As an author who has written under many names and many genres, I am often asked advice from both aspiring authors and seasoned authors as well. Even as a seasoned author, there is still always so much more to learn and it’s always a blessing to be able to engage in the quality of sharing among other authors. With that being said, I’d like to share what I think is the most valuable advice an author could ever receive: “KNOW AND GET YOUR AUDIENCE BEFORE YOU EVEN FINISH THE BOOK!”
I know; sounds like hustling backwards, right? Sounds like creating a hype for something that doesn’t even exist, right? Sounds like fraud-a scam, right? WRONG!
The most valuable thing an author can ever do is to generate a fan base-have tons of people sitting on the edge of their seats waiting for a book to come out. Think about it; doesn’t Hollywood do it all the time when it comes to movies? Doesn’t the Lifetime Movie Network have the ladies setting their DVR months in advance for a movie with all those teasing previews they show? Or the huge wrestling events have men doing pay per view months in advance? Shouldn’t the same go for the literary world?
I say yes, and that authors should stop selling themselves short by not considering their product to be something so worthy that folks need to mark their calendars for its release…pre-order, etc… Hustling backwards is creating a product, filling your warehouse, garage, dining room, etc… with it, and then trying to figure out who would want to buy it and how to get them to buy it.
The minute a person knows they are going to write that book and they have that title engraved in stone, they should create a cover. Even if it’s just a mock cover with a black background and the title is in a large white letters, create a visual to give people. Begin promoting it. Begin teasing people with a synopsis and one liners from the book. Create a website giving the release date. Have no idea when the book will be done? Then just say “Coming Soon.”
Once there is a concrete release date, begin taking pre-orders. Please be realistic with that release date. There is nothing worse than having a reader sitting on the edge of their seat waiting for a book to come out, and then the release date comes and goes, especially if they have pre-ordered it. By that time they have moved on to the next author and no longer trust that the book will ever come out.
Every chance the author gets, they should tell people about their forthcoming title. Get all their friends and family to tell people as well. Create a social networking page. Take out ads with literary promotional companies. Get book marks, postcards, etc… Even send book stores information about the forthcoming title. Of course the author needs to do all of this while writing the book, but as I always say (and any author will tell you), writing the book is the easy part. Selling it is the killer. Writing the book may be a passion, but selling it is a business.
I strongly believe if an author generates their audience first (and knows who their audience is…who the book will appeal to), do some marketing and promoting before the book is ever even written, it will make the task of selling the book once it is released that much easier.
E. N. Joy is the author behind the five book “New Day Divas” series, the three book “Still Divas” series and the three book “Always Divas” series, which have been coined The Soap Opera In Print. She wrote the children’s book, The Secret Olivia Told Me, under the name N. Joy, in which the book received an American Library Association Coretta Scott King Honor, was acquired by Scholastic Books and has sold almost 100,000 copies. Visit the author at http://www.enjoywrites.com