Wednesday, December 5, 2012

IWSG: Reflections, Frustrations, Gratitude, & Advice

It’s the first Wednesday of the month.

Today is my birthday, the last before I hit the cringe-worthy half-century mark, and here I sit, six weeks passed  The Mistaken’s debut, and I’m feeling a little…oh, I don’t know… deflated, perhaps.  I know, this is a marathon, but still, the momentum has eased and I’m working hard to regain it.

Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect following the launch of my book, either from me, or from the book itself.  What I’ve learned is something I’ve heard many times but never truly took to heart: 

An author needs to connect with readers.

That probably seems fairly obvious, but I’ve spent most of my time connecting with other writers.  This was done out of necessity, you see, to learn all I needed to someday get published.  But that journey went a bit faster than I anticipated, and I didn’t take the proper time to make more connections, the kind I should’ve made in order to help sell my book.  Writers make great friends and give wonderful support and advice, but, for the most part, they're not really buyers.  Readers are buyers.

I could blame it on my genre, talk about how hard it is to break into anything that’s not romance or YA, but that’s only partly true and, frankly, comes off as whiny.  And I’m tired of whining.  It doesn't help a dream come true.  So now it’s time to buckle down and make those reader connections. 

I’m not quite sure how to do that, but tomorrow, Writers4Writers, the group led by Stephen Tremp, Mary PaxC.M. Brown, and Christine Raines, will be lending me a hand and featuring me and The Mistaken on its debut campaign.  Participants will join in and help bring awareness to my novel and hopefully increase sales, as well as drive new traffic to my blog, increase my following, and create a verbal and viral buzz.  

Besides that, and in addition to those my publisher has arranged, I’m lining up my own regiment of book reviewers to read, rate, and review The Mistaken on their blogs, GoodreadsAmazon, and the myriad of other reader resources, because...

Reviews and ratings are the fuel that drives sales, so authors, like me, crave them.  

I’ve been learning all about Amazon algorithms and what it takes for a book to make an Amazon list and how beneficial that is to future sales. It’s quite a science, it seems, but what it comes down to is…I need readers, those willing to shell out $3.99 for the ebook, who will rate and hopefully review on it Amazon. 

So let my naïveté be a lesson to all you pre-published writers out there.  While difficult, the hardest part is not writing the book, or landing an agent, or signing a book deal.  It’s finding those readers who will hopefully be interested in your book.  So while connecting with other writers is beneficial and extremely gratifying, connecting with your potential reader before you even launch is downright critical.

Do any of you have words of advice or wisdom for this anxious author?
I sure could use it!

If you’re interested in the Writere4Writers promotion tomorrow,
please feel fee to sign up using the Linky Tool.
I could use that, too!!


Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks for sharing your challenges Nancy. We can all grow from them. I think it's hard connecting to readers on our blogs unless they are adults because teens don't read them. I think it's a great idea to reach out to book review blogs because they have a following of readers wanting to know about good books to read. Good luck with it.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Now you know!
I think I did warn you of the crash and burn after a release, after the tour ends, after the dust settles... You just have to keep going. Not at the same frantic pace, but just keep moving.
And I was warned when I first started blogging - don't follow only writers.

Marta Szemik said...

I feel your pain and agree that's the most difficult part of writing/publishing - connecting to your readers.
I find that difficult as well, in fact, I have a similar post today too.
All I can say is, keep going, don't give up and hope that "if you build it, they will come".

Unknown said...

Yes, since I have been blogging (one year), I have noticed how quite a lot of writers don't seem to connect to readers. It is easy to become so involved in other writers, as they are great support, but we definitely need to open our world to readers as well.

Looking forward to the launch of W4W's tomorrow and glad you accepted to be our guinea pig. I hope it all goes well for you Nancy.

JeffO said...

You have stirred up a major rant in my head right now, Nancy. It's not about you, it's about the whole 'platform' thing. Again. Probably better if I keep my mouth shut and fingers off the keyboard, heh heh.

I don't know much about sales, etc., but I expect there's likely always a certain slack period after the first burst. I suspect that, as word of mouth circulates among non-writer readers, sales will start to pick up again. Now, you're not self-published, but take a look at Lavender Ironsides blogpost on her self-pubbed effort here:
She had a very slack period followed by a steady build up. It was a long time building, though.

Hang in there!

T Drecker said...

The writing community is so wonderful, and the writing takes up so much of our time that the readers (the end product) tends to be forgotten.
But it doesn't look like you've totally been misplaced. Can't wait until tomorrow :)

JeffO said...

Oh, crap, and how could I forget to wish you a happy birthday? HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Steven said...

Yes, many writers fall into the connecting only with other writers trap. You're absolutely right that connecting with readers is a must. I've written articles for all kinds of websites, which has really helped with connecting with the public. The greatest piece of advice I have received was from an agent who said it's all about having a platform. You need to have a cause, something other than selling your books, that you care about and somehow ties in with your work. That platform will help you connect with readers in a way that most authors miss. Good luck with your post-release work--it gets easier the more you do it.

Anonymous said...

Nancy, I don't know how you don't just collapse from sheer exhaustion with all you've done to promote the book. To invest so much of who you are, not only in the writing, but now in the promotion aspect, has to leave you a little fried. You have set the bar high for all of us who have yet to publish on how to do it well. I'm excited to repost your FB and Twitter feeds tomorrow!

