Adventures in Writing: Part 11

The Last Summer is officially out, and I’ve announced a new anthology, Ephemera: Life Lessons Learned!

I’ve been trying to figure out what to write for this next part forever. That’s the biggest reason for the delay in posts, and I apologize for that. Things have been really busy between publishing another book, getting others ready, and going to full time in my master’s program.

The purpose of this blog series is to discuss what happens in the self-publishing world and to give advice as much as I can as a beginner. One of the questions I get most is how I go about marketing and scheduling. So, I am going to attempt to explain this in a way that’s hopefully not too confusing…

First of all, I work backwards in scheduling. I start with the release date and work back through the things I know I need to have done. For this example, I’m going to use my next fantasy book The Lost Prince (The Nihryst Book 2). Keep in mind, these dates have not been announced officially and might change. But here is my general process:

Select release date — November 11

–> The final ebook files need uploaded to Amazon by November 7, which means it needs formatted before then.

Send to be formatted — October 24

–> Each formatting job is different and takes various amounts of time. If you’re not doing it yourself, find out how long the person needs.

–> Keep in mind, the paperbacks cannot be put up for pre-order, but you can order a proof copy before it goes live on Amazon. Because of how slow things are moving right now, this can possibly take up to 2-3 weeks to ship. So, if you want that proof copy (which I highly recommend if you’re a new author or use a new formatter), add in extra time for formatting.

Send ARCs — September 30

–> Depending on the genre and length of the book, 4-6 weeks is the best time for readers/bloggers. Many will not need this much time, but it takes off the pressure to read quickly, which makes it less stressful and more enjoyable. I’m saying this as a reviewer. Anything less than three weeks is too short if you’re insisting the reviews be up by release week. (Fantasy/sci-fi typically takes longer than contemporary romance.)

–> I use Reedsy’s free formatting tool for ARCs. It’s easy and fast, but it does not allow much customization. Therefore, it does look different than the final copy, but it looks nice enough for a simple ARC, and it can export as a mobi, ePub, and PDF file.

–> I use BookFunnel to distribute ARCs. I upload both the mobi and ePub files. It’s super easy to set up, then you just send the link and information.

–> Reviews should not go up earlier than two weeks before release. Be sure to tell them that the closer to release the better.

–> Reviews cannot go up on Amazon until the book is live. Therefore, it’s best to put up the paperback a couple days before release (it takes a day or two to process, so I would add it 3-4 days before release). Just don’t announce it’s up except to reviewers.

–> Reviews within 48 hours of release really help with the rankings.

Cover Reveal & Open Pre-Order — August 19

–> Three months before release seems to be a good amount of time.

–> The pre-order takes a couple days to process. Put it up early and just don’t tell anyone. The pre-order will need the blurb, cover, keywords, and categories. You do not need the actual book until four days before release.

–> Create a sign up form for bloggers, readers, etc. a couple weeks beforehand. A day or two before the reveal, provide them with the cover, blurb, pre-order and Goodreads links, and any author information you wish to share. I personally use a Google Drive folder to create a media kit for them. I put all this in there, as well as any other graphics I’m okay with them sharing. Example kit here.

Cover Reveal Countdown — August 12

–> Announcing it and doing a countdown helps build up hype. This ensures more people see it, which helps those pre-order numbers go up.

–> I technically announced the cover reveal already because I’m impatient and excited, but I usually wait until a couple weeks before to really announce it.

–> Announcing it in advance will make it easier to get bloggers, readers, etc. signed up to participate. Therefore, I will start the sign ups at the beginning of August and then start the countdown on the 12th.

–> The countdown consists of a daily graphic with a sneak peek or hint at the cover. I share them across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the week leading up to the reveal. Graphic examples here.

Marketing — August 19-November 11

–> All of my book stuff happens on Wednesdays (cover reveals, releases, etc.), so for consistency, this is when I promote too. EVERY week after the cover reveal, I post a teaser graphic with a quote and the cover. In the post, I put the blurb and links as well. This happens every single Wednesday up until the release.

Sent to editor — August 5

–> The earlier the better. This allows them time to properly edit, but it also gives you time to go through it after they’re done.

–> I write the first draft, go through and self-edit once, send to editor, go through it again with the feedback and changes, send the ARCs, and then do one final proofread.


Want the latest updates, sneak peeks, and exclusive giveaway opportunities? Check out my Facebook group: Cait’s Inner Circle

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