From Guest Blogger David J. Montgomery who writes about authors and books for
several of the country's largest newspapers. He blogs at Crime Fiction Dossier.
1) Never complain publicly about a bad review. Despite
all the evidence to the contrary, reviewers are
people, too. Sometimes they even have feelings. They
definitely have egos. If an author complains loudly
about something the reviewer has written, one of two
things is likely to happen: the reviewer will never
write about that author again; or the reviewer will
really stick it to that author the next time. So don't
do it. Be the bigger person. Complain to your spouse
or your dog. But don't go public. There's no upside to
2) Never rely on your publisher to do it all. Your
publicist is working on a gazillion other books
simultaneously, and there's always a chance yours will
fall through the cracks. Be a tireless advocate for
your work. Be on top of things. Always inform yourself
as to what is going on. Remember: it's your career,
3) Never assume reviewers got a copy of your book.
Sure, it seems natural that a critic who reviewed your
last book would get a copy of the new one. But that
doesn't mean it happened. Find out who the important
reviewers in your genre are. Make sure they get the
book. Send it yourself, if necessary.
4) Never pass up an easy promotional opportunity. Make
sure you have a website. Include your URL on
everything. Hand out business cards. Offer to
contribute to a popular blog as a Guest Blogger. Write
a short story, article or review. Donate a book for a
5) Never miss the chance to invest in yourself. If
your publisher doesn't print enough ARCs, consider
printing some of your own. If you're not scheduled to
go on tour, consider making your own mini-tour. If
you're invited to speak at a writers conference or
literary festival, consider making the trip. You can't
take advantage of every opportunity that comes your
way, but you also shouldn't immediately decline them
just because they'll cost you some money.
6) Never go too long without attending a fan/reader
conference. The mystery world has Bouchercon.
Thrillers have ThrillerFest. Science Fiction has
WorldCon. Whatever your field, there are places where
writers and readers come together. You need to be at
those places. Pick and choose the ones that work best
for you, but attendance at some of them is a must. Out
of sight is too often out of mind.
9) Never take your career for granted. All of us know
a great writer who was dropped by his or her publisher
because the sales of the last book were soft. Each
contract could be the last. Work hard. Work smart. And
take advantage of your opportunity while it lasts.
10) Never forget why you got into this in the first
place. That initial drive, that passion, love and
devotion that sustained you before you ever published
a word or made a dime -- that is ultimately what makes
this worthwhile. The publishing business is just too
damn hard if you lose sight of that.