You’re a Product of Decisions, Not Circumstances
People fail to take ownership when they face harsh obstacles or throw in the towel in a certain field. Nothing gets to me more than people blaming others for their lack of success.
We live in a society today where we’re trained to play the blame game and point the finger at someone else when success doesn’t happen.
But, has it occurred to anyone maybe our decisions impact our lack of success?
I’m in the indie-author game and when it comes to authors, indie, hybrid, traditional, success is hard to come by.
I see too many authors asking what the hell’s wrong with people when they don’t see their book sales stack up.
Last month when I launched Northern Knights, my paid e-book sales were minute other than my Amazon free days and my paperback sales.
What did I do?
I sure as hell didn’t fret and ask what’s wrong with others?
I didn’t concede and state people just don’t understand me. No one understands anyone; I don’t even understand my own favorite authors, so cut that mindset out.
What I did do was ask myself what the bestselling authors, in any category, did to boost their sales.
Society Has Trained Us
Society has trained us to play victim and point the finger at someone else. Usually, this person’s labeled a rich, privileged capitalist whose ways have screwed the rest of us over. Let me debunk this mindset: Click here for the article ‘How the Myth of the Robber Barons Began.
What’s funny is I’ve never heard anyone either in the media, public school, or society itself elaborate on why this is the case.
I’ll concede, but monopolies aren’t products of capitalism; they’re products of corporate collusion with government. In other words, per the article above: political entrepreneurs.
It’s as anti-capitalist as you can get.
But, we’re trained to believe someone else caused our circumstances to be what they are and we’ll never succeed in our chosen field because of them.
Never mind the fact we might have made poor decisions. Want a list?
1. Did you research your target market for what you’re selling or doing for the public?
2. Did you research exactly what these people wanted or want from a seller?
3. Did you go out of your way to deliver the absolute best product?
4. Did you write a good product description?
5. Did you use keywords and trigger words of your competitors to entice people to buy?
6. Did you make yourself visible before your competitors each day and leave yourself visible after your competitors closed up shop each evening when breaking into the field?
7. Did you make a website with all your products listed and drive people to your site via a blog or something similar?
8. Did you give them an incentive for joining your website in exchange for their email so you can contact them about new products?
Or, did you think that you’re now on the market, people will flock to you because you created a product?
Never mind your competition’s been in the field for twenty years and the market has developed a sense of brand loyalty.
Never mind the fact those who have developed the sense of brand loyalty did so because their sellers treated them like gold.
Isn’t that circumstance?
If you allow it to be, but ultimately everything is based on decision making.
Most of us who’ve broken into a field needed to make sound decisions to ensure our successes. The odds are against all of us newbies, but we need to show these people we have a better product on the market than the seller they’d been loyal to for twenty years.
Companies make such decisions all the time to win over others.
Again, decision-making wins out over circumstance.
Because brand loyalty doesn’t always stick.
What Pisses Me Off About Those Who Play Victim
Arguably my greatest pet-peeve are those who state their on Plan C, D, and E because their circumstances screwed them out of Plans A and B.
Did they work hard enough to ensure success or did they walk into the office expecting success?
Did they walk into work knowing there was going to be a growth period and that others were just going to buy from them because their names are on a product?
When times were tough, did they decide to take ownership or let their current circumstance drive them to the bottomless depths of the sea?
Again, we’re trained to play victim in society. We’re cognitively conditioned to believe it’s someone else’s fault of our own lack of success in any field.
You might have a great product and people might even know of this great product, but why would they buy from you? Why would they want your services?
Did you do anything to let others know your product is pristine and is the hot new thing on the market?
Did you find a small target market to hype your idea or product?
If you’re answering no to the last two questions, your decisions not to partake in these two crucial tactics will set you behind.
The good news is although your decision making impacted your circumstance, you can’t point the finger at your competition. You can’t point the finger at the consumers. No one’s going to buy from someone they’ve never heard of.
Why would they?
And you have the audacity to blame others for your lack of success?
You think you’re in the right by pointing the finger at your competition and stating consumers just don’t get it. You’re saying your competition screwed you over.
