Happy Friday! This month marks one year since I signed my contract with a publishing company to have my first book, FOR THE LOVE OF JAZZ, published.
What an amazing journey it’s been! There have been great times, times I wanted to pull my hair out, and times when I thought my brain would explode from information overload and having too many things to do. To save your brain cells from scorching and possibly exploding, I’m going to offer you 6 tips.
1. START YOUR AUTHOR PLATFORM NOW
I can’t begin to tell you how much time and stress this will save you in the long run. It can seem overwhelming and put you into freeze mode so you don’t do anything. NOT GOOD. I thought I was ahead of the game because I had a blog with followers and a Facebook author page for over a year. WRONG! I was scrambling to keep up and made many mistakes. Here are my tips for you.
If you have a blog, keep it and tweak it to become your website if you don’t have the funds or the time to create one. If you do a website, link it to your blog that way you don’t lose your followers.
If you decide to get a website make sure to include all the important things. Visit http://selfpublishingteam.com/tools/ for some great tips including a checklist.
Pick 1-3 social media formats. Don’t go crazy like I did trying them all and getting burnt out, or looking like a moron who didn’t know what they were doing. Research each one to see which one fits you best and learn how to use properly before going onto the next one.
Connect with your followers, get to know them and let them get to know you (not too personal if you don’t feel comfortable) and start to build an audience who’ll (hopefully) buy your book when it comes out.
Post blogs about your book, the characters, setting, etc. to get readers excited about the book BEFORE the book is released.
Start connecting with review sites (those that review your book’s genre) and book bloggers so they know you when you send a request for a book review or want to do a blog tour.
Don’t assume your publisher/editor will edit your work as thoroughly as you’d like. I learned that the hard way and me and my book suffered because of it. A couple of things:
Have the book professional edited, if you can afford it, before you even submit to a publisher.
Have someone you trust (preferably a grammar nazi) to do a line by line edit when you get the edits back from the publisher and incorporate all those chances before it goes to galley mode. It’s harder to make changes are that point.
3. BOOK COVER
Send image samples of the cover you like or a cover sample and not just text. It will give the publisher a clear idea of what you want and increase your chances of getting a cover you like.
4. SAY NO
Don’t be afraid to say no to suggestions from the publisher if you feel strongly about something. Most are willing to work with you, but if you say nothing then you’ll get nothing.
5. GET YOUR CONTRACT REVIEWED
I recommend getting not only a lawyer (familiar with publishing industry), but an agent (if you have one), or someone familiar with the industry, to make sure there aren’t unclear clauses that could cause you problems in the long run, and you’re getting a deal you’re happy with.
6. LEARN THE INDUSTRY
Read, read and read some more about what is happening with the industry, your craft, and anything you want to know what your writing career. Link up with authors and websites and subscribe to their blogs.
Regularly clear out the blogs you follow so they include the ones who are helpful to your career and ones you know you’ll read.
Don’t just read the information but pick one thing a week or month that will move your forward in your career.
Once you sign that contract, and finish your happy dance, get to work on that task list because they’ll be plenty to do once you get that manuscript back from the publisher with the first round of edits.
It’s okay to be overwhelmed and even a little scared, but don’t let it stop you from moving forward. Remember that you’re right where you want to be. Getting your book published!
You’re not a sissy if you ask for help. Authors are one of the most supportive group of people I know, so find some you can connect with and ask questions. It will save you time and you’ll make some great friends!
You will make mistakes, there’s no doubt about it, but hopefully these tips will keep you from making the mistakes I did and make your road to publication a little more stress free.
TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK. What were the hardest things about your journey to publication and how did you overcome them?