Not Master of Business Administration but rather, My Best Advice.
I was going to sugarcoat this post in analogies. I had this really great one about being a new mom and listening to all the well meaning advice of ladies that haven’t birthed a baby since. . .
Instead I’m going to be straight up today.
People always ask authors, “What’s the best advice you could give an aspiring writer?” The inevitable answer is “write every day,” or “write what you know.”
You should be doing that.
But what is my best advice? Well you thought writing the book was the difficult part? Editing your books? I’m here to tell you that’s the tip of the sinking-of-the-titanic iceberg.
There is a book published every ten seconds. Ten. Seconds. How do you stand out in the crowd?
This is what I wish someone had told me, before I hit the publish button.
Start marketing yourself. Now. Your RSS feed should be your best friend. Facebook. Twitter. Goodreads. Don’t have a blog? Get one. Then start making connections, because those are the people who are going to buy your book. Face reality immediately and realize you are not going to be Stephenie Meyer. You will be lucky to even get a publishing contract. And that publishing contract will not come with a media frenzy. You will have to create it yourself. This is how you can begin.
Get a blog. Blogger and wordpress are the two best services for beginners. My website was done through wordpress.org, because I know how to write code. I love you all, but please don’t write me with wordpress questions. That is what google is for.
After you have a kicking blog, start finding other kicking blogs. Focus on book review sites. Start adding them to a feed reader, and making meaningful comments on posts. They love followers. I have approximately 1100 blogs in my feed reader. That is not a typo. Eleven hundred. They are split into all sorts of folders depending on the type of site they are. I try and spend an hour each day going through them quickly, and commenting on at least three of them. It’s easiest to do this if you have a smartphone and can read while the kids are at swim lessons, waiting in the carpool line, etc. Read the review policies and see if they allow guest posts. I have a spreadsheet of review sites that allow indie reviews.
Most sites will have a twitter button. Click on it to follow them on twitter. Then make it a point to write them a note about why you’re following them on twitter. Something like, “Just started following @abc’s reviews because they’re so insightful and you should totally follow too!” include a link to their site.
If they have a goodreads account, follow their reviews. Start posting your own reviews of books they’re reading, and start commenting. Goodreads is the single greatest social media site for authors. Take advantage of it now, before your book is published, and before you might be seen as having ulterior motives.
I don’t think I can stress the importance of this enough. Get networking, start building your name brand before you’re even finished with your first novel, it’s much harder to do once your book is out.
I’d love to hear from some of you- how do you network yourself?