5 Things to Know about Publishing Your Book: True or False?
By G.P. Gottlieb
One: After writing and rewriting your manuscript thirty-seven times, you submit your final draft to 150 agents and/or publishers. You finally got a publishing contract, congrats! Now you can relax, scroll the internet looking for new boots, and read a juicy mystery set in Door County. True or false? False. Don’t be ridiculous – now you must start a list of followers, begin sending out a monthly newsletter, make sure your blog is up to date, and come up with a marketing plan!
Two: You start engaging with other authors, reaching out to bloggers about writing a guest post, seeking book groups and bookstores interested in a presentation, attending conferences, and sending out requests to be on podcasts and radio shows. You spend a couple weeks doing all that and scheduled 15 events, so you’re done! Now you can lie in bed after dinner and read a delicious historical mystery set in 1870’s England. True or false? False. It’ll take you two or three months, not just two weeks to reach out to at least thirty blogs and podcasts, and then you might have to wait weeks for responses.
Three: You’ve arranged to write 17 guest blogs and do 4 interviews on other writers’ blogs, so you list your characters and write about 500 words about what kind of pet each one has, how they like their coffee, and what their favorite kind of cookie is. Then you answer the interview questions for each blog, trying to sound cute and fun to be with. And that’s it. Now you can sit outside on the first warm day of spring, reading about a clever maid who solves mysteries in New York City. True or false? False. What makes you think that every one of those blogs gets thousands of viewers or that those viewers will whip out their credit cards to buy your book just because you wrote a cute blog post about how much your cats enjoy hearing you read out loud?
Four: You’re invited to participate in a panel discussion about music and literature because your latest book is about a psychopath who murders anyone who sings under-pitch. You can’t tell when the singing isn’t perfect, but your best friend takes it seriously and criticizes nearly every performance she’s ever attended. She loved all three of your books and has no idea that the murderer is based on her because you cleverly turned her into a man. When interviewers ask for the origin of your story, you tell them all about your friend and how her constant patter about “poor intonation,” and “scooping” inspired you to write the series. True or false? False. Absolutely not. Take that secret to your grave. Make up something about how your mom always said certain performers should be dragged through the mud, and you extrapolated from that.
Five: Your cousin introduces you to her author friend who self-published eight books in a cozy mystery series set in Skokie. You agree to read each other’s latest books, and hers turns out to be about a jittery Brittany Spaniel who solves murders in and around Oakton Park. Still, you agreed, so you write a brief review about how fun it was to walk down memory lane and give it 3 stars on Amazon even though it wasn’t worth more than 1. She gives you 3 stars even though your novel is complex, nuanced, and on a completely different level than hers, but at least it’s another review. True or false? True, but don’t worry about it, because Amazon will remove both reviews – they hate author swaps.