Writers new to this publishing gig face a daunting cliff face of conflicting information, advice and options. And while it may seem overwhelming and needlessly complicated, it’s actually quite simple.
1) Write the best book you can.
When you are sure you’ve put forth your best effort (it’s not, but belief runs hot at this point), then have it beta’d—make sure at least one beta does not read in that genre. Your mom or sister or office co-worker are probably not good choices. Join writing groups, go on Face Book, drag total strangers into dank alleys and hold them hostage for a fair and honest…
Oh wait, that’s for reviews, nevermind…
Once it’s been through the beta reader meatgrinder and you’ve corrected bugaboos they’ve caught, then have that tome professionally edited: a full content edit is not cheap, but you are worth it, aren’t you?
An editor catches continuity problems, POV challenges, narrative missteps—there’s a plot here somewhere, right, someone … anyone?—along with grammar, tense and punctuation issues. An editor is an investment in your future as a writer: choose wisely, get a sample edit before proceeding. An editor is a member of your writing team, your coach and often your biggest supporter.
Once you’ve whipped that book into shape, hire someone to do an eye-catching cover if you are going indie.
Learn how to properly format for each eBook platform. If that’s outside your comfort zone, there are editors and services who will do it for a reasonable fee. Just remember, your book is a product offered for sale. Readers dipping into their disposable income to buy your book over the millions of others available deserve the highest quality product you can produce.
If you are going the agent route, you don’t need the book cover, instead substitute: a killer logline, a killer pitch, a killer blurb, a killer synopsis and a killer knowledge of the market and how you fit in.
2) Build a platform.
I do not recommend a shotgun blast. If you like to blog and you have interests other than writing, good. It you can craft good tweets, excellent. If you have a Face Book presence that allows people to *communicate*, *interact*, *share* and *support* others, very nice. Find one or two things you LIKE and have TIME to do.
3) Be prepared for a long haul, a minimum of three years (if you are serious about the process)
4) And this is the most important: HONE YOUR CRAFT
How? Simple: write the next book. And then the next. And the one after that. You *will* make mistakes, you *will* experiment, you *will* fail … but you *will* learn.
5) Be professional.
This is your job. Do not whine, complain, trash other writers, bemoan the sad state of your life, your number of Face Book likes, your novel rank or lack thereof. If you are a professional, you *will* find mentors, you will find *fans*. Give back. Share.
And go write the next book.