You’re Going to Write What? – Part 3

scribbling-152216_640This is an ongoing series about BigAl’s first experience writing a book. Join him as he flies by the seat of his pants and figures things out as he goes. For a more complete explanation about the book and this series of posts, you can read the series introduction here.

In this installment I’m going attempt to formulate a to-do list of items unrelated to writing the book which I’ll need to accomplish with some preliminary thoughts, plans, and decisions. Some need to be done sooner than others, but the order of the list is random.

Decide on a Title

Kat will tell you that titles aren’t my strong suit. Sometimes I’ll put a place holder, “Some Clever Title Kat Will Come Up With,” on my posts, knowing she’ll glom onto the perfect title and would have suggested changing the snoozer I’d chosen anyway. (Surely you didn’t think I came up with Love’s Savage Post on my own.) I thought someone must have written a post about this for IU, but the closest I could come were these thoughts on titles from Laurie Boris which weren’t very helpful at all. At least for the moment I’ll continue calling it The Book, but need something better. Possibly a title more descriptive of the content.

A newbie writes a Book - Fake Cover thumbnail

Editing

I’m sure I’ll handle the higher-end editing functions using beta readers. How I’m going to approach accomplishing the copyediting function, shaking out grammatical errors, typos, unclear thoughts, and applying needed polish at the micro level, I’m not sure yet. (Maybe I can trick Kat into doing it since she does it for all my posts.) The only thing I’m sure of is that I can’t do it solo. Are there any qualified people who are interested in a trade of some kind? (Yeah, I don’t know what I could trade either…any ideas?) I might actually have to break out the crowbar and see what I find in my wallet.

Cover

I’ll have to nail down that title before proceeding with the cover design. Barring a miracle where I’m suddenly imbued with a talent in the visual arts (as I am currently lacking in any useful amount), this is one task I’m almost positive I’ll have to budget some money in order to hire someone.

Formatting

Not only will I need to format the eBook or hire it out to be done, I also need to decide whether or not to release a paper version of the book. I’m currently leaning toward formatting the eBook myself and delaying or forgoing a paper version until the eBook version is released. I’m allowed to change my mind though, because I’m the boss. One of the perks of going indie.

Book Description (Blurb)

I’ve yet to find an author who likes to write these, but someone has to. Logically, it would be the person who knows the book best. I’ll take my best shot at this when the time seems right. (At the point where I don’t expect any major structural changes, additions, or deletions.) Then I know a few groups of authors who I can spring it on for opinion. (Look out minions.) Last, I’ll see what the Blurb Doctor has to say.

Release and Marketing Plan

Ugg. I can just upload the book to Amazon and move on to something else, right? The books don’t have to fly off the virtual shelf. (As the marketing research in the last post showed, the market may be small or it may be minscule.) I probably won’t opt for a well-crafted book release and will just settle for a slow trickle. Can’t the Gods of Amazon make that happen without doing any marketing?

I know. Not very realistic, other than the trickle part. But even that isn’t likely to happen on its own. I have a few ideas and will be letting those and any others that come up stew in the back of my mind for a while. One thing I’m recognizing is that what might work for a fiction title in a popular genre isn’t going to fly for a niche non-fiction title like this. This sounds like a likely subject for a future post.

Front Matter and Back Matter

Starting with what I should or shouldn’t include. We know that too much front matter is never a good thing.

Web Site

My plan is to have a website that will be mentioned and (at least in the eBook) have a clickable link to take the reader there. This will have links to any resources referenced in the book. My thoughts are that this would serve as an additional resource for those who have read the book and will be much easier to add to and maintain than having links in the book itself. (Plus, those who purchased the book wouldn’t automatically get any updates if those were limited to the eBook.) Second, the website can serve as a marketing resource to promote the book for those who haven’t read it. Ideally the domain name for this site will parrot the eventual book title. (BigAl.com is already taken.)

Oops

I’ve reviewed the Indies Unlimited post cleverly titled I’ve Written a Book, How Do I Publish It? – and I think all of the items listed there are covered above. But I’m sure I’ve missed something. Any ideas what?

Author: Big Al

Big Al (who insists he only has one name, like Cher, Sting, and Madonna) spends his days writing computer programs that are full of typos, homonym errors, and incorrect verb usage. During his evenings, he writes reviews of indie books for BigAl’s Books and Pals and has recently taken over The IndieView, a website founded by indie author Simon Royle as a resource for indie authors, indie reviewers, and those who read either.

15 thoughts on “You’re Going to Write What? – Part 3”

  1. As someone going through this very process at the moment I had several ‘aha’ moments as I read this. Cover -Check. Blurb Check. Website – Check. In my case I will pay a formatter as I am almost non-functional with that stuff. And I agree that someone else MUST to the proofread/final edit. Marketing – now that is a whole ‘nother ball game. Sigh.

    1. You had aha moments, Yvonne? I’d think you’d have this process completely nailed down by now. 🙂 I don’t think anyone has marketing figured out and it is changing every day, or so it seems from my observations. Thanks for the comment.

  2. Al, you’ve proven why big publishing houses and book agents should be as worried as the Pope in a topless bar. A few years ago, while researching publishers, I found some that demanded new authors submit their manuscripts along with comprehensive marketing plans and even sketches for front and back covers. And I thought, ‘Why the hell should I do all that and turn it over to you?!’ If I have to go to such lengths, I might as well handle it all. With the growing acceptance of self-publishing and the increasing sophistication of social media platforms, writers now have more options than bowing to gilded publishers and agents from years past.

    The book market may now be glutted with literary sludge from anyone and everyone who has a story and thinks the world wants to know about it. (Actually, everyone does have a story, but that’s a different subject.) But I feel we’re all at the threshold of an exciting new world of literary exceptionalism – no matter what names we use.

  3. You could just go to the Blurb Doctor first. I’ve found it saves time. 😉 (Kidding!)

    Nice checklist, Al. If you crack the nut of marketing a nonfiction book, let me know. My WIP is quasi-nonfiction but ties into my urban fantasy series. Yeah, that oughta be easy to market…

      1. Cool. I wonder if the blurb doctor edits for minions too. Not like she doesn’t have experience ferreting out my writing problems already. :/

        1. I think you might discuss that with her – and that “trade” thing you propose. I hear she’s partial to Swedish cars, meatballs, and massage. Not necessarily in that order.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Linda. If nothing else, I’ve been privy to what was happening, participated in some way, or observed the process of getting a book out too many times over the last few years to ever get the idea it is easy. I think that’s good. However, the same observation convinced me it is doable.

  4. Gee, Al, and here I thought you were going to tell us how to do all this. What good are heroes if they don’t here? Or ro, or whatever it is they do.
    Gotta tell you, I’ve been working on the “slow trickle” promotional style, and I’ve pretty well decided I’m going to have to turn on the tap if I want any action.

    1. Much of the concept for this series is to experience things from the viewpoint of a complete neophyte, Gordon. I have to figure things out from watching more experience people like you ro and then write about how it didn’t work for me. 🙂

    1. Something to consider, Candace. I’m not sure whether I’ll do that or not. In my mind, enough reviewers will accept ebooks and unless I had a firm commitment to read and review I’m not sure that print books are a cost effective way to get reviews for me. If the market for the book was big and the reviewers were likely to drive a lot of business which doesn’t apply to me, but could to some authors, it could make sense.

      Thanks for the comment and reminder of something I didn’t think about. 🙂

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