Tag Archives: Book

Putting Together the Plan

Alright, it’s been a while, but like I said, I’ve been busy with my own deadlines to meet. We talked last time about building a plan for your book and how it should have a marketing scheme set up 2-4 months prior. Also, I mentioned that this timetable (the one I gave in the blog post before this)… “Imagine that this is the skeleton for your book’s body. Now we need to fill it in with skin tissue, organs, nerves, etc.”  So, let’s fill that in with all the good stuff now! Just a disclaimer, there is no order to the bullet points within each section, just make sure you cover them all.

(pre-timeline) When you make the conscious decision that self-publishing is the way to go, here are a few things you want to get done immediately:

  • Write Library of Congress to get your LCCN
  • Join Independent Book Publishers Association (great source for independent authors)
  • Obtain a PO Box (this is because most self-published authors work from their home to avoid overhead costs of a facility. This PO box will make the business look for professional)
  • Subscribe to Publisher’s Weekly Magazine (you will want to do this to eventually start to create buzz about your book)
  • Get your ISBN number. You really don’t need to worry about the barcodes now. And don’t buy them from Bowker, you can get them for much much cheaper than $25 bucks.
  • Create your publishing company name (discussed earlier) or have a plan of what you want to do with self-publishing (createspace, lightning source, offset presses). YOU DO NOT NEED TO CREATE A PUBLISHING COMPANY TO SELF-PUBLISH A BOOK. However, I will add that it makes getting into stores easier.
  • Research your nation-wide marketing plan. By this point you should know what kind of audience your book appeals to. Start gathering ideas for targeting those people (see my post below about marketing tactics if you need help)

(4-5 months prior of publication) After you’ve finished writing that awesome book of yours:

  • Have that manuscript copy-edited. And developmental edited (if you need it.) By this time, though, you should just need the former. The developmental edit should come way before it. Also, make sure that after this copy-edit when you actually typeset it, you will need to ONCE AGAIN carefully read through it so that everything transferred correctly.
  • Get the interior design planned out. This includes typesetting.
  • Get a professional to design your cover (this should be done probably first here because you will want to start Facebook pages, or Twitter things for your book to build an audience)
  • Establish your publication date.
  • Get author photo taken. Smile!
  • Start figuring out what costs you want to place on your book. By now you should have the proper page count down so you will be able to know how much it will cost you to print it and what you will need to make a profit.
  • Obtain your barcode!
  • Write following promotional materials: news release, sales letter, mock review, customer sales flier, and email pitch.
  • Prepare a personal mailing list from holiday card recipients, business associates, club membership directories, your Rolodex, database, or other sources. (This will help you in marketing your book). Remember this first book is all about building that fan base.
  • Please have your website already started being created. You need to start building your SEO (search engine optimization). You want people to find you online, right?
  • Have your distribution channels set up. Are you going through a digital press, or are you going to be doing all the delivery yourself? Remember that with the latter option, it takes a considerable amount of time, and my guess is that you do not have that amount of time. I know I plan on going through LightningSource to print and distribute my books for me.

(at least 3 months prior to publication) Do while your book is being printed:

  • First, request the appropriate amount of galley copies to start sending off to people who will review your book before it comes out. No one wants to review a book afterwards 🙁 Sad truth, but the truth nonetheless. So, when your main book is getting printed, make sure that whatever source you are going through for your book also gets galley copies to you. If they don’t offer them, then perhaps go with a local print store or 48-hour books is another good option. This is when you want to send stuff off to Publisher’s Weekly and other good national magazines.
  • Review printer proofs of your book very carefully for any final corrections.
  • Implement your nationwide marketing plan. This is the time to start ratcheting up everything.
  • Copyright that book. Now, if your book is being published from September – the end of the year, you can use the next years copyright on it. This is important because no one wants to read an “old” book. By using this copyrighting trick, you’ll avoid that.
  • Start contacting bloggers and other sites for your virtual author book tour
  • Prepare following additional materials: acknowledgement card for reviewers, discount schedule, and return policy statement.
  • Submit articles to online articles sites, with links back to your web site (this will help build traffic to your site and ultimately increase your SEO).
  • Mail your prepublication offer to your personal mailing list. Get as many preorders as possible. Not only will this boost your credibility in the first day your book is released, but it’s always nice having for sure money coming in.
  • Embellish your book detail page on Amazon.com

(2 months pre-publication) When Your Books Arrive:

