Here’s the thing no one tells you about getting published: it can take longer than writing the book. Blogger Elizabeth Evans even quoted the waiting game as two of the five things that you don’t know about book publishing (“don’t hold your agents to exact dates,” and “plan for additional months of negotiations”). Luckily, we here at Winterwolf Press know just what you can do to keep yourself occupied.
Like getting your soon-to-be-published book reviewed, for one.
- Establish Your Presence as an Author
Whether online or in your community, you need to create a platform for both yourself and your novel before you can begin seeking out critics. Try reaching out to your local newspaper with a hook about your new book, or build a website if you haven’t already. In fact, if the road to getting published has been especially bumpy for you and you’ve yet to find an agent, definitely buy yourself a website domain name and get yourself some online credibility. Bestselling author J. T. Ellison says that’s how she secured her agent.
The End Goal: Once you’re all set up as an author with a trusty link or spotlight article, you can start calling up some book reviewers! Try a local magazine who has a columnist with a niche in the arts, or an experienced blogger with a big audience who loves new books to review before anyone else.
- Make Some (Internet) Friends
Unless you’re a scholar surrounded by a slew of academics, your neighbors and friends may not be the best people to give a shining review of your novel. In fact, there are hundreds of Facebook groups, plenty of writing blogs, and even a writing guild or two that an unpublished author can join to meet a few fellow writers.
The End Goal: Do yourself a favor, and join one of those many conversations. It could lead to some wonderful friendships, and even a few fruitful professional connections (book reviews, anyone?). Just remember that the other usernames on all of these sites are people too, and a thank you email/tweet/facebook link can go a long way.
- Don’t Limit Yourself
Some yet-to-be-published writers may be feeling a little wary about sharing your (unpublished, unprotected) book with the world before an agent has claimed responsibility for it. Dave Taylor, author and internet extraordinaire, said it when he wrote, “…do you want to risk having someone rip off the content but gain some (hopefully!) good advance reviews and be able to use that to help with sales?”
Both Mr. Taylor and Winterwolf Press agree that yes, yes you do.
Don’t let fear hold you back, and take the plunge to send your manuscript off to a trusted reader. Even if they only write one brilliant sentence about your book in their post/article, it’s a quotable sentence that you can stick on your website or book cover. But don’t stop yourself at the printed word — web designer Kate McMillan wrote, “Often your book can be featured in a podcast.” She even goes so far as to recommend a writer take advantage of the unique interview and create a book giveaway for listeners. “And don’t forget about your local public radio station(s),” she continues. “They love to support local talent, so get in touch and ask about book reviews.”
The End Goal: Don’t hold yourself back, and get your book out there! Unpublished or not, there are people who base their whole professional existence around book reviews and author interviews, and you might just be the next guest their show is looking for.
And there you have it! Book reviews will undoubtedly help your book catch some attention, or at least give you more material to work with when you’re finally able to market it upon publication.
Good luck, and happy writing!