My Self-Publishing Journey: Getting The Word Out

One of the things I love about where I’m at in my journey is that I’ve come to accept that it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission. By that I mean, I accept that I’m going to make mistakes, but almost anything can be recovered from. That’s one reason I enjoyed Roni Loren’s blog “Writer Under Construction: 10 Things I’d Do Differently.”  It’s a long post, but I recommend you read it.

I really liked her points that there is NO ONE RIGHT WAY.  As we grope our way toward publication, we’re going to hear many voices offering contradictory advice. That’s a good thing. You WANT to take in a variety of information. How else will you know what your options are?

With regard to getting the word out to the reading public, Roni mentions the disparate advice that you should:

  • Wait till you’re published to start a blog or get a website
  • Start a blog at least two years before you intend to publish, so you have a following when your book comes out.
  • Write about what you know: writing
  • Appeal to non-writing readers
  • Blog consistently and frequently
  • Blog occasionally and only when you have something to announce.
  • Use every form of social media you can
  • Just write the next book. It’s your best advertising.

There are so many options for self-promotion, choosing can be overwhelming.  But choose we must. And in some cases, (as in selecting a name to write under) it’s best to choose early so you avoid a lot of “do over” work. Here’s what I did/am doing/am going to do:

  • I chose to write under a variant of my maiden name because my married moniker didn’t say “romance.”
  • I bought my domain name as soon as I chose my pen name and put up a decent, though not fancy website.
  • I started blogging almost two years ago. Building an audience has been slow, but leaped as I learned better how to let people know the blog was out there, and how to use the technology.
  • It took me some time, but I found a visual theme that represented my “brand” of Romance, Mystery, and Magic
  • I aimed my blog more and more at other writers.
  • I reduced my frequency of blogging to twice a week so I could be more consistent.
  • I decided to add posts that will appeal both to writers and to non-writing readers. (More on this below.)
  • I’ve decided to redirect my website URL to my blog, where I can do the same things. (Soon.)
  • I may spend actual money on advertising, but it will be very cautiously spent. For the most part I’ll use free social media to get the word out. (Always ask yourself if the advertising you’re buying is likely to result in more sales — either directly or through increased word-of-mouth —  than you have to make to pay for it.)
  • I made up my mind to try new things. (That was a big one for me. I tend to be cautious.)
  • I accepted that everything takes more time than I expect it to. Fortunately, that’s one of the benefits of self-publishing. My books won’t be pulled and stripped if the sales don’t reach a certain level within three months — or less. I have time to try different approaches to build sales.

One of the things I mentioned above is that I want to draw in more non-writing readers. Most of my future fans won’t be writers after all.  So once a week beginning Thursday, I’ll be posting excerpts from VEILED MIRROR,  which is coming out September 21st in digital format, and a little before that in POD format.  If you enjoy what you read, I hope you’ll share the link with your friends.  Mondays will still be about various aspects of writing and publishing.

Thanks for reading! I enjoy writing this blog and sharing my journey with you!

 

14 Comments

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14 responses to “My Self-Publishing Journey: Getting The Word Out

  1. Frankie – thank you so much for sharing your journey so far and for articulating all the conflicting advice floating around. At one point, all the different viewpoints had my head in a tailspin. I’ve decided to keep writing, honing my craft and building an inventory. I’m looking forward to reading your book and can’t wait for your guest blog with the Scribes on 9/23 (Yay!).

    • Thanks, Casey! I know what you mean about your head spinning! 🙂 It was liberating to realize there was no one path to success, and even if there were, the publishing world is changing so fast that the path might not be there tomorrow. These days we all have to be light on our feet.

  2. Kendall Grey

    Great advice. I’m finding the same contradictions on my journey. I’ve decided to focus mainly on writing and spend less time on the social networking that was eating up the hours. When I get closer to my release dates, I’ll get back to that. For now, I need to worry most about writing a great trilogy and making it shine brighter than everyone else’s if I want to sell books. 🙂

  3. Yes it can be a bewildering process self publishing and I made SO MANY mistakes but like you I think you gradually learn from them and develop a strategy. Reading about others experiences helps to tell us what to do … and what not to do and that can only be good.

    • It helps to think of this as an exciting adventure rather than a trip across a field of land mines. Good luck on your journey, Richard!

      • That’s a perfect description, Frankie! It really used to feel like a trip through land mines in a war zone, where you were sure if you screwed up one pitch really badly, or a submission letter, that your writing career was toast. Thank all that’s green, it no longer does. All these industry changes are providing such a wonderful world of options for all of us. As authors like yourself take control of their careers via self-publishing and we all share our journeys with each other, I can’t help wondering what this amazing, and much larger community will look like in just another year or two? It certainly makes the future feel more like a grand adventure!

      • I’m happier than I’ve ever been as a writer, because I feel like I have more input into my ultimate success than I ever had before. I’d like to sell lots of books, but even if I don’t this adventure has been worth it!

  4. I know it must be hard to take conflicting advice & learn how to use it. Good luck!

  5. I’ve finished two books and I’m about 25,000 words into the third. I have a concept for the 4th, too. I need to catch up on the internet side of things. Start tweeting more. Thanks for the insights. Good to know.

  6. I really enjoyed this post. I agree that there is so much contradictory advice out there. You’ve made some sound decisions and you’ll be able to measure results and adjust. Good luck!

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