After finishing my first novel, I was extremely euphoric, but it didn’t take long for the euphoria to turn into hysteria as I waited and waited for a literary agent or a publisher to sign with me.
It takes years to finish one novel, but the sad part is that it can take the same amount of time to get it printed. But luckily, there is more than one door for you to knock at, and I have knocked on and walked through both of them. You have to be aware of what works best for you. Only after nine to sixteen months, if you haven’t received any positive response, should you explore the world of self-publishing.
So here are a few things that you need to keep in mind while you are planning to publish or are about to complete your novel.
First — The Old school way
The first process is the way the world has always been: you finish your novel and then write a pitch to different literary agents and see if any old publishing houses take in un-solicited work. If you are lucky enough to get signed by an agent, then he takes most of the responsibility for finding you a publisher and a good deal. But you have to remember that the publisher and the agent will be taking most of the profits from the sale of your book. While you are not investing anything except words, they take most of the margins, but they do provide you with a platform to grow and reach a wider audience.
Having said that, remember that all that glitters is not gold.
Even though having a big publisher is the ultimate aim for all writers, after you attain certain goodwill in the market, you can encash more money for your work, but there are different ways to reach the same top.
If you haven’t been singed by anyone, make sure you take that to your advantage; all you have to do is put some skin in the game. Yes, you will have to save some money to invest in publishing your book, but then again, it is like investing in your future.
Tip1: Self-publishing can be a game changer!
You don’t have to start big, but start smart before you approach a self-publishing house to get your book edited and designed properly. Please don’t try and save on editing and book cover; these are the only pieces of the process that I request everyone to spend the most on because a good editor can really shape, structure, and refine your words and story, whereas a good book cover will always be the deciding factor for your sale.
Tip 2: Remember, we always judge a book by its cover!
A good book has no shelf life; it will and can continue to survive even beyond its time. Usually, all self-publishers offer editing and book cover services, but I personally like to work with independent editors and designers as it lets me develop a long relationship and stay in charge of my work. Only after I am satisfied with the cover and the editing do I approach a self-publisher. Make sure to have EVERY SINGLE detail mentioned in your contract. Once your book is published and is active on Amazon, Use micro-influencers like podcasts, book reviewers, Instagram ads, Facebook ads, and Facebook groups to post about your work. Go to every book club in your city and the cities you visit and introduce your book. Request that those who read your book leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.
Tip 3: See if you can connect your book to any growing topic in the world.
Through self-publishing, you are entitled to all the revenues that your book generates; there is no one in the middle (except Amazon, who will charge a small fee for selling through its portal) to take either credit or your profits. Then you can use these reviews and publicity to write to the literary agent because, in the end, no matter how important the art and craft are, they all want money.
Tip 4: Remember that there is a market for everything.
You have to at times. Invest in your work and believe that it is worth the pennies that you envision it to be. But no matter who you are, invest small amounts in your Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube ads or in affiliate marketing(when I hire an affiliate marketing company, they get paid for either every view that I get on my Amazon book sale page or the sale of the book). Start small, but remain consistent with your marketing plan. And remember, all it will take is one correct connection with the audience to make your book a best-seller.
Tip 5: Smart marketing is the key to success.