My hat goes off to all of the successfully self published women. And there are a lot of them! To this day, I still follow 17 successful writers. Why? I wanted to know what social media sites they were on. What were they saying and how often.
Oh, it takes more than a great story. Today, you have to have stamina to make it in the publishing world. From long hours to numerous rejection letters.
To self pub you have to write a story readers wish to read. Hold the press! Don’t write your story yet. First, you better build your platform. Also known as your stage. People need to be able to find and follow you. (Seriously! Who are you going to ask to buy your book?) On places like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads, (learn Goodreads) LinkedIn and maybe Tik Tok! Wait, no spamming allowed. You can’t just shout out to the world that you have a new book release. You have to give them something. A reason to follow you and like you. Share your ideas, recipes, gardening tips, movie or book recommendations. Give your audience something worth their time for following you. That’s how you build up your readership.
Next up! Strategy. When do you plan to release your novel? Have a realistic date in mind. Stay focused. Plan a successful book launch and it will all be worth it! NEVER listen to the naysayers.
Build your website. Be sure to have the basics. Home, About, Books, Appearances, Book Clubs, Blog, and Contact pages.
Write a monthly blog. This helps to keep your name out there.
Create a newsletter to build your list. These are your customers. They belong to you… not Facebook, but you.
Find yourself a good critique partner.
Please hire a cover designer!
Research and find a GOOD book editor.
Find your tribe. Family, friends, book clubs, reading groups.
Start a street team across America.
Connect with other writers. Do cross promotions with them by sharing book launches, shout outs on each other’s email news releases, etc. This is called cross marketing.
You’re not writing… correct? Because you need to work on the business of promoting and selling your story by including market research, advertising and appearances first.
Back to business. You’ll need to buy ISBN from Bowker. One for each story. Create your books layout. Write keywords, a blurb, the front and back matter, the acknowledgments page, and taglines for the book. Imagine your in an elevator and someone says to you describe your story in one sentence. I always have 5 taglines on hand. (Ready to go depending on who I am talking to.) Write a dramatic question.
Create 30 hashtags relating to the storyline.
Plan to buy copies and send out to your advance readers. ARC (Advance readers copies. Be sure to tell them to write in their review on Amazon. Received an advance copy of BOOK TITLE in exchange for an honest review.) Or Amazon won’t post their review. #Bitchbastards
Set up your pre order campaign. Optional. I didn’t do this for my first novel, but you bet your bottom dollar… I’m doing for the second.
Schedule your book signing tour. Virtual or in person beginning on launch day. Schedule giveaways. (Goodreads, LibraryThing, BookishFirst in exchange for email addresses and reviews.
Advertise on Facebook, Amazon, NetGalley. Target your audience.
Mail campaign. Send out flyers to your street team, book club members, family and friends. And don’t forget to do an email blast.
Tell me, you’re not writing yet!
Create your book trailers. I like to create at least 12. One for every week leading up to book launch.
Plan your book launch party. Posters, giveaways, create beautiful artwork, maybe caricatures for your characters.
Launch team. Give them something for assisting you in the success of your book. Maybe, free digital copy in exchange for a review on Goodreads and or Amazon.
Are you getting excited yet? If it sounds like a lot of work… it is, but the rewards are tremendous. Being able to say, “My name is registered at the Library of Congress. My book is on sale!” Is an amazing feeling.
These are only some of the lessons I’ve learn with publishing my first novel. The best advice I can give you is to do the leg work first, because when your book is about to be released… you will not have the time to do anything else. When you write your story you will be glad everything else is done!
On March 30, 2021 I launched Still Crazy. I am delighted to say, on Goodreads more than 18,000 people have put Still Crazy on their reading list. And it’s only July! On June 25th, 442 people downloaded the book in a single day. Was it all worth it? You betcha! Yes, it’s a lot of hard work, but in the end… I’m glad I became a writer. I hope this blog post helps someone else to become a writer. If I can help or assist an aspiring writer, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I look forward to reading your work!
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Judy Prescott Marshall writes women’s contemporary fiction. Her novel Still Crazy is available everywhere books are sold. She is currently editing and planning the launch of her second novel The Inn in Rhode Island and writing her third novel The Castle.