Top 3 Suggestions for New Authors

Top 3 Suggestions for New Authors

Today is one of those days where I can’t possibly get everything done that I was planning to get done. With a doctor’s appointment coming up in an hour, I’m even more pressed for time to deliver my regular Monday blog post. So here’s a little spin on what’s typically a much longer subject: top priorities for new authors.

Of course, everyone is a new author once, right? You’ve got so many things to do, it seems overwhelming. And if you’re a “newbie,” you probably think you’re doing most of them wrong.

Fear not! You can find more extensive lists online, but this one is short and to the point. Enjoy.

 

  • Create a Marketing Strategy for Yourself – Your book is your book. It’s unique, and you’ve got to know something about your market. I created a free ebook called Marketing for Authors, and you can get a PDF copy sent directly to you just for joining my free monthly newsletter list. No sales pitch, no obligation. If you unsubscribe right after you download my freebie, no hard feelings, either. I’ll never spam you or sell your email to anyone; my reputation depends on it. For your free copy of Marketing for Authors, fill out the contact form here and add a message that you’d like the PDF sent to whatever email address you’d prefer.

 

  • Do More than Just Your Regular Stuff – If you’re a novelist, you might think blogging is a waste of time and energy. Nothing could be further from the truth. As an author, you really need to have a blog on your website, and update it regularly. And you should strive to create posts that interest your audience, of course. Beyond that, I suggest making a list of other activities you can fit into your schedule that will help you meet your goals. A book is a business, and if you’ve got several, you might have specific goals for each book. You should also consider what social media platforms to use for promoting your work…and how much you should actually self-promote vs. promote others, deliver other content, and so on. There’s lots more on that in the abovementioned Marketing for Authors freebie.

 

  • Don’t Go It Alone – Finally, make sure you’re not completely isolating yourself. Writing is generally a solo venture. If you’ve written a book of any substance whatsoever, you’ve logged some serious hours alone. In fact, I’d wager you might even be an introvert! Well, just because you draw more energy from your alone time, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to get out there. Some of that can be more “solo” activity – joining associations online, like the Alliance of Independent Authors, of which I am a member – but don’t forget in-person activities, too. I’m not only talking about your book launches, I’m talking networking events, meetups, and even author groups that meet in person. Not every one will appeal to you or meet your needs, but it’s crucial to find out. You’d be surprised how many people have bought hard copies of my books because they got to know me first.

 

So that’s it for today. Have a great week, everyone, and I’ll catch you next week. Don’t forget to sign up for the free ebook, and of course, you can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.

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Whizzers: The Next Novel

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Recently I sent out a subscriber-only newsletter about my next book launch. My fourth novel, Whizzers, is my current Work-In-Progress, and I plan to launch it in 2019. 

I was pleased to get some email responses to my newsletter, as I am looking to build the largest launch team I’ve had yet. However, I also realized that I need to do every type of outreach possible.

With that in mind, I’m sharing publicly just a little of what I’ve heretofore only shared in my monthly newsletter. Here’s part of what I said in the most recent one, in a section about launch ideas of all varieties:

 

If you live in the Tampa Bay area, I could do a free talk at your book group. Do you have friends who’d like to be part of a launch party? They could:  

  • Sponsor the event
  • Provide entertainment
  • Donate prizes or giveaways 

If you’re not in this area, what can I do for you in exchange for your generously helping me get the word out about Whizzers? What sort of unique content would appeal to you? 

I can offer cool perks like what you would get if you participated in a crowdfunding campaign – free personalized signed copy, copy of the e-book, etc. – but what else?

Maybe you host a podcast, and would like me to make a guest appearance. Maybe you’ve got a novel to promote too. I’m open to suggestions, as this is going to be the biggest launch I’ve done since I started publishing books in 2015. Let me know what you think.

So there you have it: a Monday blog asking for new subscribers and/or new team members. Remember, you’ll get a free signed copy of the book just for starters – but again, what else would you like?

Oh, and by the way: Whizzers is really going to be something special. I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. It’s by far my most autobiographical work, and it’s also ambitious – in the sense that I don’t even know what genre to call it. It has elements of the supernatural and the metaphysical, but I’ll work more on categorization when it’s finished.

Comment below or email me privately at info@msahno.com.

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This week’s blog post is for my writer friends. Everyone has a checklist of things they know they need to consider before publishing. When it comes time to turn that manuscript into a book, it’s all too easy to get caught up in marketing considerations or thoughts of cover design before the dang thing is ready.

With that, here are five things to check before you turn your manuscript over to a publisher…or, if you’re the publisher, before your public sees it!

1. Is the editing complete?

This sounds like a no-brainer. But for a writer, it’s actually one of the most difficult questions to answer. Paul Valéry said, “A poem is never finished, only abandoned.” The same is even more true for a book. After all, you’re talking about hundreds of pages, thousands of words. It’s taken months, even years, to write.

How do you know when you’re done?

I faced a triple dose of this angst when I published my first three novels at the same time. During that long, hot summer, I had a major proofreading gig. So while I was editing and proofreading about 1,000 pages of my own material, I had to spend hours proofreading something else. Ultimately, I reached a point where I just couldn’t do it anymore. I had set a deadline. So it was time to surrender the work and let it go out to the public.

2. Has it been professionally proofread?

Proofreading is just as important as editing. Once a book goes through content editing and copy editing, you need someone to proof it again. It’s all too easy for errors that the writer and editor missed to get through. And if the editing process is intensive and time-consuming, as it was for me, new errors might pop up. So this is critical.

3. Are there any formatting errors?

Possibly the most frustrating part of editing and proofreading a book, once it’s in the publishing layout format, is the need to eliminate formatting errors. You want your book to look just as good as any book in the local bookstore. So you have to make sure that the spacing is consistent at the top and bottom of each page, that words aren’t hyphenated in the wrong places, that there are no “widow” words hanging out in space…and so on, and so on, ad nauseum.

Your book designer probably isn’t an expert writer like you. That means you’re going to have to spend some serious time getting errors corrected. It’s the nature of the beast, and it’s crucial before letting it get out in front of real readers, people who bought your book.

4. What about the copyright page?

Finally, an easy one, right?

Well, not necessarily. Your copyright page has to include copyright info, probably a legal disclaimer (definitely, if it’s fiction), and a Library Of Congress control number and ISBN number. But did you know it should also have Publisher’s Cataloging-In-Publication (CIP) Data? I didn’t know that, so my ARCs went out without it. Today my books’ copyright pages all have custom CIP data.

That CIP data – best provided by a company called The Donohue Group, in my experience – enables librarians to easily determine how to catalogue your book. You send the first few chapters to them, and they create the CIP data block from that. Want to sell your book to any library? Then you need that CIP data to be part of your copyright page.

5. Are YOU ready to let it go?

This goes back to my first point about editing. At a certain point, you have to let it go and surrender that book. If you’ve done your homework, created and executed a marketing plan, and have people who want to read your book, you’ll know it’s ready. You may not feel like it’s ready, because no one ever thinks their book is as good as it could be. But by this time – after all the editing and proofreading and correcting formatting errors – you’ll be so sick of looking at it that you’ll never want to look at it again.

That’s the bad news. The good news? It’s probably a lot better than you think.

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