Therese here. Please welcome today’s guest author Jenny Nelson. Jenny’s debut novel, Georgia’s Kitchen, released on August 3rd. Though she hasn’t been a published author for long, she has still been able to gather some lessons and is here today to share them with us. Enjoy!
5 Things I Learned After Publication
Now that my debut novel, Georgia’s Kitchen, has been out for a whopping seven weeks, I find myself in the slightly strange position of being able to share some insights into the whole publication experience. Though nowhere near an expert (come back when I’ve published three books) I’ve learned some important lessons that could make things a bit smoother for the soon-to-be-published author.
1. Getting published is a major event. That said, it won’t change your life or bring fame and fortune overnight, as Anne LaMott points out in her terrific book on writing, Bird By Bird. (I read Bird for the first time a decade ago and frequently re-read it. Just knowing it’s on my bookshelf makes me feel better.) You’ll still be the same person with the same problems and pleasures as you were before, only now you’ll be published. This, by the way, is pretty darn cool — even without the fame and fortune.
2. Savor the moment. Throw yourself a book launch party, pick up a pair of snazzy new shoes, go on a yoga retreat, or all of the above, but do something to mark the occasion. Though you’ll still be the same person you always were (see above), you owe it to yourself to celebrate your journey.
3. Friends, family and colleagues are the best PR firm anyone could hire. Tell everyone you know about your new book and then ask them to tell everyone they know. This is not the time to be shy. Tooting your own horn may not come naturally to you (or to me), but if you don’t speak up now chances are people will never know you wrote a book, let alone buy your book.
4. Social marketing – Facebook and Twitter – is a terrific and relatively cheap way to publicize your book. Though it can seem overwhelming at first, it’s worth figuring out. Not only will it help you build a fan base for all future books and allow you to tap into the book blogging community, it will also put you in touch with other authors. “Meeting” authors on Facebook has been a wonderful and surprising by-product of getting published. Seasoned authors are a wealth of information and amazingly generous with advice and insight.
5. Don’t check numbers on Amazon! Everyone says they don’t mean anything (though I don’t believe this for a second) and discovering that your book has dropped tens of thousands of spots in just over an hour is more than a little demoralizing. Let your editor tell you about sales. Speaking of sales, many otherwise well-intentioned people will ask you about them, so you may want to have a stock response. When people ask me I say, “Well, it’s not a New York Times bestseller!” as chirpily as I can muster. This seems to do the trick.
Have a lesson like you’d to share? Please do so in comments.
Thanks for a great post, Jenny!