If you want to sell a million copies of your novel, all you have to do is rewire culture. Easy, right? Here’s the rub. In large part, readers don’t buy books, they buy authors. In order to give yourself the greatest opportunity to make your book a cultural phenomenon, the author has to become a cultural phenomenon first.
Your personal brand has to ignite the same kind of passion you expect your art to ignite. That’s where web 2.0 and your online persona come in. This medium – blogging, social media, web videos, etc. – this is where the reader in 2010 and beyond is going to get to know you. This is where the cultural shift begins.
Your personal brand has to be bold, be consistent, and be authentic. And as the builder of your personal brand, you have to carry on in the face of self-doubt and outside ridicule. Not everyone is going to connect with you. Accept it. Embrace it. Move on. Not everyone who connects with you is going to buy your book, but they will do something more important. They will spread the word about your personal brand. Over time more and more people will be exposed to you and your book, and – we’re back to the golf analogy – with persistence, practice and luck – the cultural shift will take place, and you will sell a million copies of your book. By the way, for those of you who are disappointed to still see luck as part of the equation, I happen to believe that luck is when preparation meets opportunity, so you can make your own luck.
Remember, your book won’t sell a million copies. You will sell a million copies of your book.
The fact that Mr. Ridley posted a picture of a mean-looking gorilla as his profile picture, certainly suggests that he is not an author to mess with!
But I think he is right. I've made most of my sales of Oilspill dotcom in the first few months when I was extremely active – out there marketing myself like crazy. When I met people and told my story, when I looked them in the eye and shook their hand – I sold my book. Sales on Amazon.com, Smashwords and iScribd all tend to follow some public exposure.
So in the next few months I will try to get out there more, expose myself (you know what I mean), shake hands and tell my story.
Here's to selling the one millionth copy!