Writing the book may be a solitary activity, but selling it is a different story. Let's quickly move past the agent, editor, marketing team, publisher, distributor, bookstore-- all those involved in selling a book in its various stages of production-- and cut straight to the author. Yes, you. Even if you haven't finished your manuscript yet. Even if you haven't found an agent, editor, marketing team, publisher. YOU are the most important element in selling your book.
I see writers like Talli Roland and Susan Fields (who btw are holding 100 follower contests on their blogs today-- yay I just earned extra points!) who personify exactly what I'm talking about. They're building that village who will help them sell their books. In fact, Talli is doing it so well, that she'll hit 100 followers within a month of starting her blog! And Susan hits 100 in less than six months from when she started hers. These gals know what they're doing! Along the way to that happy day when Talli and Susan hold that book in their eager arms, the village will be rejoicing with them:
"You got an agent? Cool! Hooray for you. You deserve it, you've worked so hard!"
"Omigosh, you're getting published! I am so excited for you. I'll be the first one to buy your book when it comes out!"
"Can't wait to read it! Will it be available in the UK?"
"I live in Germany. Can you send me a copy? It's easier to buy direct from you."
You get the idea. There's your village-- supporting you, following your journey, waiting eagerly for the book's release.
Don't wait until you have a contract before starting your writing blog. Don't wait until you have a book cover. (I waited until I had two books published and in stores before I started blogging-- dumb me--I had no village waiting eagerly for my book's release, just a few friends & family, most of whom I gave copies to anyway. No sales there lol!)
Don't think you need a woo hoo la di da "professionally- designed writer website." That stuff is all so passe, unless you're a celebrity author. In that case, you need it to get some space from your zillions of fans. For those of us toiling in relative obscurity, it's all about social media--blogging and all that other stuff you guys do so well as you interact with your village. Who cares about a dull, static professionally-designed website? That is so five years ago. Bor-ing! Do like Talli and Susan and get into the fray with a blog that is fun, that is you, that shares your writing journey with all your new and wonderful friends who are doing the same thing over on their blogs.
You've heard the words, "building a platform" (very important, btw), and "attracting followers" (so exciting to see that number grow!), but basically it all boils down to one thing-- You are creating your own village and as it grows and grows, they will encourage, share, cry and rejoice with you along the way. And ultimately they'll not only buy your book, they'll help sell it. (For an example, check out Krista Jensen's blog, where she interviewed David J. West whose debut novel is soon to be released.) Your village will interview you, post reviews on Goodreads, tell everyone they know, and generally do more good for your sales than the bookstore owner who's struggling to stay in business and focusing largely on whatever is the bestseller of the day.
This is how it works people. We are building something here, populating the blog world with all of our fun and original little cities, full of fun and interesting inhabitants. We call them followers, but in reality they're our village. They help us, we help them, and we all need each other.
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown
"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it." ~Jesse Stuart
"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf