Last month I posted an interview with SheBooks co-founder Laura Fraser. This month I want to tell you what I learned by publishing my first book and what I plan to do differently next time.
Photo courtesy of NASA
1. Are you blogging to the wrong audience?
What is the topic of your book? Who is your audience? Are you blogging to them, or are you blogging to other writers? Other bloggers? Family and friends? All the time you spend on social media will be for nothing if you are blogging, posting, tweeting, pinning, and Instagramming to the wrong audience. Take me, for example. My book is about modeling, and who is interested in modeling? Mostly girls and young women. So blogging about writing to writers trying to get published is nice and all, but I'm not reaching my audience. I need to do research, find out where the young girls and women are hanging out, and blog there.
2. Market every way you can
Don't limit yourself to social media. Think outside the box. Attend conferences, speak on panels, teach classes, visit libraries, visit schools, visit bookstores, give lectures, print postcards, throw parties, make a list of everything you can possibly think of to get the word out about your book because there's no telling what will work until you try it.
3. Plan ahead
This is something I didn't do, mostly because my book is a short ebook so I didn't take it as seriously as I would a full-length print book. But all publications should be taken seriously. Don't wait until publication to begin marketing. Write up press releases, pitch magazines (6-9 months in advance of publication), pitch newspapers (2 months in advance), pitch book bloggers (1-2 months in advance). Start by making a list of all the places you plan to pitch. Do your research. Which magazines would be interested in your story? Which editors at those magazines? Which sections of those magazines? Do the same for newspapers, for websites, for blogs.
Photo courtesy of Scott Andrews
4. Don't get discouraged
If you publish with one of the big five, the first two weeks after publication are crucial because if your book isn't selling well, bookstores will stop stocking it. But if you go with a small press or if you self-publish, you've got all the time in the world. So do your homework ahead of time and launch your book as you would one published by Random House, but don't stop there. Keep going, keep marketing, keep spreading the word. Some books take a while to catch on, but once they do, once they sell 5000 copies, publishers will take notice.
Next month I'll be back with a Timeline for Launching a Book. See you then!
MEGHAN WARD is the author of Runway: Confessions of a Not-So-Supermodel. Her work has been published in Mutha Magazine, 7x7 magazine, San Francisco magazine, and many more. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Writerland.com.