So you think your writing’s tough do you? You think you have what it takes to be a best seller and be the biggest fish around?
Wait… you do?
Oh, well that’s great, come on in and join me for Part-5 of the How To Build An Author House Series. I hope everyone had a great festive period, as I for one am back in the game and ready to blog and tweet until my hearts content.
In the previous post we completed the Brand Identity, and today we shall look at giving the entire strategy some direction by considering the Aims & Objectives. This is an essential part of your author platform, whereas previously we’ve considered the ideals and what we as individuals are all about, this is where we create some actual plans that can be measured and adhered to. If you’re author marketing is going to have some spice to it then you need to know exactly what you’re reaching for.
This section is once again quite large so is split into two sections. This one will look at our internal and external analysis, whereas the next part will look at the actual Aims & Objectives themselves. Before jumping right in though, let me explain the terms often confused in this area of the strategy. These are:
Aims = What you hope to achieve
Objectives = The plan in how you’re going to achieve it
Tactics = The elements you’ll use to make this happen
The tactics used will play a very important role further down the line, but for now let’s focus on the Aims & Objectives. To do this we need to complete our internal analysis and consider the external world too. You may be thinking the previous section covered everything there is to do with us, but the previous elements looked our ideals and values. This part of the internal analysis considers your actual strengths and weaknesses, and how these can be utilised and improved. Therefore I’ll be using a tried and tested method that’s always served me well: A SWOT analysis:
- Creative writing
- Eagerness and determination
- Quick to learn
- Knowledge on publishing industry
- Know experience in author marketing
- Writing technique
- Taking criticism
- Lack of contacts in writing world
- No author platform
- Social Media
- This Blog
- Opportunity to build a big author platform
- Writing conferences/seminars
- Writing groups
- Book clubs
- Social activity (girlfriends, friends etc)
- Full time job
- Losing my sanity
The key here is to be honest about yourself, which is much harder than many think. As such you may want to go to someone close to you and ask them for some opinions about what you’re good at and not so great at. If you do ask somebody though approach with caution. Try to look at things impartially, and if you find yourself agreeing then great, if not, it maybe best to disregard (very similar to a Beta reader commenting about your book).
I can’t really comment what your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats will uncover, as I don’t know you so they could be anything. The whole point of this exercise is to better understand YOU, and in doing so it will help us leverage your aims and objectives, and also help further down the line when choosing tactics and all the really fun stuff of author marketing. We’re looking to build on strengths and improve on weaknesses, so everything noted here could become vitally important further down the line.
With regards to analysing the external world I considered models such as PEST and Porters 5 Forces, but to be honest I feel it’s not specific enough for what we want to achieve. This is the part where we need to look at our market and determine where we fit in it, which quite frankly takes a good amount of research. This will again change from person to person, but there are certain things that will be relevant for most of us. Therefore I’ve created a list of headings, your aim of which is to fill in the blanks and create a list that will help you clarify your Aims & Objectives more clearly.
Genre (for me Contemporary Fiction/Mainstream/Commercial)
- Huge market
- Varied demographic
- Big competition (largest section on Amazon with nearly half a million)
- Creative licence (doesn’t pigeon hole me for future books)
- Worldwide appeal
- Popular genre still for agents and publishers
- Growth of Social Media
- Growth of E-Books
- Cheap/Free advertising tools to build an author platform
- Interactive communications
- Mobile marketing/smart phones
- Growth of e-readers, tablets and smart phones
- Great deal of chaos/noise
- Great deal of choice, not just books, but formats too
- Cheaper price means less valuable (poor perception for books)
- E-Books is on the up
- Traditional print is on the way down
- Intense competition for publication
- Easier to self publish
- Tough climate to get an agent
- Easy to publish but still just as hard to create quality
- Increasing number of online distributers
- In the UK
- Stuttering economy
- Potential Double Dip recession
- People/families looking for cheap entertainment alternatives
- Price is a huge indicator
A great deal of this will again depend on your genre, the country you live in, and whether you’re looking to self publish or not. However there are certain things that are constant for most of us, mainly the uprising of social media, e-books, and just the general dominance of the Internet.
Through these two lists alone I can now create certain links and come up with certain points that I feel are important for me, not only for my Aims & Objectives, but further down the line when I begin to consider the tactics too. These 5 key observations are:
- My strength in marketing and communications will help me utilise the cheap/free advertising opportunities available to build a strong author platform
- My creative writing and communications skills will allow me to interact with a potentially very large audience
- With such large competition I need to improve upon my writing technique and improve my knowledge of the publishing industry
- Self-publishing is a viable option in the current climate, paired with the technological advances available.
- The current economy could be prime for cheap e-books as people look for cheaper entertainment options
Chances are these are things you already knew, just like you probably knew about your strengths, weaknesses, and general state of your genre. However, have you ever written them down before, and have you ever organised them in such a way?
I could have probably gone into this process in much more detail, but I’ve always believed in overkill. In doing this exercise though I feel I’ve come up with some key observations that will let me create some specific Aims & Objectives (as well as the work done earlier on my Brand Identity) that will not only help me place my author marketing activities better, but help improve my writing and knowledge of the writing community as a whole. I strongly urge you to do the same, so carefully consider:
- Your own internal self
- The market you wish to get in to
- How these things link together.
The more you know about your market, your customers, and your rivals the better, and if you don’t know enough yet, then get ready to learn because to stand a chance of making it big you’ll need to.
In the next part we will look at the actual Aims & Objectives, so keep an eye out soon for the next part of How To Build An Author House Series.
Turndog Millionaire – @turndog_million