Writing Tips - Chapter 10 - What Next

Writing Tips - Chapter 10 - What Next


Your book is published, launched and out there. All you need to do is sit back and let the money come rolling in, right?

Promotion

People need to know you've got a book out. Social Media is the obvious place to shout about your book, but take care... there's a difference between letting the world know and endless spamming. Inform, but don't annoy. Do a YouTube trailer. Get a write up in your local paper. Print a load of flyers and hand deliver them. Print a t-shirt. Take out a full page ad in the Times. Lots of options, but social media is free.  

Websites and blogs are great. When I go to a writer's website, I want to get a glimpse of that author as a person, not be bombarded by ads for their books. I already know about their books - that's why I've visited their site! And that's why, on my own site, I try to post things that interest me. I like posting about the writing journey because if I find that fascinating, so maybe others do too. But I also post about general stuff, whether it's books or movies or... I don't know, just stuff. I went to a Morrissey gig last night. I might post about that. 

School events are loads of fun, but can be very daunting too. I work in a school every day, and I find going into other schools terrifying. First time round, I went out of my way to make life difficult for myself - I asked to meet with reluctant readers and kids who don't like books or author, and that's exactly what I got. The result was a challenge, but it was also humbling and exhilarating - something I'd love to do again. Unfortunately, working in a school means I work during school hours. 

Your Next Book

Two-book deals.

If you were lucky enough to get a two-book deal, you're probably already well into writing the second. The same editor will be working with you, so they can see early drafts and outlines and help you reach the goal they want you to reach. Happy days - unless, of course, you used an Editorial Agency on the first to a degree that your next can't possibly match up. 

Option clauses.

Most publishers have an option clause in the contract, which means they get first refusal on your next book. However, if you have an agent and your next book is a sure fire winner, something they are sure they can sell to a bigger publisher, they might ask you to hang fire and see if you can write something else. This isn't a case of quickly knocking out any old rubbish in order to throw your first publisher a lemon in the hope they'll reject - they'll know if you've done. Just write something else and keep the big seller in the bag. The first publisher takes your next book, and your agent is free to pitch the big seller elsewhere - of course, the agent might still include the first publisher in this. It's always better to have them in the loop for two reasons:
  1. They might invest more in a book they think will really sell. 
  2. If the book doesn't sell to the bigger publishers, at least your first publisher isn't being treated as a last option. After all, they gave you your initial break, so treat them nice.

Shelf-life

A first novel by a new author might not make it to those big piles of books you see in the front of bookshops. Your book will probably be hidden away on a shelf, with the spine the only evidence it's there. If it doesn't sell, the shop can return it. If they do, they won't order another, so books do have a shelf life. All the more reason to get working on something else.

Other options

Getting published is a slow process with a lot of hoops to jump through. For some, that's enough to start looking at other options, and one route a lot of published authors follow, is self publishing. So, in the last chapter, let's take a look at that.

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