Things to do while you’re out on submission
You’ve just hit send. Your query is off to your dream agent. There are only so many times you can hit the refresh button to your email before becoming dejected. My quickest rejection was ten minutes. My longest rejection was eighteen months. In actuality, there were some agents I’ve never heard back from. So instead of constantly checking your phone or obsessively stalking the agent on social media, here are ten things you can do to promote your career while you wait for “The Call.”
1. Set yourself up on social media.
Ideally, you should have a Facebook business account so you can run ads on Facebook. Twitter and Instagram are also helpful ways of connecting with readers and running ads. Use this time to learn the benefits of each platform and start posting non-book related material. A good rule of thumb is 20% promotion and 80% being social, sharing pictures, memes, and anecdotes about your life. Remember, the operative word in social media is “social!”
2. Create your website.
Drag and drop platforms like Weebly and Wiz make it easy for you to create a professional looking site that’s easy for you to change, without having to know HTML or XML.
Of course if you want to invest the time and are even minimally technologically gifted, using your waiting time to learn how to use a WordPress website is very helpful. Not only is it more professional to have a domain name, for example www.JKSchmidt.com rather than www.JamieKSchmidt.weebly.com, it’s also necessary if you want to send out newsletters. Plus, WordPress will allow you better SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
You want to send out newsletters.
You’ll need an email address that’s not Yahoo or Gmail because most email providers won’t accept a newsletter from one of those addresses. You’ll need a domain email, for example: JamieKSchmidt@JKSchmidt.com to send out newsletters that won’t be flagged as spam. You may also decide that this isn’t your forte. If that’s the case, research companies that will help you build a website for you that’s within your budget.
3. Set yourself up on reader websites like Bookbub and Goodreads.
Fill out your profiles with a biography and the same profile picture you use on all your platforms. You may not be able to set up an author account yet, but as a reader you can see how each of these powerful marketing websites help develop a loyal reader base of super fans that are eager to buy books.
4. Choose a newsletter provider.
Mailchimp, Mailerlite, Constant Contact, and AWeber are all reputable places which have their own unique specifications. Research the one that is best for you and your needs and sign up. Many or most of them are free until you reach a certain number of subscribers.
Build your newsletter list. You can hire newsletter builders like Ryan Zee’s Booksweeps or Amy Vansant’s AuthorXP to bring you more subscribers. But usually, you have to offer a free book or a free short story to make it worth signing up. (To learn more about building your author platform, including why building a list is so important GO HERE.)
5. Do a Rafflecopter contest.
A Rafflecopter contest can help you build followers on social media, Bookbub, Goodreads, and Amazon. You will need to provide a prize for the raffle. It can be something as simple as a $5.00 Amazon gift card or something that relates to your genre. For example, if you write sword and sorcery, you could give away a stuffed dragon. If you write cozy mysteries, you could give away a cozy fleece or knitted blanket. Get creative and you’ll get followers.
6. Take an online marketing course.
Learn what it will take to market your book before you get that deal. Check out How to Create Your Author Platform by the Institute for Writers. The Book Marketing Show podcast by Dave Chesson is also very helpful.
7. Take a craft or self-development course.
Read books and blogs on writing, editing, and publishing. Lisa Cron, Damon Suede, Becca Syme, Deb Dixon, Jane Friedman, K.M. Weiland, Sarra Cannon, and Joanna Penn are all good authors that have an excellent way of helping you develop your writing.
8. Set Goals.
It’s important to know what you want out of your career. Do you want to make a hundred thousand dollars a month? Do you want to quit your day job? Do you want to show your mother a hardcover book with your name on it? Write down what you want and then come up with steps to make it happen. It will also be helpful to set a budget for advertising and writing related travel to keep things in perspective. You may want to attend the 20Booksto50K conference in Las Vegas, but does that fit into your budget and your goals?
9. Write the next book.
All of the above is fine and dandy, but the best way to sell more books is to write more books. While you’re waiting for the call, you can explore plot boards, Kanban boards, vision boards, writing sprints, Jami Gold’s beat sheets, and the Pomodoro technique.
Get the words down and finish your next book. That way if the agent accepts your book and asks what else you’ve got, you can tell them.
USA Today bestselling author, Jamie K. Schmidt, writes erotic contemporary love stories and paranormal romances. Her steamy, romantic comedy, Life’s a Beach, reached #65 on USA Today, #2 on Barnes & Noble and #9 on Amazon and iBooks. Her Club Inferno series from Random House’s Loveswept line has hit both the Amazon and Barnes & Noble top one hundred lists. The first book in the series, Heat, put her on the USA Today bestseller list for the first time, and is a #1 Amazon bestseller. Her book Stud is a 2018 Romance Writers of America Rita® Finalist in Erotica. Her dragon paranormal romance series has been called “fun and quirky” and “endearing.” Partnered with New York Times bestselling author and actress, Jenna Jameson, Jamie’s hardcover debut, SPICE, continues Jenna’s FATE trilogy.