Becoming a new writer is incredibly scary. And when you’re about to graduate college, it’s probably even more scary. You took all your classes learning about the craft of writing, but you don’t know much about the actual business of writing and publishing. That’s me.
I’ve started writing stories ever since I was in middle school, and I’m working on a science fiction novel right now. However, I’ve had pretty much no experience with marketing my work. So, you can imagine how anxious I am since I’m not only undertaking a massive project, but I also must think about marketing that project and helping it find an audience in a massive, sprawling industry.
The 2019 AuthorYOU Mini Extravaganza – the Publicity Palooza with Joan Stewart – helped to alleviate some of those anxieties I’ve had about the industry and gave me a place to start when I eventually go and market my work. I received advice from how to utilize social media for marketing, how to write press releases for the book I want to publish, and even some advice on how to proceed with the book I’m writing.
Here are a few takeaways from the Extravaganza which I would like to share:
- Always consider your audience. You’re writing for yourself? That’s great! But you also want to get your work out there and find an audience. Where do you start. First and foremost, you need to consider who is going to buy it. Who is going to be interested in this topic? Who are you marketing it to?
And if you feel like it’s too weird or too specific, don’t worry. There are niche audiences for pretty much anything nowadays. Your book will find an audience. You just need go out and find it. And, use everything at your disposal from social media to weekly publications to start building your audience.
- Have something extra for your readers. Whether it be a newsletter, excerpts from your work, blogs, or even a peek into your writing process, always have something extra your readers will want to dig into.
Your audience wants more from you and they want to know more about you. Give them that. It’ll not only help your book sales and your brand, but it’ll give your audience more reasons to invest in your work.
- There are always options. The influence of Amazon and the Big Five in New York have casted this image of publishing works as having to go through one path: traditional publishing. But really, if you’re smart and dedicated enough, there are other options to consider with indie and self-publishing. And there are resources that will help you if you want to take that path. There’s no guarantee you’ll succeed, but when it comes to art, there never is just one.
When I started writing seriously back when I started college, I figured the only guaranteed way to succeed was through traditional publishing. And even then, there were several factors to consider. Query letters to agents, contract negotiations, how much money I could earn, and of course, how much would I be willing to sacrifice my own vision.
Indie publishing was always in my mind, but I never considered it because I thought it was too hard and had too many variables. This event, above all else, made the prospect of indie publishing much more attractive and it made it seem less intimidating.
Ian Hatton is a student at Metropolitan State University and learning the highpoints (and low points) of publishing under his Internship with The Book Shepherd and AuthorYOU.