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Preparing for Publishing

By on February 27, 2015 . Category Column

Editing is quite the process. It’s not something just do one afternoon (though it is something you have to make time to just do whenever humanly possible); it has stages, and if you don’t have any kind of plan regarding your plan of attack, you could easily end up floundering and drowning in your own words.

(Which is a terrible way to go, in case you were wondering.)

Everyone’s approach is going to be different, but it helps to know the general stages of editing when you’re working out your plan.

1. Blog

Even if it’s just yourname.wordpress.com, you need to have some kind of online real estate. I’m not saying blogging daily is required—even weekly isn’t necessarily the right move, especially if you’re not into it. Don’t do anything you really hate, but do make sure you have a space to showcase your books, provide an author bio, book summaries, tour date info, and other stuff.

2. Social Media

Another place where you’ll want to have a presence is social media. Again, don’t do things you don’t love, but do find something that gels with you and give it a try. Facebook author pages are popular, and Twitter has a huge writer’s community (as you well know, fair readers!), but there’s also Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, and loads of others that you might enjoy. Go where your target audience is most prominent, and have fun with it!

This is a place to make real, genuine connections, so don’t hop on social media and go, “HEY I HAVE A BOOK PLEASE BUY IT”—no one responds to that. Instead, just talk. Dialogue. Put your book link in your bio, and don’t be shy to mention it, but keep your #hashtaging #to #a #minimum and make sure you’re offering more than “SPEND MONEY ON ME” to your followers and fans.

3. A Book!

What a concept—you actually need to write a book to publish a book!

You know this, I’m not being belittling, I’m just teasing. If you don’t have a finished book, I’m sure you’re working tirelessly to finish it. This is pretty much the most important part of publishing a book, so I’m not even going to get into it here; there’s plenty of information on finishing the book out there already (like…on the rest of my posts! Hint hint.)

4. Editing Services

Once you’ve got your book written, it’s going to need some serious editing. I get into that right over here, but in review: You’ll need to read your book, other writers/friends will need to read it, and then professional editors will need to read it. You’ll need to consider the suggestions and corrections from all of these sources, make changes accordingly, and then do final edits for structure, grammar, punctuation, and format.

5. Cover Art

Here’s where things get fun! Or stressful. I don’t know, it depends on you.

This is the part where you find a talented artist whose work you can afford.

Be picky. Shop around. Check portfolios. Study past work. Ask questions. Get a real, solid feel for the ability of the artists, as well as their personalities. Remember, this is someone you’ll be working closely with, so getting along and having agreeable temperaments is important. Don’t settle for someone you don’t enjoy working with or whose work you’re not moved by—your book, and indeed you—are worth the best.

6. Publisher Options

Are you going to go with an independent publisher? A vanity press? Going it completely alone? Which avenues will you pursue? Amazon is one, but what about Smashwords? iTunes? Barnes & Noble? Of course, you’ll be on Widbook. That’s a given ;)

Knowing your publisher options is important, as is knowing which options appeal to you most. Carefully consider this. It’s a big decision.

7. ISBN

Once you go through all these other steps, make sure you’ve got yourself an ISBN number! These are a crucial way to introduce your book to the market and ensure that it’s able to be tracked, ordered, and supplied as needed to your readers.

8. Putting it All Together

We’ve got cover art, we’ve got a publishing platform (or several), we’ve got our online presence, we’ve got a book and it’s been professionally edited.

Let’s do this publishing thing!

Depending on how you’re approaching publishing, different formatting options might be available or required for easy user reading. This might be as simple as making sure your chapters have proper headings and saving your work as a specific file type. Formatting is more tedious than difficult, so just read through the guidelines of your chosen platform and put on some good music to keep the task fun!

Once you’ve got all the elements in place, it’s just a matter of following the publishing guidelines for your chosen platform. They’re very clearly mapped out on the various sites, so just follow those guidelines and upload your art, information, files, and documents when prompted!

 

The final step is: Try not to freak out! You did it! You wrote and published a book! Good on you :)

 

What publishing platforms have you used, or are you planning to use? Are there any steps here I missed? Tell us your experiences in the comments!

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