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!