Last Week’s WW: The Hardest Part
What a week. I’ve been so busy and distracted that I’ve more or less lost track of what day it is. (as is evident from my missing a few days on here.) But now, let’s get back on track.
Did you know that there are roughly 6,000 books published every single day? I’m not sure on the exact numbers, but I think of those, less than half are fiction, and I’m sure that a great deal less are in your specific genre. Still, that’s a lot of competition. It’s no wonder that many people gather the courage to hit the publish button, and then nothing happens. So how do you stand out?
I like to read Kboards sometimes. And I’ve seen people post that they have 25 books out and have only ever sold a total of 5 total copies across all of them. Which seems impossible. Other people say that they’re going to go for it and publish their book, and they’ve made this decision just now and go look for their book, now. That’s a recipe for failure.
Write a great story.
I don’t think that this point needs much explanation. But none of the other steps will matter if you’re not committed to putting out the best writing that you can.
You have to be willing to wait.
If an author gets traditionally published, it usually takes a year for their book to come out. Sometimes longer. Self-publishing has the advantage of instant gratification, but it also has instant-awfulness. The easiest thing is to think: “I’ve finished my novel, time for the world to see it!” But that’s not true. It needs at least a couple drafts, preferably with feedback from people who aren’t you or your pet. Beta readers, ARC readers, Editors. They will help you succeed. Take the time, make it right, and, if it goes well, these people will be at the ready to leave your book reviews when it goes live.
This is challenging. But the only thing harder than getting people to agree to read your book for free, is to get people to read a book when it looks like no one else is reading it. Reviews are very important. So much so that I delayed the release of my book by almost two months in order to get a handful of them. I found a few reviewers among my friends, a couple on Goodreads, and a few through Thirdscribe. Don’t skip this step.
It’s a scary thing to talk to someone you never have before. Especially if you idolize them, or at least, if you respect them. Although, that could just be me and my social anxiety. But the point is that you should reach out to other authors. They know what you’re going through, and many of them are willing to help you out, or at least offer advice. And you just might find yourself with a new network of good friends, too.
Set A Release Date
Don’t just throw your book up on Amazon and hope that somehow people will find it among the millions of books that are already up there, or the thousands that release the same day. What does having a set release date do for you? Lots! If you decide to use preorder (which is dicey, best used if you have a following already), then you have a date to put down. If you’re going to do any promos you can get them set up. You can begin to tell everyone that you’re book will be out on that date. You can have your ARC readers ready to leave reviews (about 1/3 of them will). If you’re going to have a launch party, set it up for that day. If you’ve got other authors supporting you on social media, you can let them know your release date so that they can all use their influence at the same time, and hopefully help your book rise up through the Amazon ranks.
I’ll find out on Sunday at my facebook launch party (stop by and enter for some giveaways!) if this helps or not, but I think that it will. I’m doing a ton of giveaways. The point, beyond celebration, is to bring awareness to your book. Visibility is the biggest challenge for a new author. You have to find a way to help people find your book. Word of mouth is great. If you have a party, and have lots of people talking, then you might just get some buzz, and get some people directed toward your book.
Some help, others don’t. Most of the time it’s a gamble. I wouldn’t get too carried away, especially if you don’t have much money to invest in this step. But they can be very useful in terms of visibility. And some get people buying.
Good luck with your publishing, do what you can to be visible, and don’t let your book get lost among so many.