Writing a book is a huge achievement. Editing a book is, in my opinion, an even bigger one because writing is fun and editing is stressful. Getting that written and edited book released to the world and selling copies of it is the biggest achievement ever... well other than releasing my babies into the world which was a far more painful but ultimately more heart warming accomplishment. But the books come a really, really, REALLY close second.
Of course, I had naively assumed that once that release process has happened that your work is done. You can sit back, be inspired for your next novel, and watch the money roll into your bank account.
Alas, much like children, the creation and release is only a tiny part of the long term project. Much like children, it requires continual work.
Because writing the book is one thing, but if nobody knows it's there, they aren't going to buy it. And if they do know it's there, you then have to convince them that it's worth it. Because the market is saturated, there are thousands and thousands of books, and people only have so much time, and so much money, to invest in reading. Making people choose your book over any of the others is the challenge.
How do you do it?
Well this is the hard part, because if you're terribly British about these things like I can be, then the idea of screaming to the world that your book is fantastic, your voice is engaging, and that experiencing the two together will change their life, is one that makes your insides recoil in horror.
You don't want to be a pest. You don't want to be obnoxious. You don't feel comfortable tooting your own trumpet.
But if you don't do it, who will?
When I released Lilly Prospero And The Magic Rabbit, my first novel, I was so proud of myself. And with good reason. As I said, writing and publishing a book is something many people only dream of doing so being proud of that accomplishment is legitimate. But now I am learning to tell people.
I used to rely on an occasional tweet. An apologetic reminder that hey, I wrote a book guys! I felt daft, people wouldn't want to hear from me. People would be annoyed that I was trying to sell to them. But it's not the case.
In today's fast paced world of social media, your announcements will be swept up in a sea of similar ones. Your tweets will whizz down people's feeds really fast and be gone. If you only announce it once every couple of weeks with a foot shuffle and awkward cough, nobody will notice.
So do it. Get over the embarrassment and shame and tell the world what you did!
I worked my arse off to write this book. I cried, I stressed, I studied. I wrote it and rewrote it. I put my heart and soul into creating a story I was so desperate to tell, and if nobody knows about it what was it for?
So I'm learning. I'm learning to share my pride, my accomplishment.
It's the same with my blog. Whereas I used to write a post and share it, then move onto the next thing because I didn't want to be a nuisance, I now share it again. I tell people I wrote. Because if you wrote it, it's worth reading. And people need to know.
So take to Twitter, Instagram what you've done, contact the media, tell the world. Be proud in your writing because you should be.
The market is saturated but it's for a reason. We, as a species, love to read. If we didn't there wouldn't be such an abundance of newspapers, blogs, magazines and novels available. We love to read, we lap it up. We crave more and more input and need people to put it out there for us.
So celebrate that, make sure the people looking find you, and imprint your confidence in your product all over this saturated market.
Be proud of your work.
J.J. Barnes xx