Guys, I have a super special treat for you today. Remember that author I worked with, Kimberly Kinrade, who I did a whole Twitter case study on? Well, Kim has graciously written a guest post for this site. Yes, it’s about publishing and may not seem to be super-relevant to you non-book folk, HOWEVER, the lessons Kimberly talks about are universal and I hope you take what she has to say to heart. I definitely have!
Here we go…
In an enthusiastic zeal to get my first book out into the world, I stumbled my way through the self-publishing process.
My launch was so soft a toothless baby could have eaten it. I had no press-release, no easily accessible e-book ready for Kindle or Nook (though I do have a lovely PDF for sale through my site), and not much of a marketing strategy.
But the thing is, I wasn’t planning on writing Bits of You & Pieces of Me. Quite frankly, I’m surprised it turned out to be such a beautiful, well-written book. (Ok, I know I sound self-deprecating and cocky as hell all at once here, but stay with me, I DO have a point!)
It started as a thought from my designer, Desirai Labrada, that maybe I should take all of my short stories and poems and publish them. It flew from there.
Next thing I knew, I had a book.
So, I’m published. WOOHOO! It’s up on Amazon and B&N and I’ve gotten a few really incredible reviews. I’m making a few sales here and there, tweeting myself out and all that. But it’s been slow.
I’ve learned a lot in this process, lessons I will take with me into my next publishing endeavor. And here are a few tips for you on…
What NOT To Do:
- DO NOT dive head first into the world of self-publishing without doing major research. I could have drowned, it not for some great friends who tossed me life-preservers. Read books, join groups, talk to others who have gone through it. Build your blog, your platform, your whole marketing campaign BEFORE you publish your book!
- DO NOT put out a book in one very hard to market genre after advertising yourself in a WHOLE OTHER not-very-similar genre. I’m a YA fantasy author. Every book I’m writing and promoting is YA fantasy of one kind or another. Bits of You & Pieces of Me is a collection of short stories, poems, and essays that are dark and painful at times. And definitely adult material. Things like depression and domestic violence. So it’s been trickier to market to a crowd who thinks I’m a YA author.
- DO NOT flounder around in an unorganized mess. It’s been hit and miss for me. Sometimes I’m on, sometimes I’m not. Partly because I feel lost, not knowing where my book fits in to the greater scheme of things. I had no marketing plan, no road map to follow to get me the sales I want. My book is largely unknown because I decided to take a trip across the country without a map or ANY navigational skills! (This is actually true, I could get lost going to the bathroom!)
- DO NOT get sucked in to social networking and FORGET TO WRITE! I love Twitter and, well, tolerate Facebook, but you can become consumed by these forums without producing any real results. Work smarter, not harder. Make your numbers work for you. Get advice and consulting from experts who know what they are doing.
I’m proud of my book, and happy to have my name on it. I want it to sell. I think it’s a powerful work of literature and can greatly impact the right people.
It deals with real issues of domestic violence, love, loss, pain and how I grew through it as a woman, mother and a writer. Not all the stories are about me, but they all reflect some part of my inner journey. I think there are people who NEED to read this. So, how do I get it to them?
As I move into my true passion as a YA author, I have to decide if I will go this route again. Will I self-publish The Reluctant Familiar? A book I feel certain has great potential as the first of a very cool series.
The answer, after much consideration and debate, is YES! I’m going to self-publish this series, and I’m going to do it right.
Even as I write, I am planning my marketing campaign. I’m reading the right books. Talking to people in the know, and getting consulting done by those who KNOW HOW TO ROCK THE CYBER WORLD.
I’m making connections with local schools and book clubs in order to best promote my book when it is ready.
And I’m learning everything I can about this industry so I can give my book the launch it deserves, and the sales I deserve after working so hard on it! (Because yes, we authors do deserve to get paid for our work!)
I still hope to be picked up by a bigger publisher at some future date. I’d like to have the muscle behind me to negotiate bigger contracts, see my books in more stores and get movie deals and such! Who doesn’t? But this feels like the best path for me now, and it’s one I’m proud to walk as I make my name as an author.
In the meantime, Bits of You & Pieces of Me is still for sale. And it’s still a great book.
Kimberly Kinrade is a Young Adult Fantasy author whose first book, Bits of You & Pieces of Me, was not YA. She started selling her work when she was 10 and ran out of teeth to sell to the Tooth Fairy. Now she writes, plays with her kids and puppies, runs a love blog with the love of her life, and tweets. All the while writing her next masterpiece The Reluctant Familiar.