The Process of Publishing a Novel – 3 of 3

This is the last post in this series.. If you missed the previous posts they are:

Step 1 – Write your novel

Step 2 – Edit your novel

Or check out the collection for all parts.

Step 3 – Publish your novel

Here is a handy info graphic of what I’m going to cover in this post.

You can save this to your Pinterest board.

Blurb

If you are self publishing you will need a blurb for your book. You can write this yourself or hire a professional.

Here’s a post about the making of the blurb for Ocean Heart.

Cover Design

Your book cover will be one of the first official marketing materials for your book. They say “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover!” Except, people do.

You can design it yourself but if you are going to do print copies, it can be tricky to get the spine right if you don’t know what you’re doing. I opted for a professional.

Look at other covers in your genre. These covers are what your ideal reader is expecting. If your cover appeals to the wrong audience it’s going to make it hard to sell.

Here’s a post about how I chose my cover designer.

Marketing

Once you have the cover, start marketing your book. Don’t wait until it’s published to start marketing.

Fun things to do, are a cover reveal to drum up interest. Here’s a post going into more detail on how I did my cover reveal including tips on creating digital bookstagram pics for promoting your book.

You can also have a preorder period so people don’t have to wait until the release date to buy and can order it right away! These purchases won’t be counted until release day, boosting your release day sales.

I learnt a lot about marketing my book from author Pagan Malcolm and did the Storyseller Academy course that covers a lot of ways to promote your book and how to change your mindset.

Another, fabulous person to check out is Michelle Raab who specialises in Marketing for Indie Creative and is the founder of World Indie Warriors.

Check the links at the end of the post for posts on my book launch. They’re useful to check out if you need some ideas.

Formatter

This is the person that makes the inside of your book pretty and accessible in different formats for different eBook readers. You can do it yourself, or use tools available online.

Here’s a post about my experience with my formatter.

If you want to do it yourself, you might find it useful to check out Brittany Wang’s YouTube video showing where to get a free template and how to edit it.

Alternatively, you can use the tools provided by your chosen distributor to turn your manuscript into a book. I believe Amazon, D2D, and Ingram Sparks offer these tools for free.

Proofread

Big mistake I made was skipping this step. I uploaded my files to Ingram and then one of my ARC readers (author Cassidy Reyne) let me know where I’d missed some typos. 😱

My formatter was happy to amend my files for free but Ingram charged me for changing the files. 😢

Don’t skip this step. The last pair of eyes on your book are necessary. No matter all the edits already, and how perfect you believe it is, get a proof reader to do a final quality check.

Self Edit

If your proof reader spots any issues, you will need to make the changes and inform your formatter exactly what you needs changing!

And you thought you’d finished editing. 😂

Upload Files

If you are happy with everything, upload it to the distributor site you are using. Popular choices are:

  • Amazon
  • Ingram Spark
  • Draft 2 Digital
  • Lulu
  • Barnes & Noble

ARC Reader

Send your ARC readers a final copy. Between now and publishing you could make changes but we’d hope that by this point it is done.

The ARC readers need enough time to read it before you publish. This enables you to gather reviews for marketing and gives readers an idea of what others thought.

ARC readers will leave an honest review. Your book cover & blurb should attract the right readers. If your ARC readers are surprised by your book (and not in a good way) you might want to change the cover or blurb to ensure you attract the correct readers.

Check out my post on Betas vs ARC readers.

Publish

That’s it! Except now your book is out there, you still need to market it. Don’t be shy – every chance you get, give it a shout out. And, on that note…

Redfae Bookshop is my Affiliate Bookshop.org Shop Link.

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this, you will like:

Soul Heart Readers -Street Team

My Launch Month Plans

My Virtual Book Tour

My Live Stream Team

Don’t put off writing your novel!

Have you seen that advert of a mum working from home? She is lying on the floor cooing at her baby and typing on her laptop. I bet you know the one I mean.

Well, I’m embarrassed to admit I believed this could be my life. My dream has always been to be a Novelist and I also longed to be a mother, so this image was singing to my heart, ”you can have it all!”

