5 Things Writers Need to Know Before Publishing Their First BookPosted by Cynthia on March 13, 2017
In reality, many writers quickly realize how much more they are expected to pitch in on the marketing front. They realize that books don’t just magically appear in bookstores, and that readers won’t drop everything and read the book the second they first hear about it.
To help you avoid surprises, here are five things writers need to know before publishing their first book:
1. Bestsellers are not created overnight.
When you see a book shoot magically up the best-seller list in the first week it is published, understand that it took many people many months of work to put it there. It takes traditional publishers so long to get from acquisition to publication because they are setting the stage for the release: writing the marketing & publicity material for the sales reps to use with the buyers, mailing out media review copies, securing interviews and reviews, putting together the advertising creative, and more.
As an author, you’ll need to have the patience and foresight to plan out a complete marketing campaign. This can start as soon as you finish the manuscript: establish your online presence, start building a mailing list, and introduce yourself to the local publishing community.
2. You will need to be an extrovert.
Book promotion means you will need to balance talking about yourself and your book and talking about other things people care about (for example). You will need to engage with your readers. You will need to sign books. You will need to charm booksellers. And you will need to tell your story over and over again, answering the same questions, remaining positive and friendly throughout.
Remember that you wouldn’t be a published author without readers, so work hard to make every interaction a great one. Also know yourself well enough to recharge your batteries between events, and let your publicist know to be selective with the types of interviews you do.
Quick tip: Ask the Author is a great way to engage with readers, as it allows you to select which questions to answer, and when to answer them. [Read tips about using Ask the Author here.]
3. Not everyone will like your book... and that is ok!
You might think your book will only find it’s way into the hands of readers who will think it’s life-changing, but sooner or later someone will not like your book. No book is for everyone, and the most important thing to realize about a negative review is that it’s just one person’s opinion. Don’t take it personally. Instead, leave it alone and then get the beverage of your choice, and look up your favorite book on Goodreads. Chances are there are many negative reviews of it!
Respect personal preferences, and never try to change someone’s opinion about your book. If you’re worried you’ll get affected by reading reviews of your own book, don’t read them (yes, it really is that simple!). If you suspect it violates our review guidelines, flag it so our team can take a look at it.
4. Read books, not your own reviews.
One way to avoid reading your own reviews is to stay occupied by reading other people’s books! This is the best activity to engage with readers on Goodreads and build a following [read more about building a following here].
Share your passion for reading and show off your talent for writing by reviewing books on Goodreads. Start by reviewing books you loved in childhood, move on to books that inspired you to become a writer, and then tackle the current best-seller list for more recent titles. Remember: Goodreads is a community for readers—these are your people! Connect with them, and trust they will discover your own work that way.
5. Keep writing.
If all goes well, readers will devour your work and immediately want more. You need to have something ready to share with them, whether that’s a short story or a preview of the second book in the series. Keep the same writing schedule as you had before your work was published. You might transition from being a writer to being an author by publishing your first book; publish more than that and you have a career.
What do you wish you had known before publishing your first book? Share it in the comments below!
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