November of 2015 was a huge for me. That was the month that Amberjack Publishing released my first book, SIRENS IN THE NIGHT. That meant that 2016 was going to be a big year. I envisioned book tours, throngs of people lining up for book signing, and my name on the New York Times Bestsellers List. Okay, maybe not the last one. I know my limits.
The fact is that I didn't know what to expect from my first year as a published author. I didn't know what to do, or how to act. I had a lot to learn, and there was no one around to teach me. Now that it has been over a year, I've had time to reflect on what I've learned., and I thought I'd share.
Let's start with events. Last year I appeared at two book festivals, the Tucson Festival of Books and the Baltimore Book Festival. I learned three very important lessons from those appearances. The first was to always have a lot of signage to draw people in. Second, always shoot for a appearance time slot on Saturday (never shoot for Friday). And the third, always wear a hat at an outdoor event in Arizona.
Let me talk about social media for a second. These days, it is considered crucial for an author to maintain a presence on social media. This includes actively posting in order to draw in more followers and readers. This alone can be an almost fulltime job. It isn't just about posting snide remarks and pictures of what you had for breakfast. It's about posting content that will interest your readers. This also includes keeping a website and a blog up-to-date. It's a lot harder than one might think. I'm not sure that I've quite got the hang of this one yet, but I'm working on it.
There is another very important thing that I learned last year. This is the most important lesson. A writer has to keep writing. Along with all of the promotion of one's current book, a writer must also be working on the next one. If you are like me, you are also trying to balance the responsibilities of a fulltime job as well. It is a juggling act that takes a lot of finesse to keep all of the balls in the air. This may be the most difficult lesson to learn. One could say that I'm writing when I create a new blog post, but that means little if my next book doesn't get completed. The social media interaction, the blog posts, and the website all play a part in selling my book. But, without a second, or third book to sell, all the effort will be for naught. It's a continuing cycle that can often be grueling.
In the end, is all the work worth it? For some it may not be, but for me it is. My dream has always been to be a published author, and I achieved that dream in November of 2015. The ride to was worth it, and I'm looking for ward to starting again with my next book, FOLLOW YOU DOWN. 2018 should be an interesting year.