You Have To Have A Plan

Friday, November 2, 2018

You wrote a book. Congrats! Now what?

When you look at all the tasks that are necessary to publish your book, it might seem overwhelming as a newbie. It doesn't have to be, though! There's a short list of basics that are fairly easy to do.

In the following paragraphs I'll go over these basics. I'm skipping the writing and editing process since everyone's pace varies. Instead I'll be focusing on what you need to do once you have a finished manuscript. Bear in mind that these are just basic guidelines and some may not even apply to you or you may do them in a different order.

Before anything else, have all your profiles set up. This is your website/blog, Twitter, and Facebook page primarily. Also consider Instagram and Pinterest as both are great tools for authors. You'll need these available when people are seeking out you and your books. Get a like or a follow and they'll see future posts about your releases.

Then you'll need to consider is your cover. There are a lot of cover designers out there with several price ranges for custom and premade covers. Your cover will be the first thing potential readers will see before they even read your blurb, so it needs to intrigue them enough to click to find out more.

Once you have a cover, you'll want to do some sort of cover reveal. This you can do through a book tour company or on your own. If you choose to do it on your own, make sure you get several fellow readers and writers to share it as well on their blogs or social media. This is a good start in generating buzz about the book.

Before you reveal your cover, you need to have a few things ready to share with it: the blurb (synopsis), release date, and a link (either to the book on Goodreads or Amazon). It's best to have a preorder link because you're more likely to get readers to buy your book when they see the cover versus hoping they still remember your book in a month or two when it releases. However, if you'd prefer to publish without a preorder, definitely have the Goodreads link so people are able to at least add it to their Goodreads shelf.

The timing of cover reveal to release date is up to you. Traditionally published authors can have a longer time (three to four months), but for self-published books it's best to have shorter times. This helps keep the buzz alive if the reader knows it's coming in a month or two.

When you pick your release date, make sure you have your final manuscript formatted and ready to go. This is especially critical if you choose to put your book up for preorder. Amazon is very strict about preorders. Once you set it, you are required to have the final manuscript uploaded within a certain number of days before the scheduled release date. If you delay this or cancel the preorder, you will lose preorder privileges on Amazon for a year. So definitely be ready to avoid this.

As far as marketing and getting reviews of your book goes, there are several options out there. Blog Tour companies, PR companies, Goodreads groups, Facebook groups, and NetGalley for starters. There are a lot of great groups on Goodreads and Facebook specifically for promo, and some authors (if you're already friends with them) will allow other authors to post in their group about a new release or to request ARC readers. When you're new you may have to invest a little bit of money to get your name and book noticed, but the investment is small and will help you in the long run.

You can even contact bloggers directly yourself, but be sure to thoroughly read their review policy to know they read your genre and are accepting new books for review. Some may not be accepting reviews, so check to see if they're able to host you for an interview or guest post.

Once you're closer to release, you can start scheduling posts on your blog and social media. It's easy to schedule on a blog and Facebook page, but if you need to schedule for Twitter you'll need to use Tweetdeck or Hootsuite. These multi-profile platforms are great for planning ahead and you can use them for multiple social media accounts all in one place. Personally, I have trouble posting daily, so scheduling posts is a useful option that you should definitely take advantage of.

On release day try to stay active online. Like posts you get tagged in about your release and leave a thank you on blogs that host you. Share your release in groups that allow open promo. And try not to get stressed over sales or average ratings. You did something amazing: Published a book! Be proud of your accomplishment.

And that's about it! At least, until the next book. *wink wink* Hope the advice helps you with your self-publishing plan!

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