Book Advice From a Newbie, to a Newbie.
So, you’ve finished your book and you’ve decided that you want to publish it yourself. Congratulations. It’s a big step, but you’re determined and you think your book is good enough that someone, somewhere must like it, so why not try?
I published my first book on the 30th April this year and since then I’ve learnt a few little pieces of info that I’m going to share. One newbie to another. Some of these things I’ve mentioned before, but they’re worth mentioning again because there important. These are in no particular order.
1. Get a good cover – Yeah, I know the old saying about judging a book, but that’s the whole point of a cover. To judge the book. A crap cover will cost you sales. And worse still, an inappropriate cover will cost you just as many. Now by inappropriate, I don’t mean a cover of an orgy or something (although that might sell with a certain demographic), I mean a cover that goes against what the story is about. Having half naked men or women on your cover is all well and good if you’re writing Romance (in fact I think it’s probably one of the laws of the genre), but if you’re writing a piece about a character who survives a genocide, or a science fiction book about aliens and man’s place in the universe, you may want to reconsider.
This will cost you money. You have to decide how much you’re willing to spend to get a cover done.
2. Get some crit partners – You’ve finished your book and, if you’re smart, you belong to a writing group so that people will read your work. But you also need people who will read all of it at once. These are the people you should be sending your book to before you even think about publishing. They may well find a dozen faults with it, but they’re one of the most important groups of people a writer will ever meet.
3. Get a copy-editor – Apparently this is a step a lot of indie authors ignore. I’ve not noticed it myself, but it’s worth mentioning anyway. A good copy editor will go through your work and point out all your mistakes or bits that probably want changing. This isn’t the same as the crit partner (although some people fill both roles). This will also cost you money, but it’s money well spent.
4. Write the blurb – Okay, I hope everyone does this bit. But write the blurb. Then do it again. And again. And… well you get the idea. Keep doing it until it’s ready. And then have people read it (preferably the crit partners from above as they actually know the book).
5. Write your author bio – Again, a no-brainer. Make it interesting though. Unless you’ve lived under a rock for ten years, you must have an interesting part of your life. And if you have lived under a rock, put that in, people love weird shit.
6. Start teasing your book on your blog – Show people your cover, post the first few chapters. When I did this back in March/April time, it had two good effects. Firstly, people started to ask when the book was coming out and said they liked it, and secondly it got the cover out there for people to get used to so that when they see it on Amazon, they think ‘hey, that’s that book I thought was interesting’.
7. Research other books/authors in your genre – See how they’ve gone about getting sales and read anything on their blog that might help. They posted that stuff to help people. Use it.
8. Get a thick skin – We’ll look more at this next week. But be mentally prepared for what is about to happen. If you don’t have a thick skin, you’re probably going to tear your hair out at various points in your writing career.
I’m sure I missed a few steps, but those are the main ones I can think of. Next week I’ll go through my advice when you’re about to finally push that publish button and bathe in the warming glow of being an author.
Until then have a good weekend.