I am officially on my fourth self-published book and I’ll admit, it’s a mixed bag for me. When I wrote my first book, I had no expectations. I had gotten my inspiration from a conversation with friends that lead to a blog post. After the post came out, it was suggested I write a book since I was so passionate about networking. So after a little research and some soul searching, I did it. In 2009, I wrote and released my first book. Fast forward to January 2012 and I’m in a totally different head space.
When I published Go Ahead, Talk to Strangers: The Modern Girl’s Guide to Fearless Networking, I had no expectations. I was basically writing to see if I could do it. I was always that kid in English class who always wrote “A” papers without breaking a sweat. I was that blogger who had a knack for saying just the right thing, even if it was something other people were afraid to say publicly. I inherited my story telling abilities from my Dad. I could spell, string together proper sentences, and I had an actual story to tell. So I did it. When I was researching the self-publishing process, I made sure I understood as much as I could so I didn’t get jerked around. I chose Lulu.com as my distribution channel and went for it. The book went on to be featured in Black Enterprise Magazine, and three years later, I still get some sales coming in. All with minimal marketing. Like I said, I had no expectations and didn’t really have a marketing plan in place. If I sold books, great. If I didn’t sell books, that would have been fine too. I just wanted to see if I could do it, and I did.
As I wrote and released my next few books, it became clear to me that I needed to do more than I had when I released the first book. Sure, I had a strong social media and industry following, and people really liked my work. But the stakes became higher for me when I finally said to myself “you’re a writer“. Until that point, even though I blogged and contributed to Forbes, Examiner and a few other sites, I never considered myself a real writer. Jackie Collins and Terry McMillan were writers, not Adrienne Graham. Adrienne is a businesswoman. But then it dawned on me that writing books was part of building my brand and a way to leverage my expertise. It didn’t matter that I didn’t have a degree in journalism or that a big publisher hadn’t come to scoop me up. I was a writer and I was on my own.
When I wrote the blog post Be An Author, Don’t Just Write Books last month, I had already come to the conclusion that writing and publishing was a full time gig. If I was going to continue self-publishing, I had to treat it like a separate business entity under the Empower Me/Adrienne Graham brand. So I’ve made it my mission to educate myself on the process and pass along what I learn to others.
Here are some basics that are vitally important for you to know as a self-published author.
The publishing playing field has indeed been leveled. But keep in mind, just because you can write a book doesn’t mean you should. It is your professional calling card. Don’t put out any half-hearted attempts because you’ll lose your audience immediately. Make sure you have a story to tell, even if your book is non-fiction. If it’s an interesting read, your readers may be a little forgiving for minor errors for your first book. But after that, you must raise the bar.
I’ll be teaching a series of classes that help you strengthen your brand in March. They include Building Your Brand with Smart Self Publishing and Taking Your Brand to the Next Level: Online Radio & TV. I’ll be sharing the strategies and resources that helped raise my brand and awareness through publishing and broadcasting.
Til Next Time,
Please, go buy my books!
Check out my new book Get Recruited: Secrets from a Top Recruiter on Using Unconventional Tactics to Get Noticed in an Inconvenient Economy in paperback or on Kindle! While you’re at it, order your paperback copy of No, You Can’t Pick My Brain. Or if you can’t wait, get it on Amazon Kindle.
Do you like this article and want to reprint or share? You can, as long as you include this in its entirety:
Adrienne Graham is the Founder & CEO of Empower Me! Corporation (www.empowerme.org). She is a strategist that helps people grow their career, business or network in any economy. She is the voice behind Views from the Top Radio Show, and the creative visionary behind Empower Me! Institute and Empower Me! Magazine. Her writing and shows focus on Career Management, Networking Strategies, Entrepreneurial Success and Small Business Management. You can also find her causing a ruckus on Forbes.com.
Adrienne Graham - Adrienne Graham is the Founder & CEO of Empower Me! Corporation (www.empowerme.org), a Growth Strategies consultancy with brand extensions in media, publishing and small business & entrepreneurial education. She is the host Views From the Top Radio Show and the publisher of Empower Me! Magazine. Her writing and shows focus on Career Management, Networking Strategies, Entrepreneurial Success and Small Business Management. And she is the founder of The Red Shoe Agency (www.theredshoeagency.com)- a consultancy that delivers talent acquisition & development strategies to attract, promote & retain more women in tech & engineering; and talent management services to women in technology & engineering.