  • Ask enthusiastic readers to write customer reviews for the book at Amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com (you should have already given some galley copies away and have contacted book bloggers. Use these people to your advantage. Get those reviews up on your website, too).
  • Fill complimentary copy request generated by Nationwide marketing plan
  • Fill advance orders
  • Complete your copyright registration
  • Send copy of book to LCCN office
  • Send copy of book to Baker and Taylor
  • Make sure your books are not damaged in delivery if you get a bunch to sell yourself (which you should, this goes almost without saying).
  • Always carry copy of book with you and have case of books in your vehicle. You will always want a chance to sell your book.
  • Contact all bookstores in your area. Start pounding the pavement and getting into local bookstores that you can eventually get into the nationwide bookstores. On top of that, read this article to help out other local authors you may know, or you can give your friends ideas to help out you and your book.  http://writerunboxed.com/2013/01/28/jan-28-column/
  • Start utilizing radio, tv, or even magazine ads for your book.
  • Develop an available for interview sheet
  • Contact local media for interviews and stories
  • Pursue reviews, excerpts, interviews, and book sales on various internet sites
  • Be constantly on the lookout for any new review sources and sales opportunities

Things to do to have a successful publication and what to do after a successful publication:

  • Follow all steps above ^
  • Consider having two publication launches. One a “soft” launch where you have your book for sale but its technically not released yet. And then a “hard” launch where you have essentially a book party and friends and family can come meet the author and hang out. At this party, I would advise having bookmarks available with your author tour that you’ve set up by going to local bookstores. Give interested individuals a few of them to pass out. You need to build interest.
  • Add favorable reviews to website, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  • Revise, update, and or expand book as needed
  • Get reprinting quotes on a second printing (if you run out of books because it’s so popular) or…
  • Offer book to major trade publishers.

And there you have it folks, the skin and tissue to your skeleton. Good luck with all your writing efforts. Look back to my next post when I have time when I discuss how to go about making some of the above documents I mentioned in bold and italics.

Choosing the Name

This was the hardest part for me. I know from advertising and being a huge fan of Madmen (which if you aren’t watching you definitely should) that picking a name can be one of the most frustrating things to do. It can’t just be ANY name. It has to be the “write” one, especially when you are choosing the name of a publishing company. So, my process? Well, to begin with, every publishing company should have one of these words in it: press, publishing company, books, or publishers. This is solely because no one should ever question what it is that your company does.

Then, I decided I needed something to convey the type of writing being done there. Or, perhaps not even the type, but something that conveys the authors. I pulled from exotic words not typically used, to symbolic words from Greek mythology, to just iconic problems. Some of the words I chose were: Finesse, Muse, Moxie, Visceral, Quill.

With that set, I began creating lists of what I wanted to call the company. Here are some examples of some of them I chose, and perhaps why I chose them (in parenthesis afterwards).

  • Finesse Publishing Company
  • Lucid Quill Press
  • Visceral Publishing House
  • Muse Books
  • Writer’s Moxie Publishing Company
  • Moxie Press
  • Writer’s Block Press

Out of this list I had four favorites and I’ll list them in order from least favorite to favorite (and of course you probably know which one I chose looking at the title of my wordpress account.) Anyways, Finesse Publishing Company because I wanted to convey a certain degree of skill in publishing. Number two was Moxie Press because moxie is a nice word for everything that an author should be. The problem with both of those, however, is try creating a logo for either of them. What would you do? That is something you need to consider, too, when establishing a publishing company. You need a logo. Every company does, it is their identity and eventually it will just become “you” without all the extra words. With that being said, number three was, Lucid Quill Press. It sounds nice, and you could do quite the logo design with that. (Always be thinking about the bigger picture).

But, alas, I went with none of those, I went with “Writer’s Block Press.” Why? Doesn’t that seem counter-intuitive by labeling something that typically has a negative connotation in the writing sphere? Well, here is my reasoning behind it, and this took me a while so trust me, I really planned it out. In all of writing, that is the one phrase that probably EVERYONE knows (perhaps besides basic story terms like: climax, falling action, etc.) Also, it’s ironic. Who doesn’t love a little irony in their life? Taken another way, this publishing company is a block (or group) of writers, all trying to publish books. And finally, what did publishing consist of being today’s digital age, back in the days of Johannes Gutenberg? Well, it was a block press. Literally.

Anyways, there you have it, the idea behind the name. Now as you go out and perhaps create your publishing company, or even create anything in life, make sure that the name has significance, that it’s not just thrown out there, and also make sure you can capitalize on that significance with an awesome graphic design. My logo is getting created for the company right now and when it is done, I will be posting on here for all to see.

Thanks for taking the time to read the first in many blogs posts. Hope you enjoyed it. This has been step #1. Stay tuned for the next installment.