You are a new author. You wrote a book and you were lucky enough to have it published or you published it yourself. CONGRATULATIONS!!! You have done an amazing thing and it's only going to get better from here! But first you're going to sweat it out. You're going to cry, scream, and get mad as hell. Then you're going to have to go back and keep working. Why? Because if you haven't been on reality TV making a fool of yourself, you haven't won an Oscar, and you haven't been naked on the pages of some magazine...no one knows who you are!
Now don't let that discourage you. But think about it. Who knows you're going to put a book out? Your parents, siblings, aunts, uncles...you get my drift. And when they all buy your book you've sold maybe 10 copies that day. And this is a sad fact.
I'm not going to say that it happens to all of us. But yeah, for the most part this is how the day goes. You've made it to be something bigger in your head, but let me tell you in the nearly 4 years of publishing new authors I have only seen a couple books go bestseller on release day from unknown authors. (And all but one were in obscure categories.)
On my last release day I found it most interesting that new authors were coming to me to ask about my success. 7 of the last Keller Family series books have gone bestseller before they were released. I'll tell you, that never gets old!!! But when I was a new author (mind you I had one of those publishers everyone warns you about...and she did nothing but put the book up on her website then tell me she was surprised I didn't sell any...sigh...I digress) no one knew me either. It took me busting my butt everyday to get the word out there just the slightest bit. And it took me writing and writing and writing more books. People want to say, "Oh, cool, she has another book!" The Merger was my 21st published book in 3 1/2 years. That's right, I didn't stop with just one book and hope it was going to do all the work. I kept working.
I did everything I could to splash social media...in a personal way. I made friends. I connected with readers. I was personable and I think that alone wins over some votes. With the indie movement at such a height readers are finding now that there are some talented authors out there and they can connect with them. Authors who hide behind their craft and don't come out for air...I feel they are selling themselves short. Just to chat on your Facebook page once a day isn't a big deal...but it is to a reader.
The small publishing house I own is a work in progress. Every author teaches us something--some good--some bad. But we learn. Our marketing department is forever in process. The marketing director is fueled by finding the right fit for all authors. But the hard and horrible fact remains. If the world doesn't know you're coming nothing is going to sell.
Okay, this post is depressing! But the underlying fact is you have to keep working. Fine, book one is out there. People are going to find it. Get book two and three and four out there. Do it in a timely manner and do it well. In the not to far future someone who read one will read two and then three. They will tell their friends and so on. Book four might just launch on the bestseller list and isn't that what we all want? But remember, book one...that one is for you. Still enjoy the moment, just remember that you still have some work ahead of you, but dang it you did good!!! You wrote a book! You got it published!!! There are still people out there saying "I'd like to write a book someday." Hold your head high and thank mom for buying your book! Now...get to work. One book needs another and you ARE bestseller material!
Bernadette Marie is an Internationally Bestselling author of Contemporary Romance as well as a mother of 5, and owner of 5 Prince Publishing and Illumination Author Events. Read her full bio here.