Happy Wednesday, Dear Readers! Today, Mindspeak author, Heather Sunseri, is going to speak her mind about some of the things she’s learned along her journey into publication. (Bad humor intended – sorry, Heather.)
Please help us welcome Heather Sunseri!
The Magic Potion for Success
By Heather Sunseri
Everyone who dreams of publishing a novel wants to know the big secret to success. You do, don’t you? I know I do. But I’m pretty sure I already know the secret, and so do you; it’s just that we haven’t figured out how to unlock it completely.
I’m not sure anyone ever unlocks it completely, but I am slowly discovering ways to jiggle the lock a little.
So, what does it take to reach success with a novel? Write a great book, right?
I’m sorry to break this to you, but many, many writers out there have written fabulous books that have either never found the light of day, or still didn’t break out once they did. It happens. On the flip side of that, there are authors who have written so-so books that have broken out into the world of publishing bliss. They’ve reached New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists, they’ve gotten six-figure deals from publishers, and they’ve sold film rights and are on their way to the Kingdom of Successfulville.
So, while I believe every author should strive to write and polish the best book that they are capable of penning, that alone is not the key to the castle. The key?
Readers. And not just any readers. The kind that are lining up to read anything you write.
It’s that simple. And that difficult.
While my readership is still quite small, I’m constantly brainstorming and searching for ways to connect with readers. Notice I didn’t say that I’m constantly searching for ways to put my book in front of people. That is SO not the key to unlocking this secret. That’s called spamming, and that’s bad.
The key is to build a network of ways for readers to find you once you’ve made connections and then connect with them and inspire them to like your books so much that they’re willing to share with everyone they know. I meet readers every single day, whether it’s through Twitter, shopping for more K-cups at the grocery store (true story), while cheering on one of my children at a soccer game, or via Pinterest. Once a connection is made, make it easy for that person to find you in a way that is comfortable to them. They might not like Twitter or Facebook, but would love to receive an occasional email newsletter from you with new content.
So, what are the ingredients for my magic potion to unlock the kingdom?
1. Every author needs a website. And not just any website, but one that clearly defines who we are as a writers and how readers can connect with us. Remember, connection is the important key.
2. Newsletter. I’m pretty sure this is the hot-button topic du jour. And based on things I’m learning from other indie writers who have unlocked more wings of their kingdoms than I, building this list is extremely important. I use my newsletter—A Piece of My Mind—to alert readers (people who have voluntarily signed up to receive my news) of new releases and to deliver extra content. NO SPAMMING. Just recently I rewarded newsletter subscribers with Chapter One of Mindsiege two weeks before the official release. Several readers emailed me back with their thoughts on Chapter One, and I got the opportunity to chat with them back and forth a little. Connection.
3. Social media of our choosing. I do not believe we need to be on every social media site, but we do need to think about where our readers are hanging out. My fourteen-year-old daughter tells me that teens are no longer using Facebook because that’s where all the teens’ parents are hanging out. Teens are populating sites like Instagram and other sites I’m trying to figure out. So, while I’m on multiple social media sites, I use them all very differently, but ALWAYS as a way to connect with people, not to sell books.
4. Conferences, Signings, Readings. I’m signed up to attend several signings and writer/reader conferences in the next year. I’ve done a couple of small signings in the past, but nothing like these. (If you’re interested, these are listed on my Events page on my website and on Facebook.) While I’ve not done events like these in the past, I’m super excited to connect with readers and potential readers face to face.
I have other tricks up my sleeve that I’m currently mulling over, but these are a few of the ways I’m reaching out. Will these ingredients make the perfect recipe for success? Only time will tell. But very few recipes are perfect the first time, so we should keep tweaking the ingredients until our magic potion is perfected. And what works for one might not be what works for another. So, don’t be afraid to try new and different things.
What things have you tried that worked? Or maybe you’ve tried something that didn’t work. I know I have. Let’s discuss.
Heather Sunseri was raised on a tiny farm in one of the smallest towns in thoroughbred horse country near Lexington, Kentucky. After high school, she attended Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, and later graduated from the University of Kentucky with a degree in accounting. Always torn between a passion for fantasy and a mind for the rational, it only made sense to combine her career in accounting with a novel-writing dream.
You can connect with Heather in the following places:
Sign up for her newsletter at http://heathersunseri.com/newsletter
Heather’s latest release, Mindsiege, the sequel to Mindspeak, is available now. You can read blurbs about either and find out where the books are available on her website: http://heathersunseri.com/mindspeak-series/. The Mindsiege page will be constantly updated as Mindsiege goes live on each of the bookseller sites.
Heather, fantastic post today! Thank you so much for sharing. Heather also wrote an insightful article on fear of rejection on her blog last week. We at MWF highly recommend you check it out: What are you REALLY afraid of?
And so, Dear Readers, Heather has asked some great questions about the things each of us has learned along the way. We’d love to hear from you!