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Thinking About Self-Publishing? THINK AHEAD! (Now I Know…)

First! I hereby admit:
I have not done it yet.
I am not an expert.
I am not saying my way is the only way/the best way/your way sucks.

I’m only a writer who wants to do things right and is willing to do research and spend time and money making sure my stories get out there the right way. With that out of the way, this is the first of a series of posts I’ll call Now I Know. They are intended to help other newbies like me along the path to (hopefully) successful self-publishing.

Lesson #1? THINK AHEAD.

Publishing your beloved book yourself means you have the responsibility of not just being the writer, but being a businessperson too. I cannot emphasize this enough. When I made the decision to self-pub SPEAK EASY, one of the first things I realized was that I had not thought about the book like a businessperson.

At all.

The book was done–done, I say! It was April, and I was toasting myself in smug fashion. I’d have no problem releasing it by summer, right?

WRONG. All I’d done was write the damn story. I had not thought about the realities of cover creation, a marketing timeline, Ebook pricing, booking a release tour, or formatting/distribution. My girls over at The NAturals panicked for me and immediately told me to get moving on the business end.

One of the writers in my group was still finishing her book, but she already had a cover and reveal date, a banner, a release date, and swag! She was building buzz for her book before it was final? Gulp.

I put down my drink (this is hard for me). I dug into the research.

Here are a few resources I found help ful: The Writer’s Guide to E-Publishing, BookBaby, The Creative Penn, the Ebook Formatting Fairies. I also asked fellow writers for recommendations on book tours, editors, cover design, and formatting.

When I emailed the online book promotional people I wanted (AToMR Tours), I found that the soonest they could get me in was August. And in order to decide if they’d take me on as a client, they needed to see the cover, the blurb, and the first chapter. The book (even the chapter) didn’t have to be edited and the cover didn’t have to be final.

Ummm…Cover? What cover?

In traditional publishing, where you’re querying an agent, your ms must must be PERFECT and COMPLETE before you query. And a cover? That’s done for you wayyyyy down the road. You’ll be lucky to like it.

Not so in my new world, where I’m the boss.

NOW I KNOW: Book tours need to be set up months in advance. At AToMR, your cover needs to be released (public) before you can get tour sign-ups (bloggers willing to feature your book). And you need 8 weeks to properly set up a tour in order to give bloggers time to read your book–they are crazy busy and overloaded with reading. Duh!

So think ahead–If you know you want to release this fall, NOW is the time to do your research and choose your partners. Lucky for me, I found a talented graphic designer willing to take on my noob self and work fast. (More about that in the next Now I Know post.)

When my cover was done–I salivate over it daily–I finally sent the necessary materials to the goddess named Julie at AToMR, and I caught a bit of luck. She had a tour spot open up in July–and she liked my book.

I did a little of this.

Goddess Julie helped me set my cover release date in time for bloggers/reviewers to take part, and has answered all my I-know-nothing-please-help-me questions thoroughly and patiently.

Drum roll… My cover reveal for SPEAK EASY is May 31st!

I pick up my drink again to toast Julie and The NAturals for educating me one step at a time. I am completely humbled. (I owe NA writers Laurelin Paige, Alessandra Thomas, Sophia Bleu, Tamara Mataya, and Lucy Stark many cocktails for their patience, generosity, and cheerleading.)

Stay tuned for Lesson #2: THE COVER, or What do you mean, my title is too long for that font???


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