Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I wrote a book! Now what?



I was a bit naive when I first decided to write a book. I thought, you wrote a book, submitted it and voila you get published and live happily ever after. Imagine my surprise when I submitted my first novella, was rejected and they threw new phrases at me telling me I head hopped through the whole book. Um, head hop? What's that? I had no idea. I decided if I really wanted to be serious about this I had to do some serious research. I joined loops, critique groups, met author friends, and discovered the world of blogging. I learned what head hopping was (and now I'm such a stickler about point of view). I learned about passive sentences and words that take up space and aren't needed. Finally I was ready to get to writing. I started Getting Lucky with Luciano pitched it, had a request after I finished the manuscript and once I did imagine my surprise when it was contracted. So now my job was done!

Yeah right.

Edits were my next learning experience and surprisingly, I have to say they weren't that bad. I had my moments of gritting my teeth but overall nothing I couldn't handle. The hard part for me came after the edits. Promotions! I'd never had to promote anything in my life! Honestly, I felt kind of funny about it at first. I didn't know what to say, who to say it to, or what lengths I needed to travel for promoting. And guess what? I still don't know the answers to some of those questions. I mean, I know the usual, chats, contests etc. I know what I'm told to do from the writers end but what I want to know is what the readers want. Regina did a post on her blog last week about loop chats and their effectiveness. I want to go a little farther on that subject. Besides loop chats what do readers like to see from authors? What does it take to get your attention and get you to try an author you've never read? We know you want good blurbs and nice covers, but how do we get that information onto your radar? What kinds of excerpts do you like to read (besides the juicy parts of course)? Do you like message boards? Do you sign up for newsletters from Promo companies? If you do, do you actually read the emails when you get them? Author newsletters? Just chatting with authors on loops without it being an actual loop chat day? Where do you go to learn about authors? I know I'm playing fifty questions with you today but inquiring minds want to know!

And for the authors out there have you found a method that works for you besides the loop chats?

Oh, and speaking of chats, today Anne, Regina and I are chatting at Joyfully Reviewed. We hope to see you there.

17 comments:

Anita Birt said...

If I knew the answers to your questions my books would be selling like hot cakes. Finding readers is the hardest part of being a published author - especially an e-published author. In Canada, e-readers are not marketed so my books are not doing very well.

I have blogged on other author's blogs and have a web site but I don't see a big jump in sales. I think we should push the environmental benefit of reading e-books. "Save the trees - read e-books." how about putting that on our signature lines? Just a thought.

cindy said...

Hey Kelley,the big seller for me is just chatting with the authors at different times online,& I also read Authors newsletters,& also if I have never read you books before,if you have a free short story on your web page,I read that & if I like it, I buy your books. Also one word of advice,always on every email you send, put your web page link on it,If I haven't read an author before & they have there web page link on an email,I am going to go to there page & check them out.
thanks, Cindy

Jen said...

Kelley, I get most of my new authors by way of recommendations from other readers. I'm on 3 different messageboards so I get alot of recommendations from there. Some of the time there will be a reference to a blog site. I'll check that out. There are links on those blogs for other blogs that I'll check out. I've found a good source is on the web site Good Reads (www.goodreads.com).

I had to laugh when I saw the term head hop in your blog. One time I was on the phone with Anne and she said something about head hopping. I just laughed and asked "what in the world is that?". I'd never heard of that term until she said it.

Anny Cook said...

Argh. I think just take the opportunity to get your name out there wherever you can. People are curious. Even if you're not actively promoting a specific book, just taking part in chats, blog comments, etc., puts your name out in public. After a while people recognize your name.

Kelley Nyrae said...

Good idea Anita.

Glad to hear the links help. I enjoy chatting with readers so I'm glad you enjoy it as well.

LOL about head hopping, Jen! Word of mouth is the greatest promotion an author can get.

Thanks Anny!

Regina Carlysle said...

I have TWO websites, do a personal blog, and I'm involved in THREE group blogs. Yes. I'm INSANE. LMAO. I also do MySpace and now I'm hearing that Facebook is great in reaching european readers. It's worth looking into maybe but JEEZ LOUISE. That's a lot of stuff to keep up with and when would I ever have time to write?

Anny, I agree with you. Already I've noticed we see lots of the same readers at different chats. Hopefully that leads to sales. I think so.

I'm thinking excerpts of books on your website might be a good thing. I have them. Don't have proof they work though but it doesn't give the reader an idea of how you write.

