You have a story to tell and you’ve finally found the right person to tell it to. Your partner in crime loves crime fiction and agrees to listen to your tale of woe, only for you to realise on the night of the planned crime that she has a different idea in mind. You’ve got a good thing going, writing night after night, only to have her roll her eyes and say:
“I feel sorry for all the authors who have to deal with untalented editors like you.”
What went wrong? If you’re to be really honest, there are several flaws in this scenario that could have been avoided. One being that you failed to plan your story’s ending and two being that you didn’t involve other writers and reviewers in your process. These are all good points because if you want to see your work published, you need to learn how to get it out there into the world for others to find, read, and enjoy. That’s what this article is going to help you avoid so you can continue writing and enjoying the process.
If you’ve got an agent, editor, or publisher and you’ve been working with them for some time, they will have had the opportunity to show you some of the books that they’ve sold. The best way to improve your work is by looking at what previous authors did well and learning from their mistakes. Publishing is a constantly changing environment and if you want to continue to grow as a writer, you need to be open to new experiences and learning from other authors’ successes and failures. Feedback is important and it comes from several sources. First and foremost, you need to be listening to and acting on the feedback that you are receiving correctly. This is why it is so important to have a support network of other writers and bloggers that you can bounce ideas off of and clarify what you’re hearing and seeing. If you don’t have a strong writing community, try and find one or two individuals that you can share your work with and get feedback from directly. You can also use services like Critique Circle to get feedback from several reviewers all at once.
Plan Your Publishing Journey
When you finally decide to take the plunge and put yourself out there, whether that be by publishing a book independently or through a small press, it’s time to start thinking about the process. Before you begin sending out your finished manuscript, take some time to plot out a road map for its publication. Start by making a list of all the people that you need to contact in order to get the book published. It’s also a good idea to make a list of all the titles that you are aware of that your work has parallels with. Having a few books on the same subject matter but from a different perspective can help make your work stand out in the crowd. A few well-placed parallels can be a great way to catch an editor’s attention and get your book considered for publication.
Decide On A Platform
When deciding which platform to use to publish your book, take your time and weigh up all the pros and the cons. The most important thing to do is to find a platform that allows you to reach as many people as possible and gives you the best chance of being discovered. For many authors, platforms like Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, and Apple’s iBooks are a good place to start. If you’re worried about pricing, consider looking at POD (print on demand) companies like Canva or Printful where you can get wholesale pricing for print runs of up to one million books. Alternatively, you could look at crowd-funding platforms like Kickstarter where you can ask for money from readers in order to fund the publication of your book. For more information on self-publishing, the article “How to Self-Publish a Book” by John Locke is a good place to start.
Learn About The Industry
If you’ve been writing for a while and have amassed a good amount of knowledge about the industry, start thinking about how you can put this to use. One of the best things that you can do for your work is to learn about marketing and promotion so that you can get the most out of your publication. Even better, take the opportunity to speak at venues like writer’s festivals or conferences about what you’ve learnt. Not only will this give you the chance to share your knowledge, but it will also make you more accessible to potential readers. If you do decide to speak at a festival or conference, make sure to prepare a number of relevant examples from your own work so that you can showcase this newfound knowledge effectively. Above all, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Most individuals in the industry are more than happy to help educate you if you’re willing to learn.
If your work is strongly themed, particularly when it comes to crime fiction or dark fantasy, you might want to consider publishing under a pseudonym. Not only does it allow you to explore more subject matter, but it also gives you the chance to experiment with new styles and voice. For those who love a good mystery and thrillers, these are perfect fit subjects for a pseudonym as not many people will put them down as favorites. If you’ve got a strong following on social media, consider using a pseudonym and seeing what kind of content you can create that will draw in more fans.
Write Further Testing Material
As you start to ramp up for the publication of your book, it’s a good idea to find additional material that you can use to test the market. If you’ve got a strong following on social media, consider making a Twitter account for the sole purpose of this endeavor. On this platform, you can use the #selfpublishchat or #selfpubchatmojome hashtags when posting your own work-in-progress to get in touch with other creators and see what kinds of feedback they can give you. If you’re looking for an easy way to find and connect with other authors, consider using a site like Goodreads where you can add your own books and connect with other readers. If you’ve published a book, you can use its metadata (title, author, etc.) to get a brief bio and a few sample pages to enter into a free writing course like Creative Mornings or Writers’ Centre to get some feedback from an experienced tutor. Even better, if your story is strongly themed and you’ve got a following, consider making a Pinterest page specifically for your work.
Use The Internet
The internet allows you to research any subject matter in an instant and when you’re armed with this kind of information, publishing a book about witchcraft or zombies or mermaids won’t seem quite as scary or challenging. Take advantage of this research opportunity and learn about the kinds of creatures that readers might be interested in. If your work is strongly themed, you might want to consider making a blog for the sole purpose of promoting your book. If you’ve got a strong following, consider setting up a Facebook page for your book. On this platform, you can use the #selfpublishchat or #selfpubchatmojome hashtags when posting your own work-in-progress to get in touch with other creators and see what kinds of feedback they can give you. If you’ve published a book, consider making a YouTube channel to showcase videos of yourself reading from or narrating your work. Not only will this allow you to reach a wider audience but it will give you the chance to experiment with new styles and voice.
Follow The Book Industry Trends
As we mentioned above, the book industry is constantly changing and evolving to fit new trends and new platforms. If you want to stay relevant and have your book succeed, it’s important to follow these changes and evolve with them. One way of doing this is by regularly attending literary festivals and getting in touch with relevant individuals in the industry. Another is by regularly checking out social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to stay up to date with what’s trending. If you do decide to attend a festival or conference, make sure that you prepare a number of relevant examples from your own work so that you can showcase this newfound knowledge effectively. Above all, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Most individuals in the industry are more than happy to help educate you if you’re willing to learn.
If you want to know more about the publishing process, check out the article “How to Self-Publish a Book” by John Locke for detailed information on getting started. We hope this article has been helpful and if you’re looking for more publishing advice, you can read the full collection of guides on our blog. To find out more, visit us at selfpublishingnovel.com.