17 August 2015

Author Tips: Five Things To Do Before Your First Book Is Released

Five things to do before your first book is releasedOne of the biggest questions we get from first time, and sometimes veteran, authors is, “Is there anything I need to do to prepare for the release of my book?” Of course, this is assuming your book is ready to roll and you feel like you’re sitting on your thumbs waiting for your book to drop. Here are five things any indie author can do before your release date that will help you in marketing and tracking feedback for your book.

1. Google Alerts. This lesser known functions of the all-seeing internet eye that is Google will email you alerts when certain keywords are published online. At a minimum, you should set up Google Alerts for your name and book title. When Google crawls sites that mention your name or book’s title, you’ll get an email with a short description of the page and a link to the mention. We’ve found that this service doesn’t catch 100% of keyword mentions and is limited to when Google’s algorithms crawl web pages. So don’t think that you’re getting up to the minute intelligence on when bloggers or other folks review or mention your book. However, it is a handy tool for following up on promotional opportunities and to find out what the buzz is about your book. Google Alerts is free and requires a Google account to access. You can find out more about Google Alerts at this link.

2. Secure Domain Names. Even if you’re not a web design guru, you should purchase a domain name, if available, for your name and your book’s title. (If your book title is unbearably long, consider some truncated version that anyone wanting more information about your book can easily remember.) In the best case scenario, you should design an author website and a separate website for your book. This will give you two different web platforms to promote your works which means an increased chance of potential readers finding you online. If you’re not web savvy enough to create your own website, securing these domain names will ensure no one else can should you want to create these sites in the future. There’s nothing more frustrating than deciding it’s time to make a website only to find out the domain name you want has been registered by someone else. There are plenty of drop and drag website design platforms (Yola, Wix, and Weebly all are easy to use) that make creating basic websites a simple affair. You should seriously consider spending the time to learn how create, or at very least update, sites using one of these services. One final note on websites, don’t get a free website from your hosting platform that assigns your domain name. This practice doesn’t look professional and your potential readers will think that your writing might not be professional as well.

3. Shore up your social media presence. Just like domain names, if you haven’t signed up for accounts on all the relevant social media sites, get to it. Accounts for you as an author on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, and LinkedIn should be claimed for the same reasons you should be claiming domain names. Even if you never use these platforms, which you should, they will be there if you ever want to take advantage of them. One note on Facebook, you should create an author fan page that is separate from your personal Facebook account. Most of your friends don’t always want to hear about your writing and you might not want your fans knowing about your personal life. If you want to create a fan page for your book as well, that’s great. However, it might be difficult for you to maintain both pages with enough content attract readers to both fan pages.

4. Keep a list of websites or blogs that you frequent. The chances are that if you’re writing on a specific topic, you’re visiting websites or blogs that relate to that topic. Start keeping a list of these websites with links to the webmaster or relevant writers on that site. When your book comes out, send them a press release about your book. If that blog or website has piqued your interest as a writer, they might show you some love by passing along the word about your book. You might also drop the hint to bloggers that you’d be willing to post a guest blog about a topic relevant to their site.

5. Take the time to think about what’s next. Before you start getting reviews on Amazon or see sales figures, plan what you’re next project is going to be. Many first time authors are discouraged by the results of their first book. If you do not take the time to plan your next project now, sans the background noise of your first book’s release, you might be tempted to give up. Insert any platitude you like here: “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” “There is no try, there is only do and not do,” or “Winners never quit and quitters never win” should suffice. Trite as they are, these statements are also true. Having your next project planned out will minimize the chances of never taking to the keyboard again. You have more stories to tell, so get out there and tell them.

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