I’m finally going to get Kelsey off my back. Tracey, you are on your own. J You see, Kelsey has been bugging us about doing our own debut author posts. I don’t know about Tracey, but I’ve been putting it off. Yes, I admit it. You can slap me now.
Ouch. Wow. That hurt.
My reason for putting it off was simply that I didn’t think I had anything new to add to the great information floating around the web regarding debut authors. Now that I’m experiencing the debut author journey, there’s one thing I can add. This might surprise you, but nobody ever warned me that as thrilled as I’d be to finally sell a manuscript, I’d also be completely terrified. So, I’ve decided to approach this post from a purely emotional (er–panicked) point of view.
On September 16, 2010, I got the call from Carina Press that they wanted to buy my book. For the post about that, click here. I then submitted the other two books in the series to them. As of this writing, Carina has acquired two of the three books. My wonderful editor (Gina Bernal) asked for revisions on one of the books and suggested I resubmit it. Since the initial call, I’ve done those rewrites and I’m now waiting to hear if they will buy the third book.
If they do, you’ll hear me screaming. I promise. If they don’t, I’ll tell you why it was still a great experience. More on that another day.
Today’s post is more about the new-author panic that set in for me. I immediately shifted from querying mode to building a following mode. I had to. Carina moves fast and I had to get my “house” in order. Here is a laundry list of what I’ve accomplished so far:
I launched a Facebook public page and added a coming soon and newsletter opt-in form to it. Not as easy as it sounds, I assure you.
I signed up for Mailchimp (the website RU uses to send out our newsletters) and created a newsletter template complete with Twitter and Facebook links. Go, me!
Last year, I had the foresight to have a basic website built and I can honestly say this is the thing I’m most thankful I spent money on. Now, I’m not all that technically savvy. Ask any of the RU girls and they’ll tell you. They’ll also tell you I’m not afraid to try and figure it out, but I know my limitations and I knew I couldn’t build the kind of website I wanted. I spent roughly five hundred dollars on a basic four page (Welcome, About, Links and Contact) website. As an unpubbed writer, that’s all I I needed.
I also chose to go with a theme that could easily grow with me. I write romantic suspense and women’s fiction. I needed something that could flex depending on which genre I might get lucky enough to break into. Now that my romantic suspense books will be published, I’ve changed the look of the site (thanks for the help, Carrie!). Click here for a before picture and here for the updated site.
With the help of my ever patient critique partners (Kelsey, Tracey and Petrina), Theresa Stevens and Gina Bernal, I created the tagline Bold Hearts Risking It All and added it to my website. Why is that a big deal you ask? Well, as I recently learned at an online Carina authors meeting, the website and tagline tell your visitors what you write. If you go to Debbie Macomber’s website, you immediately get a sense of what her stories are about without having to read a book blurb. Same with CJ Lyons’ site.
In addition to changing the look of my website, I’ve added a Coming Soon page to promote my upcoming books.
So, let’s make a list here:
Facebook Public Page
Okay, moving on. Being a Carina author gives me the opportunity to create an author page on the E-Harlequin site. Fantastic, right? I still can’t get over it! I got right on that. This page comes with a blogging function so I linked my E-HQN blog to my website and Facebook fan page via Networked Blogs. To be honest, I’m still not sure how the heck this Networked Blogs thing works, but it’s darned cool. Tracey might be able to answer that question because she’s the one who made me do it. J
Next up, some good old fashioned name recognition, so I’ve started visiting blogs, lots of them. Someday very soon I will be contacting all these bloggers to see if they will let me do a blog post for them the week my first book comes out. If I can help to move some books, you’d better believe I’m going to do it.
I have also started tweeting. Let me say straight up that Twitter is not the love of my life. BUT, with the help of Tweetdeck, I’ll go ahead and drink the punch because I see what an impact Twitter can make for a new author. I read an article by a debut author last week that had gone viral simply because he tweeted the link. You just never know what people will tweet and how many people will re-tweet it.
In addition to visiting and researching blogs, I’ve started a list of review sites. It will be hard to open myself up to reviews, but I believe if I can snag a few good ones, it could make a huge difference in my sales.
Oh, yeah, in all of this, I started my new book.
Time for a list update.
List of Review Sites
Started New Book
Whew! It sounds like a lot. Frankly, as I was typing this I realized I’d accomplished much more than I thought I had. The months leading up to my debut release have been frantic, but not as frantic as they could have been because I already had a website in place and a Facebook account.
For me, having the website made everything run smoother because I didn’t have to scramble to get one built. The great thing about websites is you don’t necessarily have to pay someone to build one. If you’d like to take a crack at building your own click here and Carrie’s tutorial will help you.
RU Crew, do you have any of the above mentioned items already in place? We’d love to hear from you.
Join us on Wednesday when author Wendy Marcus will discuss her journey through book revisions to getting the call.
Adrienne’s Bio: Adrienne Giordano writes romantic suspense and women’s fiction. She is a Jersey girl at heart, but now lives in the Chicago area with her work-a-holic husband, sports obsessed son and Buddy the Wheaton Terrorist (Terrier). She is a co-founder of Romance University blog. Adrienne’s books have been finalists in the 2008, 2009 and 2011 Linda Howard Award of Excellence contests. Her debut romantic suspense, Man Law, will be released by Carina Press on July 4, 2011. Her second book, A Just Deception, will be available from Carina Press in September 2011. For more information please visit www.AdrienneGiordano.com.
- Marketing For Debut Authors by Eleanor Elliott
- Interview with Debut Author Adrienne Giordano
- Changing Courses Part Three
- Can I Get A Moment?
- The Road to an Agent with Adrienne Giordano