So You've Written a Book, Now What?
So You’ve Written a Book, Now What?
New authors mistakenly think the hardest part of writing a book is the creation and completion of the manuscript. The manuscript is only the first step of a long journey.
Here are 10 additional steps to consider when getting ready to publish your book.
- Start a Critique Group – Many authors fail to get feedback from their family, friends or peers on their advanced copy. Plot holes, character development, typos, punctuation, flow of the manuscript and other suggestions are all key pieces of feedback to consider as you finish your book. Even getting feedback on the cover is vital. Sadly, many people judge a book by its cover.
- Hire an Editor – Your critique group may not be able to tell you exactly what they feel about your book because they do not want to hurt your feelings and they are not your editors per se. Hiring a professional editor is critical. I read a self-help book written by someone who said all you need to do is hire a college student majoring in English to get your book proofed and edited. That is certainly one approach, but I would suggest finding someone who has a resume of editing books. A true editor will be able to provide valuable insight and recommendations to make your books that much better and more professional.
- People Judge Books by the Cover – As mentioned in point #1 people may not buy your books solely based on your cover. Spend the extra money to have a professional design your book cover. Expect to pay between $25 to $350 or more for a good cover. Make sure the graphic designer incorporates the image you have in your mind but also leverage his/her creativity. If you don’t want to pay for a graphic designer or artist, then at least sign up with a service like Canva to help you in choosing the graphics for the design of your cover. Once you know genre of your book you will notice that many books in that genre have a similar look.
- Do I Need an Agent? – In the old paradigm of book publishing an agent was a good idea to have someone knocking on publisher’s doors for you. In this new paradigm of print-on-demand, eBooks and independent publishing an agent is an unnecessary step and an added cost or allocation of sales revenue out of your pocket. There may be a good use case for an agent if you are famous and only working with publishers otherwise it is one less outgoing expense.
- What is Your Marketing Strategy? – Relying on word of mouth, your Facebook friends, twitter and other social media platforms will only take you so far in making money. Advertising is key to selling more than a few books a week. There are many platforms to choose from, i.e., Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, Twitter, Google and many others. Probably the first thing to know is who your target audience is, their age ranges, interests, what platform do they primarily use, do they have disposable income to buy your books or would their parents but it for them, etc.? Depending on what you find out or understand about your audience will determine where you should invest your money to increase your sales. Once you choose which platform on which to advertise you will need to invest for a few months versus just one time. Expect to spend $500 or more a month to see results and monitor it in real-time. Consistency is key. If your ad is not getting the results you expect consider tweaking the image, fonts, slogan, animation, colors, etc., to see if your sales pick up. Constantly monitoring and improving your ads will become a regular routine.
- How Many Books Should I Print? – Print on demand and eBooks are the new paradigm. No upfront costs. No print runs. Correct mistakes as you notice them or as others bring them to your attention without having to do a new print run. Once you make the updates to your book online the mistakes are gone.
- Is This Your First Book? – If this is your first book you want to give your readers a link to your website where they can go to learn more about you, what you are working on, more insight of your book characters, etc.? If this is not your first book make sure you reference and have links to your other books you have written where they can easily purchase your other books with the click of a link. Writing a series is a very good way of increasing your sales especially if they are priced right and, of course, they liked your book.
- Paperback or eBook? – Why not both? With print of demand you can have the best of both worlds. You can have a print and digital edition. Printed copies are usually more expensive, but some people just enjoy and want that paper feel in their hands. Others have transitioned to E-readers such as kindle or nook and love the convenience, portability and protection from the weather.
- What is the Optimal Price to Sell my Book? – This is a very tough question. You should have a strategy to help you determine the price point. Do you plan to write many books? Do you want to get your name out there with your first book to “hook” the reader into buying your other books at a more expensive price? Do you plan to offer your book at a low introductory price for a specific time frame and to raise it after? Do you plan to advertise? (refer to #5) Amazon thinks the ideal price range for eBooks is between $.99 and $2.99. If your strategy is to write a series of books you may want to price your first book less expensively that the subsequent books to make it easy for new readers to “invest” in your book with an inexpensive price point. I have noticed that many authors start their first book at $.99 or $1.99 as many readers are willing to “risk” buying it at that rate because they are not really losing anything. Once you have three or more books, with many reviews and ratings as you release new books I have seen many authors these days never price it below $2.99 a book and sometimes even $3.99 or $4.99. Paperback book pricing varies on the number of pages and other factors but unless you are a top seller it is not optimal to sell your book above $12.99 to $15.99 each. Once again it goes back to your strategy.
- Do you have a Newsletter? – One of the downsides of selling your book on Amazon is you never know who the purchaser was. Thus, it is hard to do direct marketing since Amazon and others do not share that information with you. Getting people to subscribe to your newsletter is a great way to have direct contact with your readers and fanbase. Consider investing in BookFunnel or some other subscription service to assist you in managing this vital step to announce what you are working on, when your next book will be released, get feedback, etc.
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