Natural wildfires are created by rare, catastrophic events, such as a lightning strike or a volcano eruption. You can’t plan or prepare for these occurrences. They tend to happen beyond our control. In the publishing world, a naturally-started wildfire would be like a lightning strike, such as Oprah selecting your book for her famous book club, landing a guest spot on Good Morning America, or getting a random endorsement from the President of the United States. It’s rare, but it occasionally happens. Yet, there’s little you can do to control the process.
Unfortunately, some authors concentrate on trying to make this phenomenon happen. They hope, they pray, they read their horoscopes, but they wind-up doing little to market their books. They seem sure that their big break is just around the corner.
This attitude is like standing out in woods and trying to start a fire by waiting for lightning to strike. The odds that it will happen are absurd. Is it possible? Yes, but no one can’t predict it. You’ll sit around waiting and hoping while nothing happens. In the process, the opportunity to start a better kind of wildfire is wasted – one that you can create on your own.
Contrary to natural causes, wildfires can also originate from manmade triggers, such as discarded cigarettes, sparks from equipment, acts of arson, or a deliberate burn that’s meant to clear out dead growth and rejuvenate an old forest. It’s surprising how a huge wildfire can start from one, simple, intentional act instigated by an individual. A casual match thrown into the woods can lead to a huge blaze that consumes thousands of acres around it.
As an author, you can start your own wildfire and use it for good. By taking intentional steps to ignite your readers, you can generate awareness and word of mouth that sweeps the country. As a marketing consultant, I’ve taught hundreds of authors how to start book-promotion wildfires and make them burn bigger and hotter.
The key to success is by understanding how to build a fire, light it, and help it spread. Marketing a book is not as complex as you may think. You can essentially boil it down to three simple questions:
1. What is my value?
2. Who needs my value the most?
3. Where do the people who need my value congregate?
When you answer these questions, you have the fuel you need for effective marketing. (My book, Sell Your Book Like Wildfire, explains how to maximize these three questions in more detail.)
If you want to create a wildfire for your book, you can passively sit around and wait for lightning to strike. Or, you can proactively strike the match and create a wildfire of your own.