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Sunday, September 1, 2013

Learning Curve.

Hi everyone.
This time around, I thought I’d share some of my experiences regarding the learning curve I continue to navigate as a new author.
I say continue, because I’m always finding new areas I need to look at or improve on. Take my personal experience as an example.

Like many new/aspiring authors, as I wrote my first ever novel, I began approaching literary agents. Many well established agencies simply won’t consider new writers...Unless you have a friend in the know. Of course, this means you can’t get a look-in at the larger publishing houses, who won’t view you as a viable prospect without the mandatory agent behind you.
Catch twenty-two? Well, not if you try hard, direct your focus and concentrate on the up and coming smaller publishing houses who are concentrating on gathering a quality author base. That’s what I managed to do when I discovered Pagan Writers Press.

But, managing to secure a contract and getting a book published is only part of the hurdle you need to overcome. Remember, other new writers will have managed to follow the course you did, and will also be publishing their books. This means thousands of new books–yes, literally thousands–will be hitting the shelves at the same time as yours. And you won’t have the backup provider by those larger – traditional – agencies.
We’re talking about marketing, promotions, connectivity, review and distribution, etc. Things I’m still trying to get to grips with. Like many of you, I still work. Time is limited. I have a family, a new novel to write, other commitments. The list can be endless. So what can you do?
Well, it was only recently I started to sit back a little and decide not to panic. I am limited in the amount of experience I have in these areas. But others aren’t. It’s their business to establish connectivity with the market for you.
So I thought...why don’t I research a few of them and give them a go. What can they do for me as a new author? How can they maximise the potential of my books and raise their profile? How can they direct someone who is searching for a good read to my little work of art above all the others out there?
We shall see...
I’ll keep you posted as to what the company I selected actually does, and if their strategies are effective.
While I was looking into publicists, I had another idea. What can I do to make my name stand out more? The answer was obvious. Diversify? Show an interest in other things that do a lot of the work for you.
As some of you know, I love astronomy and have qualifications in that discipline. So I thought, why not do something in that area that, 1. Not only helps others, but, 2. Puts my name out there through an additional medium. So I did.
I’ve discovered that additional traffic comes my way as an author because of the work I do through this other–related–outlet. Fantastic!
Another thing I realized is that it’s good to be friendly. What I mean is, we lesser known authors have to do a great deal of self publicity. It’s unavoidable. Hopefully, my new experiment will free me from this a little and help me to make a presence among my genre groups. (In my case, Sci-Fi – Fantasy – Paranormal).
I’ve got to say, it’s great fun joining in with other like-minded enthusiasts and just waiting for the penny to drop that I am, in fact, a contracted author. The interest it generates is amazing, and leads to a natural domino effect.
Finally, I remembered another avenue I enjoy that might also help me establish a presence. Poetry.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t stagger round mooning at flowers and clouds all day dreaming up intricate sonnets that wax lyrical...(I’m doing it now aren’t I?)...about the virtues of painted prose. I just happen to love poetry, and have a knack for getting ideas down on paper.

So, over the last six months, I’ve been putting a few things together, and trying my hand at this wonderfully expressive form of writing.
I’ll let you know how that goes too.
I think, what I’m trying to say is...
Think about what you CAN do, not what you can’t. Maximise the efficiency of what you have, and put it to the best use. I’m starting to try that now. And although it’s hard not to worry, I’m enjoying myself more, and feeling less stressed.
And that can’t be bad.

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