After the high of knowing I accomplished my goal, I hit a very low, well…low. I had just spent a month doing nothing to market my books already published, and my sales numbers suffered – big time. I am finding it hard to get back into the whole sales aspect, not to mention one of the most difficult parts of writing (for me, anyway) – editing. And the crap I churned out in November needs a lot of it.
But in retrospect, November was good for me. I learned what writing habits work, and what don’t, and most importantly, I was able to set a writing schedule and stick to it. Now, back to the daily grind. For all of you Twain Wannabes and new self-publishers, I want to share what your first steps should be:
1 – Write a good book: Already you’re thinking I know, I know. But if your book hasn’t been edited, by a professional, or at least a critique group – it’s not ready. My book has been through both, and people still find a few mistakes here and there. Wow – did I just admit that? And don’t forget to spare the expense for good cover art – a note about my experience with cover art here.
2 – Get on Goodreads. This can be done even before you self-publish. Write reviews, join groups, make friends that are interested in the same genre as you. These people will eventually be your followers and fans; some of your first buyers, even. That is after your grandma and best friends bought all their copies. There is a great podcast by Freisen Press introducing you to the basics of Goodreads, and an awesome blog series about Goodreads by Robin Sullivan, small-press publisher.
3 – Follow some people. Twitter is a good place to do this. My favorite, most helpful tweeters for self-publishers include @tonyeldridge, @novelpublicity, @elizabethscraig, @annerallen, and @bookbuzzr.
4 – Do some giveaways. A good place to start is with I am a Reader, Not a Writer, who almost constantly has a blog hop giveaway happening, and makes it very easy on you to sign up (quick note – you will need a blog or website to do this….ok so backtrack – step 3.5 build a blog or website). Giveaways are a great way to get the word out and to get some reviews under your belt. My giveaways usually promise the second book in my series for free if the reader posts a review and send me a link by a certain date. I have had great responses to this tactic. And either I wrote a very, very awesome book – or the reviewers are kind because they are grateful they received a free copy – or both. Yes, I did just admit that. Oh, by the way, Goodreads has an ebooks giveaway group run by the great Coral Russell.
5 – Send out review requests. See the post by yours truly about querying book bloggers. This is an all-important step to boosting the visibility of your product.
6 – Write another good book. Just remember: series sell, singles – not so well. Totally made that up just now. It probably won’t seem so clever when I re-read this post in the morning. But it is true. Multiple books out on the market all promote each other.
7 - ??? If I could figure out how to insert a bigger question mark, I would, but it is getting late. This is the step in which I currently reside. Welcome. During the next few months, in addition to the time I spend editing, of course, I plan on doing some research. Finding out what works with Amazon algorithms, exploring Goodreads more in depth, strengthening my author platform, buzzword, buzzword, buzzword – and I will post all about it. Stay tuned!