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FIRST BLOG (Saturday, March 5, 2011)
After I wrote my first book, and was looking for a publisher, I had some steep challenges to overcome. Being a new author, I was totally unknown, so who is going to take a chance on me? There were plenty of self publishing companies, and having a limited income, I went with the one that would not cost me anything. You can call me naive, and a little impatient, but I went with PublishAmerica. Since then, I have learned that a new author's goal is to get your name out to as many people as you can. Out of these people, it doesn't hurt to have influential people know you and your works. Here is what I have done thus far, and hope it pays off:
1) Get as many followers on Twitter as you can. Look for followers who share your interests, or more importantly; who cares about what you tweet? Best to search on keywords, book, writer, author, reviewer, reader, fiction, family, etc. You will learn the best searches for you over time. The best sites I have found to help you manage your twitter account are: http://www.justunfollow.com/ and http://www.wefollow.com/ When you tweet, try to do it daily to get people used to you and looking forward to your tweets.Tweeting non-offensive jokes, or famous quotes, or observations are a great start. Then, once or twice a week, tweet a message about your book. Be sure to add the link to your site. If you tweet about your book more than that, people may get tired of the message and unfollow you.
2) Get as many friends on Facebook as you can, but since Facebook is not as anonymous as Twitter, and you tend to have more family and close friends on Facebook, you need to be more careful about what you post. ou can be befriended, so be careful.
3) You can also post to your LinkedIn account, but since this site is more for professional relationships and job searches for people who have ex or current jobs in common, you also have to be careful here.
4) You can use MySpace as well, and this may work for you. I, personally have limited experience here, so you will have to try this on your own.
5) Get your own website. I personally used godaddy.com, and got a pretty good deal, but there are lots of free author (and other) website hosters out there. The important part are to make sure you have all your meta tags done correctly on your site (which properly displays your tags and description), so that search engines will be able to crawl your site and index it correctly for searches. You also want to make sure you advertise your site on your email signature, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Another helpful idea is to cross-link with other authors...you put links to their sites on your page, and they put yours on theirs...quid pro quo.
6) Start a blog. Talk about your book, but other things as well. Make it interesting to draw people in.
7) There is a belief that books need to be on the shelves of the old brick and mortar bookstores; Barnes and Noble, Border, etc. However, in this new world we live in, buying things online is quickly overtaking the traditional approach. I know it's kind of an ego boost to walk into a local bookstore and find your book on the shelves between King and Koontz, and if you are going to do book signings at a particular bookstore, they have to be able to order your book from a main supplier. If you can get your book on Ingram (or similar), all bookstores world-wide will be able to look up your book and order it. Getting your book on Ingam is the challenge. The better approach is to get your book, eBook, Kindle on Amazon, Google, Barnes&Noble, and Border, etc. websites. The next step is to get as many reviews as you can on these sites, and the more respected and known the reviewer, the better.
8) Be prepared to send out your book to reviewers and to websites who have reviewers that work through them. These books should be sent out free of charge.
Reviewers are a funny bunch, as it is generally understood that once you send the book, you are not going to get it back. Also, they tell you that if they choose to not review your book, they don't have to tell you, or give you a reason why it was rejected.
If you have any other ideas that have worked, please share.
And as always, life marches on.