I can tell you with confidence that having people read your book is the absolute best part of writing one. Since Stitch hasn’t been released yet, there’s only been around 20 people who have read it to provide feedback. But when I hear back from those people about what they thought (good or bad!), it makes my day every time.
As a first-time author, I have to say I wasn’t expecting this – I thought the writing itself would be the fun part, and the sharing would be nerve-wracking and painful. But much to my surprise, it’s not. Even when the feedback is critical, I’ve found that the fun of sharing my book with others well outweighs any negatives. And it’s made me eager to get the book out there and into readers’ hands.
So now the question is, how do I find more people to share it with?
Up until this point, my blog posts have been about things I’ve already accomplished and which I feel reasonably comfortable I did well. But marketing is uncharted territory for me. I’ve only just begun the process of trying to find readers, and having never marketed a book before, I’m not really sure what the most effective strategies are.
Lucky for me, lots of successful authors have been kind enough to document their experiences in blogs and ebooks, and so from those sources, I’ve compiled the following plan:
1. Create an author website with a page about your book and an active blog (done!)
2. Create Facebook pages for your book and for yourself as an author, get enough people to like them to claim the vanity usernames (done!)
3. Create a Twitter account and use it to interact with readers (…not quite there yet, but perhaps someday soon)
4. Design intriguing cover art that looks good and is recognizable at thumbnail size (on its way!)
5. Tell everyone you know that you wrote a book. Ask (beg) them to read it and refer it to other people who might like it (get ready friends & family! planning to do this as soon as my book is available…)
6. Find reviewers. Start with the people you know who’ve read your book and have them post reviews on Amazon & Goodreads. Find blogs who review books in your genre and see if they’re interested in reviewing yours. Reach out to influential reviewers on Amazon, Goodreads, etc. and offer them free copies of your book. Be creative in finding other groups of people who might be interested (people from your hometown, hobby groups related to the content of your book, etc.) and find a way to get your book in their hands. Host contests for free books or giveaways of advanced copies. Basically, do whatever is necessary to amass as many reviews as possible… (still figuring out how I’m going to do this – I’m sure there will be later blog posts on this topic)
7. Make your book easy to find. List it in as many relevant genres on Amazon and in the ISBN info as possible, use Smashwords to get the ebook version distributed at iTunes, Barnes & Noble, and other retailers, make sure your website comes up when you search for the book in Google, etc. (will do this as soon as the book is ready for release)
8. After launch, remember the 3 P’s: Patience, Persistence, and Patience again! Every author I’ve spoken to has said the same thing. “It takes time to build an audience, so don’t get discouraged and just keep trying to get your book in front of people. Don’t give up!” (patience… going to have to keep reminding myself about that one!)
So that’s basically my plan. Of course, this is just the beginning of a plan. Once the book is for sale, there will be all kinds of levers to tinker with – pricing, promotions, Amazon Lending Library, local media, bookstore appearances. So we’ll cross those bridges when we come to them, and in the meantime, I still have plenty of work ahead in getting the book ready for release and trying to garner reviews. Check back for my reports on the results!