5 Things I’ve Learnt as an Author.

Today I’d like to talk about some of the things I’ve learnt since I’ve been writing. I hope sharing my experiences will help other authors.

Don’t pay for things you don’t need to.
There are many people out there who claim to be miracle workers when it comes to marketing books, or getting more book reviews. Most are not, and should be avoided. I had many people approach me when I started writing trying to market my first book, claiming they could send the book shooting up the Amazon charts with no proof of any previous successes.

Book marketing is a steep learning curve that I’m still on, but much of what is offered by these ‘services’ can be done yourself. Offering your book for free on Amazon, for example – you can set this up yourself and make social media posts telling people about it. Book reviews shouldn’t be paid for – Amazon will remove reviews if they believe they’ve been bought, rather than given by a genuine reader. You can approach book bloggers with your book description and cover and ask if they’d be interested in reviewing it for you. Make sure the bloggers you ask read the same genres you write in, to ensure you get more positive responses.

 

Write your book how YOU want to:
What’s the best way to write your book? On Word? With Scrivener? Plan every detail, or just have a rough idea of the story? It’s all up to you – whatever works best. I write in Word because that’s what I’m used to, and I don’t see any benefit from changing to Scrivener. The most important thing is that you’ve got an idea and you want to write it. Don’t feel as though you need to use everything that is suggested to you. If you’ve read books telling you how to write a book and you get something out of it, then great, but it isn’t necessary to read them. You can help yourself though, by reading a variety of authors and picking out what does and doesn’t work in their writing.

 

Be selective where and what you post on social media:
There are so many ways to connect with both existing and potential readers online, but that doesn’t mean you have to be everywhere. Certain social media sites are more text based, whilst others concentrate on sharing images. I use a mixture of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+, and find it allows me to interact with people well. I’m not on other sites such as Tumblr or Instagram as I don’t see how I can use them effectively without repeating myself.

Readers like to be kept updated with your writing progress and to be informed when you’ll be publishing your next book, but be wary of posting too much personal information. It could be just as off-putting to your readers if you only appear to be attention seeking as it would to be constantly ask them to buy your book. If you have a personal account on Facebook for example, then it would probably be best to set up an author page and keep your personal posts and writing related posts separate.

 

You will have a love/hate relationship with Amazon:
Amazon have made it possible for many more authors to share their work, and it’s interface to upload your work is fairly easy to use. So far, so good. There are a LOT of rules to follow though, and follow them you must or you risk having your books or reviews removed from the site.

The most important thing when using Amazon as an author is to NOT have your social media accounts connected to your Amazon account. With your accounts connected, Amazon can see who you’re friends with online and they deem those relationships as real connections, not on-line ones that all authors have with their fans. Amazon’s rules state that reviews cannot be left by people an author knows, so if they detect a review has been left by one of your on-line friends, they’ll remove it.

One other important thing to remember is that when your readers leave reviews (especially those you give advanced reader copies to,) make sure they don’t state in their review that they read an ARC. This is a recent change of rules which has led to some authors losing reviews.

 

Grow your audience by writing more books:
When I first began writing and building up an online presence, I did wonder how I’d fit it all in. What should I be spending most of my time doing? What is most important? Readers are always looking for new books, so focus on writing the next book they’ll be waiting for. One piece of advice I’ve found to work is, write, publish, repeat. Write a book and tell your audience about it. Publish the book and do what you can to let people know it’s available. Then, do it again! Each new book will help the sales of the previous novels and help to grow your audience.

I hope you’ve found this post useful. If you’re an author and have got any other advice, please feel free to leave it in the comments section below.

Thanks for reading.

All the best,

Mark.

14 thoughts on “5 Things I’ve Learnt as an Author.

  1. Hi!

    I’m not a writer but I do leave reviews for all the books I’ve read. I wasn’t aware of the ARC situation so thanks for including that little nugget of information. What are you allowed to put if you are offered ARC’s by either the author or small publishing houses?

    Cheers,

    Cheryl

    • Hi Cheryl,
      You don’t need to say what type of book you’ve read, just write and post the review.
      It seems if you mention you’ve got a book for free, or an ARC copy, then Amazon ill remove your review!

      Thanks for reading the post,

      Mark.

  2. Excellent advice. I have some to add.

    Have a decent cover. Don’t just think it’s decent. Make sure it is. It’s one of the few things worth paying for if you are not a dab hand at photoshop type stuff. It is the first thing a potential reader sees and a poor cover doesn’t entice a reader however wonderful your contents might be.

    Edit, proof, edit, proof, edit, proof, rinse and repeat…EVEN if you do have it done professionally. No one is infalible.

    • Thank you Jackie. Agree with you about the importance of a great cover – there’s no way I could create one!
      I also have LOTS of edit and proof cycles whilst creating a new book.

  3. Any where a person writes a review, including Amazon, for a book they received from the author/publisher, they must disclose that they received the book for free in exchange for an honest review. This is an FTC guideline and can result in fines for both you and the reviewer (unless you, the reviewer AND the site where the review is posted is outside US jurisdiction). While Amazon has cracked down on such reviews, books have an exception in their TOS. ARCs is an age old practice where as other commodities have rather recently started this and in many cases, the manufacturer is willing to pay an ‘administrative fee’ to the reviewer in addition to sending a free sample. This practice is why I think Amazon is cracking down on reviews,

    • Hi Donna,
      Thanks for you comment. It’s interesting you should say about disclosing where you received books from, as there have been a number of bloggers who have had all of their Amazon reviews removed from the site for saying in their reviews that the book was an ARC copy. Amazon really do need to make their rules clear and stop changing them!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *