Hello everyone, as promised, I will continue the publishing series! I will in this post discuss the preliminary steps to getting your book published. Of course, this is assuming you even want to go the route of self-publishing. If this is still something you are debating over, check out the first post in this series.
To start off, how do you plan to submit a novel if you have nothing to work with? Haha. It takes many preliminary steps before you even think about publishing. Your book must go through many drafts and re-writes. Get every professional opinion you can before you can say you are satisfied with your final draft.
I would recommend possibly getting your work seen by a professional editor. Or at the very least, seek consultation from a publishing house without intent to publish through them. While this may come with a hefty fee, however, I can assure you it is well worth it. Especially if you are trying to reach the masses and make your mark as an author.
I will discuss further these preliminary steps in future posts. Also, feel free to reach out to me with questions. While I have not self-published yet, I have done extensive research on the subject and will continue to do so.
Building your brand
The first step following the creation of your novel, I would say, is to set up a marketing campaign. What this means is establishing a social media presence. Where potential readers can get a sense of your brand and possibly even find direct links to your book sale or website.
As for social media, set up profiles far and wide. I, despite only using a handful of them daily, am on every major platform. It only takes a couple of minutes to set up when you have the essentials, such as potential book covers, promotional images, or even excerpts from your novel. It could also mean the difference between another potential reader vs someone who sees your novel but does not know who you are or has a sense of your theme.
How to create your book cover
To create your book cover, you can use design applications as simple as Canva's designer. A free mobile and computer designer. While I am not sponsored by them, unfortunately, (if you can hook me up, please do so haha) it is a great application if you plan to make a simplistic cover that implements clip art, such as mine.
As for more elaborate designs, you might get them professionally designed. While mine is just a sample, it gets the theme of the book across in simplistic, visual language.
If you are not already aware of this. My cover is the various assorted items Diane’s mother possessed before her all too premature death. (Yes, I spoiled my novel, but trust me, there are plenty more influential plot twists you won't see coming if you wanted to.)
That's enough about me, but if you are seeking inspiration for a cover design and are limited to resources such as Canva. Consider searching your own novel first. I, in fact, was inspired to create mine upon a dream about its rough design. While this may not be the case for those with more bland dreams, brainstorm your primary themes.
Not only will this help you in forming why you are writing in the first place and provide the fire under your belly to keep going. It can even help you revise your novel in ways you could not even imagine. I know it has for me because my outline alone looked far different before I took the time to do this.
For further consultation on this, look no further than Abbie Emmon’s videos that I highly recommend. She is very knowledgeable about subjects such as this and has been an instrumental piece in creating my own novels. As well as sharing advice such as this. Links below.
Finally, if nothing is coming to you, keep in mind the s of the SCRAP principle. Simplicity in the workplace and innovative creations is the key way to make your message universal. While most people would go all out and design a cover littered with info and visual design. Keeping it simple is what you will see if you walk into your local bookstore or library.
Most of all, design something that is true to YOU. Don't copy your favorite author’s book design. While it tempted me to do so with my own, I hesitated and let the idea stew in my head until it came to fruition.
My final opinion on the subject is that you need to create something that would grab your eye in a bookstore. They say don't judge a book by its cover. While this may remain true as it pertains to people, a book is quite the opposite.
I am guilty of it, as I am sure many readers alike are, possibly even YOU. While I am not trying to play the blame game as I am just as, if not more, guilty than most. This is something you NEED to keep in mind as it pertains to your hit novels book cover. Because I promise you, if your cover does not grab the reader's attention and pique their interest, they will not even consider reading a page of your novel.
It’s the hard truth, but I found myself guilty of this today in my brief time at Barnes and Nobel. Right off the bat, I saw Dean Knoot's novel for five dollars which I picked up due to me enjoying his previous works. Regardless of the enthralling cover.
However, I went back to old habits and went straight to the Mystery/Thriller/Horror section to cherry-pick the best covers. In the end, I only left the store with Dean Knoot’s novel. That was a true page-turner. Seeing that I was seventeen pages in before we left the store.
So I hope this post has helped you make the publishing process more tangible. In the sense that now you have a better understanding of what self-publishing takes. While it is a narrow path, the benefits are many and discussed in part one of this series.
If this series has been beneficial or if you want me to continue it, please leave a comment or like. If this is not resonating with you, please also let me know. I will take any suggestions and share my knowledge to help you.
We are all in this together and I hope to help you complete your first novel and hope you help me create my own!
Sorry, this is long, as promised. I added breakers if you are specifically searching for a topic. As for the next one, like or comment if you want part three, or comment if you want to see my personal reading notes, I would not share with anyone else.
Till next time.
- Matt Gorrell
Abbie Emmons Videos:
The ones I was specifically referring to:
Other videos that have helped me:
(Examples of great book covers that stood out to me in the bookstore and the book I bought. Say Goodbye, despite me not getting the chance to read it. Practically jumped off the shelf into my hands, I was so impressed with the cover design alone.)
LLC, Lightning Source. “How to Self Publish a Book.” IngramSpark, 2021, https://www.ingramspark.com/how-to-self-publish-a-book.