The Story Seller Academy by Pagan Malcolm

Last year I was the lucky winner of a place on Pagan Malcolm’s course, Story Seller Academy.

This course came at the perfect time for me. I’d recently decided I wanted to self publish my book and the course is perfect for that. This course is all about publishing and marketing your book.

Topics

The first module is on mindset and although it sounds a bit hippie, this one is vital. I had previously caught some of Pagan’s free taster sessions on Facebook. Those samples had already empowered me, so doing the full module was next level.

Launching my book was new and scary, and self doubt was already caressing me with her familiar fingers. This module helped me get my head back on track, and to catch self doubt in her tracks before she got her nails into me.

The course covers everything you need to do and consider when self publishing a book. It’s like having someone hold your hand through the process.

Not only that, but there are modules to cover what to do after you publish and other income streams to consider.

There are masterclasses with tips and walkthroughs on how to do a wide range of things. Pagan shares her own personal experiences, including mistakes she has made so you don’t have to.

Method

The course content is shared using videos of Pagan delivering presentations. These are timestamped so if you need to jump to a certain section you can.

Pagan also shares resources to support the content like ideas content ideas for your book launch on social media.

Duration

This is a self paced course which means you can study when you want and consume as much content as you like. This was ideal for me because when I gained accessed I didn’t have time. When I did have time, it was all there waiting for me to indulge.

Pagan allows forever access so I can log in and revisit content whenever I need a refresher. She also updates content and adds bonus material. It’s like the course that keeps on giving.

Review

This course has been a real benefit to me and I would recommend it. The flexibility is exactly what I needed to work around my other commitments.

Pagan is a great teacher and really approachable. She was genuinely interested in how I got on with her course as she is continuously improving what she does.

I’m confident her courses will only get better and better over time.

Discover more about Pagan Malcolm by visiting her website: https://psmalcolm.com.

Although I won a place on this course, I was not required to write a review. I was compelled to write this review to help my blog readers discover this awesome course.

Here are some affiliate links to buy her books:

[kofi]

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My Author Breakthrough Session with Pagan Malcolm

Behind the Book: Lanterns in the Sky by P S Malcoln

Behind the Book: Stuck on Vacation with Ryan Rupert by P S Malcolm

Happily Ever Author with Pagan Malcolm

Behind the Book: Tenebrasco by Hannah Reed

Tenebrasco by Hannah Reed (Behind the Book)
Tenebrasco by Hannah Reed (blurb)

I was excited to interview Hannah about her book as I’m currently reading it and it’s a mermaid story. As an author of a mermaid story myself, I’m always fascinated to see how others do it and how different the worlds we create can be.

This is book 1 in a trilogy. What can readers look forward to in the Pearl Wielders series?

Mer, magic, adventure! Some readers have even described Tenebrasco as a Little Mermaid retelling! It’s a very contemporary take on the mer world. I basically wanted a story that avoided some of the standard mermaid tropes. So, for example, the mer wear normal clothes (hydrodynamic of course!), the humans (or legged as the mer call them) know that the mer exist and the mer live in a world and society that is as advanced as ours. 

From a plot perspective, the Pearl Wielders series starts when the peace treaty between the mer and legged is attacked derailing peace and setting the two worlds on the brink of war. 

In the aftermath of the attack, April (MC) ends up stranded on a poison shrouded island grappling with her powers as they start to consume her. 

Can you introduce the MC, April and the sort of powers your mermaids have?

April, or Princess April Meridia, is the most powerful pearl wielder in the seven seas. She loves marine wildlife, is a very caring and loyal friend and would do anything for her mer but… she has never been fully in control of her pearl powers in the way her mum and society expect. 

As the heir to the throne of the seven seas April wields all seven of the original pearl powers. She can manipulate water and the weather, grow plant life, communicate with animals, heal and connect with the life force of other mer.

Who is your favourite mermaid- other than April of course?

This is a difficult one and it changes across the books! In the first one though, I think it’s Alex.

I won’t give too much away but… he’s the best friend everyone needs!

What inspired you to write the Pearl Wielder series?

Several things inspired me to write the Pearl Wielders. The earliest version was a draft I wrote when I was ten years old. I woke up from a dream about a mermaid with golden hair who attended a boarding school on an island. I only wrote a couple of pages back then but it became a comfort story. Whenever I was bored, lonely, travelling etc. I would add to the Pearl Wielders world and continue telling myself the story. 

