6 things you NEED to know before you self-publish

6 Things To Know That Help You Sell More of Anything - Part 2

If you haven't read part 1, go check it out. I'll wait.

So you know what you're trying to do, who you're trying to reach, and how you define success. That is FREAKING AWESOME. Do you know how few people really think through all of that?

Now you're in a great position to actually get where you want to go, and here's the next thing to think about:

Who's going to help you?

If your project IS a book, definitely read through the guide - this section gets into the nitty-gritty specifics about the types of editing, proofing, layout, design, and marketing help that can help you take your book from good to great.

But what's key here regardless of what kind of thing you're trying to accomplish: understanding that there are different roles involved in getting your thing done well. And you've got to hold your vision, but you've also got to trust other people to help you refine and achieve it.

The technical specifics may vary according to what you're trying to get done, but the point remains true:

The CEO/author/owner/artist/YOU role is the only one you can't delegate. For everything else, there's help available

It's worth it to define what all of the other roles are, even if you're not ready to hire expert help for every one of them. First, because it helps you get clear on what steps need to happen between creating your thing and launching it into the world, and second, because that list helps you prioritize which pieces to get off your plate first. Ideally, you reach the point where you're only doing the parts you're super-genius at or really LOVE to do, and you've got super-genius experts filling the other roles. But you've got to start by defining what those roles are.

So who’s going to help you?

Deciding what kind of help you’re going to need and where you’re going to get that help makes the whole process smoother.

How are you going to sell it?

So you figure out what you’re trying to do, you create this wonderful thing, you get help making the end result even better than you could possibly have imagined, and you launch it.

Then what? People just show up and buy it, right? Because it’s so good?

Oh, how I wish that would happen for you - but no. Not likely.

I hate to break it to you, but the next step is marketing.

I know, I know - ick. Most of us hate the very idea of promoting ourselves. But if you want to actually do any good with your thing, people besides your inner circle, your mom, and your uncle Bill are going to have to know about it. You're going to have to plan how you're going to get this thing into the hands of those lovely people you're trying to reach.

Here are a few pieces that might fit into your marketing plan:

  1. Street team. There's nothing quite like recommendations from people we trust. A community of people who are willing to experience your thing before launch, talk about it, leave reviews, share your marketing collateral, or even just personally recommend it to friends - your street team can have a huge impact on your reach.
  2. Publicist. Depending on how big your goal is (you did define your goal, right?) it could be worth getting a pro to reach out to media outlets for you - they know how to do it, and they've got the network of existing contacts to make sure you don't just get ignored.
  3. Influencers. Who has impact in your field? Who knows everybody, gets seen everywhere, has everyone's respect & admiration? Would they be willing to leave you a review, give you a quote, interview you for their audience, introduce you? Ask respectfully, ask early, and be considerate of their time. It fills up fast.
  4. Giveaways & contests. Giving away a few copies of your thing technically costs you, but the interest and excitement generated are well worth it.

There are other options you could add to the list, and you don't have to use all of them; but having a marketing plan (and carrying it out) will get you closer to where you want to be with this project.

Have you noticed that the concepts in this guide are getting more and more specific as we go?

We start with your overall goal - why you're doing your thing. We get more detailed by asking who's actually going to benefit from your thing. Then, we figure out what will make you feel like you've done your thing successfully, which allows us to figure out who can help make the thing as ideal as possible for the purpose. And with all of that in place, we have a better idea of how to get it into the hands of the people who will benefit from it.

So with all of that mapped out, the final detail is this:

What's your budget?

I'm not just talking about money. Money may be a big part of it - it's the easiest thing to trade, and it can buy you the space to conserve the other two key resources that can play into your budget: energy and time. It's definitely going to take some combination of those three things to get through the first five concepts we've been talking about and launch your awesome thing.

Again, the guide goes deep into specifics about what to consider in your budget if you're a self-publishing author. But regardless of what kind of project you're trying to get out there, you're going to need to be realistic about what you can afford to put into it so you can allocate your precious resources - money, energy, and time - where they'll have the most impact.

If your project is worth doing, it's worth doing well. It's harder to fix something broken than it is to invest your resources - money, energy, and time - into getting it right in the first place. Knowing what you can afford will help you put your resources where you’ll get the most bang for your buck.

​Get ​​what you need to know to get your next book cover (and all the other stuff that goes into self-publishing) right!

What works, what DOESN’T work, and WHY, so you’ll know what to look for on your next project whether you’re hiring a pro or doing it on your own.
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