Pub Paths: So, Now What?

There’s this misconception that once you pick a path to publication, you’re stuck. You can’t go back. You can’t mix it up. This project is dead forever! The drama! The drama!

Let’s back it up again. Nothing in life is pub pathing is final. You can mix it up all you want.

For me, what this means is that I’m working my butt off to make the path I’m currently on successful. That means:

  • Keep writing (ok, this is true for all paths)
  • Put out more books… In case you’re curious:
    • Secret Girlfriend & Secret Life — this fall
    • Another Secret, 2014
    • Another story about Wreckless, 2014 (Hint: It’s a novella from Tanner’s point of you… you guys asked a lot of questions about Tanner!)
    • Leah’s story, 2014
    • And hopefully 2 Caitie Quinn category length novels, 2014
  • And then I sleep
  • I will keep working with crit partners and editors who push me
  • I will be more pro-active in what I write so that I can grow my brand and readership, and readers (hopefully) get a linear path of books to read

So, does this mean I’ll just be going indie from here on in?

No. I’m not a big believer in saying only or never. Do I have something in the works? No. Do I have something planned… not really. In the next year I have a lot of writing to do (you saw the list) and I want to make sure that I do it well.

That is truly the only thing that matters – not the path or the means or the team or the networking — it’s the “doing it well” part.

About this time, people will say, “But, Bria, don’t you want a big New York Deal?”

I hesitate to say, “Yes!” What I really would say is, “Could you definite this big NY deal for me?”

And that’s the point where we all need to stop and discuss our paths –> What is it you want and how do you get there?

Personally, I wanted to write stories and put them out in the world for people to read. I hope those stories touch people in some way.

People ask me all the time if they should self publish. I honestly can’t tell them if they should. A lot of Indie authors will automatically say YES! But, that’s not really a fair answer.

Instead, I’d ask them:

  • How honest are you willing to be with yourself?
  • If you can’t be over-the-top honest with yourself about your writing, editing, covers, etc will you let someone else be that honest with you… and listen to them?
  • How much work are you willing to do? Even if you hire vendors for a lot of the process, you still have to manage everything.
  • How much money are you willing to invest and is that level of investment enough to do what you want. Yes, again, a lot of Indies will tell you you can put a book out for free. That’s not my style and I wouldn’t suggest it.
  • Are you willing to let the chips fall as they will?

Let’s talk about that last one – chips are going to fall no matter how you publish, but when it’s all on you there’s going to be a bit more of a personal feeling to that.

This next part is probably a different blog post, but let’s just keep rolling, shall we?

Often you’ll hear authors say their NY pub did no marketing for them. Even when that’s true… it’s not. There is still often a “word got out more easily” feel with a NY deal.

Certain publishers are great at twitter and just mentioning a books a few times gets thousands more views than I could if all my followers tweeted about my book.

That never happens. I’d say for most of us, about 1-2% of your followers can be considered “supporters of the cause” and the rest as just folks you chill with on twitter.

Marketing… yeah. Marketing. I am a horrible marketer. I don’t want to sell myself. I will sell anything else I love till I’m blue in the face. I hand sell books in book stores every time I go in one. I will pimp friends (and strangers!), do giveaway other people’s books, and rave about things (helllloooo Fitbit!)… unless it’s something I wrote.

This has probably slowed down the visibility of WRECKLESS, but to be honest it’s also allowed me to not have a nervous breakdown. 😉 You have to make that call. It’s part of your path.

For me to do marketing, two things would have to happen. 1. I would have to realize that I’m not good at it, and 2. I’d accept I’d have to pay someone to do it.

When it came down to my budget, I chose to spend the money on editors, designers and formatters instead. That was my call. To me, that’s where the reader experiences the book — not the marketing.

Some people will argue that without marketing readers won’t experience the book at all. True to a certain degree. But, (again, for me) the readers who do find my books will have the experience I’ve created. I don’t focus on those who don’t find my book – focus on those who do.

But, Bria, are you utilizing your followers for real?

Here’s the thing: You can’t force people to pimp you. You can’t. If I could give you one piece of marketing-ish advice it would be this: DON’T ASSUME THINGS WILL HAPPEN.

Don’t assume people will help.
Don’t assume people will buy the book… or review it… or tweet about it… or anything else.
Assume you are on your own.

Ok, you’re not on your own, but the truth of the matter is all those other writers have their own stuff going on and even if they love you the most they may remember to do is hit “retweet” on your announcements.

The flip side? People who you barely know will come out of nowhere and tell everyone about your book… hopefully those people have more than 9 followers. Does it balance out? I have no idea.

The point is that you can’t know who is going to do something for your book until it’s done. Remember that no matter what someone says, selling your book is not their job. Yes, it hurts when your friends basically miss the boat on supporting your endeavor, but oh well.

Again, if you want marketing done you have two options: Do it yourself or hire someone to do it.

That’s it.

Otherwise you’re hoping for promotion. That’s fine. It’s another path.

I added all this because for a lot of people it’s the hardest bit. Everything else is about getting the book done and out there. It’s all a little exciting even as it’s hard work.

But once it’s out, you want it to soar as you work on the next project.

For most of us, that’s not how it goes. You’re going to have to talk about your book and blog and guest blog and do interviews… or, watch it drift and hope for the best.

It’s all up to you. You get to pick your path and then all the little paths after it. And no path is right or wrong. Some are more successful, but there’s no silver bullet. Hiring a marketing person isn’t going to mean you hit the NYTBS.

And, I can attest that hiring an amazing cover designer and getting a gorgeous cover *points at WRECKLESS* doesn’t guarantee super-buzz or sales either.

But neither does going with a NY publisher.

And that right there is why you need to be comfortable with your path. You need to know, at the end of the day, that you did what was right for you and your books and your life so that if you succeed beyond your wildest dreams or kind of just fall a little flat, you did what you had to do.




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