Archive for October 8th, 2012

Five ways authors should be like Christopher Columbus

Today is Columbus Day, a U.S. national holiday since 1937 that commemorates Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the New World on October 12, 1492. New authors can take many lessons from the famed explorer. Here are five of the most important.

1.  BE WILLING TO TAKE A RISK. Columbus is best-known for discovering the Americas, a continent previously unknown to Europeans. It wasn’t his goal, but it never would have happened if he hadn’t taken the risk to make his voyages in the first place. Like Columbus, be willing to jump into your book marketing with both feet! If you’re tepid, your results will reflect your hesitation.

2.  GET GREAT SPONSORS. The Italian-born explorer couldn’t have taken three ships out on his whirlwind voyage on his own dime. He had the backing of the Spanish monarchs, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. What individual, business, or organization with deeper pockets and/or a longer reach than you would have on your own might be willing to help you get your book get out into the world?

3.  HAVE A PLAN. Columbus originally intended to chart a westward sea route to China, India, and the imagined gold and spice island of Asia. Where do you want to go with your book? Whom do you want to read it? How many copies do you want to sell? Where and how do you want to promote it? You must know the answers to these questions before you begin your book marketing – the only way to do that is with a detailed plan.

4.  ALLOW FOR COURSE CORRECTIONS.  Instead of reaching Asia, Columbus landed in the Bahamas. Later he tried again and came across Hispaniola. So let’s say your marketing plan doesn’t go exactly according to plan. How can you make the best of the results you do achieve, and remain open to the possibility of heading in a different direction?

5.  KEEP AT IT!  Christopher Columbus didn’t quit after his first “unsuccessful” journey. Between 1492 and 1503, Columbus completed FOUR round-trip voyages between Spain and the Americas. And we’re not talking a speedboat or a yacht, here. This was no easy journey to do once, let alone four times. Be diligent about your marketing pursuits and keep at it. It’s easy to get discouraged when you work at it and work at it and still see few results. However, far too many people throw in the towel just before they reach the tipping point when they would have started to gain traction. This is true of blogging, social media, and many other aspects of your marketing strategy. I advice my clients not to even begin looking for results for the first six months, and to keep at it even if it “doesn’t seem to be working.”

So how will you take a page out of Columbus’ book and apply it to YOUR book marketing campaign?



We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.


Visit our website to view/download our Timeline of a Book, where you’ll note that marketing your book should start as soon as you begin writing it. If you’d like help setting up YOUR book marketing strategy, call us today for your complimentary 30-minute consultation! 602.518.5376

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