Wednesday, March 7, 2018

How to Become an Author in Today’s Publishing World: P.3 – Building a Career

Many people think, once they sign a publishing contract, that they’ve officially “made it” as an author. And I guess this can be true for some, depending on what their specific goal/vision is. But if you’re hoping to build a career as a novelist, then that first book contract? It’s not the finish line; it’s the starting point. In other words … your career is just beginning!

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In the previous posts in this series (Post 1 & Post 2), I discussed how to set a foundation that could pave the way to attaining publication. I then explained the steps you can take when you’re ready to move forward and seek representation/publication.

Once you’ve finally landed a publishing contract, are there still goals to be reached? And how can you sustain your novelist career, stand out in the publishing world, and sell your next book?

First, let’s discuss what an average traditionally-published author’s career might look like…

  1. Author signs book deal and delivers manuscript.
  2. Author is taken through rounds of edits with in-house editors.
  3. As the six-month pre-release of the book approaches, author begins generating more buzz surrounding book release. They may work with publicists at this point to help strategize promo efforts and create a marketing plan.
  4. Author might begin brainstorming a new project during this time.
  5. Release day finally arrives! Hopefully the author has planned a launch party—either an in-person event, virtual party, or both.
  6. Author continues participating in marketing efforts even after the book is released. If their editor approves of their new book proposal/idea, the author may sign a new contract and get to work writing this new book. (Unless, of course, the author has already signed a multiple-book deal with this publisher.)
  7. Repeat.

Keep in mind, though, that this isn’t always what the publication process looks like for traditionally-published authors. There are those who might have no idea how to market a book, so their release comes and goes without hardly any publicity. If this happens, their publisher will be less likely to sign a new book deal with them. It’s also likely that the publisher might prefer to wait and see if this new author can earn out their advance before they offer another contract.

Basically, here’s a brief overview of the hurdles this new author now faces:

  • Marketing. Generating and sustaining book buzz. Building a solid readership—one that will help to sell their next book.
  • Brainstorming a new book idea and selling it to their publisher (if they didn’t sign a multiple-book deal).
  • Delivering the book idea.
  • Receiving glowing reviews and ratings and attaining book awards—all in effort to build author credibility and bring more publicity to the book.

With this in mind, what can you to prepare for the road ahead?

  1. Build your knowledge of book marketing. Take courses, workshops, listen to podcasts, and read books and blogs. Keep in mind, though, that it’s impossible to do everything. Stay focused by creating a marketing plan and only participating in efforts you’re comfortable with. It might also be a good idea to hire someone who can help spread the word about the book. Of course, don’t forget to continue building your platform during this time! Find where your audience is and strategize how you can connect with them (without necessarily “selling” to them.)
  2. Know your brand. This can be a difficult feat, especially for the newly contracted author. Sometimes it’s not easy to establish a brand until you hear from readers and can tap into the reputation your books have within your genre. For now, do what you can to create a brand that suits your personality and differentiates your books from other authors within the genre. You can find out more about how to do this by seeing this post.
  3. Stay updated on the industry and know what’s selling in your genre. I don’t, however, recommend that authors “chase the trend” per se. But it is wise to know what’s selling and know if your new book idea will have an audience. (Because if there is an audience for it, then the publisher will be more likely to sign another book deal.)
  4. Keep going! Sure, there may be slow seasons in the author’s life. Several of them, actually. But a slow season shouldn’t necessarily be a stagnant season. If you’re actively working at growing a platform, marketing your book(s), interacting with readers, entering contests, staying updated on the industry, making connections, and, of course, writing—then your writer’s journey never has to come to an end.

Summary: The writer’s journey is filled with new milestones—not necessarily finish lines. Once you become an author, don’t take for granted the unfolding of your dream, but do continue working to ensure that your career is sustainable. And no, I don’t think it’s ever too early to prepare for life after publication!

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What are you doing to prepare for publication? If you’re an author, do you have advice you’d like to add?


How to Become an Author in Today’s Publishing World: P.3 – Building a Career #authorslife #publishing @TessaEmilyHall

1 comment:

  1. This series is so helpful. Thank you for sharing! (By the way, I just got Purple Moon and can't wait to read it. =D)


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