If I’d waited for my ideal writers life, I’d still be waiting.

Ally Aldridge

I’ve been writing stories ever since I could put a sentence together but for many reasons I put off seriously trying to get published until the prospect of children was on the horizon.

As soon as I got engaged in September 2009, I came off the contraceptive pill. I wanted it out of my system so I could get pregnant as fast as possible once married. We married in June 2011 but different factors got in the way of motherhood.

Our Wedding in Mauritius

During that time I wrote Hunted, Instinct and Drift (now published as Ocean Heart). I edited Drift, queried it, got some requests… but never an offer.

Late 2013, I had my son. He took over my life in the most glorious way, but it was obvious how unrealistic that image in my head was. My working hours were reduced but it didn’t enable any extra time for writing. If anything, I had less time. I was juggling a job and my parental responsibilities. Most evenings I was too shattered to do anything.

Once my son turned three, we decided we were ready to grow our family. Fortunately, I didn’t fall pregnant quickly because a few months later the company I was employed at went into administration. Expanding our family was put on hold until we got financial stabile again.

To my relief, almost a year later, we decided to try again and I fell pregnant straight away. My daughter joined us in the summer of 2018.

During this time I’d continued to edit and query Drift. I realised that I have to just make my situation work if I wanted my dream. That meant, I often wrote in the evenings when my kids slept. Sometimes they have worn me out in the day and I have to be okay with letting myself take a break.

I focus on celebrating what I have achieved and that I’m still making progress, instead of being frustrated I can’t do it as fast as others. I blog and schedule content on my mobile whilst my kids play. I make my social media posts on my phone often using Canva. In the smallest pocket of time, I can still work towards my goals.

Due to my new can do attitude, I’m now a published author. That’s right, in December 2021, I said yes to myself, and published Ocean Heart, book 1 in The Soul Heart series. If I’d waited for my ideal writers life, I’d still be waiting.

Redfae Bookshop is my Affiliate Bookshop.org Shop Link.

During lockdown, I’ve lost my childcare for my youngest . And, whenever the schools close, I’m homeschooling for my oldest. My employer has been pretty supportive and when I’ve been most impacted by the pandemic, I have been placed on Furlough.

These days I have even less time to write! But, I’m writing. Maybe not everyday, but I am getting there.

My message to you is, do what you can now because every little bit will add up. There’s nothing to lose. Worst case scenario, you have a fabulous novel all to yourself.

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this, you will like:

The Process of Publishing a Novel – 1 of 3

12 Tips for Self Editing

Notebooks of Story Ideas

How to Beat Writers Block

Behind the Book: The Bones of Who We Are by C L Waters

This book is the finale in the Cronus Chronicles series. I will place links for the earlier books in this series at the end of the post. Each interview covers different writing tips and info about the series.

How long did it take you to write this book once you had the idea?

The idea of Gabe’s story came in flashes, but once I finished writing Abby’s and Seth’s stories, Gabe’s story took about six or seven months to write the first draft. Another month or two to rewrite. I’d say the process from drafting through publication took sixteen months.

This book was written after you lost your dad – was it a therapeutic outlet? I notice that it deals with death.

This book explores my grief to some extent, or the ways in which suppressed grief has power over us. Writing Gabe’s story allowed me to process the loss of my father and my own pain. In many ways, I felt stuck like Gabe. When he walks into that childhood fort, I felt like I completely understood his need to hide there, to face death; though Gabe deals with suicide ideation, I think each of us face the symbolic death of self when we face the pain of loss, and then the subsequent rebirth when we find our way out of it. I’m not sure if that makes sense?

Tell me about the character Gabe?

Gabe has faced immense bullying his entire high school career; it’s called The Freak Challenge, and the object is to get Gabe to fight back. Writer of poetry and lover of Abby, he hasn’t fought back because he knows who started the challenge—Seth—and he’s biding his time to get back at his former best friend for the betrayal. His therapist has tried to help him. His adoptive parents have helped him. Even Abby, now, has helped him, but lingering over his head is the knowledge of his real parents and his fear of becoming them. When things spirals out of control and Seth’s life is on the line, Gabe crashes and feels like everything that’s happened is his fault, the fault of the DNA he carries in his body, and that the only way to save everyone else from the monster he’s becoming is to end it.

