Monday 20 February 2017
The After Process - Making A Name For Yourself
MAKING A NAME FOR YOURSELF
So, you've written your book, you've edited it, you're proof-read it, it has a cover and a release date and all of that jazz. And now what do you do? Press publish and hope for the best? That's the problem you see, once you hit publish, people will buy it right? Well, no. If they dont' know it's there, then how will they know to look for it? Classic paradox and a mistake a lot of writers make. We've talked about promotion and you have a lot of options, but if you're indie (and even if your traditionally published) you're gonna have to get out there and tell people about your book. The hard work has only just begun. Welcome to the after process!
Now, I know people say that the hard part is writing the book, and it's definitely not easy, but well, there's that part and then there's the whole editing process and then well, there's this part too. Basically writing and publishing a book is a lot of hard parts rolled up into a cliff of hardness...or something. There's a metaphor that got away from me! My point is that now you're published, more hard work begins. You're always going to be promoting and the hard part is that you'll also be writing too. Yes that first book is a lot of blood, sweat and tears, but unless you plan on being a one-trick pony, you're gonna write a second, and a third and so on. So how do you juggle doing the writing and the promotion when there's always another big thing to aim for? I may only be a small fish in a very big pond, but I have some tips of what I've learnt over the past fifteen or so years.
#1 - CONTACTS ARE USEFUL
One of the things I learned first was that it's not always what you do, or how you write, sometimes it is who you know. I don't mean that you'll sell tons of books just because you're Facebook friends with a best-seller, your book will have to be the best it can be for that to happen. However, having contacts means that you can ask for help, and they can, hopefully, reciprocate and spread the word about your release. This is true for your first release all the way up to your last release. Having contacts who are also authors makes it so much easier to know which promotional companies are worth your time and money, which things work and which things don't and it's always good to have some contacts in your own genre. That way you can all cross-promote and everybody is happy.
#2 - THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS TOO MUCH
I say this meaning that there's no such thing as too much promotion when it comes to a new release, whether that be in other writer groups, reader groups, adverts of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all the rest. It's true, though you do need to be careful not to spam the same group of people over and over because all that does is annoy and get yourself unfollowed, or reported to Facebook or the like. Engaging with a promotional company, running a release day event and doing a blog tour? That's not too much and can be the difference between getting noticed and your book passing people by, so in that regard it's better to go for as much as you can, than to tone it down. This is your book we're talking about! The thing you've been working on hard, and you want it to do well, so you gotta do the promotion to get it noticed.
#3 - BLOGGERS ARE YOUR FRIENDS
One thing I wish I'd known earlier on in my career was about the wide net of indie authors and the book blogs who support them. There are a bunch of bloggers who will take that chance on a new author and will help promote you. Whether that's with a review or an interview or anything like that. These bloggers are listed on a number of sites. The one I've found that works best is here. Now I'm not going to say that it's not hard work contacting them, nor will I say that everyone you contact will say yes, but it's a daunting task, and the ones that do say yes, because there will be some, they will possibly be the difference between visibility and being passed over.
#4 - RESEARCH IS YOUR FRIEND
Yeah, I know, you *just* finished researching all that stuff for your book, and then you had to research editors and cover art and all of that, but it holds true for promotion too. Basically it holds true for every step of the writing journey. Yes, sometimes your contacts will be able to help you find a promotion company, but first you gotta be sure what companies and what kind of promotion works best for your chosen genre. Adult books are marketed differently than young adult. Crime is different than fantasy and so on. You need to be researching to make sure you're looking in the right places to make your mark otherwise you're going in blind and that's never a good idea.
And finally #5 - WORK WITHIN YOUR BUDGET
Yeah, it's boring and yeah money is always tight, but that's why you need to know your budget and make sure your money stretches as far as it can. There's no use not doing your research and landing on the first promotional company you find if they do something that costs all your budget when if you'd shopped carefully you'd have been able to stretch it to more. The idea is that promotion will cost you some money. It's just a fact of life. You can only get so far on the kindness of friends and the like. Knowing how much you can spend, helps you consider your options better. It's just that simple.
So those are my five tips for how to get your name out there. Some of them work better than others, but the majority of them work well together. My advice is just that, advice, born from my own experience in the writing world. Your mileage may, of course, vary, and that's okay.
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