So you’ve written a book…

April 1, 2016

write that book, achieve that dream, but be prepared for what can be a long and rocky climb

Ever dreamed of becoming a bestselling author? If you have, you’re certainly not alone. There are millions of books listed on Amazon and therefore, millions of authors. And I’m one of them.

But what is the journey really like?

I wrote that book, got it published (yay!), but then what?

One swallow does not a summer make

Generally, one book doesn’t make a bestselling author. There are exceptions and I’m thinking of the wonderful Graeme Simsion of The Rosie Project fame.

I write Genre fiction—historical romance—currently set in the Regency period and in 1920s Queensland. Of all the genres, romance is the big one, although historical romance is a poor cousin of contemporary romance.

My first book won publication and some money in a competition by a start-up ebook publisher. That was great!

But, and it’s a big but, the flip side is that small publishers (and even large ones) don’t market authors, especially new authors. You have to do it yourself.

Marketing your book

To successfully market your book, you need—as well as a well-written story—an extensive social media network, a good budget for advertising and probably a big dose of old-fashioned good fortune to get taken up by influential bloggers.

It’s helpful to win and rank as a finalist in competitions as well, but that isn’t enough. My book was a finalist in three competitions; that achievement doesn’t necessarily sell your book, but it does place it in front of readers that otherwise might not have ever seen it.

What most authors are left doing—after their first book makes a modest showing in the vast market—is writing the next book and the next, each one growing their readership.

Meanwhile, they’re hoping that eventually they’ll reach a critical mass of attention, whereby their popularity grows exponentially, catapulting them into the stratosphere of well-known and bestselling author.

Along the path are some other minefields – publishers, big and small, also go bung. Just when you’re immersed in preparing your next book, your publisher closes up and you’re left scrambling to return your previously-published work/s back to the marketplace, usually by self-publishing. And a whole other world of knowledge and expertise is required to do that.

My words of advice…

So, am I telling you not to write a book, not to bother trying to realise your dream because the chances are that you’ll never make an income from it? You know the average income for Australia authors is $11,000 per annum?

No, I’m not.

I’m saying, write that book, achieve that dream, but be prepared for what can be a long and rocky climb up the precipice of the publishing world.

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Isabella Hargreaves

Isabella Hargreaves is a professional historian and the author of historical romances and biography. A native of Brisbane, she’s also the mother of two teenagers.


Follow Isabella’s blog or connect with her on her website or Facebook page (links above). You can find Isabella’s books at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Isabella-Hargreaves/e/B00H1M9URO