From agent rejections to publishing contracts, “dark romance” author Abbie Roads reveals the marketing and mindset strategies behind her success.
Could you share your background as an author?
I started writing with the purpose of publishing in 2009. It was a decision I should’ve made years earlier, but looking back I wasn’t ready for the challenge until 2009. And it’s been a challenge—both learning my craft and emotionally.
Learning the craft of writing took a lot of time. I started out knowing nothing about how to write a book. I’m not exaggerating. I knew nothing. I read books on writing. I attended classes, conferences, workshops. I soaked up anything a writer was willing to teach me. I learned as I wrote. That’s the only way.
The emotional challenge came in the form of contest judges who hated my writing, editor/agent rejections, and critiques that hurt. There was a lot of negative that happened, but it’s how I learned and grew. The trick is to not get bogged down in that negativity, but see it as a growth opportunity.
On the other side of all that negative was a world of positive. I signed with an agent and then a publisher who offered me two 3-book contracts! Balance, my friends. Don’t give up when the bad happens. Good is just around the corner.
My first novel Race The Darkness just came out in October, and my second novel Hunt The Dawn came out last week. They are best described as dark romantic thrillers.
What do you use your mailing list for?
I use my mailing list to share personal stories, let readers know important things happening in my book world, and to get the word out on social media. For example: last week Hunt The Dawn came out. I sent a “Happy Holidays and HUNT THE DAWN in the Wild” Newsletter to my subscribers. To be entered into a giveaway, my subscribers have to take a picture of my book in the bookstore, or library, or a copy they purchased and post it on Facebook or Twitter. In a manner of speaking, I’m using them to advertise my book!
The only drawback to my mailing list is the lack of group interaction. So I formed the Dangerously Dark Darlings Facebook group. It’s comprised of newsletter subscribers who want social interaction with each other. I’ve enjoyed getting to know them in a more personal fashion.
Do you have any advice for aspiring or new authors?
I have two pieces of advice:
1. Start building your mailing list early. Like right now. Even if you don’t have a book out, start building your list. I started building my list about seven months before my first novel came out. Looking back, I wish I’d started earlier. It takes time to grow a good list. And your mailing list is invaluable. It’s a surefire way of communicating with people who are interested in your books.
2. Don’t be afraid to talk about your book! If people don’t know about your books, how are they ever going to read them? Share excerpts. Share reviews. Share your feelings during the writing process—both the ups and downs. Because there’s plenty of both.
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