What I Learned After Publishing My First Book by Blaise Ramsay (Romance Author University)
Let's face it, writing a book is hard. It takes hours of dedication, focus, fatigue and probably many cups of some form of caffeinated drink just to crank out that first draft. But that's just the beginning of your endeavor to produce a full length novel or novella.
If you have the dream to one day publish, things can get even more frightening. Doubt sinks in and you begin to wonder if anyone will want to read your book to begin with. If you're like me when I first began, you're probably wondering how you're going to get noticed through the proverbial slush pile.
Dear friends, the hard truth is this, the market in any venue is a proverbial slush pile. You are going to have to work to make it anywhere. I had no idea what it would take to get Blessing of Luna into the eyes of the populace.
There is hope. It's the beauty of growth and learning through each trial we go through. Believe me, in the beginning, I had no idea what I was doing. Marketing scared the heck out of me, promo daunted me and the sheer size of the endeavor itself, nearly froze me into stopping.
Since the founding of FyreSyde Publishing and the writing and publishing of Blessing of Luna, becoming a full-fledged freelance ghostwriter and blogger, I have learned so much. I wish I could go back only a year ago to share this knowledge with the younger me but I'm very honored to share it with you.
Here are a few things I learned after publishing, Blessing of Luna:
Choose A Writing Time and Stick To It:
Life is busy. You have work, kids, college or if you're a younger author, there's the responsibilities of school, sports, volunteer work, etc. However, if you truly want to publish and consider writing as a passion for you, finding the time to write, even if it's just an hour, is a must. Each of us has a certain time of day we're more active or at the peak of our energies. Maybe for you, it's early in the morning? Maybe you're like me and love to crank out your work at night. Whatever time you find you have "wasted hours" take those times to devote to writing. You'd be surprised how much you can write in an hour. If you're unsure where these "wasted hours" are, ask yourself: How many times do I scroll through twitter? Watch Netflix? Play video games or watch Youtube? How many of those hours can I devote to writing? Odds are, you have more time than you think.
Do Not Revise During Your First Draft:
Friends, I know it's tempting and I know there are those out there who do it. I used to do it but I soon learned revising as I went only created more work for me in the later stages of revision. I wound up changing things I thought I revised over and over again. It became so frustrating and tiring. Use your first draft to get your ideas down as quick as you can. No one has a perfect first draft and it's okay. If you like, take some notes on some things tickling your "mmm" gland and move on with the rest of the book. This is why I love Scriviner. It makes note taking so easy and you can back it up automatically right into Dropbox. Please, enjoy the first draft. You can murder your darling later.
Build Your Book Launch Team/Plan Early:
Folks, this one's big and I mean big! Something I hear many times during signings and when coaching authors just starting out is "I can't market if I haven't even finished the book." This is not true. In actuality, a buffer zone I use many times is 7-9 months prior to the release of the book to allow for marketing, finding ARC readers and contacting your team of influencers to see if they're willing to help you with promo. During your pre-launch plans, getting lists of people who have an online presence and those who have read your previous titles together is crucial. Save your stress, plan ahead. Have at least ten people to ready to review your book. Believe me, this is probably the very best piece of advice I can offer and I wish I'd known it before Blessing of Luna's release.
Do Not Start Paying For Promo Before Getting Reviews:
Another big thing I wish I knew before blowing so much money. It's always so easy to run to blog tour sites, paid ads, paid promotions, etc. Please, do not do this without at least having 7-10 reviews. Buyers like to see what they're buying before investing their time and money. Human beings shop with their eyes first so if a book shows up without any reviews, it doesn't really matter how much exposure you have, they most likely won't buy. Focus on your contacts first. Everyone you know! Something I had to face was the fear of begging but let me tell you, asking someone to review your book is not a bad thing. Many bookbloggers do it for free and are more than happy to do so. I'm always more than happy to review all kinds of books. If you're having trouble, offer to help them in return. If they're authors, offer book swaps. Most of us are happy to help because we've been at the bottom. There are plenty of free promo sites willing to promo your book. Chandler Bolt's book Book Launch is an amazing tool for book launches. I would recommend it to any author who has no idea how to plan a launch.
