If you have written a book, you have already taken the first step towards becoming either an indie author or a published author. It’s what happens moving forward that can make or break your book.
So, you have written a book, but now you need to know what the next step is. Well, the good news is that you have done what many people consider to be the hardest part. You have written a book, a story, a collection of stories, whatever it is that your book is going to be. It’s done, but is it finished? No, not by a long shot.
The Next Step In Your Book’s Journey!
Writing a novel, story, or book is only the beginning of your journey as an author. If you plan on submitting your book to be traditionally published, you’re going to take a slightly different path than, say, the path of an indie author. The other option is what is known as a vanity press or hybrid publisher. They’ll act somewhat like a traditional publisher, but many require an investment on your behalf. There are a lot of hybrid or vanity publishers out there that don’t have the author’s best interests at heart, so do your homework carefully before signing any contracts or handing over any money.
For authors looking to sell their books to a publishing company, you’ll need to find an agent. Of course, you can shop your manuscript around yourself, but agents open doors that many unknown authors will never be able to open by themselves. If you have written a fiction book, then you’ll most likely need to finish it completely before you head to an editor. It’s also suggested that you get an editor to give your manuscript a final polish before you start the process of finding an agent.
If you’re writing a non-fiction book, then you don’t necessarily need to finish the entire book. A strong outline with three or four chapters may be enough to start the process of submitting the book to a publisher. If you’re not going to try selling your manuscript or have tried and failed, but you have written a book, what’s your next step?
So, You Have Decided To Become An Indie Author!
This is where things can become exciting! Well, excitement may be an overstatement. More like this is where things will take a little bit more work on your behalf. As an indie author, you’re responsible for editing, proofing, formatting, cover design, and uploading to book sites such as Amazon, marketing, and social media. How much or how many of these you do yourself is entirely up to you and your budget. If we can suggest one thing, allow the experts to do some of this work for you. It’s one thing to save a few dollars, but if it ultimately ends up hurting your sales or your book’s reputation, have you really saved anything?
If you have to save money to help with a tight budget, then marketing and social media is the first place to start. Both are extremely time-consuming, but we’ll cover those a little bit later in the article.
What To Invest Your Money In!
Consider the following as the foundation of your book. Just like a house, a strong foundation is the biggest investment. If you do one or two of the following but skip one of the others, it can have a huge impact on your book. It would be like building a fantastic house but saving money by not building a solid foundation. It could be a disaster.
- Editing – The first thing to do is have your book edited by a professional editor. They’ll help with the flow of your book, any errors or inconsistencies, and any areas that need to be tightened up. You need to do this first before you head into the book layout and interior design stage. It saves writing a lot of time later if your manuscript is complete.
- Eye-Catching Book Cover – You need an eye-catching cover. Despite what we would all like to believe, people really do judge books by their covers. A cheap and nasty book cover is a big turnoff to many potential readers. Your cover designer will need your finished word count before the cover design is finished if you’re doing a paperback version of your book.
- Book Description – If they love your book cover, then the next thing that they’re going to do is read your book’s description. An eye-catching book cover followed up with an enticing book description which is written to draw the reader in and push them towards the next step, buying your book is essential.
- Book Formatting and Book Layout – Once a buyer makes that tough decision to spend some money on your book, they’re going to either open it up if it’s a paperback or download it for their e-reader or tablet. Now you need great formatting or book layout and design. Children’s books are especially important when it comes to book layout and design. You have very limited space, and a skilled children’s book formatter will be able to help you maximize every space and limit wasted opportunities. You want the reader to be focusing on your story or book, the illustrations, and pictures, not all the small mistakes amateur formatting will highlight. This is especially critical with paperback copies of your book.
What’s Next Now Your Book Is Ready To Publish?
Now you have written a book, it’s time to keep moving on, but before we do, could we make one recommendation? Even if you only ever intended for your book to be an e-book or digital book, think about paperbacks. With the great Print On Demand (POD) services available, it really is an easy and automated process. Once you have your book available for print and linked on sites such as Amazon or Ingram Spark, it’s a great additional revenue service. Also, there’s nothing better than handing out physical copies of your book!
Okay. Your book is ready to be released to the public. So, now you have excellent editing and proofing, a great book cover, and professional formatting. The foundation of your book is now as strong as it’s ever going to be, and it’s up to you to sell that book to the best of your ability. If you’re lucky, your book will sell itself! You’ll now need to upload your book and decide on what type of distribution you’re thinking of.
This is where it can take a little trial and error. There are several different options when it comes to choosing a home for your new book. Amazon is the biggest book retailer on the planet; there’s no denying that. If you do decide to utilize Amazon, then you’re not just limited to Amazon unless you go with Kindle Unlimited, then you need to give them exclusivity on the e-book version of your book. As a trade-off, you get five free promotion days every three months, preorder options, countdowns, etc.
Other sites where you can upload books include Smashwords, IngramSpark, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Nook, Draft 2 Digital, and many more. Some sites only cover their distribution, while other sites will publish your book across other sites like iBooks, etc. You can load publish your book directly to each platform or choose one company to handle that for you. Some companies even offer publishing assistance to help you out. Once you hit that publish button, you’ll be able to tell all your friends and family, ‘I have written a book!‘
Marketing and Social Media
Now, we’re at the pointy end of the stick. Marketing and social media can be as broad and wide-reaching as you make it. Our advice is to follow the adage, K.I.S.S (Keep It Simple Stupid), and start off slowly.
The first thing that you want to do is create an author website. Design a professional-looking website that displays the information you want to put across. Something about you as an author, maybe a blog section, and of course, a section on your book or books. Try to design a theme or logo that is recognizable across multiple platforms and that you can keep consistent across different sites. You’ll need to create profile pictures, banners, headers, etc. It’s worth getting some professional website help and design work when it comes to themes, layout, and logo design.
Now that you have a great website and your logo or theme, it’s ready to move onto social media. Yep, the dreaded marketing and social media. There are dozens of different social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumbler, and many more. The more social media sites you choose to be present on, the less time you’ll be able to spend on each. You run the risk of missing out if you’re not on all social media sites, but you also run the risk of spreading yourself too thin on each if you focus on too many at once. Start with one, and if you can handle it, then move on to another one, and so on.
Then you have book-related sites like Goodreads, BookBub, AllAuthor, and many others. These sites allow you to upload your books and create author profiles. Some offer additional services, such as their own social media marketing, for a fee.
You Have Written A Book, But What’s Next – Conclusion
There is a lot of work that goes into publishing a book. You can spend a lot of time and money only to have it sit on a shelf, never to be sold or downloaded. There is no guarantee that despite your best intentions and hard work, your book will sell. What you can control is the final product. The last thing you want to do is put a great book out there only to have it fail because you missed a step or approached it healthily. To be able to say ‘I have written a book’ is an amazing feeling!’
Do your book and yourself as an author a favor and put out a product that is absolutely amazing. Don’t give a reader the opportunity to fault your book because of spelling mistakes, poor editing, or bad formatting and leave a negative review. They say no publicity is bad publicity, but a bad review can follow your book around forever! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us at Indie Publishing Group.
At Indie Publishing Group, we’re proud to assist Canadian and North American authors in self-publishing their work. If you are in the process of writing a book and need any assistance with paperback or ebook formatting, cover design, professional editing, or uploading to self-publishing sites such as Amazon KDP and Ingram Spark, please don’t hesitate to reach out and contact us.
Our experienced and professional self-publishing team is standing by to assist you with your self-publishing dreams.