Two years ago, I eagerly anticipated being launched to the top of the New York Times list. Hollywood would call. I'd be coy (not really).
Two years ago, I knew nothing about publishing.
I know a little bit more now.
If a new author were to ask my advice, this is what I'd tell them...
- The adage is true, the only thing a writer can really control is the quality of her book.
- Marketing matters. Don't expect your publisher to do this for you.
- Know your readers.
- Don't give your rights away! Foreign language, audio, television and film--they're all worth more than my newbie self could have imagined.
- If you're self-publishing, don't publish before you're ready. It's great if your mother and your spouse and your best friend love your book. But their love doesn't mean your opus is ready for primetime. Professional editing (both developmental and copy) make a huge difference.
- What is your brand? If you can't answer, you can't expect your readers to find you.
- Finally, think marathon not sprint. A few lucky authors rocket to the top of the lists with their debuts. For the rest of us it's about building a readership, keeping those readers engaged, and making sure each book is better than (or please God, at least as good as) the last.
Julie Mulhern writes the Country Club Murders, a series of humorous mysteries set in the 1970s. Feeling nostalgic for Tab, phones with cords, or harvest gold? Pop over to the country club! While you're there, play a round of golf, a set of tennis, or a rubber of bridge. Good, almost-clean fun! No bodies...well, no promises.
Book five in the Country Club Murders, Watching the Detectives, will release May 23, 2017.