Surely you must have a date in mind for releasing your book or eBook, or at least an approximate timeframe. As you’ve probably heard from others, this is critical to your marketing program. Unfortunately most self-publishers are so wrapped up in the writing and production details that they have little time to devote to marketing matters and instead intentionally, or unintentionally, focus on marketing after the release of their book.
Rather than try to change this reality I want to ask four questions that might help you improve your chances for a successful book launch. All four of these have to do with the production phase of your book and have everything to do with timing.
The key message here is slow down. Unlike adjusting a marketing tactic it is expensive and unrealistic to change your book after it is published.
1. What elements of your book depend on other people?
Are you planning to include a foreword or index? A foreword is written by someone other than the author and your foreword writer needs time to read your book. If you know the person well they may be able to review a summary or early draft. If you don't you’ll want to make sure your manuscript is as perfect as it can be—edited, proofed, formatted for easy reading, etc. Again depending on the person you are approaching this might take a week or it might take months, and that’s after they have agreed to consider writing it. Start this as soon as you have a completed manuscript.
Creating indexes and compiling information for an appendix may add additional time. Indexes are especially tricky because your indexer needs to see a perfectly paginated book in order to add those page numbers to the index terms. This can add several weeks to the production schedule.
2. Do you think blurbs are important to marketing your book?
I know, seems like a dumb question. We all want paragraphs of praise for the back of the book, the online selling page and inside the front cover. But like soliciting a foreword writer, obtaining these takes time and requires a solid draft of your book. You can skip adding them to the book itself but I don’t recommend it. Add 2 to 6 weeks for this process depending on your relationship with the person you are asking to endorse your book.
Tip: See my article Where to Put Testimonial Blurbs in eBooks
3. How much time do you need to review proofs?
If you are producing a print book using CreateSpace this process can add, at a minimum, 1-2 weeks to the schedule once the book is submitted for file check. The book is mailed to the account holder and if you want a copy for your publishing consultant (AuthorImprints in this case), you need to mail a copy to him or her (CreateSpace won’t ship to 2 locations).
Repeat until it is perfect! (I've had this process drag on for over a month.)
Now you can create the eBook. Depending on the design of the print book this could take from a few days to a few weeks.
4. How complete is your book before you begin?
I intentionally left this for last because it is so general. I add it here because it addresses a whole bunch of other issues easily overlooked by authors busy with numbers 1-3 above and the actual writing of the book. Here is a sampling of what I mean:
- Who is the publisher? If you are using something other than your name (and you should) you may need a D/B/A.
- Are you promoting a website? Do you have the domain reserved? Is the website built?
- How are you handling the ISBN? Are you buying an ISBN or using a free one? (See my articles here and here.)
- Are you including acknowledgements or a dedication? Are they ready to go?
- If you are printing images, are they high resolution images? And do you have the rights? See the next bullet…
- Do you need a legal review? Don’t wait until the last minute to have a competent attorney review your book especially if you are using someone’s trademarks or copyrighted materials.
As you can see there are a lot of variables! Suffice it to say that the production process is often much longer than you might think. It all comes down to how much time you are able to invest and how many of these steps you can do concurrent with writing the book.
How we help
Part of our book publishing service is helping you manage this process. We supervise all the necessary steps involved in book design, production, eBook conversion, distribution and marketing. It is an interrelated process that has a lasting impact on the potential for your book’s success.
Don’t make it up as you go!