A year, maybe two years ago I wrote an open letter to my then fellow Siren authors. This was back when I wrote as Honor James. I saw so many people struggling and it hurt my heart to see the frustration and therefore I wrote a letter to them all telling them the things I learned in my short time as a writer.
Keep in mind – I am NOT an expert NOR do I play one on TV, although if I did I would be simply divine and I would outshine the mud that is on Angie’s shoes…
So this is my post today. I was going to do something else but you know what, I’m doing this instead because it bears repeating because it’s still fairly relavent (save for some of the promo parts).
I hope you enjoy.
Being an author is hard work. I’m so not kidding. I wish I was but its not all crumpets and cake like the ladies and gents on the idiot box make it seem – but its not.
Okay, so here is the deal. You write a novel and you are super excited about it. You send it off and low and behold a publisher wants to publish your novel! Well after you’ve had your attack of the squee, shouted and cried and done your happy dance you realize that you know nothing about publishing or where to go next.
Yeah, believe me — I know. Been there and done that. Got the headache and T-Shirt to prove it.
Okay. First off – take a deep breath.
You did the heavy lifting already. You wrote a novel, how many people do you know that can say the same?
So here is where I’m hoping that this diatribe will help you all out.
Things that I’ve learned since November 2012:
The first part of this all has to do with the edits of your novel and the cover, we will cover more in a bit.
- Listen to the feedback that is given
- I know that this sounds silly but believe me – its invaluable. The men and women who will edit your novel will give you feedback. Take it for what its meant to be, helpful advice. Learn and grow from their advice (I’m still learning. Not very well – sorry editors! I still love you guys!)
- Ask questions
- Find a Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter, Google + — whatever kind of group with authors from your publishing house. Ask questions. If you don’t understand something, ask. If its something that the other authors don’t know they will tell you and they will direct you to steer your question to the publisher. (And believe me, they don’t bite – the publishers that is – us authors – well we might. I’m up to date on my shots though, promise!)
- Take notes. If you see someone asking a question and you’re like – hey, why didn’t I think of that? Write it down. Trust me. I’ve asked the same question likely five times before someone said – write it down. Come on lady! (No, not five I think it was three 🙂 )
- Take your time doing edits.
- When your edits are returned to you there will be gobs and gobs of stuff on there. Try to learn from what they put on there (I know that this is redundant because of #1, but it always helps to say again.)
- Make sure that you get your edits returned to the editorial staff before the date that they give. Yes, I know that they give a date but try to be good to them because they are doing hundreds of MS’s and trying to get everyone’s books out. So if you can get them back a day early or whatever, that would be awesome possum!
- Cover – oh this is big!
- Etcetera – I know that there are more but I can’t think of them to save my hide right now. Sorry!
- When you return your edits don’t forget to include a great story and adult excerpt of your book as well. These will be hooks to get the reader to want to read your book. 🙂
Okay – now comes the hard part.
You’ve written your novel. You have edits and a glorious cover – now what? This is the biggest question ever in the history of ever. How the heck do you get your name out there? What do you do to get people to want to BUY the book that you just wrote?
Marketing and all the fun stuff that goes with it.
Now keep in mind, everything that I’m writing here is just stuff that I’ve learned. I was blessed when I first came out because I had someone who helped me, someone who answered questions for me and I listened. Huge thing.
Okay. Deep breath first of all. 🙂 (Notice how I keep saying deep breath? It’s because sometimes our minds are so full we need a reminder to simply breath.)
Okay. Now here is what I have learned. Some may add to it, some may subtract from it. Take it all with a grain of salt and know that this is just one person’s perspective on things. Deal? Deal.
- First – make sure that you have Social Media. This is going to be your very best friend in the entire world!
- I would do a Facebook page as your author name as well as create a group for your author page. Normally I would have said to create a Facebook fan page for your author name – but with FB changing crap all the time, it will be best to have a small group for your author name
- Follow the authors in your publishing house, the publishing house, reviewers, and people you like – personally I love following George Takei, he’s a riot!
- Google +
- Useful because there are a surprising number of Google + groups out there for promotion
- I’m still trying to figure this one out!
- You will need Yahoo for Yahoo groups, there are a number of them out there. 🙂
- This is the new baby to the pool. again, still trying to learn it.
