5 Tips for Making Your First Book a Success
When I first started to write a book, I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into. All I knew was that I had a story to tell, and I wanted to write it down for other people to read. But when I first started, I had no idea how I could even get published without spending a ton of money that I just didn’t have. And then, if I ever did get published, would anyone even buy my book? I think these are definitely questions that every first-time author (and maybe even authors who have many published works) asks themselves. I have finally published my first book, so here are some tips from my own experience.
1. Craft your story. One of the hardest parts I found in getting published was marketing myself. I had to have a story to tell my story. In other words, before anyone would even consider publishing my book, I had to craft a story that would convince them that my book was worth publishing. And so, early on, I learned that the best salesperson for my book is me. After all, if I didn’t believe in sharing it, why should they?
2. Be prepared to be pushed in the limelight. As an author, editor, and bookworm, I tend to hide behind the scenes, writing what will happen instead of participating. But once I decided that I wanted to be a published author, I found myself suddenly pushed into the spotlight, having to be willing to talk to strangers, speak to large crowds, and share my experiences on camera. I don’t think that I was truly prepared for how public I was going to have to be. If you really want your book to sell, then you can’t sit behind the scenes. You’re going to have to be willing to give speeches, read for story times, and appear on television shows. Never turn down an opportunity to promote your book!
3. Polish your sales pitch. Even if you are published traditionally, you still have to be willing to be your own salesperson. You can’t simply sit back and watch the sales roll in—especially if it’s your first book. After all, you haven’t made a name for yourself yet, so who’s going to want to read your book? Even though my publisher does a lot of the behind-the- scenes work for marketing, I still have to be the face that everyone sees, which means I also have to have a sales pitch ready. Everyone I meet is a potential reader, so I need to have something in mind when I talk to them.
4. Make sure you have an online presence. When I got started, I was quite savvy with Facebook, but I had no idea that I needed to be on Twitter and Instagram as well. In fact, I am still learning the ropes, and I have to remind myself to post to those other sites. But it’s not enough to just post something on your own site; you need to interact on other people’s sites as well. Follow other authors and comment on their posts. Join writing groups and groups that focus on your topic. For instance, I wrote a book on adoption, so I joined several adoption groups and try to interact withother adoptive parents on a regular basis.
5. Create a website and blog. This goes along with my previous point, but I feel that it needs to be said separately because this is an important way to get your name and book out there. Many authors make the mistake of not sharing their writing online. You don’t have to put your book on your blog, but your prospective readers want to see a glimpse of your writing. Find a topic, and start writing. Have guest bloggers on your blog, so you can market your sight to their readers as well. And volunteer to blog on other people’s sites as well. Then be sure to share your blog posts on social media.
As a first-time author, I certainly don’t have book marketing down yet, but I am learning and growing with the help of seasoned authors and editors who I have met online. My biggest tip to you is to accept help from those who have come before and market yourself and your book whenever, and wherever, you can.
Katie Cruice Smith is a freelance writer and editor. Her first children’s book, Why Did You Choose Me?, was released in November for National Adoption Month. Katie and her husband, Jamie are the proud adoptive parents to three kids and have also fostered ten children. You can read from Katie at www.KatieCruiceSmith.com or follow her on Facebook at Katie Cruice Smith, Author; on Twitter @authorKTCsmith; or on Instagram @authorkatiesmith.
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