#18: What to Do While You’re Waiting…

Are you sitting down? Here goes.

1. Write another book.

No, I’m not crazy. Almost every book contract is for a minimum of two novels and often includes an option for a third. How long did it/will it take you to write your first manuscript and get it up to snuff? Two years? Three? Longer? Release dates for your two novels could very well be 30 days apart!

Do you sense the urgency?

So what will you write next? That might be an easier answer than you think. The trend in publishing today is to release two books that are in some way connected:

  • A traditional sequel focusing on the main characters in the first book. What happened after the first book ended?
  • A sequel focusing on the children/next generation of the main characters in the first book.
  • A connected story focusing on a secondary character from the first book.
  • A prequel within the original characters’ lifetimes.
  • A prequel predating the original characters’ lifetimes.

2. Start marketing yourself now.

Still not crazy. Here’s why:

Have you walked into a bookstore lately? In the Romance section, all the old standbys get the majority of the shelf space. You know – the ones writing since dirt was invented and still in the same style. Their books will sell no matter what they do because that’s the main choice offered.

But no one has ever heard of me. If I ever expect people to buy my books, I need to make sure they know such books exist! Because I won’t get more than 3 inches of Big Bookstore shelf space for eight weeks, if I’m lucky enough to even get that much.

Word of mouth is key. And there are millions of mouths on the internet! Authors need to find their niche and promote themselves to likely readers based on their story and characters. Writing a vampire book? Too broad.

Writing a time-traveling same-sex vampire story set in Peru? There you go. It’s all about carving out a market to stake your claim to a particular niche. Readers are on blogs, websites, and social networks. Don’t try to catch everyone. Attract YOUR readers.

Don’t get discouraged! Coming up will be a post on each of the following marketing tools:

  • Websites & Business Cards
  • Facebook & Twitter
  • Blogging: Written & Video (Oh, yes. Mine is coming!)
  • Personal Appearances
  • Peripheral Media (Book Trailers, etc.)

And why do I think you should begin now? You aren’t published and no one knows you.

Exactly. Because no one is watching, yet. These tools require new skills – and what better time to practice?

2 Responses to “#18: What to Do While You’re Waiting…”

  1. 1 amberscottproject 02/02/2010 at 12:52 PM

    This is the best advice ever. I find moving to the next manuscript also allows me to gain the emotional distance I’ll need when responses begin coming back on those queries. Novels are our product. We’ll want lots of product ready for the time when consumers demand it.
    :}Amber Scott

  2. 2 kristualla 02/02/2010 at 6:35 PM

    Thanks, Amber. You are right about product! We have to build momentum and keep it going!
    Kris 🙂

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