Musings on life after publication
A lot has happened since I became a #publishedauthor in 2019. Good things, bad things, globally catastrophic things. Some of them were things I could control and some were not. My hope for this series of blogs is to help you get a handle on the former, whilst accepting the latter
If you read part one of this blog I hope you were not too dismayed by all the added extras that seem to come with publishing a children's book ...
In part 1 I left you hanging at the thought of preparing for what's to come ...
Online lives events
Other writers, writing books
So let's tackle these potentially terrifying, out of the comfort zone, gigs, one at a time.
No, you don’t have to have a social platform. But, unless you have very strong feelings about SM or are worried about how it will impact your mental health, get one anyway. It helps – it really does. It helps your agent and publisher see that you’re serious about promoting yourself and your (their) product. It shows you can communicate effectively with the public and it gives them a sense of your personality. It also brings you closer to a community, which can be a lifesaver (or simply a lovely way to check out those adorable book baby covers) Yes, social media can be cruel, rage-inducing, and a horrific time-suck, so use it wisely and with caution. But I'd still advocate using it if you can.
· Sort yourself out with a Twitter profile and follow some writers - there are lots of them there. Do what they do
· Get an Instagram page and share other people’s adorable book baby covers. Share pics of your town, or your dog, or your artwork, or ... you get the idea
· Do Facebook. I don’t really get Facebook. It’s not my preferred platform, but having an author page is a good idea as for many, it's still a go-to first option
The earlier in your career you start, the more confident you’ll be when it comes to sharing your book with the world.
Most publishers require you to carry out an agreed number of hours of promotion and most will ask, before offering you a contract, how you feel about public events. It’s usually necessary and it’s nerve-wracking but it can be fun if you’re well prepared.
You might be asked to library events, festivals, panels, book signings, book clubs, book tours, and the biggie, of course, school events.
So how can you be ready?
· If you can, find an author who is doing an event near you and ask if you can tag along. With virtual events, this can be even easier. In both cases check beforehand with the school to make sure they are happy with another person attending
· Go to literature festivals, go to signings and get an idea of what goes on. What is the audience like, what questions do they ask, what does the author do/say/read?·
· Ask your publisher to put together a school resource pack, ask your publicist if they have ideas for events and if you don’t have either of these check out what other authors have on their websites and search Youtube for author events
· Read this brilliant guide from The Society of Authors: https://www.societyofauthors.org/SOA/MediaLibrary/SOAWebsite/Guides/A-Guide-for-Authors-Visiting-Schools-and-Libraries.pdf
As much as possible, if it's your first time out in the wild with your book, start small and as close to your comfort zone as you can. Don't be afraid to say if you're not ready for something
I read a quote on Insta recently that said you can turn yourself into the shiniest, greenest, crunchiest apple there is, some people will still not like apples.
It’s easy to read aspirational stuff on social. It’s pretty much impossible to actually internalise it. As a species, we latch on to the bad news and ignore the good. But it’s true – no matter what you do, someone will not like your writing/story/protagonist/the fact that your character has the same name as the neighbour’s dog that barks all day and all night. You will have crap reviews – the WTF 1 star to the 3 star meh, even the 4 star ‘I adore this book, it’s amazing’ Grr.
Again, get prepared – look at reviews of other people’s writing that you love. The best book you’ve ever read, this year’s Costa winner, the book that was all over your timeline. Chances are there will be a handful of less than brilliant reviews. Then look yourself in the mirror and with your best lie, tell yourself you’ll never read reviews.
(You will, but if I may give one piece of advice – try your best to avoid Goodreads, it can be brutal.)
And Finally – Other People’s Writing
Comparison is the fourth horseman of the apocalypse.
Other people will write brilliant books. And they will get picked as Waterstones Book of the Month, get a Carnegie nomination, have a higher Amazon ranking than you, be face-out in your local Indie, be featured in the Guardian Summer Review or picked up for TV, and if you let it, the weight of all this elsewhere attention, it will crush you.
I can’t tell you how to prepare for this other than to know that it’ll happen. And it stings. But, if you can take advice where I struggle to, it’s utterly irrelevant to you and your journey. And let’s not forget where I started with all this...
Congratulations! You’re published.
Because if you’re comparing your book to someone else’s ... you’ve got a book. And what could be better than that?
Join me next time for more tips from the editing cave, and if you'd like entry to the cave, check out the services I offer: click below and say hello
From EmDashED Freelance Novel Editing