CJC’s Author Chat #1
What advice would you give fellow authors who are writing their first book?
Build your platform before publishing your first book. Especially if you’re going wide.
Your book will not be magically discovered when you publish it. You need reviews, and you need purchases to bring it up high enough in the ranks for people to find it on their own. How do you have a preorder and release when you have no readers?
Write some short free content, share some excerpts, participate in author events, etc and gather readers before your first book is published.
I would say to not only build a following, but know your brand and stay true to it. I agree with everything Lindsay Murray said above as well.
Celebrate every success, no matter how small Everything is changeable, and you get as many tries as you need. If something doesn’t work, it isn’t a failure. It’s just what not to do for now.
Don’t get lost down the rabbit hole of marketing. When you first start out, it can be daunting. Facebook parties, giveaways, promotional packages, blog tours, ads, etc. There are so many different platforms and methods for getting your book out there. Sit down and plan it out. Figure out your budget, both financially and mentally. This will leave you room to work on your next project and not lose your love of writing to the business side of things. It’s easy to burn out with marketing.
Don’t set unreachable goals. Set small, attainable goals as you go so you don’t get overwhelmed and burn out before you even start. This attributes to word counts, follower goals, readers, newsletter subs etc. Smaller goals will help your confidence as you grow and then you can set bigger goals in the future.
You have to kiss a lot of s. It’s the wild west out here. When you find an editor, proofreader, designer, photographer, etc. who is responsive, professional, reliable, and skilled, hold them close and treat them well! They are hard to find, and the cost of services often does not align with quality.
Just get the words on the page. Don’t go back and edit as you write. Your first draft is supposed to be messy, that’s why it’s called a draft.
The best advice I ever received was, “Write the damn book.” That advice was never so true than when I wrote my first book I knew I was publishing. It was part of a group effort, where each author’s book was based on a common theme. I had a limit on the number of words and tried my best to stay in that limit. But the story just kept going. I had affirmation of that first piece of advice when I told the organizer my book was just going way longer than it was supposed to, and she said, “Write your story until it’s done.” And I did. It’s still the most popular of all the books I’ve written. So, that is my advice. Write your book, whether it is short or long or somewhere in between. Write the story you have in you until it’s been told. No matter how long it takes.
Write your story. Every trope has been tackled but your story hasn’t. Don’t try to create something new for the trope but rather write your rock star romance or your sports romance. But also, be aware of where your readers will fall and market to them. Some tropes and niches are easier to market to than others.
When publishing, put out a quality product. Pay for the cover that sells, pay for a solid editor. You only get one chance to make a first impression.
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