YES, Anita. I agree with you that we should all promote GREEN READING at every opportunity. I blogged about that yesterday.

Anne Rainey said...

Great questions, Kelley!

Cindy--Great advice about the website link! I'm a reader too and I totally click the links in author's signatures!

Amy Ruttan said...

Oh gosh, I have no idea. I'm like Anita, if I knew then I wouldn't be promoting my butt off.

Have fun at your chat. :)

Phoebe Jordan said...

As a reader I'm always looking for a good description of what the book is about and a very good excerpt of the book. I'm also looking for Contests where the authors is giving away a signed copy of the book they are releasing. I also pay extra attention to the covers because they usually give me a vibe on how interesting the novel will be.

Phoebe Jordan said...

I also love message boards because you get to interact with not only other readers but with the author if possible. Newsletters are always good to find because it keeps readers up to date about upcoming releases or upcoming book signings.

cindy said...

Hey again Kelley,I was just going through my nightly email,& I realized that if an author put an excerpt in bigger print,I stop to read it,but if it's in regular print, unless I know the author is good I don't,I'd never paid attention to that fact before,(du sorry I had a blonde moment)so I just thought I'd pass it along.
Thanks,Cindy

Kelley Nyrae said...

Regina- You're a promo machine!!

Amy-If I find anything out I'll let you know, lol.

Phoebe and Cindy-
thanks!

Tonya said...

Previously I would just scope out books on the shelves in one of my favorite book stores....now I rely on friends to give me new authors names and I have picked up a couple different books from a new to me author from reading the excerpts in the back of a book I've read. I have a MySpace page and have a few authors on my friend list (all but two authors contacted me) and have bought a couple books (not just romance)from this connection as well, wouldn't have known about them before either.

I'm newer to checking out loops and author chats....I don't find the time to sit and do that as often as would benefit me and my new found romance addiciton! =)

nettehawkins said...

I started out as a reader. Now I'm trying my hand at writing. If it wasn't for the boards I'd be totally in the dark about the world of publishing, writing and submissions etc.

I'm a member of four boards, and yes it is very hard to keep up. I miss a lot of conversations but I can always go back to find some interesting information. Asking questions is key! If you don't ask you'll never know. There are a number of authors out there who have helpful tips on their websites. Most of the time I'm clicking over to read an excerpt and I find more valuable information.

I have to say thank you to all of you out there sharing and helping others to succeed. If not for you, I may have overlooked the diverse world of romance.

nettehawkins said...

I started out as a reader. Now I'm trying my hand at writing. If it wasn't for the boards I'd be totally in the dark about the world of publishing, writing and submissions etc.

I'm a member of four boards, and yes it is very hard to keep up. I miss a lot of conversations but I can always go back to find some interesting information. Asking questions is key! If you don't ask you'll never know. There are a number of authors out there who have helpful tips on their websites. Most of the time I'm clicking over to read an excerpt and I find more valuable information.

I have to say thank you to all of you out there sharing and helping others to succeed. If not for you, I may have overlooked the diverse world of romance.

Stacy~ said...

As a reader, I can tell you what works for me. Getting your name out there. I find I haven't been physically visiting bookstores as much as I used to, so the best way for me to discover authors is online. I don't know that an author needs to be everywhere - after all, quality of time is very important - but author and/or reader guest blogs is good. Let yourself be interviewed not only at author blogs but reader blogs, since a lot of readers don't visit many author blogs but blog hop at various reader blogs. If you decide to do this though, don't do "drive-bys". Readers don't appreciate authors who comment on blogs/loops/msg boards about a topic then push their latest release. Building relationships can be very effective and beneficial for everyone involved. It may not sure immediate results but there's something to be said for loyalty.

Another thing: if you have a website/blog of your own, it better look professional (sorry, no geocities or other amateurish, overcrowded graphics) and updated regularly. Especially the website about your books, and let us know if they are part of a series.

I know that sounds like a lot, and it's rather demanding, but I keep up with a lot of other readers and a lot of us are in agreement about these things. Promo is a necessary evil, and you want to make sure it's going to make a difference.

Kelley Nyrae said...

Nette-I found that the romance comunity is made up of some of the nicest people I've ever met. They're always willing to help out which is wonderful.

Stacy- Yay! So glad to see you here. Thanks so much for your advice. All VERY good info for us writers to remember.