Sunday, February 12, 2012

Starts With A Life Changing Call

This is actually my third post I’ve written for today. The first two were so blasted depressing, no matter how I spun them. So I decided on a simpler post. Lexi George did such a great job the other day on her presentation about what she wished she known about being published, I thought I would do a mish-mash of what I’ve learned.

10.  Any funds you receive for an advance (lucky you), and the government doesn’t want, plan to use on advertising and extra copies of your book for giveaways.

9.      Don’t talk about another author by name or book title on Twitter unless it’s good. Though you don’t follow the author or don’t @ or # the name/title, it can still pop up on their TweetDeck search engine. Lesson learned: If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. 

8.      Everyone tells you, DO NOT READ THE REVIEWS. But they’re like a car accident on the interstate. Doesn’t matter how often you tell yourself not to look, you find yourself Google-ing and Bing-ing your name and book title. It’s a sickness. Start writing that next book. That helps in keeping your mind on moving forward. Moving forward is good.

7.      When you order your bookmarks and/or collector cards, leave off the release date. That way they won’t look “out of date” afterwards. If someone is interested, they’ll look it up and pre-order. And yes, pre-order is all that’s good and wonderful. Counts against that important release date.

         Oh, some people say bookmarks are a waste of money. I keep several in my purse at all times and hand them out to everyone (check out ladies, car guy, etc.). It’s cheaper than giving away books and you’ll be surprised how many people later tell me they bought the book and loved it. You have to remember many people don’t know a published author. So their curiosity gets the better of them.

6.    Don't rate your book on Goodreads. Sure, you believe your book deserves five stars. No matter that you have a right to believe it, people think to do so is crass. And don't ask your friends to review your book on Amazon unless they do it all the time for many, many other authors. Readers can see what books each person reviews and if only your book or books show up, they will comment and be ugly. I've seen them do it.

5.      RWA offers BookScan and Publisher Alley at a discount. Unless you expect your book to hit the top 100 (sorry, unlikely), don’t worry about BookScan for a while. And Publisher Alley doesn’t track Print on Demand books. If yours isn’t POD, then Publisher Alley might be more interesting to you in the beginning.

4.      Be sure to keep up with your expenses: postage, contest entries, advertising (including bookmarks, collector cards, etc.), conference fees and anything that costs you money to promote you and your book. They can be deductions on your federal and possibly on state income tax forms.  Save the receipts and write it down asap. Otherwise, you won’t remember months later.

3.      Your original purpose of going to conferences has changed. Most likely, you don’t need to pitch a book, so offer a workshop. Get your name out there as much as possible. Networking is still important.

2.      A question I had asked authors several times over the years: What’s the big deal about becoming PAN?  The Published Author Network is RWA’s classification of a published author. I finally (sadly to my face) received an answer last year. Respect. Enough said.

1.      The most important thing is to enjoy every second of being a published author, and the hell with everything else!
I’m sure I should tell you more, just as there is more to learn, but that’s enough for now. Do keep in mind that this is my take on all of this. I would never claim to be an expert or right about my outlook. Your experience may be different. All I ask is that you keep in mind number one.

What would you add (experience or what you've heard from others)?

P.S. Oh, put your book cover everywhere you post if possible.


Lisa Dunick said...

What a great post, Carla! I would never have thought of half of this stuff. :O)

Heather said...

How important is blogging for a newly published author?

Carla Swafford said...

Thanks, Lisa.

Good question, Heather. Avon likes their authors to blog as I'm sure other publishers do. I believe with me having my own blog, and doing it here along with a Twitter account and Facebook, they knew all of that would be helpful in getting the word out about my book. In fact, I know that my editor checked out on line before offering.

I will say that I plan in the next month or so to shut down my personal blog (not enought hits to make it worthwhile) but continue post here.

So IMHO it's only important if the author knows how to use it (posting nearly daily) and feels comfortable doing it. Otherwise, she needs to work from another angle (e.g., Twitter).

Many published authors have found group blogging relieves the pressure to think up new interesting things to post. Fresh content daily (or every other day like here).

Cari Hislop said...

Loved the post! I need to get some bookmarks. That's an excellent idea.
Much better than the business card option.

No reading reviews...No! Some people love our stories some people don't. I figure the ones that don't enjoy my stories just need a different type of story teller (one I probably wouldn't enjoy).

Carla Swafford said...

Cari, if I can't stop myself from reading a less fun review, I try learn something from them. So far, it had nothing to do with my writing as much as the story isn't for them. But it's still sad.

Chris Bailey said...

My favorite item: curiosity gets the better of them. Doesn't matter WHY they buy the first book--the good news is that they now have a solid reason to look for the second one! Keep it up, Carla!

Carla Swafford said...

Chris, you are so right!

Chris Bailey said...

Another question, Carla--I guess if you're posting here and not on a personal blog, would you include this blog address in your signature?

Louisa Cornell said...

Great post, Carla! Very informative. Tucking it away for (Hopefully!) future use!

Carla Swafford said...

Chris, in answer to your question about using this blog in my signature after I shut my personal one down, most likely. Yeah. :-)

Thanks, Louisa.