Things Every Author Should Know and Do Before Their First Book Comes Out

There are a thousand things you’ll learn as an author – probably more than that – everything from orginization, to office supplies to which blogs and authors host the best blog hops. But there are half a dozen or so that you need to know BEFORE your book comes out.

And that’s not counting all there is to learn about writing.

  1. Your author brand is probably the single most important thing to identify before you sell a single book. How are your books different from every other book available? What is the one thing that ties all your books together? Even the ones that are in different genres?
    1. For me, my brand is The New Happily Ever After. A lot sexy, a little sweet, and every book has a happily ever after. That’s what identifies me.
  2. Marketing plan. This was the one thing that really blindsided me when I was first published. You really, truly, have to participate in selling your own book. You need to know ahead of time how you’re going to do that.
  3. Online presence. Figure out what works best for you: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, FourSquare, Triberr, your own blog.
    1. Personally, I don’t find LinkedIn to be well suited to selling books. The same with FourSquare. I’m sure some people have figured out how to make them work, but they’re not on my list.
    2. Your website and blog is probably the single most important place for you to have a presence. It’s the only place your links won’t be swallowed by everyone else’s. People will go there to find your books. If they read one they like, they’ll want to know what others you have. Make sure your website is always up to date. Check out this post I did on starting and maintaining your website.
  4. Sites like NovelRank are fun, but ultimately, they’re pretty inaccurate and a very narrow view of the market. They can lift you up, or burst your bubble, but the numbers just aren’t the bottom line.
  5. You need to know when your contracts are up. I live for Excel. I have spread sheets for everything – including one that lists my contract dates.
  6. Put together a media kit for you book. For more info on a media kit, check out this post I wrote on how to put together a media kit and why.
  7. You need an author pic – not something cropped out of a family photo. Do your hair and makeup, if that’s your style, and have someone – a photographer, a friend, your significant other – take a shot of just you. Take them until you have one you’re thrilled with. You’ll need an author photo for so many things.
  8. You will do the bulk of your own marketing. That’s just the way the industry works. Be prepared to sell your books, and yourself, long after you’ve signed that contract. This is something I cannot stress enough – it’s the one thing that completely blindsided me when I first started.

This covers the basics, though if you read my blog, you know I’m liable to add things at any given moment. Fellow authors, anything I missed?



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