Experiences of a Publishing Virgin

Guest Expert: Karlene Blakemore-Mowle

My dream was always to write a book and have it accepted by a publisher. After many years of rejections and the constant learning curve that just didn’t seem to end! my dream finally came true, eleven years after completing my first book.

I’m not sure if I’m on my own here or not, but after years of fighting just to get my manuscript passed by an editor—I never even thought about what happened next! It came as a huge shock to me that I would be largely responsible for promoting and selling my own book…this is not what you see in the movies or think about when you see your favourite bestselling author…hello! But, unfortunately the reality is, just because you get your book published does not mean you can just hand it over and merrily go about writing your next book! It was another steep learning curve—one that I’m still trying to figure out.

I started publishing my romantic suspense line of books with a small American publisher and this was where I had to learn—sink or swim style. I needed a blog—Google ‘how to’ pages became my new best friend! I needed to make social media contacts, a web page, do interviews, write guest blogs and generally take on a whole new career!

I’ve found social media like Facebook and Twitter invaluable for getting my name and books out into the big wide world. I would have always wondered about the power of social media until I received feedback from numerous people contacting me through twitter when they’ve noticed my book in a shopping centre or in a newspaper review and recognised it only because of the cover I use as my profile picture. To me, this is the only proof I need to see that social media is vital in promoting both you and your book. Those people may never have noticed my book had they not seen my presence on twitter and Facebook.

My other piece of Holy Grail for promotion is a book I stumbled upon called, ‘Wannabe a writer we’ve heard of?’ This is written by Jane Wenham-Jones and has been an invaluable tool for me. Seriously—you need to go out and get this book, it covers everything a wannabe like me ever needed!

I’ve also had to undertake a lot of other ‘out of my comfort zone’ experiences. I’ve set up stalls at local markets and annual events to sell my book and get my name out there. Both of these things do sell books, although you have to outlay the cash to buy in copies of your book in the first place. However I’ve found that by placing a buy button on my website, what I don’t sell at the markets I can sell online. This has the added bonus of readers being able to purchase a signed copy and many people like this aspect.

I’ve also done book launches and book signings in book shops. While the later doesn’t sell many copies on the day—I think it’s great for getting your name recognised, hopefully not because people recall that pathetically hopeful looking woman sitting behind a table—but hey, as long as they remember the book or a name I’m happy!

As I’ve already mentioned—I’m still learning how to do this weird thing we call promotion and marketing and learning more each day. Adding informative contacts like BookBuzzr is also a good idea—you can pick up some handy tips and tricks and trust me—if you’re new to this as I am—you need all the help you can get! You can find me on facebook here- http://www.facebook.com/karlybm and twitter here- @karlylane and the blog for my romantic suspense titles here- http://karlenebm.blogspot.com.au/

Karlene writes romantic suspense for two American publishers, under the name of Karlene Blakemore-Mowle and has three titles released this year.She lives on the beautiful Mid North Coast of New South Wales with her husband, four children and variety of animals.Karlene also has an ongoing rivalry with her alter ego Karly Lane who writes rural fiction for Allen & Unwin, Australia.

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2 thoughts on “Experiences of a Publishing Virgin

  1. I suffered exactly the same shock, Karlene … even after six years, the whole marketing/promotion thing still has me gasping for breath … but I must say that you are light-years ahead of me on the social media business … I fumble around with Fazebook and Twits, with little or no results … so my hat is off to you.

  2. Well, Karlene, I assure you that you are not alone. Every writer goes through that same steep step-by-step process and like you said, it is a learning curve so aside from the actual implementation of what you need to do, you still have to learn it. However, when everything turns out fine and you experience book sales and recognition as well as a fan base, looking back, you could actually say it’s worth it. Goodluck to everything!

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