1. TheWingedFox
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    TheWingedFox Active Member

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    Plan of action to publish

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by TheWingedFox, May 23, 2016.

    Okay, I’m mature in years but wet behind the ears in terms of publishing.

    Inasmuch as I would love to not be perpetually broke, I do love to write and I would love to continue to do so, and share my writing with those who also appreciate and enjoy it. My philosophy is that even if only 10 people read and enjoy my work, that is still 10 people who appreciate it and have gleaned some satisfaction. That’s what we writers do, ain’t it?

    I have written my first novel in the sci-fi genre and envisage a long series, but understand this will be a labour of love.

    My plan is to self publish, control the rights, and build up a fan base.

    This is my plan and I would really appreciate feedback.



    June 2016
    1st draft complete, send out to betas. Update website (Facebook page at the moment) with teasers relating to the novel (authentic and fabricated scientific articles, music, cartoons, poetry, videos) to give an insight and promote interest. Promote by word of mouth at comic cons, scientific groups, with friends, etc. (over the next 12 months)

    July 2016
    Depending on beta feedback, rewrite or send to some agents for initial feelers. Commence writing 2nd part of novel series

    August 2016
    1st draft of 2nd part complete

    October 2016
    Go back to work on 1st draft of 1st part. Selected betas to read 2nd part

    November 2016
    Finalise desired flow of website teasers and add a link to a prequel chapter not in actual novel but to display themes and style of writing.

    January 2017
    Commence routes to self-publish.

    February 2017
    Go back to work on 2nd draft of 2nd part.


    Any hints, tips and suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you in advance.
     
  2. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Why are you bothering to send it to agents if you're already dedicated to self-publishing?

    And maybe it's covered under the "commence routes to self-publish" category, but do you have a plan for cover design, copy editing, formatting, etc?
     
  3. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    A year of marketing sounds exhausting, and it's unlikely to be worth the time unless you already have a huge social media following. If you start teasing people an entire year before the book is available, when they can't even pre-order it, how do you hope to maintain their interest?

    If you're sending to agents to get feedback, don't bother! :D Any rejections are likely to be forms, with no personalised feedback. Some don't even give you feedback when they read the entire manuscript (which will only be a handful even if you're very lucky).
     
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  4. TheWingedFox
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    TheWingedFox Active Member

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    Obviously the 'traditional' publishing route is more desirable, but I have to be realistic as regards the market/trends/etc. and not being an established author nor having an agent.

    I have to research more about the self publishing route, true, but this is partly why I am giving myself so much time.

    Because the novel details cutting edge technology, the teasers are a subtle attempt at providing a backdrop to the story. And it will be edited as and when I receive feedback form betas who have read it.

    And I won't be fully immersed in marketing. Just keeping an eye on the fact that it will need promoted. At least if it's low key, it's putting the product out there.

    I have no social media following, but I have to start somewhere, and the bottom seems the best place.

    And, yeah, when I meant feedback from agents, no answer is feedback in itself! :)
     
  5. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    There are some legitimate reasons to self-publish instead of going with a publisher, but if you think a publisher would be better, I'd encourage you to really try for that approach, with 100% effort, which I'm not seeing in your plan.

    If you think it would be better to get an agent and/or a publisher, then rework your schedule around that goal. Do all your polishing first, build in time for working on your query, etc., leave yourself time to do your research and query agents in batches, wait for responses and then query more if necessary, etc. Alternatively, if you want to go straight to publishers, research to find those that are reputable and that accept un-agented queries in your genre, etc.

    And then, when all that is done, if it doesn't get you what you want, maybe it's time to consider self-publishing.
     
  6. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    @TheWingedFox the problem is that marketing does require a huge time commitment to be effective. It's not just about gaining followers (or likes or subscribers or whatever) but maintaining their interest. That means posting quality content, regularly, so when your book is out they'll buy it. If you get them excited about a book that they can't buy right then and there, the chances of them ever buying it plummet.

    Also, a surefire way to turn off followers is to talk about your product all the time. People know when they're being sold something, and they don't like it. To gain a loyal following you need to post about other things, and only occasionally throw in a tease or a sales link or whatever. It takes time. A LOT of time.

    I've been Tweeting and blogging regularly since March and I have 1,000 Twitter followers and about 50 website subscribers. In two months. How many of them will buy my book when it comes out? Probably a percentage in the single figures. And I've ploughed a LOT of time into social media, plus I work in marketing.

