The Reality of Authorship

Cable TV and the Web are full of references to new books by Sarah Palin and Sean Hannity. For authors who don’t have the same level of celebrity, the experience of publication will probably be quite different. Since I don’t have the existing fan base of either Sarah or Sean, I can only share what authorship is like for most of the rest of us.

Wow, My Book is on Amazon.com

New authors search both the Web and their mailbox each day for a sign that the world has discovered the birth of a new title into the family of the published. One such milestone is the debut of their book on Amazon and other book marketing sites.

One day it is there! The whole world will now see the spectacular cover design and read excerpts from your book on their computer screen. Browsers can flip through the pages of your book with just simple a mouse-click! What a wonder!

Okay, it’s a nice feeling. For about ten seconds. Before the tick of the eleventh second fades, reality intrudes. First people have to know your book is there before they will even consider investing a few precious moments of mouse-clicking.

Only then will the reader decide whether or not they have any interest in what you, the author, have so painstakingly prepared through the long process of worry, tears, and the occasional paper cut. At that point the final hurdle must be addressed, when your work receives either a thumb’s up or a thumb’s down – when their mouse hovers over CLICK TO ORDER NOW.

Your Wonderful Video Book Trailer is on You-Tube

Remember the experience with Amazon? Ditto the You-Tube appearance. Exhilarating for about nine seconds. (It seems even authors are capable of being educated…) The beautiful and creative work of professional developers took the essence of your manuscript and prepared a video book trailer. The real challenge for the author now becomes creating awareness and interest in the reading public. Otherwise the video, no matter how special, will serve no greater purpose than the Mona Lisa pulled from display in the Louvre and hidden in a dusty closet.

Authors Become Marketers…

…or their work is not read by anyone. Authors must walk a fine line between creating awareness and interest in our books – and just annoying everyone we know with talk of “My book this… my book that.”
Depending on the subject of your book, the line between information and commercialization may become even narrower. In the case of my book, Amazing Grays, Amazing Grace, this promotion pickle is more pronounced. Amazing Grays is a message of relationship with God, horses, and one another. Not only was I charged with writing the book, but with a greater challenge of carrying the message to as many as will hear it. To build a relationship with potential readers I must remain mindful that a hard sell would totally destroy my credibility.

Authors Are Not Immediate Media Darlings

When the actual release date of your book nears, the real work begins in earnest. Personal appearances and book signings are scheduled. Mind you, it is a rare case indeed when the phone rings and an invitation is dropped in an author’s lap. Each opportunity must be searched out and won if you are to succeed.

Radio interviews and book fairs are added to your calendar. In many cases the author has to make a personal investment in both time and dollars to create an opportunity to share their message with others.

I am lucky to have a great marketing rep provided by my publisher. We found a kinship in the message of Amazing Grays during a very long planning meeting sixty days before the book’s release date. But just as a rider cannot win without a horse, no marketing plan will succeed without an equal or greater commitment by the author.

Are You Thinking of Writing a Book?

Most folks have a book somewhere in their heads. Some will actually commit the story to paper. Some of those tales will be printed.

Should you decide to pursue authorship, just know that unless you are already a celebrity, the road is mostly work, work, and, well… work. However, the effort becomes but a memory when that first email arrives, and a reader tells you that your message made an actual difference in their life.

If you begin down the path to publishing looking for a pot of gold at the far end… perhaps you might drop me an email. We’ll talk…

Lynn Baber is the author of Amazing Grays. You can find book information, Lynn’s biography, and super links to her articles, blog, and other items of interest at www.AmazingGrays.us.