You did it—you published a book. After spending months, years, maybe decades working on a novel, a work of nonfiction, a collection of stories or poetry, or something less definable, you got it out there for people to read. Congratulations!
If you’re anything like me, you probably thought that selling a book to a publisher was the hard part—after that, professionals would save you from yourself and do all the heavy lifting for you. I certainly expected that, and I was relieved, because I’ve slowly come to realize that my personal brand could be described as “amiable incompetence.” The idea that a bunch of promotion and publicity experts would take over the sordid work of promoting me and my work was comforting.
Should you self-publish your book, or should you pursue a relationship with a traditional publishing house? Or is there a third option that’s right for you?
Perhaps you’ve heard the story of the Indian Sage who beat the King in chess, and requested merely one grain of rice on the first square, two on the second, four on the third, then eight, sixteen, thirty-two, and so on, only for the King to hand over his entire kingdom to repay the debt.
As the saying goes, life is just one damn thing after another. There are plenty of moments in our personal and professional lives that we might wish we could “lock in” and prevent from changing. No one knows this better than writers—you work for years and finally achieve a certain level of professional success, you might be forgiven for wishing that you could just take a breath and coast for a while.
You know how to use your website, you know what it should include, and you’ve likely devoted a good chunk of time to collecting and creating the materials you’ll need to build your site.
If gathering content and preparing brand assets were all it took to build a great website, more authors would have one. It’s smooth sailing until authors hit the hairsplitting techno-tasks it takes to bridge the gap between the conception and creation of a site.
We’ll bring this series on profitable authorship to a close with the most rudimentary talk on marketing that one could possibly imagine. That isn’t to say that this article will be light reading; far from it. But marketing is a vast subject, a rather nebulous and ever-changing art that you’ll be learning for the rest of your life.
Now that we’ve tackled everything your readers need from your website, it’s time to turn our attention to your peers and the press. Whereas readers will land on your site without a particular objective in mind, the pros will know exactly what they’re looking for.
So, you’ve signed with a literary agent. Congratulations! If traditional publishing is your career goal, you’ve just taken a huge step forward. But that doesn’t mean your work is done—many authors get so focused on landing an agent they forget to think about what happens after they sign the contract—how they’ll work with their shiny new agent. Because, like any relationship, author/