Three more days until the big Paper Beats World Announcement!
Welcome to the very simple (not really), quick and easy, (no) super fun (well, yes), and completely stress free (not a freaking chance), twelve step guide to self punishing your book! This is my game plan, my map for the next year or so to publishing my collection of short stories. But it should work equally well for any sort of book you’re writing.
Let’s dive right in, though. There is so much you’ve got to consider when you’re self publishing. You don’t have an editor, a publicist, a design department or any of the other things that you have with traditional publishing. That means that everything, every single little thing, is in your hands. Good news, you are in total control. Bad news, nothing will get done if you don’t do it. So, here’s where you start.
Step one, write the book
This will probably take the longest time. I know it does for me. I’ve gone over my whole process of going from rough draft to polished draft a ton, most recently when participating in the IC Blog tour, so I’ll not bore you with that again.
Step Two, Edit the hell out of the book
Make it shine like the top of the Chrysler Building!
Step Three, hire someone to edit it for you
Or, get someone you trust to edit it. I’ll be hiring someone for my book, and let me tell you why; I will not go out into the world with my shirt un-tucked and my fly down. I want someone else to red pen my book, and give me an honest opinion of it before I invest a lot of money in it.
And by the way, this is something every traditionally published book goes through.
Step Four, Cover art
Unless you’re a really lovely artist, or graphic designer, or photographer, hire someone to do this right for you. This is likely where a lot of my self publishing budget is going to, because people will judge your book by it’s cover, no matter how many times we are told not to.
Step Five, copy write your book
And any other legal things you have to do. You don’t need to be paranoid about intellectual theft, but you do need to be aware of it. While we’re at it, if you’re going to be taking people’s money, and keeping important files on your home computer, get a good firewall and virus protection.
Step Five, Research publication options
Now, this is the step that has worried me the most. I’d like to offer my book as an e-book, but also have the option of print. But print books are a whole different beast. Sure, some people love them, but they are going to be more expensive to create. They also have to be shipped, which takes time and money. To justify it, I might end up having to charge more for a print copy than an e-book.
My current solution is that I’ll sign every print copy, so the reader’s getting a little more for their money. I also think I’ll take a leaf out of the awesome DeliaWrite’s book, and go ask my local book stores if they’ll stock it. It can’t hurt to ask, and it might just pay off.
Step Six, decide how people can pay you
I like cash, but I also like PayPal. I like whatever gets that part done and out of my mind fast enough, honestly. When it comes to money, I’d like buying my book to be as self served as possible, so I’ve got time to order prints, ship stuff and eventually get back to actually writing more books.
Step Seven, decide where your book will be available
I’m not getting into the Amazon fight here. Every time I turn around it’s in the news again, so I’ll just say that I haven’t made up my mind about whether my book will be there or not. Just be aware that while there are other options, they don’t all have the same popularity.
However, I will say that wherever my book is, it will not just be there. I intend to set up on as many different platforms as I can, to guarantee that if one shop goes down, I’m not out of commission entirely.
Step Eight, start talking about your book on social media
As soon as possible. If possible, put of excerpts from your book on your blog. Get people excited about it.
Step Nine, set a release date
It should be far away enough to gain anticipation, but not so far away that people get bored. (No, this is not what my current count down is about. That’s something totally different and really awesome, but my book’s not done yet.)
Step Ten, sell your book!
Stick to your launch date. Plan for technical things to go wrong. Make sure that if you use a seller like Amazon that you know when they will have it available. Read your contracts. And celebrate!
Step Eleven, keep selling your book.
Don’t stop talking about your book! Mention it when relevant, talk it up during holiday gift buying times. Participate in Cyber Monday. Maybe even do a mini relaunch down the road.
Step Twelve, write another one!
It’s an old saying, but it’s a good one. Nothing sells a book like a sequel. Besides, no one wants to be a one hit wonder. Even Harper Lee finally got around to writing another book.
So that’s it. Easy, right?
Yes! Everyone wants a sequel of Delia’s Perfectly Pink Earmuffs! Now I just need time to write it, whilst still marketing the first one. My advice: start local, get to know your local bookshop owners, ask if you could hold a launch and read an excerpt of your book.
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Great advice. One of the perks of living in a small town, my local store owners know me (and my monsters,) by name. 🙂