I recently read Open, Andre Agassi’s autobiography. It’s a great read and I was also struck by how dependent he was on the people on his team. I think that’s true about most successful people–they don’t do it alone. They have great coaches, managers, trainers, strategists, advisers, mentors…
Who are the people on a writer’s team? Here are some:
Your Fans: If you blog, or have any kind of Internet presence, the people who are part of your social networking and blogging community are part of your team, as are those people who attend your talks or are your private clients. They’re your future readers and they know what they are looking for and wanting. Listen to them. See what blog posts get the most comments. What grabs them? What questions are they asking you?
Your Mentors: Certainly talk with your mentors about your goals and your book, especially if they are published authors. They can help you clarify your book concept and what makes your book unique. Maybe they’ll write a blurb, too.
Specialists: Book coaches, editors, writing coaches…there are lots of people out there who can help you hone your writing and your message, and also help you with accountability and other blocks or challenges that may come up. They know the industry and can help you write a book that sells. A slight change in your book hook or audience could make a big difference in the marketability of your book.
Literary Agents: If you’re fortunate enough to have a literary agent, certainly run your book ideas past them. They can help you fine tune your ideas, pick amongst different book ideas and even identify new books to write.
Publicists: Many people wait until they have a book to sell before hiring a publicist. After all, why waste money on publicity if you don’t have anything to sell? The problem with this strategy is that when your book comes out, you really don’t want to start at ground zero in marketing your book. You want to have a platform–fans who are already waiting for the book release so they can get your book and learn from you.
If you wait to develop your platform, your book will be much less attractive to agents and publishers. You may not want a full-on publicity campaign, but consider a modest Internet-based campaign to build your platform. You’ll need to have some way to develop a relationship with people who find out about you–so that they join your mailing list or fan page and you have a way to reach them when your book comes out. You can also monetize the publicity you get, so that it at least pays for itself. Perhaps offer a teleseminar series on the subject and use any feedback to perfect your book! Which brings us to another set of team members:
Clients and Students: Get feedback from clients and students to perfect any systems or programs you provide in your book. And see if any are willing to review drafts of any chapters and give you feedback on the book itself. Because they are in your market, they are the very best readers you can get. They can get into the minds of your readers because they are your readers.
Business Coach: I’ve had a business coach for many years now. I’ve worked with several different people and each one taught me different things. You may want to consider working with someone who is also a published author or works with authors. They’ll help you integrate your business plan/model and your book promotion efforts effectively.
Virtual Assistants: How did I wait so long to put this person on the list? I hired my Virtual Assistant, Geri, in November and I don’t know how I ran my business without her. A virtual assistant can take care of lots of details while you’re writing your book (scheduling interviews of subjects, researching information for the book proposal) and take over other tasks to give you time to write. Also, they can help you with book publicity and platform building.
Friends: Your friends will want to support you any way they can, right? Reading and feedback (just remember, they may not be your market), cooking you a meal while you slave away at your book, taking the kids to the movies so you can write, sharing connections…let them help you! And they’ll probably want to throw a book party when the book comes out and tell all their friends on facebook about your book.
So, who’s on your team? (and whose teams are you on?)…What positions are missing from your team and need filling? You don’t have to assemble your team all at once but what one step can you take today?