One Writer's LIfe Lessons - Perseverance - The Key to Success

Monday, August 18, 2014



Five years after I wrote the novel Contraband, I stopped editing it long enough to submit it to publishers. After a wake-up call, I sent a query to a black publisher who fell in love with the story. While it didn't do well in terms of sales, the book got some good reviews. Since the rights came back to me, I've re-edited, gotten a new cover and put it back on the market. It still isn't doing well, but at this point in time, I'm not going to have a meltdown over the lack of sales.

Although many of us subscribe to the view that the best marketing tool is to have a string of good books to satisfy our readers' appetite, I have found that in order to make a living at writing, books need more than just 'being' in existence.  When I don't promote, sales drop off and that's a fact of life many writers know and accept. For me, promoting rates behind writing a blurb and synopsis, but it's an essential part of the writing business.

Lately, I've taken a more active part in the writing groups where I hang out, particularly on Facebook. Promoting books way ahead of their release dates is something I've neglected to do over the years. A strong pre-release strategy works in generating buzz for a book. I'm guilty of doing a slipshod job of promoting books before release and then go silent maybe a month or so after the launch date.

Do I hear you saying recipe for failure? It is.

There are many free, yet interesting ways to promote a book. One of the chief ways that  works is creating attractive teasers. I've often thought that while I'm writing a book it's too early to do this and that I will feel pressured to get the book done faster. The fact is, I'm at the point in this business where I'd rather take the time to produce a good book than rush to put out something that will disappoint readers. I believe that every book I write should be my best.

While I'm preparing the next book, I'll be running an experiment. I'll get samples and teasers going. I also need to get the cover done. Can you say 'late starter'? I might even take the pre-order route on Amazon since I've had a few people asking about the release date of this novel.

This is what is wonderful about the indie life. We are free to take different routes to our destination with the knowledge that as long as we are willing to work hard and consistently and aim high, our efforts will pay dividends.

What marketing plans do you execute at least six months before your release date?



On another note, I'll be running an Amazon promo from today through Wednesday, so if you read women' fiction, feel free to download a complimentary copy of A Baker's Dozen - 13 Steps to Distraction here.

19 comments:

  1. Try the teasers and see what happens.
    My publisher usually has the cover art and back cover blurb ready six months before release, so that's what I begin with.

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  2. I will, Alex. I figure the cover should have been done loooong ago. Contacted the graphic artist last night.

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  3. Promoting, definitely a weakness of mine. If I could afford to have somebody else do all the work, I'd let 'em.

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  4. There's a lot to be done at the 6-month mark - review copies out, set up blog tour, plan promotional items, etc.

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  5. Promoting can be hard work but I must say that I think you should take Contraband further and try to find a local indie film group willing to make it into a film. With Jamaica getting deeper into the entertainment business I think you genuine have a shot. Also Distraction would make a great television series in my opinion. If I had the money I would buy the film rights right now. I truly believe it would be the best local show since Lime Tree Lane on TVJ. Hope I'm not freaking you out and best of luck Joy.

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  6. I have to be honest. I haven't been the best at coming up with a marketing plan for my upcoming novel. I have a million excuses (the main one being a huge bout of pregnancy brain), but in all honesty, I plan to do this: try and get reviews. Keep connecting with other authors online. Help them promote their books. Write another book. And that's pretty much it. Will I try and devise a better launch strategy for my next release? I hope so. But in the meanwhile, I'll try and be active on my social media accounts and try to forge genuine relationships with authors who are trying to achieve the same things. That's pretty much it. Anyway, I'm sure your book (re) launch will be fine. And when you get back into that promo mood, you'll probably find it hard to turn it off. Good luck!

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  7. I think you are pretty good at marketing. Maybe not as good as James Patterson...but pretty good. :)

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  8. I am terrible at marketing. I am the wrong person to ask. I'm one of those that will drop out of existence two months after the book is released. I don't really need to make money from my books so sales isn't too important to me but I really should do more for my publisher's sake.

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  9. Another who's bad at marketing. Not only do I have no idea what to do once the stuff around the release date is over, I don't start on covers soon enough. In fact, I think one of the negatives of self-publishing is that it's very hard to give yourself enough lead time.

    Yeah, so I'll be contacting my cover artist when I get off work. . .and start the publicity. I'm always afraid to get started because what if I'm not ready when I said it would be released? I guess in that case. . . I build more suspense!

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  10. I try to do as much as I can in advance, but only what's in my control. I'm not in charge of when ARCs or finished manuscripts are ready, or if pre-orders are available or not.

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  11. I know what you mean, Bish!

    Diane, I really need to get on all that stuff way, way earlier.

    Sheena, you can say that again and when you're a one man band on a limited budget, things are that much more complicated. I like your ideas though and thank you for the encouragement and support. Those are defintely things I should be looking at.

    We have to admire the writers who promote and do a good job at it because it isn't easy writing and doing everything else that goes with marketing a book. Wishing you success with your strategy when you really start working it, Quanie.

    Mike, thanks and yeah, I could definitely use some lessons from Patterson.

    I understand that Clarissa, the publisher needs to get a good return out of publishing your book. For me, it's not so much the money I'd make if sales picked up in a big way, it's the wide readership that counts. But one book at a time, eh?

    I can identify with what you said, Rebecca. I've told myself I'm releasing this book soon and there's no cover. :(

    Medeia, you are a super-organizer, so I know you would be good at getting what you can done in advaance.

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  12. Hey ho Joy. Promo is a necessary evil, but what's the best way to get sales? If you go to my blog you'll see we had a writers conference here in Brisbane, organised by a couple of us from our writing group. One of the speakers, Anthony Putee, self-pub guru, told us one of the best new ways to get up there on Amazon sales and Amazon recognition factor was to use the new button available now to self-pubbers--the pre-order button. It gets you right up there well before your book comes out. You've just got to convince everyone to pre-order your book. Dang! More promo!

    Denise

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    1. Hi, Denise,
      It seems that every time I visit FB, indie publishers are talking about the pre-order button. I need to get on those teasers so I can have some kinda promo going and then take the plunge with that pre-order button. Thanks. :)

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  13. I'm still learning about the promo part of the business. I just do the best I can for others and hope they will be there for me when I need them. :-)

    Anna from Shout with Emaginette

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    1. Most of us believe in paying help forward Anna, so hopefully we'll be there for you when your time comes.

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  14. Social media and promoting can be a gauntlet to figure out but I know that it ultimately helps authors. Good luck with your endeavors!
    Raquel Byrnes

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    1. Thanks, Raquel. Learning new things everyday still and that's important.

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  15. I stink at promo and I'm glad you point out that it's a must or things slump. I'm trying out the Amazon preorder deal for Crepe and Coffee - and at Smashwords.

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Don't be shy. I'd love to hear what you think.