The Second Novel
Before writing my first book, I had not considered actually selling it. I thought that a publisher would do that. I tried three publishers, but only one bothered to reply and he refused. That cost me a year of my time as I tried to do eveything according to standard etiquette.
Pity the publishers did not show some common courtesy too.
So, I entered into self-publishing. Getting the raw book into a condition that was fit to be published as an ebook and a print copy was not difficult but it did require attention to detail. I got it wrong a few times, but corrected my mistakes.
Nobody complained, so I suppose that my entries went more or less normally. There are so many things to look out for (and I don’t mean just spelling and grammar) that I am sure that most self-published authors have to make several submissions before their book is finally accepted.
So, you have spent months writing your book (or years) and weeks editing it and putting it up for sale on virtual book shelves all around the world. What should you be getting on with next? The second novel?
If you do, you will be lucky to sell a single copy to anyone outside your immediate circle of family and friends. No-one has heard of you! No-one knows about your book. No, now comes the real hard work – you have to promote and sell it.
Believe me when I tell you that that is by far the hardest part. You need to eat, sleep, dream and live promotion and then you may sell a few, because millions of other authors will be doing the same as you.
You hope that at some point, enough people will have read your book and liked it enough to tell their friends about it. However, no-one tells you what that point is, because no-one knows yet in this brand-new industry of self-publishing.
Anyway, in my own experience, after selling a couple of hundred copies, a few nice reviews start to trickle in and I savoured them like a parched man does a bottle of ice-cold spa water.
Slowly, sales picked up and I received more and more praise for the book, queries about is content and requests to be kept informed of the publication of a second novel. It is heart-warming to be asked by a reader to keep him informed of new releases.
It is the highest form of praise for me, so I set about writing a sequel – my second novel. By the time I had finished my second novel and gotten it published, I had about eighty people on this list of those wanting a sequel.
The day after publication of the second novel, I emailed those eighty-odd fans and was hoping that at least fifty of them would buy it immediately.
Nothing happened. Over the following four days, I did not sell a single copy of the second novel, although sales of the first book continued as normal.
I could not understand it and actually found it pretty depressing. However, now, two months on, sales of the second novel are going well, but there is a lesson here: just because things look as if they are going well, it does not mean that you can stop the promotion campaign.
It takes a long, hard, sustained effort to get the book sales ball rolling, and it gets easier to keep it rolling, but stop pushing for a while and the ball will soon stop rolling too.
by +Owen Jones