By the time you reach week nine of the self-publishing process, you’ll already have quite a few things on your plate. So, if you’ve found yourself drowning in the administrative details of preparing to release your first novel, this is the point at which you really want to step back and make sure that you finish your first draft. After all, you’ll want to have plenty of time for revision and editing before your publication date!
This week, instead of dumping more information into your lap, I thought it might be helpful to do a little review of what you should have accomplished — or at least initiated — over the course of the past two months.
So, without further ado, let’s review!
The first week of this series, we talked about drafting a calendar with all of your tentative goals for your release. These included deadlines for: shitty first drafts, revisions, cover art, release dates, and pre-order dates.
Depending on how everything is going, you may be sticking to your deadlines without any hitches. But if not, don’t be afraid to wiggle those dates around a little bit! After all, we won’t commit to that release date until the first draft is finished.
In this post, we discussed the importance of touching base with beta readers as you set off on your drafting journey. As important as it is to get the story written, it’s also important to be sure that you have a team assembled and ready for action when the time comes.
As an example, I showed you the Google Doc that was shared with my own beta team when I began work on the sequel to Pieces of Pink.
For week three, we talked about the importance of finding motivation if you find yourself in a slump. Although I don’t necessarily recommend it, for me a great way to ensure that I followed through with publishing my novel was to announce the release date as soon as I decided to self-publish. Granted, I had a zero-draft of the novel from a few years earlier, so even though none of that writing made it into the final novel, all of the plot points, characters, and settings were fully formed.
But, if you’re starting from scratch, finding a writing group or trying out something like Camp Nanowrimo could be an excellent source of motivation!
On week four, we delved into the world of cover art. From hiring a cover artist to venturing into graphic design on your own, there are a few different paths you can take to give your novel a polished look.
For samples, I showed you the many mock-ups I completed before settling on the cover for Pieces of Pink that you see today!
This week was a bit of a break from traditional writing advice. Instead of focusing on the project itself, this week, I talked a little bit about the ways in which unforeseen circumstances can impact your writing journey.
From accidents to funerals to social distancing, unexpected things are bound to interrupt your journey, and that’s okay. Just stay positive, regroup, and remember you can accomplish your dream, even if you have to modify your deadlines in order to do it.
During the sixth week of your writing journey, we delved into the possibility of creating an LLC. Although it’s not a requirement to be self-published on platforms like Kindle Direct Publishing, some distributors require you to be an independent publishing company (even if you only publish your own work) in order to have your books included.
So, if you do plan to set up an LLC, it’s important to get the ball rolling sooner rather than later. Without fail, legal processes always take much longer than you expect!
Once again, for week seven, we discussed the value of obtaining unbiased feedback. Although it can be tempting to use your Mom, husband, or best friend as a beta reader, don’t do it unless they’re professionals. (And let’s be real, even if your Mom is a professional editor, chances are it’s going to be tough to receive unbiased feedback from her.)
This goes for cover art, interior design, and more! After all, when you’re self-publishing, you’re responsible for much more than just the words on the page.
For the eighth week in your self-publishing process, we talked about the dreaded (at least for me) social media accounts. And noted that they’re really not that scary after all! Even if you don’t have your novel published yet, it’s so important to create an online presence for yourself. Without an online presence, you have no way of updating your audience on the latest news and publication information. So, be brave and get those accounts rolling.
Of course, I know that was a lot of information to cover all at once, but I always find it helpful to take a look back during the writing process. If nothing else, you’ll be proud to see how far you’ve come. So, for the next few weeks, buckle down, oil up that typewriter, and finish your first draft! Good luck, and feel free to share your writing thoughts and experiences in the comments section below.