Countless people dream of becoming a published authors. There's something appealing about the prospect of having your words read by millions of readers, seeing your book on the shelves of bookstores and libraries, holding your newly published book in your hands, and, of course, receiving glowing reviews. Many writers think that once they hit that “Publish”-button on any of the available self-publishing platforms or they hand in their completed manuscript to a publisher, that their work is done. But soon reality sets in, and they discover how much they are expected to pitch in on the marketing front. For some odd reason, books don’t just magically appear in bookstores, and people won’t drop everything to read the book the moment they hear about it. To help you avoid these surprises, so many writers experienced, here are things you should know before publishing your first book.
Your book won't become a best seller overnight! When you see a book magically shoot up the best seller list, please understand that it took a large team many months of work to get it there. It takes traditional publishers a long time to get it from acquisition to publication because they need time to set the stage for the release, to include writing the marketing material, mailing out advance reader's copies, securing interviews and reviews, and so much more. As an author, you’ll need to be patient and establish a marketing plan even before your book is published. Have you established your online presence yet? If not, now is the time, even if you're a bit behind the power curve. Better late than never is the motto here. Also, start building a mailing list, and introduce yourself to some local and online publishing communities.
Be social! Promoting your book means you will need to find a balance between talking about your book and yourself and talking about other matters. You will have to engage your readers, sign books, and charm booksellers. And you will also end up telling your story repeatedly, answering the same questions over and over again while remaining friendly throughout. Just keep in mind that you wouldn’t be a published writer without readers, so do your best and make every interaction a memorable one. Also know yourself well enough to recognize when you need to take a break between events. People will notice if you are not really interested in them.
It's alright if not everyone likes your book. You love your book! No doubt about it, otherwise you wouldn't have written it. However, sooner or later someone will read it, and the unthinkable will happen...they won't like your book! Even worse, they might even write a negative review about your beloved book. Now what? In this case, it's good to remember that no one book suits everyone and a negative review is just one person’s opinion. Try not to take it personally.
Keep on writing! If all goes according to plan, readers will love your work and want to read more of your writings. It is of definite advantage to have something to share with them, whether it's a blog post, a magazine article or the preview of your new manuscript. It will help establish your reputation as a writer, and in time you will have a great number of readers who can't wait to read your next book. Just remember, writing is a marathon, not a sprint!
Piper is the author of several non-fiction books, and recently added her debut historical fiction novel In the Shadow of Her Majesty to her ever-expanding collection of published writings. When she isn't busy typing away on her computer, she can be found chasing after her furry children or holding on tightly to a good cup of coffee. Follow her on LinkedIn, Facebook, Goodreads and Google+.