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Monday, 20 January 2014

What you NEED to be told BEFORE publishing

What I Wished I'd Known before I Published
Part Four

Juliet Madison - Start planning promotional strategies and writing blog tour posts for your book before you're published, as these can take up a lot of time. 

Marci Nault - I wish there had been a manual handed to me the day I signed my contract - a published author boot camp. In it, there'd been a list of book bloggers, groups for writers, and wonderful advice by authors who'd been through the process. When The Lake House was coming out, I must say I felt like I was three hours late to a very fancy party where everyone was wearing their finest and I showed up in hiking boots, jeans, and a t-shirt. I didn't know about Facebook groups or even book blogging. But luckily so many authors took me under their wing and led me to the knowledge I needed. Of course, by then I was about three months late with beginning the promotion of my book and being on top of where ARC's went out and to which reviewers. So my advice, find published author groups as soon as you sign that contract. Those writer's will be your saving grace! And realize that the book blogging world is wonderful and they love sharing books so cherish and thank these people with all your heart. 

Ron Fritsch -  How much of the same advice I'd hear repeated over and over: editor, cover, marketing, social-networking, etc. I'm not saying the advice is wrong. It's a question of how many times one needs to hear it.

Jane Starwood - 1. Never publish a first or second or even third draft.
2. Line up good beta readers. (Not your mom.) You need people who will be brutally honest with you about what works and what doesn't. Ask for detailed responses. When you get them, consider them carefully, then put your manuscript away for at least a couple of weeks. It's hard, but starting another book is a great way to distract yourself. When you come back to the first book, you'll have fresher eyes to see what changes you need to make.
3. If you're new to writing, take as many courses and workshops as you can before you attempt a novel.
4. Writing well is hard work, unless you're a certified genius. I don't know any of those.

David A. Tatum - Heh. Having just done this for the first time...
You can do all your homework to plan for and expect all of the big things, but don't overlook the minor things you should have learned from everything else you do on the internet. Like your settings changing slightly in Createspace when you use their Interior Designer, causing a minor error that can delay acceptance. Or caching issues in Smashwords if you accidentally upload a defective file the first time causing your 'replacement' upload to be the same defective file. That sort of thing. Don't let these frustrations get to you -- most of them can be fixed, and with little effort.

Oh, here's another one:
The self-publishing industry can change on you in just a couple months. Find several blogs of professional veterans, both indie and trade, and keep up with them.

I'd recommend the blogs of PassiveGuy, Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch, ex-agent Nathan Bransford, and the Writing Excuses podcast featuring Howard Tayler, Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowel, and Dan Wells. Keep in mind that these people aren't perfect, either -- they have egos, can sometimes get locked in a particular way of thinking themselves, etc., so keep looking for new sources as well.

Mike Cooley- I would add Scalzi's blog to that list and probably Konrath's. My tip is: go over it and over it until it's fantastic, then pay an editor to go over it again. Oh, and don't take one person's opinion as gospel. You can drain the life out of a story trying to please everyone. It's not possible to please everyone.

Cheryl Shireman - Hire a great editor. Hire a great editor. Hire a great editor. Oh, and - hire a great editor!

Rikki Strong - Not everyone who receives a copy for review will leave a review, same with everyone who buys a copy of the book or downloads a free KDP copy (for me, with my four books out now, the sales to review average is somewhere between 1% and 5%). Some reviewers also have a very long TBR list. Whatever you do, don't keep bugging them about it every time you see them, or they may keep dropping your book tot he end of the list.

Karen Martin - Don't wait to start social networking until you have a book ready. Get your FB page up and running, start figuring out Twitter, Goodreads, etc. Start blogging. Start making connections. Otherwise, you'll have a finished book on your hands and nobody to tell about it.



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