Early last month I received an email from Angela Craft, a marketing and publicity manager for Diversion Books. She was sending out queries for those interested in participating in a book blog tour for a summer book about to be released, Pieces of Tracy.
Silly me, new book blogger who just jumped in feet first (which I don’t recommend!) had absolutely zero idea what a book blog tour even was! I fired off a response to Angela that I definitely wanted to be included…again, jumping in with my feet first. Don’t do it! So I asked a friend, my lovely co-writer at The Eclectic Bookworm, who’s been in the book blogging biz for a while. She explained about blog tours, and then I felt even sillier! I signed up for everything on this book blog tour: a review, a give-away, an author guest post and an interview with the author, J Daniel Parra. You can follow Daniel on Twitter and like him on Facebook for more about his debut novel.
I’ve guest reviewed on EBW, but I’ve never had a guest post on Girl of 1000 Wonders. J Daniel Parra, you hold the distinction and honor of being the first guest writer and the first author guest post! Welcome!
Some of the things I outlined that I wanted Daniel to focus on were suggestions for potential authors, as self-publishing has exploded like the .com of the mid-90s with the invention of the eReader and other digital reading devices. Lots of authors are bypassing the traditional route of being published with a large, well-known publishing house and going with small, independent presses, or self-publishing. It is definitely changing the world of books. This is what Daniel had to say about it…
Sweet Rewards: The Path to Publication
The path to publication is a bit like playing that old board game, Candy Land. You have to make your way through places like the Gumdrop Mountains, the Peppermint Forest, and of course, Molasses Swap. The rewards are sweet if you have the courage to tackle the colorful obstacles in your path.
As you work your way to the ultimate goal of publication, none of the pieces will click unless you start out with a good story that’s told in a compelling way with an original voice. This could take years to accomplish, but it’s important to focus on your writing FIRST and to create the best possible product to send out into the perilous world of publication.
Once that crucial component is in place, you have to decide if you want to publish traditionally or self-publish. These days, there are many great arguments for self-publishing and various self-publishing sites (like CreateSpace on Amazon or Smashwords) to help you on your way. Self-publishing is particularly helpful for those who like a “hands on” approach to distributing their work. In many cases it creates a higher profit margin. It also requires the author to wear many hats, as editor, publisher, and publicist. A traditional publishing house will expedite all these things, distributing the workload among various internal branches. However, most publishers pay a modest advance for your work and then provide royalties based on sales. Consider the pros and cons, do your research, talk to other published authors. If you want longevity as an author, you might publish in a variety of ways over the course of your career and these days authors have more options available than ever. Best-selling author Sylvia Day is an example of someone who has successfully used all possible options, publishing on her own, through publishing houses, in print and in Ebook.
Another helpful component to getting published is the community of authors and readers available online. I recommend joining Goodreads or a similar site to get involved with your peers, to see what’s being published, read, discussed, and reviewed. On Facebook and Twitter, follow your favorite authors and see what techniques they are applying to spreading the word about their latest works. They are all building a readership and so should you. The days of merely writing something and expecting it to catch on with the use of a few well-placed ads, blurbs, and reviews are long gone. These days authors are engaging with their readers like never before and that’s useful all around, so take advantage of this accessibility and use it to learn how to create the framework for a sustained relationship with your readers.
In Candy Land, you often have to step backward before you move ahead. The road to publication also requires patience and a thick skin. We’ve all heard the stories of authors like Kathryn Stockett (The Help) who was rejected 60 times before finding a literary agent. It’s a tough industry to break into and that means you should prepare for criticism and rejection. This requires deep reserves of conviction and self-esteem. In my process, my first published book isn’t the first book that I wrote. I worked on a couple of books that will likely never see publication before arriving where I am today. But I don’t consider those other manuscripts a waste of time. They helped me improve as a writer and to get a deeper sense of my voice. Without them and the rejection they received, I wouldn’t have become a published author. I also learned to appreciate any advice I received from agents along the way. The best agents will reject you creatively and offer constructive criticism. Embrace this criticism and don’t let your ego get in the way.
Candy Land ends when you arrive at the Candy Castle. It’s every aspiring author’s goal to achieve publication and arrive at his or her own castle of sorts. It will not happen overnight. It will require overcoming various pratfalls. But I can assure you, if you stick with it and follow some of the guidelines above, it will be one of the most rewarding things you’ve ever done.
Tomorrow’s blog tour stop for Daniel’s Pieces of Tracy will be with Cinta Garcia De La Rosa. Check out Daniel’s guest post at Indie Authors You Want to Read. Monday, 7/22, the blog stop will be at Diary of a Mad Stitcher.