Last week, I talked about getting feedback, finalizing your manuscript, and getting it ready to publish. In this final post about the process of publishing Midnight House, I wanted to touch on the indie publishing process, marketing, and other aspects of getting your manuscript out in a professional form.
Let’s get started!
To Self-Publish, or Not to Self-Publish…
Your hard work has paid off. You have written, edited, and copyrighted your manuscript and are ready to move to the next step: publication. Here, you can go one of two ways: traditional publishers or independent publishing.
If you go the traditional route, you’ll want to craft an eye-catching query letter that hooks the reader, and hopefully, you get a request for your manuscript to be sent for review.
If you go the independent publishing route, you are in control of the publishing process.
I went independent for several reasons with The Field and Midnight House:
- The novels are professionally published in both eBook and paperback form for sale and distribution;
- The books are sold in the same online marketplaces as traditionally published works (Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, etc.);
- I have the same access to social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, personal website) as other authors.
Now, the downside, of course, is that it does cost money to self-publish. I recommend you do your research and find a publishing company that fits your needs and your budget. Many have packages for just eBooks or for an eBook/paperback bundle.
I cannot stress this enough: Make sure if you invest the money to self-publish that you have a plan in place to pay yourself back via your 9 to 5 or other income. Being an independent author is great, but don’t expect to make Stephen King money with your first novel.
Author Dan Brown had written three novels before the DaVinci Code. After that hit big, the other three became bestsellers.
Be patient, keep writing, and don’t get discouraged.
Sometimes You Should Judge a Book By Its Cover…Especially If It’s Yours
If you do decide to self-publish, many publishing companies offer in-house cover art services. If you wish to seek out your own cover artist that fits your stylistic needs, I recommend checking out my post on the topic, Finding a Cover Artist.
It’s a Team Effort, But You’re Coach
Once you’ve taken the leap to publish independently, keep in mind that you are the boss. You are in control and give final approval to every aspect of the publishing process. It’s essential to be engaged, respond quickly to any questions the publisher may have, and don’t be afraid to ask any and all questions before and during the process. This is a financial investment on your part, so making sure things are exactly as you want them to be is critical.
I highly recommend keeping all correspondence upbeat and positive with everyone you are working with throughout the process. As Team Coach, you set the tone, and you have to make sure all parties involved stay focused and motivated to create a great final product. If you have issues with something, inquire nicely—no need to be an egomaniac or a jerk. Everyone has the same goal: to get your novel professionally published and out to the world.
When each step is complete, take the time to email those who helped you and thank them for their hard work and assistance. A little professional courtesy can go a long way, especially if you plan to use the same cover artist or publisher again in the future.
Have I Got a Novel for You!
Marketing starts with you. You control the message. You control what people initially know about your book. You are the point-person when it comes to getting the word out.
Utilize your social media and let people know you have a novel coming out soon (I recommend you start putting the word out six weeks before the book comes out). Post the cover. Post the blurb from the back of the book. Work on generating interest among people you know who can help get the word out to others.
But you don’t have to stop there.
If you desire, you can work with a marketing firm that specializes in independent publishers. They can help you craft a press release for your book and get copies in the hands of book reviewers who can help get the word out about your novel. A marketing firm can target a specific market and demographic for your book to reach the right people who can help sell your book.
This, too, costs money, so budget accordingly.
The key here is to get your book in front of as many eyes and ears as possible. When the book is released, there will be buzz about your book online, with reviewers, and hopefully, you can snag an interview or two to talk about your book.
Writing a novel, a non-fiction book, a screenplay, a play, and any other creative work takes time. It truly is a marathon that requires hard work, dedication, professionalism, focus, and energy to get to the final stage of the product’s release. I’m very proud of my independent publishing team’s work on The Field and Midnight House. And when you get that box of paperbacks in the mail and open it and see a book’s cover with your name on it, it really is a thrill.
I hope this five-part series was helpful to you and will help you on your publishing journey. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment, and I will get back to you.
Happy writing, and happy publishing!