Some Things I’ve Learnt in my First Week as a Published Author

Image by stemberovi via flickr.com

As I sit here, one week after self-publishing my debut novel, From Here to Nashville, the one word I would use to describe how I feel is exhausted! But to qualify, it is a good kind of exhausted, if you know what I mean 🙂 Last Monday, my launch day, purposely timed to coincide with my half-term holiday from my day job as a teacher and also #MondayBlogs, of course, was a fantastic day. I had three times the normal number of shares and retweets of my blog post that day. Three times! I was overwhelmed by the support I received from the blogging community on Twitter, from my Facebook Author page and from friends, new and old. It was great to learn how supportive my online community is though and quite humbling, I have to say.

I had set up a blog tour, visiting a different blog each day last week and so I was busy promoting my interviews on those blogs as well throughout the week. I know I said thank you to all those people last week but I’d just like to say so again because every single one of them took time out of their busy schedule to support me, sharing their blog posts repeatedly to draw attention to my new book and for that, I am extremely grateful. Not only that but more people have offered to host me on their blogs as a result! It was amazing to learn how people I have never met have been prepared to step up and help me and I still find myself marvelling at the generosity of other writers, bloggers, readers and book reviewers.

Talking of readers and book reviewers, I had another wonderful moment when I received my first review. This was from Clare who reviews books she has read at her website, TheTBRPile.com. She wrote a lovely review for me, which you can read here and in doing so, she set the ball rolling. I now have a few reviews on Amazon and a fair number of people have added my book to their Goodreads shelf as a book they want to read. You can add it too using this Goodreads link 😉 This has made me realise how important reviews are to you as the author. I knew they would be important before I published but what I learned this week was that a positive review boosts your confidence in your own ability as a writer. They don’t need to be glowing in every word or phrase necessarily but if they show that the person has enjoyed reading your book and that they have understood what you were trying to achieve, then that is a fantastic boost. Another thing I learnt though is that Amazon doesn’t tell you when you get a review so you have to check every day.

I have to confess to becoming a bit obsessed with checking for reviews and various other stats, including sales of course, every day. Mind you, it hasn’t been a minute-by-minute obsession, mostly just a daily check because in Amazon’s case, that’s the only update you get. The pre-order sale did give me a spike in sales for that first day but that hasn’t been matched since. I could best describe sales as slow and steady in this first week, which I think is all you can hope for as a self-published author at this stage. I am celebrating all those sales and learning that visibility takes time to build.

My paperback is now almost finished too. My cover came back from the designer during the week, as did my ISBN numbers. I decided to get my own so that the book will be published by me, rather than by Create Space which is what happens if you use their free ISBN. This is only because I would like to try and contact bookstores in the future to see if they will stock From Here to Nashville and I have been told that bookstores are less likely to want to stock your book if it says ‘published by Create Space’ on it. I learnt that I should have agreed to having the paperback cover designed at the same time as the ebook cover, which the designer suggested but I decided against. I should have purchased my ISBNs then too. Still, there is only so much room in my brain for all the new things I’ve been learning and I know for next time. I won’t have to worry about ISBNs for a while now because I bought ten!

And so, what next? The paperback is being reviewed and I should have a proof copy soon and then it will be full steam ahead for adding that to my Amazon page. I am moving on now to the next phase of marketing for From Here to Nashville which will be contacting some of the book reviewers I have come to know to see if I can organise some more reviews. Reviews don’t affect sales rank directly but when readers land on your Amazon page, a higher number of reviews might just persuade them to buy. I am also continuing with my second novel, again slowly but surely, which seems to be my motto for the week 😉 Oh and I have to go back to the day job on Wednesday, back to reality for the time being 🙂

Thanks for reading everyone. As always, do leave me a comment below if you’d like to. It’s always great to hear from you.

 

14 thoughts on “Some Things I’ve Learnt in my First Week as a Published Author

  1. What a busy time you’ve had since the launch! I can empathise with all your stats checking and review looking – it’s all part of the excitement. I was sorry to have missed the launch party; I was on grandmother duty that day but I’m glad it went well. When the paperback is in your hands you will clutch your baby to your chest and cry, “I made this!” I know because I’ve been there!

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    • Thanks for reading and for your good wishes, Wendy. It was very exciting and continues to be with each new step along the way. As you say, the paperback will be another milestone. Good luck with your new release which I know is coming up very soon!

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  2. Big congratulations – I’ve just ‘to read’ed it, and have also just discovered that you’ve done the same to my new one, so thank you! This is always a help – when you mark a book as ‘to read’, it appears in the news feed of all your friends on there, as you’ve probably sussed! Every little piece of visibility counts towards the whole 🙂 x

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    • It is full on, Ros, you’re right and I’m a bit worried about managing everything once I go back to work on Wednesday. I think I’ll have to be even more organised then. I may just have to give up on the housework (hurrah!)

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  3. Great post again Julie thanks. I’m reading your blog avidly to find out what’s to come! I really hope all your hardwork pays off and will mark your book ‘want to read’ in anticipation of some pleasure reading time on the other side of launch!

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  4. Congratulations Julie – your excitement comes across in your blog post, and I don’t blame you for checking reviews and sales, I’d need to stop myself from doing that constantly if I was in your position 🙂 . It may be tiring work but its well deserved, so enjoy every minute! Looking forward to reading it – its sitting patiently on my kindle, waiting its turn 🙂 x

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    • Thank you! I am trying to enjoy every minute and mostly, succeeding! There’s just so much in your mind all the time, quite apart from all the other stuff that’s already there. I’m going back to my day job tomorrow for a little bit of a rest 😉 Thank you so much for buying FHTN. I hope you enjoy it and I look forward to hearing what you thought when you finish it. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment 🙂

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  5. Excellent advice! And congratulations on your achievements. I will be using your post as a discussion point in my Adventures in Publishing classes, how to independently publish your own book.

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    • Ooh, how exciting! Thank you for your kind words. Is this an online group you’re talking about? I’d love to join in if you wanted me to 🙂

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