Seven Things I’d Do Before I Published a Book
(if I had it to do over again)
by C. Lee McKenzie
1. Have a professional website and/or blog designed.
- Be sure the navigation is easy and the pages are easy to read.
- Buy a domain name. Mine’s cleemckenziebooks. I wish it were simply cleemckenzie. The simpler the better.
- Don’t use music. People often browse in public places and music isn’t always appreciated.
- Be sure people can pull up your site on all their mobile devices.
Your website/blog is going to be a major marketing tool. It’s going to reveal who you are and what you write. You’re unique, so this is where you show that uniqueness.
2. Write short pieces and get them published. Ezines are a great market.
Having samples of your writing published gives people a chance to become familiar with your style. It gives you credits to add to those query letters. It gives you a boost and, there’s nothing like practice to improve your craft. You can begin your email list with these short publications.
3. Become visible on the Social Networking Media
- Amazon (Especially, become familiar with Authors Central)
The Social Networking sites are all a bit different, and there’s a learning curve for each one. That takes time, and after you’re published, you really don’t have much of that anymore. Learn how to use each of these or ones you find most comfortable using.
If you only have time for two, go with fb and twitter. Add goodreads if you have time to manage three. Why?
- facebook claims to have over 500 million active users, average age 38
- twitter has over 75 million accounts, average age 39
- goodreads is about books and reading; their ads are targeted at people who buy and read books.
4. Build a relationship with well-respected and highly visible reviewers/bloggers.
When you build a relationship with a reviewer/blogger you’re doing double duty. You’re learning what they like and how they respond to different types of books. They’re also reading your comments and learning a bit about you. You’ve established a relationship before you ask for a review. I think that’s important.
5. Build an email list of people who know you and know your work. (Short pieces, remember? )
Email is a powerful marketing tool. Just be sure you know the people you’re contacting and they know you. Don’t be a spammer.
6. Find bloggers with a large following and similar interests: books, hobbies, lifestyle. Build a relationship with them.
Bloggers are amazing. First, they love content, so if you know what they want, you can give it to them. Second, they’re pretty cool people who like to help others because they know others will help them when the time comes. It’s a very symbiotic relationship, and it’s effective for writers who are marketing books.
7. Create an image for yourself. Answer these questions: Who are you? What are your interests? What will you share with your readers on your website/blog, fb, twitter?
Blowing your own horn is not effective marketing, so you have to have something to contribute on social media. You have to provide interesting/informative content, and you have to do it in your unique way.
About me: I write stories about people who overcome adversity and rebuild their lives.
My books: Sliding on the Edge, The Princess of Las Pulgas, Double Negative and Alligators Overhead (my one leap into fantasy-adventure.)
My webpage: CLEEMCKENZIEBOOKS
(Permission to publish under "Publishing" in Insecure Writers Support Group, A Guide to Publishing and Beyond.)