Sarah Archer is a traditionally published author who is working to build her brand with a new book. Learn more about her experiences and her advice for relying on fellow writers to shape your craft.
1. Tell me briefly about your latest book – what is it about and what motivated you to write it?
My first novel, The Plus One, is a rom-com with a sci-fi twist. It’s about a brilliant robotics engineer who, when pressured to find a wedding date, takes matters into her own hands and builds one. Then she starts to fall for him. This was an idea I had a few years ago and immediately knew would be fun to write. It’s been a great way to explore how classic romantic tropes are transformed in our modern world. And a solid excuse to spend way too much time Googling articles about AI and robotics.
2. How have your sales been?
The book just came out on July 2nd, and is currently available in stores and online. It’s still early, but we’ll see how the sales go!
3. You’ve decided to use a traditional publisher for your book. Why did you choose this versus self-publishing?
I’m extremely lucky to be publishing my first book with Putnam. As a newcomer to this space, I’ve found their support and expertise invaluable. However, if traditional publishing hadn’t worked out, I would happily have pursued self-publishing. I come from a film and TV background, where it’s almost impossible to get something made without a team of people. In publishing, you know that if you write a book, you have guaranteed ways to get it to an audience as long as you’re willing to do the work. Having that light at the end of the tunnel is very motivating.
4. What sort of networking have you done as an author, and what have been the results?
As a screenwriter, and more recently a novelist, I’ve networked at mixers, through work, on social media, and by joining writers’ groups. Not every connection leads somewhere, but I’ve made some great friends this way, and also found critique partners to read my work, which is hugely helpful.
5. Talk a little about the sort of marketing techniques you’ve used to sell your books. Which ones have been most successful?
I’m promoting the book on social media, and my publisher has been great about helping me set up blog appearances and in-store readings. I suppose we’ll know more about the success in July!
6. Are there any marketing or networking techniques you’ve intentionally avoided or discontinued, and if so, why?
Not at this point. Since this is my first novel, I’m open to trying just about anything.
7. What are the most important things you’ve learned about publishing that you didn’t know when you started out?
I’m still new to the game, but I’m learning more about the genres into which books are categorized and what’s performing well in the current marketplace.
8. If you could do one thing differently in publishing your books, what would it be?
My top priority is always to grow as a writer with every new project I write. Any time I look back at a previous project, I wish I could make changes to it. But once a project is done and out of my hands, I just have to take those lessons and try to apply them to the next piece.
9. New authors face the challenge of getting their books into the hands of readers. What advice do you have for an author just starting out?
Your fellow writers are one of your best resources. Get to know them, support them, promote their successes, ask what has and hasn’t worked for them, and offer to read their work. Over time, some of that success will come back to you, and in the process you may learn a lot and make some wonderful friends.
10. What other projects are you currently working on?
My focus is on my second novel, which is another romantic comedy that I’m having great fun with. I’ve also got a screenplay on the back burner–totally separate from my books, but it’s a passion project for me.
11. If you could market your brand – not just one particular book, but your overall brand of writing – in one sentence, what would it be?
“Humor with heart” encapsulates what I aim for in my writing. I love stories that capture both the drama and the comedy in life, and I’m most satisfied as a writer when I can dig deeply into the workings of a relationship between two characters.
12. How can readers learn more about your books?
Readers can visit my website at saraharcherwrites.com, or follow me on Twitter at @saraharcherm or Instagram @saraharcherwrites for updates. They can also come chat with me in person on this summer’s book tour: July 9th at the Powerhouse Arena in Brooklyn; July 10th at Copperfield’s in Healdsburg, CA; July 11th at Park Road Books in Charlotte; and August 11th at Creating Conversations in Los Angeles.