Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Marketing Your First Book

I remember several years ago, there was an advertisement, I believe for the military, that had these young men and women being turned away because they "had no experience." The argument was that to get a job, you needed the experience, but without a job, you couldn't gain that experience. For new authors, they too face much of the same struggle as they write those query letters to editors and agents.

As a part of your query, it is important that you demonstrate to that editor or agent that you are not a "one-hit-wonder." We know that unless that first book is the next Great American Novel, seeing a profit for the work we put in for that author is not going to happen for a while. It takes time to see that profit as the author builds his or her audience. So how do you show that you aren't a one hit wonder.

First of all, think about future projects. Sure, this might be the only book you have written, but what else is planned. Determine what that next book is going to be. Take the time to develop blurbs for that next book, or if the one you are marketing is part of a series, know what the next books will focus on.

Even better, take the time, again, before you send out that first query, to write a synopsis for that next story. Maybe even take the time to write the first three chapters of the next project. The point is that you know where you will be heading after this first book.

There is an added benefit to this as well. Let's assume the first book isn't quite right, but the editor or agent likes your voice. Often, we will say something such as "You know, this one isn't quite right, but what else do you have?" If you took the time to write that brief information for the next project, you won't be caught off guard.

Now what about the wording in the query. The first thing I would recommend is to not play up the fact that this is your first book. Doing so makes you come across as not being as strong as you want to be. Simply market the book, be confident and provide those blurbs for the other stories.

The point is, we all have to start out somewhere. But, if you take the time to focus not on what you don't have, but to focus on what you have to offer, you come across as being that author we are wanting to work with.

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