You can write a book if you start, run, and finish the race. Make a writing, editing, publishing and marketing plan. Focus…Fight…Finish. Stop thinking and praying about writing a book…just do it! Identify and put in writing your top three to five SMART goals with specific, measurable, aligned with your values, realistic, time/dates. Make a project plan for each goal (see mine at the end of this chapter). Without a vision people perish. Write your vision/goals down! People increase retention of something by 87 percent when they write it down. Smart in my mind stands for: Stated/Specific, Measurable, Achievable/Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Let’s look at the goals needed in each aspect of your Business Strategy.
- Write down and implement a business plan. Every book has a business plan. You are an entrepreneur. Creating a product, your book, is only part of the overall strategy to market and sell you and your book. Never just sell a book. You must take your books to branding and your message to market.
- Focus – What is the mission, purpose, and vision of your business, ministry, and entrepreneurial enterprise. Is it your dream to be a coach, speaker, mentor, business leader, teacher, equipper, motivator, or _____________________? Your book is just one product among many books, products, and services to come that revolve around your story, witness, testimony, life lessons and experience, expertise, skills, knowledge, and wisdom. Write down the steps toward actualizing your dream. Find a dream coach like David Youngren, www.davidyoungen.org, who can help you define, describe, and actualize your dream(s). Many new authors have a dream just to write and publish a book. But if it doesn’t reach the market and sell, then the book will have no impact on the lives of others. What results do you expect your book to have in sales in the first six months from its release? First year, two years, five years, etc.? As a business card, what doors do you expect your book to open for you, your future books, products, and services? Who needs to first see your book to give you input in shaping it, writing it, endorsing it, publicizing it, and selling it? Where on the Internet will people be able to find and buy your book? How will they know about it? Understand that outcomes have a marketing context. Focus on your market profile. Who will be reading your book and needing its answers and having their needs met by the essential and practical information in your book, products, and services? Since your ultimate focus in life is Christ, what does He want to say and do through you to impact, change, and transform the lives of others as well as the cultural institutions that need your message?
- Fight – Publishing your books, message, products, and services to the world is a fight. The inner struggle in your soul will be harsh. Doubts, insecurities, fears, and anxieties will surface and seek to overwhelm you. You must see yourself as a success and winner. When fights and failures come your way, and they will, are you so committed to the message Christ has given you to publish that you will fight through to a breakthrough and not quit. When one plan within your strategy fails, will you see yourself as a failure, or will you refuse to quit?
The plans of the diligent will prosper.1
God gives you infinite plans and opportunities.
The only way you can fail at accomplishing God’s plans is to quit.
You will have to fight through financial challenges, criticism, distractions, self-doubt, insecurities, stress, lack of time and money, and spiritual attacks. When I am coaching authors, ghostwriting or editing for them, and equipping them in making and implementing marketing and sales strategies, I have to pray for them and exhort them both to pray and enlist the prayers and intercessions of others. I remember E.M. Bounds writing, “Without prayer, nothing happens.” Prayer sharpens your focus and connects you and those praying with you in agreement with God’s will in heaven to be done on earth. Jesus promises, “Take this most seriously: A yes on earth is yes in heaven; a no on earth is no in heaven. What you say to one another is eternal. I mean this. When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action. And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I’ll be there.”2
Let me assure you that the good fight of prayer is essential to the success of marketing and selling your books, products, and services. A team of intercessors on your behalf must pray without ceasing…as must also you. God has given you a message, vision to write down, plans, strategies, and a purpose for your book. Someone needs the very message you are penning in order for their day of salvation, deliverance, or healing to come. Don’t give up. Fight!
- Finish – St. Paul wrote that he had fought the good fight, finished the race, and keep the faith (2 Timothy 4:7). Yes, he had to focus, fight, and finish. You have to finish your book. I have worked with scores of authors over the years who worked hard to finish writing their book only to fail to publish it. Or, they printed and published their book, but never marketed, distributed, and sold it. I have had countless calls from authors saying, “Dr. Larry, I have boxes of my books sitting in my garage (basement or storage unit). Can you help me get them sold?” They had failed to fully implement a business plan for writing, editing, producing, printing, publishing, marketing, distributing, and selling their books.
Bestselling Authors Finish Strong
For over forty years, I have been a bestselling author. I am passionate about selling my books on radio, television, airplanes, in churches, workshops, conferences, seminars, and online. At Lovejoy Church in Buffalo, N.Y., a man came up to me after I had spoken and taught there for the fourth time covering subjects on the Holy Spirit, marriage, family, parenting, the Presence-Driven life, and healing.
“The first time you preached here, you really offended me,” he said getting right in my face.
Backing away, I responded, “Forgive me. That wasn’t my intent. How did I offend you?”
“You took ten minutes out of your preaching time to talk about and sell your books,” he continued.
“And how did that offend you?”
“I felt you were arrogant, proud of your stuff, and out to make a buck.”
I paused a moment because his facial expression suddenly changed, and a smile began to form on his face. So, I ventured a question, “Well, did you buy any of my books?”
“Just one,” he confided.
“And how did that work for you?’
Before I knew it, he was hugging me and crying, “It saved my marriage. I’ve bought and read four more books of yours. Our family relationships have wonderfully improved. We so thank God for you.”
Three of the books he had bought and shared with his family were the three titles in my bestselling “Lord I Wish” series. As of the writing of this book, the publisher has reported that Lord I Wish My Husband Would Pray with Me, Lord I Wish My Family Would Get Saved, and Lord I Wish My Teenager Would Talk with Me have sold over 45,000 books in the U.S. In the first decade of this century, GoodTV in Taipei, Taiwan published all three titles in Mandarin. Only God knows to date how many tens of thousands of those books have gone out throughout the Chinese-speaking world. An in Canada, 100 Huntley Street put together a weeklong campaign for family salvation that used the family salvation book, spend an entire week with me there in broadcasting to the nation sharing how to witness to family members and to pray for family salvation sending out thousands of books, receiving tens of thousands of prayer requests, and reporting a year later how thousands of testimonies had poured into the studio of family members receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. With no apology and in full confidence and boldness, I would go anywhere, publish, preach, and teach the messages God has given me, in order to cross the ultimate finish line for selling a book—the salvation, healing, or deliverance of a soul redeemed by the risen Christ.
Becoming a bestselling author is hard work. You must plan the work of marketing and selling, and then work the plan. Remember you are writing to be read not to become rich. The purpose of becoming a bestselling author is never about making lots of money from book sales; it’s about reaching thousands of readers with a message from Christ that will save, redeem, restore, renew, transform, meet their needs, and bring healing to their hurts. Og Mandino in The Greatest Salesman in the World wrote, “I am here for a purpose and that purpose is to grow into a mountain, not to shrink to a grain of sand. Henceforth I will apply ALL my efforts to become the highest mountain of all and I will strain my potential until it cries for mercy.”3 I hear the message of focus, fight, and finish in his words; do you? More importantly, will you just do it?
It’s about making an impact, equipping and empower people to change, and ultimately equipping the saints for the work of service that God has for them in their families, churches, businesses, and communities.
Are you willing to implement a complete business strategy to focus, fight, and finish strong in publishing the message(s) God has given others through you?
1 Prov. 21:5
2 Matt. 18:18-20 MSG