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HELP! For a self-publishing 15 year old novelist
May 16, 2021 at 5:22 pm #134080
Hello all. I am new to this group, and i need some tips and advice. I am almost done with my first novel. I have about 60-65k words at the moment, and plan to get about 15-20k more, but now approaches the hardest and most complicated part for me. Self marketing, and publicizing my book.
First off, i know my chances of being published by an actual publisher are about 1,000 to one, so i’m going to start by self publishing, after i have it edited, and proofread, fill plot holes, and just tidying up my story in general. So barrage me with your advice, please.May 16, 2021 at 5:31 pm #134082Emma Walker@emma-walker
@crazywriter I myself have been a part of his forum and other communities long enough to know that the chances to become a traditionally published author are not that at all.
But even I have questions concerning marketing and such.
"If your goal is purity in heart, be prepared to be thought very odd." -Elisabeth ElliottMay 16, 2021 at 5:47 pm #134087
Sorry, i should have specified. At least what i’ve read is that teenage writers have those odds, just cause they dont have as much experience or talent.May 16, 2021 at 6:17 pm #134089R.M. Archer@r-m-archer
Okie doke. There’s a lot to unpack here.
First, don’t treat self-publishing like a fast-track. Self-publishing, when done with care and invested in properly, can take a long time. Not as long as traditional publishing (that is part of the reason I went the self-pub route, also), but still a long time. So don’t rush. If you rush, you’ll end up with something sub-par that you look back on and wish you had taken longer on (I speak from experience). And if you really want to be traditionally published, don’t settle for self-publishing. Traditional publishing takes about the same amount of work as self-publishing, it’s just different work and a different time-table.
Next. Don’t start marketing yet. It sounds like you haven’t even finished the entirety of your base draft, which means you are not ready to promote it. You’ll want to get through at least 3-4 drafts and potentially slog through a huge slump before you can be sure you have the motivation to push through to publish this book. Speaking from experience here, too; I’ve had multiple false starts. Besides which, your book could change a lot between now and even its second or third draft, much less its final draft. The most marketing you can do at this point would be to talk about the process of this book, and what you’re currently enjoying about the book or struggling with. You won’t be able to make accurate quote graphics, your blurb might not even be in its final state, you won’t have any cover art to share or tie in with. You might be able to direct people to an email list so they’re around when you are ready to start promoting the book for real, but that’s about it.
After you’re certain this is a book you want to stick with and you’re willing to do the work to publish, then you can start looking at a cover designer, editor(s), etc. If you’re nearing the end of your edits, you can start grabbing quotes that resonated with beta-readers or that mean something to you and you can make graphics of those (they’re not likely to change much). You can set a tentative release date based on how much editing you have left to do, how long the formatting will take, etc. and start getting people excited about it (just make sure that if you start marketing a long time beforehand, you have enough marketing content to keep people interested until the release date so you don’t lose them). Bonus content (Pinterest boards, playlists, character quizzes, etc.) can be fun ways to raise interest. Character interviews. Continued peeks into the publication process. A cover reveal once you get your cover (which should be after you’ve done all the editing and formatting, so you know how wide your spine is going to be, though you can get a front cover first and add the wrap later). An online launch party with games and giveaways. Q&As. These are all fun.
You’ll also want (and need) help with your marketing. Chances are you can’t reach as many people as you want to reach by yourself, and that’s where a street team comes in. A street team is a group of readers who are super excited about your book and will share about it. You can give them graphics to share, send them Advance Reader Copies for review so you have a few reviews from the beginning, etc. My street team is also where I get my beta-readers.
And marketing doesn’t stop when your book is released. You can do this through photos of your book, continued posting of quotes, new extras if you come up with new things, Q&As later on when more people have read the book, giveaways, sharing snippets of positive reviews (with permission)…
To give you an idea of how long self-publishing can take, I started my current novel almost two years ago, I’ve been working on it steadily ever since, and it still won’t be ready until at least this winter. That’s without much of the slump I experienced with novels before this one. Three years is still only half of the average six years it takes to get traditionally published, from beginning the process to landing a book deal, but it’s not a fast process, either. And it’s more expensive than traditional publishing, since you have to pay for editing and cover design (and sometimes formatting) out-of-pocket instead of leaving those to a publishing house. If self-publishing is really what you want to do, absolutely go for it! I’m a strong advocate for self-publishing. But I’m also an advocate for doing what is going to work for you, and doing so well-aware of the pros and cons of all options, so if you go with self-publishing I want you to do so with your eyes open. 🙂
I hope all of that helps! I’m happy to answer any follow-up questions to the best of my ability. 🙂
Fantasy/dystopian/sci-fi author. Mythology nerd. ENFP. Singer.May 17, 2021 at 11:31 am #134127Jenna Terese@jenwriter17May 17, 2021 at 12:05 pm #134129
Ok thanks guys.
The advice was great but guys, as I’m finishing up my freshman year in high school, in the middle of a move, and will soon be tied up in football, I have neither the time nor the money to do all that, with a team, and the other stuff. While I don’t want this to be rushed, I wrote this book so that there would be better Christian fiction in the hands of readers, and while I don’t want to just let it slip into the abyss of forgetfulness I don’t necessarily have time to do all the stuff mentioned above, so it might not be the perfect self publishing experience and I am okay with that. Thanks for the advice which will be invaluable later on in life. Do you have tips for just a minor self publishing endeavor?May 17, 2021 at 12:22 pm #134132R.M. Archer@r-m-archer
If you really want to put “better Christian fiction” in the hands of readers (which is an admirable goal!), you want to make sure that it’s actually as good as you can make it. The many rounds of editing and the feedback, at least, are non-negotiable. And there’s nothing wrong with waiting to publish until you can do it well. Your book will be even better given time and added maturity and practice. I know you don’t want to hear this (I was a 15-year-old itching to publish, too; I know the impatience and the feeling that everything you write has an epic purpose and has to get out into the world right now), but my advice would be to wait until you can dedicate more time to this project and do it justice, for the sake of the book, your readers, and your own writing journey.
Fantasy/dystopian/sci-fi author. Mythology nerd. ENFP. Singer.May 17, 2021 at 4:03 pm #134139
Thanks for the advice and I will seriously consider it.
And when I said not having the time and money for the stuff you mentioned, I didn’t mean that I don’t have time to write, which I do have some for. I meant more that I may not have the pedigrees and bells and whistles that more experienced self publishers have.
But thanks, and I will consider everything said above!
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