Writing a novel is not for the feint of heart. It is a huge undertaking that can take months or even years to complete, depending on the amount of research and detail you need to you put into your work of fiction or non-fiction. Even knowing this, it can feel like it's taking too long to complete your novel, or that you'll never finish. If you feel that way, it may benefit you to read a few tips and tricks on writing and promoting your fiction in order to speed up the process without diminishing your book's quality or value to your readers.
One of the ways you can speed up the process is by creating an outline or a breif synopsis of the plot as well as short character descriptions. This can help you get your ideas down so that you do not have to continuously stop and think, What happens next?
Of course, utilizing a good novel planning and writing book, like Ultimate Novel Planning Workbook: Worksheets for the Writer, Ready, Set, Novel!: A Workbook, Outlining Your Novel Workbook: Step-by-Step Exercises for Planning Your Best Book (Helping Writers Become Authors 2) and Ready, Set, Write: Level 1, may help keep you focused and on the productive writing path.
For more writer tips and tricks, keep reading. You're sure to find some ideas to help keep you on the path to publication.
You’ve finally completed your first novel. You’re excited. Everyone around you is excited, and you can’t wait to see how many people buy your book, but how many sales can you reasonably expect? The truth is that you may not see very many in your first year. If you see two books sold your first week, you’re doing great.
What about all those people that said they were going to buy your book?
You have 300 friends and family, and they all said they were buying your book. What happened? The hard truth is that they lied. They think that you’re selling 10 to 20 books a day, so you won’t miss it if they say they’re going to buy your book and don’t. You’ll just think it was one of those books you sold over the next three days, except you didn’t sell any books during the 72 hours after they said they’d buy your book.
As a new author with a newly finished and ready to be published manuscript, you’re probably overjoyed that a book publisher has sent you a response and tells you that they’d love to publish your book. But not so fast. Are they a vanity press?
You Put in the Hard Work, and Here’s Your Reward - An Acceptance
When your goal is to be traditionally published, you’re most likely to seek out literary agents and traditional book publishers. The bad news is that when sending to book publishers, you may have missed some red flags when looking at their submission guidelines. In fact, those red flags probably weren’t in the submission guidelines. They were probably under a different menu header that said services or some variation, like author services. On that webpage, you would have seen fees listed for publishing your book. If the book publisher charges fees, there’s a good chance it’s a vanity press.
You are. Never forget that as a self-published author who published on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and/or Kobo that you are 100 percent in control of your work. A comma doesn’t get moved without your say-so.
What Is a Self-Published Author?
For the purposes of this article, a self-published author is an author that published their fiction or non-fiction works directly to the platforms where they are selling them. In other words, they personally uploaded their novels and covers to Amazon, Barnes and Noble and/or Kobo, etc themselves without any assistance from a 3rd party publisher.
A reader needs either a PDF copy of your book or a copy of one of your books that was purchased from a publisher, like Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Kobo. They do not need anything else.
What information does your book reviewer need to give you if they did not buy a copy of your book?
People who do a lot of book reviews don’t tend to buy the books that they review. Instead, they receive a free copy of the book. AKA: They get free entertainment in exchange for their review. When a book reviewer contacts you, they need to tell you which book they’d like to review and the email address of where they’d like the PDF copy of your book sent.
Are you wondering if you’d benefit by printing your current novel in progress and editing it by hand? The truth is that there are a lot of benefits to looking at your work in a different format, especially if you do all your writing on a computer.
What You’ll Need
A red pen or any color pen that isn’t black or the color of your printer ink. You want your edits to stand out on the page. I prefer the Pilot Precise V5.
Printer paper. I prefer the cheapest stuff I can find that doesn’t have 100 reviews of ‘it jams’ or ‘feels nasty’. I typically use Hammermill and that’s because as of the writing of this article, I can get 8, 500-page reams for $29, which is $3.63 a pack.
A cheap laser printer. I’m currently using a Brother HL-L2300D Monochrome Laser Printer because it prints 27 pages per minute, and the tray holds up to 250 sheets. The toner cartridges also print 1800+ sheets, which means you aren’t going to switching out your ink mid-novel-print, like with an inkjet. I don’t know about you, but when I owned an inkjet, I got real tired of constantly feeding it more paper and spending $30+ on ink for every single draft.
Have you ever read on an agent or publisher’s website that ‘your novel must be polished’, and thought, how the heck do I polish my novel, it’s not a car!? You’re not alone. That term is ambiguous, and in my opinion, annoying because it doesn’t it’s not informative. In fact, if you want to get assholic, the sentence - Polish your novel – is TELLING and not SHOWING. In other words, it tells you to do something but does not show you how.
What Is Polishing Your Novel?
While we’re not polishing a car, we can use a car to illustrate polishing your novel. It is the act of buffing out all the scratches and dings, and where the damage is worse, getting out that dent plunger and straightening the metal. Of course, if that metal is also scratched, we may need some touch-up paint.
Choosing the best writing software for your needs doesn’t mean that software is always going to work for you or the particular novel you’re writing. For that reason, don’t be afraid to change software mid-novel or even mid-draft. The minute you realize your novel writing software is the reason you’re not making progress, switch to a different one. I have four pieces of software that I switch between, including Novelize, LibreOffice, Google Docs and Bibisco.
Writing a book and publishing a book are only the first steps to author success. This is because you could have written a great book, but this does not matter if no one knows about it. Thankfully, there are promotional tools and things you can do to help spread the word.
Social media is a great place to promote your book. You can potentially reach thousnads and even millions of people with properly timed and hashtagged tweets and posts. You can also start a blog, create promotional and informative articles and share those across your social media accounts. There are even sites where you can promote your book for free.
Additionally, there are also several Amazon books available to get you gather book promotion ideas so that you can create your own custom book promotion strategy. Great Noevel marketing books include:
- Novel Marketing: Making Your Author Brand Work for You & Your Books
- How to Market a Book Third Edition (Books for Writers)
- The Kindle Publishing Bible: How To Sell More Kindle Ebooks on Amazon (Step-by-Step Instructions On Self-Publishing And Marketing Your Books) (Kindle Bible Book 1)
- How Your Book Sells Itself: 10 Ways Your Book is Your Ultimate Marketing Tool (Marketing for Authors)
- Sell More Books!: Book Marketing and Publishing for Low Profile and Debut Authors Rethinking Book Publicity after the Digital Revolutions
- Let's Get Visible: How To Get Noticed And Sell More Books (Let's Get Publishing) (Volume 2)
- 1001 Ways to Market Your Books, Real World Edition: Authors: How to sell more books, ebooks, multi-media books, audios, videos, white papers, and other information products in the real world
In addition to the above helpful books, here are a few articles to help you self-promote your books.
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- Social Media Schedulers for Joomla
- Where Are the Free Book Promotion Websites?
- What should a Content Article Contain?
- Understanding Amazon KDP as an Author
- Help! I Can’t Find any Samples for the Freelancer I Want to Hire!
- Writer Tools – A Novel Writing Software Review
- Pros and Cons of 10 Popular Social Media Schedulers
- 5 Great Tablets for Writers
- Least Popular Adult Fiction Genres
- 6 Tips for Performing Your Final Book Edit Before Formatting and Publication