aspiring authors, potential authors, Writing

To write or to market….That is the question

Being a published author is a dream come true, a dream that began 24 years ago.

I began writing as a teenager and because of various circumstances stopped and did not start writing again until seven years ago. It began as a hobby, but then I thought why can’t my work be published? I think it’s pretty good, or at least I hope so, there must be someone out there who would enjoy it. So began my journey to publication.

I started out by joining a critique group. I needed to find someone who could be objective and tell me if my writing was terrible. The members of the group offered me some advice, but many of them were as amateurish as I was so I didn’t feel I could take their advice or opinions seriously. I then found two excellent critique partners, both were published authors. They took my work and tore it to shreds, and I love them for that. Because of their honest critique of my work I was able to grow as a writer. I tried hard to apply their suggestions and learn from them. Eventually, I took an online writing class which helped me develop my craft of writing, my voice.

During all this time I was writing feverishly. Then one day I found what I had been waiting for….a publisher had open submissions. But, there was a catch, the book had to follow a specific story line. It had to be a sports romance. And, there was a deadline. When I am creating I don’t do well with deadlines. I decided to give it a try anyway. Well, I missed the deadline, but I wrote a great sports romance novella and called it Homerun. My critique partners critiqued the heck out of it, and when they were done I had a very nice manuscript, but no where to send it. After much searching I found a publishing company accepting unagented submissions. So, I took a leap and sent it to them. A few months later I got the email.

I had to read it several times to make sure I was understanding it correctly. I couldn’t believe what my eyes were seeing. I took it to my husband to make sure. And, sure enough, they had offered me a contract for Homerun. I was over-the-moon excited.

The contract was signed and now I waited to get my edits back. When my editor sent it back, my beautiful manuscript was in shreds again. She used red as if it were going out of style. After four rounds of edits it was finally ready. My book was going to be published.

The day it released was momentous. I didn’t think My dream of being a published author would ever come true. Yet, there it was, my book was available for all the world to buy and read. That is when I discovered just putting it out there does not mean people will find it. There are hundreds of thousands of romance novels in the Kindle store, so how do I make mine visible? The publishing company helped with that some, but I found that I had to be responsible for marketing my work.

So began my next journey, marketing. That one word makes me cringe. I had no idea how or where to market. I did research and paid for a few ads, but none really gave my book the exposure I’d hoped for. While I was doing all this marketing I had no time left for writing. That was terrible because I love to write. It is truly my passion….(as you can see from the length of this post which started out as a short facebook post)

Here I am, almost three years later and four books published, I still don’t have the whole marketing thing down. So far my books have sold about 2,000 copies. That is not many at all. What is an author to do? Keep marketing or keep writing? There just aren’t enough hours in the day to do both.

My question for all my author friends is….what has worked for you? How and where do you market your book? Do you have someone who can deal with the marketing while you keep writing? If so, can I borrow them? 🙂