Those of us who attended the Self-Publishers Online Conference (SPOC) this month were rewarded with a slew of fantastic ideas for creating and marketing our books and businesses. It was a whirlwind of intense content-rich seminars.
In fact, one of the most common comments we received was "I'm still digesting everything I learned." After an intense learning experience like a conference, it's not unusual to have a let down when you realize you can't do everything. And then at some point, you have to figure out what you are going to do.
With so many options, people can't decide what to do, so they do nothing.
Of course, doing nothing is not going to do much for your career as a successful book author. Since we organized SPOC, we attended every session. Like the attendees, we were exposed to all those fantastic ideas too. Here's how we decide what to do when we're not sure what's next.
1. Look at the big picture. What is the ultimate purpose of your business? In our case, our business makes our lifestyle possible. The "big vision" is to continue living here. But to continue to live here in the middle of nowhere, we need money to survive. The local economy can't support us, so our business ventures are largely virtual. Because the idea of ever moving back to the "big city" gives us the shakes, everything we do has to align with our desire to live in our remote location. That limits our choices (in a good way). For example, we don't like travel, so it's no accident that SPOC is a virtual conference. And "multi-city book signing tours" aren't an option, but blog tours are.
2. Start with the end in mind. When you are making decisions, think about what they will mean a year or even five years down the road. Suppose you decide to promote your book by setting up a blog. Will you be sick of writing posts in 6 months? Does the idea of dealing with yet another Web site make you cringe? If so, look at other ideas.
3. Consider your strengths and weaknesses. Many book authors are good writers, but you shouldn't stop there. Maybe you are a fantastic speaker. In that case, a podcast or teleseminars might be good marketing vehicles. What's easy for you may be next to impossible for someone else. Use your natural skills to your advantage. Also consider outsourcing those things you detest. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should. (That's what virtual assistants are for.)
4. Do more of what's working and ditch what's not. Look at those things that are making money now and see if you can determine why they are working. Can you replicate that success with a different product or niche? On the other hand, if something is costing you more money or time than it's worth, ditch it. Just because "everyone else" is doing something doesn't mean it works for you.
5. Start small with something that inspires you. If you were particularly enthralled by the idea of doing a press release for your book, start there. The key is to do something. Each little thing builds up to big things. Running a business is a journey, not a destination.
Along those lines, many people have asked us how just two people managed to pull off a large event like SPOC. The key is to have a big vision and then plan it out. Start with the big picture, outline all the little steps you need to take to make it happen, and then work the plan.
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