There are a lot of things that need to happen before your book is at the book store or available on-line. However, until your book is complete, there are no other steps to take in preparation for publication.
Finish writing, then hire an editor. Don't think you, a relative or your best friend are qualified or objective enough to do the editing. A good editor
is worth their fee. They will correct the punctuation and spelling errors you missed, but most importantly, they will make your book readable. They look for readability of plot, understanding of descriptions and logic of events and scenes. They will advise you on how well your readers will comprehend what you write and help you re-write the remainder.
While your book is with the editor, you have about 6-10 weeks to prepare your promotions campaign with no distractions. Begin your promotions campaign the day after the editor has your book. You need that day to relax and de-stress. Have a glass of wine and put your feet up. Hey, you've written a book!
OK, back to reality. You need a website
. You have three options:
1) If you know what you are doing, get an email address, create your website - with a blog attached - and upload it to a server.
2) If you can draw on paper or use software, design what you want the website to look like. Include all the features you want on it. Contact AllmanWorks
(or another web company or a geeky relative) and have us match your sketches.
3) If not, contact AllmanWorks
and let us design your website from scratch.
There is a minimum of things to include on your website. Clearly and prominently display your book, describe who you are, and how to order your book. Also, include a Blog page. Tweeting is fine, if you think you can keep it up over the coming months. For now, note on the website a "coming soon" time, or a TBD. The objective of the website is to get email addresses so you can notify everyone when your book is available.
While your website is being built, you need to start your promotions. Order business cards with your book information on it. You only need the book cover photo (or just a tentative photo), your email address and your website. List your Publishing date as TBD or give a season (Fall, 2017 or Spring, 2018). Do not make it more than six months away.
Pass out cards to everyone you meet. I advise that you let the people approach you if they are interested in your book. Keep in mind, no one is more excited about your book than you. Don't dominate the conversation.
Put your business card on FaceBook one time. If it gets passed around FaceBook, fine, that's what you want. But don't do it yourself. Get as much initial attention as possible without being pushy. Remember, your book is not even finished, so an initial contact is all you need.
Start a computer listing of every email address to which you have access. Have them write on the back of your business card or enter it on your website. Do whatever it takes because these people will be your Enclave. Your personal group within a world of readers.
Continue passing out cards and monitoring your website for email addresses until your editor returns your book. Then, pause your promotions and concentrate on the re-write. You should be able to contact your editor for clarifications and explanations if you disagree with their assessments. Come to a compromise on everything because you want your book to be read by the widest possible audience and that is what you paid your editor to do.
Now is the time to contact libraries and bookstores. Make reading appointments beginning 5 weeks from your Publish date. Your Publish date is an arbitrary date that you select. It is not the availability date or the print date, but it should be soon after the book is available on the internet. Keep adding more email addresses to your list.
Wait until you have everything ready: your finished book, your cover art, the back-cover layout, your picture, etc. Send it off to be printed. Your book's first availability date is not important. When they are ready, order 50 copies. Give away some books to people who promise to critique it for you. You need their quotes on your website, so make this a requirement. Keep adding more email addresses to your list.
You should be about two months from your Publish date. Count five weeks back from your Publish date. Create a "countdown" poster with 75 days on it - 35 before and 40 days after the Publish date. These are the most stressful days so find a way to stay focused. The day before your countdown begins, have a glass of wine and put your feet up.
Spend one of your countdown days to draft your main email announcement. It should be ready before you send it out because it must be perfect. Not every email should have the same wording. Make each email as personal as you can.
Your reading appointments should start now. Get out often. Your goal is to get in front of as many people as possible in those 75 days. Talk about your book, your website, pass out business cards. Get people to give you their email address. You are building your Enclave and you don't want to miss a single opportunity.
You will only get 1-2 names from each group encounter, so get personal with them. Be genuine. Keep them informed and excited. They are the ones who will get their friends to buy your book. Invite everyone to your Book Signing Party.
On your Publish date:
1) Send out all your Emails.
2) Throw a Book Signing Party for your Enclave. Give signed books as gifts.
# # # # #
Spend the remaining 40 days promoting and having readings. Work the full 40 days after your Publish date just as intently as the first 35. You have limited time to be the Fresh-New-Face in the literary world. Then, have a glass of wine and put your feet up. Tomorrow, start on your sequel.