“Once I sell my first book to a publishing house, it’s going to be easy to sell the rest of my manuscripts.”
We see this assumption expressed in the many emails we receive from writers who believe that the book they have written is going to be the next breakout novel or nonfiction project.
Unfortunately, even if your book does get picked up for publication, there’s no guarantee that it’s going to “sell like gangbusters” (as my dad would say). If it does sell well, then you will have an easier time selling your other projects, but if it’s a mid-list book, it will take a lot of effort to sell that next project. Yes, you might look a little better than an unpublished writer, but then again, your name and your market has been tested. A publisher is going to look at the sales figures your first book produced to determine if you are “worth the risk.” An unpublished author hasn’t yet been tested in this way; so the sales forecast is more of a mystery.
Most books fall into the mid-list after publication, so don’t assume it’s going to be smooth sailing after you sign your first contract. What can you do? Work, work, work to constantly market your project to increase sales to, in turn, increase your chances of selling more book ideas. If you aren’t published yet, you can start even now to build databases and audiences for when a book does release. The better your first book does, the more likely you will get a new contract.
What is your favorite way to communicate with your audience or potential audience? How can you take this communication strategy to the next level?