The story has changed to a point that it’s unrecognisable, but when I finally started writing it properly (some ten years later) the one thing that stayed the same was the mermaid with golden hair. 

Who do you think would enjoy your series?

If you like the Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare, Alanna’s Quartet by Tamora Pierce or The Selection Series by Kiera Cass. 

The Pearl Wielders series is enjoyed by all ages but the target demographic is Teenagers. 

Can you share a short snippet of the story?

A deep cold washed through April. Dark tendrils of energy writhed towards her. Panic flooded her brain and the compulsion to reach the Merdevil was broken. She tried to drop the stone but it clung to her hand. Her panic levels increased and April thrust all her powers outwards. She propelled herself upwards and the Merdevil dissipated as she found herself back in the lake.

Finally, she broke through the surface and hurriedly clambered onto the grass. Clouds had gathered overhead and all the waterweeds had shot up. April looked around in alarm. The beautiful flowers were now overgrown with grasses. She looked to her hand where she was still gripping the black stone. A dark flicker ran across her fingers, she blinked and it was gone. April shook her head trying to make sense of what had happened. She felt cold, very cold.

Connor and Alex were frozen ten metres away from April. Their faces mirrored the horror of the other’s expression. Silence settled over the pool. Even the sudden clouds froze in place hanging ominously above. Only a few seconds had passed but it felt like everyone had stopped for several minutes. The cold was slowly seeping into April’s skin. She looked up towards the sky and wielded her Tempus powers to part the clouds and let the sunshine back through to heat her up. April turned to assess the damage she had caused, but the pool area had reverted back to normal. She stood up and whipped the water from her body with her Factus powers as she walked through the grass. A glow of white Factus and navy-blue Tempus energy surrounded her. As she wielded her pearl powers she heard an intake of breath to her left. Suddenly she remembered who she was with. Alex and Connor still hadn’t moved. Transfixed by April’s actions they were both utterly still. April took a small step towards them and as if the power had been turned back on, they both abruptly burst into life.

Tenebrasco by Hannah Reed

Can you tell us about any special events you have coming up? (MerMay, upcoming releases, etc)

Yes! We’re actually in the midst of an event. This year I’m hosting the first-ever MerMay Readalong! Check out Instagram to see what’s going on!

The third book in the pearl wielders series, Tempus, is releasing summer 2021 (date TBC).

Author Hannah Reed

Where can readers go to find out more about you and your books?

You can find more information at my website hannahreads.co.uk/

For the most frequent updates on my writing journey, Instagram is the place to find me @hannah.reads

And to keep track of Tempus updates you can find me on Goodreads and add Tempus to your Want to Read.

The below are affiliate links. Visit my Affiliate Disclosure page for more info.

[kofi]

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About Ocean Heart

Happy MerMay 2021

Book Review: Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

Happy Little Mermaid Day

Happy MerMay 2021

Hello my mermaid loving readers. It’s the month of mermaids and MerMay 2021 is going to be MerMazing!

#MerMay

Readalong with Hannah Read

Author Hannah Read has created a MerMay readathon for May! She has encouraged people to get her novel Tenebrasco and set chapter goals throughout the month, so we can read along together.

As a mermaid fiction author myself, this sounded like so much fun. I’ve downloaded the book to my Kindle and despite being a slow reader I will try my best to keep up.

Follow #MerMayReadalong , #PearlWielders & @hannah.reads on Instagram.

The below are affiliate links. Read Affiliate Disclosure page for more info.

Newsletter Reward

I want to do something special to celebrate MerMay and Ocean Heart’s 6 month birthday is on 1 June.

I invited my newsletter subscribers to enter a giveaway. They’ll also be invited first to read Sky Heart when it is ready for readers.

Later this month, I will extend this invitation to my Instagram followers.

Google Play

Ocean Heart is now available to buy on Google Play. To celebrate I have made the book FREE worldwide during the first week of May.

If you haven’t yet got a copy of Ocean Heart and you are a Google Books reader, now is your chance to treat yourself.

Check it out here.

Free Digital Download

I have been developing my technical skills to produce digital products. I decided to share my Book Tracker as a free download from my Ko-Fi Shop.

In addition, I’ve posted a link there that enables Ko-Fi fans to download Ocean Heart for free from Google Play ALL month.

