When you’ve finished a book, it feels like you’ve accomplished a great task. You have. Congratulate yourself. Now get ready for the real work to begin. That’s because 90% of what an author does occurs after they’ve written a book.
Here’s why: the average self-published author is only going to sell 500 books or less. Some may only sell a handful of books. What do you do with a book after your family and friends have purchased it? These are the steps that you’ll want to take after your book is finished and you’re ready to publish.
#1. Focus on the optics of your book.
If you want your book to stand out, then you need to begin focusing on what your book is going to look like when it sits on a shelf. If your book looks like every other book, then it becomes “white noise” in terms of reader optics. Look to have a good cover designed that is visually appealing, but also realistic to the story you’ve told. Have a title that grabs the attention of a potential reader so they want to pick the story up.
#2. Publicity doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.
It’s worth pursuing free publicity options. Create a press release for your book that you can send out to any media outlet, but make sure you leave room to personalize each press release for the local market as well. If you want someone to review your story, make sure to include a book. Call newspapers to schedule interviews. Call TV stations for interviews. Many writers assume no one will be interested, but there is a good chance that a local author will make for a nice story.
#3. Get comfortable with public speaking.
Readers like to have books from authors that they’ve gotten to know in some way. This means every writer needs to become comfortable with public speaking at some level. There are many local organizations that would love to have you come to talk about your book. Talk to your Rotary Club, Kiwanis Club, VFW, and other groups and offer to speak. This will give your book some exposure and help you gain confidence in your public speaking abilities.
#4. Build your professional network.
If there is a local writing organization in your area, then join it. Get involved in local writing activities. Teach in workshops. Volunteer at local schools to talk about what you do. Relationships help to generate sales, so professional networks are essential to an author’s success.
#5. Think outside the box when it comes to book signings.
Most authors will talk to bookstores about scheduling a book signing, whether they’ve self-published their work or had a traditional publishing house do it for them. Go beyond this and schedule signings at libraries, coffee shops, and other venues where 1-on-1 interactions make sense.
#6. Establish a presence on social media.
Thanks to the reach of the modern internet, an author can reach a global audience from the comfort of their home computer. This means establishing a presence on social media is an essential part of the post-book process. No social network should be off-limits, though Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are must-have profiles. Make sure to interact with people who leave comments or posts and remember that you need to post on a regular basis to generate interest.
#7. Be prepared to do some traveling.
Your local community can only support you to a certain extent. You’ll want to book meetings, signings, and other events throughout your region as well. This will help you to continue building your reputation and hopefully increase your sales at the same time while you extend the reach of your professional network.
#8. Get back to work.
You’ve finished your book. Now it’s time to go start writing another one. Create a new world. Offer readers a sequel to the book you’ve just written. You have post-book work that needs to be done so you can sell the first novel, but you’ve got a second novel that needs to get written as well. So get back to your creative work right away, even if it’s only a few hundred words per day at first.
Knowing what to do after you write a book can help you generate sales, build your reputation, and establish a readership. Even if you self-publish, following these steps can help to set the stage for better sales and possible publisher attention in the future.