Monday 11 February 2019

The Trials Of An Indie Author: Planning A Release


It's getting to that time of the year again where I am gearing up to release my next book. 2019 is going to be different than any of the others because I'm not just sticking with my usual two, but adding a third in there as well. It's been started, the process of editing and the rest have been going on since about July time of 2018. I won't bore you with the details of release, though I might update my series on the after process and all that goes into it. It's been a while since I talked about it.

But back to today's topic. How do I, and any other indie author, plan for a release? It feels like a never ending cycle between drafting, rewrites, edits, betas and the rest as you go from finishing one book to the next and getting another bunch ready for release. It can be extremely overwhelming, but that said, it's something that needs to be done. You can't just, like I did in the early days of my career, release a book and call it done. You have to get the word out and you have to actually do a lot of work to get that done. Readers don't come out from the woodwork and randomly start reading your book if they don't know it's there.

So how do you plan a release? What goes into it? Who do you talk to? What steps can you take to help get the word out? And how do you find readers in the first place? Don't worry! I'm gonna go through each of those in turn.

#1- What goes into it?

I'm someone who does a lot of planning. So I make sure that I know what's ahead of me. The deadlines, the steps I need to take and all of that. I also make sure that I know what's expected of me. A lot of the time, you're going to be working with other people. You'll have an editor and cover designer at a minimum, but you'll also have beta readers, a street team, ARC readers and cover reveals and all of that. You need to be sure of what you need to be doing and when to do it by. For me that means breaking it down month-by-month. Marketing has never really been my strong point, so I've used tools like Storiad that gives you a very good marketing tool for your release that you can follow.

But again, a lot of this is going to be down to you to do. You'll know what you need to do and when it has to be done by. Like I said above, I start the publishing process about a year before the book will hit the shelves. And so you need to make sure that you have that time, those steps to meet and all of that. Publishing a book is a whole lot more than just hitting the button on whatever site you use. You want to be spreading the word, building the hype when it comes to the cover, teasers, the pre-order period, the blogs who do ARCs and all of that. It's all a big build up the the special day when your book is out there in the world. And then, if you're like me, you're juggling these different stages with more than one book. So know what you're doing and make sure you have a way to at least keep track of what's been done and what needs doing.

#2- Who do you talk to?
This is going to be talked a little bit more in the fourth question, but rather than repeating myself, I'll just say that a lot of the time you're gonna be talking to bloggers and readers of your genre. The target audience are the ones you want to reach. But before that you'll be wanting to reach out to people who promote your kind of book. Whether that's a YA blogger or a romance blogger, or a fantasy/sci-fi/dystopian etc blogger, that's who you're going to be reaching out to.

Why? Because they're the people who will have the audience you want to reach. They're the people whose readers as going to be your readers. You want to be reaching out to them to help with any number of things from the cover reveal to ARCs to release day blitz to blog tours and the like. These are your people and you're gonna want them to know you have a new book coming out and what it's about.

#3 - What steps can you take to help get the word out?
I've mentioned on the blog before about certain things I do to help spread the word when it comes to a release. These are things like cover reveals, reaching out to bloggers who do things like Bookstagram or Twitter reviews. Taking steps to have Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs) so that people can read the book before release and have reviews on Goodreads and Amazon come release day. You can use these moments, these steps, to get the word out to even more people. It's one of the reasons why it's important to have a good cover so that when it's revealed, people more than want to buy your books, and will pre-order it.

These are steps that you can take in the run up to release. That way there's people already aware that you have a new book coming out before it comes close to release day. It's a lot easier to build a buzz slowly, than to do it super fast. Though of course that depends on your platform, for me, who's very much a small fish, it takes time for people to get worked up because I don't have a huge reach.

#4 - How do you find readers in the first place?

Going back to point two, this is where I'll give you my secrets for finding the elusive reader in your target audience. As I mentioned there, there's places like Storiad that not only help you with marketing, but had a massive database that you can use to narrow down the searches for a certain type of blogger. That way you can use their messaging system to make those contacts and go from there. I recommend personalising the messages which may seem like a lot of work, but it's so worth it.

And the second place I recommend is The Book Robin Hoods, which is a massive resource that allows you to connect with readers and authors alike. They have a huge list of bloggers and bookstagrammers that will possibly, help you with your release. It may seem like a lot of work, but you're releasing a book and you want it to go right, so do the work and you'll thank yourself later.

So there we have it, how to plan a release and get the word out about your upcoming book. If you have any tips, feel free to leave them in the comments, but otherwise, good luck with your release!

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