    I truly believe the best way to market is to write prolifically. When someone buys one of your books, they're going to look for others. If you only have one book... missed sales. Given the choice between writing 2 books a year, or writing 1 book a year and spending time on marketing... the former, every time.
     
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  7. terobi
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    terobi Contributing Member

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    Erm, just looking at that - are you really planning to knock out a first draft of the second book in July and August alone? I mean... it's doable, but is it really going to be any good?
     
  8. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    It's very doable to produce a high-quality novel in two months. Not even a draft, but a finished novel. Not for all writers, sure, but it's not all that rare.
     
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  9. TheWingedFox
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    TheWingedFox Active Member

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    Probably not. But it's a first draft, so I don't expect it to be polished, and I'm pretty sure most writers have the same expectations.
     
  10. doggiedude
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    doggiedude Contributing Member

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    Hell... I've been editing & rewriting my first draft for two months and I still probably have another couple of months of work ahead of me. I'm also someone who is ONLY doing this right now. No other job, no outside interests. Only this... eight hours a day, seven days a week. Okay.... I get side tracked by this website and twitter every five minutes but my brain needs a break.
     
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  11. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    OK, I'm confused. If your plan is to self pub why look at agents? And obviously never let the decision whether to self pub or go trade be decided by feedback from beta readers. That's for you alone and people in the industry who's opinion you value. Beta readers are about the book.

    Next, cover design, editing etc. If you go indie these need to be front and centre of your schedule. It takes one to two months to get a book sent out for editing, then go through the revisions and repeat. (I'm currently on day five of revising the first edit back from my editor - and going stupid!)

    Shorten your marketing. Do do some teasers. So Facebook / blogs etc - but do them only just before release date. A month or so. And do not continue them for long after release. Amazon gives you a month where your book is pushed as a new release. You need to strike in time for that month.

    Social media takes years to do properly. People don't want to only read about your latest book etc. You need to blog about more than that and build up an audience over time. Facebook the same. Remember you're mostly selling yourself, not your book.

    Most important in promotion is not social media. It's cover and blurb. Concentrate on them - after of course making sure your book is up to snuff.

    Lastly promotion is hit and miss. The best promotion you can do is to write your next book. Each book hopefully helps sell the others.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
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  12. Guttersnipe
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    Guttersnipe Member

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    Visit kboards.com , which is a site dedicated to self-published authors. They have lots of information on self-publishing, marketing, getting editors, cover artists, etc.

    Visit absolutewrite.com to get pointers on the craft of writing. Also, when you get to the point of writing the query letter (which can also serve as the back-cover blurb), AW is, IMO, the hands-down best place to get the query raked over the coals.

    For critiques, visit critiquecircle or scribophile. Both have a very active membership. critiquecircle is better if you stick to the free membership, but if you're willing to pay (it's not expensive), then scribophile is more useful. In the latter case, try to get into the focus groups like ubergroup.

    Write like crazy. Start planning your sequels right away. There's a feedback process between books, where you get an idea for book 2 or 3 that requires setup in book 1. So don't be too quick to consider book 1 "done."

    Hope for a publisher (or agent), but plan for self-pubbing. Get your book polished up as shiny as possible, get your query done, then start querying. See QueryTracker for help in that area. Again, the paid sub is worth the money, and you can cancel it later.

    If you don't get an agent (not uncommon for a first book), look into amazon, Draft2Digital, and CreateSpace. The "formatting" part of self-pubbing is a nit-picky PITA, but not technically difficult.

    If you are self pubbing, get a cover made. THIS IS NOT SOMEWHERE THAT YOU WANT TO SKIMP! A bad or obviously self-made cover will ensure that people will skip right past your book. for a cover you can pay anywhere from a little over a hundred bucks all the way to three grand (yes, I know of someone who did that. It's a beautiful cover...)

    And don't expect to get rich. Or even to make coffee money. It can happen, of course, and does happen to some, but it's like wanting to go into professional sports for a living. Very few make it to the big leagues, and not many more make it even to the minors where they make mediocre money. Most play in the beer leagues their whole lives.
     
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  13. TheWingedFox
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    TheWingedFox Active Member

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    Thank you guys. As always, the combined source of knowledge on here is invaluable.
     
