Now that Pieces of Pink is officially out, it’s safe to say that I’ve learned a lot about independent publishing in a very short amount of time. From LLCs to Photoshop and InDesign, there are so many road blocks that spring up along the way — especially for your first novel — and it can be really helpful to have a clear-cut guideline to get you moving in the right direction.
For anyone out there hoping to self-publish or go indie, I’ve decided to share my own methods as I work to produce my second novel in the Color Code series. Every Tuesday, I’ll be posting a weekly update, outlining the steps I take to get a story from my brain to my readers’ hands.
So, without further ado, let’s talk about some of the things you’ll need to parse out before you get rolling.
1. Career or Hobby?
The first question you need to ask yourself is: Are you planning to make this your career, or are you just self-publishing for the fun of it?
If you plan to make writing your career, you may want to start by getting an LLC rolling. Why? Because this LLC will serve as your publishing house. When I started my journey to self-publish my novel, I read a lot of conflicting information about whether or not to create an LLC, and when I finally decided to go for it, the process ended up taking way longer than I expected. So, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to have hardcovers (or brick-and-mortar stores carrying my book) in time for my release date.
Of course, if you’re just planning to write for fun, starting off with an LLC is a very costly and unnecessary commitment. (We’re talking $500 to $1,000, depending on whether you decide to set the LLC up on your own or to work with a lawyer.) And since using KDP on Amazon is free, if writing is just a side activity or hobby for you, there’s no reason to dump the start-up costs for a business into your project.
2. Set a publication date . . . but don’t announce it yet.
Once you’ve decided you want to self-publish, it’s important to start setting some goals for yourself. Start by setting a tentative publication date, but don’t announce it yet. Chances are you’ll need at least two extra months beyond what you initially predict for yourself.
Personally, I need an absolute minimum of three months to write my novel, two months to edit it, and one month for the nitty gritty publishing details. But, having just learned from experience, six months cuts it a little uncomfortably close, and if you want to allow time for pre-orders (more on that later) you should leave at least eight months for your first project.
For more info on setting goals and deadlines, tune in next week, and I’ll show you the super simple plan calendar that I developed while I was student teaching! (After all, planning is half the battle when it comes to self-publishing . . . especially for those of us who aren’t naturally task-oriented.)
3. Start a Website
Now for the fun part. When you have a few goals and deadlines outlined for yourself, you can go right ahead and set up your website. Be sure to include:
- An Author Bio
- A “Books” Section
- A Contact Section
- Your Homepage/Blog
- And decide how often you’re going to post. (I post every five days, but I’ll be switching to once a week as I start my new project!)
It might take you a couple of weeks to get everything laid out in a way that you’re comfortable with. And don’t feel pressured to spend money on your blog immediately. It’s perfectly alright to set up your website, get everything rolling, and purchase a more refined domain name later down the road!
And don’t forget, your website shouldn’t be all about marketing. It should also be a place where readers can congregate to see what you’re up to, and get to know you and your work. (Plus, I try to have fun with my posts when I can!)
So, if you’re interested in self-publishing, indie publishing, or just knowing a little more about the process of writing a book, feel free to tune in for the next segment of this blog series every Tuesday at 9:30 a.m.!