It’s Free to follow me on Ko-Fi, so why not? That way you can enjoy the freebies and won’t miss out on future freebies.

Apple iBooks

ITunes Connect’s webpage is currently not loading on the page that allows new authors to join. The technical team have apologised for the issues and are working on resolving these.

Update: 30 May, I managed to create an author account but I think I have to wait 24h to add a book. So maybe later this month I’ll be on Apple. 🤞

Ocean Charity

I want to donate to an Ocean charity. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for ages and there are so many good ones out there.

I recently watched Seapiracy on Netflix and it reminded me of how crucial the ocean is to all of us.

This month I will pick a charity and donate. Let me know if you have any recommendations.

If you enjoyed this you will like:

What to watch if you love mermaids

Book Review : Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

Book Review: Mermaid School by Lucy Courtenay

About Ocean Heart

My Authorship Breakthrough Session with Pagan Malcolm

Pagan is brilliant. One of the things I love is how she isn’t afraid to share things she has tried but didn’t work. She learns from these, and saves others from the sane pit falls.

She has experience in traditional and indie publishing. Over the years she’s developed a ton of tips for success. These have been organised into a range useful resources especially for authors.

By following Pagan, I have picked up so many useful nuggets. She has been a credit to my personal author journey, and I won a place on her Story Seller Academy.

Recently Pagan offered a free Authorship Breakthrough Session. I didn’t know what to expect and was a little scared, but decided this was a good opportunity to find out what it is about?

The Booking

Booking in couldn’t have been easier. Pagan sent me a link. The link to me to a calendar where I could see the times available for each day.

Pagan lives on the other side of the world to me. The slots were either very early or late but I found a time that I could make and booked in.

I had to fill in a form that asked some simple questions about where an now and what I’d like to work on. I found these hard to answer and realised how unfocused I am on my goals. Due to my limited time I’m often very reactive which isn’t what I want to be.

The call

I was late getting back from the school run. Then Zoom kept being “clever” and trying to log me in using a different account. Then it decided my browser wasn’t compatible. I used Zoom earlier that week.

I messaged Pagan on Facebook and she suggested we use FB Messenger (video call) instead, as we were both logged in already.

The chaotic start had me a little flustered, and my negative inner voice was already telling me give up! But, Pagan was her usual lovely self.

She had come prepared and identified questions she wanted to ask me based on the form I’d completed during booking. It was quiet evident I was in good hands and she knew what she was doing.

I relaxed and opened up to her. We talked about a recent opportunity to talk at a school that fell through because of work, a secret project I’m nervous about launching, and how I struggle to find time for my goals. She even challenged me to identify where I want to be in 5 years.

Pagan asked questions to explore my ideas and gave feedback and made suggestions. She clarified at the end what I planned to do, so I left with an action plan.

The outcome

After the call, I had to hurry back to my 2y old for a fun filled day of paint and slime. And after school my son helped with some errands, like the vets and food shopping. It was a crazy busy day, and messy, very messy.

But, Pagan motivated me. Talking about my fears with someone that encourages me to overcome them, and can provide strategies, was empowering. I feel like I can make being an author my business.

Giving Talks: Pagan got me to think about what I could offer to do talks on. She encouraged me to set a date to reach out to local schools (my target audience), and offered tips on how to approach this and how to price this.

Secret Project: Talking about what I’ve been up to was liberating as I’ve been keeping it to myself scared the idea is naff. Pagan was excited for me, had words of encouragement, and got me to focus on the first steps instead of being overwhelmed by the end product.

Marketing: Pagan was impressed by my book launch and marketing so far and I had to admit that a lot of that was thanks to her FB micro sessions and Storyseller Academy course. She still had more wisdom to share with me & she highlighted how I could tie in talks with a launch to raise awareness, and how to do this. She also recommended I have a Marketing Day to strategise. I do most my Social Media scheduling on Sunday but the actions Pagan set me was different and I realised I’m not marketing… not sufficiently.

Final Thoughts

Pagan is enthusiastic about publishing and helping authors. Chatting to her felt like talking to a good friend that knows the industry. Her confidence and knowledge was reassuring, and I left the session feeling empowered.

As an Indie Author I often have to figure things out for myself. It was really good to be able to solve problems with someone, that knows what I’m doing, or trying to do.

