I just launched my first e-book this week – The Late Bird, chock full of 54 of my poems (and featuring a fab Bonnie Adamson cover!). While of course I’d love you to go buy it, tell everyone about it, review it, and generally make me feel warm and fuzzy about it, here at the Happy Accident what I’m really excited about is talking process.
While this will not all be social media related, I noticed that the process I went through in thinking about and then launching the Late Bird is the same one I go through (or have clients go through) when thinking about blogging, Tweeting, starting a Facebook page or pretty much any project. So, I hope even the non-social media parts will be useful. And later, talking promotion, it’ll be lots and lots of social talk. So…
To begin the adventures, I ask you to contemplate one question – “Why????”
To E or Not to E?
Whenever I start something new, I always ask myself why I’m doing it. To me, this means a bunch of things including a few biggies: what are my goals; what are the upsides of this project/approach; are there big, obvious downsides. In this case, once I thought through all that, as I think you’ll see, the decision of whether to E or not became much easier.
When I thought about launching an e-book, here were a few of the reasons I had for what I hoped to get from the project. These really answer the “why this project? question. In this case, I wanted to…
- Explore the process of making an e-book
- Grow my readership/have something for current readers to read
- Experiment with promotional ideas
- See what social media works/doesn’t work/could work
- Have fun
When I looked at that list, I noticed two things that weren’t on it that I think merit discussion.
1) I was never thinking about this book as a vehicle for making money. Don’t get me wrong – I’m selling it and would be thrilled to make money on it. Also, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with launching a book with the goal of making money. My point here is that my goals influence the approach I’m taking with the project, as well as my own comfort level with it.
2) I wasn’t thinking about an e-book in order to have a book in print. I’m lucky enough to have a novel coming out from Arthur A. Levine Books at Scholastic called The 14 Fabulous Fibs of Gregory K., so I feel no pressure to have a book out. In fact, that book remains my main focus and influenced my thinking on the e-book: I’m not trying to make a huge splash; I’m trying to learn.
These tie closely to my goals. In this case I thought that I’d…
- Be likely to learn
- Get good practice
- Have fun
- Gain omething new to talk about online and off
- Reach more readers (potentially)
- Get to do something to do with all my poems
- Make Mom happy!
- Have a tangible product/creation/thing
I wrote things down as they came to me thinking “possible” not “probable” –
- A time suck
- Lack of knowledge (and the process itself) causing frustration
- The risk of public failure
- Somehow hurting my upcoming novel’s launch
The risk of failure was easily dismissed since, in my head, my sales goal was “more than one” and I was confident in the material itself. It wouldn’t have deterred me anyway I don’t think, but was really no factor. Similarly, the lack of knowledge was one of the reasons I wanted to do this project, so the frustrations that came with it would be part of what I expected.
The issue of time commitment was and is very real, although simply being aware of the potential has, in this case, kept it from being a problem. I also had no set deadlines, so, to a large extent, I could let things slide if I truly had no time. I also believe all the knowledge and experience I gain will, in effect, “pay for itself” in many ways.
The possibility of somehow impacting my novel’s launch broke down into a two parts. I don’t view this e-book of poetry as competition to the novel – in fact, I view it as a step in building towards its launch – so, for me, at least, that meant I wouldn’t be treating it in a way that would likely create problems.
I also made sure to let my editor know what I was doing and thinking before siccing the book on the world. If there was a major concern (or a huge pre-emptive buy of the poems!), I could stop the process before any damage had been done.
The Decision to E
Looking at my goals and the upsides vs. downsides, the decision became quite easy for me. In the end, the only reason the project wouldn’t happen, I knew, was because I simply wouldn’t do it. As you can see, that didn’t happen!
This process truly is what I go through when thinking about launching an event in social media or joining a new network or anything like that. Knowing why I’m doing something keeps me on track – I’m focused on learning, not sales, so I don’t have to push the promotional pedal to the metal, for example – no matter what I’m working on.
Again, I hope this post proves useful even though it’s not 100% social media related… and I’m always interested in hearing about your processes, too.