By Mari Selby

2017 is a breath away. At the end of the year, we often reflect on the success of our efforts. Even if we are patting ourselves on the back for our efforts, we can still improve. Maybe your frustration level is high, your bank account has been emptied, or you feel like you’re stuck in traffic with your marketing efforts. One of my favorite quotes is by A. Einstein, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Instead of thinking you are crazy, or giving up, take the disappointing results as as a signal to buckle down and open your mind to new ideas. Are you willing to get feedback on your efforts? Are you willing to really let go of what doesn’t work? Are you willing to get professional help?

There are steps you can take to increase your chances of reaching that pot of gold this year:

What does success mean to you?

I recently read an article that stated any independent author who has sold more than 500 books is a success. While that number may be debatable, with almost 400,000 books published, the competition is fierce. Indie authors who have reached that benchmark without a distributor pitching their book really are a success. When we told one of our past clients about this article, they realized how successful they actually had become. What is your definition of success? Do you want to become “local writer makes good” or maybe you simply wanted to show yourself that you could produce a book? Being clear about your goals creates a better chance of hitting the mark.

Which efforts produced the greatest results?

Maybe a radio interview led to other interviews. Do more of them. Seek out radio hosts that cover similar topics. Maybe a book review in an online magazine received great comments. Do your research. Find other magazines that are similar and send them your book for review. Maybe the webinars you offered blossomed. Do you know how the numbers of participants increased? Was it the bonuses you offered, the referral credit, or did you have fans that spread the word? And don’t forget to share your successes across your social networks. People applaud success, and you may gain more fans and followers as a result.

Are you open to feedback?

Have you ever asked friends, colleagues, and other authors what they think of your cover, your interior design, or your marketing efforts? Have you ever asked for feedback on your query letters, your research, and your new realizations? Have an open mind and be willing to listen to what they say. Seeking out feedback creates two streams of information. One is what you can change to make your project more attractive, and the other is to build community. People like to help, and asking them for feedback gives them a chance to be helpful and as well as share their opinion.

Have you found your tribe, community, or network?

It does take a village to bring a book out into the world. Having great numbers on Facebook or Twitter does not guarantee a community. One of my particular pet peeves is people telling me they have thousands of followers, but they still aren’t a success. I ask them how many of these thousands of people actually engage with them or comment on their posts. Social networks are like virtual parties. It’s not enough that you show up; you have to make an impression and connect. Give people a reason to become fans, followers, or even evangelists for your book.

Is it time for a professional to step in and help you?

If you are feeling frustrated and alone, that is a sign you do need help. There are real reasons why your book hasn’t met your expectations. Do you really have the editorial experience, the design skills needed, or the contacts and expertise to market your book all by yourself? Maybe it’s time to invest in your project and employ experts. Hire an editor to improve the material. Hire an interior design or cover design specialist to make your book more saleable. Hire a publicist to help market your book. Assemble your team. One of our psychologist clients realized his limitations and hired Selby ink and a web specialist. As a result, he exceeded his sales expectations, had fun being interviewed, and was still able to treat his patients.

Even if you have reached your success goals, there is always the next hill to climb, the next milestone to reach. I believe that our role as human beings is to always learn new things. Want to be a bestseller on Amazon? Want to be interviewed on television? Do more of what works, and drop the frustrating ineffectual efforts. You too can inspire the rest of us to keep showing up. What worked for you this year? Share your tips here. We all want to know the way to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

© Mari Selby, December 2016


MARI SELBY founded Selby ink in 1998 after working for a small publisher where she was successful in improving their sales from 20,000 books to over 100,000 books in one year. Prior to being a publicist Mari was a family therapist in private practice for almost 20 years.