I recently read an interesting article on how to get published and promote yourself as an author. The article had a helpful checklist, especially for any novice writers out there who might happen to stop by. It occurred to me that I happened to have done all of the things recommended on the list, and while happy to be having my work read on a worldwide platform, it would be a stretch (unfortunately!) to say bought widely too. Particularly for poets, selling hundreds of books is more of a dream than a reality. But let’s not get pessimistic, I say! Instead, let’s get realistic:
Myth 1: Hurray! My book has been published. Now all I have to do is await my eager readers to flood me with sales = Books unfortunately won’t sell themselves…unless you’re George R R Martin/Stephen King/J K Rowling etcetera. Whether you’ve been published by a publisher, or self published, you’ll have to do the leg work. Remember the 4 ‘A’s – An Active Author Achieves! Sell your book to family and friends. Send copies out for review. See if your local library will stock any. How about your local bookstore? Do they do book signing events for Independent authors?
Myth 2: My book is on Amazon. I can just put a few links up on my blog and the sales will come along in time = I have learned from doing promotional events that an audience want a personal experience with a new author. They want to hear an excerpt live. They want the author to talk about their inspiration, or at least give an introduction to what their work is all about. So get out there and get performing. Look up local open mic events. Get your face noticed at events and make sure you have flyers or business cards with info about your blog or website.
Myth 3: I have a friend who works in publishing and I know a famous poet, so when my manuscript is ready, they’ll get me published = Don’t rely on ‘quick-fix’ options. You’ll still need a track record of magazine publications unless you want to go from slushie-to-bin in a jiffy. As for your famous poet friend, I’m sure you two have some great convos down the pub. That’ll certainly keep the dosh flowing out, but not in!
Myth 4: Look at the picture above. ‘Diamond in the coal’ is not an idiom. The correct idiom is ‘Diamond in the rough’. And diamonds are igneous formations, whereas coal is sedimentary, for a dash of geology in the mix. Oh, what fun we do have!