Each book is a different character from the series story. What inspired these characters?

You’ll see the parallels with the three characters in the Twilight series. Abby-Bella, Seth-Jacob, and Gabe-Edward (though an awesome reader thought Seth and Gabe were reversed which I love too). When I rewrote the books, Abby was inspired by the emergence of Hawaiian culture in my island home. The exploration of how one’s culture informs identity. Seth, as a villain, was inspired by the idea that even the villain has a story. That those either-or dichotomies are often flawed because as people we are a million variations of color. Finally, Gabe was inspired by my daughter who has struggled with mental health. When I read the statistics about males and sucicide rates, I was so saddened, I knew I wanted to explore this further.

When you finished the series you gave it a new look. What was it like relaunching a book and redesigning the covers?

It was hard work (and costly) but I’m so glad I did it. I am so proud of how they turned out, and they are so much more in line with how I envisioned them in the redesign as opposed to the original covers (which I liked too). It’s a lot of work. Finding a cover designer, formatting, learning the ins and outs of publishing in a more hands on way. I don’t think it’s probably a path for everyone, but I’ve enjoyed the process.

Do you design the covers yourself or use a designer?

I hired a cover designer. Her name is Sara Oliver (https://saraoliverdesign.com) and I think she’s amazing. I love working with her.

Can you share a snippet of the book?

Would love to . . . Though I’m not sure what to share. Here’s one of Gabe’s poems:

Vomit up the monster.

It plays with blocks,

Stacking and rearranging them

Around holes in my heart.

I’m the butt of a joke;

It’s laughing, wide mouthed,

And kicks – cracking what’s already damaged.

The monster crawls back inside

To be vomited another day.

-by Gabe

Excerpt from The Bones of Who We Are by CL Walters

Where can we go to discover more about you and your books?

My books can be found on any of your favorite platforms. I would always recommend going to your independent bookstore and you can always request them to bring it in.

Redfae Bookshop is my Affiliate Bookshop.org Shop Link.

Discover more about C L Waters on her website.

If you enjoyed this, you will like:

Behind the Book: The Ugly Truth by C L Waters

Behind the Book: Swimming Sideways by C. L. Waters

Book Review: And The Stars Were Burning Brightly

Why & how I chose my cover designer!

[kofi]

Book Review: Red Blood: Card Holders by Kaitlyn Legaspi

I was fortunate to be part of Kaitlyn Legaspi’s ARC team. I didn’t quite manage to finish this ARC in time but I wasn’t far behind.

Red Blood: Card Holders by Kaitlyn Legaspi released on 19 Feb 2021. Add to your Goodreads.

Setting

This novel is set in a futuristic world where there are bound and unbound people. Unbound people have powers, and those with more than one power are specialists. Specialists can learn to use cards that boost their powers.

The unbound are rules by the Card Catchers. The story starts with a tournament being held where all the unbound must compete, so the strongest are selected. The tournament can be deadly, hence Neela’s resistance to partake.

Characters

Neela is the main character. She is a feisty vigilante orphan, growing up in the slums with her brother. Neela is an untrained specialist.

Jacen is Neela’s big brother. They are super close as they’ve pretty much grown up only having each other. He doesn’t have any powers.

Brochan is to become Neela’s trainer when she is required (or forces) to compete in the Red Queen tournament. Part of his team includes wife Lily, and brother-in-law Will.

Amil is a specialist trained assassin. He also becomes Neela’s first friend. There’s a lot of flirting between them. Unfortunately, Amil’s brother isn’t quote so friendly.

Review

Neela is a feisty young vigilante, with unbound powers. She doesn’t want to compete in the Red Queen tournament, until she is caught by her trainer. On their way to the tournament they are attacked.

Neela meets Amil, a young assassin that everyone is cautious of. He quickly becomes her friend, which draws the attention of his not so nice brother.

People are targeting Neela. As they try to figure out who they are, more secrets unravel. Could the attacks be linked to her parents deaths?

