Going it Mostly Alone: the Publishing Path of
A Perfect Blindness
I’d been working hard following all this advice from people who seemed to know, or certainly gave the impression that they should know. Yet when I looked at what I’d done to get people to know the book exists, to entice them, to encourage them to buy, or at least find something out about it, I saw it amounted to, effectively, nothing. Things were sort of in place to give information about the book, along with a couple of items might engage people, but there was no reason for anyone to come to the website to see what I’d built. It was a sandbox for me to play in and build fantasy castles of 5-star reviews and royalty checks that filled my bank account.
I’d been working up a drenching sweat trying to get across town, while sitting atop a stationary bike, peddling like hell.
I saw the three pads of paper with pages of ideas and things to do, color-coded red to do now, orange to do next, black to move to orange as I could, with to-do reminders on my Apple, chasing me down on all my devices, poking me in the eyes every time I looked, and yet another group of items to do in Evernote where reams of advice, check lists and ideas sat fallow.
Part of the Evernote list included putting a chapter by chapter reminder to revisit the book Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World by Michael Hyatt. It speaks of how marketing is different from selling, that it’s about offering excellent content to draw people to you, to let them give you permission to sell to them, directly—because they want you too. How the usual uses of Social Media that are pitched by so many people pundits, talking heads, and advice givers are misguided because they don’t understand what it’s good for.
Well, damn it. I was going to get it.
I knew I had to get my stuff straight. For a first act, I began to collect and organize all these ideas into some vague, but cogent, actionable plan, loosely based on the SMART system just about everyone’s heart about, making things Specific, Manageable, Attainable, Realistic and Tied to time.
So, after deciding Evernote was the most flexible platform, I began there, culling the list of actions to take on Evernote. While grouping the ideas into stages, deleting the repeated items and useless junk, I’d stumbled on a link, I believe on Face Book, but it could have been on a website I was browsing. Regardless of how I found the offer, I exchanged my email for a checklist of items to remember for a book launch: it could provide a skeleton of a plan, something to hang all these things on.
As I read that checklist, I realized that this was for the methods Tim Grahl talks about in his Your first 1000 Copies, which I’d read already. What was being offered here though was a practical application of the ideas, including videos, swipe-able text and real world example, broken down in detail. The most important take away from the free part was that one needs a plan. One does not simply grab a tool and start working with whatever one grabbed. Imagine one has to build a house, grabbing a screwdriver to start screwing in screws wherever they happen to be found, into whatever boards wherever they are. This is not likely to lead one to anything resembling a functioning house. Even as a child I knew that if I was to build a tree house, I had to nail steps up onto the tree, and then lay a floor. Half built walls, and a door frame lying on the ground does not a tree house make.
Which was what I had been doing: grabbing whatever tool I’d most recently read about and screwing, hammering, sawing away without any idea of what I was trying to build. I had piles of partially finished bits of something I imagined would be a working system to promote my book.
Grahl points out that most of this isn’t going to work until you know how it’s supposed to work and work together with all the other parts. In other words, a plan.
Or blueprint in Grahl’s analogy to go along with his tools in a toolbox.
And that one person can’t do it all. Not all at once. Simply not possible.
Hell, I can’t even do most of it in a few of weeks.
Thus, I needed to take a step back and think, just as I had when I got the distressing comments back from the developmental editor saying that I should toss two-thirds of my book as written.
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