Work. Chores. Family … and let’s not forget the Kids. As Authors, there are so many mountains that we must climb just to get to the other side where our writing awaits. There aren’t enough hours in the day to allow us to do all the necessary things that must be done in our lives, and then … there’s sleep. The doctors keep insisting that we get more of it.
The immense pressure that we feel in this business to stay relevant and keep our name out there, and to release often, is enough to force any sane person to lose their mind … or, to go out and get a “real” job. Well, I was born a writer and I was born to write, so, as far as jobs go … writing is my “real” job.
Your last book was published in 2013. It’s now 2021. Are they tired of hearing you promote your same old books? Probably. Have they forgotten you as they’ve moved on to the next hot hit? I’d say that’s a Yes! So, what should you be doing until you have time to sit down and peck out that next 400 page hit novel?
Here’s a list of my TOP 10 things:
1. Keep your blog filled with short stories. Just because you can’t find the time to write a lengthy book, you can surely find the time (between office meetings and family mayhem) to post interesting content to your blog. The stories don’t have to be lengthy, but they do have to be interesting, entertaining, and/or educational;
2. Book your blog. I did. In March of 2014, I took all the best blog posts from my site (WATCH NONNIE WRITE!) and put them into a book that you’ve probably heard of: “SUGARCOATIN’ IS FOR CANDY & PACIFYIN’ IS FOR KIDS…Yes, I Said It!”
3. Look for someone who you might be interested in co-authoring a project with.
(These two authors above said, “We take a character each and we alternate chapters.”). On February 27, 2015, my first co-authored release hit the virtual shelves. “IF ONLY THERE WAS MUSIC…The Poetry of Forgotten Love” was a wonderful and fun collaboration between myself and the very private, Giani Jordan. This was a writer I’d never met face-to-face, yet, he became a cherished partner in my writing life. We worked very well together via email, video chat and lots of text messaging to get our project finished, and we did it in record time, with a pretty good read to show for it in the end. The best part of it all was that I was published again, but I had a partner to shoulder half the load, which took some of the pressure off of me. This process was so much fun, that Giani and I began another project, a short-story sequel to “IF ONLY THERE WAS MUSIC…”
4. Jump on the Anthology bandwagon. If you can get your work published in Anthologies … do so. These gems are perfect places to pick up a wealth of new readers and there’s not much work involved on your part. Typically, you’re merely submitting your written story, poem, etc. to be published. (If you’re anything like me, I’m sure you have tons of those just lying around). No formatting, no uploading to Amazon, no work at all … easy-schmeasy! Seek out genre-specific anthologies and also anthologies with a variety of topics in between their covers. If you belong to an organization, inquire as to whether or not they publish anthologies. More often than not, they do, but if they don’t, encourage them to start!
5. Ensure that your social media is constantly showcasing bits and pieces of your writing. If you have a project in the works, get on a daily rotation where you are sharing excerpts from it. What you are really doing, is whetting the appetite of your readers and preparing them for what’s to come. You’re also reminding them that you’re still around;
6. Guest posting for other bloggers. Reach out to your fellow bloggers/authors/writers and establish a mutual relationship which involves you blogging on their site from time to time. In doing so, you’re building a new following of readers who under normal circumstances, probably wouldn’t even know about you and your work. It’s a good idea to establish this kind of a relationship with as many bloggers as you can. And, be sure to always reciprocate the favor by offering them your space from time to time, as well;
7. Blog hopping and leaving comments.
Most of you are looking at this one and frowning. You’re wondering, “How in the world can this keep me relevant?” When you are a regular visitor of blog sites and you tend to leave intelligent, engaging, thoughtful and well-written comments, other readers of those comments will want to know more about you. Be as interesting as possible in your comments, as opposed to the usual one-liners like, “Thanks for sharing.” Interested parties will click on your handle there in your comment area and more than likely become a fan and a follower of your own blog. This is you … building your following and getting them ready for your next big release;
8. Brush up on industry standards (if you live by them … I don’t). If you are a stickler for writing by “the” books (i.e. Chicago Manual of Style), then spend your downtime brushing up on this information. Just because you’ve published one, two, or even three books or more, doesn’t mean you’re an expert in the field of writing, so, while waiting to publish next, ensure that you’ve refreshed your memory on all those fine details, so that you’re ready to jump right back into the game when your life allows;
9. Get a book trailer. Beginning your book marketing campaign before the book is ready, is always a good idea. Have you ever sat inside a movie theater during the month of February and watched all the promos of the new movies that are coming out in December? Those trailers have me with my phone in hand, waiting to note on my calendar, the dates of those movie premiers so that I’m first in line for a ticket! It’s the the same way with books. Having a well-crafted book trailer can have readers beating down your door begging you to get your book finished and released! They want their tickets! (For quality, well-crafted book trailers, visit 4WillsPublishing);
10. Read only the best and then commit! With so much junk already cluttering our literary horizon, you should ensure that your next release isn’t adding to the pile. Do your research and read books by some of the best writers you know and simply, do what they do. If their book is well-written, commit to making your book the same. If their story-line is fantastic, the flow of the story perfectly paced, with characters so well-developed that they feel like family, commit to enhancing the lives of your reading audience, in like fashion.
That’s all for now, folks! My top 10 things that you should be doing to stay relevant until your next big release! Try each of them. I assure you, you’ll like the results!
What do you do in between big project releases? Do you write short stories or micro reads? How do you stay relevant?