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From Pitched to Published--What to do While Waiting For Your Book to be Released

So you pitched your novel at conference, to an agent, or you went the self-published route and now you're just waiting for your baby to hit the shelf. STOP.

STOP waiting there is so much more that you need to do.

BUDGET
Empty your change purse, comb the lining of your couch, call up Nana May and ask her for your cash filled Christmas card a little early.  Figure out what you can afford to spend on publicity (blog tours, ads, radio interviews), conferences (attendance and vendor fees, airfare, and lodging), marketing materials, and parties (you’re going to want to celebrate this joyous occasion more than once). Even if you plan on designing your own website, banners, and business cards there are still fees associated with this, like purchasing your site’s domain name. Then there are printing and shipping and handling fees and if you’re like me you’re a sucker for all the add-ons (glossy print, double-sided, and throw in a tote bag for just five more dollars). Set a budget and stick to it. Don’t freak out if you feel like you don’t have much money to spare. Use your tax return, use the first half of your advance (if you have one), and if you work at a job that offers bonuses, overtime, or commission toss some of those earnings right into your budget and suddenly you have a marketing budget.

Network
It’s time to rally the troops. Everyone knows someone in the industry (it turns out the world is smaller than we thought). First develop relationships with the people already in your network. If you don’t have a network it’s time to build one. Get out and meet people that know the industry, know your genre, and can show where the readers are. Go to conferences, literary events in your neighborhood, or hangout in your local Starbucks (somebody that knows somebody or somebody that knows something is always in Starbucks).  Start building your social media network. Setup your website. If you’re not already on Facebook as an author work on establishing a page.  You can link many of these accounts to post for you; for example, my status updates on my Facebook page automatically go to my Twitter account.  Get on Instagram, Twitter, and PinInterest (great for virtual hoarders). One thing I recommend is that you make it clear to people what kind of relationship you’re establishing with them—is this purely business or a business and friendship. In this age of friends and followers the lines between business and friendship can become skewed. You could become the black sheep of the industry very quickly because you weren’t explicit when dealing with someone.

My Intern at the Born at Dawn Cover Reveal Party
Hire an Assistant
You want to do it all, you believe you can do it all, heck you wrote all 95,000 words of your book yourself—you can do it all. The reality of the situation is you can’t do it all. If this is your first book you’re probably still working your day job while trying to make your mark on the world. You need an assistant. Hiring an assistant isn’t as daunting as you think. Visit your local college and discuss hiring an intern (put the intern to work on your social media campaign) or hire your cousin Vicki, who always wanted to work in public relations. You can make the position as formal or as informal as you’d like. The extra hands will help.

Tour
If you’re self-published you may not be able to spring for a coast-to-coast tour and if you’re traditionally published your publisher may no longer be sending authors on tour. Thanks to the web you can go coast-to-coast without leaving home and for a very low cost. Begin contacting bloggers and internet radio shows to find out how to be featured on their blog or interviewed on the show.  This is job you can delegate to your intern while you’re out meeting and greeting folks.


Write
Get started on book two if you haven’t already. In music they say “you’re only as good as your last hit”. Well, the same holds true for books. Readers will want to know when they can get more of your juicy and electrifying writing, so make sure to squeeze in some writing time.

Magic Formula
Will this definitely catapult you into the stratosphere? I can’t say that it will, but right now as a new author sales aren’t your main concern—exposure is. If no one knows you exist then no one is one-clicking your book. While you’re waiting for your book to hit the shelf you better  hit the street, hit the web, and announce to everyone who will listen, “I am here!”.

Nigeria Lockley 
www.nigerialockley.com 
www.facebook.com/authornigerialockley

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