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Thursday, August 4, 2011

To publish or not to publish

Many of us have been there. Do we send our "baby" off into the cruel world of publishing, pray the acquisition editor will like it and want to publish it or do we break down and self-publish.

I self-published my first three books and looking back now, I know they needed a lot of work they didn't get because I wasn't with a publisher. Yes, I could have paid someone to edit it for me, but truthfully, I didn't think about it. I had a friend (gasp I know) edit it for me and she did a fairly good job considering she wasn't a romance editor. I did my own cover and all that as well. Did I sell copies? Sure -- maybe 50 of each.

I finally broke down and sent one of my pieces to Siren and YAY! They accepted it! I was now a published author. Then they took the next one and the next one. Pretty soon I had more books coming out then I knew what to do with. On to promotion! Scary as it is, it's not that bad really. I build a website. I got a facebook page. I got a twitter handle and hooked facebook to it so when I post on facebook, it autoposts on twitter and I was off. Now how do I get more people to know who I am and what I write? I wrote more books.

Last year from 12/09 to 12/10, I released 12 books. Yes, that's one per month and no, they weren't all within the same series. Wild Wyoming Nights (12/09), Love's Sweet Surrender (1/10), Wild Rodeo Nights (2/10), Wild Nevada Ride (3/10), Wild Rekindled Love (4/10) and so on. The scary part? I then had a couple accepted by a couple of other publishing houses and I know write for four different houses.

Promotion is a huge thing when you are trying to establish yourself and let people know what you write. Every new author asks, "What do I do to promote?" My answer? Even if you are doing nothing more than commenting on someone else's post, you are promoting if you have something in the signature of your email. There are tons of yahoo loops out there and we all know the readers don't post much. It's usually authors, but remember, authors are readers too. Many of them don't read their own genre so they are looking for someone to read and lose themselves in the story for a few hours. You can spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on promotion, so watch what you pay for. Some are worth it and some aren't, but you have to do your research and don't expect just because Jane's book sold 3,000 copies when she put up a book cover on XXX book reviews that yours will too. Feel things out. Look things up. Talk to other authors and find out what they are doing that's working. There are lots of authors out there who will tell you what's working for them.

The best promotion you can have is word of mouth. If you find some readers who love your story, they'll tell their friends, who will tell their friends and so on.

The bottom line is have a presence online, make friends, write books, write blogs, and for crying out loud if a reader emails you and tells you how much they loved your book, answer them. Spend a few minutes to email them back, thank them for taking the time to email you and tell them a little about what's coming out next from you.

Until next month

~ Sandy Sullivan


Liz said...

"Promotion" is the key. That is a hard fact. With so many of us out here clamoring for attention, the more you talk about what you write the better! thanks for the post.

Molly Daniels said...

Excellent points Sandy:) What works for one will not necessarily work for all. But word of mouth is AWESOME!

And yes, authors love it when a reader emails and tells you how much they enjoyed your work, and as a reader, I'm thrilled when they write back, thanking me for my input:)

Kellie Kamryn said...

There is so much to promotion sometimes it's overwhelming! But you give good advice - just write and get the word out! And you're right - word of mouth is the best promotion!

jean hart stewart said...

Agree completely that promo is the kay, but after twenty books still don't know what works and what doesn't. Back to my favorite mantra, all you can do is all you can do! Jean

Katalina said...

Great advice Sandy.

Paris said...

Interesting blog, Sandy. I have to agree that word of mouth is a big factor in promotion.

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