Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Top 10 Things New Authors Should Be Doing

1. Write Stellar Material.
Lets face it, everyone has a story to tell but only those stories that are of the highest quality will sell well. This means you must pay careful attention to spelling, typos, grammar, punctuation, details, etc...

2. Get A Critique.
Having your family, neighbors, or friends proof reading your material is all well and good; but having a professional critiquing your work can make all the difference in the world. A professional will not shy away from telling you facts that might hurt your feelings. This is not because they don't care, but instead because they do care. A professional will tell you where your story is weak and what you need to do to polish up your material. And you can bet your bottom dollar that a publisher is going to be more attracted to a well written, well polished manuscript!

3. Be Determined and Persistent.
An author has to have a thick skin and the will to carry on because lets face it, with roughly 800,000 new books per year being released the competition is stiff. With competition like that, you are bound to hear no frequently. Don't think of "no" as a negative but instead think of it in the respect that you just haven't spoken to the correct person yet. This is your dream, don't let it die easily!

4. Market Before Your Book is Published.
It is never too early to let people know what you are working on. Think of it like Christmas advertising. New products are always advertised well before Christmas, whetting the appetite of the potential buyers. So start whetting the appetite of your potential fans.

5. Have a Website.
This ties in with marketing before your book is published. People are curious by nature and like to know all about other people. Use this to your advantage by having your own author website. Make it entertaining and engaging but not solely about you or your book. Offer your potential fans something of value. If you write westerns, perhaps you can show people how to find western products or dude ranches. If you write romance, have a section with a "romantic poem a day". And so forth and so on. On my website Fun For Kids I include recipes, crafts, poems, and much more.

6. Have Business Cards Printed.
Business cards are a great and inexpensive way to promote any type of business even the business of writing. Hand them out everywhere you go: restaurants, hair salons, grocery stores, libraries, and gas stations. I've even been know to include them in the envelope when I pay my bills.

7. Form Relationships With Other Authors and Bloggers.
Recently I read an article that stated being published was a community effort so to speak and I totally agree. No one person has all the ideas, all the contacts, all the reach, or all the tools needed to become a success. So join forces. Review books for other authors, blog about other authors, invite other authors to be interviewed, and you will see your efforts reciprocated.

8. Be Proactive.
Don't wait for fans and opportunities to come to you because this is not "A Field of Dreams". If you write it, they will not come, at least not without some good old fashioned leg work. People can't buy what they don't know about. Look for people to review your book, look for contests, book lists, book fairs, craft fairs, radio shows, and selling opportunities of every kind. They are out there, it just takes some ingenuity to find them. This takes us back to #7 where you get to know those other authors who will share opportunities they have come across with you because you do the same.

9. Don't be Afraid To Try New Things.
If you have never blogged, don't worry; everyone has to start somewhere and with time you will find your comfort zone. If you are nervous about public speaking, start out with a pre-recorded radio interview or podcast. If you have recording capabilities, record yourself reading a passage from your book. If you don't have a book trailer, make one. There are several easy to use sites out there that walk you through making a video or book trailer. I am especially fond of One True Media. The options are endless, so get out there try, try, try.

10. Have Fun.
Of all the possibilities a new author can and should be pursuing, this is the most important. If you aren't having fun, then what is the purpose of being an author? Neither writing nor getting published is an easy task and marketing a book is even more difficult; but it doesn't have to be a life draining death sentence. With a little bit of effort, you can begin to feel confident and you can even become an authority in your given genre. The world lies at your feet just waiting to be conquered; not just on the written page, but in reality as well!

Signing off for now with wishes for a bright and beautiful day!


  1. These are wonderful and very pracrtical suggestions, Aileen! I still need help on my blog (my sister left to go back to Ohio too soon) HA! I also want to redo my wedsite. My cousin does it for me, and I need to give him new ideas and give him new pictures and recipes, etc!!
    Thank you so much for taking the time to write this and share it with all of us!!

  2. Great list, Aileen. The tough one for me is number 3. With a job that takes 40-65 hours of my time a week, it's hard to make consistent time for writing/promoting and easy to lose determination. And you're so right about marketing before you publish. That's something I'm finally learning!

  3. Thanks for your responses ladies. Wishing you both much success in your literary undertakings!

  4. Aileen, these are great tips for new authors. Would you like to write a similar article for the Southern Writers Magazine blog? If so, email me shannon@southernwritersmag.com

  5. Thank Aileen - Great tips - I will focus on number 7 - since I do believe helping each other out is very helpful and more fun! Thanks, Judy Belmont, self help author

  6. Thank you for stopping by Judy! It is truly my belief that the more we help each other the more we help ourselves :0)

  7. Well, I am about half there. I guess that is better than not at all there LOL!!!

  8. Hi Aileen, Thank you for the tips. I'm thinking about making a video and/or book trailer, so I clicked on your link to One True Media. Sadly, it said the website is no longer available. I thought you would like to know.

    1. Thanks. I think they ended their site last year. Another good site is POWTOONS :0)