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17 March 2014
...as Elvis once sang.

Or rather stop talking about it and get on a do it.

I've been reading quite a bit about marketing recently and I've seen lists posted on various blogs about becoming an author and there's quite a lot of contradiction out there on t'internet.

So I thought to myself why not give it a go.  So here is my top ten tips for authors based on nothing more than my own common sense.  Keep in mind I'm not a published author but I have spent a lot of time recently researching this for myself.

  1. There are a lot of authors out there on the world wide web.  You'll find no end of them on Twitter.  Do not let this put you off.  Not only are authors in general also readers but there are far more readers in the world than authors.  Authors in general can also be helpful and a great font of information and experience.
  2. Marketing a book starts long before a book is ever published and should continue long after your book has been published.   If you want people to buy your book you have to whet their appetite, pique their imaginations and convince them to spend their hard earned money on your work.  To do so takes time and energy but not necessarily money.

    a:  Build a website, it's easy enough.  My own website is based on       Wordpress: www.philiptolhurst.co.uk
    b:  Start a blog.  Even if it's just on blogger like this one.
    c:  Create websites for each of your books.  Like www.georgeandthedragon.co.uk which uses the same template as my website but just concentrates on the book.
    d:  Expand your profile on Social media - I have a Facebook page, a Twitter account and a brand new Pinterest account.

    Even this alone is enough to start with but after that you need to start being original.  Try googling things like business card's for authors.

    One of the options I'm considering that involves cost is a competition for a Nook, Kobo or Kindle eReader (I haven't decided which yet) so I can build a contacts list.

  3. Pricing of your novel.  I can't see why anyone would give away their book.  I know why they do it to increase sales rankings on Amazon.  But if you've spent years writing the work why would you give it away for free?  In addition to this if you sell your book for 99p/c from the outset the only way you can  go to sell it as a special offer is free.  However, if you start at £/$2.99 then you have the option to reduced the title to £/$1.99 for example and get yourself on the special offer mailing lists.

    Speaking of which here's a great link for you: http://authormarketingclub.com/members/submit-your-book/
  4. Participate in NaNoWriMo not just because it makes you write but also because it's a great way to meat like minded people and share ideas.
  5. Speaking of which Quantity trumps Quality, but only to start with.

    “I'm writing a first draft and reminding myself that I'm simply shovelling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.” - Shannon Hale

    "The first draft is just you telling yourself the story." - Terry Pratchett.
  6. For the finished product Quality trumps Quantity.  Before you publish your novel it should have been edited, beta read, edited again and finally copy edited for mistakes. Only once you have build your sand castle and placed the flag on its highest turret.
  7. Don't skimp on your cover.  I know people can do a great job themselves but they are obviously more talented than I will ever be.  A picture they say is worth a 1000 words, but I'm rubbish at art so I'll stick to writing.  I used ebook-designs.co.uk and I am still amazed by the results and they are not expensive.  I would advise against ever using a pre-designed cover unless of course you happen by one that's perfect for your cover.
  8. Don't stop at one book.  If anything is going to get you know as an author it's writing more than one book.  Selling books, building a fan base, becoming well known, learning from your initial mistakes.  All these things take time.  It is not a sprint it's a marathon.  Although if you get published traditionally you'll think it is a sprint.
  9. You don't have to write with the exception of all else to be a successful writer.  I have two other jobs, a young family and a long commute.  Somewhere in amongst all this I find time to write, edit, blog, tend to my social media and think about what steps I need to be taking next.
  10. Enjoy it.  It's not guaranteed that you'll ever make enough to give up your day job so if you are going to write, write for the enjoyment.  If you want to write for profit there are many other routes via which you can do so.  Magazine submissions, copy writing, ghost writing etc.
So those are my top ten tips.

As always I would be really interested in your thoughts.

Phil



7 comments:

  1. My favorite is point 10. :)

    :p Looks like I'll have to start working on a website... Thx for the advice!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I would agree with most of what you said. I satrted my journey about a month ago (@tywadebooks shamless plug) and spent tons of time researching.

    Most of my time is spent at work and a website I agrreed to build for a client before I started my journey so like you I have been splitting my time.

    I got my domain but have not decided on a look and feel primaraily because I do not know what the cover will be yet and I wanted to compliment the designs plus I do not have a cover or anything to post yet any way. I did manage to build a book review site (http://twbarton.com/reviews.html another shamless plug) so that is a start.

    I am also writing a blog but in off line mode until I decide on a template I want to use. And I have managed to get 3 chapters out. Yes!

    I am with you on the free book thought. I could see it once I have several books but not right away. A author I connected with who writes Kindle series gave away his first one and was happy as pie to give away 4000 copies thinking reviews and word of mouth but all I could think of was all that lost money and the reality that 1 to maybe 2% will actually take the time to review.

    Good luck on your journey and connect with me and keep me posted.

    Ty

    ReplyDelete
  3. When the third book in the Knights of the Sky series comes out I may permanently reduce George and the Dragon (Book 1 in the series) to 99c/49p but I don't think i'll ever make it free. I'm not completely opposed to making other works free, however.

    I'm still not totally happy with my website but these things are organic and can be developed as and when I have time. Before I had my book cover sorted I did this:

    http://www.philiptolhurst.co.uk/my-books/

    That way I had a reference to the books I'm writing and publishing without the need for the cover.

    On your reviews website where it says "Join me on Twitter, FaceBook, Goodreads.." all three of these should be hyperlinks. As should the Amazon and Goodreads section before that. They should open to new pages as well. Otherwise you're missing vital traffic.

    P

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  4. I was totally with you until I got to #9. Except for 2 hours hiking a day with my dog Jess, I work 15 hours a day and never get all I need done. But I do have fun, so I got #10. Excellent advice.

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  5. Great advice-- I'm working as hard as I can on number 5 at the moment, just churning out garbage!

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  6. FYI, the link to your Facebook page doesn't work in the States. But when I manually keyed in "https://www.facebook.com/philtolhurst" (the US version, instead of .co.uk) it worked fine.

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  7. Thanks Russell, I've fixed it :)

    ReplyDelete