I haven’t posted in a while and I have a two word reason for that: Grad School. Anyway, I thought I’d take a look at the business side of writing.
Everyone always talks about the creative side of writing; characters, plot development, world building, etc. But do they ever really talk about what happens after all your dreams come true and you can introduce yourself as a published author? Now, I’m still in the learning phase so take my words with a grain of salt.
So, what do I know about business? Well, I’m still a college kid, so business is something grownups do, right? I’ve moved back home to work on my advanced degree and this means three things. 1) Home cooked meals almost every night. 2) Three years of tormenting younger siblings to catch up on. 3) Access to my dad who’s been independently employed for over ten years.
These are all huge bonuses but the third is what we’re looking at. When it comes to promoting a book you can’t just shove it in people’s faces and order them to read it. I wish it was that easy. It’s about making connections, building relationships with other professionals, etc. It’s not about your book anymore. You’re promoting yourself. And for someone who’s somewhat reticent about talking about herself all the live long day, that’s hard.
This is where my dad comes in. He understands business. He’s been giving me tons of advice. I’ve had a few book signings recently and I’ve also gotten into a local book fair which is bringing in some big name authors. He talked me through the process and gave me some pointers.
1- Follow up with your contact. They’ll remember you (for better or worse).
2- Instead of email and phone calls, try for face to face conversation. That way, they’ll have a face to put with the name and will be even more inclined to remember you.
3- Make as many connections as you can. Even if nothing turns out at that time, who knows what will happen in a few weeks, months, years?
4- Don’t look at success as the amount of money made. For this upcoming book fair, the cost of the booth seems high. But let’s look at potential benefits. I’ll be getting my name out there. I’ll be able to connect with other authors and get advice from them. I’ll have a good excuse for procrastinating on studying for my tests the next week. Oh, wait, we’re talking benefits here. Even if someone doesn’t buy my book immediately, if they walk away with a bookmark or a post card then that’s a victory. If they walk away with more than one bookmark that means more people reached. You see where I’m going.
5- You can’t expect to be successful right away. Building your name up takes a long time. People are eventually successful because of contacts they’ve made who’ve passed their information on. You have to keep working on your image. They say you only have 7 seconds to make a first impression. Make it count. I”m still working on this. As stated above, I’m not the most outgoing when faced with a horde of strangers.
6- I try and follow up with venues that have hosted signings for me. I’ll send them a thank you card no matter how successful the event went for me. The idea is that will make you stand out and maybe if you make it to the Minors, they’ll want to have you back. And if you get called up to the Big Leagues, remember your roots. They helped you out once, maybe you can return the favor.
We’re also thinking that a second book will help generate interest in the first book. So, I’ve decided to look at moving forward with the sequel to The Rise of Aredor. Hopefully I’ll have some news on that soon.
I’m still a newbie to this whole published thing. I’ve still got a lot of work to do. I hope this helped anyone else who is in the same position as me. And if you have any advice, feel free to share it! One last thing- I really don’t recommend being in grad school and trying to market a book. They’re both very time consuming.