So, you've written a book- now what? Let me tell you friend, sometimes writing the book seems like the easy part!
Publishing a book is a long process with many paths to be explored. Should you query for an agent or self-publish? Do you need a website? If so, should you start a blog or a newsletter or both? And if the answer is yes, how in the heck do you entice subscribers? What's the difference between a copy and a developmental editor (and how do you find one)? Can you format a book for paperback, hardcover, eBook, and audiobook versions? And most importantly, how are you going to get the word out about your book- social media, email campaigns, book blog tours, school visits, bookstore signings, Amazon ads, etc? To say the least, it can be overwhelming. But it could also be the best year of your life!
No two authors reach the same destination in the same two ways. Let me give you a peek into my debut book journey. And in honor of Violet Jenkins, the MC of my book and lover of all things space and aviation, I shall do it rocket launch style. Let the countdown begin!
10 Illustrations Commissioned
I began the process thinking I needed to hire someone to do cover art for the book. I knew from my own buying experience that no one is buying an ugly book! I found Ramsey Diven on Upwork and fell in love with her character sketch of Violet Jenkins. I knew I had to have more. She suggested 10 line-art sketches (one for each chapter) and I agreed. So happy I did it! Art adds so much pizzazz- especially to a children's book. Truth be told- I wouldn't mind more art in adult fiction either- who's with me?
9 Months Ago, I Began the Journey
I picked up my old manuscript out of the drawer & got to work. I was determined to make my dream a reality. Self-publishing seemed like a viable option nowadays and with no little kids in the house- I had no excuses. It was go-time!
8 The Number of Infinity
Also, the number of people who have supported me in a million ways along this journey! It amazes me when I look back and remember all the people who God placed in my life at just the right times. My oldest son mentioned an author friend self-publishing his work last Thanksgiving and the wheels began turning. My husband talked to a coworker who had a daughter who wanted to be a writer. She served as one of my first beta readers. Students saw my Instagram posts and asked if they could read my book (I was now up to 14 beta readers). A coworker hooked me up with a niece who edits professionally. Another coworker added my book to our school's AR log. A PTL mom permitted me to set up a table at the book fair. I sold every single copy! A school board member suggested a Violet Jenkins Day at school and my principal got behind the idea. I had an entire school cheering me on! I felt like a rockstar walking down the hallways! My parents may have bought enough books to single-handedly put me on the bestseller list (LOL- I wish). My middle son gave me early morning pep talks telling me how proud he was of me and calming my inner doubts. My youngest son approved all my reels before posting in order to monitor the cringe. My summer co-writer friends gave me countless writing craft tips and book suggestions that helped me a ton. And my many sweet friends read my book and celebrated with me. It may not quite be an infinity- but it was just the right amount to make a dream come true. God is good!
7 X 77
This is the number of times I’ve forgiven myself for the errors I’ve made and moved on, inching my way ever so closer to my goal of publishing my first book.
6 Instagram Reels
Six reels have been made solely to promote Violet Jenkins Saves the Day. But in truth, I've created 68 reels sharing my love of books and writing on Instagram in an effort to discover other writers and build an author platform. It has been a lot of fun and somewhat surreal chatting with other real-life authors!
BTW: You can follow me @staceywritesandreads!
5 Weeks of Formatting
Let me tell ya, learning how to format a book in paperback, hardcover, and eBook is no joke! But I saved a ton of money, thus allowing me to purchase my website and interior illustrations- so it was also a no-brainer!
4 Book Formats
During Covid, I narrated 3 books for fun. (I'm an introverted book nerd- what can I say?) Little did I know, this was great prep for narrating my own book. One less thing I had to learn from scratch! So, my book will be published in paperback, hardcover, eBook, and audiobook formats.
3 Computer Applications Learned
I used Canva to create promotional material, WeVideo to create a book trailer, and Wix to build a website. I feel like I’ve learned more in the past nine months than I did in any 9 years of school (pick any of them).
My first editor was amazing! Her suggestions were priceless, and her red ink was ruthless! The second editor's pass was probably overkill- but this being my first book, I wanted to be safe rather than sorry.
1 Book Published and the Next One is in the Works!
Would I do it again? ABSOLUTELY! So, if you too have a dream of becoming a published author- go for it. Nothing is stopping you in the age of self-publishing. You will pour your heart and soul into your work. You will ride a roller coaster of self-doubt and a "nothing's going to stop me" attitude. But most importantly, you will feel alive in a way that only living out your dream can provide.
So happy writing my friend!
PS. If you would like to continue to follow my author journey, subscribe to my newsletter.