Do you have any desire to be an author? Great! You are not alone; many people desire to write, actually 81% of Americans say they’d like to write a book.
With more than 1,000,000 books published every year (not counting ebooks or blogs), the odds are actually pretty good that you also are writing a book or want to write one.
My purpose for this blog post is to challenge you, to stretch your mind and get the author ready, because when the author is ready some incredible things can happen.
Give your first book away, First! What’s my idea behind this?
“Tim O’ Riley says the enemy of any creative is not piracy but obscurity”
There is no one in this world that says, “I’m really in trouble everyone has read my blog , read my book, everyone has heard my song, everyone saw me on Oprah, and I can’t figure out how to make money. That’s not an issue. No one has that problem. There are tons of people who have the problem of: I’m not interactive with the market enough, I’m not hearing from people enough, no one knows who I am or what I do. 99% of musicians on iTunes and 99% of authors on Amazon are basically unheard and so the challenge is to think of the internet as radio for ideas. Just like the Beach Boys, James Brown, The Beetles, Aretha Franklin and The Rolling Stones needed to be on the radio to make things happen, you need to be on the internet to make your idea hits. Once your ideas are hits and once you have an impact on the world, the economic model will take care of its self.
However, the statistics are dismal. One in four Americans don’t read one book per year. Over 1,000,000 new books were published last year. Average book sales for let’s say a Christian book put out by a major publisher are about 4,000 copies. AuthorSolutions reports that sales of their self-published titles average about 150 copies each. The average sales overall for a book published in America is about 500.
“Garrison Keillor recently commented on the sustainability of the publishing industry in the Chicago Tribune: “I think that book publishing is about to slide into the sea. We live in a literate time, and our children are writing up a storm, often combining letters and numerals (UR2 1derful)…The future of publishing: 18 million authors in America, each with an average of 14 readers, eight of whom are blood relatives. Average annual earnings: $1.75.”
So at this point your eyes cloud over and you say, OK. Patrick I get this. Give me a map, what’s the dummies guide, show me step-by-step how to give my first book away for free, just tell me what to do. Well, the answer is I don’t know! Every audience likes to receive their information differently, and so as an artist you will need to create art. All I can give you, is some ideas of what makes this an easier process and here they are:
- Build a tribe. Connect and lead a large numbers of influential people who reads your blog, reads your emails, watches your YouTube Channel or TV show, loves your restaurant or etc…
- Then, put your idea into a format where it will spread fast. That could be an e-book (a free one) or a pamphlet (a cheap one–the Joy of Jello sold millions and millions of copies at a dollar or less).
- Consider the free PDF alternative. Some have gotten millions of downloads. No hassles, no time wasted, no trying to make a living on it. All the joy, in other words, without debating whether you should quit your day job (you shouldn’t!)
- Then, if your idea catches on, you can sell the souvenir edition. The book. The thing people keep on their shelf or lend out or get from the library. Books are wonderful (I own too many!) but they’re not necessarily the best vessel for spreading your idea.
- Reaching outsiders. If you want to reach people who don’t normally buy books, show up in places where people who don’t usually buy books are. Media places, virtual places and real places too.
And so the sum of this is, of course, is that if you do all these things, you won’t need a publisher. And that’s exactly when a publisher will want you! That’s the sort of author publishers do the best with.
P.S. Here’s my FREE eBook “Profitable Passion”