This is the final part in this series but for part 1 go HERE; part 2 go HERE; part 3 go HERE; part 4 go HERE and part 5 go HERE.
STEP 10: SPLASH PAINT ON A CANVAS
While your manuscript is out being vetted around, you need to focus on the all-important book cover and beginning the process of uploading to a platform of your choice. Hopefully, as the story progressed, you have a clearer picture of what this visual representation of this sizzling new romance should be to reel in all those unsuspecting romantics out there in the kindle or tablet universe. There are several ways to craft the best book cover:
- If you are so inclined, try to do it yourself with free stock images, Paint, or some other such program.
- If you know a great graphic designer like me, you can maybe work out a lower price or a trade-for-service option.
- Try a site like Fiverr to find someone that can take your ideas and turn them into a great cover.
- Search the internet for those that specifically do cover work and pay for this service.
Remember that the cover of this eBook will be what everyone sees on the sites were advertised first. It will be in all advertising, marketing, and other social media endeavors and should be representative of the entire story. You have seen thousands of books in your lifetime; think about what draws you to a book and put that into this cover. This is your first impression, and the single chance you must convince the reader to review the description and make a more informed decision to purchase this book.
Additionally, the back matter or general description of the book should also be compiled. This should give a brief four to the eight-sentence description of your book that will make readers wish to download your eBook when married with the cover art. Ensure that during this phase, you have one of the groups helping edit your book do this also. This needs to be concise, engaging, and able to capture readers’ attention amongst crowds of other eBooks they will encounter. At the same time, this back matter will probably not make it onto a published hardcover book (although there are options out there to do this print on demand, even if you self-publish an eBook to start).
This is a good point to point out that getting an eBook from start to publish in 30 days means you will do this by yourself on a platform like Draft2Digital or Amazon, or the like. That doesn’t mean you won’t be able to submit to traditional vanity presses or other options after publishing. And it in no way will limit these options; this is just to get those creative juices flowing and produce content worthy of public consumption on a deadline of 30 days to prove to yourself more than anything you can do it.
As you finish book descriptions and have the cover art ready to go as the editing phase in Step 12 is finishing, you should also write up a brief biography. Read other authors’ bio(s) and take notes as a brief research assignment. Then put together one for you that tells your story in highlights and broad strokes. Where you are from, what you do, and writing, family highlights, and maybe a weird habit unique to you make a good read for author bio(s). At this stage, if you haven’t done so with all the material ready, you should be able to, on some sites, list your book for pre-order if you so choose. This will allow you to start marketing the release, start your author pages on platforms you will be publishing to, and starting into Step 13 (Marketing).
STEP 11: GIVE IT OUT TO THE WORLD FOR THE TRAINING WHEELS RUN
You have run the marathon that is writing, Editing, blurb writing, and cover creation in this race to the romance finish line, and the publishing step is up next. Can you see the finish? Are you ready for that celebratory dinner and some mental health counseling? Good. As for a calendar check, we are peeking on the verge of day 30 at this stage. We need to download the requirements for whatever site you intend to submit this new publishing gem (obviously, Amazon KDP is the biggest and easiest platform for new authors).
This is my word of advice; if you don’t intend to follow through with Step 13 and do the marketing for this book, it will get lost in the big ‘ole fishpond called Amazon. Only the strongest survive and make it out of the initial publishing phase. You will need to follow the marketing plan laid out below and tap into another additional skill set to see this romance eBook go anywhere. Amazon holds a hostage market of readers to its bosom, and thus it is by far the best-sourced reading platform out there. Remember, though; you can’t publish anywhere else for 90 days if you go with the Unlimited version. Again, I would reach out via Meetup groups, Facebook, and other mediums to talk to authors who publish on Amazon and those who have diversified outside the platform. Most will go this route for the first release and learn with them before making any additional moves.
Please remember that should you do Amazon Unlimited, it might limit the sites you can put your book for review. Now reviews will be critical, so several sites allow you to upload, and reviewers take your book for free and provide reviews. I know why to give away free books – well, you must spend money to make money, and reviews in publishing equate to moola baby if they are good. More people are reading your book, and that showing in reviews is important. Through social media, you will want to find people outside your direct circle that want to read your book. This releases a PDF version or MOBI version of your book for reviews is critical and leads directly into the next step.
