4 steps to publishing a book

If you’ve published – stop laughing…

If you’ve not published, don’t believe the headline. It’s a joke.

This year I’ve had a ton of projects and opportunities. It’s been wonderful for me to stretch my writer muscles and try different things like writing in an anthology, being part of a project I’m not allowed to talk about yet, and trying new things with my writing. The upside is the writing is exciting and the downside is I rarely know whether I’m coming or going.

In fact, my craziness with scheduling got so bad (home remodel, writing, etc) that I actually completely missed an event I’d signed up for. I was really excited about it and then the shit hit the fan.

I’ve been saying all year, I have too much to do and not enough time. I need to get organized. I don’t know why I kept telling others. The reality is I needed to get MYSELF organized.

One of the things I wanted was a clearer picture of my workload. I’ve been dabbling with Asana (highly recommend this for getting organized, I’m finding it useful) and took the bull by the horns and started putting my client work and writing work on the calendar. Then I open it every day and see my list of things.

One thing I realized – four big things in a day is too many. Four medium things in a day is possible. Four small things means I’m looking at the next day’s tasks to get ahead – I like this.

Clearly I have the tools I need, now what? Well now what? Oh yeah. I have four books to launch this year – in addition to what I’ve already launched – and no idea if I have time to do them. Two are set up as pre-orders so I need to get busy with those. This lead to a what do I actually need to do. Well here’s my four steps (I’m not totally full of shit)

  1. Completed rough draft
  2. Editing
  3. Book launch
  4. Marketing

Now anyone who knows writing is laughing their asses off now because they know each of these steps have mini-steps (substeps? subcategories?). I created my sections and started typing to create a list.

Under Completed rough draft, the biggest step is send it to beta readers. What if you don’t have any? Find them. Beg, borrow, or steal them. Good ones will help you make your book so much better. For instance, I finished a book this week (YEAH ME) and I did a read through. It was good. It had holes and gaps, things got dropped, but I said – nope the readers will get things get dropped.

I know better. Readers expect you to tell them a full and complete story. It’s got to have a beginning, middle and end. If it’s a romance, there has to be some sort of happy ever after (or happy for now). So I sent it to my beta readers. These are all awesome women – I sent a note which said – please please please get back to me ASAP because I have a tight timeframe on this one. One of my readers read it and within a day or two gave me a critique I read and said. Yup. You’re right on all points. Another beta reader got back to me with more things and a third one gave me even more feedback. Thank you to all these amazing women!!!

Surprisingly, all three of them had different things to say. So this of course sent me back to the story to bully some more information out of my characters. I ended up writing another 7,000 words.

In addition to finishing the manuscript, I contacted my cover designer. She already has the specs but I made sure she would have time for me. Yes, I have an appointment later this month.

Now the book is done, I have to write the blurb and start thinking about keywords. Oh my… There’s one of our categories and it had like four steps.

Under editing, my list is even longer. Read through, spell checks, search for my overused words, and so on. The list is long and complicated. This doesn’t happen in a night by any means.

Under book launch eight steps including things like set up pre-order, searching for quotes from the book, ordering graphics (we all know mine suck) and a bunch of other things.

Under marketing, well for now, I have another dozen steps like setting up a launch party, organizing a giveaway and more.

When I was done making this list so I could be more organized, I had almost thirty items on my list. I’m positive I’ve forgotten steps I need to do but I’ll add them in as I need to – and remember them.

The other problem is figuring out how much time to schedule between the tasks. If I set up my preorder and I miss the date, Amazon will prevent me from doing any more pre-orders for a year. You can move up the date but you cannot be late.

So I’ve finished a book – yeah! I now have like thirty balls to get the timing just right as I juggle all the steps. Oh and if you’re self published don’t forget you’re juggling the book balls along with life, family, and probably a day job. (No wonder my arms are tired, I’ve probably got like a hundred balls bouncing around.)

So when you see a title of 4 steps to publishing – they are LYING to you. The thing is if you say it’s 29 steps or 40 steps or however many you use, you are going to blow the mind of the author asking.

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