One thing I’ve noticed over the last three years working in the publishing industry is that not many authors fully understand that writing The End isn’t actually the end of their journey with that manuscript.
In fact, that was probably the easy part … yes, I heard that collective gasp of, ‘Yeah, whatever, Emma …’
But seriously, whether you’re going for a traditional publishing contract or are self-publishing, your journey is only just beginning.
Today I’m going to talk about the things that you’ll need to think about now that your manuscript is ready, but which should be thought about when you get to the halfway point in your WIP. These elements apply to any and all authors, whatever route to publishing you’re taking.
So, have you got the following lined up?
- Beta readers
- Cover designer / own software to do this
- Typesetter / own software to do this
- Advanced readers
- Contacts in the blogging community
- Marketing / blog tours
- Active social media accounts
- Contacts with local media groups?
- Contacts with local book shops?
- Advertising budget
- Publishers and agents you want to approach
- Professional bodies you can join
- Accounts and tax
- Submission package, blurb, synopsis writing
You can be forgiven for thinking you won’t need any of this if you’re going for a traditional contract with a publishing house and they’ll do it all for you, right? You finish the manuscript, send it off to them, complete the edits they return, choose a cover from the two or three they send you, then that’s it. Sit back and wait for it to hit number one in all the right places, the money starts rolling in, you move to a cottage in the middle of nowhere, and hide out while writing the next one until it’s the night of the movie premier of the adaptation in Hollywood and you’re there to meet your characters.
That’s how it works, right?
This is also something many authors don’t fully understand. Publishers only have so much money so once your initial marketing and publicity has been done around publication day that’s it for that book. Think about it, if they constantly publicised every book every author on their list had out, they’d need an army of staff and a bottomless pit of money to keep up with it all. I’ve spoken with many authors over the last three years who are signed with publishers and had no idea how much time they’d have to spend on the things I’ve listed.
Publishers will typically do the following:
- Initial marketing and a blog tour
- Potentially media and book shops
The rest is up to you.
Don’t get me wrong, some publishers will do more than others, some will do what they do with such passion you’d think they’d written the book themselves! It’s all down to the publisher and your contract – I am talking in broad terms here, so please, don’t be offended if you do more than what I’ve detailed.
Over the next few weeks I’m going to look at each element in detail and offer tips and guidance to help you navigate the tricky world of publishing. The information I’m going to share will be useful for all authors.
Before I go, something else self-publishing authors don’t always know at the start is the cost.
If you’re not already, sit down.
It typically costs between two and five thousand pounds to publish a book.
A minimum of two thousand pounds if you use professionals to do your editing and cover design. Don’t think these elements are important? Read some of the Self-Published Author Case Studies I’ve shared on the blog. These are things people have gone cheap on and lived to regret down the line. Also, the people you expect to buy your book deserve it to be in the best possible shape when they part with their hard-earned money.
Hopefully, at this point in your journey you know you need to be saving some money to get these things in place, you will have thought about some of the list above, and will be prepared for it.
So, now we know that there’s a long road ahead, I’m going to let all this sink in and next time I’m going to be looking at editors and proofreaders. When to start sourcing one, what you need to look for, how to approach one, what they should do for you, and how to work with them when you send them your manuscript.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this; have I missed anything? What was the biggest shock you had either as an indie author or with a publisher? Have you published one way or the other and have a story you’d like to share? What would you change about your journey so far? Is there something else you’d like me to talk about?
See you next time.
Keep writing x