Your NetworkDynamics of a Successful Book Lesson 4
Selling just 500 copies of your book would put you ahead of the vast majority of authors today. And selling 500 books just isn’t that hard if you understand your network. If you’re already in ministry or business, or if you speak or teach regularly you probably have people ready and willing to purchase your first 500 books.
Steve Spillman, Founder, True Potential
“My advice is to go narrow and go long. That involves deep relationships with a small amount of people and playing the long game.”
What is a network?
It’s your audience, everywhere they hang out (aggregate), the platforms you use and they use to share ideas, and the people they listen to (influencers).
Your audience vs your network
The most important thing to understand is that “audience” isn’t a vague conceptual term. Audience is people. Individuals, each with their own perceptions, needs, understanding, and reasons for listening. Your audience is Bob, Angie, Mary, Frank, and Elaine. They may aggregate at certain places in the real and digital worlds, but they are not “an aggregate.” They are real people, individuals; that’s how they want to be heard and treated.
The second most important thing to understand is that your audience isn’t “everyone”. “Everyone” is not going to want to hear your story, resonate with your message or buy your book. Your book, the message it carries, is for “someone”. We hope for many “someones”. Forget about “everyone”. Focus on “someone”. Your job is to identify who those someones are, where they hang out, who they listen to, and become a part of their conversation.
Your audience, your “someones,” those individuals who make up your audience, hang out, congregate, aggregate at certain places in the real world and in the digital world. This is where they listen to, discuss, share ideas. This is where you need to join the conversation. This is your network.
Your Live Network
Family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and colleagues – Don’t laugh and don’t be embarrassed. Wall Street Journal® and New York Times® bestselling author Tim Ferriss began his book-buying fan base with family and friends.
Groups, organizations, clubs, and churches – Do you belong to a club or civic organization? The Rotary? The Chamber of Commerce. The PTA? Do you speak to any of these groups? Would you if you were invited to speak? Many of our authors sell most of their books after speaking engagements. It’s natural for the group you speak to or teach to want to know more about you, your ministry or business, and your message.
How about your church? How many people attend church with you each week? How many of them know that you’re an author, run a para-church ministry or own a business?
How about your pastor? One of our authors told her pastor about her new book. The next Sunday her pastor asked her to share her story with the congregation and offered her book for sale in the church bookstore. There were over a thousand people attending that morning and the service was televised!
You may be the pastor – that’s even better! The people in your congregation come to get fed each week, just think of how much more of your message your book can share that would never fit in a 20-minute sermon.
To the right is a list of places the people in your audience most likely hang out (aggregate) to learn and share ideas, thoughts, opinions, and beliefs in the “live” world. I don’t suggest that you try to cultivate all of these places, but choose the places that fit you and the people in your audience best.
- Community Organizations
- Professional Organizations
- Family and Friends
Your Digital Network
If you’re already in ministry or business, you most likely have a website, Social Media accounts and possibly a mailing list. If not, you’d better consider it. The digital world is how we reach others beyond the boundaries of our own walls, neighborhoods, and cities. Face it, the majority of your potential audience is most likely outside of your own hometown. Now, for the first time in history, we can touch people’s lives with our message regardless of geography. Our authors’ books sell all over the world, because their websites, Social Media and email can reach all over the world.
Your Website, Blog and Mailing List.
Your loyal website and blog readers and mailing list subscribers know you the best, and are your first and most powerful book-buying audience. They already know you and are interested in what you’ve got to say! Those are the people in your core audience.
How many Facebook, Twitter and other Social Media followers do you have? The average Facebook user has 350 “friends” or followers. If you’re an average user and your friends or followers are average users, through Social sharing you have potential direct or indirect access to around 122,500 people with at least two things in common – a mutual friend and Facebook.
The principle of Social sharing is the same for other Social networks. For example, the average number of Twitter followers per user is 208. 208 (your followers) x 208 (their followers) = 43,264. There’s also YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, SnapChat and a host of other Social Media platforms that work on the same principle.
To the left is a list of platforms the people in your audience most likely hang out (aggregate) to learn and share ideas, thoughts, opinions, and beliefs in the digital world. As I stated earlier, don’t try to cultivate all of these platforms, but choose the platforms that fit you and the people in your audience best.
IMPORTANT! You don’t own your Social Media platforms. You don’t make the rules and the platforms can change the rules any time they want. The goal of your Social Media effort is to cultivate relationships, share ideas and then drive your new potential audience members to the community you own – your website, blog or mailing list.
It’s time to get serious about your audience and your network. This week’s homework is to make three lists:
- The places in the “live” world where the people in your audience gather (aggregate) and where you interact with them.
- The platforms in the digital world where the people in your audience gather (aggregate) and where you interact with them.
- The people in your audience most likely to be your core audience (the first people to buy your book). This is a list of names, real people.
Remember: you don’t have to cultivate every potential place or platform in the “live” or digital world, just those that are most productive and comfortable for you and, most importantly, your audience.
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