Some of the things I've learnt you can find on lots of blogs and websites but the thing is, you may not actually find them or even understand their significance until a bit down the track. Partly because there's an awful lot to take in and partly because there is no one size fits all.
Here are a few things I've learnt that may help other newbie or potential authors.
1. Cover Design
Find a designer who will work with you to help you get a book cover design that you are happy with. I know lots of indie authors DIY their covers but they are lots of specs involved and lots of steps. I specifically didn't want images on my book cover, I wanted illustrations (I can do a whole post on that later with Lisa) and I'm really happy with what the lovely Lisa Kelly did for me. I've had nothing but positive feedback on the cover and I think it was worthwhile.
The cover is part of how your brand yourself. So you need to think about your brand when designing your cover. Also if you plan future books think about how they will look side-by-side on a shelf in a store or on Amazon. What look image are you hoping to project. My books are light and fresh and fun. I hope the cover conveys that.
2. Editing and proof-reading.
Everyone says this is important and they're right.
3. Tell the world/spread the world.
I'm seriously not good at this. I'm a modest person so blowing my own trumpet and spruiking my wares had been really hard for me. But how else will your book sell? You have to just get beyond this. Tell people you meet, shout it on facebook, have your friends tell friends and let people help you.
4. Social media - do these things before you launch your book.
a) Set up an athor page on facebook so that you can talk about your book there. After a while your friends on your personal page will be OVER IT. Readers, potential readers and other authors can visit your facebook author page to discuss all things books.
b) Get on twitter at least a little - yes this is a great way to tell people about your book but also you learn so much. I am really not a twitter person. The immediacy of it means you miss so much and I can't sit there all day but popping in for 15 minutes twice a day is better than nothing and it is helpful. You need to re-tweet, get involved in conversations and share. Otherwise no one knows you're there.
c) Use your social media (and blog if you have it) to promote other authors and books and topics. Those people who just sell, sell, sell get very boring very fast. There's an 80/20 rule for social media and only 20% of what you do should be blatant self-promotion.
5. I don't know many people with e-readers.
Most people I know still read paperbacks and they love them. These people won't buy an e-book and that's just the way it is. For this reason I'll be doing a paperback version of Mr Right and Other Mongrels and it will be out soon. (Yes you can download an e-book to a computer or a phone or an iPad but lots of people won't. For $2.99 I'd give it a try but many people won't. This isn't personal.
(If you want to win a copy fill in the FORM here).
6. Getting people to review your book, like your Amazon page or your facebook page or retweet about you is much harder than you think.
The reasons for this are many and varied and largely it isn't personal. For alot of people it's a whole new world and they just aren't comfortable in it. They like you, they like your book (maybe) but that's as far as they're going to take it. Don't take that personally because in most cases it's not personal.
If you want to find me at facebook and twitter I'm here...or click those cute little buttons on tht top right of the blog.
7. Other authors are amazing
Other authors know what you've been through to get here and what you will continue to go through. They are incredible supportive with time, advice and energy. You'll make lots of new friends through your book. That's a wonderful bonus I didn't see coming.
PART 2 - Coming soon.