Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Getting published is only half the battle - now the really hard work begins

So, you've written a book. It's good. Very good, so good that your agent has got you a publishing deal with a major publisher.

The very best editors have tuned your words so they don't just hum, they roar. Proof readers have scoured the text. There's not a single typo or grammatical mark out of place in all 120,000 words in your tome.

The tome itself is wrapped in the most beautiful cover known to the world of book design. It's startling to look at and beautiful to hold in your hands.

Waterstones, WHSmiths, Foyles, Barnes and Nobles have all asked to stock it. You're there. You've made it.

Haven't you?

The problem is the world of books is saturated. There are more books published every day, particularly since the rise in self-publishing, than there has ever been. And whilst books are on the rise, the number of people reading is on the decline. You're in a tough tough market. Simply having the goods doesn't mean that the goods are going to sell. YOU need to do that yourself.

If you're lucky enough to have a publisher, they will do an initial burst of publicity for you at the beginning. This might involve sending your book to critics, getting you interviews with magazines. But then, it's pretty much over to you. And at the start of your career, you're a small fish in a big pond that is teeming with other fish. And some of those fish are very adept and clever.

To survive, and for your book to be seen, you need to market it. And to market it, you need to work social media until your knuckles ache and your eyeballs bleed.

Here are my top ten pieces of advice for an author starting out marketing of themselves and their work;

1) Set yourself up with your own web site, with a domain to match your writing name. This will be the central hub to hold everything to do with your book; you, your feeds, information about you, where you are appearing next.

2) Set yourself up with a blog. Write, if you can, daily - musings, thoughts, ideas, advice. Build a following. Share the love. Show people you're enthusiastic and care about books and your work. Make people realise why they should check you out.

3) Set yourself up on Twitter. Twitter is increasingly the main conduit to your audience. Critics, readers, fellow authors, publishers, they're all on Twitter and they're all looking for information on you and your books and your thoughts. Share it with them.

4) Set yourself up on Facebook with an author profile. Use Facebook as a platform to share broader pieces of information about yourself, events, your books.

5) Make sure you have an author account with Amazon and keep it up to date with your work and your social media feeds.

6) Make sure you have an author profile account with GoodReads and keep it up to date with your work and your social media feeds.

7) Integrate with the writing and reading community. Meet and make friends with book lovers, bloggers, sellers and opinion formers. Send them your book to review. Accept every opportunity to do interviews. Every opportunity to be seen is an opportunity to become a new favourite author.

8) Don't bother marketing your books to friends and family. They will either buy the book without hesitation or be so rankled with jealousy at your success, supporting you by buying your book is the last thing they'd ever do. Regardless if they are delighted or horrified at your success, they will not effectively promote your book. Opinion formers will do this.

9) Don't just sit in front of the computer. Go out and meet people. Attend writing workshops and events as a speaker, give readings, put yourself forward for in-store signings, be busy in the high street marketplace. Start local and then grow out from there. Make sure people know you, your face and that you're a person of the people - someone they'd like to meet and read about. Someone they believe.

10) Stay positive. Remain patient. Enjoy the ride. You've achieved something millions of people would love to do. They envy you. They admire your success. Keep going. Keep writing. Things will begin to happen over time - eventually. One day.

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