I am new to writing books. I have yet to publish a book. In fact, I have yet to finish any of my planned ten books! (Yes, I did say ten).
So what am I doing whilst working and not writing my book? I am preparing the ground for that distant day when my first book is released into the world as an ebook. That's right, I'm going to self-publish through Smashwords. And because I'm going it alone, I know that nobody is going to push this book for me except me myself, and the people I am close to. Therefore, I need to know how to sell my book and not just leave it sitting on the cyber-shelf gathering cyber-dust.
I have just read John Locke's excellent book How I Sold 1 Million Ebooks in Five Months. (Yeah, he did. We all know he did). And one thing that hit me when I read this book is John's idea of preparing the ground for sales before you write the book. He asks the question, Who is going to read this book...? which is something I had thought of once, perhaps late at night after a bottle of wine and two difficult chapters. (Yeah, I know, this means I am going to ask the question after I have started my book, and not before as he suggests.)
So he made me think, Who is going to read my book? and What should I be doing about it now?
Well, my first novel is a tale of a TEFL teacher living in Spain and, like many, trying to make a living from teaching English. It is dotted throughout with bizarre and hilarious classroom incidents (all of which are totally true and actually happened to me) and involves the protagonist leaving behind his teaching and boring life for a very well-paid job, something most TEFL teachers dream of. The new job is also extremely exciting and very dangerous, but totally legal (as legal as can be in Spain!).
So who is likely to be interested in reading my book? Well, TEFL teachers of course. And anybody in the world of TEFL knows there are tens of thousands of us all over the world, all teaching for various reasons and in far-off places. And teachers read books. They love the English language and they are, usually, educated people.
Also, anybody who has lived in a different culture/country for any length of time or even anybody who has taught in a state school. All of these people will be able to relate to the protagonist and his life, his fears and his frustrations. Not to mention anybody with an interest in Spain, teaching in Spain or crime in Spain.
So these people are my target audience, my future customers, my future fans maybe? It is these that I should be pitching my book to, promoting interest in and whetting their appetite for a read that they will thoroughly connect with.
The good news is, my potential customer base is enormous. The bad news? I have 2500 wonderful Twitter followers, yet none I know of who are TEFL teachers... Only on Facebook do I have any connection with teachers I have met and worked with over the last ten years, and they aren't enough to push my book up the rankings, even if they did all buy a copy (and they won't. Well, at least two I know won't!).
So, thanks to John and his book, I have now tweaked my Twitter account to start connecting with that enormous world of TEFL teachers out there, some of whom might just be interested in my humble debut novel, Filthy Gorgeous.