Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Process of Getting Published

Here's another question for my indie FAQs section here. I'll be putting this question and answer there too as well as in this separate blog post.

What's the process of getting your novel published? I'm a newbie in this world of writing. And have no clue what's next after the book is finished.

This question came to me from someone who said she would probably go indie, but I'll cover both routes. First, read this post. Make sure you meet the checklist. The rest of my answer is predicated on you already having met a certain standard of writing.

Okay! Here we go.

Even if you 100 percent plan to go indie, I recommend you submit to agents and/or publishers IF this is your first book. (If you're an established author, don't sweat this part.) Do it for feedback, if nothing else. Agents and publishers may see things you don't, marketing strategies you don't. And if you're extended a contract, by no means do you have to accept it. If you're rejected constantly and for the same reason (need work on your writing skills) that also tells you that you're probably not quite "there" yet writing wise. If you're rejected because your work "is not marketable," however, then you're especially well suited for the indie world. "Waiting" is my #1 seller by far, and it was termed well written but not marketable. Turns out, yeah, it is marketable. ;-)

Route one: You decide to negotiate and accept a contract (either/and for agent and publisher). Have a lawyer work with you on this process. Some contracts are very harmful to authors. Don't go there. Walk away if you must. (I recommend you read route two as well, especially the latter part, because it applies to all authors.)

Route two: You go indie.

First, I think you have to decide if you're going to be under the banner of a publishing imprint with its own ISBNs and all. (I don't do that. I let the sites I upload to pay for my ISBNs.)

Then decide whether you want to start off exclusive to the Kindle for ebooks (this is called KDP Select; you can still do print anywhere). This is for a 90-day period, with renewals. There are pros and cons all over the Internet, so I won't go into them here. But make the decision. If you can't decide, then don't do it. You can always opt in later.

Next is whether to do formatting, cover, editing, etc. work yourself or pay for it. Some indies use good betas and/or critique groups in place of editors to save money. Some do their own covers. Some do their own formatting. You have to decide all this. Look at your budget and evaluate your own capability. (Think about what you plan to charge for your book.) Formatting isn't that hard. Download the Smashwords style guide and follow it, even if you plan to go Kindle only. For your covers, you don't have to be a Photoshop whiz. Here's a simple bare-bones PowerPoint tutorial.

You most likely have at least one e-reader (mine is Nook). Okay, good. Now download the Kindle and  Nook (and whatever else) apps on your phone and computer. That's what I did.

If you decide to NOT go Kindle-exclusive, you have a lot of potential places to upload. You can do this in many orders. You can decide to do Smashwords first because its autovetter may catch formatting issues and because Smashwords converts instantly. You may decide to do BN first because it takes longest (in my experience and in many others' experiences too). If you're still on the fence about KDP Select (Kindle only) you may decide to do Kindle first for a few days and see how sales there go. Anyway, decide on order. (If you're approved for Smashwords premium distribution, it takes maybe six weeks for your title to appear in the Apple, Sony, Kobo, etc. bookstores.)

Once you have your book uploaded to wherever and it is on sale, either buy it or download the sample. Check it on as many devices and apps as you can. Make sure the formatting is OK. (Have either indented paragraphs--preferred--or a space separating paragraphs, but NOT both.)

Move on to print (CreateSpace is easiest for me). This will be a snap after all the ebook stuff. I recommend paying the $25 for expanded distribution. It's paid off for me. Order a proof. Make necessary changes. Approve.

OK, the book's published. Open a Goodreads author page. An Amazon author page, too. LibraryThings and Shelfari and Facebook, etc. etc. if you want. But Goodreads and Amazon for sure. I also recommend you make an Amazon UK author page. Amazon UK is my #2 audience, in front of even print and BN.

Hold giveaways on Goodreads. Go to Google Blogs and find reviewers for your book. Send what will most likely be courtesy (free) copies. Don't stress too much about this. The main thing here is to KEEP WRITING. More books give you more chances to be discovered. Build a nice, sleek backlist.

OK! That's it for now. Let me know if I forgot anything.

No comments: