New Author Advice -- or how to learn to stop worrying and love the tubes.

So you've got a book published. Well done. We'll talk once you've finished patting yourself on the back.

Now that the moment of initial excitement has passed, you are perhaps wondering what to do next. Short of reading the 1000's of blogs and books already written on the subject, let me summarise.

1. Get a website. This is first and most important. It is all about appealing to SEO (search engine orifices) and that begins and ends in a website. Now you may say, "wait a second, I have myself a website -- it is my facebook, or my google+ account, or my twitter, or my Goodreads Author page or my Amazon author page'... and yes, whilst these are all good things, they are not your website. You need one, and it should be more than a splash page for your blurb and headshot.
This is mine.
'What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn't happen much, though.'

That is some sage advice Mr. Salinger. Not only is a website -- and I really should define this as a "blog" more than a site -- a place to advertise your work, it is more importantly a place where people can connect with you if they have been good enough to actually read it. So make a blog, and start writing stuff. Keep it relevant to writing, or not, but for the love of all that is holy don't use it as a sounding board for all your anxiety. We writers are a paranoid bunch, and if it is not our own work that we believe is destined to fail, it is the publishing industry, or the next election -- and complaining about it doesn't help us or anyone else. But that is not to say you should fill the already clogged tubes with more sugar coated drivel about how everything is illuminated and interconnected like a synchronistic midichlorian orgy. Find a middle ground, and try to connect to other bloggers with blogfests and campaigns, but keep in mind that they are not your audience.

2. Find your audience. Now comes facebook, goodreads, twitter, pinterest, google+, linkedin, reddit, ect. ect. Pick one or two and stick with them. These places are filled with real people, and some of them even read books. They want to know about what you think, and you can connect relatively easily with a few choice words here and there. Resist the temptation to post links to your book in every new conversation. Be charming, be supportive and interesting, and let people click on your profile if they want to. Does this work? Buggered if I know, but it is the only way not to become an obnoxious prick.

3. Get reviews. Beg parents, friends, students and strangers to write reviews online. Take the best and re-post them. Everyone talks up the new world of a gate-keeperless world, no producers, no agents or publishers standing in the way between you and your creation. This is true, and the first thing it created was a deluge of under-produced crap. Your work is better than this, gosh the cover art alone speaks volumes of your expensive copy editing right? So make sure there is a chorus of people reiterating this. Be wary though of the obvious "mother/wife/self" review that likens your work to Tolstoy or Tolkein. It may be, but real people want real reviews.

4. Back to your website/blog. I did say it started and ended here. So now that everything is connected, it is time to churn the waters. You need to host givaways and competitions. All those ebooks you can instantly reproduce make a good place to start, and they make the dead tree version seem extra special. Also, those first print run copies that have 3 spelling mistakes in chapter 12? Call them collectors editions and make them an extra special prize.

Will any of this work? Again, I have no idea, but at least you will feel like you are doing more than watching your kindle rating slide from the mid 30,000's into the arse end of 400,000. Above all, write the next book. More than ratings or witty blog observations about cats, your readers want to know you have what it takes to make a career out of this business. Readers make a commitment to you as a brand when they buy that first book, and people on the fence want to make sure you are VHS and not Betamax.

About me.


  1. I'm working on the website part, though I sort of wish my blog would suffice. I think you're right about its importance, though. As for reviews--I've seen the reviews by friends/parents etc. backfire on people, and I think that warrants some caution. Great post!

  2. Great post. I am always looking for new advice as my first book gets closer to finished and being submitted.

  3. I love the collectors edition idea :-)

  4. Great advice,made me smile, and will def remember the Collector's edition - what's that expression? Making a silk purse out of a sow's ear?!


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