Today I’ve got Joseph Spencer, author of Grim, stopping by the blog! Check back later for a review (probably after May 10th, since that’s the last day of my semester… You know how it is).
Grim by Joseph Spencer
Grim is a complex, gritty, and often gory tale which follows a series of grisly murders in Prairieville. The blood trail leads to a reclusive millionaire Heath Grim, who wears a mask to hide his war scars from the world, but he harbors a darker secret on the inside. Virtuous detective Adam White almost always gets his man, but he's haunted by the one case he's never closed - his wife's murder. When White is pushed to the limits of his sanity from a rising body count and a criminal kingpin who has turned crooked cops and corrupt politicians against him, will he be able to collar the killer? Or will a plot to tarnish his image and the killer's information on a common enemy turn White into the type of man he's hunted throughout his law enforcement career?
Ten Things I Wish I Knew About Being An Author Before Getting Published, by Joseph Spencer
You’ve done it! You committed to writing the great American novel you always thought you could write. You put your butt in the seat, your hands over the keyboard and your words on the screen. It’s finished. Your debut novel is finished, and set to skyrocket straight to the top of the bestseller list. The lion’s share of your work is done, right? WRONG!
For most authors, this step in the process is where the real learning takes place. The reality is debut authors, particularly ones who aren’t celebrities or aren’t being published by a major house, have to work as hard or harder on the business and marketing side of the book to get their masterpiece in front of a marketplace which isn’t familiar with them or their work. People are looking to stretch their dollars further in these times of economic hardship, and they have to be convinced that your work is worth spending their hard-earned dollars on. With that in mind, here are some things to consider if you’re looking to be published for the first time and aren’t quite sure what your next step should be.
1. No Agent, No Cry
When I began my publishing process, I figured I had to have an agent before any publisher would even consider my manuscript. That’s just not the case. The truth is a majority of independent authors submit unagented manuscripts all the time. The right agent will definitely help, but you can be published without one. Also, when you query agents, don’t get depressed when you get form letter rejections. Every author gets rejected, and it’s common for rookies to get the cold shoulder.
2. Do your homework
Whether you’re querying an agent or a publisher, don’t expect to cut and paste a generic form letter and get great results. You’re writing professionals who see massive volumes of material every day. If you don’t stand out, you don’t get out of the slush pile. Besides, if you wrote a fantastic science fiction novel, you don’t want to submit it to a romance publisher or an agent who handles primarily nonfiction works. There are a number of online resources which can help. www.pred-ed.com is one of the best out there.
3. Do It Yourself?
If you’ve submitted your manuscript and aren’t getting any bites from agents or publishers, there’s another decision to make. It’s up to you whether you think the reason you’re getting rejected is that the material isn’t professional standard, whether it just needs more polish on the editing table or whether the scope of your work hasn’t found its niche. Another alternative is self-publishing. It’s becoming more common for authors to publish their own work through companies like CreateSpace, Lightning Source and Smashwords. The author eats a lot of upfront cost, but also keeps more of the profit when the book sells.
4. Together Everyone Achieves More
The TEAM acronym isn’t just a corny slogan for high school basketball warmup shirts. Authors go a lot further when they find the right network of specialists to help them with creative and promotional services. Did you know there are companies to help you find the right agent (www.agentresearch.com)? Online resources can help you choose editors, cover artists, publicists, and other specialists to help whip your manuscript into shape.
5. Love at first site
In this age of social networking and content delivery on the Web, it’s important for authors to have a strong online presence. If you don’t have one already (get out from under the rock), you need to get Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads accounts to post announcements to promote your book both before and after it’s published. This will help get the word out to your close friends and family who will be your best salesmen to other prospective readers. Depending on your economic situation, you can choose to make your sites either author or book specific. Also, try to blog content frequently on your site.
6. Everyone’s a critic
It’s important for authors to develop a thick skin when putting their work out on the marketplace. Please keep in mind that suggestions made by professional editors are meant to enhance the book’s appeal. If an editor sends back your manuscript with a lot of corrections, it doesn’t mean you’re an unskilled writer. It just means that editor sees potential for you to make your work even better.
7. Just face it
It’s not enough to lock yourself away in an office and write. Our society loves celebrities. Even if you don’t feel any differently, others look at you as a big deal once you get published. Readers want to meet and talk to the people responsible for the characters and stories they love. Make an effort to do a tour of local libraries, local book stores and fan conventions which make sense. Also, it’s just as important to do blog tours with companies such as Full Moon Bites (http://fullmoonbites.blogspot.com). Remember, out of sight, out of mind.
8. Give to receive
Odds are that you never expected to be hawking pens, bookmarks, notepads, magnets and various other items when you started writing your manuscript. However, these promotional materials go a long way in trying to get readers to remember you and your work. Sites like www.vistaprint.com sell a variety of material you can purchase cheaply and give to readers at your appearances.
9. Upon Further Review…
There are times when all it takes to break open a treasure chest of potential readers is a favorable review from the right online blogger, media critic or genre-specific site. Sending out review copies costs money, but it’s essential in winning over readers who are on the fence about buying your book. Attempt to get as many reviews as you can because people are more likely to give you a shot when they see your material was liked by other readers.
10. Be Good to Each Other
Believe it or not, other authors can become your best allies when you’re trying to attract your following of loyal readers. Creating a network of writing friends, whether it’s a local group which can help you work on your skills and read your work or whether it’s an online group which can give you tips on promotion or help you cross-promote each other, is a rewarding and potentially lucrative experience. On my site, I do a weekly blog post of author interviews. I let other authors know they are welcome to promote themselves because it drives traffic and visitors to my site, too.
Joe Spencer is the author of Grim, a paranormal crime thriller released by Damnation Books in September 2012. It’s the first in the planned Sons of Darkness series. His second book, Wrage, is due out in 2013. He can be reached at www.josephbspencer.com.
For more about Grim, check out the other tour posts:
- March 18 - Reading Addiction Blog Tours - Meet and Greet
- March 21 - My Reading Addiction - Review
- March 22 - Comfortably Read - Review
- March 24 - The Adventures Within - Review/Guest Post
- March 26 - Author Ever Leigh - Review
March 28 - The Life and Lies of an Inanimate Objec t - GuestPost
- March 30 - Sinnful Books - Review/Interview
- March 31 - Must Read Faster- Review/Guest Post
- April 1 - Words I Write Crazy - Review/Guest Post
- April 4 - Book Reviews and More - Review
- April 5 - Books and Needlepoint - Review/Guest Post
- April 6 - FUOnlyKnew - Review
- April 7 - One Page at a Time - Review
- April 8 - Bean Counting Mommy - Review/Guest Post
- April 9 - Cabin Goddess - Review
- April 10 - Turning the Pages - Review
- April 11 - Genuine Jenn - Review
- April 12 - RABT Reveiws - Review