Journey after the edits

You’ve prepped and polished your manuscript. You’ve gone through the nail-biting experience of pitching to an editor or agent. You’ve been rejected up the wazoo. After much blood, sweat, and tears, you’ve gotten “the call” and have been offered a contract. Congratulations, you’re getting published! The hard work is over, right?

Wrong!

The moment you sign that contract your life has changed. You will never again be that naïve unpublished writer in search of someone who will believe in your story as much as you do. Rather, you’ll be the naïve soon-to-be-published author with a lot to prove and in search of finding ways to reach your readers.

Discoverability. Friend or foe? Art or Science? Whether a writer or a reader, there’s a good chance you’re familiar with this word. So what’s the secret of being discovered? Actors and actresses seek it. As do authors. Below are a few tips I’ve found helpful on this leg of my publishing journey.

Marketing Plan – If you’re traditionally published, you may know your book’s release date months in advance. That’s not always the case if you’re published with a small press. I knew an approximate timeframe when my book would be available worldwide and backed into when I expected my Amazon KDP pre-release to be. It ended up being a month earlier. Unfortunately, I kept putting off preparing and had two weeks to put some type of marketing plan in place.

So began my quest for how best to market for both a pre-release for Kindle/print and a world-wide release almost four months later. Do I do a blog tour? What company? What kind? I’d heard the saying you have to spend money to make money, but how much money can I afford to spend upfront? I’m still feeling my way over this hill and am not sure if what I’m doing (or spending) is helping me in the long run. But I’m networking with other authors, getting their advice, benefitting from their learnings, and tweaking to what works for me. Then I’m looking at the results and tweaking some more.

Below is a blog post that caught my attention. I found some good resources that I’ve only started to engage with.

http://thewritersvineyard.com/2014/01/marketing-should-be-its-own-curse-word.html

As much as you may not want to, you’ll have to spend time preparing. My advice is to find out what level of support your publisher provides to help you market your book. Once you know that, create a plan, knowing that you’ll have to adjust and occasionally wing it.

Website – this is something I suggest you put into place before you’re published. It doesn’t have to be fancy or have a lot of detail. I started with a free WordPress blog that doubled as a website. I had pages for About Me, Books, News, Contact. I bought my domain name at 1&1for not a lot of money. After I signed with The Wild Rose Press, I wanted something that had a more professional feel to it and created a website using WIX. It took me several early mornings over the course of a couple weeks to set it up, but I like that I’m in control of the content and can tweak things as I see fit.

Blog – if you can find an opportunity to blog, whether it be your own blog or guest blogging, I’d really recommend it. It will give you practice if you’re planning on going this route after publication.

Social Media – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest. Try a couple and see what works for you.

Write – I have to keep reminding myself, I’m a writer not a marketing guru. It’s way too easy to get caught up in the promotion, especially if your book is only available online. But set aside time to continue writing. While marketing and promotion are important, I need to balance it with getting the next story published. That way as I am discovered and people fall in love with my book, I can give them more.

Last of all, BREATHE! This is important when you find yourself having a meltdown because there aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything and find yourself overwhelmed and falling behind in life. Do something with your family, go shopping, or exercise. But most of all, remember why you’re doing this. The journey doesn’t end after the contract.  You’re beginning a new adventure and in many ways it can be just as exciting and even more frightening.

Thanks for stopping by!

Maria
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24 Comments

  1. Diana Quincy

     /  January 20, 2014

    Hi Maria – Thanks for this informative marketing roundup. The link is very interesting too. The detailed numbers about BookBub’s impact are eye-opening!

    Reply
  2. Hi Maria – I’d also like to say thanks for the marketing roundup. I’m in the process of putting a plan in place for a $.99 sale and I’m familiar with most of the sites she listed. The scary thing is…my list nearly doubles hers and I’m sure there is even more out there. A lot for us newly published authors to chose from. Now that I’m into promo for book two, I’m seeing what worked for me for book one and what didn’t, what mistakes I made, and tweaking just like you suggested. In many cases its not just the $$ investment, but the investment of time as well that will drive my future decisions.

    I LOVE your last point. I’ve spent the last week or so taking stock, spending more focused time with my family and remembering WHY I’m doing all this in the first place. We have goals, yes, but we started all this because we love to write! I’m looking forward to getting back to the business of writing!!!

    Reply
    • Trial and error, hopefully light on the error. I miss the excitement of writing the story and am looking forward to starting a new one as soon as I can.

      Reply
  3. Mia Lansford

     /  January 20, 2014

    Hello MK,

    Happy New Year Femmes!

