From The Selected Works of Oscar Wilde, found poem and image by Erica Gerald Mason
she said she would dance
Writing a book is a big deal! You spend hours and hours working on this brainchild of yours and when you’re done, you have a completed book that people all over the world can read. It is a really fulfilling accomplishment. But when you are done writing, you may find yourself asking, “Now what?” How do you get people to read your book? Book marketing can seem like a hard task to take on if you don’t know all of the steps involved. Book marketing is very hands on and it is a process that can make or break your book’s success. The best part is it only consists of 5 key components and once you master them, book marketing becomes a piece of cake.
1. A business plan. You may be writing books, but a business plan is just as important as when running a traditional business. Essentially, you are the business. Put your plans down on paper. How many books are you going to write? How often will they get published? This is where you determine out any and all critical information, especially your budget. Determine how much you are willing to spend on various costs, from writing to marketing, on each book. Putting your plans down on paper will give you a firm foundation from which to start your book marketing efforts.
2. Excellent product. Your final product consists not only of your written book, but also of the cover, synopsis, binding, and much more. Your final product is what you will present to your readers. You want this to be amazing. You wish to grab the attention of everyone who looks at your books. Keep that in mind as you design the supplemental items for your book. Consider using beta readers before you completely finish your book and plan to invest in a professional editor. They can help work out any kinks that might come up.
3. Building an author platform. This is essential in book marketing. You want people to be able to recognize your name and this means that you have to get your name out there. Social media is a wonderful tool in promoting your work. Most social media is free and with the right know-how, you can gain a substantial number of followers that you can use to market your book. Social media is more about building relationships that book selling, but when the relationships are developed, sales will follow. Goodreads is an excellent social media type tool for authors during the publishing and marketing process as well.
4. Online properties. This is where you work on any kind of website you might create for yourself or your book. An official website dedicated to your books will increase your overall credibility as an author. A blog on your website will also help with the before mentioned author platform. Consider creating an email list for regular updates on new book launches and other promotions.
5. A kick ass marketing plan. This is where you determine your book’s promotions. In your marketing plan, you need to have everything outlined. You need to set up your book launch, blog tours, online and offline appearances, and marketing maintenance. You want to design promotions for your book that will blow people away! Don’t leave any ground uncovered in your book marketing. Planning it all out ahead of time will save you the headache of not getting all that you want out of your book marketing.
One of the problems facing authors today is that they don’t wish to be in business. They just want to write books. While that’s great, if you need to earn an income from your books, you have to look at being an author as a business.
Writer’s block is a pain in the butt. We’ve all been there. As a writer, writer’s block is the bane of my existence. We’ve all hit that dead end where nothing we write seems to make sense anymore. Those are the times when watching even the smallest particle of dust flutter past your computer screen can feel like a better application of your time that writing more nonsense words. It’s frustrating. And sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you just can’t break the writer’s block. You try writing prompts and taking breaks, but those tricks just don’t seem to cut it all the time. There are many techniques writers use to overcome the dreaded writer’s block. The trick is finding the method that works best for you. Here are six tips for you to play around with and use the next time you get writer’s block:
• Take a break and do mundane stuff. Stop your writing and wash the dishes or fold the laundry. Those tasks will give you something to focus on rather than your writing, leaving your mind fresh when you sit back down to write.
• Write at a different time or in a different place than you usually do. A change of scenery does a lot of wonders for a writer. The new scenery might spark ideas you wouldn’t normally have in your regular writing spot. The same goes for the time that you write. Write later in the night or earlier in the morning for a new take on your topic.
• Start writing in the middle. Introductions are stressful. Sometimes, it can seem impossible to write without nailing your introduction. But, coming back to the introduction after you have written a body of work can make your introduction stronger. Write where you want your story or blog to go and mold your introduction around it. If your writer’s block is stuck on a specific area, skip that and go back to it later. Many writers don’t write in order.
• Don’t edit while you write. Stressing over punctuation and sentence structure can cloud your mind and keep you from producing content that conveys the tone you are looking for. Don’t nit-pick your writing as you go. Focus on your content and the tone before you worry over details.
• While you’re at it, try free writing. Write anything that comes to mind. No punctuation. No grammar. Make it one long sentence if you want to. Freewriting is an excellent way to process your thoughts (or lack thereof) and get to the point you are trying to make. Even if what you write makes no sense, you may find something surprising in your freewriting!
• Change how you are writing. Like changing your scenery, changing how you are writing could spark new ideas. Change from Word to Notepad, or maybe even good ol’ pen and paper. Change your font size and color. Small changes like these can change the way you look at your writing.
• Most importantly, write for yourself. You obviously love writing. Forget writing for an audience and get back to why became a writer in the first place. Don’t care what anyone else thinks. Just be you!
The bottom line is, writer’s block is something that every writer has struggled with, and working through it will happen, in time. If all else fails, try a glass of wine and a good night’s sleep. Sleep is something that writers are usually woefully deficient in, anyway!
Keisha K. Page is a published author, and owner of Working Mama Media, where she helps authors navigate the business side of being an author, among other things. She writes weekly at Ecririons about book marketing, platform building, branding, and putting together a team to ensure your success as an author.