If you're launching a book this spring, it's time to put the pedal to the medal! To see if you're ready, we've created a quick checklist of what you should be doing right now.
1. Finish final manuscript edits—You never want to rush this. A clean, polished manuscript is crucial. Competition in the book marketplace is fierce, so don't scrimp on professional editing. We don't care if you use our services or work with your own professional editor—okay, we sort of do because our editors rock!—but please don't ask your friends or Aunt Betty to edit your book. Professional editors are trained. They are experts. They follow strict rules and processes to enrich your manuscript. A professional edit is worth every penny.
2. Schedule interior design and layout—It's important to minimize the editorial changes you make once your book moves into layout. Proofread and finalize your manuscript first. While you're doing this, you can start assessing page-design choices. A professional designer should offer you several interior samples. You want to choose a look and feel that fits your genre and author brand. If you want your book to look like it came from a big New York publisher, professional interior design is necessary. Like cover design, there are conventions to be followed. Within seconds of opening your book, readers, reviewers, librarians and booksellers will make a judgement as to whether your book looks professional or not. What kind of impression do you want to make?
3. Finalize your cover files—We recommend having the digital cover files finalized as early as possible. Why? Your book cover is a powerful marketing tool. If you have a strong cover, a well-written synopsis and a launch date that you can start sharing early—three, six or even nine months ahead of time—then you've created a distinct marketing advantage for your book. Many traditional houses are already talking about books they have coming out next fall! Your book cover is not only an important marketing tool, it's also one of your most important pieces of metadata. The title, subtitle, series title, etc.—in other words, the text on your cover—becomes part of your book's official record in all the important databases that help readers, librarians and booksellers discover your book. Getting the design and the text just right is crucial.
4. Polish your marketing plan—Before launch, your marketing efforts should focus on gathering blurbs for your back cover and editorial reviews from influencers, book bloggers and reviewers. You'll need to make ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) available in several formats (PDF, print and eBook). For certain markets—for example, libraries and bookstores—specific review publications are important. The reviewers at these publications have requirements about how and when they like to receive ARCs. Their deadlines are often well in advance of publication. Create a spreadsheet with the publications that are important in your genre. Include contact info and deadlines. All of these pre-launch efforts are meant to build "social proof" for you and your book. If you want to learn more about the importance of social proof, read our blog about it here.
We hope we haven't stressed you out. The reality is that many independent authors—especially first-time authors—rush this process or skip important steps. That's a mistake. It takes time and planning to successfully launch a quality book.
If you're looking for a partner to help, Bublish offers a full-range of editing, design and marketing services as well as print and digital distribution. We help authors at any stage of their publishing journey, but love the opportunity to be there from the beginning—when we can have the biggest impact and guide you successfully through the entire process.
Bublish can help you take your ideas and stories, turn them into a professional book and get your book in front of readers across the world. We offer:
- project consultation and book positioning studies
- editing services (developmental, copy editing, proofreading)
- cover design
- interior book design and layout
- eBook conversion
- digital and print book distribution to all major online retailers, bookstores and libraries
You guys are amazing! Now, go forth and Bublish! (Sounds like publish, but it's a totally different experience when you have a partner at your side.)