Guest: Kenzie Michaels, So You’ve Written A Book?



So You’re Published; Now What?

“…and they lived happily ever after. The End”.

“Dear Kenzie, We’d like to offer you a contract… Here are your edits… Here’s your cover…. Your release date is…”

Wow. Now what? Your book, which you’ve worked so hard to write, submitted it to a publisher and had it accepted, bitten your nails to the quick over edits, and approved your cover, is finally available. But what comes next?

Throw yourself a release party, first and foremost. This is an accomplishment, after all. Go out to eat; enjoy some cake and ice cream with friends or family and celebrate a little. And hopefully if you blog or belong to chat loops, you’ve already posted the news, an excerpt, and the cover all over cyberspace and your website. Soak up the applause and bask in any guest blogging comments on your friends’ sites.

And get a good night’s sleep, because the real work begins the next day.

What? Oh…you didn’t know? Aren’t you glad I’m telling you this now?

Your publisher has done their job. Now everything else is up to YOU, the author, to get the word out. Watch for calls for guest bloggers or interviews. Promote your work on any promo days on the chat loops you belong to. Show up at chats with your online friends and rebuild relationships with those you’ve interacted with before, but maybe neglected while you were busy editing.

Sign up for a Google Alert on your title and name, and put quotes around them; otherwise you’ll get hit with any or all uses of the words. One of the groups I belong to is the marketing for romance writers, and the members are very generous in answering any questions pertaining to promotions.

Have some bookmarks made up, or postcards to send out. VistaPrint.com is a wonderful source to find inexpensive promotional items, as well as your local office supply store. I sent my local Office Max a copy of my cover and pay about eleven dollars for one hundred bookmarks.

If your book is coming out into print, look around in the community for places to network. My alter ego placed a few copies of her books in gift shops on consignment. I’m considering doing the same at a local adult gift shop with my own books. I’ll buy a copy of my own work, download it to CD and set the price accordingly. Don’t forget to leave a few of your business cards with the owners. I’ve also set up at local festivals, contacted book stores to set up signings, and set up booths at craft fairs at Fish Fries around my area. If you don’t know who to contact, call the fire station once you see the signs and ask to speak to the person in charge of the booth rentals. Call the local Chamber of Commerce to find out about when the festivals take place. And if it’s too late to set up, go and talk to the vendors. Ask about fees, who to contact, and the hours.

And above all else, don’t stop writing! Because at some point, someone will ask ‘What is your next book about?”

20 thoughts on “Guest: Kenzie Michaels, So You’ve Written A Book?”

  1. LOL I totally asked myself the same question! "Now what?" I panicked, and for the next week walked around in a daze. LOL
    This is great advice for new writers. I only wish I knew it when I first started out. 🙂

  2. I love the lighthearted way you talk about the tons of work promoting takes! I did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for my first book and the check showed it–I am so impressed by first-time authors who "get" it. This time aroundI'm doing everything you suggest –pray it works! Oh and thanks for the tip about Google Alerts! Meredith Ellsworth (writing as M.S.Spencer, author of Lost in His Arms & Lost & Found from Red Rose Publishing)

  3. Great post, Kenzie.

    I didn't know Office Max did bookmarks for you – I'll have to look into that.

    I never thought about consigning books — that's an interesting idea.

  4. Some great ideas here. I've certainly found that the promotional side of being published is huge. Getting the balance right between promoting, writing, family and day job can be a mission. Thanks for these great ideas!

  5. The most important thing I've learned is to talk to everyone I meet during my day, about my books. Hand out business cards. Chat with people standing in line near you at the store. Writers have a tendency to want to communicate in writing. Talk until you're out of saliva, take a drink of water, and talk some more! And thanks for the ideas Kenzie.

  6. Something I just tried–I put a copy of my book up on Goodreads as a giveaway. They collect the information, and in a week, I had more than 800 entries, and 90 people added it to their to-read list. Not sure yet how this will translate into sales, but it put my name out there. Going to do the same with my other print books.

  7. I LOVE that idea MJ:)

    Fiona, you're right; we can never pre-judge anyone! You never know who's going to be interested.

    Rebecca, MS, Bekki, Jean, Leigh, Liz, Amber…thanks for stopping by and sharing:)

  8. Okay, back to the Office Max thing–did you design your bookmark and send it? Front and back? I designed one for Vista Print but it's the wrong size when I uploaded it 🙁

  9. I emailed them a jpeg of my cover and the blurb. I also took one in so they could see the general idea of what I wanted. Mine are patterned like this:

    Top: Now Available (or Coming Soon)
    Picture
    Blurb
    Bottom: Website where it can be found.

    I don't have anything printed on the back. I think Office Max charges me anywhere from $11 to $22, depending on computer design time and quantity, and if I supply my own card stock. I can't even cut straight with a cutter, so I have them cut them for me.

  10. I jokingly call the folks over at the Impress Copy Center (Office Max) my 'personal assistants', since I have no printer at the moment. My youngest ran over the cord and knocked it to the floor three years ago, and haven't gotten around to replacing it.

    They've also made up posters, CD labels, and a 'Coming Soon' flyer (8×10) of my latest cover, which happens to be Teacher's Pet. No word on when a new editor will pick me up and send edits. My previous editor dropped me two weeks ago, due to taking on too much.

  11. The feedback on this post is incredible! I am so glad everyone stopped by to partake of Kenzie's awesome advice. Stay tuned for more guest blog articles from authors and for regular articles from me on writing and the fabulous (grueling! lol) life of a writer! 🙂

    B.C. Brown

  12. Thanks Louisa…I thought, instead of showing people where to download them, why not have it available? This way, it's more of an impulse…they won't go home with just a business card and forget about it. They'll have a CD which they can load onto their e-reader or computer, whichever method they use.

    And MEGA-THANKS to you, BC, for allowing me to be here:)

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