  14. Mike Kobernus
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    Mike Kobernus Contributing Member

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    Two months is very short a time span for a novel. What length are you aiming at?
    I did write a 95K first draft in 3 months. But then, I put it aside for another 3 months while working on something else, then came back to it and revised it time after time after time. THEN it went through the editing process, which took another month, followed by a good month for various beta readers to have a poke at it and look for typos.

    2 months for all of that would be impossible, unless it was very short indeed.

    I do not wish to rain on anyone's parade, but I consider the above to be a very aggressive timeline.

    I am all about self publishing. I chose to do that before even attempting the traditional route. That is my preferred approach. But if there is one thing that I have learned it is this. Everything takes a long time to get done. Everything.

    Patience is not just a virtue for a writer, it is your best friend.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2016
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  15. Nightstar99
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    Nightstar99 Contributing Member

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    I would honestly just concentrate on finishing my book.
     
  16. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I find it puzzling that you're interested enough in traditional publishing to send the novel to agents, but you've apparently simultaneously decided that that effort will fail. I don't really understand the rush--if you're willing to devote a year to marketing, why aren't you willing to devote a year to trying to get your novel traditionally published?

    That said, if you insist on self publishing, I feel that the months-long "teasers" marketing scheme isn't likely to work well. While you find your novel fascinating, it's unlikely that you will be able to work a crowd up to breathless interest about a novel that doesn't yet exist.

    I, personally, would be more likely to try a new author's self-published novel if I liked the author, rather than liking the theoretical future someday novel. Someone giving me little snippets and expecting me to be wildly excited is likely to just annoy me--I will perceive them as arrogant.

    I think that you might be better off trying to sell your own personality than trying to sell the book. A blog where you discuss fiction, or your writing journey, or something of that sort, might make you some friends that might consider at least reading a sample of your book when it comes out.
     
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  17. Rafiki
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    Rafiki Active Member

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    Why bother, dude? The most you're going to make off self publishing is a couple bucks, maybe a beer, and it'll cost you so, so much time.
    Do you remember that Cat-Dog episode where they formed a band? Here it is if you missed it:


    Dog played the drums, and Cat played... something else. All Dog wanted to do was play his music, but Cat kept interrupting him so that he could practice his autographs, or take pictures, or really do a whole bunch of shit that had nothing to do with being a musician. Cat was more interested in the idea of being a rock star than he was in actually playing music.

    You've got to ask yourself why you're writing in the first place. Is it to make money? Be famous? Because writing brings neither of these things. It's a grueling, tedious art, and if you're doing it because you've got big plans of sitting in a cafe somewhere and 'being a writer' then you're wasting your time. Don't bother with self publishing. Don't bother with marketing.

    Make sure you have a product worth selling before you try selling it.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2016
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  18. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    This ^

    No sense planning too much further ahead than this. You can certainly have a checklist, and maybe even some benchmark goals or time frames. But why set dates when you have no idea if you can keep to that or not?
     
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  19. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi Rafiki,

    Don't know where you're coming from, but don't assume that there is no hope of making a living from writing or from going indie. Some of us do make a living that way. I do. And these days I would say your chances of making a living as a novelist are better if you self publish than if you go trade.

    But your odds are crap unless you're willing to put in the effort. To go indie and do it properly is hard. You have to upskill yourself in all sorts of areas. You have to know your business and be prepared to sacrifice all your free time. You have to commit. But if you do these things then you have a reasonable chance of making an income. (Note I'm not saying Stephen King type success, just earning enough from your royalties to live on.)

    Going trade is actually in my view the easier (as in less arduous) road for an author to take - though of course those who do are much, much less likely to earn a single penny from their efforts because they will simply never get a contract.

    So the main message is that self publishing can be worthwhile if you're prepared to work at it. Never doubt that.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
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  20. Nightstar99
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    Nightstar99 Contributing Member

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    I havent published or attempted to publish anything yet but it seems clear to me that the main reason new writers don't sell anything is because they never finish anything.

    I have been on this forum a few years and have lost count of the number of people who have turned up excited about getting published who havent finished anything, they then post a bit worrying about agents and contracts and disappear.

    Actually finishing a book to publishable quality is so bloody hard I can't even believe how hard it is. I have been trying and trying and am still not there. If you just manage to do that you are ahead of 98% of everyone else.
     
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