LET ME IN is my first official book. But here’s what I have learned from other authors and from my own deductions.
- One book isn’t enough. There are literally thousands of one book authors. Writers who were driven to write that one book that they had been thinking about for years. But readers, while many will read one book and move on, readers who like a person’s work will want to read more. And I have even heard that readers that read one book and don’t like it will often try another book to see if their opinion of a writer will change. I have ideas for at least five books, most memoirs, one or two fiction. But I do write a lot, relatively speaking, and so for this first launch I chose to publish (via Amazon) two of my blogs series—Musings of an UnGeisha and Solo Ski Sojourn. Solo has gained a little traction with skiers. One of the readers of Solo suggested going deeper into each area, and that has given me the idea for my next Ski blog/book.
- Whether you have an agent or not, whether you have a publisher or not, YOU are responsible for the sales and marketing of your book. That changes only when an author becomes fabulously famous, and even then, it helps to self-promote. Steven King speaks at book events and has a band. Every agent I talked to expected me to have a sales and marketing plan. Every class I took at The Loft warned me that I would have to hustle to sell the book. This is tough for most writers. Writers are good at writing. Many are introverts. To get out there and make sales calls can be daunting. I’ve been in sales my whole life, and it’s still hard for me to make that call on a bookstore, library or newspaper.
- Making a living writing books is tough. Many authors supplement their book income with speaking engagements. Many have day jobs.
- eBooks and audio books have changed the book business. Paper books are still in demand, but more people are going the virtual route, and saving a tree by listening or using a Kindle or iPad to read their book. This changes the author’s income stream but what I notice (being an eBook and audio book person) is that at book events, there’s nothing to sign. I’m trying alternative sales items—a wine glass or coffee mug that I can sign at events.
- Writing requires discipline and the ability to multi-task. Starting out, it’s a one man show. Writing, sales, marketing, accounting, all the basic business management jobs. There are so many demands it’s easy not to write!
- Time. They told me it would take a couple years to get my book published. And it did!! Two years, and this was hiring my own publisher. Had I tried to go the traditional route of finding an agent, who would then find a publisher, who would then go through the publishing process, I would guess it would take five years at a minimum. And now with the second book in mind, it will take at least two years to get that book written and in editable form. How old will I be????
- Money. Whether you go the traditional route or you pay as you go as I have done, it takes money. Money to live on (rent/mortgage, utilities, etc.) money to pay the publishers, editors, proofreaders, audio book firms… whew! You really need to want this life.
- Don’t know what to do? Google it. I needed to flesh out my press kit and wasn’t sure what should go into it. I knew it needed more than a picture and a story. I Googled “book press kit” and got hits like crazy. I picked one that was in bullet form, and added press information based on each bullet point. After I finished I felt as though my press kit looked professional and complete.
I am T minus three days to Launch. I have learned so much in the past two years. I can only imagine how much more I will be learning in the upcoming two years.