In this second of iUniverse Rising Star Timothy Jay Smith’s posts he describes how he put his book marketing strategy into action to achieve his goal of becoming a successful published author.
Choosing the right target market
“I had two novels ready to go, and chose “Cooper’s Promise” over my actual first novel, “A Vision of Angels”, precisely because it had a gay protagonist. I knew the gay community would ‘forgive me’ for being a self-published author in the sense that it might take a look at my novel—and it did. Using the internet, I reached out to the gay community worldwide, and within weeks I had reviews, book posts, and sales on four continents. Straight press picked me up, too; and Kirkus Review, calling Cooper’s Promise “literary dynamite,” selected it as one of the Best Books of 2012.
And I got noticed.
By spring, I had a two-book deal with Owl Canyon Press, a literary publisher out of Boulder, CO. We pulled the self-published edition of “Cooper’s Promise” from the market, and brought it back out as a new book six months later. “A Vision of Angels” will be released in July.”
iUniverse and self-publishing
“When I decided to go the self-publishing route, I chose iUniverse with the same strategic perspective. Its Rising Star program (in conjunction with Barnes & Noble) serves as a gatekeeper for quality writing. Fortunately I was selected for that, and believe me I used that when I pitched my work.
Self-publishing certainly changed my life as a writer. By spinning good reviews and sales, I worked my way to a place at the table. I did it by targeting an audience—in my case gay, and also human trafficking, which is part of Cooper’s story—but there are a number of large audiences that are well-organized on the internet and thus broadly accessible. Think issues. Think political causes. Think religion. Think sports. Think about anything big, and there’s a big audience for your books—if you spend nonstop hours courting them.”
“As to that original draft of A Vision of Angels that fell off the publisher’s list, I am sincerely glad that it was dropped. It wasn’t good. It was a sprawling 156,000-word epic filled with all the rambling backstory and subplot errors of a first novel. The years in between gave me time to cut it to a fast-paced 82,000-word literary thriller (yes, it is still that). Along the way, it gave me time to learn how to write, or at least get a much better handle on the craft.
Sometimes rejection is not all that bad. It’s just how you spin it!”
iUniverse Blog would like to thank Timothy for his excellent and revealing insights of how to become a successful author and we wish him well with all his future literary efforts. To learn more about Timothy and his books visit his website or follow him on Facebook or see what readers think on Goodreads.