March/April - Preparing for Publication

I like to write a novel in the same order it will be read, and I feel like that about this blog too.  I shared the journal entries I wrote as I was writing Outage, so I'll share here a few things I did after I finished to get it ready for publication.

I mentioned in the last post that I had family and friends read it.  This was really critical in the evolution of the book, because they all pointed out different things that I could improve.  There were a few things they all agreed on too.  I think they may have worried that their feedback would hurt my feelings, but it was super helpful!  I am really grateful to have had so many people willing to read it in its rough state and make suggestions.

I also read it over a couple of times from start to finish and experienced it as a whole.  I did this early on, and then read it twice more just before it launched.  Each time I looked for different things.  Sometimes I was looking at story and character development, sometimes I was just looking for typos.  This was also really helpful, as it was fairly obvious where I needed to flesh out an idea or character, and I still catch typos here and there.  

An inspired friend suggested that I package the first 6 chapters in a free preview and published it a few weeks before I released the novel.  Best advice ever!  Making the preview available taught me so much.  It helped me get used to the publishing process at various websites and also brought some flaws to my attention - For example, the cover I'd made just didn't look good on the Amazon page with the other covers.  It looked home-made and it didn't say YA.  Another thing I discovered was that my book title ("Powerless") was already overused, and I would be competing with not only books, but series' of books called "Powerless."  I had time to change the title before going live.  Last, I realized my book description needed work.  Fixing that has been an ongoing process that still continues.

In this same time frame I did a whole bunch of things I'd never done before:  built a website, made a Facebook page, started a mailing list, became an affiliate with Amazon, got a post office box when I realized my mailing list was giving everyone my home address (haha, that took me about 2 hours once I noticed).

I also did a lot of research on how to promote a book.  This may be helpful down the road, but I haven't done much promotion initially.  My Facebook friends and mailing list fans were a big help in getting the book to chart on its launch day, and after that it's been mostly word of mouth and favorable Amazon algorithms.

So anyway, that's a glimpse into just a few of the things I did between finishing the rough draft and hitting the Publish button.  April was an extremely busy month for me as I had to learn how to do each of these, usually from the ground up.