- This isn’t a new media per say, but I’m still trying to learn it all the same 🙂
- Okay – so you have your Social Media outlets, now what? Well now my darling you join advertising / promotions groups. On Facebook there are gobs of them, same with Yahoo.
- Learn Twitter Hashtags – these are the little #FF or #MWT that you see (#FF= Friend Friday, #MWT= Mid-week Tease, #FFF= Flash Fiction Friday, and so on)
- Interact with people. I can not stress this enough. Interact with your fellow authors, readers, bloggers, reviewers, all of them. Be good to them too. These are all people that will help you promote your book.
- Have a website or a blog. The reason for this is two fold. One, you want your readers to have a place to go so that they can see everything that you are working on and two, the more that you can get your name mentioned on the interwebs – the more often you will come up with a webcrawler. 🙂
- You don’t have to have a .com – but you need something.
- Google Sites
- And blog – write about anything and everything. (I have the WORST TIME with this!)
- You don’t have to have a .com – but you need something.
- Make sure that when it comes time for your book to release you are making a big deal of it. Do a cover reveal, give little teasers in your Social Media outlets and so on.
- When your book releases make sure to post it in all of the Facebook, Google+, Twitter, your blog and if you can – other authors blogs as well.
- Blog hops – these are wonderful. I still am trying to figure them out so let me just tell you my way of doing them (wrong way, I know)
- Ask your fellow authors to host you on their blog
- Put on your website, blog, etc that you will be at so-and-so’s blog on X day
- link to this other person’s blog on yours that way your readers can easily click and go
- Giveaways are huge, if you can offer to give a free ecopy of your book to a reader who posts on X amount of the blogs or what-not
- Again, be active (I think that you are getting the gist here)
- I no longer have a facebook under my “real name” and only under my pen name because I just don’t have time. Dont’ get me wrong, the ‘real me’ is out there – its just my daughter plays games on it. LOL – anyway, I say this because you will understand just how time consuming that it is and how difficult that it would be to carry more than one Social Media “persona”
- If you can, do a “release day spectacular” on Facebook – where you ask questions about the book that can easily be found on the Publishers website, or in your blog – give little prizes away and so on.
- Okay, now even though I’ve said to be active – this doesn’t mean to publish your ads every single day. This will steer people away from you. 😦 It’s a very fine line that you will walk, the line between exposure and spam so tread carefully my friends.
Okay, so I know I covered a LOT but I have more to say! (Damn I wish that these words were coming as easily for my WIP’s as they are this little email that’s no longer so little!)
Here are some other places that as an author you need to be on! Trust me.
- Author Central (Amazon) https://authorcentral.amazon.com/
- Authorgraph – https://www.authorgraph.com
- Booklikes – http://booklikes.com/
- Manic Readers – http://manicreaders.com/ (This is a place where you can submit your book and get many reviews requested at once. Marvelous place.)
- Shelfari – http://www.shelfari.com/
- Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/ (One word of advise – NEVER, NEVER, get into an arguement about a review given. Take them with a grain of salt. If you have a thin skin like me – don’t read them because they can be scathing and hurtful. Sadly there are a number of bullies on GR. 😦 )
- Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/ (Just be careful that you post no nuddie pics or they will shut you down)
- Youtube – https://www.youtube.com/ (This is very handy for if you create your own book trailers of have them created for you. I do book trailers. I love doing them. 🙂 )
- There are more but as time changes so do the media outlets.
Okay my darlings. I do believe that I have touched on about everything that I could think of. If this is too much for you to do – trust me I understand! There are a number of promotions companies out there that you can pay a monthly fee to for promotions, marketing and they will even take care of the piracy notices to those nasty asshats that seem to want to make money off of our hard work and the work of our Publisher, Cover Artist, Editor and so on.
I have lists of all kinds of promotions groups on Facebook, Google+, and Yahoo groups as well as several companies that you could hire if you so wished to.
I really hope that this helps at least one person out there who is looking into this madness that is a first time author.
Just keep your chin up, your head held high and smile. You can now say that you are a published author and that’s a pretty damn cool thing to be able to say.
And now the hot men. I’m recycling them too because damn, they all are too fine not too!!