“What are your plans for your book?”
Early July 2011 – I was enjoying an evening of ‘glamping’ with the girls, sitting around a camp fire, watching the sun set on the horizon when I received the text message. A small, US based, indie publishing house named Rainstorm Press showed a keen interest in ‘An Unfamiliar Murder’. Over the weeks that followed we exchanged many emails and they were at the point of offering me a contract – when they posed the above question. Ummm…
It was a fair question. Recruiting a debut novelist is a big investment for any publishing house. They are providing editorial services, cover art costs, print runs, marketing, publicity… All of which they hope to regain in returns when the book sells.
This is the first piece of fiction I had submitted (the rest is gathering dust on a cyber shelf somewhere). Previously, I had written non-fiction articles, essays and updates for newspapers, magazines and websites under my regular name of Jane Lobb. I was starting from scratch.
When you submit a novel to an Agent/Publisher, it is not enough to say that you want to become a successful author in your query letter. These days, writers are expected to take an active role in promoting their books and publishing houses need reassurance that, for the investment they place in you, you are also prepared to give something back; to develop an audience that may transfer into potential sales.
With the assistance of social media, there are many simple, often free, methods of getting your name out there:
- Facebook – set up a business page – every person that ‘likes’ that page will receive a copy of all messages that you place there, on their home page.
- Join the Twitter community – you can follow other writers, readers, interesting people and read their blogs, learn about their experiences and make some really good friends. Twitter not only offers a great platform to promote your work. If you actively engage with others you’ll pick up some great tips and some fabulous book reviews along the way.
- Write a regular blog – talk about something that you are interested in, it doesn’t have to be directly related to your book, but something that will engage potential readers.
- Set up a website – this is your main area to promote your book, display the cover and include an excerpt to whet a potential reader’s appetite.
- Link all of the above together and hey presto you have a marketing strategy – better known these days as an Author Platform.
So, my website is in the hands of a techie. But you can now follow me on Twitter under @JaneIsaacAuthor and find me on Facebook under ‘Jane Isaac Author’. I’m still very much a newbie, still discovering other avenues like book trailers on YouTube, blog tours, LinkedIn, to utilise. But this is my beginning, my initial concession to building an interest in my book.
Jane Isaac is very much a Newbie, she doesn’t even have a website yet (one day…) and with a day job, a family and a very demanding black Labrador, she squeezes her writing into every spare moment she gets. Join her on the rocky road from pen to publication – hopefully!