You wrote a book! Yay!
So now what?
Well, lots of things. This post will attempt to walk you through all the steps I take after I type The End. (For advice on earlier stages such as planning and plotting, cover design, and the decision to self-publish, see my earlier blog posts.) I self-publish, so all the steps I take pertain only to MY OWN experience self-publishing.
I am going to assume your book is polished and ready to go–that means your beta readers or developmental editors have already given you feedback, and you have made all the necessary changes. Your blurb is amazing, your cover is fab, and you’re ready to go!
I usually try to give myself give myself a month for all the steps listed below…sometimes it’s less. If you want paperback ARCs, you really need to give yourself a couple months. That’s impossible for me…
ONE MONTH TO TWO WEEKS OUT FROM RELEASE…
- Reveal the cover: Social Butterfly PR handles this for me. MAKE SURE you put the book up on Goodreads before the reveal so people can add it! When bloggers post your reveal, they need the cover, the blurb, any preorder links you’ve set up, and the Goodreads link! I always do a gift card giveaway on my author page the day of my reveal and ask people to like, tag, share.
- Editing: I send the book to my editor (s). These are copy edits, not developmental, so they are minor things at the sentence level. I give my editors 1-2 weeks when possible. When I get the edits back (they use track changes in a Word doc), I make the changes and send it on to my proofreaders.
- Proofreading: I send the book to 3 proofers with eagle eyes. If I’m short on time (usually the case) this often happens as ARCs are going out. (This is why my ARCs always say “This is an uncorrected proof. Please forgive ay errors in copy.”)
- Outreach: While you’re waiting to get edits/proofs back, create your release week promotion schedule. Reach out to bloggers/book groups and ask if they allow takeovers or giveaways. Try to book some promo every day of your release week! The huge bloggers and book groups are booked way in advance and can be hard to get into, but there are plenty of medium or small sized groups that would love to host new authors! More advice on building buzz here.
- Formatting: I use Vellum to create ebook files, which formats specific versions for Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, etc. It’s amazing, and I highly recommend it. I used to pay a formatter, but no longer. It’s much easier being able to make changes to my own ebook files–it’s free, it’s easy, and it takes hardly any time! The only thing Vellum doesn’t do that I wish it did is format for paperback.
- Make teasers or hire someone to make them for you. My best advice is to emphasize the tropes in your book with whatever image or taglines or quotes you choose. Sexy can work too, but people don’t always love posting the super dirty stuff.
- If this is your first book, set up your accounts on Kindle Direct Publishing, iBooks, Nook Press, and wherever else you plan to sell. If you’re going to release in Kindle Unlimited, you only need KDP. You will need to have your banking and tax info ready.
ONE TO TWO WEEKS OUT…
- Send out ARCs: I use Social Butterfly PR, and they handle blogger signups for my release blitz (always on release day) and review tour (usually 1-2 weeks later). SB sends those ARCs out for me. I send ARCs to my Harlot ARC Team, usually about 110-120 of them. My ARC team understands that signing up means they must read and review by release day, and post their review during release week.
- Optional: Send to author friends for blurbs. More advice on that here. Don’t be afraid to approach authors you have a relationship with. GIVE THEM AS MUCH TIME AS POSSIBLE. If they’re too busy, they’ll say no, and it’s totally OK. I have to say no 9 out of 10 times. If they say, “go ahead and send it and I will try,” say thank you, send it, and leave them be. If they get to it, they will email you back. At the end of the day, I don’t think author blurbs sell books anyway. One thing that might be more useful is asking if they would share your links on release day.
- Keep Building Buzz: Use your author page and other social media to share teasers (you will need at least 3 really good ones), the GR link, the preorder links, sneak peeks, your Pinterest board, inspiration pics, etc. Consider making a book trailer. Note: put your cover image on those teasers, even if it’s small! Change your banner to one that has your cover and the release date on it.
THREE TO FIVE DAYS OUT…
- Upload your final file to your retailers. You can do this directly or use a distributor like D2D. I do it directly, but I have used D2D in the past and it’s great! It’s an all-in-one-place uploading station. They take care of the distribution for a fee.
- As soon as I have a final Word doc with all edits, I send to a paperback formatter. For AFTER WE FALL, I used Shanoff Formats, and I was really happy with it. You also need your cover designer to create a paperback cover for you.
- Upload on Createspace and create the paperback version. I like Createspace because I can order copies of my own book at cost. But KDP now allows you to create a paperback too, so you might check that out.
ONE to TWO DAYS OUT…
- If you didn’t do a preorder, you will have to hit “publish” a day early to be certain your book will actually go live on time. Sometimes it takes 2 hours, sometimes more.
- As soon as you have your links, email the release blitz package to any bloggers who signed up. SB does this for me, so I have no idea what’s in it! I assume it’s cover, blurb, teasers to choose from, and purchase links.You might have to do this before you actually have your links so they can schedule their posts…it’s OK. Send them the links when you have them, and they will add it.
- Cross your fingers. At least 10% of this business is luck!
- Congrats! Be active on social media. Change your profile pic to your cover. Visit blogs and thank them for posting about you. Do giveaways anywhere you can. Try not to stress over things you cannot control like rank or sales numbers. You can’t control who buys what, but you can make sure you give them every opportunity to SEE your book! Keep posting!
- Start some Facebook ads, if you can afford them. Even boosting posts for $5 a day can get you more visibility.
I’m sure I’m forgetting a ton of things…but hopefully this helps!