You’ve Got a Book Coming Out

I got an email from my editor last week. At times I find it surreal seeing her name in my inbox because part of me still can’t wrap my head around that I’ve actually sold a book. When I was querying there were times when I thought it was never going to happen.The Doubt Monster had me by the throat, but it is actually happening. I’ve got a book coming out sometime next year. And it was that email from my editor that made me come to terms with that. I thought it would feel real when my edits were accepted, or when they finally decided on a title but it didn’t. It was the two author questionnaires from my publisher that made me realize I’ve got work to do. One of the questionnaires was a fun one that Macmillan will use on my author page for their website. The other was a serious one for the marketing department.

Here are some of the questions…

Please list periodicals that you think should receive a copy of your book.

Hmm. That’s something I had never thought about. I wonder if I can get the New York Times to review my book?

What is your Website URL and what are your traffic numbers?

Phew. I had just created a simple website a few days before I got the email. But I really don’t have much to put on it yet. If any body wants to check it out…

Do you have a blog? If so, what is the URL?

Blog? Check! Go Scribes.

Are you on Facebook? If so, what is the URL and how many Likes do you have?

Nope. Not on Facebook. I should probably get on that.

Are you on Twitter? If so, what is the URL and how many Followers?

Yes to Twitter. @sugarjamison But only a piddly 437 followers.

Do you have an RSS feed? If so, how many subscribers?

I don’t even know what an RSS feed is. So that’s a no.

Do you have an email list? If so, how many subscribers?

No again. I’m not exactly sure what people would be subscribing to.

Do you have a profile on Goodreads, LibraryThing, LinkedIn and Amazon? If so, what are the URLs?

No. No and no. I’ve never even considered doing any of these things.

If you have ever been a guest on a U.S. TV or radio talk show, please give the name of the show, host, date, and topic of interview, to the best of your recollection.

Ha! No talk shows for me. I wish I would have got in before Oprah decided to stop doing her show.

There were a bunch of other questions that I’m sure I gave sub par answers to, but I’m glad they sent this to me because it made me realize that I’m behind the eight ball. I know writers who haven’t even finished a book yet who could have answered these questions better than I could. Writers with beautiful websites, and thousands of Twitter followers and Facebook pages that they update every day.

I know these things are important but I know there are many people who think that writers should be focused more on writing good books than social media. A sort of If You Write It They Will Come Theory.

But then there are others who swear by Facebook and Goodreads and Twitter as a way of collecting massive amounts readers.

Personally I have only been to my favorite author’s website once, just to see when her next book would be out. I don’t follow her on Facebook or on Twitter and yet I have read every single one of her books. I started reading her because a friend handed me her book and told me it was good.

But how do most readers think? Is there any proven formula? What do you all think about it?

So which side are you on?


16 thoughts on “You’ve Got a Book Coming Out”

  1. I think there’s a bit of “if you build it, they will come” element to these things. Jeannie Lin blogged about author blogs (irony?) and their purpose over on the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood blog a few weeks back, and for me, if I don’t know an author exists I don’t know their website/blog/Twitter/etc exists! But it’s a double-edged sword in that if you have nothing and are published, you run the risk of popping up on Twitter or Goodreads out of nowhere and looking like you’re only about flogging your book to the masses, lol. So speaking as a reader and as a writer, I think building an online platform is a good thing pre-publication, but that it shouldn’t take your time away from the type of promo that really counts: your books!

  2. You and I are at similar stages in the “I sold a book Yay!” process (although with different publishers.) I’ve done the “fun” questionnaire, but wasn’t expecting the marketing one you mention here, so thanks for posting it. I’m sure I’ll get something similar shortly. I have some work to do to get ready.

  3. This is so funny – we’re on the same path – I just received those same two questionnaires last week. And, you’re right – more than signing the contract, more than receiving my first advance cheque – it was getting those questionnaires that made me feel like this is really happening and I’m an AUTHOR!

    I guess it gives you that sense that other people are working behind the scenes on your book and it’s become a team effort that other people believe in AND want to see succeed (and believe can succeed!).

    I’m also in my second round of edits at the same time so I work on those for a bit, then answer a question from the editorial questionnaire, then one from the promotional questionnaire, then back to the manuscript – at least it keeps things interesting!

    Best of luck with all your work…

  4. Hi Jamie, I don’t know if social media is really about selling books as much as it is being accessible to readers. There are so many books and so much information vying for reader’s attention these days that without putting ourselves out there for people to see on a regular basis on multiple platforms, you are likely to fall into the canyon of obscurity. It definitely helps that you have some big guns behind you to guide you along the way and help your visibility, but without an online presence, it will be tougher to pick up momentum.

    At the very least, you should set up a Goodreads page, a FB page, and an Amazon Central Author’s page. You have plenty of time between now and next fall to build a following, but even without a book available, you can begin creating “content” for people to get to know you. A monthly newsletter is recommended and you can easily produce one for free with mail Chimp. Start building a a mailing list by blogging on your site and always recommend that people sign up for your mailing list to “keep in touch’ with you and get monthly or quarterly updates about what’s happening in your “book” world. Think about your demographic and try to hang out in places where you can start to develop a relationship with your readers.

    Of course, the social media monster can take over and swallow a lot of precious writing time, so decide how much time you can devote to it and start making a list of places you think your readers might be found. I don’t do much at all on Linked In, but I’m amazed how many people “endorse” me for my skill in fiction writing. I kept getting these e-mails and had no idea they were related to Linked In. It takes time to build a following no matter where you start, and I’m afraid you can’t get away with not having a social media presence these days as an author, but start small and build outward and by the time your book comes out, you’ll have a slew of folks standing in line waiting to buy it!

    If you ever have questions, just ask:-) I was there not so long ago and I’ve learned a ton this year. Happy to pass it along.

  5. Honestly, Jamie, I’ve never bought a book by a traditionally published author based on any social media information. Ever. (Indie pubs, yes) If I think it’s probably time for a new book to come out by a favorite author, I will go to their website and find out when the next book will be released. If they have writing advice or other content (recipes, for example), I will read that. I think you should just do what makes you comfortable, or at least not really uncomfortable, and don’t spread yourself too thin. If a reader wants to find you, she will, whether you’re only on Facebook, or on any or all of these other sites in your questionnaire. My opinion is to keep it simple. BTW, I LOVE your website — the sugar cubes in the shape of a heart = fabulous!!!

  6. I totally agree with what Suze said. I want my favorite writers doing what they do best – writing the next book so I can read it!!! In this age of TMI – I really don’t want or need to know everything about their lives. As a writer, I do appreciate encouraging advice (Jeaniene Frost, Kelley Armstrong, and Jim Butcher have great tips). And your site is fabulous!! Couldn’t agree more on The Rock – total yum!

  7. I think creating an online presence is important. But I also think it’s imperative to have a street team promoting your book. Just yesterday, hubby and I stopped by 13 Starbucks and 3 Panera Bread’s and pinned several of my bookmarks on their community boards. I’ve also contacted some local book clubs about reading my book! So far I’ve done two which have yielded a couple dozen book sales. I’m schedule to go to their next get together for a meet and greet and personally thank them for reading my book!

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