Yesterday, I was at The Book Diva's Reads and shared my thoughts on selling your first novel. Don't forget to enter my giveaway for a $75 Amazon gift card as part of The Disappearing Girl tour.
I was completely clueless after I wrote First Visions. I knew very little about the book blogging community, honestly I never even heard of Goodreads. Most of the information I learned about book publishing and marketing came from Absolute Write, a forum for authors. It is hard for me to fathom that this was only last year.
Querying my first novel was such an eye-opening experience. The one thing I learned is that you shouldn't query every single agent you can find contact information on. If you want to sell your book, find the agents that are looking for manuscripts within your genre. AgentQuery is a fabulous resource to find information on agents that are accepting submissions. Read guidelines closely to avoid ending up in the slush pile.
Selling your first novel may also be the first time you experience the worst type of ego bruising. Expect to hear back from agents and publishers with phrases such as “not for me,” “didn't connect with me,” and “nope.” Do not let them break you! Be strong, author, and keep writing. Agents and publishers may ask you to revise and resubmit. This can help get you closer to an offer as well as improve the quality of your manuscript.
With First Visions, I did receive several offers through small publishing houses. Ultimately though, I decided to self-publish the novel. This is not an easy or inexpensive route and although I've been successful, I've put a lot of work into marketing my books. I'm working with Crescent Moon Press for an upcoming series and it has been less stressful to hand over cover and editing duties to them.
Once my book was released, successful marketing was a trial and error process. Book tours are a great way to get the word out about your novel. It can also help your book get reviews on Goodreads and book retailer sites. Other successful promotions I’ve done are sponsorships through Kindle Nation Daily and BookBub. Offering your book for free as part of the KDP Select program on Amazon can also help boost sales.
I hope this helps new and aspiring authors avoid some of the mistakes I made. But above all else, writing should be fun! Even if the sales don't happen, you should be proud that you accomplished something that many other people were unable to do.