This post is a little bit different this week. Jean Oram, moderator from AQC, is here to share some of what she learned about being an author. The first part of her post is here on my blog. To read the rest of her post which applies more to her self-publishing journey, you'll have to go her blog. The link will be at the bottom. I read her book in less than two days. Fantastically written, the characters kept me guessing until the last moment. A very enjoyable read!
Last month I took the plunge and published one of my favourite manuscripts, Champagne and Lemon Drops, which had been soundly rejected by publishing house editors and literary agents. They liked it, but couldn't sell it. Chick lit was dead. (Although, apparently not if you give it away as a free ebook! Chick lit is still alive and well and still throbbing hearts within the indie circles.)
Michelle asked me to share a few of the lessons I've learned since my book’s launch. I had so many things pop to mind—many of which most authors don’t warn you about—that Michelle and I decided to break my list into two posts. This post, here on Michelle’s blog are all-round tips that can benefit both traditionally and independently (self-published) authors whereas the other half of the tips posted on my blog, The Helpful Writer, are must-read tips for indie authors (even though they can also help the traditional author). Both lists can benefit all authors and we encourage you to read them both.
Hold onto your hats! Here we go.
1. Edits will take at least twice as long as you think they will. And a part of you will always want to do another round—even though edits can be tiring and difficult. Start early on your edits. Always.
2. Pay it forward with other authors out of the goodness of your heart. Look for ways to help others without expectation and you will be stunned by how absolutely amazing and wonderful these people are when your book comes out. Warm and fuzzies!
3. Be kind. Always. Always. Always.
4. Make sure your website and social media profiles are up-to-date well ahead of time. At launch this is the last thing you want to stress about.
5. Have a prominent sign up link on your website’s homepage so readers who come check you out can sign up for new book updates. i.e. an author newsletter. This is a great way to stay connected to your readers so they don’t forget about you between books.
6. Join a posse of people who know what they're doing. Support systems rock and it is nice to have people who know the ins and outs of publishing and can help out, answer questions, chat, etc. Publishing can feel like a solitary endeavour, but it doesn't have to. You can also cross-promote and have fun while marketing and holding contests!
7. Visibility. The biggest thing that can go wrong with your book is obscurity. Books need readers. Get out there and get your book out there. There are tons of reading sites that are looking for new release books, books to review, etc. This can be time consuming, but this is why you have #6--your posse. Share your tips and resources with each other. Publishers can't do everything these days.
9. Watch for book pirates! Eek and arrr!
10. Verbal blurb. People--in real life--are going to ask what your book is about. You have your written descriptions and likely a tagline, but in real life you need something simple that will start conversations AND roll off the tongue. It has to feel natural and be easy to remember. (As well as be intriguing.)
11. Write the next book. Always be writing the next book and let your readers know you are working on it. They love the feeling of knowing what an author is up to. It feels personal and they become invested in this new product before it is finished. Plus, more books equal more exposure, more readers, and more hooks out there in the world. It is also your best publicity. Me? I'm about 1/4 of the way through the first draft for book two of the Blueberry Springs series.
How about you? What lessons have you learned on the path to launching a book? (You can include things you’ve learned from watching others.) Let us know in the comment section.
P.S. Don't forget to read part 2 on The Helpful Writer.
You can check out Jean's book, Champagne and Lemon Drops: A Blueberry Springs Chick Lit Contemporary Romance for free on Amazon.com, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords (with more vendors to come).
Champagne and Lemon Drops: A Blueberry Springs Chick Lit Contemporary RomanceOne woman. Two men. One meddling small town. Raised by her older sister in the small town of Blueberry Springs, all Beth Wilkinson wants is to create a family so big she’ll never be alone. Things are going great until her accountant fiancé, Oz, throws their life in the air, sending her on a journey of discovery paved with choices--including whether to return to her old life.