From Writing, to Publication, and Beyond

We’ve been talking for a while about getting all the how-to links in one place, and this is the first step to doing that. I’m going to attempt to list, step-by-step, every little thing you must do between writing ‘the end’ on your manuscript, and the long tail of a backlist. What I’m asking our readers to do is to add anything I’ve missed in the comments. I will link to articles Mad Genii have written, being on this blog, or their personal blogs, where I can. Then we will all work on filling in any blanks and/or updating material in the upcoming month. Finally, we plan to do… something with all of it. Immediate possibility is simply a page of links here at the MGC. Long term would be something that you can access like a book (yes, I’m being coy. There are several of us, and we need to make more plans!).

Editing Phase

Pre-Publication

Promotion and Marketing

All right, folks, I’m taking this live… as you suggest something in the comments, I’ll either put up a new link, or a bullet point that we here at MGC will fill in soon. Open for suggestions… Now!

35 Comments

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35 responses to “From Writing, to Publication, and Beyond

  1. BobtheRegisterredFool

    Is this where we suggest a functional description of what a purpose a genre serves? Like Sarah’s description of The Cozy?

  2. Jack July

    How about the Idea phase. So you want to write a book? Has it been done? If you are satisfied with that Idea, do you have a place to write? Can you safely save your writing so you don’t mess up, hit a wrong button and lose nine chapters like I did on the first book. Do you have a support network? A Beta reader? Another Author or two to talk to when you are feeling bad, stuck or just need a little pep talk? I had Sabrina Chase. Did you actually type the words Chapter 1. Because that’s how you throw your world into a chaotic hell that few people will ever understand.

    • Laura M

      All right. I give. What’s the matter with typing Chapter 1?

    • Jack, I included information about beta and alpha readers already, I’m adding a link for finding (or stealing!) ideas. As for people to talk to when you’re stuck, you’re always welcome to come over here and join in the comments. You’re likely to find a lot of shared experiences.

  3. Stephen Gradijan

    Cover, Title, Blurb. Aside from the actual writing, those are the things that are part of your book that make a difference between gaining readers or not. You clearly have Cover, um, covered, but I don’t see Title or Blurb listed.

    Another notion, and I am not sure where to categorize this idea, is being “findable”. There is probably a lot of things to talk about in that broad notion of “findable”, but yesterday(?) I noticed a writer (not MGC affiliated) whose memoir on Amazon didn’t have her name linked, which meant that her author’s page on Amazon (i.e. with the titles of her books on a scroll bar at the top of the page) didn’t show her memoir title, which meant any fans who had her page linked didn’t know her memoir even existed! Contrast http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=kristiana+gregory with this http://www.amazon.com/Kristiana-Gregory/e/B000APTEWK/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1425747430&sr=8-2-ent

    P.S. It is possible that she may have fixed the “non-link” by the time people read this here…

    • Stephen Gradijan

      Perhaps I should have checked your links more closely before making my comment about “Cover, Title, Blurb”. In at least one of those links the topic of “blurb” is discussed, so my apologies for being superfluous.

      • Well, our posts tend to cover multiple topics, and I’m thinking we’ve done a blurb workshop at some point, so I’ll look for and add that shortly.

        Thanks for your suggestions!

  4. dakorillon

    Sarah did the whole Writing your novel workshop 1-13, I think Starts with: https://madgeniusclub.com/2014/10/15/first-catch-an-idea-writing-your-novel-part-1/ She has them gathered up at some place.

  5. dakorillon

    There is also the Short Story Workshop 1-9ish

  6. I think my blood pressure just went up 20 points. If not, it’s only because I had my Manx cat handy, what with sitting on my left arm. Cats reduce blood pressure.
    What frosted my window pane was discovering the ‘paid reviewer’ scam. That just busts my chops, big time. I’m a pretty freaken prolific reviewer, but I’ve just started, and I’m proud of the 58 Amazon reviews I’ve done. The idea that some people cheapen reviews by getting paid to review books that they haven’t even read…FUZZZ!!!
    For the record: I read every word of every book I review and I pay (through KU) for every book I review; the sole exceptions are the e-ARCs I have received, which have zero commercial value.
    I do participate in the Amazon Associates program, which permits me to post a ‘click to buy’ button on my blog; if anybody uses that button to purchase a book I review, I get a referral fee. Never happened, thus far, but it might. If that ever casts doubt on the impartiality of my reviews, I’ll dump the program so fast it will leave electronic friction burns.
    Cedar, THANK YOU for including the paid review bit in the column. I hadn’t known such practice existed; I knew theoretically that someone’s always going to find a way to game the system, but didn’t know it had existed in this form. It will be a reminder to me to stipulate in my reviews when I receive an e-ARC.
    Now, back to my reading.

    • Pat, we know you do, and trust you to have read them. Gives us a happy glow to have you around, honest. And all of us think that paying for reviews is highly unethical. Added to that, Amazon seems to be cracking down on the practice, so justice will be served.

  7. Laura M

    Pat,I wouldn’t worry. I can’t imagine that the Amazon Associates program would count as getting paid.
    I also find it interesting that the traditional publishing approach, which consisted/consists of sending physical books to reviewers without charging them, is considered acceptable, while some might worry that providing a free copy, which involves no extra marginal cost, is somehow bad. It’s a review copy.
    I’ve seen sites where you pay to upload your book so that people who read it for free will review it. I can’t articulate why I don’t like that, but I don’t.

