I thought writing my latest book was hard, but it was nothing compared to getting it out into the world. At least getting it out the right way. Lucky for me, I’ve been a professional organizer for over 25 years, so I approach publishing the same way I approach organizing a closet: break it down into manageable steps. But what are the steps when it comes to publishing?
I started with Google. I scoured dozens of websites (Reedsy, BookBaby, ALLi, etc.) and each had their own take: upload the manuscript to KDP, ask for author endorsements, buy Facebook ads, etc.). I listened and watched numerous webinars, videos and podcasts by Jane Friedman, Kindlepreneur, and more. The list I created was tremendous. I compare this to taking everything out of the closet and piling it onto your bed. As many clients have said when I’ve done this to their wardrobes, “It’s overwhelming.”
And it is.
As I scanned my pages of notes, I wondered: Do I need to do everything? And in what order? And how far before the launch should tasks be completed? Should I use Draft2Digital? Is Findaway Voices better than ACX? Where do I distribute my book? My list of questions was as long as the list of tasks. I needed to put it in some sort of manageable order.
Divide and Conquer
Like when facing a heap of clothing, I first create smaller, separate piles of like categories such as pants, socks and T-shirts, so I did the same thing with book publishing tasks.
I divided my enormous list into smaller sublists of like categories:
- Editorial (hire an editor, hire a book cover designer, write book description)
- ARCS (set up an account on Bookfunnel.com, order stickers)
- Reviews (submit book to Kirkus, Booklife, etc.)
- Contests (enter some, if you win, post on social media)
- Influencers (find authors in my genre, send them a book, ask nicely)
- Launch Team (compile list of friends and ask nicely)
- Metadata (create one sheet of every single detail about your book: ISBN, Amazon category, price, etc.)
- Distribution (create accounts on Amazon and IngramSpark)
- Giveaways (create account on Goodreads), and on and on
Creating a Game Plan
In assembling these sublists, I wasn’t just dividing tasks, I was creating a game plan. Sorting the tasks revealed patterns. Such as: ARCs needed to be ready before I could submit books for reviews. So, I moved ARCs (and all the tasks that fell under it) higher on the list ahead of Reviews. To do a giveaway, the book needed to first be completed, so Giveaways moved further down the list.
Asking for Help
I published my first book in 2011, and my second book in 2017, however much has changed since. There are new services that make the process more efficient and look more professional (PublisherRocket, MockUpBooks, Canva, etc.). There are more opportunities to distribute your books (KDP, IngramSpark, Draft2Digital, Findaway Voices, ACX, etc.). These services certainly help, but it’s still overwhelming trying to figure out which tasks you need to do and which you don’t, and which companies are worth it and which are not. Which is where New Shelves came in. Keri is the cherry on top. She has been (and continues to be) invaluable in guiding me every step of the way, helping me figure out which of the steps need to be completed and by when.
Publishing a book is not easy, but having a blueprint to guide you to the book launch and beyond makes the journey not only doable, but enjoyable. And isn’t that what this is all about?
For a free book launch checklist from Felice, click here.
Felice Cohen’s newest book, Half In: A Coming-of-Age Memoir of Forbidden Love was published September 2022 and is available wherever books are sold.
Connect with Felice at www.felicecohen.com.