Five years ago I decided writing would be fun. Just pick up a pen and start writing that story brewing in my head. That is a good thought. It is also a good start. In reality, it isn’t that easy at all.
Having an idea for a story is a good beginning, but who are all the characters? What’s the plot? Subplots? Trope? Genre? Are you going to plot it out? If so how much detail? A basic beginning middle and end or details by chapter? Or are you going to pants it? Even If you do that, you still need to know your characters to a point and the basic plot. How long is the story? Is it a short story, novella or novel? These are just basic questions for the writing of the story. Now say you figured this all out. Sat down and got your first draft now the next barrage of decisions.
How many times will you reread it? How many rewrites will you do? Do you have your beta readers picked out? How many do you need? Should you send it to them before the editor? Do you need one editor or three? Are you going to have a proofreader? While you contemplate this, you also need to figure out who will be designing the cover. Who will format? Will you hire it out or attempt it yourself and that brings you to–are you using CreateSpace, Smashwords or something else? Are you self-publishing or submitting to a house. If you choose the latter, then you need to look up their submissions. What do you need? How many pitches? Are you writing them or having them professionally written? how do you write a summary? What’s the difference between a summary and a blurb? A blurb and an excerpt? Do you need all of this?
It took me years to come up with something that worked for me as I kept redoing and redoing and now I have a stack of unfinished books in files. I felt I never could get them right enough. Now I am writing the rough draft, rewriting it once going through Grammarly as I do and then sending to my Beta(or Alpha) I’ll correct what she finds then send it to an editor. After that, a beta and proofreader and hopefully I will be ready to get it formatted.
Now that these decisions are made, you have more. You need your social media campaign set up. You need marketing plans. How many social media sites do you need? How much time do you need to spend on them? Do you need a newsletter? A blog? A website? What’s the difference? Do you need all three? How do you get people to sign up for it? All of this is up to an individual, but you do need to get out there. I use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest , Goodreads and I blog. I will have a website to showcase my books and a newsletter once I get my first release out.
Whew! Now you’re done, right? Nope. Whether you self-publish or submit to a house, you have to market your books. Social media is just to get you out there. to get people interested. the easiest way to lose them is to only post buy my book stuff. so how do you market? I haven’t figured out all of that since I haven’t gotten that far, but I do have marketing experience since that was my day job for 19 years. If I could sell diamonds I should be able to sell books. I hope. There are a few ways to market I haven’t mentioned. One is tours. Not as many people read blogs as they use to so be sure to make these fun, offer prizes but what? Do people want a cup with just your name on it? Most likely not. Books are good. If they are in your party they probably read. Gift cards are also good. Look into your book and what it’s about. are there some fun scenes in it that you could come up with a prize from? Early in the year, things like planners and calendars are good mid-year and later unless you have next years these probably aren’t good. Does your character cook? find easy to ship cooking relating items like aprons, cookbooks, special utensils and you can ship direct from Amazon which makes it easy. Pick items related to the season as well. Another fun way to get readers are Facebook parties. I love these. and do as above have a few fun prizes, some books maybe one grand prize. One thing I dislike about these parties is if you have to preorder the book for the prize. it may be ok to have one post for those that do but don’t make it the only prize or grand prize. I also don’t like the prizes on the follow me posts. The prizes should be for fun and not to force people to sign up to your pages or like you. more than likely they will leave shortly after. You want to win people over and get them to stay so be fun.
There is one more thing. Reviewers. Reviews are important in so many ways. not only does it help other readers choose to buy or not, but it helps you move up the ladder in Amazon, get on lists, etc. Reviews do not have to be professional or extensive. Just pick your stars and a few words like it was good, it was ok, I loved it. Or even if you felt there was something missing. Reviews should be honest. These should never be bought.
So as you see there are lots of decisions in writing. It isn’t just sitting down on your computer and popping out a story. A lot of work goes into it. Don’t get me wrong it is a fun occupation, but it can get overwhelming and expensive as well. Not all books will come out of the red. It is something you have to want to do and work hard at.
I am sure I left something out, especially in the putting the book up on Amazon. I haven’t gotten there yet so I don’t know what all choices are there. I have seen several, such as Kindle unlimited or KDP select. I see new things now like Kindle Worlds and Kindle Scout I will have to research. And there is research.
Do you attend Facebook parties or follow blog tours? What kind of prizes do you like to see offered? Do you buy books based on covers and titles or by only authors you already know?
Writers work hard to entertain you so go out and let some of your favorites know how much you appreciate them. Life would be dull without books, since most movies once began as a story.