So I am about as new to the published author world as you can get. I released my first book just over two weeks ago and was ecstatic about the chance for someone else to read it. Now I’m just hoping someone else can find it.
Already in these few weeks I’ve learned that writing is the easy part. Figuring out what to do once you have finished writing is the tough and just as important part.
I guess I have been spoiled by the blogging world. Here we write a response to a prompt and bloggers from all over the world visit, read and comment making you feel as if you have accomplished a great quest. You write a short story one evening for fun and when you post it you get the likes, the comments about it being humorous, entertaining and enjoyable. You sit back and watch the little notification box light up (Okay, it used to light up. What happened to that anyway?) and everything is right with the world.
Then you make the decision to write a book. You get an idea, check into the process, write the story, have friends and family read it, edit to where you feel it’s ready then make all the arrangements and bam, it’s available to the world and on the biggest online shopping website anywhere.
Sounds like everything should be coming up roses, right? Well then you start watching for the sales to build up. Granted it’s only been a few weeks and I never expected to be on a best seller list but still you hope a few people pick your book up and read it, especially when they can do it for free with Amazon’s Unlimited program. After a couple days and an initial few purchases from family, friends and fellow bloggers the line showing sales goes flat. No borrows under the free program either. What can I do you think to yourself?
I began to read about marketing and if you want to confuse yourself you should do this. Everyone has an opinion and the majority of it involves a bit of pimping yourself out to sell your wares and by wares I mean your book. It seems today no matter how great an author you are you need to be an even better networker. This is an area where I have never been a proven asset. I mingle in the world but just to get a little wet, never enough to get soaked.
Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of twitter, Facebook, wordpress, instagram and the million other sites like them but days only have twenty four hours in them. After spending 10+ at work most days and 7+ hours sleeping it leaves maybe 6 for everything else. This includes time with family, time for the wife, time for the animals, time for myself and time to write. Not a whole lot extra left over to navigate the online world and press everyone I run into to take a peek at my written work.
I can’t spend my weekends at a convention showing my newest masterpiece or afford to advertise at the super bowl so how do I get people to know about it? This is what I’ve learned and done so far and I am hoping it all helps but only time will tell.
1) I created a dedicated Facebook page and blog specifically for the book series where news can be updated and book readers can go and feel comfortable or sign up for email notifications. The sites are up and likable at the moment if anyone is feeling like clicking.
2) Updated the cover on the first book to match up to the forthcoming second one in the series. (This was based on a suggestion from a qualified fellow author and was not something that even crossed my mind. With a series the type font and look of the covers should be as similar as possible so everything flows well and matches. People want that familiarity.)
3) Updated my keywords (This was amazing the difference a simple change could make. I originally went with what seemed most pertinent to the first title. Things like dragon, fantasy, magic etc.. Come to find out a search on Amazon’s kindle store for “dragon” finds 20,500 listing. A search for “talking dragon” however finds just 34 results and my book is second on that list. Sure not as many people will search for talking dragons but what’s the chance the ones who don’t will go through 20,000 results to find my book? Hoping a few key phrases can make a big difference!)
I am still patrolling the internet world to find more ways of improving my chance to sell my writings and seem to learn a little something new every day. The wonderful thing about it all is so far any help has been freely given and others have wanted to help. I haven’t run into any rudeness on the blogging side or the author side of my journey yet. I’m sure there is some out there but I’ve been pleased it hasn’t crossed my path.
The worst thing that happened so far to me is when, based on an article I read, I decided to stop by my hometown library and offer a donated copy of my book. The girl who helped me looked lost but accepted my book with a shrug and a confused mouthing of the word okay. Granted I didn’t expect a party, but a question or two from the local library to find out more would have made me feel a little less awkward. I think I’ll make another trip by there soon and see if someone else might be more helpful.
I am open to any additional suggestions and will try to let you know how the changes so far help things out. As a bonus for reading all the way through this bit of knowledge I just shared let me also share the first sneak peek at book two coming soon. Enjoy