If you're anything like me, though, you're chomping at the bits to DO something to help you along the way... to PREPARE for what you hope... believe... is to come. So much of publication is "hurry up and wait" and, well, that's hard to do! There's just no better way to put that. Waiting STINKS!
But being on the other side of that waiting (well, the INITIAL waiting for the contract anyway... there is still LOTS of waiting on this side of the rainbow, let me tell ya!) I've found a few things that I either a.) did before publication and was VERY thankful for or b.) WISH I would have done before publication so I would have saved myself a whole lot of headache... and given me something productive to do during the waiting!
And because I firmly believe in treating publication as a "business," I thought I'd offer up a very mini-business plan for you and your preparation journey!
We'll go more into the writing business-plan in Part 3!
ACTION Items for Publication Preparation:
- Network - This is HUGE HUGE HUGE. Networking helps not only get your contract, but gives you natural connections to ask for endorsements, influencers, and people to champion your writing when your time comes. I tried to do this, although I've seen how I could have done a much better job at this. Some of my fellow alleycats are AMAZING at this, and I sit in awe of their networking prowess. And this is not all selfish... networking with YOU can help others too. It's a major two-way street... and you make some FABULOUS friends along the way!
- Blog/Website - Not everyone can blog. It's a fabulous marketing tool, but the point isn't to insist that you blog in the waiting. But it IS a great idea to have the bones of an Internet presence created. Publishing houses do look at this, and having it set up, at least the basics, will help you greatly on the back-end. At a minimum, reserve your domain name. It costs a whole $10 a year. You can also use Blogger or Wordpress to easily and freely set up a website and/or blog. Even just having the framework will give you a leg up. You can even research potential web designers if you want to go that route, so you can have some idea of who you want to go with when the time comes. Visit other author websites/blogs and make notes of things you like and don't like. Research gives you a wealth of information.
- Facebook (and other social media) - Lots of different opinions on the best way for an author to set up their social media presence. Do you have a personal profile AND an author page? Or one and not the other? At a minimum, research and know your options and the pitfalls of each. I'd highly recommend, regardless of which way you lean, that you RESERVE the name you need/want on Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest, etc. If you're going to set up a "page" for readers to like, go ahead and do so! You can start collecting "likes" now... posting about writing and your journey, or a myriad of other things depending on your genre and your audience. Setting up my author page is one area I wish I would have done much earlier than I did. I know it feels awkward setting it up before you're published, but trust me. You'll be SO thankful that you did later!
- Marketing ideas - Yes, if you traditionally publish, you'll have a marketing team to help with this once you're on your way. But why not keep a notebook of possible ways you can market your book? Just brainstorm, and when a clever idea hits you when you least expect it, write that gold nugget down! Then when it comes time to write a proposal or meet with your marketing team, you'll have some great ideas to contribute.
WORD OF CAUTION
Preparing is GOOD. It takes "believing" and puts action behind it.
But don't get so caught up in preparing to be publish that you don't spend time doing the one thing that has the possibility to REALLY get you published...
Continuing to put 80-90% of your time into WRITING and EDITING and REWRITING and LEARNING is the most important thing you can do, hands down.
Discussion: Published authors... what things did YOU do pre-publication that helped you be prepared the most? Or what things do you wish you'd done?
Unpubbed authors... what things have you already done to put BELIEVING into action?