On reading debut author Ian K Pulham’s post ‘Three Months on’ last week, many key thoughts a new author ‘on the block’ needs to be prepared for leapt from the print.
Reviews on Amazon
Reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, Waterstones and elsewhere are vital for the success of a book, whether self published, main stream or hybrid such as ourselves at Eventispress. The advantage with Goodreads is that folks can review your book, whatever platform they bought it from, whether they borrowed it from the library, found it in a charity shop or were given it by a friend who loved the book.
‘Such an effort to’ market the book
No-one can prepare you for the highs and lows of marketing your book, however your book is published. And yes, don’t kid yourself that you won’t be self marketing if you get a deal from one of the big publishing companies. You will.
As highly successful indie author Adam Croft says,
‘If you’re in front of their eyes (that’s the reader) less than other authors, you’re going to be forgotten about, no matter how much they enjoyed your book(s).’
Celebrate each victory
Author Ian K Pulham writes:
‘So grateful to those people for taking time out to support me in that way. It is a real confidence boost.‘
Each time you are aware of a new review of a reader who makes a positive comment, or there’s been a spike in your sales, celebrate! If people you know are going to read your novel on holiday, ask them to take a photo of themselves reading it; the idea might take off on Facebook with other readers posting similar selfies! Who knows. Use good reviews in your promotional posts. Marketing is too big a subject to cover effectively here, but try to create a buzz of positivity.
Know your target audience
For Ian this was a bit of an eye opener. He has found that his main target audience is women, which was a surprise to him. (women, allegedly, account for 80% of fiction sales)
Know your genre
In Ian’s case this has been baffling for him too, since many women who have read and reviewed, or given him good feedback on his novel, have said they don’t usually read Sci-fi or Dystopian novels, even though they really enjoyed his. Why did they buy it then? The novel was recommended by someone.
A question here: Should Ian be finding ways of reaching out to more readers of Dystopian or Sci’fi novels? If yes, how?
More about this and categories in another post.
Ian writes of characterization being important. Now that is a topic close to the heart of all Eventispress fiction writers so far and will also be a future topic to explore here.
In it for the log haul
This will be a post on its own too, but a debut author needs to remember that the best audience is one they grow gradually, reader by reader, step by step, because those are the readers who will be loyal and remain with them.
Very few novels, if any, gain immediate success overnight. Fifty Shades of Grey is one which comes to mind, (within one year of being self published on Amazon it was snapped up by a main stream publisher) and we’ll leave you with that thought … or maybe not!
Author Ian K Pulham writes a very honest account of publishing his debut novel through Eventispress:
“Let’s get one thing straight from the start. Having my first novel published by Eventispress is in my world, the finest ‘professional’ type achievement of my life. Nothing in my forty years in the transport industry came anywhere near the thrill of seeing my work in print. And my friends and remaining family members, as well as people I know around Dunstable and beyond, have been supportive, and I believe a little shocked by it all. It’s actually quite funny. I’ll run into someone I haven’t seen in a while, and after the greetings and ‘what have you been up to’s, I hit them with the ‘I’ve had a novel published’ line and watch their reaction. Usually a mixture of confusion and curiosity. My words make grammatical sense, but they take a while to sink in. Does make me chuckle, every time.
And now my book has been available for three months, so friends will naturally ask me how the book is going. My stock reply is ‘It’s ticking along’, which it is. I get sales, here and there. I’ve got fantastic reviews, mainly on Amazon. So grateful to those people for taking time out to support me in that way. It is a real confidence boost.
However, it begs the question, if my book is good, how come it seems to be such an effort to get people to read it?
The answer to that is, I need to work harder. Visit more book shops. Post more stuff online. Send more emails. Build up contacts. Do more talks. The list goes on. And in my defence, I am focused on all those things. But it is not easy to get people to read your stuff. People I know, mainly blokes, always say they are too busy. They’ll read it on holiday. And I know of at least two guys who are reading it on foreign beaches, or airport lounges maybe, as I write this.
It’s a frustration, but then I remember back to when I was working. I’d sometimes go a year without reading a book, and when I did, it would be on holiday. Unless it was a chap’s holiday that is. Didn’t read much of anything on those.
Ladies appear to read more, though they probably rate strong characters above monsters. Judging by my reviews, I’ve got both of those in my book. If I could go back, I’d probably gear the cover and the blurb up more to highlight my lead characters and their interactions. Even the love angle. That’s a lesson learnt. To say all blokes are drunks and all ladies spend their lives buried in romance books is obviously a massive exaggeration. Even for Dunstable. But the truth is, I didn’t really know who I was writing for when I wrote this. And you need to know your audience. Categorisation doesn’t help you either. I would say just about every lady who has read my book, has commented that they don’t usually read these kinds of books. Sci-fi, dystopian…whatever. And I’m sure it’s put guys off too. I don’t know how you get round this. I wouldn’t normally read detective novels, yet I enjoyed Rod’s book. Largely due to the portrayal of the characters within. So, I’m just as guilty.
But to wind this up on a positive note, a fair amount of people have read my book and enjoyed it too. I really couldn’t ask for any more. The truth is, my life is considerably better now having written a book, and then had it published by the wonderful Eventispress. It’s more a spiritual improvement maybe than financial, but in honesty, that was what I was searching for when I began all this around three years ago, so my prayers have been answered.
Therefore, my manta for all this would be – Improve your life: read a book. Improve your life considerably: write a book!”
Thanks so much Ian. Here’s Ian’s novel Ticket to Eden.
Ian, your post raises some vital issues which we will address in the next couple of posts and we’ll finish the series with ‘What Eventispress does to support authors in the marketing of their novel.’ Not a straight forward task or certainly a panacea!
Continuing with marketing tips here on Eventispress, three of our authors are giving away short stories and encouraging readers to sign up for their newsletters:
Ian K Pulham’s Radical Action, is a standalone prequel to Ian’s debut novel Ticket to Eden:
Roderick Hart’s Back to the Wall, which includes some of the characters in his recent novel Interleaved Lives:
Author Diana Jackson’s short story is unrelated to her novels but has a quirky title, A Very Yellow Memory and like much of Diana’s work is fiction but has fragments of truth much in the flavour of The Healing Paths of Fife: