So, I’ve written my book, I’m an author! << Ceeeee-la-brate good times! Come on! >> But what do I do next?
When I started this journey more than five years ago now, I thought that the hardest part would be fining 100K+ words to put down in a row that told something of a coherent story. I’ve since found out that writing the book was the easy part. Also, I don’t know why I though finding enough words for a full-length novel would be hard for me. None of my family and friends were overly surprised that I was able to spit out that much material (I’m a bit of a chit-chat).
Lucky for me, one of my very best friends has already walked down the path of being a successful author. I’ve mentioned her and her books before – K.T. Lee; The Calculated Series – but I’ll never stop singing her praises. This meant that I had somewhere to start from and a knowledgeable resource to bounce around ideas with. She’s given me everything from her detailed advertising/promotion analytics to edits on my book description. She’s also helped me wade through the chaff and find the publishing resources that work for me and my genre. She even introduced me to some of her service providers. I had a roadmap for being successful at selling fiction books and that made the decision to try and publish much easier.
The first big question was should I try to self-publish or find a literary agent to sell to a traditional publishing company.
From KT’s experience, I knew that trying for traditional publishing was exhausting, demoralizing, and extremely time consuming. Then at the end of all that work, you might still have to start over and do the self-publishing thing anyway! I also have no illusions that my genre – Jane Austen Variation Novels (aka: Jane Austen Fan Fiction) – is any traditional publisher’s idea of the next big thing. Personally, I love these novels, and I know that the kinds of people who read in the historical fiction and Jane Austen variation genre consume upwards of 50 books per year each (yes that’s right – almost one book per week on average!). So, there is definitely a market for my books. Just not the kind of market that trad publishers are looking to take a chance on with a new author.
From a practical standpoint, I decided that I wouldn’t spend my limited time chasing a literary agent and just start on the self-publishing route from the beginning.
Okay, great! I’ve got my path! I’m going to make this work! I’ve already got the book written (all 120K+ words of it – which is waaaaaaay tooooooo looooonnngg). How hard can it be to make it over the final hurdle?
Very Hard. Very Very Very Very Very Very …
To get a book ready for launch, you need:
- Book Cover (a good one, not just the title on a generic free downloaded picture)
- ISBNs (one for each format)
- Copyright Filing (at least I’m a lawyer …)
- Developmental Edit (then you have to do some rewriting)
- Proofreading Edit (NOT THE SAME PERSON AS DEV. EDIT)
- Interior Book Design (wha….)
- ARC Readers (googling wtf is an “ARC”)
- Reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, BookFunnel, Kobo and other book sites BEFORE the book comes out (HOW?!?!? – See #7)
- Email CRM and Author Website (Welcome!)
- Marketing Plan that probably includes figuring out a Facebook/Instagram Business account (PSA – it was not intuitive)
- Other things that I’ve not even figured out yet (can I go back to just writing yet?!?)
You also probably should become a professional photographer so that you can make attractive content for Instagram and Facebook, a professional copy editor so you can make effective ads on Amazon/FB/IG/Kobo/BookBub, a professional graphic designer unless you are going to pay someone to do the cover and interior for you, and it’s probably a good idea to purchase significant stock in your favorite brand of caffeinated beverage to keep you up all night in order to have time to get this all done in one lifetime.
I’m in a fortunate position that I have a full-time job and a supportive family, so I’m not relying on my books to make my living. There’s no definite timeframe by which I have to get everything done. I’m doing this primarily for personal enjoyment and the challenge offered in a new endeavor. I also have the desire to see my books published, sold into the general public, and hopefully make some money after a few years. But mostly, I’m doing this as my own creative outlet.
And I hope that it always stays as my happy creative place, otherwise I won’t do it anymore.
I know myself too well. If writing and publishing my books ever starts to feel like a job on top of my full-time day job, I will stop doing it. I’m not looking for another stress inducing activity. This will always be play for me. That doesn’t mean I won’t do it with all my abilities and throw my whole self into that endeavor. It just means I’m not going to beat myself up if I don’t post to FB or IG every day. And these blog posts will probably come every other week or so. I haven’t even figured out newsletters yet, so don’t be expecting too much email spam from Storm Haus.
If you are like me and want to try self-publishing for the excitement, challenge, creativity, and a passion for books – Good Luck! Let me know on Instagram or Facebook what you’re up to. I’d love to hear about your journey, follow your successes and your struggles.
If you are looking for some resources, I’m going to add a few links below that I’ve found helpful. Most of these are just things I like. I’m not getting paid to put any of this out there.
No matter where you are in your publishing journey, and even if writing books isn’t your outlet, I wish you so much success and even more fun!
The Creative Penn by Joanna Penn – tools and resources for self-publishing authors.
MyeCoverMaker.com – Free online tool for making social media ready cover art.
Alliance of Independent Authors – Membership organization with resources for authors, self-publishers, and service providers. *Affiliate Link provided.
Women in Publishing Summit WritePublishSell – Paid courses and some free resources for marketing and launching a self-published book. *Affiliate Link provided.
Mark Dawson’s Self Publishing Formula – Podcast, paid classes, and some free resources for writing and marketing a self-published book.
I’d love to connect with you! Come find me in all the usual places: