When to Shoot the Bullet

Let's say that you are writing a book, or ready to start. That means you are getting immersed in your message which probably includes research, study and lots of contemplation. At this point the message is growing and living inside you and it's bursting to come out! But don't!Don't prematurely shoot one of your bullets.

While you write a book is NOT the time to begin teaching it, preaching it or interviewing about it from your platform, although it's tempting. If you are really writing your book (meaning no ghostwriter involved) then it is in your brain constantly. If you are a pastor, teacher or speaker, then it only seems natural to pull from the material you are currently studying to share. But that is the worst possible thing you can do for your book at this stage.

DO'S:

  1. DO use social media at this stage for feedback from potential readers.

  2. DO ask short questions on Facebook or Twitter, etc. to gauge response to a topic.

  3. DO use reader responses to help you shape your book, gain statistics or get insight.

  4. DO begin to tease your readers so that a desire for the book begins. Maybe blog a few sections and see how they respond. You can create demand before the book ever goes to print. Or you might discover there is absolutely no interest. Sad. But better to find out at this stage then once a significant amount of time and money has been invested.

  5. DO develop a list of your most interested readers and responders who can become your list for pre or post publication reviewers.

DON'TS:

  1. Do Not preach the message from your pulpit week after week, chapter-by-chapter. Even if you are not a pastor you still have a "pulpit", which could be your blog, your speaking circuit, a column you write or just your Facebook family.

  2. Do Not write and publish articles (pre book release) that give away the entire story line.

  3. Do Not begin to do interviews on the subject in your book before the book is released.

Consider your blog, your "pulpit" and interviews or articles are your bullets in your promotional "gun" to get the word out about your book. Once you shoot a bullet, it's gone. It cannot be retrieved and you may never get the opportunity again.

One of my authors was invited to be on a television program about a month before her book released because the host had a last minute cancellation and BEGGED my author to come fill it. Most authors, without hesitation would say "Yes!" elated to have an audience with which to share their message. At this stage usually what I get is a call telling me afterwards about the interview. But sometimes they will call me and ask my advice. My response is "No!" Why? Because the book isn't available for purchase yet-not even as a pre-sale on Amazon. You are stirring interest for something in which there can be no response. It's a wasted bullet.

In this case my author told the interviewer she would love to help her, but that the book wasn't yet released and so she preferred to keep her already scheduled interview which was for six weeks later. 

"I PROMISE I will get you back on the show once the book releases so you can talk about it again," the producer stated more than once. So my author took the interview in an effort to help the producer out of bind.

Her book released six weeks later. She called the producer shortly after the first interview to schedule the follow up interview. And guess what she was told?

"We just talked with you about that book and there would be no way we could bring it up again so soon," was the producer's response. My author was hurt then livid. They had lied, misled, whatever you want to call it, so that they could get out of a jam. Now my author was in a jam. She needed an interview that would not be forthcoming. She had prematurely shot her bullet.

As tempting as it is to teach or interview on your book as you write it and before release, please refrain. If your congregation, readers/audience have heard you talk about it over and over for the last three or four months, they are done. By the time the book actually rolls off the press fresh and new, the only one who will care is you.

Shoot your bullets wisely.

Choose what you share and don't give away too much. Do begin teasing and creating interest. But don't give away the store.

When the book releases hopefully there will be an audience anticipating your message rather than one already bored with it.