybe you have an entrepreneurial spirit that you’ve never nurtured. Maybe it’s this that comes easy, that feels natural. Then this book will give you the right tools to start your business, grow your business, and handle success appropriately. Keep in mind the Absolute Write article on why publishers crash and burn. Usually it’s because they’re not businesses.
As I’m always telling the Ambassador of Buzz, the rules really are simple.
1) Pay your taxes
2) Don’t expand too fast
Three books and you’ll know as much as I do. Done.
Now I’m off to figure out Instagram. Does social media affect sales? Goddamn right it does. Maybe that’ll be my next blog–Blundering through Twitter, one @ at a time.
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