Your manuscript is finished – so now what?
You’ve sent it off to your editor, proofreader or beta readers, so you can kick your shoes off and relax, right?
No way! You’ve got a lot of work to do.
There are 7 very important tasks you can get to work on while your finished manuscript is in the hands of others, and you will be so busy, you won’t have time to worry about how long your beta readers take in getting back to you.
So, let’s get you to work. (You can follow the links in each section for more detailed information.)
1. Research your book title
Your book title is going to be more important than anything else in attracting potential readers, so it is time to do some serious research into it. You might love your working title, but that means nothing until you are certain it is going to work. You need to know how to find a great book title that is unique, and will attract readers’ interest.
Not only that, you (could, should, ought to) have a sub-title. Why? Because your title and sub-title are your most important pieces of metadata, and metadata is what is used by the Internet and Amazon in their search algorithms. A title and sub-title that are highly searchable will attract more people to your book. More on metadata later.
The most important issue when deciding on your book title is to make sure it is as unique as possible. Joining a long list of books with the same or a very similar title is not going to get you many sales.
2. Get a killer cover.
No, don’t even think of creating your book cover yourself unless you are a graphic designer and an expert with Photoshop. Get a cover or a series of covers designed professionally (but stay within your budget). Great book covers are second only to your title in importance, so don’t take cheap shortcuts.
One simple factor that is often overlooked when deciding on a book cover is how it will look as a small thumbnail image. This is what potential book buyers see first, so it is vitally important that your cover is just as appealing as a thumbnail as it is in full size.
Do your research again, and check the top selling books in your genre to see what their covers are like, and again, how appealing and eye catching they look in small sizes. Another factor to check is the colours that are used by popular books in your genre. You may get a surprise here, as many popular genres use a very small range of colours. For example: Think ‘chic-lit’ – Pastel pinks, blues and green.
3. Write your book description.
Yes, I know. Every author hates this task. However, it must be done, and again, it is going to be a vital part of your book’s metadata so it needs to be extremely well written. Writing a great book description is not an easy task, but again, check top selling books in your genre and make a few notes. Unlike your book of thousands of words, your book description needs to hook a reader’s interest inside 15 seconds, or 150 words. It should be longer of course, but those first words and seconds are the most important of all.
4. Research your categories and keywords.
Without these seven elements, your book will be lost, so choose them extremely carefully. These, along with your book title are the most important pieces of metadata, and researched and selected well, they will allow readers to find your book. They are so important that their power to sell books is greater than you can achieve with paid advertising, blogging or social media. You can expect to have an online audience of your own numbering in the hundreds or thousands. But your carefully selected categories and keywords will give you access to millions of online book buyers.
5. Start your book promotion.
Do not wait until your book is finally published to get the word out about your new book. Build some momentum through your blog and social media and give your audience information about why, how, where and when you wrote your book. If you have a selection of cover ideas, why not ask for opinions on which one people like? Involve your online audience and keep them informed of your progress.
6. Plan your book launch.
Will you make your book available by pre-order? Will you purchase paid advertising? Will you make your book exclusive, or will you open publish? Ask your beta readers for their book reviews so you can add them to your book sales page. Plan ahead and ask book bloggers if they would be willing to help you with your book launch. Do you want to do a virtual book tour? Do not press the publish button without planning your launch. You only get once chance to launch your book, so plan it carefully and well in advance.
7. Decide on your price.
Setting the price for your ebook and/or paperback is crucial. Having a clear book pricing strategy is not as simple as it sounds. There are many factors to consider, such as competitiveness in various geographic markets, differential between ebook and paperback, as well as pricing for turnover or pricing for profit. Book prices are never set in concrete, so think about when you might discount, or increase the price. Are you going to offer a free ebook, and on what schedule? Should you increase your price before offering your ebook for free, and then reduce it afterwards? Again, do some research and write a brief pricing plan for your new book.
With all this work to do, you won’t have time to worry about when your manuscript will come back to you for your last read through and edit before publishing. You will be far too busy, won’t you?