  8. Okay, I just finished reading and reviewing Cedar’s ‘Trickster Noir’ on Amazon and on my blog. Y’all have messed with me so bad, I’m digging pixies.
    Next up: no, I better not tell you. You’ll get antsy, and I really need y’all to stay in the moment. Don’t anticipate, just participate.

  9. I’ve bookmarked this. One of these days… the selling part really is a whole other job, isn’t it. I’ve been making jewelry and selling it (okay, not really selling it, but someone said “you should” and so I did) and taking the pictures and getting each piece posted is more work and takes more time than making the stuff. It doesn’t seem to get less time consuming as I go, either.

    • Have you built a lightbox for photography? That will help with controlling the light, and should speed the photography. I got best results shooting outside in natural light, with rocks and trees for backdrop (if you want I’ll dig up some of my product shots). Silver is TEH Werst! to photograph.

      Back to selling the books, yes, it is. It’s a balance between marketing time, and writing time. The good news is that quantity has it’s own momentum, and once you have a backlist, that helps a lot. The bad news is that unless you release a new title every so often, it’s hard for people to find you as you sink into the rankings.

      • I’ve built a back-drop sort of thing which is portable and works a little better and use several lights and as much indirect sunlight as I can get (probably should be photographing now because it’s daytime) but it’s still very much trial and error and learning what works. I like to think that the pictures aren’t horrible, even if they aren’t professional.

        I’ve been doing the jewelry because I really don’t have to think, compared to writing. I do have a couple of short stories that could go up but nothing else in the works and there’s that momentum thing… but I’m almost done with school. There’s this semester and then (unless I’m mistaken) one 4 credit and one 1 credit class next fall. I don’t know how you do it. I really don’t.

        • Live eat and breathe work, whether it’s school or the immediately paying stuff.

          I did jewelry for a while, decided the market wasn’t there for the effort I was willing to put in at the time, and got away from it. I still make my own pieces from time to time.

          Good luck with the classes!

  10. Amanda… http://theothermccain.com/2015/03/07/space-battleship-yamatoand-other-disasters/

    “Not quite on the same topic, but still decent reading, is Sam Schall’s Duty from Ashes, the sequel to Vengeance from Ashes. In this second book, Major Ashlyn Shaw and her Marines get to take the fight to the enemy…but there are forces behind the scenes that Major Shaw and her superiors don’t even suspect are there. Good brain candy at a decent price.”

  11. -Could talk about some sites to get things printed / obtain QR codes / tips on business cards / bookmarks a bit more in the marketing. I’ve found that having cards ready to hand out helps get sales. It’s nowhere near 100% kill rate, but if you buy the cards cheap enough (Vistaprint, Gotprint, etc.) the cost / sale ratio means you only have to get a 5-10% kill rate.

    -Getting press and speaking engagements in addition to reviews. Also obtaining a device that allows you to make sales from your phone (Square, Inuit, etc.). Why? Because when you do speaking engagements, understand people will want to buy your book _right then_. From personal experience, I can tell you that they will not even go to a bookstore that is less than 2 miles away…so get them while they’re in full impulse mode.

    -Figure out a list of independent bookstores, comic stores, Ma / Pa shops within a day’s drive (or more than a day if you’re willing to shell out hotel rooms / crash on a friend’s couch). Hit them up to see if they’ll let you go there. Never pay to do so (you won’t make the money back), but be willing to burn a Saturday to build your brand.

    -I’ll have more to say about Cons after next week. So far, I’ll say that the startup costs are a bit eye watering, but odds are slim that you’ll be able to generate that many fish in a barrel on your own. We’ll see if it’s “I got scalped worse than Custer…”, “Meh…”, or “Like walking into a bordello wearing nothing but garments made out of Benjamin Franklins…and informing the madam you intend to walk out wearing a robe.”

    -Ready rack: I can thank my Mom and sister for this, but I now carry copies of my books in the car. Why? Because I had about 8 sales float away over Thanksgiving as friends and family were shocked, SHOCKED to find that I’d written a book…and wanted to buy a copy. “I didn’t want to be that cousin selling Amway at Thanksgiving…” “Well now you’re that person kicking himself because he isn’t selling his product.” Since then, I’ve no kidding sold 5 books out of the car to random strangers.

    -See if your town or nearby city has a “First Friday” artist events. See if a local business will let you set up a book signing table in their corner. Again, you won’t sell _a lot_ of books, but see part about handing out business cards.

    -Things that I’ve found don’t work in my experience:

    *Blog Ads (as in the folks you see advertising on Instapundit, etc.) for anything other than maybe a week. Indeed, going forward unless I have a niche book (e.g., a military history non-fiction), I’m not going anywhere internet advertising.

    *FB ads–Basically ol’ Zuck’s gnomes have made FB to be pretty much useless. If you have $5 to spare, I can’t say it’s _useless_ to advertise a sale (I’ve seen better response), but I wouldn’t go much past that.

    • So… you’re going to write up a post for the readers here at MGC? Excellent! You know my email…

    • P.S. I forgot to add on the press–you probably won’t see a huge number of sales (I can confirm 1 for getting in our local paper). What you _will_ see, however, is that being able to point towards a newspaper article will open some doors that may have otherwise gotten slammed in your face. Similarly with reviews from any blog that seems professional or has over 5,000 subscribers. Also, if you’re at capable of writing elsewhere (e.g., non-fiction), do so. “I’ve been published in [insert professional magazine]…” immediately sets you apart from the literally thousands of people who will write asking for something. Even if it’s a Cosmo article, it’s something…

  12. Um…is this a case of I’ve taken more than my fair share of objectives, I am now being given another objective to take?

  13. Ryan M. Church

    Reblogged this on The Way of the Storyteller:.