Happy anniversary to me!
A year ago today I bit my lip and pressed ‘the button’. After many days of shrieking as my finger hovered over the bright yellow ‘Save and Publish’ button on KDP, I finally joined the published masses. Oh, I have learned so much in this last year. Let’s see how my expectations last year compares to where I am now.
Here is the post I put up discussing all that was needed to publish my first novel–I’m adding my updated thoughts in red:
Since posting up my book trailer and releasing my launch date (11-11-11!) I have to be very sure that I’m going to make that deadline. Originally, I thought I could release the book in early September since I wanted to get it out before I had my second child, but with all the work required for launch promo it’s probably best to wait a couple of months to get a handle on the baby blues and sleepless nights. And 11-11-11 is way too cool of a date to pass up!
Well, I’m a list maker (you probably could tell by all my bulleted previous posts) and something about this stacked plan makes me rest a little easier.
1) Get the MS back from the editor-make all changes and send it back out for second check (Still a good idea, but send it out to as many beta readers as possible prior so that you don’t make costly changes after you sent it to the editor…found this out the hard way…i.e. pricey way)
2) Create LLC and small press publishing name: Rock Castle Publishing (Many do not take this step although I’m glad I did.)
3) Send blurb out on forums to get feedback (Folks at the Kindle Board Forum are especially helpful for blurb critiques.)
4) Send cover out to forums to get feedback (Again, see Kindle Board Forum.)
5) Make final changes to book and send out to second copy editor (it’s always good to get two pairs of eyes to catch everything) (Actually, I’ve now decided that three sets of eyes are needed. Even after two fantastic editors, I found a few glaring typos after publishing. It cost me double to have my formatter make the changes. It’s cheaper to pay for another proofreader than to have things reformatted, not to mention the embarrassment of having typos.)
6) Make final changes and read through to make sure it’s perfect (Last chance!) (See notes above about betas and a third proof-reader)
7) Sign up and register for copyright (You actually need to do this after you have the print copy in your hand since you need to send it to them and you only have thirty days to do that once you’ve filed.)
8) Buy 10 ISBNs (I’ll probably get 10 since I have a series and many more books planned) (Many use ISBNs from each distributor, but I find it is much more convenient to have one number for all vendors)
9) Work with my graphics designer to make the POD cover with author photo and book description (Can’t do this until you have the exact page number from the formatter. Plus, have an interesting chapter vignette made to use at the start of each chapter.)
10) Send out to book formatter for B&N, Smashwords, and POD (Createspace) formatting (I know now they’re called epub, mobi, pdf files. If you’re technically skilled, buy a formatting book and do it yourself. It will save you a lot of money for all the books in the future and it’s much easier to make changes.)
11) Send out to book reviewers to review around launch date (Definitely a good idea except that most of your reviewers have long waiting lists. Query as many as you can, but you can always do this after release. Blog tours are a good idea before a release, but only if they specialize in your genre. I used a book tour and should have done more research on the hosts. Many of them were Romance and YA genre fans.)
12) Get quotes from positive reviewers to put on the back of the book & website (Still haven’t done this. I find it is sufficient enough to include my favorites under the blurb.)
13) One month before release send out trailer on all writer’s forums (Make a book trailer if you enjoy it, but it’s not necessary for release, and I didn’t see any sales from posting on the forum. Anything directly promoting your book doesn’t get many views there. I get at least one view of my book trailer page every day so it does get attention on my website at least.)
14) Ask close bloggers to review my book on their blogs or send out the word of the release (My blogger friends were the best! Definitely try to network among other bloggers and authors and trade guest posts for new releases.)
15) Look up all relevant blogs and ask to guest post (I really should do this more when I find the time.)
16) Put up the book for pre-order on Amazon.com (What was I thinking? Amazon does not grant indie authors pre-orders.)
17) When it’s released send out notification on forums, blogs, and websites (Great idea if you have the time, but I found that free promotions are the only thing to affect sales)
18) Get second book out in a few months! (This is critical to building a platform and driving sales…write more..more..more!)
So there it is. I’ve picked a date and I’m going to stick to it. This is actually real…this is going to happen
Yes, it did happen and I’m so proud that it has. I’ve accomplished so much. It may have come by trial by fire, but I’ve reached my first goal. I posted up my expenses after the first release (here) and all I wanted was a couple of sales a day to get back the money I put into the book by my first year. Good news is that I have reclaimed my expenses to date (in addition to the money I invested in my second, longer book). Again, I had to do this by putting the first novel free, but I am very happy with my sales. Now, I’m definitely not topping any best seller lists, but the steady sales and positive reviews keep me going. I’m just now bringing in profit to use to get my third book out.
If I could go back one year would I tell myself to send out more query letters? Should I have listened to my dream agent telling me that true series don’t sell? That I should wait a few more years to get reviews that send me bouncing around the house for days? Delay the ecstasy of holding my first book in my hands for another five years?
No way. I might like to whisper a few secrets I’ve learned along the way (uh um…do NOT sign up for KDP select!), but I would push that publish button days earlier.
What an awesome journey this has been! Can’t wait to see what next year—and another release—brings 🙂