I mentioned to my friend, Iona, that I was getting an alpha reader and she expressed her surprise at how complicated publishing a book was. Don’t get me wrong, it can be easy to just write something and fling it out there in these days of the internet, but for myself, I’m only affected by GOOD QUALITY storytelling and so that’s what I want to produce. That means quite a process to go through.
- I think of a story, plot it and write it—as fast as I can.
- I make sure the story works, first with an alpha reader, next with a professional manuscript assessor. Using their notes, I re-write and juggle the story until it’s just right.
- I look at the language and syntax I’m using, trying to ‘show and not tell’, use active language rather than passive, etc, so my readers are drawn completely into the story and don’t notice the writing.
- I start the process of creating the cover by engaging a designer. Usually I give the story to her and then she knows what I’m talking about—and she asks some very interesting and difficult questions, like ‘What movie or book made you feel the way you want your book to make your readers feel?’ Sheesh, that takes some thinking!
- Sometime in here, I need to ask the New Zealand National Library for some ISBNs for the e-book, paperback and audiobook.
- I get the manuscript proofread by as many people as possible: my husband, my mother, my VA, etc. Anyone with an eye for detail and knowledge of language.
- About this time or before, I need to work hard on coming up with a good blurb. Trying to distill the story and creating a description that makes people want to read it is quite an art, so I often ask advice from my writers group.
- At the same time, I need to figure out where my book fits within genre parameters. Is it a romantic suspense more than it’s a fantasy, or is it a fantastical romance? Or is it dystopian young adult? Or both?
- IN THEORY this is a good time to record the audiobook (I haven’t done it like this yet), as reading it out loud can help me to find mistakes I wouldn’t usually find. (The audiobooks are available at most audiobook outlets including Audible CTLT, THCNS).
- I get the interior of the book designed. This determines how many pages the paperback has, which determines how thick the book is, which determines how wide the spine is, which changes the design of the cover, of course! Now, if I spot any misspelling or wrong language, I have to get the designer to shuffle things around—way more expensive and time consuming!
- I distribute Advanced Review Copies (ARCs) to a few dozen people so they can post their reviews as close to the launch as possible, which helps Amazon ‘see’ my books and book buying people to know if the books is for them. I collect good reviews from, say, authors, and perhaps get them put on the cover.
- I get the paperbacks printed.
- I go around the local bookstores and ask them if they’d like to stock my book in their store.
- I put the ebook and POD paperback files up on Amazon and the audiobook through Findaway. I send the author copy of the Amazon paperback to my friend in Seattle to check that it prints properly. It’s way too expensive to get it sent here in NZ.
- I organise a big party at a bookstore, so that all sales at the launch party count towards official book sales and push the book into view in the NZ market. Last time that meant that The Heart Casts No Shadow got to #4 on the NZ Fiction charts. Very cool!
- I lodge the legal deposit (2 copies of the paperback) to the National Library, and email them the ebook and audiobook files.
- And somewhere in there, alongside all of that, I make a big deal on social media, perhaps do some advertising and rah-rah-rah wherever I get a chance. One day I hope to get on someone’s radio programme or podcast.
Well, that’s got me tired and thinking of all the things I need to get done. *sigh*. It’s likely I’ve forgotten something, too. So, yeah, need to work on my stress levels LOL!
Now I’m feeling very ambitious even trying to keep on writing through all of that.