Top 10 lessons authors can take from watching the Super Bowl
This post originally ran on my other blog on Friday, February 4, 2011.
Yup, it’s that time of year again — the pinnacle of American sports fandom. I heard the other day that we will spend $1.84 MILLION on potato chips for this year’s Super Bowl parties. Interestingly, many literary types tend not to be sports types. Nevertheless, there are a number of things Savvy Book Marketers can learn from watching the top two NFL teams in action. Here are my Top 10:
- It takes guts and conditioning to make it to the top. No elite athlete makes it to the top of their game by accident. They train, practice, and commit themselves to success. How committed are YOU to seeing your book succeed?
- The best team doesn’t always win. Sometimes, a lesser team has a good game, and the team you think should win doesn’t win. This is true of books, too. Ever wonder why a bad writer becomes popular? (A) They’re in the right place at the right time. (B) It’s who they know. (C) A little luck goes a long way. (D) All of the above. Leverage everything you can to position yourself to your own best advantage.
- Good coaching matters. Almost without exception, winning teams have good coaches. As an author, you can do the same. Surround yourself with a writing coach, editor, designer, and others who will help you elevate your work to become as good as it can be.
- Getting on the field and making it to the endzone … two entirely different things. An author understandably heaves a giant sigh of relief on finishing their manuscript, especially if they’ve been working on it for years. However, finishing the writing is just the FIRST step in publishing your book. You will only make it to the end zone of strong sales with a well-crafted plan for editing, design, and — most importantly — marketing!
- Sometimes you have to take a risk. On the field, a risk could be a Hail Mary pass or running instead of punting on the one-yard line. As an author, it could mean taking a controversial stand, approaching someone famous for a blurb, or making a substantial investment in a marketing campaign. Be strategic, but remember that sometimes the biggest risk is rewarded with the biggest payoff.
- When you fall down, get up quickly. Things don’t always go according to plan. Sometimes you hire an unskilled editor, your designer quits before they’ve finished your cover, your blog languishes, or the book itself flops in spite of your best efforts. You have two choices. Are you going to stew, look for someone to blame, and fall into a depression, or are you going to get up and write your next book ASAP?
- Rabid fans help enormously. Whether you’re a G-Man or proficient at Gronking, you’re ready to root on your favorite team. A successful author can appreciate the fact that the fans’ energy has an immensely positive effect on the players. If your book is almost done but you don’t have a screaming fan base yet, it’s time to start building it!
- Get creative with your advertising. So many people watch the Big Game for the ads that betting parlors have begun taking odds so we can call our favorites. As an author, pay special attention to the Super Bowl ads this year. What about them is captivating? What makes them work? And where might you mimic their success, if even in a small way?
- Throw a big party! When you’re ready to launch your book, don’t let it slip quietly into the world — THROW A BIG PARTY and invite everyone you know! Create professionally printed invitations. Send media releases. Print flyers and postcards. Enlist your social media friends and fans to help you get the word out. Hold the event at a venue that will provide (or allow you to cater) food and spread out to sign lots of books.
- The whole world is watching you. OK, maybe not the whole world. But significant parts of your world. With a book launch, you’re going public. So be ready to meet the public by speaking fluidly and intelligently about your book, having a good team out there promoting it for you, and being as prepared as possible to make as big a splash as you can.
Happy Super Bowl Sunday!
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