Today I was reminded of something important, especially during Nanowrimo: don’t read a ton of stuff about marketing a book you have not finished yet.
I don’t mean you should plough ahead and actually share your book with the world without learning the best way to promote that book. I mean, don’t think about selling a thing – a fictional thing* – while you’re still creating it. Why? Because it will stop you in your tracks. I speak from personal experience here.
Instead of thinking, right, next scene, how to describe my hero’s reaction to this horrifying discovery, you’ll be consumed with ideas about the cover design, how to get people to sign up to your blog’s mailing list, and what you’ll say to the TV anchor when you’re interviewed about your runaway bestseller.
All of this is a massive waste of time during Nano – or any committed creative project. And trying to imagine the best way to sell a thing, when you don’t yet know what the thing will be, seems impossible as well as foolish.
Plenty of advice will tell you to begin marketing your book while still writing it. Well, maybe they’re right – if your first draft is finished/if it’s a non fiction book / if you have planned your writing to such an extent that really all you’re doing it typing. However, if your creative heart is engaged, leave marketing til later. You are creating something new and it is still forming and growing. Give it space. Sell it when you know what you’ve got.
Oh, and whatever you do, do not launch Canva and start trying out book covers. This is a guaranteed way to lose an afternoon. Leave those fancy fonts alone until December. The freebie graphic design tool will still be there, and you’ll have a much better idea of what to put on the front of your book.**
So today’s Thing to remember: Sell when your first draft is finished, not before.
*Much of the Sell It Before You Write It advice seems to be aimed at nonfiction authors, which is fair enough. They are working with known quantities.
**I’m going to contradict myself regarding when to think about your book cover, very soon. Maybe tomorrow.