Life in Writing
I'm probably not alone when I say that I didn't originally write my book to be published. I wrote it because I liked the story and thought it should be written down. However, once I discovered the ease of self-publishing a book, the siren song of owning a print edition of my own book called out to me, so I published it.
As I shared my novel with my friends after publishing, I realized for the first time that it was actually good, and I could actually make money selling it. But what I didn't realize is that there's a clock on how long a book can be out and still be successful. There are a lot of things that I wish I'd done differently when I published that book, but here I'll share with you the top 3.
1. Get a professional editor. They are worth the cost.
Honestly, I thought this wasn't that big of a deal. I figured that editors were an expensive step that were great for saving time, but if you're on a budget and have a good knowledge of the English language, you can probably skip out on them. If you're thinking like I was then you're just as much of an idiot as I was. Editing your own writing effectively is next to impossible. When your brain already knows what's being said, it automatically skips over the flaws. You absolutely need a fresh pair of eyes on your work.
2. Put your book up for pre-sale.
When I first published I didn't understand the point of pre-sales. Why get the sale and then wait to give them the book? Why not just take the waiting out of it? That should make a reader happier, shouldn't it? Whether it does or doesn't, the one thing it doesn't do is promote your book for you. As I found out later, the algorithm on Amazon for who makes the best sales list isn't about how many books have been sold overall, but by how many have been sold in a single day. Now if you're thinking, "Hey, it's a first book, I probably wont be making the best seller list anyway." First off, quit doubting yourself. Second, every book on Amazon is on their best seller ranking list, some are just really far down it. The thing is, that the higher up you are on that list, the more readily and more often Amazon will recommend your book to its other customers buying similar books. So if you spend your first few weeks gathering pre-sales, then on your release day you instantly get three weeks worth of sales on one day. This pushes you up the best seller list, and makes your book visible to your target audience. It's some of the best marketing you can do, and it's free.
3. Be present on social media
Facebook, twitter, goodreads, and a whole slew of other social media sites all have millions of members who are ready and willing to read your book. But if you don't have a profile on the sites they're using, they're never even going to know that your book exists. So do yourself a favor, set up your author profile on all the social media you think you can manage, and start following anybody you can find with similar interests. Interact with your fans. Make sure they know about your upcoming works. Be present, and your fans will respond.
In the end, there are hundreds of things you should know before publishing your book, but these are the three that caused me the most trouble in my first publishing attempt, make sure they aren't problems when you publish for the first time.
Daniel M. Quilter is the author of A Soul Divided. On this blog he'll interview other authors, review books, share nerd wisdom from popular sci-fi and fantasy, and occasionally share his insights on writing. See a list of his works or see what he's working on.
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