I wrote an article about my experiences both before and after I took up the indie author lifestyle for thestoryreadingapesblog. I enjoyed writing it and I’ve had some lovely, appreciative comments for my honesty (Rafferty’s family wouldn’t be impressed!). If you’re contemplating the indie life yourself, you could do worse than take a look. Here’s the link:
And So To Market!
Well! You’ve been and gone and done it! Got your book accepted, I mean. That’s great. Many, many congratulations. Celebrate. Go on, you deserve it. You’ve just accomplished something that hundreds, if not thousands of people attempt.
But once the celebrations are over, it’s time to get down to work. Apart from starting on your second book (you are, aren’t you?), you’ve got some more hard work to do. Unless your agent and editor think you’re going to be a bestseller, they won’t offer much in the way of marketing, so you’ll have to do it. Of course, you might have enough cash to pay a publicist to do it for you (lucky you!). But if not, the following are the sorts of things you’ll have to do:
Get yourself a Facebook Page and make friends, as many as you can manage. I don’t mean the ordinary Family and Friends page, this is a Page with a capital P, where you can post about all the amazing things that are happening since you became a soon-to-be author. Mention your book – not so much that people’s eyes glaze over when they see a post from your Page, but perhaps once or twice a week.and ask for reviews once it’s published, providing the link to the book’s page on amazon.
Send out postcards about your book as soon as you have the artwork of the book jacket. Google bookstores and libraries and anyone else you can think of who might do you some good and send them one of your postcards. Put the cover of your book on the postcard along with details of publisher, price, where to buy, your website (you have got one, haven’t you?) and a brief synopsis of the book. Add any reviews you’ve received to the address side of the postcard.
Create, or get a printer to do them for you, flyers and bookmarks to hand out when you give talks about how you wrote your book, your life as a writer, your journey to publication, whatever.
Create a blog (http://www.blogger.com/. It’s free) and post regularly once or twice a week.
Join crimespace, librarything, linkedin, theredroom goodreads and post your bio and details of your book.
Don’t forget to ask your friends and family to buy it. You’ll only receive six or so free copies, perhaps ten if it’s a pb, so be mean with them. Don’t hand one out to anyone who asks, though you’ll have to give one to your other half and perhaps your mum. Make the rest buy a copy.
Ask your local bookstores if you can do a signing. And if you get a ‘yes’, don’t just sit at the table waiting for customers. Wander round the store and hand out bookmarks and flyers. Chat to people. Be as friendly as you know how and some of them might just buy your book. If you’ve got the free time and can afford the travel expenses, ask for signings further afield, too.
If you can afford to buy however many more copies of your book, contact reviewers (newspapers, magazines, online) and ask if they’ll review your book. If so, parcel it up and send it off.
What else? Can’t think of anything else for now. But you’ve got plenty to be getting on with.
And for those of you who received a rejection – take heart. Writing’s a marathon, not a sprint. You’ll get there. It’s just going to take a bit longer. Maybe the next day’s post will bring a show of interest from one of those many editors/agents you wrote to. It only takes one. Meanwhile, for a bit of fellow-feeling with other rejected authors, go my my website (http://www.geraldineevans.com/) and click Links, then scroll down and find Rejection Collection (that’s what it’s called if I remember rightly) and read about what other rejected authors have received. It just might make you feel a bit better. If not, what are you waiting for? Get on with the next book. There’s nothing like it for stopping the tears. And it would be good to be able to say you’re working on the follow-up when you do get that spark of interest from Miss Ed. Go to it!
Following on from my previous posting on this subject; let’s suppose you have now finished your novel. It’s gone through several drafts.You’ve checked, or had checked, the spelling, punctuation and grammar. You paid for a professional/begged a knowledgable friend, to critique it for you and have made the necessary changes.
You’ve printed it out. Read it through again. Noted the remaining typos that show up now you’ve printed the novel out again, corrected them and reprinted.
Hey! I think you might now be ready to send it out, if you want to go the traditional route. But if you don’t; if you fancy being an indie and put your book on Amazon’s Kindle, check out my post of formatting an ebook. There’s masses of information on the web. Please, please, don’t pay a firm of self-publishers to produce your book. It’ll cost you a fortune. And there’ll be strings attached. Oh yes, there’s always strings.
