Publishing An Independent Middle Grade Book in 22 Easy Steps Part 3 by Julie Anne Grasso
Here is part 3 of Julie Anne Grasso's article - Publishing An Independent Middle Grade Book in 22 Easy Steps.
Step Fourteen: Book Launch Preparation:
Uploading to Amazon and Createspace can take anything from a couple hours to appear in store, to several days, so be sure to set your release date with this in mind.
Having print versions for a release will need to be ordered 6-8 weeks in advance if you are ordering from Createspace. I am never quite sure how long it will take for the standard shipping. Often the books arrive within 2 weeks, but the system will project an 8 week turnaround.
Speedy shipping will make it impossible to recover the cost of your book production, but with a bit of planning, you can select the standard shipping and still have them arrive on time.Remember also that prices are in US dollars, so be sure to charge enough to cover your production cost when selling hand to hand in Australia.
Step Fifteen: Book Launch:
Book stores are probably not the most effective place to launch an independent book, due to the cut that they take, and often their unwillingness to carry an independent title.
I have a couple of activities for the kids to do at the book launch to prevent it being only about selling a book.Engage with the kids, get them interested and excited about your book and the sales will flow from there.
Choose a theme around your book and utilize it for your promotional materials.
In regards to numbers for printing, don't be too ambitious, unless you have an already very successful author platform.100 books will still take quite a bit of time to sell.Be prepared to sell as little as 2 books to family and friends, or as many as 50 at your book launch.
I did a letter drop to all my local schools but to be honest, the majority of people at your book launch will be family and friends.
Step Sixteen: Online Book Launch:
I have personally done blog tours, blog review tours, book blasts and book blitzes. All of these services cost money and are great for exposure and getting your books into reviewer's hands.
However, I can guarantee that these types of serves although incredibly worthwhile for getting you into cyberspace, will not actually help you sell books.
Having reviews on Amazon and Goodreads and doing Goodreads giveaways, are great for increasing your online profile, again not actually selling books.
However, when teachers are considering your book for their classroom, it is very helpful to be able to direct them towards your Amazon and Goodreads reviews.
Step Seventeen: Entering Awards:
I personally enter 1-2 awards per book. Each award costs between $80-$150 per entry, so factor it into your budget.
My favourite award is The Wishing Shelf as it is judged by children in your target age and they will give you detailed feedback from what the children have written about your book.
I have won quite a few independent awards with my books, which I stress will not actually sell you books, but it does give you a couple of things.The courage to solider on, your books are being read and enjoyed. You are doing something right.It also gives you a little bit of leverage when gaining a book distributor and or when soliciting author visits.
Here are the awards I have entered.
http://www.thewsa.co.uk/( I have won Gold, silver and bronze for different books in ages 9-12 category)
http://www.moonbeamawards.com/( I won Bronze in teen mystery)
Step Eighteen: Gaining a Distributor:
Distributors can be great in getting your books into schools and libraries. I personally use INT Books and ALS library services.Be prepared for them to take a major cut of the profit of your book.I see this as more an ongoing Marketing cost, as I could never get into all the places a Distributor can.
Step Nineteen: Gaining Book Reviews:
This is something that is helpful in getting exposure, but it again will not sell you books.I personally have had quite a lot of different approaches to gain reviews; including unsolicited emails sent to bloggers that I have researched over time and they have indicated on their website that they will accept independent publications.
Take a look at my website for some of the great reviews I have received. Generally out of 50 emails sent, you might have 5 that will respond. You are never guaranteed they will actually review your book and it may not be favourable, but everything you do in publishing is a risk.
I have worked hard to build up Amazon reviews but with every good review, a bad one can really rock your confidence so be prepared. Tears will flow, but even my most favourite books have garnered literally thousands of 1 star reviews.
Step Twenty: Creating Resources for your books:
Curriculum Notes and activities are very helpful for getting attention from teachers and librarians and can also be useful for author visits. I personally use Jen Graham from ABC Jenny (www.abcjenny.com) to produce resources for me in PDF which can be downloaded from my website.
Step Twenty One: Author/Skype Visits:
A 10-30 – minute presentation, which involves a short reading from one of your books, showing them your writing space and writing proofs, sharing an activity specific to your books, then providing a writing prompt, can be a very effective way of getting kids interested in writing.
Leave space for questions and interactions, with a view to run the session for 60 minutes in total.Ask the teacher to have some pre-prepared questions from the kids that they can ask you.
Similar format to skype visits, but in person, so you can also sell books. Be sure to put together some Author costs and considerations before reaching out to schools.
This takes a great deal of organization so I would suggest checking out http://schoolvisitexperts.com/
For what to charge, check out the rates on the Australian Society Of Authors as a guide. https://www.asauthors.org/rates-and-conditions
Step twenty two: Author Fanfare and Platform:
Creating an author platform takes time and energy.I did a great course with the Australian Writers Centre: http://www.writerscentre.com.au/all-courses/build-your-author-platform/It was very helpful in solidifying what I already had created in my author platform.
It's essential to have an author website that is simple to navigate, and effective in communicating what you want the public to know about your books.I personally have a wordpress site that is very easy to update, as well as a face book page.
I print book marks through vista print using the postcard option with an image that my book designer produced for me.
I also use brown paper bags, stamped with my website on the front, as a simple cheap and effective way of selling at markets and book shows.
I print my book covers in large poster format then laminate them through office works, for use during book fairs, markets and author visits.
I engaged my illustrator to produce an activity sheet related to my books for use during author visits.I have also adapted an activity used in my curriculum notes, to use as in icebreaker at school visits.
There you have it folks, 22 easy, steps….. Be sure to swing by my website www.julieannegrassobooks.com and or drop me a note to my contact page for any further questions.