What happens when an author gets his or her priorities backwards? Read the following three idioms and see if you notice a pattern:
- Don’t put the cart before the horse.
- Don’t let the tail wag the dog.
- Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
What’s the theme in those statements? A less important priority takes precedence over the more important priority. As an author, what is your most important priority?
- Develop a great story
- Complete a new manuscript
- Land a book contract
- Hit the bestseller lists
- Create spin-off products
The answer is none of the above. If you’re a full-time writer or someone who publishes books to support your vocation, then your top priority is to build a sustainable business. Everything else comes second to that primary goal. How does this principle apply to your decision-making process?
Don’t let a book determine your business. Let your business determine what book to publish. If you’re involved in the non-profit or religious sectors, substitute “business” with “ministry.” The same truth applies.
Here’s a problem that I often see. An author will develop a book idea first and then try to build a business around it. That approach can be a recipe for disaster. Why? There may not be a legitimate audience for your idea. You may be trying to teach people a solution that doesn’t meet their true needs. Or, your book idea may not fit the core mission of your business. Furthermore, your book will come and go. What happens after the initial launch is over?
I’ve counseled almost every type of author, from first-time writers to well-known bestsellers who are millionaires. Whenever we discuss strategy for a new book, I ask every client the same question:
What do you want your business to look like in the next 2 years?
The answer to that question is your top priority. Write a book that supports your short-term business goals. For example, if you write self-help non-fiction, your book should act as a magnet for the type of coaching clients, speaking engagements, and training services that help grow your overall business. Think Patrick Lencioni, Malcolm Gladwell, Suze Orman, Sheryl Sandberg, Dr. Oz, John Maxwell, etc.
If you run a non-profit or pastor a church, your book should reveal the transformation that your organization creates for the world in a manner that attracts attention, volunteers, and donors to your cause. Think Katie Davis, Dr. Charles Stanley, Lysa TerKerust, David Jeremiah, etc.
If you’re a full-time novelist, your book should work to build a unique storytelling brand that can lead to book series, movie rights, TV shows, theater productions. Think John Grisham, Tom Clancy, Stephen King, Francine Rivers, Wanda Brunstetter, Karen Kingsbury, etc.
Your book is never the main priority. Your business is the main priority. Put the horse before the cart. Let the dog wag the tail. Don’t put all of your eggs in the basket of one book. Your book is not the end. It is a means to an end. The end is a sustainable business or ministry that you can enjoy for years to come.
New Video e-Course:
Find New Readers and Sell More Books on a Shoestring Budget
My new online video e-course is filling up fast! Registration closes at midnight this Thursday, October 12th. If you wait, you will miss the opportunity. I will not be offering this course again anytime soon.
Space is limited to only 30 authors. The course is already OVER HALF FULL. Everything disappears after Thursday, Oct. 12th.
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