I consider myself a new author even though I have had a contract with a small publishing company for the past year. I consider myself a new writer, even though I have had a successful column for an area newspaper for the past eight years. I consider myself a new writer, even though I have four books published, and have had excellent reviews for the most part.
I consider myself blessed as an author, and a member of the Cozy Cat Press family, not only because of my books, but because of the other authors who have given me valuable insight into working as a new author.
This blog post is for new authors and author wannabe’s. There is occasionally a misconception by new authors on their role after the book is published. That misconception revolves around the idea that your work as an author is finished when the writing and editing are done. You write a book, someone else pays to publish it, and you collect your royalties in whatever fashion the publishing company’s policy pays those royalties. That’s it. Done. You’re on your way to the next book.
I don’t know how it used to work. I don’t know what big name publishing companies expect, but I do know that many smaller publishing companies expect their authors to do a little tap dancing in the social media, and getting familiar with blowing their own horn.
Remember when your mom told you it wasn’t nice to brag? So, you didn’t. After you write a book, and that book becomes a published reality, you need to throw out the niceties and brag. How else will you sell your book if no one knows about it? Life has changed and social media helps you promote you. It is up to you as a new author to promote your book on social media sites, author and readers groups that you join, and utilizing guest stops on blogs. It is up to you to promote your work on your own blog and website. The promotion is endless, time-consuming, exciting and exhilarating at the same time – and it can work.
I am the perfect example of teaching an old dog new tricks. I was older when I got into the writing business. Granted, I did have some computer experience in computer repair but not promotion, website building, or social networking. These things I had to learn on my own with the help of Google, asking questions and doing a lot of research.
You write your book. You get accepted by a publishing company or you self publish and that is where life gets fuzzy for many writers. The roadblocks kick in worse than the road construction on our highways this summer. Detours prevent new authors from moving forward. Roadblock # 1 on the detour in the life of a writer: Spouses, family and friends don’t understand the work it takes to write a book, research a book and then promote and market a book. “You wrote your book, now get back to the real living.” “It’s done, it’s out there, I want my dinner.” Have any of you heard that? And then they qualify it with “Why isn’t your book selling?” A new author has to move beyond other’s expectations to move forward, market their book and start another if they are serious about their craft.
Roadblock #2: “I don’t do social media.” ” I don’t have time.” “I don’t know how.” “I’m not computer literate.” Those are all statements made at one time or another that hold a new author young and old, back from accomplishing their dream. If you want success as an author in the world of 2014, you have to remove those roadblock statements from your mind. Ask for help. Do your own research. Anything worth achieving takes time and hard work. If you believe you can’t, you won’t. There are tons of tutorials out there on any given subject for navigating your way around the vast social internet world.
Roadblock #3: You don’t believe in yourself and what you wrote. You have to become your own cheering section and tell people about yourself. Join other writers and readers groups to learn the ropes and network with other authors and readers. Their advice and friendship are invaluable. Don’t expect your publishing company to do everything for you. The world has changed when it comes to what publishers do for their writers. I would guess that the most accomplished, famous authors put in much time and sweat too. Their publishing company expects great things from them too.
Why am I qualified to write this blog about this subject. I am, because I have a lot to learn. I am, because I have met those roadblocks in my mind and in my life. I don’t know everything about Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and Amazon or other social media. I have a zillion things to learn about my website and my blog. Every day is a learning experience. Every day is a juggling act between writing and publicity and learning. And yes, it get’s frustrating, when my brain is challenged with things it doesn’t want to learn and I want to give up. When those things happen, I take a breath, maybe retreat, and do something else creative or spend time with a friend but then –I come back to my work and ask for help.
Am I successful? It depends on what one’s definition of success is. Yes I am successful in that I am learning many new things in this old brain. I am successful in that I have met many new valued friends. I am successful in that I am living my dream-writing. Am I still comma and grammar challenged? Yes. Do I sell some books? Yes. Would I like to sell more so I don’t have to worry about paying my bills each month? Yes. Am I willing to work hard to make that happen? Yes.
As a new author, wish yourself success, prepare for a lot of work for a life of loving what you do. Believe in yourself.