What Comes Next: An Overview of What Happens After You've Written a Book

You’ve dotted the last “I” and crossed the last “T” and cracked open the bottle of bubbly to celebrate the completion of your book. And congratulations are in order for it is quite a feat to organize your thoughts and to have the discipline to sit down and put them in order, but now what?

This is a very brief overview (mostly for the newer writer) of what comes next after you have written the great American novel, things you might not have considered and how much they will cost.

There are basically three ways to publish your novel. 1) go through a traditional publisher, 2) go through a vanity press and 3) self-publish. Each has its own set of pros and cons to consider. The best piece of advice I can give you is to do your homework! Take the time to explore each option, what they mean to you in your situation and then make an informed decision that will ultimately work best for you!

They say don’t judge a book by its cover but in this day and age you have too. Whether online or at a bookstore, you have about 5-10 seconds to get someone’s attention before they move on to the next book. Your cover should reflect what your book is about and needs to be compelling enough for the reader to take the time to pick it up (or click) and read the back cover. A good quality, professionally designed cover is approximately $300-800 dollars.

The back cover blurb or book description is one of the most important things you will write. You’ve got to capture the feel of the story, the characters and what’s at stakes in 200-300 words for a story that is thousands of words long. Also, when writing the book description for Amazon, the description can be different from your back cover blurb. When writing it, think search engine to help your searchability, sales and ranking.

If you want to put a quality product out there you have to have it professionally edited. I have learned this lesson the hard way. In order to save money I had my manuscript read by three different people, all very talented but there were still mistakes that got through. It is well worth the money to have it professionally edited, even if means delaying the release of the book until you can pay for it. Editing costs approximately $1.50 to $2.25 a word.
Formatting is simply translating your book into electronic or print form so your readers will be able to buy and enjoy it. There is PDF for the print version and two different electronic formatting, one for Kindle and one for Epub (Smashwords) which covers the other electronic readers.

If you are tech-minded and patient, there are step by step instructions from both Amazon and Smashwords on how to do the formatting, thus costing you nothing. If you don’t have the time or inclination to do it, there are a number of services out there that will do it for you. Prices range from approximately $99 to $299 and many times that includes e-publishing it. PDF for print version is a different and a more expensive proposition at around $300 to $500.

Putting it simply, the ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is a unique number assigned to identify your book. You need an ISBN for both print and electronic books, but Amazon and Smashwords both provide those for free when you publish with them. However, you do need to purchase an ISBN for your printed version. They can range from $39 to $125 separately but are often included when you purchase a publishing service.

Again, this article is not the end-all for information when it comes to making your book come alive, rather it’s a heads up of what’s down the road in your literary journey to help you make the decisions that are right for you and avoid the potholes that so many of us have hit along the way.

By Paul Byers. Along with Catalyst, Paul has also written Arctic Fire and Act of God with his latest thriller, Greed coming out in late spring. http://www.paulbyersonline.com/


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