Catherine Noble said...

I'm grateful for your post, because I am that naive writer you speak of. I don't know the ropes, but would connecting with book reviewers help too? You've probably already done that, but just putting it out there. Good luck with your Writers 4 Writers post and happy birthday!

Melissa said...

Figuring out ways (and finding time) to connect with readers is something I worry about, too. It's hard to keep all the plates spinning as it is.

Writers4Writers is a great idea. Good luck.

And happy birthday! :D

IWSG #145 until Alex culls the list again. :)

Andrew Leon said...

That was actually the thing that was most distressing to me: after writing a book, which was the hardest thing I'd ever done, then I had to do all the stuff that came after, and that was even harder! What the crap? Seriously?
It's kind of not fair.

Weaver said...

Happy Birthday (again) and good luck tomorrow.

Don't be too down about the birthday next year. Remember that while 40 is the old age of youth, 50 is the youth of old age. You'll be young again . . . for an old fart. ;)

Samantha May said...

Happy birthday! I most certainly would've never guessed your age, so whatever you're doing keep it up :D

Connecting with readers is certainly never easy, but I think it's something becomes less difficult the longer you write.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I thought of saying something, but why? You needed to feel the exhilaration of getting published. That feeling may never come again, but know that you are a success. Generation will talk about the grandmother who was a published author. Just being told that will inspire your children's children to follow their dreams. Meanwhile, get some more books out there as soon as you can. You're doing what you were meat to do, Nancy. And that is a huge step. So many people never take the chance.

Cherie Reich said...

It can be really hard to find readers and not just any readers but the right readers. They're out there, though. It just takes time.

Happy Birthday!

Anonymous said...

W4Ws is less than a day away! I'm thinking big big big thoughts!!! It will be a smashing success I'm sure.

Unknown said...

Happy Birthday!! I totally agree with you! When I first began blogging, I connected with many writers, and when I published Little Acorn, they were all extremely excited, but not children's ebook readers. They've become my support system, like family. But it's going to take a heck of a lot more to connect with readers. For me, it's kids. So, my goals are library visits, bookstores, schools, etc.

Question: Who's your audience? Then think of the possible ways to reach them. Coffee houses / book signings? Bookstores / readings & signings? Local colleges?

Best of luck to you, Nancy. :)

Bob Sanchez said...

Happy birthday, Nancy! Your 49th? I hope you have a wonderful day. And don't cringe at 50 or 60, because they're all good.

Do you promote on Twitter? It's a great, no-cost venue that served me very well this year.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

No, the real work starts after the book is written and slated for publication. Fortunately, the promoting part is fun.

Happy birthday! I still have about three years before I hit 50.

Lisa Regan said...

Well I think it's hard to connect with readers when you have nothing out for them to read. I don't really see how you could do that. And unfortunately there is no proven way to get word out about our books. It is all trial and error. What works for one author might not work for another. It's so tricky that it can become very frustrating! I hope W4W does big things for The Mistaken though because it is one of the most amazing books I've ever read!!!

Happy birthday, my friend. Love you!

Cynthia said...

Saying hello from IWSG...I'd bet there are readers out there looking for a book like yours, and hoping to find it....and they will! Readers finding writers...writers finding readers- it's a two-way street.

Happy birthday!! said...

It's a tireless journey, and there's so much to learn. But it's worth it, isn't it? Great IWSG post!

Rena said...

You bring up such good points. I'm often lost in the "Oh, writing the book is the hardest part" or getting an agent is so much work, but it's just not the end of the road. Yikes. Thanks for such a thoughtful post.

StratPlayerCJF said...

Hey Nancy!

I just want to encourage you to hang in there! I'm reading MUCH too slowly these days due of lack of time, but I've started your book and am about 1/3 through it, and really liking it!

So I KNOW that regardless of how long it takes, the story is very good, and positive reviews and word of mouth will continue to give it strength.

Yes, I'm a wanna-be writer, but I'm also a reader and you've connected with me. ;^)

And also: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! I know this is a few days late, but I hope you had a wonderful day, and that your year is going to be filled with joy and happiness. And if it makes you feel any better: No mattter how old you get, I'd STILL be older! ;^)

Mike said...

I'm very skeptical about all this social media exposure leading to sales. I think selling a book is like anything else. It just has to fall in to the right hands. I don't imagine that a book with a title like "The DaVinci Code" took off because Dan Brown Tweeted or blogged about it. People like my father read it and said,"Oh, if you want to read a good book check out the DaVinci Code." I would have never even picked it up, otherwise.

When Literary agent, Katie McKean,turned down my first novel, she wrote me a nice response saying that it wasn't right for her, but that if it was a good book it would eventually emerge somewhere. I think time is what your novel needs.

Rhonda Albom said...

Best of luck on your book. Happy birthday -hubby says 50 wasn't too bad.

Tia Bach said...

A belated happy birthday! I thought I'd stumbled upon a post I'd written, that's how much I identified with this. I agree... writing the book is so much easier than selling it, especially with all the wonderful books out there.

Sounds like you are doing a lot of the right things, and I wish you much success.