You screwed yourself over by failing to notify the public months ahead of time something was coming out to be on the market.
You screwed yourself over by failing to hype your product and build a nominal following.
You’re solely responsible for playing your own game of catch up.
I’ve Made the Mistake
I’ll dive into details later in this article, but it’s a mistake I’ve made in the past.
Though I hyped Northern Knights to readers, I didn’t see immediate sales. In fact, I hardly saw any. Again, more on that later.
I’d built a small following on Facebook, Twitter, and my blog, about 6,000 total, maybe a little less.
I blogged about my book, its themes, the characters, and gave a small synopsis.
The two mistakes, the two huge mistakes I made, were these:
1. I failed to expose the then-future work to a target audience, instead exposing it to all readers and writers. Huge mistake.
Would a romance reader be interested in a revolutionary urban fantasy?
2. I didn’t build an email list. This meant I didn’t have anyone to directly market the book to.
I’ve since taken ownership and fixed these mistakes, seeing a modest increase in sales, but imagine had I done this back in January?
It’s likely I’d have at least a few-hundred email subscribers.
It’s likely I’d have had a loyal following, higher blog traffic when I launched My Freedom Flame in February, and higher social media followings.
Again, I waited until late March to start my social media platform, sixteen weeks before the book was released.
Joanna Penn spent three years building her audience.
Nick Stephenson used funnel and magnet books to build his, which didn’t happen overnight.
Who the hell was I to think I’d have thousands of buyers in sixteen weeks?
Yeah, definitely a pipe dream.
But, in my field, there’s good news.
Books, even old books that’ve been on the shelves for years are new to those who come across them.
I remember when I first read the Chronicles of Narnia. I was shocked to discover the books were written in the 1950’s!
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novels didn’t see success until after his death, notably The Great Gatsby.
So, if you’re in the book business, you get a reprieve, because your novels are new to those who come across them.
Below is an exclusive for authors, but anyone can take a peek at what’s written, as you might be able to relate the information I’ve learned over this first month and a half of being on the book market.
Decision Making from an Author’s Standpoint
The author game is a tough one, and here’s one for you:
A reader can 1) buy your new book for $4.99 or 2) go with James Patterson’s latest book.
What would you do if you didn’t know who wrote the book?
I’d go with Patterson. Even though I’ve never read his work, I know who he is and that his books are proven commodities. It’s a no-brainer.
And it’s where people scream circumstance without subjecting themselves to harsh self-criticism and critical thinking.
The fact you self-published a book doesn’t mean jack.
The fact you self-published a book and are expecting thousands of dollars and downloads from people who never even heard of you is just downright arrogant and it makes you come off as self-entitled.
Did you bother to tell your social media friends and followers the book is out?
Okay, you did it about a thousand times. That was your first mistake. Shut-up and don’t interrupt me.
You messaged your social media friends and followers. That was your second mistake.
Do you know what I do when I get messages from authors wanting me to buy their book?
I block them. See-ya!
Do you know what I do when I see thousands of buy links from the same authors?
I block them.
I’ll post a buy link only if I’m running a promotion. I pin it to the top of my feed and nothing else.
You think Amazon’s going to market your book?
Why do you think Amazon’s going to market your book when they’re a business who makes money on profiting off hot selling products.
Want Amazon to market your book?
You better start making sales. Again, you’re coming off as self-entitled.
You saw someone who published a book the same day you did sold one-hundred-thousand copies already and you’re pissed because people just understand them more or something outrageous to justify their success and your failure?
Is it pure jealousy, perhaps?
Instead of trying to make sense of the ordeal (this is where decision making comes in) maybe you should take a look at a few elements and it might explain something:
1. Is your cover up to par?
If you made the decision to make a homemade cover (which I do for my perma-free books, but never a paid book), that was yet another mistake.
2. Is the cover similar, yet unique, to others in your genre?
3. Is your book description any good, or did you decide to mindlessly write something in the description box?
4. Did you choose relevant keywords, or did you make random choices or worse yet, leave the area blank?
5. Did you choose categories that were too competitive?
Again, it’s all about choices. It’s about decisions. Decisions you make create circumstances. The circumstances are products of your decisions.