Self Publishing

Self-publishing Timeline

Are you a new author with a completed manuscript and you’re not sure what to do next?

Photo Credit: Jonny Wikins on Flickr
Photo Credit: Jonny Wikins on Flickr

That was me last spring after I’d completed my first novel.

My solution was to ask my developmental editor, Leah Campbell, for advice. Leah is a published author, so she was able to fill me in on what I needed to do.

  •  Create a cover, or hire a cover designer.
  •  Hire a line editor.
  •  Read through my book. Again. For the 80 billionth time.
  •  Figure out which print-on-demand service I wanted to use. (She suggested CreateSpace.)
  •  Format my book for paperback publication.
  •  Format my book for e-publication. (Or hire someone to do it.)

So I did everything she suggested, and shortly after uploading my book to CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing, voila. My book became a best seller within a few weeks.

Just kidding.

In reality, it took about four months to complete all of the above, and my work was still far from complete. Plus, I hadn’t even gotten to the most difficult aspect of self-publishing: marketing.

Slowly but surely, I learned new promotion strategies and came to realize that marketing a book is an ongoing job. I also realized something crucial. Marketing should begin months prior to publication. In light of this fact, I’ve done a lot more in preparation for my upcoming novel.

My Self-Publishing Timeline for Don’t Call Me Kit Kat

Summer 2014

  • Completed an outline of chapters and a descriptive list of characters.
  • Booked Okay Creations to design the cover in February.

*I booked the cover designer extra-early to take advantage of a promotion she was running. Otherwise, I would have waited until November/December to make the appointment.

September 2014

  • Started writing the first draft.

November 2014

  • Set up my website/blog. (This should have been done much sooner!)
  • Sent the first 30 percent to Leah.

December 2014

  • First blog post about Don’t Call Me Kit Kat.
  • Re-named the book. (It was originally The Me I See, but people thought it sounded too self-helpish.)

January 2014

  • Added a Don’t Call Me Kit Kat page to my website.
  • Sent the completed first draft to Leah.

February 2014

  • Revisions, revisions, revisions.
  • Blurb was written.
  • Set up my author Facebook page. (Up until then, I only had a page for CDR.)
  • Cover design began.
  • Found beta readers.

March 2014

  • Sent revisions to Leah.
  • Added book to Goodreads.
  • Scheduled cover reveal.
  • Sent book to beta readers.
  • Cover completed.
  • Find ARC reviewers.

April 2014

  • Cover reveal.
  • Post cover to all of my social media sites.
  • Set up ARC giveaway on Goodreads.
  • Set up a book blitz and review query through Xpresso Book Tours.
  • Make changes based on beta reader feedback.
  • Upload final draft to CreateSpace.
  • Order ARCs and get them out to reviewers.
  • Schedule a Facebook party for release day, and collect giveaway items.

May 2014

  • Make any final changes.
  • Format for KDP upload.
  • Upload to KDP.
  • May 15 – Release Day!

Post Publication

  • Continue to market, market, market! (Specifics to follow in another post.)

For more information about preparing a book for publication, check out the following posts from Jo Michaels and Cynthia over at Goodreads. Jo is extremely knowledgeable about self-publishing, so I also recommend that you subscribe to her blog if you’re a new author.

Marketing Plans
How to: Make Sure the Timing Is Right