Friday, 5 April 2013

Ten Things I Wish I Had Known Before Writing a Book

When I wrote my teen/YA thriller, The Long Weekend, I was very much a novice in terms of my knowledge of the publishing industry, and in terms of book marketing and publicity, and also the internet. All have undergone considerable changes over the last few years, and a writer now must be far more savvy about the workings of the publishing industry than ever before.

This is a list of the ten things I wish I had known before writing a book. There are many other things I could have added to this list, but I had to stop somewhere...

1. Join a writers group. Most full-time writers write in long periods of isolation, so it’s good to know other people in the same situation. It’s a great support network!

2. Research your publishers, so that you know exactly who they are, their reputation and what they will do for you.

3. Find out where and when your book will be placed in different markets – and make sure your publishers adhere to the plan.

4. This one links to the above two – maintain a good relationship with your publishers and as far as possible, work together on a publicity plan for when the book is published.

5. Get a good agent – an agent is invaluable in fighting your corner. They’ve got contacts with publishing houses, they’ll promote your book, and they’ll decipher your contract if you’re lucky to get offered one.

6. Get on the internet and research all the book magazines and papers that review books and make sure review copies have been sent out. This is usually handled by the publisher, but it’s always worth checking up on.

7. Stay on the internet and research all the book blogging sites – this may take some time as there are so many and they are spread right across the world! Most publishers are now sending review copies to book bloggers on your behalf – if they are not then you may have to do this yourself, but it’s money well spent. Ask the bloggers to review your book – that’s what I did! They are wonderful, committed readers who love books and love reading, and if they like a book, they do a lot of shouting out about it for you. A public profile is very important, especially for publishers.

8. Before your book launch make sure you have told the world about your book and when it will be published. Surround the event with as much buzz as you can – raise your profile on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter.

9. Arrange to have your book launch in a book shop – if you’re very lucky your publisher will pay something towards such an event. Make sure the event is well-publicised. Invite everyone you know, and people you don’t know too! Invite your local librarians, school librarians, any teachers you know, any book reviewers or book bloggers, local press. Publicity is the key factor to success, and the more you can generate for your book the better.

10. Don’t give up the day-job, but don’t stop reading, and never stop writing! And did I mention about not giving up the day job...?



For experienced ABBA authors, much of the above will be old hat. But as a new author, it is all too easy to be overwhelmed and make mistakes, just as I did. So if you are a new or aspiring new writer and you’ve found this website, then in all likelihood you’re already a step ahead of where I was when I was first published!

Anything you wished you’d known before writing a book?

6 comments:

javediqbal said...
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Joan Lennon said...

That each new book has its own frequently vertical learning curve. It wouldn't have stopped me writing them, but it would have stopped me being surprised each time!

JO said...

Isn't it interesting how many of these tenets are about publishing, marketing etc - compared with the task of writing. I know that's how things are, but i still love the writing bit best.

Savita Kalhan said...

Joan, each new book certainly has it´s own learning curve and it´s often vertical! I´m still surprised at each turn though - the publishing industry is changing so quickly.
Jo, I agree with you that the writing is the best bit, but it´s so important to to know what´s going on in the publishing industry, so that the manuscript doesn´t languish in a drawer!!

David Washington said...
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C.J.Busby said...

I feel mildly depressed at the number of these things that are to do with promotion. I am wrestling with the idea that it's a vital part of being a writer, but it's not what I imagined when I first decided to write a children's book!!