By Pamela Crane
Been there, done that. I’ve been on all sides of the publishing coin—worked as an in-house editor for traditional houses, edited for self-published authors, self-published my own book, and traditionally published a book. So for you fellow writers, I know how grueling and frustrating the publishing industry can be!
If you can write a book in a week and hit the NYT best seller’s list the first week your book hits shelves, then this article isn’t for you. This message is for the feast-or-famine writers, the ones trying to make a living writing but can’t figure out what’s holding them back. Over the course of my editing and writing career, I’ve learned a few things and am here to share some insights based on my publishing venture with my psychological thriller The Admirer’s Secret.
My biggest word of advice is to consider your book an investment. You gotta give some to get some…I’m using that dirty word here: Money. I can imagine you flinching as I say that, but the worst thing that can cripple your book is poor editing and a mediocre cover. I’m an editor and even I paid another editor to edit The Admirer’s Secret. As the author, you’re too close to your work to do it justice. So do yourself a favor and save up the cash before you plan to publish and do it right, because the goal is to earn back what you’ve spent and then some. You can’t do that if critics spread the word about the low quality of your book. Set a budget for what you can spend and pay out to get a beautiful, quality book.
Assuming you have a good story, quality edit, and eye-catching cover, how do you spread the word? It’s the publishing world’s greatest mystery, like discovering the Ark of the Covenant. I remember when one publisher I worked for bought several thousand of their own books to manipulate sales needed to hit Publisher’s Weekly best-seller status. But not all of us can afford to spend $40,000 on our own books! So here’s some affordable ideas that have worked to sell The Admirer’s Secret:
- Get reviews. I don’t care how embarrassing it is to beg for reviews—do it! And do it about 6 months before your book release.
- Try Amazon’s KDP for three months. The gist is that you make your book exclusive to Amazon for 90 days and you get 5 “Free Days” where you give the book away for free to help boost your rankings. Spread out those free days over 3 months—2 free days one month, 2 another month, and 1 the third month. Publicize the hell out of those free days on your Facebook groups so that you get plenty of downloads. I hit #9 in my genre in actual income-producing sales after my first free day, so I can tell you it works.
- Give BookBub a shot. It costs money, but they give your book coverage with their huge following.
- Consider a book blog tour. While I didn’t see a significant number of sales from my blog tours, it got my name all over the Internet. A small price to pay to get exposure.
- Autographed book giveaways are always a treat for fans. Goodreads hosts drawings for free print copies, and you’re sure to win a few new fans this way.
- Enter contests for Indie publishing, such as Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Award and Los Angeles Book Festival Award (among countless others you can find online). The submission cost is minimal considering what winning an award could do for your book.
Before your eyes start to glaze over, I want to emphasize the biggest sales factor: Keep writing, keep publishing. Books sell books, and the cross-marketing gives you twice the chance of sales. I know it’s hard to justify writing and spending money on another book if one isn’t selling well, but remember—this is an investment. Keep investing and eventually you’ll see results.
Pamela Crane is a North Carolinian writer of the psychological thriller The Admirer’s Secret and wannabe psychologist, though most people just think she needs to see one. She’s a member of the ITW, ACFW, and EFA, and has been involved in the ECPA, Christy Awards, and Romance Writers of America. Along with delving into people’s minds—or being the subject of their research—she enjoys being a mom and riding her proud Arabian horse, when he lets her. She has a passion for adventure, and her hopes are to keep earning enough from her writing to travel the world in search of some good story material. Visit her at http://www.pamelacrane.com or follow her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pamela.crane.52 .
The Admirer’s Secret :
Westfield, New York—both home and prison to Haley Montgomery, a woman crippled by the death that hovers over her. After the loss of her father and best friend, Haley grapples with the loneliness of her small-town existence. But when her solitary life is upended by the man of her fantasies—the handsome, charming Marc Vincetti—her dreams quickly twist into a nightmare. A secret admirer’s eerie love letters threaten to uncover Haley’s dark past, unraveling a haunting childhood secret that consumes her. Soon the quest for the letters’ source sends her on a dangerous personal journey that could cost her life. As the layers of her troubled existence peel away, everything Haley thought she knew about love, and herself, testifies to the brokenness that lurks within the human psyche. A “masterfully written, raw psychological suspense novel.”