You’ve written your first book…now what?

This is a guest post by author Elise Abram

Elise Abram has been a high school teacher of English and Computer Studies for more than 20 years, providing coaching to writers of all ages and at all levels of development from middle school through Ph.D. candidate. She is a former archaeologist, editor, publisher, award-winning author, avid reader of literary and science fiction, and student of the human condition. Abram is best known as a science fiction and young adult novelist, but her writing interests are diverse. She has published everything from science fiction for adults (Phase Shift) and young adults (I Was, Am, Will Be Alice), to young adult paranormal (The Revenant: A YA paranormal adventure with zombies), police procedural (Throwaway Child and The Mummy Wore Combat Boots), and young adult contemporary (The New Recruit).

Ten things to do after typing “The End”

Finishing a manuscript may feel like the end, but it’s really only the beginning. Now’s the time to lay the foundation with respect to promoting yourself and your work.

Here are ten things you can do while you’re waiting for your next big idea to percolate to the forefront from the far reaches of your brain.

1. Find a good editor

Poll members of Facebook pages dedicated to writing and writers to compile a list of editors. Check out their websites, read testimonials, and find out how much they charge. When you’ve settled on your shortlist, don’t be afraid to ask for a sample chapter edit to be sure you and your editor are on the same page. Negotiate your expectations prior to paying.

2. Begin to blog

It’s never too early to blog about your new release. Write about your content, your inspiration, your characters, and related topics. Don’t forget to shout it from the social media rooftops whenever you post to your blog to garner interest in both yourself and your book.

3. Create your cover

Search sites that sell premade covers or start looking on image sites for inspiration. Pick a scene or a theme in your book and try to recreate it in your cover design.

4. Build your “street team”

Poll friends, neighbours, and relatives to see if they’d be willing to read your book and give you feedback. If you’re active on Facebook or Twitter, consider posting a call to potential beta readers you trust to give you their honest opinions after reading.

5. Contact agents

If your heart is set on landing a traditional publisher, begin to query agents and publishers to see if they’re interested in your book. Most agents have a slush pile and they’ll take a while to get back to you which will give you and your editor the time to finalize your story.

6.Write a press release

Start working on your press release for when you need it. Read up on what makes a successful press release and model yours after one that strikes your fancy.

7. Beef up your blurb

Besides the image on the front of your book, your back cover blurb is one of the first things your readers will use to make the decision to read. Do a bit of research to learn the elements of a great back cover blurb and/or model your blurb after a bestseller.

8. Design the interior

Start formatting the interior of your book. Find a paperback in your library and model your design after it, check out some online templates, or try something new. Don’t forget to put page breaks after every chapter to ensure the next one starts on a brand new page.

9. Grab your fifteen minutes

Compile a list of where you’ll advertise your book once it’s been published. Determine your budget and stick to it. Decide where and when you’ll advertise your book and start making the ads you’ll post to help sell your book.

10. Keep writing

Start your next book. It’s been said that the more books you’ve written, the more sales you’ll make. Finishing your manuscript is only part of the battle, but now’s not the time to rest on your laurels. Continue writing so that once the hoopla from your first book dies down, you’ll have another waiting in the wings to begin the process anew.

Whatever you do, keep going. You can never know what will click with your readers until it’s been published. If the book you’ve just finished isn’t a bestseller, your next one might be. Don’t be discouraged if your book doesn’t sell right off the bat. Keep writing, keep reading, and keep at it.