STEP 12: NOW THE YUCKY PART – MARKETING
Social media is a two-edged sword these days; along with all the negatives of people getting into your business, it is how our world communicates. For those with a product to sell, such as this gem of a romance you are about to finish, you MUST have accounts on platforms such as Facebook, Bookbub, Goodreads, Twitter, Instagram, and on and on and on. If your private life, you probably already have some presence on one of these, that is the best one to start with. You will get support for your new venture and use it as a jumping-off point for publishing this new business. And if you believe you get to be a writer and someone else is going to do all the hard work of marketing your book, then (1) you got a traditional publishing contract right out of the gate – congrats; of (2) you are independently wealthy and can afford to hire an army of personal assistants to get your website up, or marketing banners did, and your social media accounts managed.
If neither of those two things is a reality, I have some bad news: writing this romance was the easy part. Remember me saying in step one this was going to be uphill both ways, well you foolishly thought as you finished writing this next blockbuster, all your work was done, and then you turned the corner, and the marketing behemoth monster that appears in your line of sight. There are so many options out there for independent authors today: the good news; the bad is – there is no magic combination of great writing, Editing, and marketing that guarantees the success of a book. It is a lot of hard work, great writing, timing with a smidge of luck that determines who makes it to the top of the mountain.
HAVE A PLAN! As we finish this race and move to step 14, you must have a launch plan if you will ever see even a fraction of success at this publishing game. Book two should that be a tiny voice niggling in the back of your head by this point, will require some level of success for book one. Raffle copters, groups on Facebook, reader review sites, tweets and ads, and the like, oh my will inundate you. YOU are the master of your destiny, so dip the toe into the water, do your research and find a trusted group out there in the cyber universe that resonates with the genre, marketing, and style you feel comfortable with and draw from their experience. Remember, this is not over when the book releases – it is just the beginning, and you need a road map planned out for how you intend to navigate this eBook release home.
STEP 13: PULL IT TOGETHER – AND HIT THE BUTTON
Take a deep breath—one last full read of the manuscript with your edits and those who helped this first round. Ensure you have downloaded whatever formatting guides you are going to need for the platform you are on. If you are an artsy type, make a banner for the new release to be used on your social media – easy to do in Paint or Fiverr runs great $5 basic ads by professionals. Put it all together and start the upload process.
As we are going with the assumption of self-publishing for this first eBook, the platforms you use are good at directing even the beginner through basic formatting and getting it ready for publishing. Pay attention to margins, preview options, and this is probably by far the most important place in this journey to pay attention to the little details. Often, you are blocked from making changes during publication, and thus, a single oversight can be out there for the public without your ability to change it. You cannot preview enough!
- Look at chapter breaks; if you put hyperlinks in for chapters for quick navigation are, they all working?
- Do the page numbers in the bottom of the pages or the top in you are so included look right?
- Is spacing throughout the book consistent?
- What did the formatting tool call out for errors to correct? Did you fix everything?
- Did you assign yourself as an author? I know, but this has happened.
You will be nervous through this final stage, and when the moment arrives – you will sit back and have second thoughts. What if people hate it? What if you forgot some glaring issue? What if – what if – what if?
PUSH THE BUTTON! As the tear rolls down your cheek, realize it is out of joy and gratitude, and you did an awesome job. As you now wait for it to become live on your first site, call whoever is your biggest fan and share the news. Your mother, spouse, father, best friend, or cat – doesn’t matter, share it – this is a HUGE moment! You finished a bucket list item. I wrote a great romance eBook and accomplished this lofty goal in 30 days! Who would have thought it possible? You! That’s who. Relish it and wait patiently until the moment you click on the website the following morning, and there it is in big news “The Great Romance” by and your name follows. Then get onto all those social media sites we prepared early and tweet, Facebook it out, take Instagram shots of the page and tell the world – you are an author!
Photos courtesy of Pexels