Following the runaway success of the rebooted “I’ve Written A Screenplay, Now What?” page, lots of Bang2writers requested a similar one for book writing and publishing.
So without further ado, here’s Luke with a short and sweet rundown of the basics. There’s plenty of great linkage too. Enjoy everyone!
So, you’ve written a book
Congrats! Go out and celebrate. Pat yourself on the back. Pat yourself all over. Eat a cake. Eat two. Writing a book is hard, so you should celebrate it.
However, writing is only the first step in publishing a book, because that’s the ultimate goal right? To spread your message and your ideas across the world and to touch people’s hearts and maybe … just maybe, make someone cry. You get bonus points for making people cry.
As it stands, you’ve got two options:
TRADITIONAL or INDIE PUBLISHING
Each option has its merits but whichever you take, here’s what to do next:
1) Get Some Feedback
Beta Readers: Friends, family, acquaintances. Find anyone who will read your book and give you their honest feedback. It’s important to know how your work is being received. Try to ask what they liked about the work, what they didn’t. If all of your beta-readers are mentioning the second paragraph of chapter 2 … then maybe it’s time to reconsider the second paragraph of chapter 2. MORE: How To Find Beta Readers, plus 5 Ways To Use Feedback Effectively
2) Get It Edited
Editing Services: Don’t kill your babies … Hire someone else to do it! As James Altucher said, after fifteen drafts, his editor turned his book from chicken sh*t to chicken salad. There are editing services out there who will help you to structurally edit the story, such as Command + Z. Once your story is in the proper shape, you can use Copy Editors to help you weed out the grammar and the punctuation errors.
Price-wise, editing can be super cheap or super expensive. As with anything, go with the best you can afford. Here are some links for services previous Bang2writers have recommended to Lucy:
3) Build Your Platform
Regardless of whether or not you self-publish, you really want to start building your audience right away. The last thing you want to do is release your book to crickets. Plus, nowadays, most publishers will expect you to do the majority of the marketing anyway.
Seth Godin says you should start promoting a book three years before your release it. Maybe that’s an overstatement, but it sure couldn’t hurt.
There’s a million ways to build an audience. It’s going to be down to who you are, what you do, and what you’ve written. Important metrics to consider could be subscribers, email lists, facebook likes, twitter followers. Also, don’t forget Good Reads! MORE: How To Build Your Own Online Platform
4) Choose Your Route
i) Indie Publishing
If you decide to self-publish your book, then you’re already most of the way there. Your next steps are going to be cover design, ePub formatting, and if you really want to push the boat out, Audiobook production. I’d recommend reading James Altucher’s Publishing 3.0 article on how he self-published his Wall Street Journal Besteller.
You will also need to learn about eBook formatting (in the very least). You can find a cheat sheet on how to do this in the B2W Resources Page, HERE. It’s created by prolific self-publisher Rachel Amphlett, author of the acclaimed Dan Taylor series.
You will also NEED an excellent front cover; do not skimp on this, because readers DO judge a book by its cover. There’s loads of brilliant cover designers online. HERE’S The Creative Penn’s advice on this. Check out the covers for Lucy’s Toxic and Proof Positive, which were done by the talented Frina Art.
There are loads of other self-publishing elements you will be responsible for, not least marketing. Here’s 5 Strategies For Self-Publishing On A Budget.
If you decide to go the traditional route, then you’re going to need to start looking for an agent – somebody to help you sell the book. One way to find a suitable agent is to work backwards. What book is yours LIKE? Who wrote that book? Who represents that author? Boom. You’re onto a winner.
Alternatively, you should grab a copy of the Writers & Artists Yearbook. Make a list of the agents you’d like to query from there. Make sure you don’t drop any obvious submissions clangers, though. Don’t send science fiction to agents who only represent authors who write historical fiction. Sounds obvious, but it happens. Daily!!
From there, you want to be getting yourself solicited by sending over that perfect cover letter.
Lastly, some publishers DO accept manuscripts without an agent. AuthorsPublish.com release an up-to-date list every year of these publishers. This year (2019), there’s a whopping 178 traditional publishers on the list and includes non-fiction as well as fiction. GET IT HERE.
There’s LOADS more about indie publishing, finding agents, submissions and promoting yourself and your work online on the B2W Resources page. Good luck!
Good concise summary. One note: Command + Z seems to bro city and their star client, Tucker Max, is a wannabee P.J. O’Rourke only without the brains or writing ability.
One other thing: you might want to differentiate between fiction and non-fiction, as one size does not fit all!
Too much use of “one” in this post, but editorial capacity exhausted.
Hi Ellin, that’s my fault; Luke DID title this post, “I’ve written a novel, now what?” and Google-Ho that I am, I discovered “I’ve written a book, now what?” has more hits. I do plan to add something about non fiction at some point though, oui
The piece is entirely awesome… I’ve written several books so far…But published none yet…I have liked the advice..Though its apparently going to cost me alot…Sacrfices…Right? yah..Thankyou..
Quick question – how much do these editing services tend to cost?
Like anything they range in cost from moderately inexpensive through to MEGA – a reputable one will list on their website, or discuss your requirements and offer you a quote. They should also be able to offer examples of publications, books, etc they have edited before. Hope this helps.
I don’t know why I’m reading this because I still haven’t finished writing my book. And I don’t know when I will. But your post still was really helpful and interesting to read.
P.S. I’m gonna go and read more of your posts!
Haga love it. Good luck!