Entrepreneurs who are likely to struggle to succeed focus on themselves and on their ideas. Writers who are likely to find selling their novels and their book concepts difficult do the same.
If you want more commercial success from your business as a writer, think about the journey your book will eventually make from yourself to the retail purchaser.
Then think about all different pairs of hands through which your book passes on its way to that purchaser. In other words, think about the supply chain.
What would you want to say to each person in the supply chain to encourage him or her to pay special attention to your work and to promote your work more forcefully than other titles that are around at the moment?
If you want to draw breath and talk about the great story you have written, or to describe the magnificent world you have created, or to talk about the intensity of the romance in your great work, stop and exhale.
You’re talking about features here. Just like the entrepreneur with the great idea you’re looking in the wrong direction.
Why will people buy your book?
Think about your knowledge of the market.
Think about the potential purchasers. What do they buy? What do they like? Who are they?
What is the publisher interested in? What do the distributors favour? What appeals to bookshops – big and small – and to the on-line stores?
What would you say to any of these people about their prospects of making money by taking a chance on you?
If you’re stuck, start researching the market in which you are hoping to make a living.
You can’t afford to write novel after novel or send book proposal after book proposal out just because you think it’s good. Do this and you’re likely to find that the key people within the publishing industry don’t agree with you. You could waste years working in this way.
Yet people do just this. That’s why you hear of published writers having several unpublished works hidden on their computers. There are lots of unpublished writers with unpublished works hidden on their computers, too.
Remember you’re looking to be in business.
Remember you’re asking business people to risk money on supporting your aspirations.
Map out the supply chain and think about talking to each person in that chain as a business person. It will be worth the effort, even if you never have the chance to have the conversation with every one. Someone will.