Blogs about writing are like my morning newspaper, they get my writer mojo. Each day, I wake up and read stuff on my phone while I’m still in bed, and into the coffee phase of waking up. I have a writing practice of using the first two hours of the day for my creative self — drafting new chapters, poems, story ideas, and editing works in progress. To get into the swim, I read about writing. More
You’ve written a novel that’s been published — traditional, small press, or indie — HOORAY! And you launched. Now you’re watching the sales numbers and offering to do blog tours and readings. What else? How to build buzz for your debut novel? You look at author websites and see pitches for freebies and long lists of books. You see bestseller list mentions, excruciatingly gorgeous blurbs from famous authors, and you might feel a little perplexed as to how to promote your single, debut novel lacking those supports.
Build Buzz? A Catch-22
It can be a Catch-22 for debut authors. You can’t get on Bookbub unless your book is already selling well. You can’t get on a bestseller list as an unknown without a major publisher swinging some weight behind your debut. You’ve heard that the first few months of a book’s debut can make or break its success, but you’re counting on a slow build. So what’s a debut author to do?
- I have a two-word answer: LITERARY FRIENDS. Make literary friends. Make lots of them. Join groups. There’s power in groups! Become part of the writing community and contribute to the conversation, however you best can. It’s fine to be a newbie and simply be in a group and appreciate others’ wisdom. I’ve joined quite a number of authors and writer groups, and I love being part of them, but especially these:
Women’s Fiction Writers Association
Authors18 – Novelists with Debut books publishing in 2018
National Novel Writing Month
Build Buzz Through Groups
In my Authors18 group, we support each other’s book launches, promotional posts, book tours, events, and reviews. It’s a group of dedicated, supportive, and fun writers who are all excited and suffering over their first novels being published. This is not a journey to take alone! If you’re going to have a debut novel published in 2019, a group is already forming. And look for more groups of this kind. The social media book buzz alone is worth it!
My Women’s Fiction Writers’ Association is a true tribe. We write on similar themes, range from writers seeking publication of a first novel to novelists with many books to their credit. And that makes the conversation fascinating and diverse. We have several Facebook WFWA member groups, some focused on craft, some on publishing, and some on writing every day. Like NaNoWroMo, it can give you the experience of being surrounded by fellow writers who are friends and fans, who will see you through the dark days, help build your buzz, and cheer you on.
Build Buzz Through Promotions
Basics of Building an Author Platform
More on paid promotions in another post. For now, build your book buzz in good company of other writers, book reviewers, and readers! And let me know if you have tips on this. I’m still learning!
I’ve decided to launch from my Rocket Kid Writing blog into a newly titled blog, which will be integrated with my new website (stay tuned!) as The Writing Path.
It’s not an easy path, involves some hard pulling at times, some days of feeling lost in the woods, but for me, it’s a compelling path of self-discovery. I have to keep going forward. And though it often feels solitary, I’m surrounded by writer friends, whether we connect in person over a cup of tea or coffee, or on Facebook, Twitter, or through the marvelous nonprofit organization for writers of women’s fiction, The Women’s Fiction Writers Association.
Two great things I did for my writer self last year: draft a (nearly) complete novel during National Novel Writing Month, and join the WFWA, where I’ve met and learned from many wonderful novelists. More
- Becoming a novelist is a major amount of fun, but it’s also very hard work. The unexpected challenges are the ones that come after it’s been accepted for publication. One of the big challenges is to write a short persuasive summary of your book, if your publisher requires you to write it, or you’re self-publishing. Wonderful writers have been known to tear out their hair over this.
But because these blurbs or book descriptions are needed for a book’s back cover, for the Amazon page, the author’s website, and countless book marketing materials, you have to win the challenge. You haven’t come this far to break down on a couple of paragraphs! Blurbs are used everywhere in social media to sell books. They’re probably second only in sales to good cover art.
Tips on Blurb Writing
Here’s an article with good writing advice on book blurbs:
The Fussy Librarian – Beth Bacon on Book Blurb Writing. Anne R. Allen has 8 Tips for Writing That Killer Blurb. I especially like the one about staying true to your genre. There are endless examples as near as your local library or bookstore (online or other). Joanna Penn has a great How to Write Back Blurb for Your Book Some more writing tips on crafting a blurb for your book: