Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Guest Blog by Melissa Ohnoutka - Survival of the Fittest: What's Next?

I asked Melissa Ohnoutka, author of Faithful Deceptions, to share her post-publishing experience with us.  So without further ado, here's Melissa:

So you finally did it. You made the difficult decision to step into the publishing ring alone. You’ve done your research, crossed all your t’s and dotted all your i’s. Trudged your way through the icky swamps of formatting hell and designing your very own cover. Or maybe you spared yourself the added stress and frustration and found someone else to do the dirty work for you. Whatever path you took, the result is still the same. You took that risk and so far, you’ve survived.
But now what? Do you find yourself sitting in front of your computer, the doubt monster screaming so loud in your ears you can’t get anything done?

“Why did you do that? What were you thinking? No one’s gonna buy your book.”

I don’t know what’s worse. Actually pushing the darn submit button that sends your baby out into the world for the masses to see, or the nagging doubt that comes afterward.

I can tell you what not to do. Don’t panic! Everything will be just fine. Take slow breathes, step away from the computer for a few days and give yourself a pat on the back. What you’ve done was no easy decision or task.

And the truth is, what comes next will require more energy, perseverance and determination than you ever imagined. Let’s face it. For me, I now consider the marketing part trickier than writing the book. I have absolutely no experience in marketing. Commercials on TV and the radio drive me bonkers. I don’t listen to them or watch them and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone. So, how do you get your book noticed without becoming one of those annoying 30 second blips of mere interruptions in people’s lives? You can spend a fortune on advertisements and never know if the ones you used worked at all.

Here’s my take on what I’ve learned so far. We need to be subtle but relentless. Building online relationships is a big key here. Word of mouth sells better than any other form of marketing strategy. But in the beginning, when few people know who we are and what we write, we are required to do everything possible just to get noticed. Again, we can’t sell what they can’t find.

What has worked for me? If you blog, use keywords in your blog post and your guest blog post that get your name out there in the search engines. Join groups where readers go to chat about books and participate in the conversations. Be friendly, supportive and willing to share. Load your cover as your profile picture or include links to your books or website in your signature, but don’t plug your new releases anywhere but the specific areas designated for this. People can be downright ugly about it if you break the rules. Trust me, you don’t want to go there.

Use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn as well as other social media sites like the ones I’ve found that have something in common with the genre you write. For example, if you write thrillers and suspense sign up for Crimespace and Policepluse. Search the Internet, you’ll be surprised what you find. There are numerous Review sites that will do book reviews both for free and for a fee as well as interviews with new authors.

Get your books in as many formats as possible. Why? First, we don’t want to miss a sale simply because it’s not available in a format the reader needs. And second, it’s just means more exposure for your book. I agree that print copies are pretty pricey for readers to take a chance on a new author, but having one available means your book is listed in places e-books might not be. And the cost to set one up is minimal. I’ve also had postcards printed up with my cover, book blurb, website and sales info to hand out when my book comes up in conversation. This is working quite well.

Your family can be great marketing tools as well. To my horror, my daughter visited the Sony store in our local mall the last time we were there and pulled up my website on the computers and then left. The mere idea someone might recognize me from the picture freaked me out. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. Silly, I know.  :)

I tell myself constantly, EVERY opportunity to be seen is chance for a future sale. But I’ll let you in on a little secret. This one is so hard for me. I personally hate to be seen! LOL

Great links on Self Publishing, Promo and Marketing:

JA Konrath

Your Self Publishing Coach

Marketing Tips for Authors

Thanks so much for having me today, Suzan! I’ve made some great friends along the way and couldn’t have done it without you guys!

If you’d like to learn more or see what’s up next, please visit my website. http://www.melissaohnoutka.com/

And you can find “Faithful Deceptions” at:

Barnes & Noble – ebook and print

Amazon – ebook and print

Smashwords - ebook

XinXii – ebook and pdf


  1. Great post, Melissa!!!

  2. Every time I read about your experience, I'm in complete awe for a couple of reasons- 1)You jumped into an arena that we all know very little about and started wading through the massive amounts of information to put your stuff up online 2)You made your presence known on the internet and have figured out how to not be too pushy 3)You've let your friends bully you into a book launch 4)I know this all goes against your quiet humble nature
    Thanks for giving me the courage to contemplate what future moves I might want to take.

  3. I'm following what Melissa does. Only difference, she makes it look easy...:)

  4. Thanks to my Wonderful, Awesome support group! :)I wouldn't have had the courage without you guys. Love ya!

  5. This is the reason I bow to your experience and wisdom, Melissa.