If you are reading this, the chances are you aspire to be an author. Maybe you already are one, and you hope to glean a little more information on this holy grail that we have embarked on.
I don’t have all the answers, indeed at the moment I have very few but I will share what I have learned in order that the process may be a little easier for you – at least in theory.
So you write or think you can write, that’s a good start, but it is only that – a start.
Before you send your precious collection of words to an agent, a publishing house or upload them to Amazon, Kobo or anywhere else, stop!
I did things the wrong way around.
I self-published and then sat back and thought what now?
One of the first things I was told by another author was that I needed to build a brand.
This is something that I am working on now.
I have chosen a colour that represents who I am and what I love. This colour reminds me of the Caribbean where I feel at home, and the picture I used on my website and below on my card was taken there. I think it is important that your branding speaks to you (that is my opinion).
The branding should be thought about before you upload your book and share it with the world. It may take a while to develop so make sure you allow yourself sufficient time. Your branding should go across all areas of your social media. If you can tie it into your book covers too that would be great (I haven’t done this as my branding started post release and I haven’t managed to tie it in yet. So much to do and not nearly enough time).
So take the time to consider the image you want to portray, how it reflects you as a writer and your work.
Your branding is not only about visuals, but it is also about your genre. Talking to other authors who share your interests, who write within that field. Sharing thoughts and ideas until people sit up and take notice of you. Until you pique their interest and tempt them to look at what you are doing. If you have published by then, they may take a peek, maybe read the free sample, and hopefully you make a sale.
You need to network. That used to mean being part of a physical club – I shied away from those. When my fingers hold a pen or hovers over a keyboard the words flow but that isn’t the case when I am in public and have to be verbal. The things I know disappear in the same place that socks in the washing machine go to and I am left with a case of in-articulation. I can almost hear the mocking thoughts of my audience, so I stayed well away from those events.
You may love them yourself so pop along and converse with other authors with ease and learn how to network. There is another option though, and I would recommend doing this anyway especially for a new author, and that is online groups.
I didn’t really connect to them until after I had release my first short story when I sat back and wondered what to do. I had been so busy writing I hadn’t thought about the process. The patting myself on the back stage stopped when I worked out that I needed to publicise my book. I have a few hundred friends on Facebook, surely if half of them buy it and tell a friend… But no, I was lucky with the sales I got from that avenue, friends, family and acquaintances. It certainly wasn’t in the league that I had expected.
So I joined groups, but you can’t just post and run. You have to become a part of the community. So start networking before you publish. Build up friendships, authors like to help each other. Become a part of the crowd. Help other authors chances are they will want to repay it at some point.
Some sites that I have found helpful & enjoyable:
I decided that due to financial restraints that I would use pictures that I had access to for my cover. I added the book title, and my name using a font that I liked. I was rather proud of myself, why did I need a professional? Mmm, whilst maybe the cover wasn’t bad it was a million miles away from being good. For over four months, I stuck with the cover, and book two also had a picture from the family archives.
I bought a book by Rayne Hall “Why does my book not sell” http://t.co/314yhIDJBx and it made me look again at my cover and my blurb. I posted my cover on my Author Facebook account and asked for opinions and what seemed to be clear was that the Genre of the book was unclear from the cover.
My financial situation is no different from when I embarked on this journey, but I knew I needed to do something. I decided to check out Fiverr, which I had seen mentioned by many people. On there I found two stock pictures that I fell in love with and knew would be perfect and summed up everything I wanted to portray for my book. After many fruitless emails with a designer who didn’t bother to respond to me I once more sent out an SOS on Facebook, my new author pals are a great bunch and everyone wants to help. Bank Holiday Monday I sent a private message to JC, who was recommended to me. A few hours later I had everything I wanted at an amazing price. She was easy to communicate with and knew what I wanted. I will use her again and again and have already recommended her to a friend who loved her work too. A professionally arranged cover with all the extras says a lot about your book and is worth the expense. As soon as I scrape together the money I will be asking her to make a cover for book two.
See if you can work out the professional cover!
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