Secrets to Success for First-Time Authors
The advent of e-readers like the Barnes & Noble Nook and Amazon Kindle have paved the way for a convenient new way to access and read books: digitally. Rather than driving to a local book store and purchasing a physical paper or hardback copy, readers can fire up their e-reader to download a digital copy.
As a result of the growing new trend of e-readers and e-books, many people are taking the initiative to write their own books, leading to an uptick of competition.
So, how can first-time authors succeed in this highly competitive industry?
The topic can make or break a book, especially for first-time authors. Ideally, you should choose a topic that’s hot/popular, but has low competition. If dozens other authors have published books on it, you’ll have an even harder time generating sales. This is why it’s a good idea to brainstorm and research different topics, measuring both their popularity and competition before you pick up the pen — or sit down at the computer — to begin writing.
That being said, don’t be afraid to completely avoid a popular topic — there’s a reason it’s popular — but try to pick a different angle no one else has covered yet.
If you want to succeed as an author, you must make readers remember your name. Established authors already have the benefit of being known by their target audience. So whenever they release a new book, people are already waiting in line to buy it.
Unfortunately, first-time authors don’t have this luxury, so they must come up with other ways to make readers remember who they are and what they write about. Adding a short about-the-author bio to your book will certainly help, but you should also do a little self-promotion/branding online by using Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn (among other social media networks).
You can also write a blog, or guest post on other writer’s blogs. Consider joining an online forum or group in social media that is relevant to your topic and start commenting.
If your book is about a nonfiction topic, demonstrate your knowledge of your topic by answering questions in online forums or on other bloggers’ sites.
The more people who see your name, the better positioned you’ll be once you publish your first book.
How much do you plan to sell your book for? You can’t expect people to pay $20 for your book if you are a new author. Sure, you may generate a handful of sales, but this is not a viable plan for long-term success as an author. Rather than pricing your book high, consider a low, “entry-level” pricing. Even if it’s just $1 or $2, you’ll generate far more sales by pricing your book low. Subsequently, more people will begin to see your name, some of whom may keep up with your work, buying any new books you release.
If you plan to write a series, offer the first installment for free to get readers interested, so they’ll be willing to pay for subsequent installments.
As a new author, you want to put your best foot forward, meaning you shouldn’t publish sub-par work or have an unprofessional social media profile. Make sure your social media profiles are up to date and convey your image as the writer you want to be known as, not as the stay-home-mom or rugby player your may really be.
I can’t emphasize this enough – you must proofread and edit your book relentlessly! Even the greatest authors are bound to make mistakes, but editing will allow you refine your book so it reads better, and thus has a stronger impact on readers. Ask trusted friends or family members to proof your book for you, or if you have the budget, hire an editor.
Have any other writing tips that you would like to share with our readers? Let us know in the comments section below!
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