There are countless people for whom writing a novel is on their ‘to-do’ list. It seems only natural since creating and telling stories are integral parts of the human experience. Yet, whether due to time, motivation, or the dreaded writer’s block, it’s an achievement that far more begin than finish. In fact, so much emphasis is placed on the initial goal of writing a novel, that some may reach the end of their book and wonder “Now what?”
There are those that will be satisfied in the act of completing their story, and may choose to end their journey as an author there. But many want to share their tales with a wider audience, and for them, the words “The End” are merely the beginning of the process.
So if you’ve written a novel and are now looking for those next steps, here are some next steps.
Revise and Edit
“If a sentence, no matter how excellent, does not illuminate your subject in some new and useful way, scratch it out.” - Kurt Vonnegut
There is an oft-quoted piece of literary advice, “Kill your darlings.” Attributed to more than one famous author, the phrase is ubiquitous as one of the earliest next steps in the process of writing. Namely, sometimes you have to make sacrifices for the good of a story.
However this is difficult to do when the writing is still new. In his book, On Writing, Stephen King suggests setting a newly finished book aside for at least 6 weeks. This allows an author to distance themselves from the monumental task they just completed, and come at the editing process with a fresh eye.
Create a Plan
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
There are now over a million books released each year between traditional and self-published titles, and any serious author will need to strategize to determine where their book will fit into the market. Whether they intend to query agents for a publishing contract, or go it alone, they will need to create a plan in order to give their book the best chance of success.
Self-publication authors will have more logistics on their plate (cover, placement, reviews, etc) than authors with a contract from a publishing house. However, both will find that marketing is an essential part of the process. They will need to determine where their target audience is, and communicate with them there. For some it could be a social media campaign, for others media appearances, while there are those who will shine at trade shows and conventions. No matter which is best, getting the word out early is critical to building pre-sales and creating buzz.
Launch and Ongoing
“Not all marketing people are writers, but all writers must learn to be marketers.” ― Joanne Kraft
Launch day comes with a feeling of elation, and also a new set of challenges. Continued promotion is critical to the success of the book. Word of mouth from existing fans will bring in new readers, but this is the time to use that enthusiasm to build more. If an author has not already submitted their work for consideration for literary awards then it’s time to do so. In addition a book’s release means that copies will be on hand for events and signings.
Even past the initial rush of launch, an author must consider how much maintenance to put into their marketing. This may come in the form of promotions or continued social media presence. And if one plans to continue writing they also need to consider how to bridge and keep interest from readers high going into the next book.
Do you need help preparing your book for publication? PenPower Book Marketing can help. From editing and revising through launch we can be your partner in crafting a strategy to give your book its best chance of success.