We’ve all heard stories of Indie Authors who’ve shot through the roof and earned oodles of cash seemingly overnight. They appear to possess a magic elixir that, once ingested, promises to turn any hardworking writer into a publishing sensation.
Does the elixir exist? You bet:
Build your backlist.
Avid readers aren’t drawn to “one book wonders”. They’re itching to download your debut novel with the knowledge that once they fall in love with your inimitable voice, you’ll lavish upon them a cornucopia of other literary delights. Don’t be fooled. Secretly they view your debut as a tasty appetizer meant to leave them hungry. It’s your job to cook up a main course of novel after novel you’ll gladly serve with gusto.
This is one of the reasons why series novels remain wildly popular. When I published Treasure Me http://tinyurl.com/7tjyl2d I hoped the eccentric women who populate fictional Liberty, Ohio would amuse readers. I prayed their trials and tribulations would resonate with any woman who’s ever raced to the office unaware she had banana pudding on her suit, or who’d prepared a holiday meal only to find Aunt Martha attending with her underwear donned over her pants.
Women “get” silly in a way that often escapes men. We bathe children who fart in the tub. We jiggle when we jog. If a relative loses his marbles, we’re called into action like a sassy-mouthed Nurse Nightingale. Once I chased after my dying grandfather, who’d transported himself back to a whorehouse in Rome, Italy, circa 1920. He fled down the hospital corridor with one of my sisters interpreting his broken Italian for the terrified nurses as I grabbed for the hem of his robe.
But wait. This post is about building your backlist after all, and I want fans of Treasure Me to continue salivating as the release of the next book in the series, Second Chance Grill, approaches in April. I want to prolong the excitement—and add spice to the magic elixir. How? By releasing a dramatic, stand-alone novel first, The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge http://tinyurl.com/7krpoxl
If my Liberty books are heartwarming and sweet, my stand-alone works are gripping, poignant—even heart stopping at times. Building a backlist is about variety, after all.
If you find yourself clicking Refresh to see if your debut has budged one iota on the Amazon lists, stop now. Begin work on your next novel as you continue marketing your debut. After you’ve polished that second gem, get to work on the third. And the fourth. I once met a top novelist at a convention, the keynote speaker, out plugging her latest release. Her husband was back at home proofreading the galleys of her next release. She had the line edit of a third book in her briefcase … and carried a notepad that she scribbled upon throughout dinner—her latest WIP.
|Nala, wondering if I'll ever get out of bed|
Besides, there’s an up side to building your backlist. The more your write, the better your ability to grab the reader by the hem of her ratty old bathrobe and never let go.