Pagan also recommended we meet again in a month to check I’m still on track with the goals identified. One month felt too soon for me. The accountability pressure was causing my walls to come up, so we decided to go for 2 months instead. I felt I could breathe more easily with that.

Here is the link to book your own session with Pagan Malcom and have your Authorship Breakthrough session.

I also realised I never got around to writing my blog post about the Storyseller Academy course. I will blog that soon.

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My best kept secret….

Behind the Book: Lanterns in the Sky

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The Process of Publishing a Novel – Step 3

[kofi]

What is a UBL and why your book needs one?

A UBL is a unique book link. You use it to direct potential readers to where they can buy your book.

Books 2 Read

Book2Read is a universal link for eBooks (it finds all stores selling your book). It’s by Draft 2 Digital but you don’t need to be published via their platform to use it.

Your potential reader then chooses the shop they prefer and are taken to your ebook to buy there.

See how it works by trying out my Books 2 Read link for Ocean Heart: https://books2read.com/u/mlWvaW

Book Linker

BookLinker is a universal link for Amazon. It links people to your ebook at their ‘Zon. Amazon often links the various formats together so they can chose if they’d prefer paperback or hardback, etc.

You could lose a potential reader if your link took them to a ‘Zon of another country because they might not have time to search for it again on their ‘Zon.

See how it works by trying out my Book Linker link for Ocean Heart: http://getbook.at/OceanHeart

Bookshop.org

BookShop.org (US/UK only) links to your book at the readers local indie book shop.

This is great for two reasons. Reason one, you are keeping beautiful local bookstores alive by sending customers their way. And reason two, if you create an affiliate store, you earn 10% on referrals’ purchases.

See how it works by trying out my link for Ocean Heart at Redfae bookshop: https://uk.bookshop.org/shop/Redfae

[kofi]

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My Process – How to Publish a Book (collection)

I’m constantly learning and revising everything I do. Sometimes it’s to strengthen existing knowledge and skills, and other times it’s because new things come out.

When I decided to self publish, I didn’t know where to start. I wrote this blog series reflecting on what I did. I hope my process provides others with an outline to get started.

With self publishing you do it your way, so if you want to do it different to me then you can. That’s the beauty of self publishing, you are in control of it all. Equally as empowering as that is, it can also be very daunting when you’re starting out.

Step 1 – Write Your Novel

My process starts right at the beginning with a blank page! I’ve included links to useful guides to help you writing the first draft.

Click here for step 1.

Step 2 – Edit Your Novel

Your novel should go through several edits before publishing. I include links to previous posts about the editing services I used to help you figure out which you need.

Click here for step 2.

Step 3 – Publish Your Book

This step covers what to do to get your interior and exterior right, and some of the different publishing options. I’ve linked to posts about my cover designer and formatter.

Click here for step 3.

Live This April!

During Camp NaNo, authors Cassidy Reyne and J D Groom have organised some Live sessions this April. They take place every Wednesday at 9pm (UK), on Instagram via @worldindiewarriors.

These sessions will support those doing Camp Nano, but each week they’ll have a different guest to discuss a topic of the week.

I’m their guest on 21 April at 9pm to discuss self publishing and answer any questions. Please do come join us.

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this, you will like:

Don’t put off writing your novel

How I did my cover reveal

My virtual Book Tour

My virtual Book Launch

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]

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Soul Heart Readers -Street Team

My Launch Month Plans

My Virtual Book Tour

My Live Stream Team

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)

The Process of Publishing a Novel – 1 of 3

Check out the collection for all parts.

The first step to publishing a novel is often to write the first draft. This is the same whether you wish to traditionally or self publish. There are some exceptions to this rule.

If you’ve have an interesting story to tell from your real life or an expert in your field, a publisher or agent might reach out and request you write a book if there is a market in demand.

Some people prefer to hire a ghost writer to write for them. In this case you’re not the one physically writing your book and this post is not for you because today I’m covering writing the draft version.

Step 1 – Draft a 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.

Plan

If you’re writing a full length novel it’s useful to start with a plan. I don’t consider myself a plotter but I still write an outline. It helps me get from A to B, and a few check points along the way.

Some writers want a more detailed plan. They might want to design their characters, do some Worldbuilding and draw maps, or even need to research information.

Write

This is obviously the most important part. If you don’t write the book there won’t be a book. However, don’t get hung up on making it perfect. You will not publish your first draft – in fact nobody has to see that monstrosity if you don’t want them to.

