The advice I have is standard, I guess. It just works. It took getting to this point to realize how much work I had to put into it.
Write a million words. Your first million is practice.
When you've finished one book, write the next one.
Write the thing you love, and it becomes much easier and your readers will love it, too.
Don't read in your genre. Read other books.
Know everything about your characters and love them. If you love them, readers will, too.
You have to know the writing rules and then know when to break a few of those rules.
Don't be afraid to write anything. Don't worry about what the world will think or if some people might not like this. Write what you would love to read.
And for technical:
Write big. Write a series. It can be loosely connected based on an area (Debbie Macomber) or a series of one big book (Lord of the Rings). Don't give them one thing to love. Give them reasons to come back. You want to build the ongoing relationship, not a one off fling.
For me, I gave the first away free. The readers who read it really liked it and picked up the other books in the series.
Anything that isn't Academy related they generally don't buy, so there's a thing. Keep to a genre.
Get beta readers that know what they're talking about. I use Terese over at Scriptland.net. She's very much worth every penny. Not only does she do a really good job, but she's also a private investigator, which works for my series because there's crimes and espionage that she helps me with the fine tuning of. She's also an editor for Entranced Publishing, so you're getting a good one.
Uh... get that newsletter started. Start a Facebook and Twitter, although I mostly use Facebook now. Keep in touch with fans. Fans build slowly sometimes, but you want to keep them interested.
Respond to fan mail. Even if it is just to say thank you.
At first, I just made book one free, and it managed to get to the top 500 given away free on Amazon and stay there for a month or so. In the beginning of October, it started to drop into the 800s so I started advertising then. May not be the best solution but that's just what I did.
Other than that, I maintain Facebook and occasionally Twitter and monitor emails and have the newsletter sign up in places. I actually need to be better about the newsletter and the website. I get buys and forget.
Mailing list? How many? How'd you build it?
I told people if they were interested in updates to sign up and presented a link at the end of each book, plus the website. I started late, and at first only had like 30 or so sign ups.
Recently, I offered my readers a chance to get a special Q&A and also special spoilers and upcoming scenes from the newest book to come out. That, I think, increased people wanting to subscribe, so they could get those PDF downloads.
Ads? Where? How much?
The only thing I did was pay $40 for that eBook Freebie Notification to distribute the information to different free ebook newsletters. I do also have a NetGalley Co-OP for reviews from bloggers. I prefer that.
Facebook? What'd you do?
There's actually kind of a couple of them. One is fan created and I spend A LOT of time in there as they want some selected spoilers and I answer a lot of questions. It's kind of like a hard core group of fans. The main one I have has around... I think over 500 people. I share announcements and updates and links to the books there.
I spend a lot of time with the hardcore fans answering questions and it's been very helpful. I never ask for reviews, they tell each other to do them.
Twitter? Other Social media?
Twitter. I have a Tumblr but don't have too much time for it but I want to use it more. I do have a Pintrest to post pictures and stuff and some people follow but I mostly use Facebook. We're looking at making forums on the website right now, which would make this a lot easier.
Help from here? Help from elsewhere?
Help from friends who beta read and Terese from Scriptland.net. She not only can beta read and edit, but she's been with me since like book two and she knows a lot of what I know. If you bug her, she'll spill the beans.
Blogs: Your own? Tour?
I'd use Tumblr. I haven't done a tour. If bloggers are interested, they find me on NetGalley or can email me personally and I have an open invitation with them. To me, that's better. I know when I was blogging, I felt too obligated to read. With NetGalley, I just picked what I liked as if I were at the library. I don't know, I liked it better.
What did I miss?
The most important part is the writing! You may not connect with everyone, not everyone will understand you, but those that do will love you for it. That's just how it works.
A forum community dedicated to Amazon Kindle owners, authors, and enthusiasts. Come join the discussion about publishing, audio, troubleshooting, models, styles, reviews, accessories, classifieds, and more!