There is a group of authors I refer to as the “Soap Box Preachers.” Beginning many years ago, people would go into the town square, stand on a wooden crate (an old soap box), and extol their beliefs to whoever would listen. Some were ignored, others gathered small crowds, while a few incited angry mobs. You might say it was the Facebook of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Soap Box Preachers are authors who have published their book and are now trying to promote it. Happily, they will tell you all about it, will keep you up for hours (if you let them), explaining every jot and dot in excruciating detail as to how they wrote the book, researched it, published it, and are now promoting it. And oh, by the way, do you want a copy? (If you don’t buy one, they might give it to you—anything to “get it out there and have it read.”)
Soap Box Preachers will go anywhere and will talk to anyone about their book. You have to admire their diligence and, in some cases, courage. But despite their willingness and varied attempts at marketing, the book doesn’t seem to be making any significant headway.
After a while, they get burned out from putting so much effort forward and getting so little back. Some give up, maybe go back to write another book, while others keep carrying around their “soap box” hoping that one day soon they will be seen by the right person and their book will turn into a bestseller.
This is not a problem about quality. While there may be poorly written books out there, evidence proves that quality isn’t what holds some authors back and certainly doesn’t prevent a book from reaching the bestseller list.
Among my clientele is a woman named “Mary” who is sitting on a blockbuster book. She knows it, I know it. But it hasn’t happened yet. And like a stealth bomber, she is knocking on every door possible trying to hit the bullseye and move her book from small town forum to the masses. It’s very tiring, expensive, and frustrating work when there are so few rewards to show for it. Most of these authors must keep a day job to support their “hobby,” and that is not the fulfillment they hoped for in their dreams.
All of the fast talking about their books, though, is covering up a few essential problems that soap box preachers have—and it’s not what you think. In fact, soap box preachers have come far along their journey and have white knuckled themselves past the fears that have held the other types of authors back. Perhaps that is why they are so puzzled when they step out into what feel like the perfect marketing plan and it dive bombs flat like Wile E. Coyote off a cliff.
While the support I offer to these authors varies from those who have yet to write or publish a book, the underlying circumstances remain the same for all. There is hope to find the golden path, and once on it, amazing things begin to happen.
• Due diligence, without question, is a reliable and valuable strength for Soap Box Preachers. They are so very ready and willing to go the extra mile to make this work.
• Frustration and disappointment set in quickly with some Soap Box Preachers when they have created a quality product only to receive little in accolades for their work. While money would be nice, most will tell you it’s more than that to them. It’s about sharing something they believe in so strongly.
• Exhaustion can take its toll on the Soap Box Preacher because they will extend themselves both physically and financially as they try every avenue open to them.
• In most cases, Soap Box Preachers need guidance and a plan to focus in on a strategy that will be both cost effective and time efficient equally to their return in sales.