Navigating the publishing landscape can be likened to exploring a major city without a tour guide. Landmarks abound, but not all of them carry the same weight in terms of history or importance. Whether you’re with a publisher, have self-published or you’re still mapping a path to publication, there are ways to make the journey less lonely and stressful.
Start Promotion Early each time you’re publishing a book. I’ve been caught flat footed time and again, so I know it’s important to keep potential readers and blogging buddies aware of what’s happening with an upcoming book. Lead up activity is important in that it creates awareness and gives people time to get on your bandwagon for blast off day.
Don’t be Afraid to Ask for help. Many of us in the blogging/writing community can relate to not wanting to be a bother when we have something to promote. Over the years, I’ve learned that writers do want to see others succeed and will help if given a chance to do so.
Be a Beacon to your fellow bloggers/writers. Even if you have a small following, you do have the power to help someone else. Ever come across a post with great information but little response by way of comments? Give it a tweet. You never can tell who might need the information or what connections you’ll make. I’ve picked up Twitter follows from influential writers simply by sharing a post.
Build Goodwill through your actions. I’m sure you can think of people who are kind and helpful, just because. I’m also sure that you find it easy to return favours when these persons call on you for help, because they freely give encouragement and support. A band of authors who share the same genre can help each other through cross-promotion of books, with good results.
Share the Love by following other people’s blogs and commenting. You might say ‘Duh!’ to this, but I had no clue what to do when I first started blogging. I wondered why I was the only one visiting me. When I did visit others, I didn’t follow. Instead, I’d lurk and not leave footprints. Over time, I learned that most bloggers would follow back if I left a trail to my blog, and they liked my content.
Be Approachable. Each of us started with a single follower or perhaps a handful. I continue to be amazed by super-bloggers like Alex and Arlee, who take time to respond to comments, or if they don’t respond on their blogs, they make visits. A blogger who doesn’t respond to comments in any way is a turn off. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you is a good rule to live by.
Use Nifty Tools at your disposal. I feel like a hypocrite saying this as I don’t make enough time to pre-schedule my messages. Don’t be a random tweeter. Save yourself the hassle of tweeting manually by using one of the many auto tweeting services now available. I’ve tried several and have started using HooteSuite again recently. Triberr is a really cool site, basically it’s Twitter on steroids. Check it out and make use of it if you can. It gives bloggers a massive reach in combination with other people.
Here’s something extra. ‘Brawta’ as we say in Jamaican Patois. Write things down. I can’t endorse this enough. As you become more serious about your writing, it’s important to be on top of all the obligations that you will take on in terms of promoting your work and that of other people. Apart from Google’s nifty calendar, I use one of those calendars from Microsoft where you can see a month’s activities at a glance. That way, I know where I’m supposed to be guest posting when, as well as the dates I’m supposed to be sending the post/interview over. I also know which blogger/writer I’m hosting and the date.
So, d’you feel any more informed and secure about some of the things you should be doing on your publication journey? Have any advice to add?