What It Takes

What It Takes

What Have You Done For Yourself Lately?

By Callie Oettinger | Published: March 2, 2012

Dear Author,

What have you done for yourself lately?

You’ve written a book?

Not enough.

You’ve had it accepted and printed by a publisher?

Not enough.

You met with your publisher and came up with a marketing plan.

Not enough.

What have you done to ensure your book reaches all the people you know will love it?

What have you done for yourself lately?

You want radio. You want TV. You want print. You want to go viral.

Yeah, I know . . . You were counting on your publisher to make some magic.

Here’s the deal: Some publishers rock n’ roll, while others are rock bottom.

And even if you’re with a rock n’ roll star of a publisher, your “baby”—your book—is just one of hundreds of books your publisher is raising. You gave your publisher custody, but there’s still some major co-parenting to be done.

Learn about publishing so that you understand what your publisher and the publicity department are talking about.

Be upfront with your publisher. Ask: What are you going to do? And if you aren’t happy, don’t waste time complaining. Bury the complaints and sort out what you can do on your own. And if you need help, sort that out, too.

What have you done for yourself lately?

I know you don’t want to blog. You don’t have time for that. You are writing other books and articles and a million other things.

Do you have a site? Or a blog where you could include info. about all the awesomeness you are creating every month? Can you repurpose any of it, to develop a series on your site?

If you do change your mind and decide to blog, will you consider a theme, something that you can repurpose for later—perhaps as a book?

What have you done for yourself lately?

I’ve checked out your  Facebook profile. Why do you have one for friends and one for your book? Every time you have a new book, you’ll have to start another following. Do you really want to do that over and over? Instead of building a book presence, build a YOU presence. Readers want to get to know writers, not a book. Yes, they’ll read the book, and get to know it that way, but their questions will be for you. Their interest will be in how you wrote it, why you wrote it, and so on. Find them. Don’t wait for them to find you.

What have you done for yourself lately?

You’ve heard the power of online outreach, but your ego is still stuck on the traditional.

You still dream of Oprah, knowing if she’d just had you on her show . . . That would have been it. Your book about the gentle caring side of the T-Rex, and the inaccurate pop-cultural portrayal of it as a killer, would have been a best seller.

Stop the insanity. Time to wake up.

What have you done for yourself lately?

Please look in the mirror.

If you aren’t happy with the outreach for your book, blame the person looking back at you (unless it is your mother, or kid, or significant other, standing in front of the mirror with you , in which case you should make sure you are looking at yourself—and blaming yourself).

What have you done for yourself lately?

Unless your name is Janet Jackson, stop singing others the line “What have you done for me lately?”

Do something for yourself.

Posted in What It Takes

14 Responses to “What Have You Done For Yourself Lately?”

  1. Basilis
    March 2, 2012 at 3:22 am

    And let’s hope that Realization indeed comes next
    to end this Insanity.

  2. March 2, 2012 at 4:17 am

    Ouch! But you’re right.

  3. skip
    March 2, 2012 at 4:31 am

    sounds like work. i write for the pleasure of writing.

  4. March 2, 2012 at 6:55 am

    Holy god. I need to bookmark this page, or print it out and tape it to my bathroom mirror.

  5. March 2, 2012 at 8:07 am

    In advertising, we call it branding. When you are an author, you are the brand. Your books are your products. If you wish to market yourself professionally you need to market both the brand and the products, that is to say you market yourself, and your books.

  6. March 2, 2012 at 10:43 am

    So true! Thanks for the pep talk, Steve!

  7. March 2, 2012 at 11:40 am

    Just last week I heard Tony Robbins ask “Does the story you tell about yourself empower you or hold you back?” I wondered what story I was telling myself about my writing and knew it was “I’m not ready to promote my book in a big way.” And then I told myself, “Well, I better get ready! Because the book launches in August.”

    I post to my blog (with the same topic as my book) twice a week. I’m putting together lists of writing conferences I want to present at (writers are my audience) and will contact them with a copy of the book soon. I know I need to come up with lists of radio shows I’d like to appear on. And more. But that’s what I can focus on now. I’m taking baby steps knowing I’m going to start jogging, then running in the next two months.

  8. March 2, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    Great kick in the ass, Callie.

  9. March 2, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    What have I done for myself lately? Why, I read this blog!

  10. March 2, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    Oh Callie, I love this! I’m sort of have the opposite problem, tho. I love my blog – but I haven’t even started my book. :/

    I’ve been feeling that pull. My conscience is tapping on my shoulder, “Write the bleeping book already!”

    No more excuses. Tomorrow I’ll the answer the question, what have I done for myself lately?

    “I started writing my book.”

    By the end of the year, G-d willing, the answer the question will be:

    I’ve finished my book. I’ve built a loyal tribe on my blog. I’ve found a rock ‘n’ roll publisher. And it is so ON.

    I’m going to copy and paste this comment onto a doc in my computer and look at it daily (just before I write!). You’ve inspired me to get serious and there’s no time like the present.

  11. March 3, 2012 at 1:11 am

    Here are three quotations that support the drift of your blog post:

    “The best time to start promoting your book is three years before it comes out. Three years to build a reputation, build a permission asset, build a blog, build a following, build credibility and build the connections you’ll need later.”
    — Seth Godin

    “There are three difficulties in authorship: to write anything worth publishing, to find honest men to publish it, and to get sensible men to read it.”
    — C. C. Colton

    “To write books is easy. It requires only pen and ink and the ever-patient paper.
    To print books is a little more difficult, because genius so often rejoices in illegible handwriting.
    To read books is more difficult still, because of the tendency to go to sleep.
    But the most difficult task of all that a mortal man can embark on is to sell a book.”
    — Sir Stanley Unwain

    I have always kept these in mind, which has helped me sell over 700,000 copies of my books worldwide.

    Ernie J. Zelinski
    International Best-Selling Author, Innovator, and Prosperity Life Coach
    Author of How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free
    (Over 150,000 copies sold and published in 9 languages)
    and The Joy of Not Working
    (Over 250,000 copies sold and published in 17 languages)

  12. March 4, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    What have I done for myself lately is the best question I’ve been asked lately! I have finished a short story and made 23 submissions so far. I am in a novel writing course with Darnell Arnoult. I took a workshop with Ian Huckabee about social media and am working on building a writer’s platform. I am blogging again and reading favorite blogs like this one after almost a year. FYI I have shared from The War of Art numerous times and keep it close by. Life is good!

  13. March 7, 2012 at 11:55 am

    Brilliant, necessary, tough love.


  14. March 11, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Great advice….first thing I need to do is consolidate my book Facebook with my personal Facebook page. Thanks for this!
    May I add just one more word of advice: If you don’t think you want to blog, try your hand at it anyway. I found it infinitely more enjoyable that I would have ever thought it was! And people are reading it.

    Wini Moranville
    Author of the Bonne Femme Cookbook