by Patty Smith Hall, @pattywrites
The publishing world has changed drastically over the last ten years. When I first started attending writer’s conference, a self-published book was considered a career killer and e-books were something out of an old Jetson’s carton. Bookstores thrived with readers standing in lines for hours just to get their hands on a new release like Harry Potter or Twilight.
Then the Kindle came along, and Amazon gave readers the opportunity to buy their books instantly, and usually at a lower price. Publishers scrambled to catch up with the technology. Once prosperous bookstores closed. With Amazon publishing and Create a Space, self or indie publishing became the cool kid on the block. Writers who had languished waiting for that elusive contract found large audiences and success by marketing through social media. Editors are now as interested in your social media presences as much as your story idea.
All in ten short years.
Change is inevitable so how does a writer survive(and thrive!) in the publishing jungle. Here are five ways:
1) Be diligent.
Writing for publication is not for the meek of heart. It requires doing the work, day in and day out. You can’t be published if you never write anything to submit. And while classes, workshops and conferences are great, you can only apply what you’ve learned by putting fingers to the keyboard(or in my case, pen to paper.) Settle on a daily word count you can live with, put your backside in a chair and don’t get up until you’ve met your goal for the day. Tomorrow, repeat.
When you finish, start working on the edits. Make your work the best book you’ve written—until you start your next one!
2) Be studious
Being a great writer isn’t enough in this day and age, and publishing houses don’t finance the PR campaigns of just ten years ago. The job of marketing your book will fall mainly on your shoulders. Read articles and books on marketing—one that came highly recommended to me is 5-Minute Book Marketing for Authors by Penny C Sansevieri. Ask questions about marketing sites like BookBub and Faithful Reader. Here is a list of just a few:
- Faithful Reader
- E-reader Café
- The Fussy Librarian
- Vessel Project
3) Be social
You want to sell your book? It’s up to you to market it and the best way to do that(without breaking the bank!) is social media. I know it can feel overwhelming—there are parts of social media that can make you explode. Whether you love to blog or tweet, or post on your Facebook page, find three ways you can commit to that will elevate your social media presence. Once you pick them, you can use hootsuite to schedule your post so that you can keep writing. Here are a few that I’ve used in the past:
- Facebook Personal or Group Blog
- Twitter Snapchat
- Instagram Pinterrest
- Google+ Tumblr
- E-Newsletter(a must!)
Check into Ryan Zee if you’d like to grow your e-newsletter list—for my $50 investment, I got over a thousand emails addys from readers asking to be put on my list with a very low op-out ratio. If you love Twitter, you might want to look into Ask David who for a small fee($10-20 for thirty tweets) will tweet your new book release to his 50K following of serious readers.
4) Be fruitful
Being a novelist doesn’t mean you’re restricted to simply writing books. There are numerous ways to earn a living from the knowledge you’ve gleamed over the years. Novelist and Publisher Cynthia Hickey once told me she approaches the writing business like a stool—you need three legs to hold it up. So use the power of three—write devotionals for magazines, offer your editing skills, become a writing coach or guest speaker. Other writers offer their own writing retreats or mini-conferences. While these will bring in revenue, they also are a marketing opportunity. Remember, the more you get your name or your work in front of a new audience, the higher your sales.
5) Be open to change
The publishing world continues to evolve so it’s important to change with it. Keep an eye out for new and improved ways to meet the challenges of the ever changing market and technology in the publishing world as a whole.TWEETABLES
Seven women seek husbands to help them rebuild a Kansas town.
Meet seven of Turtle Springs, Kansas’, finest women who are determined to revive their small town after the War Between the States took most of its men. . .and didn’t return them. The ladies decide to advertise for husbands and devise a plan for weeding out the riff raff. But how can they make the best practical choices when their hearts cry out to be loved?
Patty Smith-Hall is a multi-published author with Love Inspired Historical and Barbour, Patty lives in North Georgia with her husband of 30+ years, Danny; two gorgeous daughters, her son-in-love and a grandboy who has her wrapped around his tiny finger. When she’s not writing on her back porch, she’s spending time with her family or working in her garden.