So where do you start? Well, in the "old days," at least five years ago, you were out looking for an agent, or going to a writers' convention hoping to meet Mr. Right. No, the publisher, not the guy with a wedding ring! You were standing in line to deliver your pitch to an agent, a publisher, a . . . anyone sitting at a table set up for your genre. That person represents one of many publishers. But this type of publishing is time costly and money eating. Everyone dreams of being discovered, becoming the next Stephen King. It only makes sense. After all, your manuscript is a masterpiece. Maybe you are a Steve Martini. Along with book signings and touring with your opus (after all, its quality is like drinking fine wine, listening to Bach) you envision a seven-figure contract attached to movie rights for your number one best seller.
Somebody slap this guy. He's dreaming. Okay. Now that I have your full attention, it's a new world out there. Self-publishing, once a dirty little secret, is now becoming the norm, and that elusive publisher is becoming, well, a has been. However, believe me when I tell you that you will put just as much effort into self-publishing and marketing your own book as you would have put into seeking out a publisher and hoping your written treasure is snatched up.
With today's social media outlets your marketing sky is the limit. You can now upload your manuscript in its final form and properly edited format to Smashwords.com, have them convert it into all the different formats necessary for Nook, Kindle, iPads, Sony eReaders, etc., and they in turn will push it out to the likes of Barnes & Noble, Apple Book Store, Sony eBooks, and on and on worldwide. Yes, I did say worldwide! And YOU will market your book on the likes of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, YouTube and . . . pant, pant, pant. I'm out of breath.
And have you seen trailers for your favorite movie on YouTube? Well, baby, that's where it's at. Have you ever noticed how a movie trailer gets you pumped up and ready to plunk down your $10 at the movie theater because you can't wait for the movie to be released in Blue Ray? It works just the same for books. You also need a great book cover. But the good news is you can do all of this yourself. I did tell you it would be a lot off work; right? That's okay. Creative control is something you wouldn't have with a yesteryear publisher. Yes, yes, they still do exist. But for the most part they are sewn up by the incredible authors they've already signed. And it's a tough match pitting your new book up against the next Sidney Sheldon novel. Yes, there will be authors who make the grade, but with all the new material available, it is impossible for traditional publishers to read every novel that comes out and pick a gem every time. If they can't read them all, how are you ever going to get published?
You are going to do it yourself! And you can, too! Amazon Kindle has a go-to, click-here, select-this, hit-apply, click-okay instruction manual for how to format your Microsoft Word document. Smashwords has an instruction manual telling you how to format your manual for their conversion software. There are many ways to instruct the cat on skinning a manuscript, and as with everything in life, there is an instruction method out there that you'll understand. Take it from me, if I can do it so can you.
Marketing your book is a challenge, but trust me when I say to you, it's not the dire death ray coming at you promising you will fail. It's really quite simple, yet challenging, quite intuitive with social media, yet something that won't just happen. You have to MAKE it happen. There is so much material available for free through online articles and blogs, if you are a research hound like me, you'll find everything you need to get rolling.
So rejoice! Think about what a relief it is to know you CAN and WILL be published because YOU ARE IN CHARGE NOW! And if your manuscript is ready to properly format, you can crank that out in a day, make your cover in a day, and upload that puppy. Now mush!