My only negative is that sometimes it felt too dialogue heavy, and there were a lot of occasions thar Neela’s hair got roughed up or her head patted.

Red Blood is full of fast paced action and superpowers. It reminded me a lot of Naruto, but without the school. It’s a fun read. Kaitlyn has put a lot of thought into the magic system and World-building to bring this story to life.

Top Tip: Don’t skip the Prologue!

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this, you might like:

Book Review: Sorceress of Truth by J D Groom

Check out my Live Stream Team

Book Review: Wiccan Romances – Amelia’s Story by Nicola Hebron

Whart to Watch if you love Super Powers

How I did my cover reveal

I couldn’t wait to show off my cover, and it was the first real piece of marketing I paid for. That’s right, your cover is an important part of selling your book.

Don’t judge a book by it’s cover…

A book with an eye catching cover will naturally attract more attention. It also should communicate what the book is about, so your ideal reader picks it up.

DIY Cover

It’s fine to make your cover yourself. But, if you do make sure you have permission to use any images, fonts, or any other element in your design. You may need to buy certain licences from the creator to use them.

If you want to design your own cover, check out author Elexis Bell’s blog post series on the topic:

Step 1: Creating a cover

Step 2: Creating a cover

Step 3: Creating a cover

Professional Cover

Commissioning a professional can ensure you make the right impact. Check their portfolio and testimonies to see if they are right for your book. You may find it useful to check out my post on how I found my cover designer.

Cover Reveal Images

You will need to prepare the images for the cover reveal. My Cover Designer included a social media package which included social media banners, 3D Renders and an IG version.

Ocean Heart – IG Social Media Image

The 3D Renders have been so useful. I often add them to various social media posts I’ve made. I’d highly recommend them.

3D Render

I am fortunate that my cover designer created me 3D renders of my paperback and my eBook. However, if you don’t have that privilege, here are some ways you can obtain one.

  • BookBrush helps authors to create images to market their books, including 3D renders. You can try it for free or pay for more options.
  • DIY Book helps indie authors create covers and has a tool to easily create 3D Renders.

Stock image

You may want to utilise a stock image within your social media post. Make sure you have permission to use it. Here are my favourite sites:

  • Unsplash is a resource of images by photographers made available for free.
  • Pixabay is another great resource for free images.

I like searching for flat-lays I can add my book and text to.

Decide on a date

There is a lot of division on when to do your cover reveal. What it boils down to is personal preference.

One successful author recommend 6 months, or as soon as possible. Another, suggested 3 months at most, as they struggled to keep the momentum going. A lot of authors said only a month.

I started mine during the 1st week of September, with the full reveal on 7th September. My book was on preorder on 1st October, and released on 1st December. This worked well from me.

Cover Reveal Teaser

Cover Reveal Teasers

You should have already been talking about your book and generating interest. As your cover reveal approaches you want to incite interest. You can capture peoples curiosity with a partial reveal, announcing the date you will reveal all…

How I created my partial reveal pics…

I created mine by using a torn paper image from Unsplash.

I edited the image in a free app called Adobe Photoshop Mix . I cut out the part of the image where I wanted my book to show through.

I uploaded the cut out image and my cover to Canva. Canva is my favourite app for creating Social Media posts. It was here that I added the text.

If you have Book Brush, you can use their templates to achieve something similar. Personally, I prefer Canva as I have more freedom to do what I want. However, if you are stuck how to start, you might find Book Brush easier as the templates are specifically for authors.

Of course, you could achieve a similar affect by wrapping your book in paper and tearing a teaser rip in the paper. Then take a nice photo. You may still wish to use an app like Canva to add text.

Cover Reveal Team

You can ask friends, family, and/or fans to support you by sharing, liking, and/or commenting on your reveal pic. The more engagement the pic gets, the better it will perform in the algorithm.

Make sure the post is public and that you use hashtags your ideal reader follows. It’s okay to tag the book title but it’s unlikely anyone will be following that hashtag yet, so choose ones that describe the themes and genre of the book.

