So You Wanted to be a Published Author...
You braved the trenches of Query-land. After goodness only knows how many submissions, you were shot at repeatedly by form letter rejections and nice supportive “No thank yous” until you got that literary agent then publishing house nod or that “We’d love to publish your novel” response from an editor.
Maybe you worked through multiple rewrites, edits and the whole shebang involved in self-publishing a product you could be proud of.
Congratulations! You’ve done it! You are a published author.
For many authors, the first reaction is to jump up and down screaming with joy.
Next thing to pop into their head: What did I get myself into???
Well, take heart in knowing there are lessons every writer learns after they publish that first book.
1. Keep the buzz machine rolling – Before the book you slaved over and nurtured made it to the bookshelf or became available with one click of a button, you probably started building buzz, alerting readers and bloggers to the arrival of your baby – erm – book. Maybe you did a cover reveal and ARC giveaways. That buzz was great, but it shouldn’t slow down. Keep the buzz moving, keep the momentum going and add fuel to a little thing called “word of mouth.” Okay, it really isn’t a little thing. It’s very powerful and can be key in helping build sales of your novel. For a few statistics on the power of word of mouth, go here.
2. There is power in multi-tasking by priority – I am a single mother, employed full time, love to read and have self-published two full length novels, novellas, and participated in a few anthologies, including Untethered Realms’ Twisted Earths, since September of 2012. My schedule was hectic before I published Neverlove, my debut upper YA novel. Afterwards, multi-tasking took on a whole new meaning. I struggled, sorely, on this front, but I do the following to help with accomplishing my goals:
- Get up an hour early to check e-mail and review the marketing items I need to accomplish for the day.
- Utilize work breaks and lunch to get in reading (while nibbling on something yummy), taking care of errands, and sneaking in a little bit of writing.
- Spend time with my daughter first so I invest in our family relationship. It also provides me with a chance to communicate my writing schedule so she understands why I’m hunkered down at my desk for the next three hours.
- Make time for writing. The stories want to be told and it can’t happen if time isn't allotted for it. A timer helps. Sort of like how the pressure of a looming deadline can be a motivator.
3. Deals are brokered and broken, so keep writing – Book deals can happen, modest advances brokered, and an excellent novel released to the world. But if sales flop, it’s a hard part of the industry that the three book deal can just as quickly be canceled. Because… publishing is a business. It isn’t intended to be ruthless, but these things happen. It’s the same with self-publishing. Professional book covers, content editing, proofreading, book tour setups, etc., cost money. I could choose to do none of those things but I want to put out a product I can be proud of sharing with the world. That is also why it’s important to keep writing. If a book deal falls apart, the writing is always there. If sales just aren’t going well, the writing is an ever-present opportunity to work on something else. Things may not go perfect with the first book, but keep writing so it definitely won’t be the last.
It can be tough learning these lessons after publishing that first book, but armed with newfound knowledge, the first time author doesn’t have to be a one-hit-wonder.
Born and raised in Little Rock, AR, Angela Brown now calls Central Texas home. She's a lover of Wild Cherry Pepsi and chocolate/chocolate covered delicious-ness. Steampunk, fantasy and paranormal to contemporary - mostly young adult - fill her growing library of books. Mother to a rambunctious darling girl aptly nicknamed Chipmunk, life stays busy. Her favorite quote keeps her moving: "You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result." ~ Mahatma Gandhi
She is the author of the upper YA paranormal Neverlove and its new adult follow up They All Fall Down of the Shadow Jumpers series, Frailties of the Bond and Atone of the NEO Chronicles: Characters Revealed series, andBeacon, the first action-packed title in the YA urban fantasy series, Ripped Ties, published by Evernight Teen.