One of the unexpected byproducts of writing a novel is that I was forced to embrace the start-up mind-set. Having started a business over 20 years ago, I certainly remember the hard charging, never give up drive that helped me overcome those early setbacks and keep my head up in the game.

But it hasn’t been since I received that first pallet of novels and saw my office storage filled with boxes of books that I needed to move. 

So, what worked, what will I continue to do, and what would I change? There is really no secret formula, just good old fashioned getting out there and doing it.

First, there were those foundational things. I needed a website for people to find out more information and how to buy from me directly, which fortunately having a company that designs websites was a plus for me. I also developed an announcement video, and several more videos to follow, which also was made easier since I had a company that produces videos. For the launch of any project or new service, a website and announcement videos are essential.

Websites and videos go unseen unless they’re promoted. Social media becomes your best ally when it comes to getting the word out. Video length matters, and 15-seconds seems to be the optimal time limit. You can then place a fuller length video (:90 – 2:30) on your website and YouTube to provide more details. The goal is to move the customer along the conversion journey from researcher to buyer.

With your website and social media channels populated with pertinent content, it’s time to go out and sell. The reason for the aforementioned is that when people look you up after you contact them you want to appear credible and approachable. Then you can directly reach out to them with the most effective technique – the direct sale. 

After finding the right contacts, whether you research online or purchase lists, the next step is to email contacts with a personalized ask. Customize each of your messages and refrain from resorting to a generic form letter. Remember how many emails you get, so if at first you don’t receive, try, try again and send at least 2 more follow up emails. When it comes to finalizing a date for a meeting, a phone call can result in quicker appointments than several back and forth emails. 

If you write a novel, or have developed a truly novel product, the reality is that you have to get out and hustle if you ever want to be read or received. It’s back to the daily grind, the slogging through rejections and events with limited attendance. 

It’s one small step at a time, and the accumulation of small wins that leads to limited success. For many of us who have established businesses today, we may not have recalled the long road we had to travel. Sometimes it’s good to remember from where you came.

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