Top 11 Things You'll Realise 3 Months into Launching a Book
It's been just over three months since HIRED, FIRED, FLED was officially launched, so to mark this milestone, here's a Top 11 list of what I've learned so far in this muddled, turbulent, yet utterly engaging world of the author-publisher:
1. Writing is half the battle
- All those blogs you’ve read weren’t lying. You want them to be wrong, but they’re so very, very accurate. Writing your book is just half the battle. The marketing, promotions, PR, tinkering, pleading, and pushing is just as much work, if not more – and for a writer used to hiding behind a screen it’s a tough process to take on
- TIP: Don’t expect instant results. Make a marketing plan and gradually work through it. Take breaks. Mix with humans at least once a day
2. Getting people to post reviews is tough
- People are busy. You’ve been consumed by your book for years, so expect/hope people will leap to attention and read it within days, posting a glowing review… but life doesn't work that way
- TIP: Don’t nag too much (but how much is too much?!!)
- TIP: Ask people to review another book first – anything – and then review your book a week or two later. This will hopefully allow new reviewers to post reviews without being blocked, as supposedly Amazon’s robots notice if a book is gathering a lot of reviews from people who haven't reviewed before . There’s a lot written about Amazon’s systems and a lot of it is guesswork. Undoubtedly, though, Amazon wants people to review paid-for books, not review copies, so nag for the 'pre-review review'... which is, yes, more nagging... speaking of which - if you'd like to buy/post a review, click the below link!!
3. That to do list only gets longer
- You did the book launch, and now you're under way, but every time you think you’re getting somewhere, someone suggests another line of attack, another marketing tip... then you’ll be off investigating it, working out how to put it to good use, checking as to whether it’s right for you… and that to-do list only gets longer...
4. The established media ain’t no friend of yours
- Fortunately, the power of the established media continues to wane
- Unfortunately, they still have enough power to be gatekeepers, and sadly they mostly only let established authors through the gate
- Don’t forget that a major review might be harsh on you; (yet at least in this fractured media landscape it might not be read by that many people!)
5. Major competitions ain’t no friend of yours
- What is it with the ‘No self-published entries’ rule?
- Established competitions should, at the very least, allow minor competition award winners and runners-up to enter the major league battles
6. From launch on, you are now Head of PR, Digital, Marketing, Sales, Accounts, Publishing, Advertising, Social Media, Design, Events, Nagging, Pleading, Giveaways...
- Yet even though you’ve got all of this on your plate, it’ll still be tough convincing people you’re busy. It gets frustrating. People often assume that you’re not up to much, as you’re now ‘published’ but of course they won’t realise that you’re spending hours researching blogs, journalists, websites, and more, honing your marketing strategy, putting it all to work, then turning to blog and tweet and... blah blah blah... sod it...
- Just remember there’s no need to tell anyone anything. Say that you’re flat out and then change the subject as fast as possible
7. Imposter syndrome is alive and well in writing
- There’s always someone more successful, doing something more incredible, and you’ll feel the pressure of those people bearing down on you, but you need to remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and that there’s more than one book in you. Do what you can with the first book, then when the time is right, split your energy focusing on the next one. Every product has a sell-by date (yet fortunately books have a relatively long one, like goat's cheese, or student milk)
8. Social media is tantamount to cocaine
- It’s addictive, provides short term elation, is mastered by the few, and in the long term causes brain damage and abject idiocy
9. You’ll understand the phrase ‘Sisyphean Task’
- Are you trying to roll a rock to the top of a hill, but you never reach the top? Nobody does! That’s the point. Is the top selling 10,000 copies? Or 10 million copies? Well, if you get to 10 million, pat yourself on the back, take a rock to the top of a hill, photograph it, and send me a copy
10. I gots-to-do something different!
- You can follow all the advice, but swimming in pre-ordained lanes gets dull. Think different (to quote Apple). Do something that will turn heads. Have fun with it. Try to enjoy the process. And if you master guerrilla marketing, share your wisdom!
11. It's all worth it when readers are picking up what you're throwing down
- Admittedly the above points could be grouped into a sub-heading called 'The downsides to being an author-publisher' but they're really just a reflection of the hard graft that goes into launching and marketing a book
- The above points pale to insignificance every time you get a sale or a positive review. The hard work seems worth it, as you know that your writing has connected with a reader. And that, for me, was the point of starting the writing process in the first place. A book may not make millions, but it can entertain and inspire... if you find your market
There's a lot of people out there. There's a lot of books out there. Good luck finding your market!
For more tips, sign up to my blog using the form below.
Also check out http://allianceindependentauthors.org/