When I first got the idea to send something to a publisher after years of writing for myself I had this grand idea in my head. You get published, your book comes out, you get a cheque and move on to the next project.
While that it what happens there is a lot of behind the scenes work. There's editing and rewrites, working one on one with a mentor to polish the polished manuscript until it shines like a diamond. There's promoting the book on line and in stores. The Publisher will do its share but for anyone to be successful you have to be pro-active in promotions.
I've created a solid presence on line with my blogs, my newsletter/group, chats, and forums. That's the first step now comes the hard stuff. Keeping that presence alive, keeping folks aware of me, aware of my work and not giving up.
There seems to be this grand illusion from those who aren't published or don't even write that once you've written and published one book you can sit back collect your royalties and not have to worry about real life. That's not how it works in real life. It takes a solid effort on both the part of the publishing house and the author to keep awareness alive.
I've made myself a network of places and people that I can turn to to help me build awareness. Bookstores, clubs, forums, all are solid marketing tools that can and should be used. I want to be successful, and that means that I have to keep things moving.
While my book isn't due out until next year I've already contact local bookstores, merchants, libraries, about booksignings, and carrying the book when it comes out in print. Most of them don't mind me putting up a poster or bookmarks in their stores to encourage folks to be aware of the book in its e-book format.
The local manager of a huge chain bookstore has already given me authorization to come up and put my work in their store. They can't order directly from the publisher because they are a chain but they're happy to carry my work on consignment. That means that they'll help me promote it. If it proves to be a big enough seller I may be able to expand, put in other stores even online bookstores such as Amazon.
However, that's in the future - its not a now thing. Right now its focusing on building awareness, on creating a network of groups and people that will be lined up waiting to purchase the work. Its now that the real work begins, because the writing of it was easy compared to this.