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Two Things You Need BEFORE You Launch a Book

Authors (and deck creators) you need to have two very important things in place before your book launches:

  1. Relationships
  2. Content-Rich Blog

Sounds easy peasy, right?

Well, from the looks of wannabe (and already-be) authors yammering at me on social media to BUY MY BOOK or SUPPORT MY KICKSTARTER or GET MY EBOOK FREE ON KINDLE or PURCHASE MY DECK…apparently not.

Not to mention the oblivious author who has no idea how to create buzz for an upcoming eBook launch…and actually posts her fuzzy, clueless admission on a blog! ::wince::

Well, here’s some good news that will fix all that. And it’s free. (That’s right: You don’t even have to buy it “in a box” from me with serious coin.)

One: Relationships should be in place BEFORE your book or Tarot deck arrives. Otherwise, you will come across as a butt-kissing sycophant. Most of us aren’t stupid: we notice that you’re suddenly following those of us who are industry/niche leaders, chirpily trying to get our attention via “Hi! How are you?” tweets.

All we need to do is look at your Twitter stream: you have a dozens of tweets, all in a row, broadcasting that you’re a suck-up who has something to peddle. Or worse, you’re constantly posting about your “new baby” (see my post Don’t Whore Your Baby) and why we should fete it with Amazon purchases presents.

Two: A content-rich blog/presence should be in place BEFORE your book or Tarot deck arrives. Why? Unless you’re super famous, you need a following. You know, people who will (you hope) eventually buy your book or deck—or hire you for a service.

Let me paint you a picture: a complete stranger starts elbowing his way into your Twitter feed, Facebook page, Google+ presence, etc. If you’re kind, you’ll be tolerant…at first. But then you notice that ALL he does is broadcast about his NEW book or NEW deck or NEW “business in a box”. This is the equivalent of a carnival barker vying for your attention. Irritated, you dismiss him at best or get a restraining order at worst. 

Why would you bother giving him the time of day? He’s a perfect stranger, right? So ask yourself, what WOULD make you listen to a perfect stranger?

I’ll tell you right now:

  1. He says interesting things
  2. He provides information you need and/or want
  3. He stands apart from “the others”

The first two are self-explanatory. The third? A bit more nebulous. A few traits that make an author, speaker, artist, personality or “brand” stand out include:

  1. Uniqueness – That is, doing something or saying something totally different from his peers
  2. Charisma – Enchanted, you just can’t look away
  3. Provocative – He’s not afraid to point out the Emperor’s “New Clothes”
  4. Independence – No one “owns” him, so he says/does what he wants
  5. Intelligence  – The breadth and depth of his knowledge dazzles
  6. Polyannaish  – Most individuals want to feel good. Pols (since he’s male, we’ll call his ilk Pols) do that for people
  7. Cynicism – Not my cuppa, but some people like the snark shtick
  8. Friendliness – He reaches out, replies and engages

Red Cog
So here’s how perfect strangers like yourself can get listened to, put into three short commands:

  1. Don’t be boring. Entertain.
  2. Be an information whore (on your own turf). Put out.
  3. Be original. Don’t try to copycat or be someone you’re not.

 But back to why you need a content-rich blog: you need to position yourself as an expert on your niche. You know, the topic of your book or the theme of your business service? Having a book to push is only the endgame (surprise!).

You have to get your chess pieces ON THE BOARD first. Otherwise, you’re just putting your King on the board thinking you’ll win the game. (And if you know anything about chess, you know it’s impossible to win a game when you only have a King on the board—especially when the opposition still has most, or all, pieces in play).

You need to be discoverable (search engines!), you need to appear that you know your stuff and you need to offer value to people BEFORE you try to get them to buy anything. You need a bunch of content to link TO first…BEFORE you roll out stuff with price tags. Those are a part of your “chess pieces” arsenal. Content can be how-tos, Top 10 (or 100) lists, reviews, Did You Know? pieces, interviews, book profiles, bios of industry captains in your field, news items releated to your niche, link roundups, etc.

For example, I know that a big reason I'm now a traditionally published author is because I spent years of obscurity writing book and deck reviews on I didn't have a book to peddle. I was just passionate about posting honest reviews because I got tired of being stuck with crappy products based on deceitful online puff pieces guised as reviews. 

In short, I offered valuable content to readers. Unknowingly, I became an industry expert and a trusted resource...which then led to a book deal (that, and making friends in the industry as I pusued my passion). I was doing the "right thing" before I knew what I was doing...and, more importantly, before I had something to sell.

Now, if you’re a New Age type like myself, you believe that we don’t REALLY have competition with others—we’re just competing against ourselves to be the “highest version” of our self…our personal best.

That may be true metaphysically and energetically, but guess what? The earth still employs laws like gravity. Thus, even though we might trust in a Higher Power or karma or our pre-ordained life path scripted with our angelic guides…there’s still this little thing called “reality”.

The “reality” I’m talking about? The web is clogged. There are more writers than ever, especially with the dawn of easy technology, social media, free blogs and self-publishing venues.

Traffic Jam

So while you may trust that the Big Gal in the Sky "has your back"--assuming that, via Divine Oversight, your “fans” or readers or clients will somehow “find” you—you still need to get your chess pieces ON the board for the Universe to work its magic.

Otherwise, you’re like the drowning guy in the joke who waves away God’s three attempts to help via “ordinary” means because “you’re waiting for God to save you”.

Or, in this case, waiting for readers, buyers and clients to magically appear…without doing any of the grunt work that invites success.

Like God says to the newly arrived denizen of heaven when he asks “Why didn’t you save me?”—I sent three boats, you idiot.

CluelessOh, and some advice for that clueless “author” I spoke about? Your public blog isn’t the place to admit you don’t know what you’re doing as a writer (although your other posts sorta reveal this anyway…). Study those who have traditional publications under their belt, who have a large following (hint: over 2,000 Twitter followers, Facebook “likes” or Networked Blog followers) and read posts from people like Seth Godin, Jeff Bullas, Chris Brogan, HubSpot, Copyblogger and Kristin Lamb (just to name a few)...and apply what they advise.

Before that, though, you may want to brush up on your actual writing skills (because, let’s face it: it’s easier to take an author/blogger seriously when they write clean, succinct, intelligent copy that’s free from grammar and spelling faux pas).

Another bonus tip, this one for the clueless independent publisher: using Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr to crank out links to “newest reviews” of your publications (still) isn’t social media…and it sure ain’t content marketing. Get a clue. Otherwise, your author’s royalty check will stay at the $3 mark.

-- Janet



Thanks for another great post, Janet. My Spirit-Team must have my back by leading me to such useful information like yours. Thank you.

Janet Boyer

Awww, bless your heart, Shelly! Thank YOU for taking the time to comment, letting me know you found this helpful. :o) It was an entirely unplanned post that I just felt inspired to write...straight from the head to the keyboard. So glad it resonates!

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