Part 4 – Final steps before publishing

Final steps before publishing




  • Complete blurbs and book descriptions
  • Get your own author site with book pages
  • Decide on price – stand-alone or Series
  • Decide on markets and outlets (online)

“Much publishing is done through politics, friends, and natural stupidity.” – Charles Bukowski


Complete blurbs and book descriptions

Congrats. You’re a writer who has just completed your manuscript with great joy. I promise you your most significant challenge now steps forward. The sales blurb for your books. Blurbs challenge you because you have your whole book in your head and need to shrink it to just two or three paragraphs. Along with a great cover, they are an essential tool to hook the reader into a sale.

What makes the task even more challenging is the different length ones that you’ll have to produce as you publish.

  • Your paperback will need one for the back of the book
  • Amazon allows you to have one of 4000 characters long
  • Smashwords or other aggregators will need two (short and long). These get pushed into online stores like iBooks, Kobo etc.
  • Amazon Marketing Services (Amazon Ads) will need ones of just 150 characters

I create a folder for my blurbs alongside my keywords that I will use on the online book pages. The best tip I received was to start your first draft of your blurb after you’ve completed your first draft of your book. You’ll have a fair idea of the full story so can start working on the sales hook for the readers.

Note: Like with your manuscript – get all your blurbs proofread.

"Writer and publisher - Wayne Marinovich"


Get your own author site with book pages

We are now fully immersed in the digital world, and you cannot get away from the fact that your world depends on the online world. As a modern author, you need a hub to run your career from whether you are traditionally or self-published. Your agent and publisher will look at your online presence as a factor to your saleability and scalability. You’ll need a website with dedicated book pages to drive readers to the online bookstore where you publish.

The biggest reason I believe a website is essential is that it is space that you own. Even if it is a small website, you control it. If you only have an “about me” page, a few book pages and a contact form for people to email you, it is your content to own. Social media is fantastic, but you do not own the platform, or own the content you post.  It could disappear in an instant if they decide it’s not in their interest to maintain. Remember MySpace and Google+.


Decide on price – Stand-alone or Series


Pricing is another topic that could take a few chapters and is covered in more detail in other full books.

Here is my current reasoning on the subject. If you’re a self-publisher, you can set your price. Sorry, traditionally published folks, you will have little influence on the pricing strategies in the stores. If you are an indie author, you have total control over your pricing. Still, unless you’re a multiple bestselling global author, with countless novels in your backlist, I don’t believe that you should be trying to charge above the $5.99 mark for the eBook version of your novel.

Why? You want people to take a chance on you as a new emerging author. You want them to look at the price and risk a purchase (after being hooked by your professional cover and well-written blurb). Stephen King has industry gravitas as an author. People know the quality they are getting when they buy his book and will pay $7.99 — $14.99. He has a consistent author brand.

Book Funnel

I’m a firm believer in that excellent tool for a career writer, the book funnel. Short stories should be for free, or at the most $0.99, and novels can then go for $2.99 to $4.99. If you have books priced at every level in your sales pipeline, new readers can start on the cheaper short stories (less purchase risk) and be channelled along towards your longer, and more expensive works if they like your writing. It’s like giving away a small ice-cream taster in the hope that people will buy a larger tub. Scary how many of my analogies are food-related. I like food…

Something else that comes into play is the royalties that the bookstores pay for your work. Self-publishing royalties are on the whole much better than traditional deals but can be just as complex so have a good read of the terms and conditions on the site. On Amazon, a $0.99 selling price gets you only a 35% royalty whereas a $2.99 and above, gets you a 70% royalty. You might think that you should, therefore, make all your books above the $2.99 mark to make more money. The $0.99 mark, however, will mean more units sold as it’s cheaper and the risk is less for readers so you can get your work into more hands. It’s your decision to make.


Decide on markets and outlets (online)

"Amazon competitors - Wayne Marinovich"

“Less is more. Keeping it simple takes time and effort.” – Jeff Bullas

Part of the role of being a self-published author is getting your book out to the readers. Do you need to get your book in front of all your possible readers? The answer is yes. Do you need to get it out in front off all of them at once? The answer is no.

These are the main ways to sell books.

  • Bricks-and-mortar shops. If you are a traditionally published author, this is a given. For indie authors, this involves some legwork and relationship building with small book shops.
  • Online bookstores. These vary in size – Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, Barnes & Noble etc
  • Book Aggregators. They do most of the leg work of getting your books into online stores – Smashwords, Draft2Digital, Bookbaby etc. in return they will take a small percentage -typically about five per cent
  • Book funnels. The easiest way to create this is by writing a series.

By writing a book of a particular genre, you’ll know where your readers congregate in the highest volumes. Amazon is the market leader in online book sales. More people buy or borrow books on Amazon than any other book site. This sounds wonderful but remember that it means that there are more competing authors producing an ever-increasing number of books. You should be here, but you may choose to start smaller with an indie bookshop or smaller book mailing list of the vampire-operas that you write. I know authors who have started small and grown from there.

As an IT person, and one who values engagement on social media, I recommend getting your book onto every store out there. This allows you to set up and maintain a promotions strategy where you can pick and choose which one you want, while organic reach can continue on the others. Over a year or two (in time for your second or third novel) you’ll have a good feel for which outlets tick these two boxes

  • Readers of the genre you write in
  • Readers who buy your work


Further Reading

Re-read the third page in the Publishing Tip series – Part 3 – Get it read before you publish

Or, move onto the fifth page – Part 5 – Publish – Hitting the Button


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