As I draw nearer the point at which I hope to have my manuscript in the hands of editors and beta readers, the more nervous I get about various topics: publishing, marketing, sales, book reviews, and the list goes on.
A few weeks ago, to stem the tide of nervousness, I attended a two-hour marketing workshop presented by PDX Writers, a local organization committed to helping writers do their best. The guest speaker was John Sibley Williams, a local writer and literary agent, with years of experience in both areas.
Did it help?
Well, the most important thing I learned is that two hours is too little time to cover all you need to know about marketing and selling your book.
I left the workshop feeling overwhelmed, underequipped, bombarded, discouraged, ready to toss my draft manuscript in the circular file and never look back. Did I mention I also had a headache?
I am not blaming PDX Writers or Mr. Williams for my emotional response to their presentation. It is obvious the hands on the clock moved too quickly.
Despite my spewing above, I did come away with some helpful tips and handouts, not to mention good contacts made:
- Have a good business plan and strategy;
- Prepare a budget and maintain a budgetary spreadsheet;
- Create realistic marketing and branding strategy;
- Consider methods for earning direct income;
- Have active presence on social media, including your blog and/or website;
- Develop local network with libraries and bookstores
- Gain exposure by a variety of methods (that's another post!);
- Think of and incorporate means of saving money;
- Learn all you can about query letters, self-publishing vs. traditional publishing, agents, editors, press releases, etc.
Like I said, a large amount of material was attempted in this workshop.
However, I now have a conceptual view of what life will be like depending on a number of decisions I need to make about my book in coming weeks and/or months.
If you have published a book, what one thing would you recommend a writer to make his/her priority as they reach the point of finalizing a manuscript? What one thing would you do differently? Please help out by adding your comments below.