You have finally finished your first novel. It’s an exhilarating feeling. You did it!!
But … before you click the ‘self-publish’ button and send your work out to the world, here is a list of things you should probably do first.
1. Find some beta readers to read over your book. They could be close friends, family members, or people you connect with through your blog (see step 2). Listen to their feedback, don’t take it personally, and use it to make your book the best it can be.
2. If you haven’t done so already, start a blog and connect with other writers. It’s a great way to learn more about writing and the self-publishing industry, plus you can use your site to promote your book (although make sure that isn’t all you write about!). Who knows, you might even find some life-long friends in the process.
3. Hire an editor (recommended) or get a few detail-oriented friends to go through your manuscript with a fine tooth comb – it is amazing how many spelling/grammatical errors and inconsistencies can be hiding. It’s also a good idea to print out your manuscript as a hard copy and edit it that way. It’s amazing how looking at your words in a different format can help you see errors that you scrolled past many times on the computer screen.
4. Find a cover image for your e-book. Be careful with this – people do judge books by their covers. If you are going to design one yourself, use high-resolution images so they don’t appear pixellated. Make sure you have permission to use the image for commercial purposes – copy paste from Google images is not a good idea! Also, make sure your book cover looks good as a thumbnail, as this is how most people will first see it.
If you are looking for a professional job, you can pay a graphic designer to design your book cover for you. A number of graphic designers also sell pre-made covers online. Many that I have seen cost $50 or less. This is a good option if you don’t have much money to spend, provided that you can find an image that suits your book. Although, I’ve heard of people changing their character’s appearance just so they can use a particular pre-made book cover!
5. Prepare yourself for some negative feedback. The reality is that not everyone will like your book – even famous writers get 1-star reviews. It is something you need to expect – especially if you are just starting out. If and when you do get a bad review, try to focus on the positive comments from people who do like your book – these are your readers. Don’t let the negative comment turn you away from ever writing again. Learn from your mistakes, move on and stick at it.
And my final tip… Get started on your next book. Those readers that love your writing will be hanging out for your next new release.
I hope you find these tips useful and I wish you all the best!!