Friday, April 20, 2012

Making Your Way as an Author

Since I have published my book I have had great pleasure in meeting other authors. I can honestly say I have found an amazing group people from around the world who all share something in common with me, and that’s the love of writing and story telling.

Another thing we have in common is marketing.

Where we may differ is as vast as the ocean…and that’s anything from simple differences like being traditionally, assisted or self-published, to formally trained in writing and journalism or a moonlighter with literary aspirations.

Although I have taken writing courses, which include all kinds of training and preparation from writing short stories, articles and novels to finding an agent or publisher, one thing lacking in these courses is anything and everything to do with marketing. Now don’t get me wrong, I love what I have learned, but I would have gladly taken an extra semester that included marketing.

So, here you are the published author…I guess you could compare that to being dropped into a canoe in the middle of the woods, paddle in hand. Note that I did not say “on or near” the water. That’s because you have to start paddling right where you are, to the nearest stream that might lead to a river or lake. Then what? You are still a long way from the ocean and paddling through gravel isn’t easy.

Once you hit water, you find yourself surrounded by others, paddling feverishly toward the next segment or body of water.

Every author knows all too well the amount of work they’ve invested in their manuscript. So why not make sure what your marketing has every chance of making it to the ocean? How? By making sure some simple principles have been followed.

1) Have your work edited, critiqued and revised.

2) Make sure your book cover is a good one…too often Indie authors have slapped whatever/however on their book. Now this is where countless Indie authors will pipe in telling me just how much time/effort/money went into their covers. My point here is that a few bad ones taint the pool, unfortunately labelling the lot.

3) If you are formatting your ebook on your own and do not have the money to have it done right, then ASK SOMEONE. There are other authors willing to help. Bad grammar is one thing, but getting author name and page number smack dab in the middle of your sentence is annoying.

By following these few tips you now have a quality product to promote.

Here are some things to consider while you’re promoting:

1) Develop your author platform and begin letting people know you’re out there. Pace yourself so that you can keep on top of your pages/sites. Doing too much too fast will show.

2) Join groups and cross market one another. I was told in a webinar that more than 10% self-promoting can turn people off of you. Host authors on your blog, do fun interviews and giveaways.

3) Look into Author Solutions, Writer’s Digest and similar places to keep up with the changing trends, get marketing tips and tools, (they offer free webinars). Get onboard with Goodreads (various groups), there are more threads than is humanly possible to follow from blog tours to reviews and cross-promoting.

4) Consider entering your work into contests. The recognition gained is priceless.

5) Participate in author presentations, book signings and book fairs to give yourself the chance to meet readers and become ‘real’ to them.

OK, so let’s say we’ve made it into a larger body of water…now what?
My best advice comes back to pacing yourself because aside from paying someone to handle your marketing, there’s no way out of it. You will have to roll up your sleeves and paddle your way along the current. Once you get a rhythm going enjoy yourself. Have fun meeting other authors, bloggers, and readers. I must say there are some great people out there and I am thrilled to have made some new friends.

 We are going to be talking with author M.J. Kane shortly, and not only will she be presenting her novel Butterfly Memoirs, but she has a few stories of her own to tell. So, stay tuned.


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  2. Hi Debbie, it's nice to meet you! Excellent post on platform building. Joining groups and meeting other authors is one of the best parts of the writing community. :)