I just finished writing my very first EVER novel. No, not the Nano novel (that would be my second novel which is still in unfinished first draft stage which I’ll probably get to next year).
I started this novel back in July, so it’s taken nearly six months to get from first word to live, but today it’s now available on Amazon (more retailers coming in the next few weeks).
Of course that begs the question – what now? Now that it’s available for sale, what are the next steps?
I’ve written my plan of what I am going to do to help increase visibility and (hopefully) sales, in case it might help any of you.
Step 1: Celebrate your achievement.
Writing a novel is hard work. It’s certainly a labor of love, but at the end I don’t think enough writers celebrate their achievements.
So you have my full permission to shout out the window, throw an impromptu disco party with your kids, and go shopping for some beautiful yellow bowls that will sit in your open shelves and make you smile. Or at least that’s what I did, your celebrations might involve something else entirely – like blue bowls for instance.
Step 2: Blog about it.
I’ve come to the conclusion that for fiction books, marketing is too hit and miss to be done effectively (works awesome for nonfiction, but not so much for fiction). But that doesn’t mean that you can’t inadvertently promote your new book. In fact the more eyeballs you can get to your book, the more chances you have.
I’m not, however, one for tweeting my link every hour or spamming my friends and family.
What *I* do is blog. Generally about seemingly unrelated random things that have nothing to do with my book. But things I think people would be interested in. And if they get curious about me, then all they have to do is click the ‘my books’ tab and see what I’ve written. Or sometimes (depending on the blogs traffic or subject matter), I’ll put a link in the blog’s sidebar with a picture of the book cover.
Apart from my pen name authors actual blog (I have one for each pen name) I rarely write much about that book at all.
For example: On this blog, I’ll write about writing, and my experiences in self publishing. On my personal blog, I’ll talk about my life. And so on. But somewhere, often subtly, I’ll put a link to my book. Like it was added there as an afterthought and not the main reason I want people to visit and enjoy my blogs. People are curious. You don’t have to shove the book in their face – if they are interested in you, they’ll find out more about what you do.
I have lots of blogs out there. Too many to keep up with, really. Plus lots of squidoo lenses, hubpages and articles. Loads of places to get eyeballs on my book.
(Having said all that – generally I do blog because I enjoy it and the topics I write about, not because I’m trying to sell books). I’m always a writer first.
Step 3: Get on with things
Whether that’s writing your next book, or catching up on the washing. Now it’s time to sit back and let luck find you. Because despite your very best efforts, if you’ve written a great book, got a professional looking cover, and written an enticing blurb, its luck that will propel you to sales beyond what you could ever imagine.
Luck that your story will resonate with readers, luck that people talk about you to their friends, and luck that you become a success. You definitely can increase your luck with the magic three (book, cover, blurb), but even the greatest marketing campaign isn’t going to make you a success like 50 Shades, Harry Potter, or Hunger Games.
So celebrate your achievements, do a small amount of marketing if you want (something you enjoy – I like blogging, I don’t like twitter much), and cross your fingers.
And get writing your next novel. If this one isn’t a bestseller, then perhaps the next one will be, or the next one. Keep writing and keep improving!
To your success,
P.S. What, you’ve read this whole blog post and noticed I didn’t mention the name of my novel? Well that’s awfully cheeky of me isn’t it. Oh, go on then – satisfy your curiosity 😉