    My concentration in college was marketing so I love following what everybody does to get exposure. From the youtube videos all the way up to street teams. Free books, discounts, reviews, swag – what works for some doesn’t work for others. Why? In the end the product has to be desirable. Which luckily for you ladies, you all can write. Holy Smokes I loved reading the Femmes books in 2013 and look forward to getting to more of them in 2014. I might take a break from reading in 2015 (just kidding Joanna I am dying for your debut).

    Mia

    Reply
    • Hi Mia. How do you know if you’re product isn’t great or if it’s great but is lost because it’s not visible? I’m glad you’re loving the Femmes books.With a marketing background, you’ll be ready to rock when you get published! We’re cheering you on now and will be even more so then!

      Reply
  4. I enjoyed your post and also felt overwhelmed when my first book published. Thanks for the marketing info, too!

    Reply
    • Hi Ashantay. It’s overwhelming but it helps knowing others are in the same situation and that there are so many people willing to lend support and suggestions. Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  5. Hi Maria! Thanks for a great post. Promotion is so overwhelming for new and established authors alike. Am I spending enough money on promo? Am I seeing results from the money I have spent? Sometimes it’s hard to tell in the way of sales. But you are right to say that writing is important. We need a product to sell!

    Reply
    • Hi Tina. It’s difficult to know which promotions are triggering the sales. Working in IT for my day job, I remember mailed marketing campaigns that had specific codes to use so we’d know which promotion was working and which wasn’t. It’s a little more difficult now. Finding the balance between promotion and writing is key. Thanks for comenting!

      Reply
  6. Hi Maria! I’m filing this all away of course until later in the year when I need to focus on promo. Glad I’ll be able to use all the good tips from my writer peeps!

    Reply
  7. Jenna Blue

     /  January 20, 2014

    Maria, thank you! I pay attention as much as possible now to all the marketing info I read online and hear from my writer pals like you, just try to let it all soak in. Hopefully that way it won’t be quite so terrifying when I (someday) have to do the same. I am comforted to know that by the time I do have to worry about it, I will have many experienced advisors in the Femmes. Like everybody else, I am looking forward to February to get back to writing. Time to leave editing behind for a while!

    Reply
    • Hi Jenna. It’s nice to have a writing challenge to gives us an incentive to get back to basics and write. Hopefully I’ll have time to squeeze some writing in.

      Reply
  8. Thanks, Maria, for the marketing information. Book Bub, wow! Best, Michele

    Reply
  9. Darn it! I knew I was forgetting something. Okay, going to go breathe now. Phew. It’s rough trying to figure out the promo, especially since it’s so hard to know what’s actually working. Having a plan is definitely a good idea. It can at least take the anxiety down a notch.

    Reply
    • Hi Emma. I hate circling around a plan. I’d rather be decisive, build a plan and later tweak it. Lately, it seems to be my mode of operation in both my writing and in the day job. Plan, take a step, replan, take a step (sometimes backwards), repeat 🙂

      Reply
  10. I loved this post. Thank you. I`m publishing with a small press and am a bit daunted with all the work I have to do after the supposed `hard work`has already been completed. Great advice and pointers!

    Reply
    • Hi J.C. I agree. There’s so much reading and preparing that I hadn’t been prepared to do. I find it interesting and can completely get swept up in it. I have to set limits for myself or get nothing done. Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  11. bubblebathreader

     /  January 21, 2014

    Some really great points here, especially the ones on continuing to write and remembering to breathe. Thank you for these reminders. One thing is for sure, keeping good records, contacts, analysis of what works and what doesn’t, etc. will prove essential for the next book, and the next, and the next.
    The Ocean Between – Romance for the True Romantic.

    Reply
    • You bring up a good point about keeping records of what you did and the data (and your assessment) of the results. And even notes about what you’d do differently next time. Things don’t always pan out the way you expected or the way the same promo worked for another person. Trial and error and hopefully you’ll get a formula that works for your and your books. Thanks for stopping by and sharing!

      Reply
  12. Thank you-1st book isn’t out yet, yet-but soon, and I’m definitely feeling overwhelmed. Make a plan-that helps, breath is 1st on my list.

    Reply
  13. Jaye Marie Rome

     /  February 3, 2014

    Like Jenna, Maria, I’ll be mining all the experience you ladies are getting as you move forward. Remembering to breathe is important…as any other job, work can take over your life if you let it. And as much as I’d like to be able to ignore the housework, a cluttered house only leads to a cluttered mind, at least in my case.

    I don’t know how you do it…hold down a full-time job, keep the house going, write, market. Kudos for making it work!

    Jaye

    Reply

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