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Caterpillars and Butterflies

Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. I’m stealing, paraphrasing, and taking this idea from St. Paul completely out of context to make it convey an item on my personal agenda. I almost feel like a reporter for the New York Times.

My little bit of propaganda says that while you may have written a book, you are not yet an author. That does not jive with Mr. Webster’s definition, but I’m spinning this. Writers create literary works, authors do so much more than that. Being an author requires a new way of thinking.

An author must be, not only a writer, but a marketer, a promoter, a salesman, a team builder, a spokesman, and a bit of a megalomaniac. I belong to several writer groups, and it is an often-heard lament that, “My book is not selling”. There is that Field of Dreams mentality that if I write it, they will come.

Novel writers are given to fantasy, but this is one flight of fancy they do well to shun. Books sell because authors sell them. You may have a publisher backing you, but the real grunt work is the author’s job to do. The good news is that you’re creative.

Modern thinking says that if you have a problem, throw money at it until it’s solved. Give up that thinking too. You don’t need to spend a fortune on advertising or hire a Nigerian prince to do it for you. Just do that voodoo that you do so well—be creative.

Family and friends are helpful, but that won’t get you far. Find a few evangelists (an enthusiastic advocate) who can’t meet someone without telling them you’re a writer and how much they love your books. If the term evangelist scares you—think fan (short for fanatic). You don’t need many, but you do need a few.

Saturate, but don’t flood, the social media platform where your readers hang out. Buy a table and canopy and hit local events—holiday markets, local festivals, or craft fairs—that allow vendors. Most charge, so start with those with low fees. Ask your local hang outs—coffee shops, bookstores, libraries, bars, any place where people are, to let you hold a book signing.

Talk to strangers. This makes most writers cringe. Get over it. One writer I know actually tries to steer conversations away from their books. Pardon my saying so, but that person does not have what it takes to be an author. There may be a myriad of subjects you know nothing about. Your book is not one of them. People love to talk to writers. I don’t know why, but they do, so take advantage of every opportunity to tell people you are a writer and introduce your book. If you are going to do this, always carry copies of your books wherever you go. When they ask where to find your book, you are ready to strike.

Speaking of people who like to talk to writers, podcasts are a great resource. It’s a one-on-one conversation, often audio only, that is shared with a larger audience. And you can practice the night before.

I’ve run out of room to write more. That’s evidence that there is much to talk about on the subject and no end to your work on behalf of your book. Transform that writer’s mentality into life as an author. It starts with thinking, translates into action, and ends with readers holding your book.

Royalties? Well, yeah, there is that too.

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