The Healer, my second novel launched on 22nd January and made it (briefly) to #1 best-seller in Irish crime kindle sales. I know it is considered uncouth to mention rankings, but we must be a little uncouth now and again.
Another taboo can be asking for help. Regardless of worrying about what people may think, I’ve always asked others for their time and expertise. Whether it is to do early reads, thrash out plot issues, beta-read, proof-read or write early reviews – I always ask for help.
Through the process of writing, we shy away from discussing our novels, and the ideas which slouch around in our solitary noggins. Then suddenly, our work is catapulted into the world and we’re left paddling alone (it can feel like drowning) and we wonder….
‘What the feck/heck do I do now?’
I love to hear an author being shameless in asking for what they need. If we help others, there should be no guilt in asking for an odd hand with something. Rally your writing troops for book or writing promotion and don’t feel bad about it either.
‘But….’ I can hear you ask. ‘How do I find my writing troops?’
If you are short on time or confidence, being online is a good place to start with your networking. I run an online exclusive writing group called #Indulgeinwriting, where we all try to support each other. We ask people to share their own good news and to ask for help if they need it. There is also chat in the private forum about how to market your book and how to self-promote.
‘Does all my hard work actually helps sales?’ Umm.. I dunno, I doubt it.
‘Why do it then?’
I do it to promote myself (ugh!). Also, I try to leap out of my comfort zone once in a while. Oh.. and if truth be told, I do it to procrastinate.
‘What do I do?’
- Attend Date with an Agent, or literary events where you have to talk about your writing. Practice explaining yourself and your work. People at these events will not think you’ve grown a big head just because you write. They may also probe you into thinking deeply about your work. Meet people there and ask where you can find them online. Stay in touch.
- See gaps and help others (no strings attached). I do #Indulgeinbooks. This is a list of monthly book releases in Ireland for Indulgeme.ie a leading online magazine. If Irish writers, publishers and self-publishers send me the purchase links, cover, blurb to their book I’ll try to include it in my lists. #Indulgeinbooks for December 18.
- Set up a writing profile on facebook and twitter. Pick platforms you like and can maintain. For eg I founded a writing tweet-chat #WritersWise and network with other writers and readers. I tweet @sharontwriter and this is my writing facebook page Sharon Thompson. Writing Fun. Some people like to have a personal website or blog here’s mine. Pick something that is easy to maintain and does not sap your energy and time. Using your writing.ie space and bio effectively is a good idea. (I need to update my own no doubt).
- I did a copywriting diploma. I learned the process of writing a press release and this proved invaluable. Press releases only work when you have something to say, but it will surprise you how supportive local media outlets are. This includes the smaller radio stations. Write a press release well and email people directly. Do your research. Also, maybe don’t expect the national media to care much about you, unless you have a publishing house willing to work with them. Focus on local, regional levels and build your own contact lists. Make it easy to work with you and give them the copy you wish them to use (or base their work on).
- Read and follow bloggers and book reviewers (and not just when you need them).
- Speak to PR companies or people, like Hear Me Roar Media. Personalised or author based PR services might not be as expensive as you think. Specialised and professional help is a godsend.
- Follow social media influencers and look into their services or what they do and how they do it. For eg Samantha Kelly Tweeting Goddess or the likes of Paul Dunphy #HiretheSquire
- Think outside of the writing world. I joined Women’s Inspire Network and found a whole troop of women waiting to support each others’ projects, events and successes. Find organisations you learn from, who bolster your dreams and who will applaud your triumphs.
What should we be doing next?
Writing! And I don’t know what the heck I’m going to do then.
The Healer is available here. I am shameless. I know.