7 Tips for Aspiring Authors

I share with you in this article a few of the things I’ve learned on this journey of becoming an author. These are invaluable and hopefully will help you as you begin to pursue your passion of becoming a published author.

1. Develop your story line. Invest the time in attending a writer’s workshop if necessary. Adilah Barnes does one in both the Atlanta and Los Angeles area. I believe when writing fiction this may be a great route to take.

2. Develop your target market–Age, gender, demographics, etc.

3. Before approaching a publisher or even self-publishing, have a marketing plan in place, i.e., your target market, how will you promote your book—social media, newspapers, radio, TV, book clubs, book signings, partner sites, etc. Be as specific as possible. Know your targeted audience as well as have a plan as to how YOU are going to promote your book. No one can promote you like you!

4. Count up the cost. Make contact with those you desire to promote your book with and find out the cost. Establish a budget. Counting up the cost includes the investment of your time as it relates to the writing and promoting of your book. When counting the cost as it relates to time, DO NOT sacrifice spending time with your family. It is not worth it. Count up the cost financially. Count up the cost and then add some extra time and money into your total. Believe me, it is a wise thing to do.

5. Join groups on social media sites—author’s, book clubs, book stores, etc. Read and learn from them of their plight in publishing, promoting and marketing their books. Read of the successes and failures and learn from them. Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter all afford one the opportunity to do so.

6. Start promoting your book at least 6 months in advance of its release date. Consistently keep something as it relates to your book out there during this period. Create a blog. Set up your Facebook page. Get your website up-and-running. Be sure to purchase your own domain name. That way YOU are the owner. Partner with others and promote your books on their sites. Spread the word by telling family and friends. Encourage pre-orders. First week’s sales are crucial for any new author. Get the word out! Don’t let your book be the best kept secret out there.

7. If using a mainstream publisher, know that no small publisher can assure one of a bestseller. Read through your contract to see what exactly the publisher is offering. See if your contract deals with or has anything in it as it relates to promoting and marketing your book. If it does, know what all is provided. If not, remember you can negotiate anything. Royalties vary from publisher to publisher. Check with several before making a decision. Know what you are getting before signing on the dotted line and if you don’t know, have an attorney or legal adviser go over it with you to get full understanding.

Keep in mind mainstream publishers do receive a percentage of all book sales, often a larger percentage than the author as they put up all money up-front. This is a business for you as well as them. Again, be informed—know what you’re getting.
Know that the best person to aggressively promote and market your product is YOU! Establish your brand.

You can make your dream a reality. It takes lots of work– staying focused, discipline, determination, sacrifice, tenacity, networking, patience– but it can be done.

Stay tuned for more tidbits on how to write, promote, and market your book. Cheering you on!