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My publishing adventure

April 25th, 2013 | Posted by Annette in Books | Marketing | Perspectives | Writing Tips

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!

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