Welcome back! This week, we’re going to move onto the next phase of your self-publishing journey. So you’ve gotten your Author Platform started, you’re blogging away and getting addicted to Twitter or Instagram, but somehow you’ve managed to finish the Rough Draft of your manuscript. Now what?
First, Congratulations, you made it! What a HUGE accomplishment – please take a moment to pat yourself on the back, do a happy dance or pop open a bottle of champagne! Once you’ve finished taking that hard-earned and well-deserved break to celebrate, then come back and keep reading…
Step-by-Step Post-Rough Draft / Pre-Publication Guide
Step 1: Draft up a Beta Reader Questionnaire highlighting all of the things you want a beta reader to focus on the most in your manuscript. For example, if you’re planning on sending your MS to a professional editor (which I highly recommend) then you don’t necessarily need your readers to focus on grammar or spelling and you can tell them that in your Questionnaire.
Step 2: Hop on Goodreads and find Beta readers! Beta Readers are so plentiful on Goodreads, they even have their own Group. They are for beta reading only, not for reviews – for those, you’ll have to find different groups (which they have and we’ll get to later on). Here are the links for a few other helpful Groups:
- Support for Indie Authors
- Goodreads Authors/Readers
- Goodreads Author Feedback Group
- Authors & Reviewers
Aside from these extremely helpful groups, I recommend seeking out ones dedicated to your specific genre, as well. You’ll be more likely to find willing beta readers and reviewers from those who are already partial to your story’s type. Also, you do not have to pay for beta readers, unless you want to. Sometimes paid betas are more thorough and provide more helpful feedback. It’s your choice.
***Note: It is crucial that you give your beta readers a specific time frame in which you expect to hear back from them, otherwise it could take months. I take that a step further by listing it in the post on Goodreads to begin with, as well as in the first contact email with anyone who shows an interest. Be fair. These people are taking time out of their busy schedules to help you for FREE so don’t make it a very short time frame and expect people to get it back to you in like a week. Beta reading is a lot more thorough than just reviewing!
Step 3: Write your book’s Blurb and Synopsis. You’re going to want feedback on those and most importantly, you’ll want your editor to tackle them right along with your book. Use the Goodreads groups listed above for helpful critiques on both.
Step 4: Start window shopping for a cover artist and editor. You can order your book cover now, but you’ll want to wait on paying for an editor until after your beta readers are done – otherwise you’ll find yourself rewriting sections you then have to pay to have edited all over again. There are a lot of great pre-made book cover sites, which I listed in this post here – or there’s the option of signing up for a membership with one of the well known photo stock sites and then using Canva online for FREE to make your own cover. Also, if you want your book cover to have a catchy Tag Line, you can start thinking about that now, too. A professional cover artist will likely ask you for one as an option.
- If you do decide to make your own cover, those Goodreads Groups I mentioned also have discussions dedicated to helpful feedback for your book covers, your book blurb and/or synopsis so make sure to use them to get some great critiquing in advance.
Step 5: Start creating your Author Newsletter at one of the email manager sites for Free, like MailChimp. It takes awhile to get all of the subscribers forms, welcome emails and such set up. You could even put a link on your website or blog right away if you’d like.
Step 6: Start offering Free Content on your blog or website. Short stories, essays or even poetry that give readers an idea of what your writing style is and what they can look forward to with your upcoming book. We’ll cover this again after your MS has been edited completely.
The worst part about being a writer is waiting on others to complete their end of the process so that you can move forward. Taking these necessary preliminary steps to setting up your platform and laying the groundwork for great marketing isn’t just a way to make sure your book launch is successful, it also helps pass the time you might use pacing and wringing your hands together, instead! 🙂 Next week we’ll go over how to handle your beta readers constructive criticism and get your MS primed for editing.
♥ Weekly accomplishment: Collar Me Foxy has 2 pre-orders on Amazon and I made a new friend who reviewed it for the upcoming release day tour! What are you celebrating this week? Please share with us in the comments below. Have a great weekend everyone! 🙂