The road to publication is a long one, and as my faithful readers will know, there are no shortcuts. Publication requires countless hours of editing, development, and, in many cases, tears. Then you have all the public aspects of the process: social media, websites, conferences, and the list goes on.
It’s incredibly cruel of an industry to leave those new to it to flounder their way through life.
For the past six month, I have been writing, and editing, a book that I feel ALL writers could benefit from, looking at the various hidden traps associated with an online platform. I’m please to announce that the book is now available for pre-orders through a variety of retailers.
It’s often difficult to remember that writing is actually just another form of art. There is a reason it’s called creative writing. What one person loves, another will hate. The writers that try to please everyone will drive themselves crazy in the attempt. But this subjectivity goes for the professionals in the industry too. Just because an agent/publisher has turned down your beloved manuscript doesn’t necessarily mean that there is anything wrong with your manuscript. It just means that they weren’t as passionate about it as you are and hence didn’t feel that they could best represent that story. One should always remember this in any dealings about your manuscript. At the end of the day, there is only one person that you need to make 100% happy with what you have written: yourself. Your name is attached to that story. Make it a story that you’re proud of.
The whole concept of building a following can be overwhelming at times, and there really isn’t much solid advice out there. However, a writer’s platform is not the complicated concept that many turn it into.
A writer’s platform is NOT marketing, promotion, or publicity. It’s not just a website or social media — for that matter, it’s not just your books. A writer’s platform is everything that you do to connect with readers.
It’s your local writers’ group that you attend once a month, or more frequently, as the case may be. It’s those conferences and book festivals that you save your pennies for so you can afford the registration. It’s your participation in special events that have nothing to do with writing and your books.
Yes, a writer’s platform includes your books, website, and social medial, and yes, this online component in today’s market is important, but it’s not everything.
Whether you are self-publishing or traditionally publishing, you need a marketing strategy for your book. It’s not good enough to just post your book on Amazon and expect people to buy it. The “build it and they will come” philosophy only works for Kevin Costner. The exact strategy that you use will depend on your personality and goals. There is only one wrong answer: doing nothing.
To translate a manuscript between US and UK English, it’s not good enough to just change the English dictionary on your computer. While it is a good place to start, the differences between the two forms of English extend to more than just spelling. Mr Darcy is British, but Mr. Twain is American.
My readers will know that I’m working toward the publication of Hidden Traps: A Writer’s Guide to Protecting Your Online Platform, due to be released August 2017. It’s been an interesting journey: revisiting my nonfiction writing roots; learning about ISBNs and publishing options; and devising marketing strategies. It has definitely been a steep learning curve. I have learnt many things along this journey, topics of which will become future blog posts, but there is one aspect that I thought was perfect to reveal now.
Graphic designers think in images.
Looking back at it now, it seems so logical, but at the time that I commissioned the cover for Hidden Traps, it was a concept that completely eluded me. I’m a writer and editor. I spend so much of my time looking at how to craft that perfect sentence to convey the right picture. I’ve commissioned artwork before, providing only a line from my stories and getting the perfect image in return. Surely, I can do the same for a cover.
I’ll hang my head in shame now, because clearly my words weren’t enough.
Writing can be incredibly isolating. Let’s face it, family and friends will nod and smile sweetly, humoring our writing aspirations, but unless they are writers themselves, they will never understand the obsession that writing is. It is vital for your development as a writer to find other writers. Search for local writing groups. Join on-line networks. Participate in Twitter events like #PitchWars. Trust me, you won’t regret it.
This week’s post was written by Joynell Shultz, where she shares some of her insights on marketing books — knowledge gained through trial and error, and a lot of research. Perhaps you can gain a few ideas that might work for you too.
Self-editing is always an attractive option to the financial purse strings. However, professional editing is always preferred. A professional editor has no emotional attachment to your writing. Hence, they are likely to pick up things that you would have completely missed otherwise. However, before you hire a professional editor, ensure that you are hiring the right editor for the job — don’t hire a copyeditor for developmental editing, and vice versa.