Even if you’re unpublished.
Even if you write fiction.
Even if you don’t think anyone will ever visit it.
You need a website, and we talk about why on the latest episode of The Gatecrashers Podcast.
Or you can get agents to like you, as a person.
If an agent likes you, then they’re that much more likely to give you more of their time, more of their input. They’re more likely to sign you.
We’re bringing back some of Chip’s blog posts for both your reading pleasure and to bring some insight for authors in a constantly evolving industry. Enjoy! Feel free to comment below.
Marketing Your First Novel
I received a fascinating email from a first-time novelist the other day. She said that her very first novel is releasing, it’s with a medium-sized house, and she said, “While I’m not exactly sure what the publisher may do to market my book, I’m wondering what advice you give to the authors you represent in order to help them market their first novel.”
First, I wrote back to her and said she should simply ASK HER PUBLISHER what exactly they’re doing to help market her book. It may not be much (publishing works on the Pareto Principle, where 80% of the resources flow to 20% of the books), but she should certainly know what they are doing. So get a little clarity by asking. Are they taking out an ad in a trade magazine? Purchasing a group ad? Buying placement in front of Barnes & Noble? Sending out review copies? Offering terms to Amazon? Whatever it is (and it may not be much), it would be nice to know, so that the author doesn’t duplicate the publisher’s efforts.
Second, I suggested she simply make a list of the things SHE CAN DO to help market her book. Can she put together a blog tour? Do a launch party with friends at a local bookstore? Set up an event on Facebook? Arrange to get into her local newspaper and onto local radio stations? Every author can do SOMETHING… so what is it you can do?
We had a nice chat about this via email, then she asked me another question: “Would you be willing to show me the sort of letter you send to a first-time novelist you represent?” I thought that was a brilliant question,
Or maybe you meet an agent at a conference, hit it off, start emailing back and forth. And then they go dark. You just can’t get them to respond, let alone make a decision on your project.
Why do agents go dark? Why do they ghost potential clients? Isn’t it in their best interest to respond? We tackle all these questions and more on this episode of The Gatecrashers Podcast.
Will has built his career with a focus on the writing craft instead of marketing strategies. It’s a breath of fresh air in an area of the industry that is so marketing-driven.
In the years following, Wes has grown a successful career, book by book, opportunity by opportunity. His most recent deal with Del Rey was listed in Publisher’s Marketplace as a “Major Deal,” which is the top tier of their deal categories.
For years, Heather Thompson Day‘s author platform hovered around 5,000 followers. Despite numerous book releases with a small denominational press and a steady speaking schedule, she just couldn’t seem to grow her tribe. She felt stuck.
And then all of a sudden, things changed.
Within two years, she hit 150,000 followers.
What changed? What did she do differently?
Yet every year, numerous debut novels get publishing deals—and some for big advance amounts.
So what causes a publisher to say “yes” to one debut novel and “no” to another?
If you or someone you love suffers from writer’s block, then this is the podcast episode for you!
Writer’s block can take on many forms. It can be a lack of motivation, a sudden disinterest in your book, an issue with plot or character or scene, and more.
When faced with writer’s block, many writers simply give up. The task of working through it seems so difficult, that it’s easier to begin a new writing project or take a year off. But it doesn’t have to be that way!
What’s your idea for a children’s book? Most authors have one. Whether you typically write adult romance or business nonfiction, chances are you have an idea for a picture book, chapter reader, or kids novel. Chances are, you’ve even written some of it down!
But is it worth an author’s time to pursue a career in kids publishing—especially if writing for children isn’t their true “calling”?