So if I throw out a date, any date, and push myself to complete the manuscript, I don't want to lose the value of my word by having to push the date back further and further because editing and formatting take longer than I anticipated. And more than anything, I'm terrified of the content feeling rushed to the readers.
I've said many times to my followers, I'm working, I'm writing, but damn, I was naïve when I started! And I've got plenty more to learn.
When I began playing around with the idea of writing a book, I would research like crazy about publishing. Did I want to start with an eBook format first? Print on demand later with popularity? Would I pitch it to Publishing companies, to agents, etc.? I think initially, I was jumping the gun. I got ahead of myself and then got overwhelmed with copyrights, disclaimers, legal issues with publishing stories based on true stories, and so on.
Then I read about marketing the books. Again, I think I jumped the gun and not necessarily wasted time because it's all valuable information and I would have needed to learn it anyways, but I could have learned it after I finished my manuscript before I had a baby! Now, time is very, very hard to scrap together.
1) I read several times by different sources to start marketing your book at least a year before you publish. Hell, one even suggested before you even write it!
To me that was a bit pretentious. I think mostly because I was struggling with giving myself the title of "author" or "writer". I thought I needed to be published in order to have the appellation. But that's crap. Because I'm writing all the time. I write not just for my debut novel, but for the 12 other book ideas I have in my files. I write notes, I write scenes and I write dialogue here, there, at 3 am when I wake up for a glass of water and something popped into my head at that inopportune moment. I voice dictate into the notes app in my phone when I'm walking my son outside in the stroller. I blog as much as I can. I write, therefore I am a writer. And you know what? It's been the best advice I had ever considered. Because I actually have people on Goodreads adding the title to their TBR list. I have "book friends" in instagram anticipating the story. It made me accountable. As many times as I've wanted to quit, and when my doubt would cripple me, guess what? I had opened my big mouth that something, anything was going to be released and sure, it's an itsy-bitsy fan base, but it's a start! So market your book well before you release it. :)
2) Market your book through social media- but socially. In other words, don't spam Twitter and Instagram with nothing but "Here's my book" "Read my book". Have conversations. Make friends. And I can't agree with that tip more if I tried. When I initially messaged people and book reviewers about my story, it would turn off the blogger or follower from paying me any attention. I realized quickly, that tactic was pretty tacky. So I chilled out and then started talking with fans of the same genre. Once I felt like I got to know them a bit and we were comfortable, I would mention I was writing a story similar to the one we were raving together about- and I would pique their interest. Then the questions would come, and the conversation kept going. I've found that those are the best ways to market because through their word of mouth, the name gets passed along faster than brush fires.
3) Market your book to readers of the same genre. You can't expect to interest a reader in a romance fiction, when all they like to read are autobiographies. It just won't happen. I know you can't get me to read outside of what I like, so it would be wasted breath.
4) Teasers, snippets, sneak peaks and hashtags are your friend. I get the most attention through my teasers. Be it the image was the attention grabber, or the quote used, it works in garnering interest.
5) Invest in a professional book cover artist, and one that bloggers and book fans rave about their covers. It would be a lie to say that readers don't buy a book based on the cover. We straight up do, time and time again. So hire the artist of those covers that are successful and have been one-clicked because their cover was "pretty".
6) Create your author brand. Again, invest in a designer that can make a logo to suit your work. Make all your social media handles and sites consistent. And have links available. You won't believe how many people actually do click the website link or Goodreads link you've provided on your Twitter or Instagram. Even if they don't venture further than wanting to simply see what your page looks like- it's imperative you have all the options available to your followers. Sometimes, it helps to legitimize your profession to readers when you also look the part.
I hope my meager little tips are helpful to others. I can definitely say they've helped me make substantial progress, and that's all I can ask for right now.