Just Write the Next Book

Sharing Hailey cover

My first book.

The things they don’t tell you? Hah. I’d been writing for so many years before I was published that I’d pretty much heard it all. What I didn’t know before I signed that contract, I learned soon after. That doesn’t mean I heeded all that accumulated wisdom. I didn’t. I wish I had. The one piece of advice I wish I’d really paid attention to? Just write the next book.

But I didn’t. I was too concerned with marketing: building a website, starting a Facebook page, learning to tweet. I thought I needed to write guest blogs and take out ads. Because if that first book didn’t sell, there wouldn’t be a second one. Everyone knows how cutthroat publishers are. Instead of the “publish or perish” of academia, writers must “sell or perish.” I didn’t want to be a one and done author, so I bought into the whole marketing thing to the exclusion of writing that next book.

It didn’t help that blogging, taking out ads, and building a social media presence were easier than writing the next great erotic romance.

But here’s the thing. I don’t think any of my marketing efforts helped sell that first book. What did sell it? Reviews and word of mouth. I didn’t even solicit the reviews. So the most effective marketing wasn’t something I’d worked on. (Honestly, I was terrified of asking for reviews. Still am. What if the reviewer hates it?!) To date, the only paid advertising I’ve found to be effective is Bookbub. But in my experience reviews outsell Bookbub. Even bad reviews.

I still Facebook, Twitter and Blog (obviously, since I’m here). Not because those forums sell books, but because I enjoy the interaction, especially with readers and writers.

What’s been your experience with marketing your book? I’d love to hear it.


Just Write the Next Book — 11 Comments

  1. I too am hesitant (terrified) to ask for reviews, but for my latest release in February I gathered my courage and approached many reviewers. So far my efforts have only resulted in a few reviews, but I’ve decided to redouble my efforts on some of my older titles, since like you said, reviews and word of mouth seem to sell books. We’ll see what happens.

    As for guest blogging, tweeting, FBing, and paid advertising, I’ve tried them all but I have no idea if they work. There is no real way to tell. But I enjoy blogging so it’s something I continue to do. I think that like you said, write the next book, is the best marketing advice.

  2. Samantha,

    This is one I wished I’d paid more attention to, as well. It’s so easy to get sucked into marketing and all of the things that are easier and more fun that writing that next book. But, especially in the indie market, writing the best book you can and then the next and the next are the absolute best thing you can do to build awareness and increase sales.

    I just finished my next book, which I’ll indie publish. But this time I’ve learned my lesson. While I’m letting the book sit for a minute before I go in and start revising it, I’m plotting out the next book in the series and I’ll start writing.

  3. Thanks for this post,which came along just when I needed it. It’s so easy to feel like we aren’t doing enough on the marketing end, and the truth is, there’s always more to do. And yeah, a lot of the time it’s easier to dash off a query to a reviewer than to tackle a scene in your WIP that for whatever reason isn’t working. But reading your post is a great reminder to make writing a priority.

  4. Pingback: Samantha Ann King | Explore Love's Possibilities » Blogs

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