What I’ve Learned

What I’ve Learned

Though I’m new to BookWise Publishing, I’ve been in the industry for over a decade.

I’ve watched as my best friend, who wrote gothic historicals, was told her publisher now wanted her to write paranormal romance because that was the “new trend.” So, she did and become a USA Today Bestseller. Four books in that series later, she was pink-slipped and on her own.

This was a time of great upheaval and change in the publishing industry. Digital media was up-and-coming and the traditional publishers were slow in responding and developing their own plans for digital media. Many of my friends were pink-slipped at this time and publisher after publisher started closing down – as did many book stores.

It was at this time, that my best friend and I started looking into digital media and how to best utilize this new venue to sell books.

We had a great deal to learn and some things we did were a success and others… not so much.

Some of the things I’ve learned from working in the industry are very valuable and things all Indy authors should be doing:

  1. Set deadlines for yourself – Deadlines are imperative to getting your book completed in a timely fashion and out to your readers.
  2. Get an Editor – No matter how great you may be with grammar and sentence structure; you’re bound to miss things. Get fresh eyes on your book to catch the typos, consistency and structure issues. A good editor can make all the difference in the world in terms of sales and good reviews and is worth every penny.
  3. Design a Great Cover – Your cover is the first thing potential readers see and can attract (or repel) them at first glance. Your cover conveys an overall feel of your book and is essential in attracting an audience.
  4. Connect. Establish a professional support network – Join a critique and/or writing group that you meet with regularly. This will help keep you motivated and is a great sounding board for your ideas.
  5. Attend Conferences – These can be an excellent way to connect with other writers and get informed about new trends and markets. Many conferences will have book signings as well and this is a fantastic way to meet your readers and gain new ones! Book Expo America in May every year is one you want to catch. One of our authors found five publishers interested in his coffee table book when he went last year
  6. The Successful NovelistHone Your Craft – Learn all that you can about writing. Several bestselling authors have wonderful books available to help the first-time or 20th time writer. Learn from the best and adapt it to fit you. One of my favorite books on writing is from my good friend, David Morrell. David is a New York Times bestselling author who taught in the English department at the University of Iowa. His success spans nearly 50 years! His book, The Successful Novelist: A Lifetime of Lessons about Writing and Publishing is one I highly recommend to all authors and aspiring authors.
  7. Get a Website – I cannot stress this enough, a website is imperative to your success. Readers want to know more about their favorite authors and will check you out online. Without that online presence, you are losing out on a chance to further engage your readers. Furthermore, media outlets may want to look you up for radio, television, print or blog interviews. A website says you’re serious about your profession. You wouldn’t go to your book signing badly in want of a shower, wearing sweats and a t-shirt would you? Your website is your virtual presence and you want to make a good impression.
  8. Create a Community – This can be done in many different ways. Social media is the best way to connect with your readers in an informal way. Set up Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Goodreads, etc. accounts and be active on them! Short posts daily can go a long way to attract readers. Talk about your Work In Progress, your kids, your pets, your vacation… just post! Don’t post only when you have a book coming out that you want to sell. That won’t endear you to your readers and may actually repel them. Be personable, funny and engaging. Many authors hire a social media assistant to help keep their profiles active.
  9. Market Your Book. Your book is finished and uploaded to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo and Google. Now what? This is probably the hardest part about being an author – getting your book out to the masses. How do you get noticed in the throng of books out there? The world is your oyster! How about translating your book into multi-languages for the world market? What about an audio book? The possibilities are limitless. Talk with a BWP Team Member to find out what we can do for you.
  10. Above all… Don’t Ever Stop Writing! And never, ever give up on your dreams.

Happy writing!

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