Are you in the querying trenches — querying agents with a fiction manuscript? That’s probably one of the hardest phases of the writing life. Being on submission is hard too (when your agent is sending out your manuscript to editors) but somehow querying agents feels to me harder. Here are some survival strategies. More
publishing a novel
I’m delighted to have a new interview up at Authors18 — a group of this year’s debut authors, of which I’m a proud member. Among the questions asked: “If you could spend a day with anyone in history, who would it be?” See my answer in today’s interview (hint: I’d travel to Renaissance Italy). Here’s a link to the interview.
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!
Having a book out in the world isn’t a new experience for me. With three poetry books out in the world, I’ve experienced the elation, stage fright, happy overwhelm, and sheer joy in completing a book and giving it an audience. But to have a novel published is in another sphere. It’s a goal I’ve had since I was a child. And yesterday, I achieve it, with the release of The Renaissance Club from Fiery Seas Publishing.
I’ve partied, celebrated, and emailed and passed out bookmarks to spread the word. Right now, I’m happy to share an excerpt, published at Escape Into Life. Thanks to the editors there, you can read the cute-meet of my two main characters, one who lives in the 21st century, and the other who lives in the 17th, but who find a fold in time that allows them to be in the same moment.