Writing a novel is a big task. It can help to break it down into smaller more manageable tasks. Many writers find it useful to set word count goals. Writing sprints can be useful to focus time on writing in quick bursts.

Here’s a handy post on beating writers block.

Self Edit

Some writers edit as they write – this does slow the process down but afterwards your manuscript is in a better shape. Other writers spew the words onto the page and tidy up the mess afterwards.

It doesn’t matter how you do it but you’ll want to give it an edit before letting anyone else read it. It’s easy to make mistakes whilst you are in the moment.

You don’t need to limit the number of self edits. Edit it as many times as you need to. Some people break the task into different focusses. For example, you might do a read through and look for inconsistencies, or focus on SPAG, or receptiveness, or pacing.

Here is a post with some tips on how to self edit.

Alpha Reader

Not everybody uses an Alpha. They are often someone you are close to and you show them an early draft to get feedback. Sometimes Alphas are used before a book is finished to assess whether the story has any merit before investing a load of time in it.

Self Edit

Whenever you get feedback on your book you should reflect on it. Did your Alpha share some ideas to help you improve your book?

Don’t worry if they didn’t. Many Alphas are already your personal cheerleaders (like your spouse, mum, best friend, etc). They might not have the skills to critique but when you’re battling self doubt, they are the ones picking you up and cheering you on.

They may also have raised issues or ideas you hadn’t thought about. Often when trying to get someone to understand your idea, you discover the plot holes or where things aren’t clear enough.

Beta Readers

These people read a draft you’ve worked on improving. You can even find paid Betas who have skills to highlight where you can improve your novel further.

Here is a post that compares Beta and ARC readers (and touches on Alpha readers).

Self Edit

Yes! You will get feedback from your Betas on how to improve your book. It’s best to have a few Betas and they may even have conflicting views. Allow yourself time to reflect on their advice.

Remember it is your novel at the end of the day and if their ideas are changing the vision you had, you don’t have to apply them. However, if several readers pointed out the same thing, they most likely have a point you should pay attention to.

You may even want to ask your Betas questions. For example, is this sex scene too much for teen readers? Um… yes, I’m working on a story where my Betas will be asked this. 😂

Get a Professional Edit…

The next post in my series is about getting your manuscript professionally edited…

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[kofi]

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Behind the Book: 2020 Collection

Thank you so much to all the authors that took the time to answer questions on making of their books. I learnt so much through your different journeys, the struggles you overcame, your best tips, and discovering more about you and your book.

The book that started this all off was Number Eight Crispy Chicken by Sarah Neofield. I was part of her Street Team for the books launch and interviewed her as my stop on the book’s blog tour.

I learnt so much from Sarah Neofield and it helped me in my decision to self publishing. The “Behind the Book” blog post turned into a series.

By the end of 2020, I had conducted a total of 18 interviews! I have put them all here in this post for your enjoyment. So, make yourself comfortable and get reading!

Sarah Neofield – Number Eight Crispy Chicken

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 Elexis Bell – Gem of Meruna

NB: This title now has a new cover

btb the gem of meruna

Kara S. Weaver – Crown of Conspiracy

copy of btb the gem of meruna

 J.D. Groom – Sorceress of Truth

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Annabelle by Elexis Bell

NB: This title now has a new cover

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Soul Bearer by Elexis Bell

NB: This title now has a new cover

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Stuck on Vacation with Ryan Rupert by P S Malcolm

World for the Broken by Elexis Bell

Lanterns in the Sky by P S Malcolm

Mystical Greenwood by Andrew McDowell

Wiccan Romances: Amelia’s Story by Nicola Hebron

What are friends for? By Sarah Sutton

Wiccan Romances Sam’s Story by Nicola Hebron

Out of my league by Sarah Sutton

Petrified by Ben Meeks

Agent Undone by Cassidy Reyne

A heart of salt & silver by Elexis Bell

Out Foxed by RJ Blaine

The last Behind the Book interview for 2020 was part of R. J. Blaine’s Blog Tour for her book’s release. It was organised by Xpresso Tours and they created the blog banner.

If you enjoyed this, look out for more Behind the Book interviews in 2021, and my review for some of these books.

Book Review: Agent Undone by Cassidy Reyne

Book Review: Sorceress of Truth by J D Groom

Book Review: Crown of Conspiracy by Kara S Weaver

2020 Book Reviews