Written by Sabrina York
Read part one here:.
Relationships with Readers
Without a doubt, your most powerful relationships will be those with your readers. They are what it is all about after all. With loyal readers come advocates. People who will share the word about your work for you. Post, communicate, blog for you. Write reviews for you. Tell their friends.
In a world where millions of books are fighting for reader dollars and thousands of authors are shouting to be heard over the fray, often the strongest voice is the whisper of a friend.
In a recent poll I took on Facebook, readers overwhelmingly reported that they rely on book referrals from friends, favorite blogs or reader networks (such as book clubs) when they choose their next read.
There are many ways an author can leverage this trend, but they all boil down to cultivating, fostering and maintaining quality relationships.
A group of readers who love your work and want to share—because they like you as well?
Nothing is more powerful.
Relationships with Other Authors
In this miasma of current day publishing, everything is shifting. Getting your book to hit can be like shooting through a tiny window at a moving target. During an earthquake. Blindfolded.
There’s nothing more wonderful, and relieving, than having a friend, or several hundred, to ask for advice. What works? What doesn’t? Which promo sites are just a scam? Where can you get the best bang for your time and money? And more. My networks provide advice on editors, contracts, media outlets, promo opportunities, contests, review sites—any question I have, someone has the answer.
Groups for authors abound. I belong to the Pacific Northwest Writers Association, the Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition and Romance Writers of America. These groups offer conferences, publications, forums and opportunities for authors to get together and share. Other groups, such as Savvy Authors and Marketing for Romance Writers offer classes and networking opportunities as well. MFRW has a street team where authors share the word about other author’s work.
A great relationship with a committed, engaged group of authors following the same path as you?
Nothing is more powerful.
Relationships with Bloggers and Reviewers
One key to discoverability for a new release, is getting the information out there in the hands of reviewers and bloggers. Over the course of my twenty or so releases, I’ve developed a list of people who will share my work.
That doesn’t mean I have a list, and that’s that.
That doesn’t mean when a new book comes out, I shoot them a magical email with my media kit and it magically appears on their blog. Magically.
These people are friends of mine. They will share for me because they like my work, but also because we have a relationship. An ongoing relationship that goes far beyond my need to have my book promoted. If they don’t have time to fit me in, I let them know that’s perfectly fine… they almost always fit me in later. And if for some reason they do not like a book I wrote, I thank them for taking the time to read it and share their thoughts on it.
Incidentally, I try to do my part in sharing their links whenever I can. It’s a two way street.
One thing a lot of authors forget—to their detriment—is that bloggers and reviewers have needs too.
Be careful what you ask people to do for you.
I’ve seen authors ask their friends and street teams to vote down bad reviews on Amazon. The problem here is, what constitutes a bad review is subjective. Professional reviewers will tell you a 3-star review is not a bad review. But even if it is a 1-star review, asking members to vote it down can have unintended impacts.
Professional reviewers are ranked on Amazon. Being voted down because they gave an honest review is not fair to them and will annoy them. Consider this: If you are sending out a blanket request to your followers (some of whom may be reviewers), are you asking them to shoot themselves in the foot?
What’s that going to do to your relationship with them? And do you really want to annoy a reviewer? On purpose?
Other requests that annoy reviewers are demands for a 5-star review and canned “suggested” reviews.
Even as authors have pods of friends with whom they share their secrets, so do bloggers and reviewers. They talk amongst themselves and share information about authors behaving poorly.
Having bloggers and reviewers on your side?
Nothing is more powerful.
Relationships with Publishers
This is a business. Publishers know it. Authors forget it sometimes. If you are working with a publisher, be sure you realize, to them, this is all about business. You book is wonderful and all, but none of that really matters unless it sells.
So write a good one. Get it in on time—pre-edited—and respond quickly when they ask for your feedback. Be as thorough as you can on cover requests to assure art that best represents your work and be prepared to provide a blurb or excerpt for media purposes if they allow it. Adhere to the terms of your contract and be willing to support the other authors in the house.
Publishers can accomplish things for you you may not be able to accomplish on your own. They have access to marketing resources and editors and readers you might not be able to reach on your own.
A great relationship with an influential publisher?
Nothing is more powerful.
What I Wish I’d Known About:
Marketing and Promo
Publishing is NOT just about writing books and tossing them to the four winds. I never expected how much time I would need to devote to marketing and promotion.
Marketing and promo is different for everyone and we are all experimenting all the time to find what works (at the moment—because the market is constantly shifting). One thing that works for everyone all the time is the power of relationships. With readers, bloggers, reviewers and, of course, other authors. That's a focal point of my marketing plan, increasing and enhancing my network and fostering powerful, REAL relationships with people.
The beauty of this approach is, if nothing else, you won't ever be alone in this adventure!
First Edit Shock
My first was a shock to the system. Blood on the page... You get used to it. And remember, each edit makes the book stronger. I learned so much about writing in the editing process, it's not even funny. My writing is now MUCH cleaner and tighter because of my wonderful, brutal editor.
I have learned so much it makes my brain hurt.
It’s difficult, certainly, but made much easier when you have a relationship with your editor.
Stay tuned for the conclusion to this series on March 11, 2014
About Sabrina York
Her Royal Hotness, Sabrina York is the award winning author of over 20 hot, humorous stories for smart and sexy readers. Her titles range from sweet & sexy erotic romance to scorching BDSM. Connect with her on twitter @sabrina_york, on Facebook or on Pintrest. Check out Sabrina’s books and read an excerpt on Amazon or wherever e-books are sold. Visit her webpage at www.sabrinayork.com to check out her books, excerpts and contests. Free Teaser Book: http://sabrinayork.com/home-2/sabrina-yorks-teaser-book/ And don’t forget to enter to win the royal tiara!
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