Welcome one and all! It looks like we’re coming to the end of The Binding Blog Tour, and we have a special treat. It’s been forever since I’ve had an author post which fits along the Authors Helping Authors line. Today, Author L. Filloon shares some excellent tips on publishing.
Two nights after her eighteenth birthday, Lily is attacked while out jogging, but is saved by Tharin Lunar, a Sidhe prince. When she discovers that her attacker is her own brother, Lucas, who disappeared four years ago, Lily refuses to believe that her brother would truly hurt her and becomes determined to find Lucas and bring him home. Lily finds that Lucas’ disappearance is somehow tied to Tharin; so when he informs her that she is his betrothed and must return with him to Velesi, fulfill a treaty between their families and unite the two strongest clans through their marriage, Lily agrees. However, she is not going to Velesi for a wedding, but to bring home her only family, Lucas.
On their journey to the borders of Velesi, the realm of the Thirteen Clans, they are pursued by a Sidhe assassin group call the Ange, meet with an ogre crime lord that ends badly, deal with a sleazy troll motel manager, and when they discover that there is a bounty on their heads, they must keep one step ahead of every assassin, bounty hunter and low-life criminal from Velesi.
Protecting Lily has become the biggest challenge of Tharin’s life. Lucky for him he has help in the form of his twin brother, Tolan, Lily’s best friend Julia and his three bodyguard cousins.
Available at Amazon
And now a few words from L. Filloon!
When I was writing The Binding, like many new authors, visions of literary agents breaking down my door tagged along as I worked to complete my first book. How crushed were those dreams when after sending out sixty-five, that’s right, sixty-five query letters to both large and small agencies, only to be rejected…from all of them. Granted, with the exception of one, they were all very polite about their decision to decline. Many were form letters, a few were short and personal ones with some encouraging words, and even less were those who offered a short review and suggestions along with more encouraging words to ‘keep on writing’.
The task of continuing to send out samples of my manuscript to agencies, and eventually directly to publishers, was daunting. I was ready to throw in the towel. Then one day, out of the blue, an article came by my desk about an indie author by the name of Darcie Chan. In it she tells of going the conventional route as I did, but to no avail (I believe she sent out just as many query letters). Then she read about self-publishing through Amazon-Kindle.com. Within the year, her book that no agent or publisher wanted sold over 250,000 copies as an eBook through Amazon-Kindle.com.
With new hope, I decided to go the route of the self-published indie author and connected with Amazon-Kindle.com. There was no live person to deal with just a registration on their site, a few questions to answer, a download of your work, press ‘OK’ and your book is made available to millions. That’s the easy part.
Without the guidance of an agent you are just one more unknown author trying to swim your way through a sea of unknown authors all trying to get their book to be seen. Amazon-Kindle gives you a temporary cover for your book until you are able to download your own. Without an amazing-awesome-eye catching cover, your book can go unseen for centuries to come until some poor, bored, future human-android just happens to be dusting off a relic of a computer, comes across your book and even then just reads the cover, loses interest and puts it aside unread. The saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” doesn’t apply in the literary world. Be sure to get your cover ready before you put your book out there.
Another reason an agent or publisher may be good to have is the dreaded editing. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve gone over your manuscript, there is always one (or twenty) typo, one grammatical error, a misuse of tenses, and so on. Even best sellers that have gone through traditional publishers have come through with an error or two. You can ask your Drama teacher (as I did) to help edit, you can ask your best friend who insists that she can do the edits, you can even ask your sister who although she has your back, rolls her eyes because it is another story that you’ve written that she’s read over the 40-something years she’s known you. You can even ask another author or blogger to give it a try, it doesn’t matter. Unless you have a group of professional editors who specialize in editing, you will find that your work will be criticized not for the storyline, not for the characters or their development, but for the lack of editing. Trust me on this one…after a few of these criticisms you start saving your pennies to hire a professional editor for your current and future work. They are not cheap.
The marketing part was trial and error for me. When you self-publish you are your own marketing director, sales director, publisher, social media guru and publicist (thankfully, I was able to connect later with a great indie author publicist, Stormi Johnson http://lightningbookpromotions.com). You start by visiting every site that has to do with authors and how they can get your book “out there” to the millions of readers just waiting for to grab hold of your book. You sign up with networking groups with other authors who ask “if you like my book, I’ll like yours”. There is the Twitter and FaceBook, Wattpad, Blogger, WordPress, and LinkedIn to name a few. Then there are the sites to help sell your work such as Smashword, Barnes & Nobles, Readstreet, BookDaily and, of course, Amazon. Plus a few other dozen or so sites all geared to help you sell your book. The only problem with this is that most of your connections are with other authors, of ALL genres. And, unless you have actual readers, your book is going no where.
I was fortunate. As mentioned above, I met Stormi Johnson. Although I continued to market on my own, Stormi works at getting my book read by bloggers who review books with large followings. Before I knew it she hooked me up with interviews, reviews, being a guest blogger, and my favorite, character interviews. She was able to connect with reviewers who were interested in my genre and would give the book a fair, unbiased review. She connected me with a cover designer who charged a reasonable fee to design the current cover for The Binding, which actually helped with sales. Before I knew it, the reviews were coming in. Decent reviews that caught the interest of readers of my genre and my sales increased.
If you can make that connection with someone who is familiar with the self-publishing world, do it. It makes a big difference in getting your work noticed.
In the recent months I have received decent reviews on Amazon, Smashwords and Goodreads. With the constant exposure through these sites and those I’ve mentioned above, my following grows everyday. I’ve learn much in the past several months in regards to self-publishing. While currently writing the follow-up to The Binding, would I self-published again? Armed with my new found knowledge of the self-publishing world and with the support of family, friends, my publicist and a professional editor…yes, yes I would.