After I was published and let everyone know (a whole three days ago), I had a barrage of questions. Everyone asks the same half dozen questions. I guess it’s a little like going back to college when you go to family gatherings and everyone’s wondering if you’re eating, getting good grades, and got married.
The one big thing to watch out for are the “can you give me a copy” people. You put a lot of work into your novel, and the dream of getting published was not to go broke. Fortunately grandma has been the only one to request a free copy with the claim she doesn’t know how to purchase items from the internet. And I do believe this. I also love my grandma, so she will very likely get a free copy.
I’ve been informed multiple times that the first three to six months are pivotal. Basically at that point you will make the sales you are going to make. By doing sequels, people will go back and buy the older ones, but for any initial sales, you’ve done it.
Since this is all new to me and I have minimal experience, I’ll go over my plan and what I’ve heard from others.
Create a tribe. You should be creating this before you are published. It is a new buzz word. I like having a tribe though, so I’m using the word. Come to my little huts in a beautiful field, and I shall be a benevolent chieftain! I like it.
The idea of the tribe is basically a cult following. Have people come in, assure them the water’s fine, and create a sense of knowing who you are. This is through regular interaction with fans, creating new content, and reaching out to different regions of the internet that may come hang out with you for the long term. You are basically finding your people.
Another concept was to write. A lot. One of my friends who is a little famous in his town (there was a story of two girls talking behind him in a cafe, and one said to the other, “Don’t you know who that is?”) is a prolific writer. He publishes a couple times a year for multiple groups, as well as his own novels. He gained followers because he wrote.
My own goal is within the next six months to have my blog going nonstop with information and to have two short stories (between 10k-20k words) which will both bridge the gap to the next novel and give fun facts about the novel. This creates intrigue and a gap filler and can bolster the tribe.
Finally, go to events. Head out to book fairs, hit up writer conventions, and other shindigs. This will help you network with writers, publishers, readers, and so on. Have business cards, have some samples, have a plan, and get out there.
I will be going to a writer’s event in February. Here I will meet a friend while also meeting publishers and agents who need clients. I will have the first ten pages polished of my next novel, along with a cover letter on my novel and plans for future writing projects since they’re interlaced. I will have business cards as well, which are specifically linked to my writing.
In April I will go to a book fair. I didn’t know adults did this. We will sit in a convention center, or something, and people will walk around and buy things from our “booths.” As a restaurant equipment rep, I’m used to booths being huge and including heavy equipment. This will include some books, post cards, and a few free books offered up by my publisher. Along with not free books, but heavily discounted.
I will then go to independent bookstores in the area (probably all three of them) and try to convince them to buy five or something. I do not know how this will go, and considering no one suggests it, I think it may fall flat. I also plan on selling some of my books to Half Priced Books and other used book stores.
This is all the wisdom I have. It is borrowed, stolen, and bought. Now I’m going to learn. I hope your own trip through writing and publication is going well, and I hope you find success in all you do. I do hope that you find this in some way useful to your own ambitions.