|Let The Fun And Games Begin…
Deciding who will be your audience is a vital first step. It affects everything, from the tone of your writing to whether you’ll aim for publication, or write simply for the pleasure of producing a finished piece of work.
ONE IS ONE
If you write only to please yourself, your audience may be small, but you’ll satisfy one hundred percent of it.
Always write what you want to read. Then you’ll write from the heart. That’s the quickest way to appeal to other readers, too, if you decide to expand your market. It’s a great help when the going gets tough, too. As long as you’re enthusiastic about your work, you can get through the tough times.
If you really can’t face cobbling together any more of the Game Of Thrones fanfic you’re only writing in the hope of selling a million, your writing life will become a living hell (dragons optional).
|Befriend A Bookseller Today…
Identify wider markets using the same process you used to decide what to write. If you love your work, it’s more likely to be appreciated by people like you. Keep your ear to the ground at your place of work, and any clubs, societies and social media groups you belong. You’ll discover the subjects, people and places they enjoy, and the authors they like to read.
Pick up on what’s popular in your circles. Read the books that are recommended by word-of mouth, which is always the most powerful selling tool. You’ll discover how to pitch your language and style to appeal to your prospective readers. Make use of your local independent bookshop. Keep them in business. One day you might need them to sell your book.
Join online sites like Goodreads, to discuss with others what makes a book enjoyable, rather than just readable. Check out the best seller lists to get a feel for genre and length. Become your local library’s best customer. Read as widely as you can, and try writing in different genres to find out where you’ll find the best fit.
Do your research into all possible markets beforehand. Write your own book, but with half an eye on what has worked for other people. When you get to the stage of trying to sell your book, you’ll be tapping into a ready market.
THREE’S A CROWD
This is where you head out into the wide, often dangerous waters of aiming to catch an agent, or a publisher. Once upon a time publishing houses had huge advertising budgets, and handed out advances like chocolate at Christmas. All the author had to do was turn up at catered events, sign a few books, and smile.
Those days are gone. Now you have to be prepared to work every bit as hard at promoting and selling your own work as if you were self-publishing. That’s an option I’ll discuss in a future blog, but there are big advantages in being published by a firm with enough staff to take some of the responsibility off your shoulders. Writing is more fun than selling, but you’ll have to do a fair bit of that even if you’re published by one of the big international publishing houses. These days, they’re risk-averse and won’t take an author on unless they can guarantee a return on their investment.
If you follow my tips for researching your market beforehand, you’ll be ready to sell hard, and sell well.