Writing anything is a truly difficult task. It takes time, massive effort and a willingness to allow the masses to love or destroy your creative endeavor. It’s like willingly running with the bulls every day, for the rest of your life. In a digital age where really nothing is deleted, that is the risk you take. So, what can you do to make things better or help your sales? It’s all about perception and using the marketing tools available to you.
1. Name Your Files Correctly!
I have a tendency to change my story pieces and parts. I might move things around within the story or change a characters name etc. The best thing to do is ensure that you are working in the proper file. I will always put the date and the words ROUGH DRAFT (Ex. 2018-2-28 Rough Draft, 2018-3-4 Rough Draft). The reason for this is simple – the more you edit on your own, the more files you will have. You have to be careful here to ensure you don’t inadvertently load the wrong file. Once I get to the editing stages, I name it with the date and EDITED VERSION (Ex. 2018-2-28 Edited Version, 2018-3-4 Edited Version). That way I know what work level I am on. It truly helps to not mess this up. Do this properly and it will prevent you from uploading the incorrect files or losing your hard work.
2. Editing is a MUST!
As I posted previously on A WRITER’S MASSIVE MISTAKE, I have a large number of reviews for Steele Resolve that mention the horrific editing. If you make a mistake in naming the file, you will upload the wrong unedited one. The fact is you wouldn’t want to read something that a newborn would write (if they could write that is). You want to present yourself in the best possible light in order to have a future reader. Remember, you are a professional and you need to present yourself as such. If you are in need of an editor, email me and I will send you the name of mine (I actually have two).
3. Cover Art
Trust me, first impressions are something you can never recreate or undo. If you work with a corporation then they should be handling your book covers. If you don’t feel confident in them or dislike them – SAY SOMETHING! Don’t be disrespectful, just express how you feel about the cover art. People buy based many factors, sight is one of them. If your cover looks less than professional, they might skip down to the next book in the list. You need to get people to open the sample or buy it. In order to do that, you need to catch their eye. In the eBook age, it is massively competitive. Why give yourself a disadvantage before you’ve even started?
When I published book one, I right away thought I needed a publicist. I hired one and thought they would be able to get me such press that things would change for me. I wrote Melting Steele in preparation for my first book signing at the famed Booke Revue. I had some interviews and a few reviews. I spent over 10k of my hard saved money. It was wonderful to have my signing. It felt like I had arrived. I met The Lesbian Socilaite, Robyn Vie-Carpenter, and she is now a friend and business partner. Overall though, I should have waited. I invested so much money into someone trying to assist me in making a name for myself. Looking back on it now, beyond the two positives, I wish I hadn’t done it. I wish I had been patient.
Once the book is done, the editing finished, cover approved – you upload the files to the proper locations and wait. You post things on Facebook, Twitter or whatever other social media you use. And you wait. And wait. Sales will surely come, right? Maybe some, but unless you are someone popular the sales will be small. It’s the nature of the beast. You may not need a publicist, as I mentioned above, but you do need a good marketing strategy. I’ve worked with many other people, tried so many things and most of them failed. It’s frustrating, annoying and can really make you want to just focus on writing only. You can’t let it knock you down. Sometimes you just have to have someone recommend someone who ends up being the perfect fit. This is exactly what happened to me.
My mother is a huge fan of writer Julie Smith. In one of my mother’s wonderful moments, she mentioned Julie worked with a company called booksBnimble. Since I still had a negative feeling about marketing I was extremely hesitant at first. I had very little money left to work with and really didn’t want to go further into the hole that I was slipping down.
Writing is a wonderful endeavor, but you can’t spend all your money trying to promote or push things. You shouldn’t be paying for reviews that are positive, but you can pay for ads or places where they will send your book to their “subscriber list”. The website showcases the fact that they work with Amazon. They optimized all my book summaries, keywords and more. My books seemed so much more thrilling and enticing. That alone was worth the price and sales had a bit of a spike. It was enough to make me notice that in a small bit of time this woman and her team proved they could help me.
I spoke to Julie about taking me on for a marketing period. I do have a series of three books as well as two box set versions. That was one of my requirements. Sales have been steady. Reviews, except for Steele Resolve’s editing issue, have been good and steady as well. I feel like I have a team in my corner and I am not alone in this endeavor.
But Kimmie – They must cost a FORTUNE!!! Nope. I paid a small fee, which truthfully was so low I thought Julie was lying. That money goes to the ads they get for you to promote your book. They constantly use Amazon’s promotional tools for your benefit. The best part – they only make money if I do. If I make nothing for the month of March 2018 – neither do they. That made me feel comfortable.
I am biased, 100% agree with that. Wouldn’t you be? Due to their work – I have already made back more money than the fees I’ve paid for 18 months, including the percentage cut. The results are clear to me and I cannot recommend them enough.
Beyond all that, Julie introduced me to one of my editors. Plus, the woman answers any and all questions I have for her. She works with you and treats you like a professional. She is much further along in her career than I am (although I wish to get there one day) and you would never know that. It might seem silly, but that is a really big part of this.
I have several books I am working on but I can tell you booksBnimble will optimize them all. Many will be one-shot books, but with the fan base increasing due to marketing Steele… sales should follow. I’ve found a team that works for me and my advice still holds true: when you find something that works – KEEP IT.
6. Never Stop
This section is more about mental toughness than anything else. You cannot stop. You cannot give up. You need to write all the time. If you are having writer’s block or feel delayed or busy – find a way to get the thoughts out. Use all the tools you have at your disposal. I have issues writing regularly on one book, so I don’t. I will work on whatever I feel like writing. I have deadlines and contractual commitments so I have to get Cold Steele done. That still doesn’t prohibit me from working on something else. I also bought a reMarkable tablet back when it was a Kickstarter item. I use it all the time now. I can edit my files with a pen, doodle notes, write outlines or notes for a future story. It is one of the best things to keep me busy working on my craft.
If you stop, you will most likely never start again. Always follow your dream and write.
7. Read, Read and Read Some More
You’ve done everything you can to get your book done, woohoo! Treat yourself to a novel by someone else and take a bit of break. Give your mind a respite from the reality of all your hard work. Not only will this allow you a battery recharge, it will help your writing get better. Trust me – I read more fiction now than I ever did before. I still am addicted to non-fiction true crime sagas, but that works for the genre I write in.
I know this list was long… longer than I was intending to write anyway. Point is – getting those words out of your head and onto the page is only half of the battle here. We writers all want a fruitful career, but it’s a hard road. It doesn’t have to be a lonely one. I have so many indie authors that are my friends and we support each other. Have faith in yourself to find those people and create something you will be proud of.