This post will cover topics leading up to novel release as well as what to do after your book is available to the public.
There are so many paths a writer can take leading up to their book's release date. Some authors jump right into marketing while others prefer to sit on the shore of the publishing world waters, content in their accomplishment. Being an indie author puts you in control of the business side of publication as well as being the writer -- a dual hats role. Knowledge is key in the self-publishing world. Fortunately, information can usually be found quickly online, and for free.
Utilize the opportunities waiting at your fingertips. In the current market, having an understanding of the business side of writing will help guide you toward your goal of not just publishing, but developing a career. As an indie author, you will be in control of every aspect from the prose to the cover, promotions, and finances.
A lot of important decisions can be made prior to stage four in the publication process. During the period between writing your first draft and letting your manuscript 'rest' before editing, think about where you want your book to be sold, if you want to offer a print version as well as ebooks, and what you are willing to spend on marketing.
Now jump forward one stage to the editing process. While the professionals have your work in hand, make the most of your time. Go over your plan: review, revise, and update accordingly. Things change and your plan should adjust not only to the market, but to your current goals.
Whether you are self-publishing or with a traditional publisher, these are marketing options to consider:
Blog Tours: These usually take several months to plan and prepare for, but a smaller tour can be organized quickly. The tour can include author posts, interviews, and/or reviews. You can set up your own blog tour or hire someone to do so.
Other Common Online Services include: Book Blasts, Cover Reveals, and Facebook/Twitter Launch Parties.
Online ARCs: The online book sites for bloggers and reviewers such as NetGalley (there are others. too) can be a great option to help build a book tour. You will pay a fee to be listed on there if you are not with a traditional publisher, but this is a good option for the author who doesn't like the process of contacting blogs and reviewers themselves.
With a tight budget, you can do all your own online promotions. Just be aware that this will take time and effort on your part to coordinate various platforms.
Once you do that last edit and your final read through of your novel, it's time to execute your plan step-by-step.
Having gone through the publication of one novel and several short story releases, with more scheduled this year, I recommend that you make yourself available on release day. It is more time consuming than most anticipate and you want to be available for reviewers and readers as well. You will probably be manning your social networks and email consistently throughout the day. This is not the day to kick back and enjoy the fruits of your hard work. Today is the day you launch your book and for most reading this series, your career.
Enjoy the rewards of this huge accomplishment by treating yourself to your favorite breakfast and then get online bright and early. Nothing can replace the enthusiasm of the newly published author being 'out there' and accessible on this day. Readers, as well as the online publishing community -- bloggers and authors you network with -- will want to be a part of this special day. In marketing terms, that can translate in to sales. That's the goal in promoting your book via all the sites supporting your book with reviews and mentions on launch day.
As much fun as it is to stare at Amazon rankings all day long, try not to get caught up in it. Your focus on release day is to get the word out about your book to as many people as you can. Letting the emotional roller coaster of rankings seep into your psyche can alter your mood--good and bad. Don't give those numbers that much control.
As recommended previously in this series, a daily allotment of time should be spent building and maintaining your online presence. You determine how much or little you want to be involved in this aspect. Although the day after your book's launch can be just as busy, most writers need to return to their regular schedule and think about what's next. Unless your goal is to publish one book, the process of publication is cyclical.
If this is your career, you have probably already started on your next story. Spend your designated 'creative' hours focusing on the new story and immersing yourself into your characters. For some writers, they will see this stage as starting all over. Others will view it as a challenge they are ready to take on.
No matter what you decide to do with your career, take the time along the road to publication to enjoy the accomplishments of each stage. You are doing what you set out to do and the rewards lie in the process as much as the end product.
Thank you for joining me on this journey.