So it’s been a few years now since I took the plunge into the publishing world. I must say that the quote I heard back in 2009 while attending my first writer’s conference in New York has proven to be absolutely true. “The book business doesn’t run the way readers think.” I have referred back to that quote so many times, and every time I do, it rings even more true.
Back when I was a reclusive writer, I thought that the best books were the ones that sold off the shelves. I had little understanding that marketing was the key to a book’s success. (Duh, you say? Yeah, … duh, indeed!) But it’s probably a good thing that I didn’t understand, because back then I had zero interest in marketing. All I wanted to do was write, write, write.
In the time since, I have come to a understand more about who I am, what I want to do, and how to go about it. Just in case a new author needs a little pick-me-up, I’ve decided to outline some points that have helped me in this piranha pool.
1. Good writing is not rewarded by sales. Good writing has nothing to do with sales. Sales are a result of good marketing.
2. To make a business out of writing, marketing is required. Period. A mediocre book will sell off the shelf if a genius is peddling it, while a masterpiece may sit and do nothing.
3. Identify your genre and reader audience. If possible, do this BEFORE YOU START WRITING YOUR BOOK. Though it’s important to be true to your inner story, there is no way to market a book unless you know who you’re talking to.
4. Never knock another author or blogger, especially publicly. I joined a few chat rooms on Amazon shortly after I started publishing, thinking that it was a good way to network with other authors. Little did I expect to be attacked. (Oh yes, the joys of negative people.) But it was actually a good experience, because I learned that no matter who you’re talking to, people will remember. I know their names. I remember their faces because I googled them. I learned that everyone is a potential aid in the marketing process. Back then I may have been a nobody, but that is no longer the case. Be polite. Be supportive.
5. Never complain about a negative review. Reviewers, especially bloggers, network. They talk. They “spread” the word. You don’t want a backlash. Remain positive. Remain polite. And if possible, find a way to thank people for their review. The same holds true in requesting reviews. Don’t nag. Never harass. If someone doesn’t want to review your book, don’t bug them!
6. It’s easier to market multiple books, than one book at a time. Sometimes it really is best to do what you love, and write, write, write. Then, after you have a number of books available, push a marketing campaign. It’s cheaper, more efficient, and far more effective. That’s the way the publishing houses do it. They have a gazillion books and market them in bunches because it works.
7. Remember why you’re in this industry. There are so many people who are ready to stomp on you. BUT YOU CAN’T BE STOMPED ON UNLESS YOU PUT YOURSELF UNDER SOMEONE’S FOOT. Ignore the mean people. Ignore the petty. In reality, they are irrelevant. They are the ones who will offend and thus, be pushed out of the game.
8. If you want success as badly as you want air to breathe, you will be successful. (I’m still working on this one. Mostly I still just want to write. That’s my air. Stories and plots.) If you have entered this industry for the fun of it, you’ll probably be disappointed. Not everyone is friendly. Not everyone is supportive. As I stated before, some people are downright cruel. Ignore them, or let them hurt you. It’s your choice.
9. Support other authors. Make friends. Network. (Seriously, this is crucial. NETWORK!!!)
10. Never give up. Dare to dream. Dare to face failure. No one ever succeeded by throwing in the towel. You can do it!