Well, it’s been almost two months since my book was sent out into the world and it’s been a fun ride so far! This is the first time I’ve solicited outside reviews and I’m especially proud of the Kirkus Review, which I’ve always felt was a reputable reviewer of some of my favorite books. https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/marty-almquist/you-never-knew-me/
For anyone starting this journey, I will say that though writing itself is a solo endeavor, it takes a village to get your work over the finish line. It starts with teaming with a good editor (and being willing to take their critiques). You need to bring this person on early in your process, and understand that you will be paying them to work with you. This is a critical step if you want to be taken seriously. The next step is finding beta readers and/or friends who are willing to read it and give constructive advice along the way. Finally you will need to choose how to publish it– traditionally (which means you have to find an agent and understand it will be at least a year before it sees the light of day), using a hybrid publisher (which means you will pay them for the privilege and still do most of the marketing yourself), or decide to go it on your own with an independent approach, where you have much more heavy lifting on the production side, but also get free rein on design issues. This last choice is, in my experience and opinion, the quickest way to get your book out into the world, but you have to be VERY diligent to be sure it looks professional. The first two choices have others involved who will ensure that for you, but with the third choice, it’s all up to you.
To stay motivated and to ensure you are doing your best work, it is extremely helpful to find other writers working in the same genre with whom you can share ideas, share frustrations, and share successes. I am so happy I found and became a member of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association https://www.womensfictionwriters.org/. What a tremendous resource it’s been for me, with webinars on all aspects of your writing, from character development, to plot formation to improving dialog, as well as discussions of how to choose your own personal writing team, and finally, how to choose your publishing strategy. If you are a women’s fiction writer, I highly recommend you join it, or if you write a different genre, go find the organization that has people in it who share your goals and passions.
Okay, now you have your team in place: people to help you refine your story; people to help you become a better writer; and finally people to help you decide your particular path to get your work out in the world.
Let’s talk about once your book is published. It’s time to market it. That’s where I am in my journey and it’s a challenge for sure. How do I find readers? How do I attract new ones? I don’t want to push my books on anyone, but I do want people to know they exist. I’ve been a guest speaker for two local book clubs so far and hope to do more of that. I’m reaching out to local bookstores and I’m also going to expand my publishing to include bookstores and libraries.
Oh, and yes, while I’m doing all that, I’m now starting work on Book 4.