I was really fortunate that a number of my IG followers were willing to share my cover to their IG stories and I had loads of lovely comments on my post.

If you don’t have anyone to help, you can pay for a cover reveal service. On 1st Nov, I used Xpresso Book Tours for a Book Blitz and was really impressed by how many signed up. They also provide a cover reveal service which I’m sure would be just as good.

Cover Reveal Image

You need a nice picture of your book for social media.

  • Manually: Again, you can do this manually by taking a nice picture of the physical book.
  • Digitally: I didn’t have a physical copy so I created my image digitally.

I mainly searched Unsplash for flat lays, books, beach, ocean, mermaid, and any other theme relating to my book. I then edited it in Canva.

Keep up the momentum

Once you have done the cover reveal, you must keep up the momentum until release (and beyond).

It’s a waste of your time to get everyone excited about your book and then let them forget. Once you’ve shown off your gorgeous book, got them excited, you need to keep reminding them it’s coming. Get then to sign up to your news letter, and you may want to have a preorder option.

It can help to set aside a day to come up with content ideas. Then, schedule the content ahead of time so you can space it out and consistently post. Here are some good apps for this:

  • Preview: This app is free and enables you to see how your IG content will look on your feed. You can schedule post reminders or to post automatically.
  • Facebook Business Suite: It’s free to use and enables you to schedule posts to FB, IG and Twitter.
  • Planoly: The free plan enables you to schedule to two platforms for free. I paid for extra features during my launch month in Nov, so I could schedule videos.
  • Hootsuite: The free plan enables you to schedule posts to FB, IG and Twitter. You can pay for more features.
  • Later: Allows you to schedule posts to Instagram.
  • IFTTT: A useful app for sharing posts you posted on one platform, to another.

I also regularly schedule my blog posts. There’s no reason you can’t do your cover reveal on your blog. You want to spread the word so why not on all your social media platforms.

Ocean Heart Gallery

The first image, with the shells, candle and yellow blanket is one I took of my physical book on my bathroom floor. The others, I created in Canva using images from Unsplash.

I added some of these to my Facebook group album and told my street team and blog tour team, they were welcome to use them. Having a bank of images of my book enabled me to keep posting fresh content to IG, in the lead up to my book launch.

I hope you found my cover reveal experience useful. I’d love to hear your thoughts and what worked for you.

[kofi]

Redfae Bookshop is my Affiliate Bookshop.org Shop Link.

You may also enjoy:

The Making of The Blurb

How I chose my cover designer

The Benefits of Having a Formatter

The Process of Publishing a Novel (Step 1)

Book Review: Seducing the Substantial Meal

This isn’t my usual read. I rarely read erotica, and I’ve never read satire. But, when author Florian Green offered me a copy in December I gave it a go.

The Setting

It’s set during the first Covid 19 lockdown in the UK. During the pandemic we’ve had lots of rules change, and some rules are silly.

For example, punters could not drink at a pub unless they bought a ‘substantial meal’. This rule seemed ridiculous as nobody believes the virus will leave you in peace just because you’re eating food. For pubs to open they had to make sure they sold food, and peanuts, crisps, and pork scratchings, was not enough. It had to be a substantial meal.

The Characters

Fanny is the MC and a land lady. She owns a pub but doesn’t yet offer food. If she wants to keep her doors open then she needs to solve that.

There is an inspector checking up on Fanny and putting on the pressure. He’s not a nice guy, a bit of a creep.

There is one other substantial character but I won’t share as it’ll ruin the end.

My Review

This was a funny book and not like anything I have read before. Although it has erotic scenes they were more satire. The story has an entertaining plot and uses lots of puns. I think it’d help to understand the UK Lockdown for some of the jokes, but it’s a quick light hearted read that will make most laugh.

[kofi]

This book was unlike anything I have read before, so I thought about other steamy reads for you to check out (note they’re nothing like the above book). Check out:

Book Review: Agent Undone by Cassidy Reyne

Book Review: Blind Tiger by Rachel Vincent

Book Review: Lion’s Share by Rachel Vincent

Book Review: Crown of Conspiracy by Kara S Weaver