You know, it's one thing to call yourself a writer and write those books and stories. You get one all polished and pretty and then send it off on its merry way out into the world. And you have some vague idea that you're going to be a busy little bee for a while, helping to promote that book. And if you're lucky, you've got a publisher that knows his or her job and will do his or her work too. These days, that paradigm is changing, even for the Big Six. But that's another blog. And this isn't about that subject. This is about the publishing game.
See, you never really grasp the whole picture. Oh, you can read what other writers have to say on the subject. And they might have a partial grasp on the job, being pretty much in the same boat you are. But unless you actually do the job, you really have no clue. I'd say the only writer/author you can really count on to fully get the publishing picture is the indie author. Because, as an indie writer/author, you are the publisher.
It can be heaven. Or it can be hell. But it's a boatload of work. And I think I'm really digging it mightily.
For all intents and purposes, I am Edin Road Press. I've gone the traditional publishing route with a small press and let's just say, the experience left a bad taste in my mouth. But this isn't about why I love indie publishing. Edin Road's newest author, Lorrieann Russell, covered that aspect and she said it better than I ever could. Click on that link and read it. Go on. I'll wait.
Back? Good, wasn't it? So, back to my blog.
I started Edin Road Press for my own purposes. I knew there was a lot of work but I didn't know how or what. But I deal with a lot of publishers, thanks to the day job. I had an inkling. But it wasn't until I stepped into the role that I found out exactly what I was dealing with.
Since it's my company, I'm already accepted into the publishing family. But then, it's laying out the schedule of what to do when and setting deadlines. First there's the story edit -- tightening up, fixing continuity errors, researching bits and pieces that aren't historically correct (if I'm writing a historical story), rewriting the awkward and fixing the grammar and spelling. Then there's the copy editing, going over it line by line and fixing that. Then, reading one more time to make sure we've -- of course I've asked someone else to do all of this, arranging payment or trade of services -- gotten it all.
In the meantime, I'm working with the cover artist and discussing what the cover should look like. Which means giving her an idea of the characters and the story synopsis, maybe a scene on the front cover. Approving designs, which idea sings and which doesn't. Finalize the idea, the back cover blurb and reviews, the front cover type, and let the cover artist do her thing. She'll create a simple cover for the ebook and if I'm releasing a print copy, will do the cover artwork for that as well -- which includes front and back covers with the spine.
At the same time, I'm working on press notices, setting up dates for the blog tour, working with the web designer to get the page ready for the book. Getting the book's tear sheet done and sent -- with the book information (as much as I have at that moment), author picture and bio, book teaser, book synopsis (aka the back cover blurb), an excerpt, author's websites. That goes to the web designer and he gets to work.
Meanwhile, the book has been edited to the nth degree -- and yes, we'll still find things afterward -- so I will now do the ebook layout for the site I will use -- which is Smashwords, at this writing -- and I study their style guide inside and out. Once that's done, I'll create the ARC, the Advance Reading Copy, and start going over it again, one line at a time, to catch the things that I, story editor, and copy editor might have missed along the way and get those corrected. It happens. No book is 100% free of that sort of thing. But everyone tries and we get all that we can. Once that's done and approved, the final document is complete. If it's a book that I want to put out in print, I'll send that document to the print layout artist and let her go through her paces to have it laid out.
One month before the official release date, the web page for the book will go up, the ARC will go out to anyone who agrees to review and blog about the book, and I'll start setting up the blog tour. I'll send out press releases to local media along with the tear sheet. I'll also send ARCs for soft reviews -- which is early reviews before the official release date, usually fellow authors and reviewers that I know personally who will give me an honest review. Hey, if it sucks, it sucks. But if the reviewer likes it enough, those reviews will go on the web page, the inside of the books, the tear sheet, and the press releases. Blog tour dates will get scheduled in the coming weeks and that information goes to the web designer, who also does our monthly newsletter and social media, and that information gets shared out as well.
I also will go ahead and publish the ebook because Edin Road Press is mostly an ebook/digital publisher. That's what we'll promote hard and fast. And because it takes at least two weeks to make it to the premium catalogue. I'll post that link as the pre-release so that people can pick it up early, if they want. But I'm not promoting it hard and heavy yet.
Two weeks prior to the release date, I'll publish this on the print site -- which is Createspace, at this time of writing. I won't promote this as heavy because, as I said, ERP is a digital publisher. But I'll let the author push this one, but we will list it on our site and we will promote it to reviewers who want print copies. And we'll have these for book signings.
I'll start contacting local bookstores for those book signings and schedule what I can. Web designer will start posting and tweeting about the Release Date party on all of our media sites. We'll change our profile picture to the book's cover art. We'll post cuttings from the book every day, as well as the links that we have -- and by now, we should have most of them.
I'll also have a pre-release give away, and web designer and I will send out the details and start promoting and collecting entries.
One week prior to the official release date, I'll send out press notices one more time along with the completed tear sheet and contact information for anyone who wants a review copy. All blogs for the blog tour are written so that I can get them out for the author at least two days prior to the date they're to be posted. And we'll continue to promote the Release Date Online Party. I'll create an event on Facebook and the web designer will do the same on the other media.
Release date, we will party like crazy. Answer questions, thank those who left good wishes, and enjoy the fans. I'll continue to monitor the blog tour. Probably do a coupon for a couple of weeks for a discount. Promote everywhere.
Two weeks after the release, we're all still promoting, but the truth is, this push is done. Promotion will be ongoing, it always is. But I'm already looking to the next project. It's been a wild ride and a satisfying one. Hopefully, a prosperous one. But it's a lot of work and I love it! I can't tell you why I do but I do. It's satisfying now that Edin Road Press isn't just me -- but it's Lorrieann Russell and David Roth too. My two other authors who hitched their wagon to this wee star. I take care of them too.
I dig this publisher gig. What a ride.