Exploring the world of publishing

Posted: October 13, 2012 in Uncategorized
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I’m a natural explorer and my favourite line from any poem is by T.S Eliot who said: “We shall not cease from exploration and the end of our exploration will be to arrive at the beginning and know that place for the first time.”

Yeah, well said T.S. During the course of any lifetime, the journeys you take are all about learning – unless you’re a fool who doesn’t learn a thing. Sometimes, you’ve got to retrace your steps, sure, and other times it seems like you’ll take forever to reach a destination. Life gets in the way, and you get sidetracked, put off your game, whatever….But with persistence, faith and hope, and courage, you will get to where you want to go.

I’m about to self publish my book Shadowscape, Book 1 in the Stevie Vegas Chronicles. Self publishing is not easy. There are millions upon millions of books out there. Good writers abound and we are all competing in a competitive market. I am new to the game. I’ve only been plugging away since about June. I’ve had some wins and I’ve had moments where I think, just what does it take? Well, ultimately, when it’s all said and done, it comes back to belief in your book – that there are readers out there who will enjoy the experience of reading Shadowscape, and benefit in some way from that experience.

If that belief is solid enough, you’ll whether the storms of putting yourself out there and waiting for either readers to like, or reject, your writing.

Of course marketing helps, that’s one of the reasons I’m writing this blog – to spread the word about my book. One of the reasons. There are other strong motivations. I’ve always enjoyed writing columns. In fact, I have been writing them since I began as a young journalist on a regional daily newspaper in the late 1980’s. At first my columns were about every day life, and later, about news, current affairs and issues. I discovered I had a talent for writing fact-based and influential opinion pieces and later won a state award for editorial writing.

I also like to reveal to myself through writing, the things I am discovering or exploring at the time. My mind is often like a three masted schooner sailing the seas, always with an eye on the horizon and new discoveries. Writing takes me to another place, I’m not sure where, into the subconscious perhaps and thoughts crystallise into being. I explore, I discover and I rediscover through writing.

But back to publishing. Here is what I’ve discovered so far, on my journey into the world of book writing and marketing:

1. Your book can be good, but if it’s not seen or talked about by anyone, you’ll get nowhere fast.

2. If you have a day job like me, then you’re going to have to find time at night and on weekends to plug away marketing your book. Be prepared for hard work, and then some more hard work.

3. Develop an online following. For better or worse this is ONE of the ways people will learn about your book. Don’t ever lose sight of the others.

4. Assess and reasses if you are reaching your target audience. Who are your readers? Well they’re the ones you wrote your book for in the beginning. In my case, it’s middle readers, from about 9-14 years who like adventure, action and a bit of magic in their lives.

5. The best way to promote your book is to start another one. Shadowscape is part of a trilogy, so I’ve begun writing The Stevie Vegas Chronicles II.

6. Monitor your rankings on Amazon and other sites. They are a bit of a litmus test.

7. Get as many people to review your book as possible. (I am in the process of getting reviews, so if anyone wants to write one, let me know).

8. Create activity around your book, via your local paper, radio station, and through your personal networks. They can help get the ball rolling and one action often leads to another.

9. Don’t be put off by the sheer size of the task in front. Always return to the faith you have in your book, that it’s a good read.

10. On a personal note, remember to take time off to smell the flowers and always have faith in yourself and your book. Remember you have something to say, most likely always a talent for writing and if you are published – Indie or otherwise – you have an opportunity in front of you to keep doing what you love.

That is the bottom line. Authors write for the love of it and, occasionally, you get a break to deliver a wonderful story to a wider audience. And that, really, is where it all started from, a good story + plus readers enjoying your story = publishing.

 

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