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

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My Live Stream Team

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]

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)

Why & how I chose my cover designer!

Redfae Bookshop is my Affiliate Bookshop.org Shop Link. This post contains some of those links.

I’ve wanted to write this post for a while but what’s held me back is that I have so much to say it’s difficult to know where to start.

My Cover Designer for Ocean Heart was Original Book Cover Designs. 

A guess a good place to start is on how I found my Cover Designer.

How I found my cover designer?

She ran a competition on Instagram to giveaway one of her design packages to a lucky winner. The winner of the competition was author J.D. Groom who had tagged me.

I don’t think I entered because at the time I was still planning to get a Literary Agent. Here’s the cover J.D. Groom received as her prize (it included eBook & paperback).

I loved the cover! As soon as I saw it I knew I wanted this designer to do my book cover…, if I self published. I then discovered other covers I loved were by the same designer.

Read Behind the Book & Book Review for JD Groom’s Sorceress of Truth (cover by Original Book Cover Designs). 

Read Behind the Book & Book Review for Kara A Weaver's Crown of Conspiracy (cover by Original Book Cover Designs).

Read Behind the Book & Book Review for Cassidy Reyne’s Agent Undone (cover by Originam Book Cover Designs).

Where to find cover designers?

I’ve seen people speak about sites like Fivrr but I’ve not used them. Here’s where I’ve found Cover Designers.

Instagram: There are lots of cover designers on Instagram. It’s an image based platform so an ideal place to show off their designs.

Facebook: A lot of designers also have a Facebook group. It enables them to share offers with their fans and build connections.

World Indie Warriors: Joining WIW is free. It’s a great resource. You can connect with other authors and get recommendations and check out the WIW brochure to discover cover designers.

Visit World Indie Warriors to discover more about them. 

How to choose your designer?

You must love it: You need to love the cover they create. It is essentially the first tool in your marketing arsenal. It needs to be something you’ll be proud to flaunt. Look at their portfolio and decide if you like their other designs.

Genre suitable: Each designer will have their own style, and it will likely be more suitable for a certain genre. I write Fantasy and Original Book Cover Designs definitely has a flair for it. Readers of your genre will expect a certain style so you don’t want them to pass your book assuming it’s not for them based on the cover.

Budget: We all have to operate within our means. People will judge a book by its cover but there are affordable options. Many designers do pre-made covers and if you can find one that suits your book, you can save on the cost of a bespoke design.

Extras: If you want to do eBook & Print, does the designer do a discount. Will they do other formats like hardback or audio. Do they offer some social media images or 3D Renders. Do they offer other services as a bundle discount (like formatting or blurb writing, etc).

Recommendations: If you can find authors the designer has worked with it can be very insightful. You could reach out to ask about their experience. You can also see if they have continued to use the designer and if they recommend then to others.

Benefits of a cover designer

Professional: I love creating my own covers. I often make them in Canva and use them on Wattpad. But, when it came to publishing my book, I wanted the cover to be perfect. I wanted my readers to find it hard to tell it is self published. It had to look professional.

Dimensions: I went a little cross eyed when I tried to figure out the spine for paperback. The width changes depending on paper type and page count. Ingram does have a tool to help you work it out and you can use the template in InDesign.

Technical Skills: I don’t know how to use Adobe or any other fancy design software I’d love to learn it but I just don’t have time. Outsourcing the cover design to a professional was a massive time saver.

Marketing: As mentioned earlier, your cover is the first thing anyone sees of your book. It needs to be eye catching, genre appropriate, and you need to be proud of showing it off. If it looks nice, other people might show it off too!

Working with your cover designer

Quote: Firstly, you’ll need to reach out to your chosen designer for a quote. I liked that Original Book Cover Design’s has some packages on their website so I knew they were within my budget and had already started putting money aside for it.

Timeframe: A good cover designer will likely have other projects on the go. You need to tell them when you’d like the job done by so they can confirm if they can do meet your deadline.

The deadline will need to be before your anticipated release date. This is because you should market your book before you release it. This period is often referred to as your book launch. Mine was about 2-3 months.

You also need the files before release to upload to the site you are using to create your book. I used Ingram Sparks. You’ll want to order a proof to check it is printing right, so allow time for quality control.

Also, if you are doing a print version, your cover designer will need to know what size to do the spine. Your manuscript will need to be edited and formatted.

Ideas: You’ll need to tell the designer about your book and your ideas for the cover. My cover designer had me complete an in depth questionnaire. She then worked with me to create a cover I love for my book Ocean Heart.

It was a dream come true.

Final design: The first draft looked incredible. I gave myself a little cooling down period – it was crazy exciting seeing my book – to look at it critically. I then requested some minor changes which my designer made. I was in love. It was a dream come true.

I hope this has helped you decide on whether you want to use a cover designer for your book, where to look for a designer, and how to pick one.

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this post, you might like:

Why you need a Copy Editor

The Process of Publishing a Novel – 1 of 3

Check out my Live Stream Team

About Ocean Heart