By Vincent B. Davis II @vbdavisii
On June 30th, a little after midnight, my first novel was listed for Preorder.
Needless to say there was a lot going through my head. Were my promotional sites prepared? Did I have my newsletter in order? Did I have a social media presence worthy of making a push? How do I master the vastly complex Amazon ecosystem, and take advantage of AMS?
Panic sets in. And then something amazing happens… I get my first sale.
Whoa! My first sale.
Needless to say, days later, my emotions are just as sporadic. The writer’s journey is a rollercoaster of emotion all the time, but ranging from depression to elation 100 times a day seems is an experience I’ve found very unique.
And it makes sense. All the work I’ve ever done has come down to this, all my dreams beginning to be realized. But somewhere deep there is a deep seeded belief that if I mess this up, it will mar the career I’ve laid out for myself.
I want to take you along with me on this journey.
Over the next several weeks I’m going to show my experience with my book launch in the hopes that you can learn from my successes and avoid my mistakes. My goal is that, by seeing the experience first hand, you won’t feel as terrified as I have been, knowing that you aren’t the only one! For those of you who are well established and have a few book launches under your belt, I hope you can sit back and laugh at a “newbies’” pitfalls.
Although my book just went live this morning, and I don’t have much data to share with you I’d like to share a few things with you before we get started. This is what I did before my launch, and what you can begin to do now, no matter where you’re at.
Develop a Social Media presence
Make friends, invite them to come along on your journey, and engage them with valuable content. Writers may be marketers, but they aren’t salesman. Engage and develop relationships. And most importantly, get in front of people.
Build your website, blog, and newsletter
If you are unpublished (or perhaps even if you are), you may not believe you have valuable content to share with others. But this is simply not the case. If you want people to invest their busy evenings and weekends reading your books, than you should have enough to say to maintain their attention with a blog post as they drink their coffee before work. Your trials and triumphs alone give you enough to add value to people’s lives. Make sure they don’t miss out.
Reach out to book promotion sites
Many of these newsletter subscriptions, Facebook pages, and avid tweeters require that you have an ASIN or ISBN number before you can list with them. However, you can begin to familiarize yourself with them and what they have to offer. As a new author, you have to get in front of people. You’ll be hard pressed to start a career banking on your friends and family buying your book and spreading the word. If they do, your cup should runnith over, but that cannot be your backbone of success. Because that is NOT their job! Your friends and family, although they care and want to help, are there to bring you back to earth after you spend three hours staring at your Amazon rank and praying it doesn’t fall any further (guilty as charged). So, if you can’t rely on them, how can you get your start? There are dozens of websites and newsletters developed to help you with this. Invest in yourself and don’t be afraid to toss a few dollars at them (or wait and see how this pans out for me over the next few weeks).
Just as a reference point, here was my sales rank a few hours before my book ended its pre-order:
And here is mine today (July 3rd), after running promotions with Bargain Booksy, ReadersInTheKnow, and BookScream:
There can be a variety of reasons for this, but I’m not going to shy away from spending some hard on cash in reach readers whom I would never be able to meet by my own means. The first thing I’ve learned in my business experience is that if you aren’t willing to invest in yourself, it’s unlikely that others will do so.
Pray. And then pray again
This is about remembering that we are the servants… and not the king. The instrument and not the musician. The pottery and not the sculpture. This is asking for humility and understanding. This is about placing yourself and your future in God’s hands, rather than attempting to create it yourself.
I am just as guilty of this as anyone, believe me. Perhaps it’s my background in the Army, but I have a bad habit of separating my spiritual life from my professional life. And this simply cannot happen.
Especially with your writing.
With something as personal as pouring out your heart and soul for 200 pages, it is too easy to make writing about you. And if it’s about you, it will be very difficult to fulfill God’s call for your life.
No matter what genre you write, if Jesus is your savior, his light will shine through in your writing. And as a way to fulfill the Great Commission, we write books. It is not about us. It is about the message that we deliver, and the changes we can make in the lives of people who need it.
No matter what part of the writing process you are currently in, pray that when you get to the point that success or failure is at hand that you will trust in God’s divine providence, knowing that His Will will be done, and we are honored to be a part of it (Philippians 1:6).
I am running a promotion with my eBook ($2.99 marked down to .99c) for the next 48 hours. After that I plan to let the “big dog roll” for the following days before running a Kindle Free promotion during the Amazon Prime day beginning the 11th. My only other goal is to improve my AMS campaigns and copy. The next few Wednesdays will give you an inside look at all of my rookie mistakes and beginners luck! Thanks for reading.
Vincent B. Davis II is an entrepreneur, soldier, and freelance writer. In December 2016, he founded Thirteenth Press, LLC. His first novel, “The Man with Two Names” is available on Amazon now. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, or on his website at vincentbdavisii.com. He loves hearing from other authors! If you would like to be featured on Blueridgeconference.com, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Blog Query”.