Amazon’s Kindle (https://kdp.amazon.com/ ), Kobo (www.kobowritinglife.com), Barnes & Noble’s Nook (www.barnesandnoble.com ) and Apple ( www,apple.com/ibooks-author ) are all free. You can publish happily on any of them. If you don’t want the hassle of uploading directly, you can always use Draft2Digital (www.draft2digital.com). They will supply your book to all the usual retailers plus overdrive for libraries, and subscription services as well. All you have to do is upload a Word doc and you’re done!
To go the traditional route takes a long, long time. But if you’re certain that’s the route for you, how do you know who to send it to? Simple. You buy/borrow/steal (oops! not really) the necessary reference book. That will be Writers’ Handbook or Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook in the UK. Writers’ Market in the US. And please get the latest edition as these people MOVE, darn ’em. A LOT.
Now you check through the listings, marking up and turning the corners of the pages of your pristine new book (yeah, I know, you hate to do that. Get some post-it notes, then, or similar), those agents/publishers who are interested in your particular type of book, be it mystery, history, romance, sci-fi, and so on. Then you check to see if the listing gives a name for the person who handles your genre and ring up the receptionist to make sure the editor hasn’t moved, gone mad or died. Be sure to check the correct spelling of their name. And you send them a letter, telling them a little about yourself and your book and whether you envisage it being the first book in a series and asking if they’ll consider reading your book, which you’ll describe (briefly) Try to make this letter no more than one page – you don’t want to inundate Ms/Mr Editor/Agent with your ramblings. That’s likely to piss Ms/Mr Ed off and she’ll put you on her ‘Avoid Like The Plague’, list. Make sure the grammar, punctuation and spelling are correct.
Then you repeat this letter to other editors/agents dealing with your genre, again ringing the firm to check the individual’s name. Do this step as many times as you can afford or till you run out of people. Don’t worry about multiple submissions. Who’s got the time to hang around while Ms Ed works her way through the slush pile of letters/submissions? The only thing you should allow to limit the number of your submission letters is time and/or money.
Then you wait. Probably for three months, maybe more. But you don’t spend the waiting time in idle contemplation of your navel. You get on with the next book. Yes, that’s right. More of the same. You don’t want to be a one-hit wonder, do you? In your spare time you can do a bit of networking to see if you can’t make acquaintance with a few editors/agents that you missed. Or even those you didn’t.
In what remains of your diminishing spare time, you get yourself a website organized. www.wordpress.com is excellent. Your own Blog, too, would be helpful, the two are generally combined in the one site. And you are on Facebook, aren’t you? Tell me you Tweet. Social networking has helped me sell books; there’s no reason why it shouldn’t do the same for you. Putting the word out is simply preparing the ground for when you are published. Only post other things, too; interesting, amusing, useful posts that other people can forward on to their network of friends. It shouldn’t be all about you. The ‘Me, Me, Me’ posts will annoy people (wouldn’t they annoy you?) About 4 general posts to one book post or less. Preferably a lot less.
By the way. CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve got a book out to market. Well done! You’re clearly one of the doing writers, rather than one of the thinking about doing, writers.
Till next time and So You Want To Be A Writer III. When I’ll post about what happens if Ms Ed rejects you. And – even more important – what to do if she – GASP – accepts your book.
Much to my amazement, technophobe that I am, I actually managed to post a video to my blog. It’s pretty short and basic, lacking refinements like music or commentry, but it’s not bad for a first stab at it.
Have now become cocky and have also created a book trailer for Down Among the Dead Men. This is coming out as an ebook on kindle and other ebook formats. Originally published by Macmillan in 1994, it is the second in my Rafferty & Llewellyn crime series. I’m still tinkering with the video and will put it up shortly.
Memo to self: Do not post everywhere you have an account! Need only do it once and click for other postings. I’m learning, you see. I started off a few short weeks ago, not knowing how to set up a blog, how to make a video, how to post same on YouTube and now look at me! 🙂