We used to hawk our manuscripts to editors by snail mail, and today we can do it by email. We used to all buy paperback novels, but today a huge percentage of the population purchases ebooks. I'm not saying that the publishing industry has changed completely, but you've got to admit that it looks a lot different today than it did ten years ago. Even the most minute, unknown author has a chance to make it big by putting their name into the digital universe. Who knows? They just might go viral.
Over the years, I've made a point of soaking in the publishing industry - particularly the digital side of it. And there are a few surefire things every new author can do to get their names out there and come up with a way to sell their novels.
- Sell Yourself. So you'd like to be a writer, eh? You want to write the great American novel, walk the red carpets and sign autographs. Don't we all? Remember that as a writer, you are as much of a product as your book. Your name is on the cover, after all. Sell yourself, then! As an author, you're going to start small - like a seed - and you'll get big as time goes by. Like a tree! Start by getting yourself a website or blog. Make it easy for people to find out who you are - don't make it a mystery. Literally put your name in giant, bold letters on your site and make the About Me page easily accessible. Be personable. Be likable. Be yourself.
- Interact. Social media, folks. It's kind of a big deal. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Blogging. The works. These days, virtual unknowns have a chance to become internet superstars by creating a fan base through social media. The going can be a little slow at first, but that doesn't mean you should give up. Have patience, grasshopper. If you keep at it - and don't let it fall by the wayside - you'll start seeing epic results. Keep yourself front and center in the social media world.
- Be Bold. Something I see a lot is this: "I'm so sorry to bother you, and I feel like a total dummy sending this to you because I know you're a busy lady, but I would be so, so grateful if you'd take a look at my book and review it! If not, no biggie." I get this. A lot. From authors. They apologize to people for marketing their book, for asking for reviews, and for doing their job. Don't do this! Never apologize! And never say anything negative. When you're marketing, you stay positive. Period. "Hey, I wrote a book. I'd love for you to review it!" There ya go. Stay sunny side up, my friends.
- Streamline. Simplicity is often the answer to everything. Go with simple when all else fails. Make your websites and your information easily accessible. Don't make your readers dig for anything. In other words, if you want to sell your novel: LET US SEE IT! Don't hide it on some random tab on your blog. Put it on the sidebar. HEY. THIS IS MY BOOK. YOU SHOULD TOTALLY BUY IT. Be bold - the competition in the writing world is the stiffest on the planet - second only to selling screenplays in Hollywood - and if you want to run with the best of them, you have to make yourself heard.
- Watch Your Image. When I wrote Snappy Social Networking a couple of years ago, I talked about internet image. As I said above, you are as much of a product as your novel, so anything that you say or do reflects upon your product. Make sure things are consistent. Make sure you're respectful. Watch what you say on the internet. Be nice. That's another tip: If you want to hobnob with peeps like J.K. Rowling, you don't want to go around tearing apart other author's books. Really. I've seen this done - I've had this done to me - and it's two things: Unprofessional and unfocused. Unprofessional because you don't go around publicly bashing your peers, and unfocused because anybody who wants longevity will stay away from negativity.
Hope you find these tips helpful! Have an awesome August - and for those of you hopping back into the college semester....good luck! Happy writing!