Alison DeLuca is one of the absolute gems I’ve had the great good fortunate to hang out with on Twitter. I’ve never met her in person, but I can tell you this: Alison is an upbeat, always-pleasant-super-combination Mom, writer, and Space Mountain enthusiast. She loves haiku, her family, and her work. She’s a blogging queen, turning out great posts a couple times a week.
Ms. DeLuca has a great sense of fun, and she knows how to be a friend. Oh, and she showers and puts on make-up before she sits down to write (unlike those of us who wear sweats and go unwashed for days at a time). Not only that, Alison is generous: She’s sharing tips about what has worked for her as an author. Read on!
When I first published my book, The Night Watchman Express, I made just about every possible mistake. I slapped my book up without a proper edit, cover, or a round of beta reads. I didn’t have a Twitter following. I hadn’t written a single blog post. Over the next few months, my sales went up or down by a few units, never exceeding ten a month. I was working on a sequel, and the original was barely scraping by.
However, in the past few months my sales surged! Night Watchman Express rose to the top of the steampunk genre ranking (my target) on Amazon. I sold over thirty books during December, and I hope to meet or exceed that this month. Here are some of the main reasons for my eventual success and the most important things I do as a writer:
1. I have built a large circle of friends and readers through careful use of social media. Writers really should have this in place before they publish. When I say careful use, I mean that I built a list of writers and friends to support me on Twitter and Facebook. Molly’s blogpost on building a twitter list of over 4000 followers was a huge help in this.
2. I have a close circle of fellow authors. I’m lucky enough to publish with a small start-up publisher. There are about thirty writers in the group, and we all support each other in different ways. This means that I don’t have to navigate the writing waters alone; at any time I have a large circle of professionals who can help me with things like SEO, metadata, blurbs, Goodreads, and Author Central.
3. I paid for a professional cover. The first thing any prospective reader sees is your cover; every writer knows that. But does every writer know to look at the covers of the top selling books in his or her genre? Will he or she remember to look at the cover as a thumbnail within a group of thumbnails, to make certain it stands out when it comes up as a search result, even on a smart phone? Some writers can create their own beautiful covers. I cannot. Therefore, I used a cover concept that was created by one of the writers in my publishing group, and I had a graphic artist realize that concept.
4. I track my book sale on novelrank. As a writer in an independent press, it’s up to me to make certain I get eyes on my cover, and thus, on my book. If my sales go down, I know it’s time to tweet or write a blog post.
5. I make certain my readers get a quality product. Two groups of beta readers and two rounds of editors now read my books before they go live. I believe in what I do, which is: create quality steampunk adventures for my readers.
6. I sent out my book for reviews on several sites. That meant my book had a good bank of reader feedback for prospective buyers to view. I think it’s very important for a book on a site like Amazon to have a range of reviews for a new reader to access.
Alison DeLuca is the author of The Night Watchman Express and Devil’s Kitchen, both steampunk fantasies for young adults. She was born in Arizona and has also lived in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Mexico, Ireland, and Spain. As a teacher she taught every grade level in every kind of school district possible.
She wrestles words and laundry in New Jersey.