Publishing a novel has been a dream come true for me; however, there have been lessons learned in the process. This is not a one-stop-shop. I’m simply noting a few things I’ve learned publishing my first novel, things I haven’t already mentioned.
Make use of Beta Readers. This I did, but simply called them willing readers. Who knew they had a real job title? I made a choice to break down my “betas” into the following categories:
- Content – people who like fantasy. They read the book for flow and interest.
- Grammar – obviously, they checked my command (or lack thereof) of the English language. I also found it helpful that fantasy was not the favorite genre of these reviewers. They had some interesting comments that I think helped to tighten up my book.
I have since found suggestions for giving beta readers specific instructions (where did the book slow down, was something left unexplained, etc.). I will make use of this suggestion in the future
Cover Art. If you design your own front cover for your digital copy, go ahead and create the back cover and spline at the same time. This will save time when you are ready to publish a print copy. I also discovered there is a difference between art requirements for digital and print publication. It’s not hard to make the required changes but don’t think it’s simply a copy-n-paste. Read all instructions.
Typos. There’s no such thing as a minor change. Before publishing, have a beta review any section after you make any change. I made a quick change in Chapter 1 (of course) right before I published and the word “her” was distributed as “he”. Yep, Chapter 1. I will fix the digital and take comfort in the fact that I found it before printing. I knew better than to do this. I was in a rush of my own making, so it’s a big lesson learned.
Book Reviews. I’m having trouble with this one. I don’t want friends and family to go post a review as a favor to me, so right now I have one lonely review on Amazon. On the plus side, it’s positive.
Marketing. Another area where I could use some improvement. Be prepared with a personal bio. You don’t want to throw that together at the last minute. I should also explain that I’m a private person by nature and I don’t like marketing myself. Not really sure how I thought anyone would find my book without a little marketing on the book and the author, but there you go.
- Check out one of my previous blogs for more self-publishing tips.
- I stumbled upon Laurie Boris while working on a Blogging 101 assignment and wish I had found her site before I published. Search for other writers. I found many have posted similar information. Not all will apply to, or work for, you; but the ones that do could save you some time that you could spend elsewhere, perhaps even writing.