Are you a triple-threat author?

I coached basketball for a number of years and taught my players to be in a “triple threat” position—where you can shoot, pass, or dribble at a given time. If you’re too far away from the basket, you’re no longer a triple threat. Or if you dribble the ball and then stop, you’re no longer a triple threat.

As I’ve worked with authors and speakers, I’ve identified three components that I feel make them a triple threat. All three of the following components must be present for authors to succeed. If one element is missing, the author and publisher are not able to fully maximize opportunities in the market. It’s good to remind yourself of these priorities as you prepare, write, and then share your book with others.

  1. Message
    • The author must be full—so full of the message that they’re ready to pour it out. That makes all the difference in audience impact, ability to write, promote, etc. If they’re not full yet, it’s not time for the book. It’s like when the Bible says, “In the fullness of time…” If it’s not the fullness of time, it’s not the right time for the book.
    • It must be from the heart (not just the head) and something the author has experienced (it’s his or her living message). The world has at its fingertips through the Internet more information than it could ever process and is in desperate need of hopeful inspiration that reveals a fresh perspective that will impact the heart, head, and hands (actions). Consider what makes you and your message unique and make sure that shines through.
    • It must hit a felt need, not just in concept, but be intentionally spun to meet a demonstrated felt need in the market and to your primary audience.
    • It must be well-written, or at least good enough in its core that an editor can help to make it great.
    • It must have a clear call to action. Connect the dots for your readers and help them come into what you’ve experienced.
  1. Platform
    • An audience or platform the author already has who is enthusiastic about the author and anything he or she has to share.
    • Connections to people and organizations with a platform they’re willing to share with the author.
  1. No-fear Promotion
  • Too many authors don’t like to self-promote because they feel they’re being pushy, manipulative, shouldn’t draw attention to themselves, etc. They must see themselves as a waiter at a restaurant and simply let people know what’s on the menu: their book! If I go to a restaurant and the waiter doesn’t tell me about certain items because he doesn’t think I’ll like them, and then I see something I really want on the table next to me, I’ll be upset at the waiter for not telling me what’s available. Authors telling their audience what’s available and how good it is is not prideful; it’s smart and wise stewardship of the message God has given them. If authors don’t believe enough in their message to promote it, they shouldn’t have bothered to write the book or risk the resources the publishing company has invested to publish it. You can’t share what people don’t know you have. You and your book are a light that should not be hidden, but give light to everyone possible (see Matthew 5:16).
    • Authors must get over hang-ups with asking for the sale. It takes numerous times for a person to decide what he or she wants and to say yes. Authors must be able to ask. More than once (without being annoying).
    • Authors must understand what people really want from their book and promote it from that place, not what the author thinks is most important (which goes back to #3 in Message: spinning the message to address the felt need).
  1. Bonus threat: Positive, hopeful, teachable attitude
    • It takes time to make traction. Be patient and proactive. There are many examples of books that took a while to get picked up in the first place or lay dormant for a period of time, and people who had to sort through many rejections. But then they hit a tipping point. Maintaining a creative, solution-focused approach that assumes everyone’s working as hard as possible makes traction happen faster.
    • With a publisher, the author has experts working on his or her behalf. It takes a team to make a great product and what we do together is better than what any of us can do alone. It is always wise to make working together as effortless as possible, collaborating, and learning together how to impact the people in this world that God wants to reach through your book.

These four elements when combined and prioritized create an unstoppable path to success for an author and the book.

Which elements do you feel are the strongest for you?