Confessions of a Newbie Writer; What’s Turning Out to be Important, What’s Not…
It has been just about eight months since my first book was published, and wow, what a ride so far. I’ve been able to interact with and get to know some very talented people on social media and in person, and have built some relationships I cherish very much. When I started the public portion of my journey in February (ie first book published and the beginning of my social media journey), I was definitely a neophyte in the writing world, knowing very little about publishing alternatives, marketing of books, and establishing a brand as a writer. I had zero social media presence.
Becoming a writer has been a major career/life shift for me—I’ve spent most of my career in the engineering and technology industries for the past thirty years. One thing I’ve learned though from my previous career, is to take a deep breathe and allow yourself some time to assess the situation, and that I have done (or at least started). With this post I thought I’d give you a snapshot of some of the things I find that work, and some, not so much. I’m still in a learning mode, so please keep that in mind. The opinions offered are mine, your experiences may be very different.
I kinda know what I don’t know (kinda)…
“Inspiration is only a tiny part of writing. Producing words, editing, selling, and marketing are the majority”—Annie Acorn tweet (@Annie_Acorn)
I love this quote from Annie Acorn on Twitter. Her advice is spot on and she always has an encouraging word and sound advice for those who follow her. Here’s an update on how I’m doing so far, what I think works, and what doesn’t (at least not for me).
Writing: I’ve been very blessed in this arena. My first two books, The Crown for Castlewood Manor and Cast, Crew, & Carnage; the Filming of Castlewood Manor were published as paperback and ebook in February and March of this year. I am currently halfway through writing book 3, and am on target for release in 4th quarter this year. In addition, I write the blog twice a week, and do some inspirational quotes each day. In my mind, I think I’ve been very successful on this front. I’ve had writer’s block many times, but when push came to shove, I was able to break through and get the stories completed. I love my writing time—it gives me a great sense of euphoria and accomplishment. I’ve found my niche, which is very important I think for a writer. If you’re comfortable, the words will flow.
Editing: I will be working with some independent editors for this latest book now that Createspace no longer offers their packaged services. It’s more time consuming, I personally like the concept of a one stop shop that handles editing and cover production. I’ll give updates later on the services I used, and my experiences with them.
Publishing: This industry is in a state of flux, and the main area that I am still assessing. I have not made any queries at this time to traditional publishing firms for representation. I will be going the self-publishing route with book 3, maintaining full ownership and rights to my works. My next step will be to start querying agents for representation in the next 6 months. It would be good to work with a professional to navigate the waters—I think this will be a worthwhile investment of my time.
Sales and Marketing: Just as in any company, job, career, sales and marketing are the key to making it work, or not. I’ve been working hard to develop and represent my brand, particularly on social media, where I have the greatest exposure to the public. I have done some ads on Facebook and Amazon, but have to say it wasn’t as successful as I’d like. I’m reworking my advertising plans and will be pursuing some other platforms to place ads on. I do like the concept of book promotion videos—they are super snapshots to a book IMO and I think they will be well worth the investment to have made.
The all important network…
It’s true in every industry or career path I’ve been part of, it’s who you know. for the past few months I have worked daily to try and identify individuals I think I can relate to, as well as ones I think are doing a super job as writers. Engaging in social media is very time consuming, but it’s very worthwhile in my opinion. I truly enjoy interacting with the people I follow and those who follow me. These are the main platforms I’ve been active on since February:
Twitter: By far the most active platform for me, I find the platform a fantastic resource for writers, and is very interactive. Highly recommended. I am looking at Twitter services to help with the Tweet management and execution.
Facebook: Great out reach to family and friends, I have not been as successful as I’d like growing my presence. I will likely utilize some marketing resources for this platform to get some advice and guidance to get better utilization of the platform.
Instagram: Least active to date, but I want to concentrate more in the future. I will be doing more research and consult with some experts the next few months.
Blog: If you’re reading this, then you now I’m trying to reach out on a consistent basis each week. My goal with the blog is to talk about things that I think are of interest, informative and fun—and give you a chance to know me. I will be focusing on tying in more efficient for SEO, one of my major deficiencies to date. I will be looking at some consulting services for this area.
Organizations: Currently a member of Sisters in Crime. Will be joining Greater Los Angeles Writers and Mystery Writers of America within the next few months.
Events: Goal is to attend some national and local writing conferences in Q4 and 2019.
Readers and reviews matter….
This is probably the most important area to me, reaching out to my readers and trying to get reviews on the seller sites. My sales and marketing efforts will include some freebies and promos, to be announced in the next few months. I have become a much more conscientious reader myself, always leaving a review for the books I’ve read. The review numbers matter to get the sellers to pay more attention to your books with their sales algorithms. I will be working with some professional reviewers as well to help build my presence.
Have some fun, keep inspired…
I do like to have fun, no doubt about that. For me, travel is the biggest source of inspiration, and I’m very fortunate to be able to explore places around the world. I travel with a different perspective now that I’m writing. Every place I go, people I observe, situations I experience are all fair game to be used in the next book. I learn new things every day, which for me, makes life fun and inspiring.
I hope I’ve given you some useful findings. I’d love to hear from you on what you are doing, what works and what doesn’t. Enjoy your week!
Crowns and Kisses,
P.S. Big shout out to all the readers, friends, followers and people I follow. Your inspiration and support has been great and is very much appreciated. Thank you! Gemma would approve 🙂