Play The Long Game - Publishing Is Not a Sprint, it's a Marathon:
I lied to you earlier. This advice is the most important piece I've ever received. So often we hear in the publishing world that in order to be a best seller, you have to sprint, make more faster and hustle to get to the top. This just isn't true. It takes work, devotion, time and planning to not only write the best book but to also be the best author. The truth is, you most likely aren't going to write the next Harry Potter and that's more than okay. It takes time to build a presence, make an email list, build a readership and have beta readers in the wings for your next title. When I first published Blessing of Luna, I thought I had to the best right now and reach the best-seller status right now. That's not true. If you have a loyal readership who supports your titles and you as a brand, then you are on your way. I had the privilege of seeing Shannon Messenger, author of Flashback, Keeper of Lost Cities in person and she said "At first, I saw no sales. They trickled in at the beginning. But as I published more books, I began to see them grow." This is a powerful piece of advice from a New York Times Best-Selling Author. She played the long game. She endured the marathon.
You Are Your Best Marketing Team:
As authors, we need to face it. We are going to have to market. Especially if you're an indie or self-published author. Even traditionally published authors will tell you they do most of their own marketing. So often, we go into the state of mind that all we want to do is write and that's true, many of us do. Here's the problem, however, you can quickly find yourself running low on funds and no one will see your book if you don't focus on your brand. In the past, I've written guest posts on how authors should focus on their readers, build a connection with them and go out and meet them. Books come and go but the author is the one constant so focus on building you as an author, not your books. Publishing is a business, you are going to have to market.
Add Value to Your Readers:
How many times have you scrolled twitter and been bashed over the brain with "buy my book" tweets? I did this at first and saw no growth in any of my social media. Why? Because people like to feel like they're valued. Something I've learned in the many hours of webinars by Tim Grahl, Chandler Bolt, Bryan Cohen and Derek Murphy is you need to be "relentlessly helpful." What does this mean? It means instead of focusing on your own agenda, focus on giving back to the reading community. You can do this in any number of ways. For example, you can offer promo for their blogs, do guest posts, offer free content, etc. This is a concept known as "turning from a market of 'me' to a market of 'we.' By turning your attention to your readers, you will find they often build a sense of trust that you aren't just trying to sell them anything. They feel they can trust you because you see them as people. It's something many businesses like Amazon and Apple have tapped into. The power of people.
Social Media is Indeed a Black Hole:
If you're familiar with any of my personal content, then you know I'm what's known as an "event authorpreneur." I focus on traveling to various book festivals and conventions, speaking events and workshops all over the place. In a blog post on FyreSydePublishing.com, I wrote a post titled "Budget Social Media: Invest in Live Events." It also appeared during NaNoProMo. For those of you who don't know what NaNoProMo is, it's run by BadRedHeadMedia on Twitter and it's when some of the top names in the industry offer their advice for an entire month. In it, I offered advice on what you can do in order to build the connection with your readers away from social media. This is an area I've seen the most growth in. As human beings, we like to meet and interact, it's in our nature. Readers and fans like to shake the hands of the authors they read. They like to get signed copies and ask questions in panels. Invest in some of your local book festivals and conventions, you won't be disappointed. Something to remember though, don't make your only goal to sell as many books as you can. They may not be too quick to buy simply because they don't know you yet. Get to know them, offer free content and you never know, you might just have made a fan for life.
Writing, publishing, marketing, and traveling to events can be daunting but in the end it can be rewarding. The most important thing to think about is why you started this journey in the first place. Why you write. Why you publish. In the end, it's all about the story you have to tell. Take your time. Odds are your first book won't be the best and it's okay.
FyreSyde Publishing owner and founder Blaise Ramsay worked over fifteen years in the graphic design industry, with some experience in indie gaming. Recently she shifted her attention to the world of literature with her debut paranormal romance series, Wolf gods. The debut title, Blessing of Luna is set to release in 2018. She currently lives in North Texas with her two children, her husband and pets. A UTD graduate with a Bachelor's in History with an intention on teaching, Blaise decided that the world of teaching just wasn't for her. A stay at home mother of two, business owner and self-publisher, Blaise loves to meet new people and encourage others to follow their dreams through weekly posts to her instagram, twitter, facebook and blog.
50 Things to Know About Ghostwriting
Have you ever wondered what ghostwriting is? Do you want to start your own ghostwriting business but aren't sure how? Are you curious as to how you can balance ghostwriting and a full-time job? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this book is for you. 50 Things to Know About Ghostwriting by Blaise Ramsay offers an approach to ghostwriting.