A long journey: Ten things I’ve learned since publishing my novel

Ok, here me out. Despite the title, this post isn’t about me complaining about how long and tedious the publishing journey is. It isn’t either about how awfully slow it is to connect with readers. This is just part of the game, and all this build up is actually quite fascinating to experience. At least if one day my book becomes a bestseller (or a seller full stop), I’ll truly be able to enjoy it.

Instead of lamenting, I wanted to share with other newbie authors like me some of my experience and the lessons I’ve learned since publishing my novel, A Cunning Plan, nearly two months ago.

  1. Don’t expect to be an overnight success. Seriously, just don’t. You’re too old to believe in fairy tales. As an author you know how much work lies behind the pretty printed pages and the same can be expected from publishing that novel you worked so hard to write. Even writers signed up with the biggest publishing houses have to promote their novels. Read this post by Rick Riordan for instance. Even he wasn’t an overnight success. It’s ok. Just reality. You’re lucky enough to have written a novel and published it. Be grateful and keep hustling.Bridget-Jones-bridget-jones-25136291-500-212
  2. Finding your readership is hard. I have over 3,000 followers on Twitter. Felt like a lot at the time. Want to know how many of those followers have become readers of mine? Perhaps 3, 4 tops. You need to have a promotion strategy, you need to care about people and not just hammer their heads with promotional material all day long, you need to be creative (clearly still learning).
  3. Recognize every little success. A good review, an author or reader wanting to connect – these are gifts. Two more sales than yesterday are already two new readers that will discover your book someday. They will read your words, hopefully enjoy them. Isn’t it a dream come true already? giphy-2
  4. Sign up for blog tours. Yes, you can petition every single blog individually and hope some good soul will feature you, or you can sign up for a blog tour and let the professional handle the bloggers for you. They even send traffic to your social pages via rafflecopter. Saves you some precious time to write that next book 🙂
  5. Keep writing. While waiting for the word to spread, keep writing. The more books you publish, the better your chances are at getting discovered. Might be a good idea to write a series or at least stick to same genre for a while in order not to lose your first readers immediately when they discover your new book isn’t their cup of tea. giphy-2
  6. Try a Goodreads Giveaway. So far it’s the promotional method that has worked best for me. 1300 people signed up for the giveaway and 600 added A Cunning Plan to their to-read list. Potential readers! Makes me feel optimistic.
  7. Try to crack the Amazon algorithm. If you’re self published (which I’m not unfortunately), play with your novel’s price and categories on Amazon to find your niche. Easier to be discovered in a smaller category then in between the thousands of romantic comedies I’m stuck in.
  8. Harass BookBub. My cousin finally got BookBub after almost a year of applying there every month. She landed bestseller in her category! BookBub is magic!
  9. Harass your friends and family. People were so happy for you when you published your book. Posting about it, congratulating you. It’s nice, but it’s not enough. If they want to show their support, have them actually read your book and review it. You’ll see, it’s not that easy. It’s actually really freaking hard! Two months in and I’m still waiting for my friends to start the novel. Authors need reviews, they are essential to the success of a book. Keep reminding them of that fact. images-2
  10. Keep blogging. And blog to your readers, not to your fellow authors (precisely what I’m not doing right now). I’m planning to start a series of posts about wonder women starting in the fall. A way to keep the world of my novel alive and to satisfy a readership that I hope, will have grown by then!
What about you? Any advice for struggling authors trying to put their books out here?

 

 

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