You know, since I started writing The Paladin I've come across a lot of things I just wasn't expecting. I knew I'd have to write. I knew I'd have to rewrite. But so many other things just came out of left field, so I thought today I'd share some of the surprises of writing and marketing that I've learned so far.
I've mentioned this before, but it certainly bares repeating: editing is expensive. And it's not like you can just get away without doing it. At some point before publishing, you'll have to get your book edited, hopefully on the dime of your publisher, but if not, you'll have to shell out the cash. Most basic editors charge from 3 to 7 cents per word, which doesn't sound like much, but if you do the math for a book like mine... let's see... carry the nine... divide by pi... it would cost me $4080 to edit mine. On the low end. And that's just a basic edit. You're expected to do at least two basic edits, plus continuity edits, plus format edits, plus sensitivity edits... it goes on and on.
And don't think you can just have your mom look at it and it'll be fine. I'm on my FIFTH edit. FIVE TIMES I've combed through this manuscript and my last beta found over 200 minor grammatical and format mistakes.
Whether you decide to self-publish or traditionally publish, you'll have to do a lot of your own marketing, if not all of it. The biggest part of that is, well, what I'm doing right now. Social media. Building an author platform. Getting your name out there. If you are ready to publish tomorrow, it's too late to build your author platform. People need to know who you are BEFORE you publish. There needs to be some excitement and buzz about what you're doing before it's available.
You have to submit your stuff to reviewers ahead of publication. You should try to get short stories published, get some awards attached to your name, and then you have to start that damn social media game.
Before I became a videographer in Las Vegas, my Twitter account was largely untouched. I had, maybe 5 followers. I didn't even WANT a Twitter account. But I knew I'd need it as a writer, so while I was in Vegas, I started tweeting like a madman. Film an accident? Tweet it! Charity carwash? Tweet it! Blizzard tournament? You bet your bippy I tweeted it! I utilized my connected with my news station to put my name in front of more people, to get more followers. But it wasn't enough.
Now I'm having to up my social media game. Twitter? Check. Facebook?Check. Instagram? Check. I should be doing more Snapchat, maybe some Tumblr stuff, but I'm just one man. The amount of tweets I'm expected to put out a day has skyrocketed from 1-2 as a videographer to 10-15 as a writer! I'm nowhere near that!
Everyone's out to make a buck and as a writer, you have to be very careful. You're stepping into a new world of website scammers and vanity presses. I get at least one call a week (it was one a day before I fought back) from companies overseas offering to optimize my website. They promised I'd sell SO MUCH STUFF. Except I'm not selling anything yet. Like, at all. Didn't matter. They kept calling, no matter how many times I said no, they wanted to optimize my site, build it from the ground up, and they all assured me it was all very affordable.
Oh, and let's look at the people who are at least somewhere near what I'm looking for. Vanity presses. If you're not familiar with them, they're somewhere between self-publishing and traditional publishing. They bill themselves like a traditional publisher. You'll get your stuff in book stores, copies for yourself to get away, help with editing, all the perks! But you have to pay. Lots.
Understand this: Publishers pay YOU. Publishers pay you for your story. Vanity presses are looking for people who don't know what they're doing. If you want to self-publish, there's a lot of other options. Look to Amazon and their e-book and physical copy services. There are so many better options.
I could keep going, but I think I'll save that for another blog post. If you liked this, leave me a comment. Are you considering publishing your own book? What are you curious about?
Keep your eyes open for my debut novel, The Paladin.