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One Year To Your Published Novel A Road Map For Authors
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It seems every other tweet or Facebook status update says the same thing this week: This is the year I'm going to get published.
A noble resolution to be sure, but if you said the same thing last year, and you're still saying it now, what happened?
Getting published in one year is not impossible. With proper planning and focus, you can be a published author by the time you are dreaming up your resolution for next year.
Publishing a book is more than just writing a book. It's about building a platform, writing the book, getting the book published, and marketing the book.
Building a Platform
Right now is the perfect time to evaluate your online media presence.
Start with the basics. Do you have a Twitter account? Are you active on Facebook? Do you have a professional looking website with an active blog to draw in your readers?
If you haven't set these up, or if what people see when they land on your page doesn't represent you as a professional, it's time to step it up a notch (or several, as the case may be.)
Now you may be asking why this is relevant. You are an artist, after all. Your job is to create worlds with your words, not worry about your Facebook status or the background color of your blog (hint... DO NOT use black with white font. Just don't. I could do a whole post about how wrong that is. And maybe I will.)
Let me tell you, it's relevant. Who's going to buy your book once it's written? Who are your fans? Who cares about what you are writing?
I went from having zero blog followers on a total emo blog to having a professional website with a healthy following on all my social media sites, and it's made a difference. My book launches actually result in sales-even my soft launches-all because I built up my audience before I started publishing my books.
Whether you choose to go with a traditional publisher, a small press or self-publish, you need a platform before anyone will touch your book. So go forth and set up accounts. Make them shiny and fun. Brand yourself in your genre even before you have your book out. Need help? We have packages that can get you set up in no time!
Writing the Book
So you've set up your social media sites and you're quickly becoming a god on Twitter. Now what?
It's time to write you book.
This process is different for everyone. Sometimes It's different for each book. I wrote one of my novels in three weeks, and a chapter book in two days. My very first books is still in rewrites and it's been years.
So figure out what you are writing. To whom are you writing? Is it a stand-alone or series?
Then start writing.
Some people plot out their books before starting, some prefer to write and let the story lead them. I've found that plotting helps if you want to write your book quickly without having to do major rewriting, but to each their own.
Set aside time consistently to get those words in.
Once you have a rough draft of your book, it's time to make it pretty. You need an awesome editor (content editing for plot, characterization, voice and flow and then line editing for all the details.) Let me repeat this just to be really clear. You NEED an awesome editor. There are no exceptions. Even if you ARE an awesome editor, you still need one.
Let's say you start your book in January, after you set up all your accounts. And let's say you are writing a 90,000 word book. If you write 20,000 words a month, you would have a complete novel in May of this year. That's 5,000 words a week.
So in May, you have built up your empire of loyal subjects on Twitter and Facebook, you have a steady blog going (2-3 times a week with relevant topics and engaging posts) and now you have a real live book!
The next step is getting it published.
Publish Your Book
There are approximately 1.3 million billion blog posts that cover the various options for getting published. To query or not query, that is usually the question.
Let's just say you've decided on a publishing option and you are moving forward. You get more awesome editing. (If you are with a publisher, this will be provided. If you go the self-publishing route, you will need to hunt for a great editor-another service we provide!) You get a killer book cover that makes you want to frame your book and put it in a museum. Your book gets formatted to perfection for all the eReaders of the world as well as paperback.
For the sake of argument, let's say this takes an additional three months, what with editing and cover art and formatting and all that. If you self-publish it could be less, if you go with a Big 6 it will definitely take longer!
You now have a book available for purchase.
It's a glorious feeling isn't it? To see your book in print.
But wait... how do you get people to buy your book?
Marketing Your Book
This is where the power of your social media circle comes to play. You've made friends, discovered some fans of your work from your blog, hopefully built up an email list on your website...
It's time to announce to the world that you have a book and start inviting book bloggers and fans to read and review it.
We are now in August or September and you spend the last few months of 2013 marketing your novel. By this time next year you can finally count yourself a real author! Congratulations.
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