Expert: Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Aha! It is resolution time!
I’d love to give authors advice on setting goals for the New Year. Here’s the thing: I’ve done that and—in the doing of it—realize that no one author can help another set goals because each author and each title is so different.
I guess I sort of gave authors a whole book of possible resolutions to make in 2011 when I finished the second edition of The Frugal Book Promoter (http://budurl.com/FrugalBkPromo). I even got general and told authors to pick and choose their goals from the book. That they wouldn’t be able to do everything that is in it and shouldn’t. I mean the whole idea behind writing it was to keep other authors from falling in the same potholes I did. I advised them to choose promotions based on their personalities, the titles of their books (different books call for different kinds of marketing campaigns!), and the health of their pocketbooks.
Still, I’m tackling this post because I do think there is one thing that almost every author could and should put on his or her resolution list. Are you ready?
I often get e-mails from authors saying that their fellow authors don’t buy their books. And I do understand how that can happen. The longer we’ve been writing, the more author-friends we have and, at some point it’s impossible to support them all. Having said that, we as authors shouldn’t expect fellow authors to buy books that don’t interest them. Books they don’t have time for. Or books that aren’t published the way they want to read them (paperback or e-books, anyone?) That’s why we promote rather than just depending on friends and relatives—which, after all, isn’t the biggest pool of buyers in the world.
Still, we authors should buy some books each year and I think we should set aside a budget for that. It’s about Zen. It’s about supporting the industry that we expect to support us. I even tell authors that they shouldn’t limit themselves to buying only my book on, say, editing or book proposals or wordtrippers or the marketing of books. Even authors who have read extensively on a particular subject may very well get new ideas from a book on a similar subject or be inspired by it.
But there are other ways to support our industry besides buying books we want to read. Authors on strict budgets should find books make relatively inexpensive gifts for holiday giving, for hostess and thank you gifts, for birthdays, and even to give to business associates on appropriate occasions.
But we all know that we tend to get lax with our resolutions. So, to make your “Buy Books” resolution work all year, go to your gift-giving list for 2012 and see how many people on that list could get the gift of reading in 2012 instead of something that will be promptly tossed in the Goodwill bin or re-gifted. Staple your gift list to your resolution list. And then make another resolution to read your resolutions and that attached list of gift-giving idea list at least once a month.
Heck, you could even give your own book to folks on that list. You are proud of it, aren’t you?
If every author gave books as gifts, I could see a bright, shiny year ahead. A year where agents take on more clients because more publishers are selling more books. And when that happens, just think! Books will be the gifts that keep giving. Books will be the gifts that give back as well.
Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the author of the multi award-winning series of HowToDoItFrugally books, a series for writers and a series for retailers. Learn more about them at http://HowToDoItFrugally.com. And yes, she does give books for gifts. She often gives her how-to books to clients. She gives her poetry chapbooks on most any occasion, from Christmas to Valentine’s to Mother’s Day. And, she does buy others’ books for her own shelves or Kindle reader but only when she actually yearns to read them or needs to read them.