One of the best parts of being an author is hearing other people exclaim how envious they are because I can sit at home all day doing nothing but write books.
Double Ha Hah!!!
If only it were that easy. We writers, particularly we self published writers, have much to do that has absolutely nothing to do with putting pen to the page, or fingers to the keys.
There are many steps to publishing a book that involve formatting, editing, art and design...
And then the marketing begins.
Don't even get me started on the marketing.
The point of this mini tirade is that the more skills we have, the more we are empowered to do for our books. We don't get the editor and agent, the book launch, the tour. We get only what we ourselves can scrounge together. And that seems woefully meager at times.
All the things you can do - the skills you have other than writing - become just as important as the manuscript itself. So I am about to share with you my magic formula for becoming adept at web design, cover illustration, social media wrangling, and event planning.
I kid you not. I have no money for hiring knowledgeable people so I have had to become one. And every time I conquer some tiny skill through far too many hours of frustrated web searching, I build myself as an author. You don't need to take classes in this or that or become some other person who can write html code. You just need to be patient and determined...and willing to feel like a complete dunce.
One of my greatest achievements thus far was to discover digital painting. I have drawn almost nothing in the past twenty years, so my skills as an artist have been sadly neglected. But I needed art quite desperately and my fairy godmother seems to have gone on vacation. I invested in a tablet, found a brilliant free open source painting program online, and started practising. I've been learning by watching demos on youtube. That's how classy I am. It's going slowly, but it's moving in the right direction. And by the time I'm ready, I will be able to create any cover, poster, web button, or promotional material I need.
Observe the new Kindled art I'm working on...
You can do more than you think you can, even if you're sitting there reading this and arguing, "But Ginger, I can't draw!". If you have a camera, learn to take great promo pictures and video so you can make the best book trailers. If you are slightly tech savvy, learn to design a website and maximize a twitter account. If you're more social, focus on planning school presentations, workshops, and meet-the-author events. If you love to talk, learn how to make a podcast. Collect skills like I collected stickers in the 80's and soon you will have the ability to put any idea in motion.
That is power.
And that will get your book noticed.