I’m working with a successful entrepreneur with a good book idea. An agent even approached her about this book she hasn’t yet written. The agent only saw one stumbling block between this big idea, a buyer and a bestseller. The writer needed a bigger list. And so, she froze.
Like countless others. From list terror. Because how big is big enough? What's too small? She wanted to know if she shouldn't first be building her list.
I still don't completely understand the whole "which came first, the chicken or the egg" thing. But I do know this:
When “Your List” first came onto the publishing marketing radar along with the advent of blogs, a list of 3,000 followers could help you seal a deal. Then it went up to 6,000. Then 10,000. Not too long ago, I heard 50,000. Today someone told me 200,000 will do it.
You can have a list of 250 thousand or even 2 million which could be amazing. Off the charts.
But when it comes to what people are actually buying and talking about because you made an impact on their lives, all you’ve got is 26 letters. No matter how big your list.
And unlike list numbers that publishers areclear don’t often convert to big sales, those 26 letters have got to convert into clear, understandable, insightful prose. Words and the heart behind them that communicates a writer’s unique vision and message.
And that’s a very rare find.
Publishers get so many submissions for books they are just looking for some polite enough reasons to reject them. Today, it’s Your List. Before it was “Their List.” Sorry, your book just doesn't "fit into it."
But here’s what Your List can represent and what they really want — evidence of your commitment. Evidence you’ve bothered to learn something about the industry.
I help a small handful of authors who believe their books are born to go beyond the binding. Books that are brand worthy. That's not first about the number of followers who will like you. That’s first about the number of people whose stories you are telling.
Books and brands are two different things:
A book is about readership. A brand is about leadership.
Do you need a list? Yes.
And yes, the business is different today. But published authors for the past 60 years have been asked to show how their name, their efforts but most of all their great product can help a publisher sell a book.
Just before Your List hit in full form, I got a big book deal although I didn't have what was needed most at the time. a track record. I had never written a non-fiction book (never mind all my books had been for kids). I got an agent to represent me who sold two of the biggest books in publishing history. And when the book came out I got myself into many national publications, two morning shows and other outlets that didn't seem possible. I got a film deal for the book in Hollywood.
I’m not Shakespeare. I was just on fire.
If you don’t want to write, that’s reason enough without fearing the List.
But if you do, please take the deep dive. Be on fire.
Not just because you think you have to have a book. But because you have a book you have to write. And you believe others have to read it.
Then watch that List grow. That is what my client is doing now. She is writing and quickly growing a bigger list. Her business and brand is building. She has more of what they really wanted from her than she knew.
Most of us do.
How can I help you? I'm happy to hear from you.
Thanks for reading.