Many first-time authors have never published a book before, and they are unaware of the extra steps involved in the process. My primary focus is book design, but taking extra steps such as guidance and suggestions, will help authors reach their goal.
Extra steps for “Anne,” a first-time author
• Was Anne going to do an ebook or print book? She intended to have both formats
, but wanted to do the print book first. I suggested using a standard size, 5.5×8.5’’ for her paperback, based on her book genre (fiction > thrillers.)
• Anne did not know her book category. We discussed her target audience and told her about the Complete BISAC Subject Headings List to find her genre’s primary subject. This code will be used for the title set-up. (BISAC is the Book Industry Study Group)
• Anne did not know her competition. I suggested that we research other books via Google for Amazon’s Top 100 in Anne’s genre. I made several screen shots of her competitors’ book covers as a contact sheet (to quickly scan a series of images and find the best ones).
• Anne had not written the back-cover copy / book description. Writing a description is not the same as writing a book. It is sales copy that describes the book in third person. A well-written description is critical for any book and will be also be used when doing the title set-up. I suggested that Anne read this book: How to Write a Sizzling Synopsis to learn the basics. Another option is to hire a really good copywriter.
• Finally, I read articles, blog posts, and listen to podcasts, so I can follow trends in independent publishing and book marketing. Why? I’m happy to share that information with my authors. Sometimes, an article will explain a tip better than I can.
All these extra steps takes time! Many emails and phone calls—hand holding—will help build a relationship with an author. It gives the author confidence and support, as well as step-by-step advice on publishing and marketing his or her book.
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