I just saw a very generic blog post (that was well written) about 10 things you shouldn’t do when publishing your first novel. It’s great advice for someone that has absolutely no clue what they’re doing, but it doesn’t help anyone that has conducted their own research. I decided to post a checklist of things to do when publishing your first novel. This is the free version. In the future, I’ll tell you how to spend your money.
Start a Blog
When you’re first beginning, you should have web presence. Many people will tell you to avoid writing about your novel or anything about your life. That’s a big mistake. Most of my page views come from people interested in my novel.
The best advice is to write about what interests you. If you’re passionate about your first novel, write! Take people through your process and find a way to make your blog interactive.
Learn About SEO
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. That means, when people enter keywords online, they’re more or less likely to be linked to your page. If you want to market yourself or your novel, you’ll need to create an online name for yourself.
Use Social Media
This can get frustrating. My novel gets a lot more hits when I’m active on Twitter. For example, I lost half my sales last month when I decided to take a break from the web. Social media can be very time consuming. Though I meet a lot of nice people, I have to tweet when I’d rather write.
Facebook is a lot easier. One solid post per day can get you a lot of attention, but I don’t notice a reflection in my sales. Whether I’m posting on Facebook or not, nothing really changes. But that’s my experience. There are more users on Facebook willing to buy than on Twitter. If you can market using the ads application and interactive post, you may have different results.
Market Other Authors
This is where having social media helps. If you begin marketing novels for other authors, you’ll feel better. That’s the first thing; all other benefits are secondary. I personally enjoying helping authors that are struggling to make their work known to the public, but you should find your own motivation.
Secondary benefits aren’t guaranteed so don’t let these be your goals. You should truly help others from the bottom of your heart. After that, benefits include:
- Making online friends
- Having those same authors market your work in return (never ask – they may do it on their own)
- Build relationships with the author’s friends or followers
- Build a relationship with the author
It doesn’t matter how you get them, but get them. I had a lot of friends read my book, but they never wrote a review. If I could redo things, I would’ve taken a laptop to their house and demanded, “Write a review”.
You need eight reviews (just an estimate) in order to gain some weight in Amazon’s market. Otherwise, your ranking will rise and fall sporadically.
Once you have the eight reviews, I recommend that you…
Enroll in Amazon’s KDP Select
This is a controversy for some authors. Three months with a commitment to receive no pay?
It’s a bit more complex than that, but here’s the deal: If you’ve had your book up for three months with eight reviews and you’re still not ranking well, try it. It’s free marketing. Try it.
If your novel has good sells that you’re proud of, don’t even consider it.
KDP Select offers excellent exposure for people that have never made the top 100 in their genre. Because of the program, I’ve been in the Top 10 of Fantasy and Science Fiction multiple times.
Write Your Next Novel
Don’t hesitate. The more novels you have out, the more you’ll make.
Readers want to see consistency. If you’re an author with two books, they’ll play off of each other. If you have five, even better.