I’ve published 5 books (3 nonfiction and 2 fiction) and there’s so much I wish I would have known before publishing, that I now know through the long, hard road of experience. Whether you’re going the traditional publishing route, or you’re choosing to self-publish, there’s definitely a learning curve to becoming a new published author. My hope is that I can save you the headache of figuring it all out on your own so that the whole process goes a bit easier for you.
Today’s guest post comes from Ritu Kaushal, the author of the memoir The Empath’s Journey, which TEDx speaker Andy Mort calls “a fascinating insight into the life of a highly sensitive person and emotional empath.” Ritu was recently awarded the silver medal at the prestigious REX awards, instituted by the United Nations & iCONGO in India, and given to people creating social impact through their work. Ritu writes about highly sensitive creatives on her blog Walking Through Transitions. Her work has been featured on Sensitive Evolution, Tiny Buddha, and Elephant Journal, amongst others.
Last year, my book The Empath’s Journey was released. As someone who has had significant creative wounds, the process of birthing the book was full of labor pains. Because it’s a memoir about being highly sensitive, the writing process felt full of landmines, some of which I successfully avoided and some of which I walked right into.
To say the least, it was a difficult birth.
By and large, the biggest problem I run into with struggling authors is the challenge they have around marketing themselves. I hear a lot of different reasons for this: “I’m too introverted.” “I hate anything that has to do with sales.” “I don’t want to be fake or phony,” etc. I get those reasons, because way back in the day when I felt like I had an allergic reaction to anything that had to do with marketing, I told other writers I hated marketing because of those very same reasons.
But, here’s the thing. That really wasn’t the whole story.
I’ve launched three different books in the past couple years and I’ve definitely noticed a pattern. Every time I go into “launch mode” I tend to also go into “marketing frenzy,” which means I’m frantically researching, emailing, posting, and overthinking about my book of the moment. My main drug of choice to support the frenzy is the internet. Because no matter what question I might have, the online world seems to have the answers.
Well, this is true. Sometimes. But at other times—a lot of other times—my overthinking is only made worse by reading around on what I “should” be doing to market my book.
Usually when we think about “book marketing” we think of glitzy ad campaigns or nuking everyone on social media with relentless messages to “buy my book!” This is a huge turn-off for most writers. We’ve spent months, possibly years, working on a story that is so personally meaningful to us that it’s even hard to describe it succinctly to other people without getting tangled up in words and emotion.
And now we’re supposed to push it onto total strangers using a catchy (or cheesy) hook?
Um, no thanks.