New? Begin with lesson one.
So you've made your way through writing, editing, proofing, and publishing your work. Now what?
First off, congratulations. Now you get to start dividing your attention. You might think now's the time to kick back for a while, but it's not if you want a career in writing. If all you ever wanted to do was have a book in print, maybe, but don't expect to make much if any money from it. The upside of the self-publishing bloom is the market is wide open these days, but this also means each individual sale is more difficult to make than ever. You not only need to get the attention of potential readers, you need to earn their trust in order for them to take the risk of buying your book.
It's just a book. What's the risk?
Well, do you want to spend your hard earned money on something you might not enjoy? Each reader has an entertainment budget, and there are lots of forms of entertainment vying for their business. Just like you wouldn't spend the money to see a movie you're certain will be bad, a reader isn't going to buy your book if they don't think they'll like it.
So how do I earn their trust?
The biggest way to do this is to keep writing. There are tons of authors out there with one or two titles to their name. (Yes, I realize I'm currently one of those authors myself, which is why I'm working diligently on Icarus.) A good chunk of those either have or will become discouraged by low sales numbers or poor reviews and never put fingers to keys again. Others will persevere and learn from those reviews, improving over time, and prove their worth by building a steadily growing body of work.
As I just pointed out, I'm still only a two book author myself, but I've heard the same thing from other more experienced authors time and again. Sales start to take off once you have four or five books under your belt. Why? Readers who have purchased your earlier books return to see your new work. New readers see you're busy creating new stories, so they feel more confident you have some clue what you're doing and won't disappear off the face of the earth halfway through a trilogy. Others just like to binge read a series, so they wait until there are several books available to avoid long waits while new ones are written.
Okay, so I need to dive into writing a new story.
Well, yes. But you can't forget about marketing while you do so. This is where dividing your attention comes into play. You have to find a way to balance building and maintaining your platform with creating new content.
So what kind of stuff should I be doing to build my platform?
Definitely look into setting up an author's website. Wether or not you decide to blog there is up to you, but you need a centralized place to send people who are looking into your books.
Be present on some form of social media, but don't stretch yourself too thin. Pick one or two platforms you really like and stick with those. Each has their strengths and weaknesses, so research and experimentation is key. Find anywhere from one to three platforms that work with your personality and style. Then post and interact with people on a regular basis, but keep it limited. Social media can take over your life with surprising speed and ease if you let it. Keep yourself to a set amount of time each day or week, and leave it at that. In doing so, you keep plenty of time free for your day job, family time, your health, and writing.
What about readings and signings?
People with built in followings such a celebrities, whether Hollywood or social media icons such as the bigger YouTubers, can jump into readings and signings right away with apparent ease and aplomb. Things are a bit different for the rest of us. You might want to spend a bit of time building your reader base before trying to arrange a reading or signing unless the idea of no one showing up doesn't bother you.
Start by finding literary festivals or conventions for your genre in your local area. Purchase a table or booth to set up in the artist alley or vender's room. Look into becoming a panelist. Festivals and conventions are a terrific way to find new readers as well as make connections with other authors and artists. Being on panels is a way to reach people who might never hear of you otherwise, and they're as educational for the panelists as those attending.
Get to know certain areas, especially ones around your home town or places where you've sold well. Speak with the libraries and bookstores in the area about putting your book or books on the shelves. Then several months later, see about setting up a reading or signing. Your chances of it going well increase the better you're known in the area.
And here we are at the end of this writing course. It's just been an overview of the process from brainstorming to publishing and beyond, but I hope you've found it useful. As always, if you have any comments or questions, please don't hesitate to leave a comment below. I do try to answer any and all of them within twenty-four hours.
I apologize for the tardiness of this post. I've had issues with our internet connection this entire week, and as a result, the computer has been busy for hours at a time with stuff that should have taken an hour at most.
Thank you for joining me during this writing course, and I wish you a creative new year.
A. B. England is a small business owner, mom of two, novelist, all around geek, and avid crafter. She loves mythology, fantasy, and all flavors of science fiction.
Yekara Series Book 2
The Icarus Project
Rough Draft Progress
77384 / 75000
Myth & Science Collection
Icarus Series Book 2
Sketched w/ Some Drafting
Yekara Series Book 3
Myth & Science Collection 2
Intent Only at this Time
Icarus Trilogy Book 3
Supers Collection 2
Intent Only at this Time
Yekara Series Book 4