Where to start? Logically, it starts with a product to sell. Have you got one? Perhaps you have a book that you have gotten the rights back on and just don't know what to do with it. Or maybe, you have a long back list of books that you've written and polished (polished being the operative word) and want to get them to market. Where do you start?
If you've got a book that has been polished and well edited then you can skip to the next section.
But if you are still working on that book and it needs a little work then there are some things to consider here first. The work you put out there represents you. If I can give you anything else to hang your hat on then it would be this. I've seen a lot of authors who pay to have their books edited. This can be extremely costly and not always with the results that you want. If you don't feel comfortable in your abilities to edit and you have the money to spare then there are those out there that will do it for you. If you are like me and you have limited money to invest there are ways to get around it.
- Invest in a good book on editing your manuscript or take a workshop that highlights this.
- Find some great BETA readers. I'm not talking about mom reading your book unless she has the ability to be brutally honest. (Mine had this ability). But get more than one person who can BETA read for you and pick people who may have different specialties. I belonged to a critique group early on and I learned an huge amount from fellow author Susan Vaughan. Her specialty was grammar and I still carry on many of those lessons today. How many is a good amount of BETA readers? As many as it takes for you to feel that the product you put out there will be the best it can be. I heard once that most editors stopped reading submissions after 3 errors. In this case, the editor is you reader and they do have the ability to return the book and put very visible reviews on your work. Give them something to rave about, not rant.
- When you think you are ready to publish take one more look. Or have someone else look at it. Even traditionally published books can have a multitude of errors, but they are most often much more acceptable by readers who tend to believe that the error can come from some big name publisher.
If your work is ready to go and you are itching to publish I would urge you to learn a little before you put it out there. I'm a jump in and swim kind of person. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it bites you in the butt! When I decided to put Three Truths up for sale as an ebook I needed to learn a few things about the market before I could take the plunge. I would suggest building your arsenal or toolbox of reference materials.
There are 3 basic "free" yahoo lists that I've found to be an asset gathering information. Each offers their own unique specialties and each come with their own set of listserve rules. Make sure to check them out and follow them. It's better to be cautious, then to get yourself kicked off a list that can offer so much information. Also, don't let the "romance" or "mystery" monikers dissuade you. These people have spent a lot of time analyzing their efforts and are willing to share their information. Not everything works for everyone, but it's a great place to gather resources, get new ideas and even ask questions.
MARKETING FOR ROMANCE WRITERS
I can't even begin to tell you about the wealth of information that I found by being on these lists. I would, however, suggest being on digest. These can be high volume lists and being on digest gives you the ability to skim.
The last part that I want to talk about is branding. If you've been in writing for any length of time you've heard the term, but there really is a reason for this. Think carefully about the image and books that you want to put out there. This is not the time for scatter shot publishing. There is nothing wrong with writing and publishing different genres, just understand that you need to make it clear to the prospective reader what product they are getting when they buy your book. Think about name, image, quality and availability. These are all part of the package. How do you want to present yourself to the market?
As I progress I'll be talking about different resources that are available. If you have any questions, please let me know at Teagan@TeaganOliver.com and I'll help where I can.