Please welcome USA Today Bestselling Author JAMIE K. SCHMIDT in her debut visit to Romance University!
If you want to go from New York City to Los Angeles, chances are you’re going to need a map, or at least some good directions. If you want to publish a book, it’s helpful to have something similar. Along the way, you’ll have to decide if you want to self-publish or go the traditional route and get an agent and land a publisher that way. Below is a checklist of things to do on your publishing journey.
First of all . . .
- Finish the damned book (You don’t want to shop around a partially finished book.)
- Edit the damned book (You don’t want to shop around a book that’s rife with errors.)
If you’re going the traditional route, after these are done:
- Write your query letter
- Write your synopsis
- Get feedback from a writing group or other writers. You can find groups online or take a class if you’re not interested in joining a RWA chapter.
- Polish these
Then you’re going to need to research which agents you want to send your book to. You’re going to do this by vetting them on Absolute Write’s Beware and Background Check forum and by googling the name of the agent/agency with the word scam after it. You should check out the agency’s website, and the agent’s social media accounts. Before sending anything out to an agent, please read their guidelines and make sure you follow them to the letter. When you’re ready, the next step is to:
This is a long process. You may need to rework your query letter, your synopsis or your book based on feedback. Be prepared for 12-18 months of querying. It may not take that long, but it took me over 100 queries and eighteen months to land my agent. So if you haven’t done any of the following, now is the time to . . .
- Set yourself up on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Goodreads, and Tumblr and figure out how to connect all of them so you post on one, you post on all. This is a time saver.
- Interact with people on social media
- Get a website. com is easy to set up and maintain.
- Write another book (Your agent is going to ask you what else that you have in progress, so you want to have an answer for him or her.)
- Investigate setting up a newsletter
- Investigate vlogging (video blogging) and starting a youtube channel
Once you get “The Call” from the agent …
- Make sure you are a right fit with each other and have the same vision for your book and career.
- Is she/he a developmental agent that wants to edit your submissions before sending them?
- Does she/he mind if you self publish?
- Vet their track record with selling.
- Ask how do they report back to you. Do they only contact you if there is news? Do you want to have a monthly status meeting with them?
- Do they forward the rejection notes from the editors to you as they come in? Or do they report it in groups?
- How often can you check in or nudge them without being a pest?
Your agent may or may not have you revise your book. However, once they feel it is ready to be sent out to publishers you will go out on submission. Be prepared to wait another long period of time. While you’re waiting:
- Write another book. You need to. While I wouldn’t write the sequel to the book on submission, I would recommend writing one in a similar genre.
- Practice using canva.
- Go to other author’s Facebook parties to get an idea how that’s done.
- Research advertisements, like banner ads, amazon ads, bookbub, etc.
Here are a few things I thought would happen once my book was out on submission:
- I will never have to write another query again.
- I will never have to write another synopsis again.
- Now, the ball will get rolling.
No. Once you sell your first few books, all you’ll be doing is writing queries and synopses to sell your next books. So brush up on it while you can. Publishing moves at the speed of glaciers. Find something to occupy your time or you will go nuts while you’re out on submission.
Once you get a publisher interested, they may request an R&R—which does not mean rest and relaxation. It means revise and resubmits. You and your agent can decide if you want to do that and any other edits that come done the line.
Then once you, your agent and your editor agree on the final manuscript, your editor will take it to their editorial board—where it can still get rejected. This is like Sisyphus rolling that boulder just up to the top of the mountain, only to have it roll back down again.
But, let’s not think about that. Let’s say you get a contract for your book. Here is what you’re going to do:
- Read it over carefully. Ask your agent questions if you don’t understand.
- Never sign it unless you read it. While you have an agent to negotiate for you, you need to know what rights you are signing away and what you get out of the deal.
The next step in the process is more editing. Depending on the publisher you may go through a few rounds of edits, such as:
- Development edit. This is editing for style and content, like don’t use the “F” word, make your heroine more spunky, change the beginning/ending.
- Line edit. This edit fixes awkward wording, consistency, narrative flow, grammar, and punctuation errors.
- Copy edit. This is the final editing pass before the galleys are printed or the ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) are made up and given to reviewers.
A lot of times some of edit steps are combined to save time. You’ll either “STET” the changes—which is an old newspaper term meaning leave it as is— or make the requested changes.
Then a lot of behind the scene things will happen that your publisher will take care of, such as doing the cover and marketing the book for you. Some publishers will have you fill out a cover request sheet. They may or may not use it. The cover designers will decide what is selling in your genre and go from there.
If you’re lucky, you’ll be assigned a publicist whose job is to promote your work. If you are in print, you’ll be put in their yearly/quarterly purchasing catalog that goes out to libraries and bookstores. If you’re digital only, you may have some online marking.
Leading up to release day, your job isn’t over yet. You’ll want to investigate the following and talk it over with your publishing team if any of the following is good for your book:
- Netgalley is a site for bloggers to download your book for free. It will disappear from their ebook readers after a certain time. It’s relatively expensive, so only the bigger publishers do this.
- Blog tour or a Facebook party. You can arrange for own yourself or see if your publisher provides you with one.
- Ask what paid ads, if any they’re planning on doing. Research if it’s feasible for you to supplement their marketing by paying out of pocket for ads.
- Ask them to include you in your imprints newsletter or request to do a blog post for the publisher’s website.
- Will your ARC given to other authors for blurbs?
Your publisher may write your back cover copy and your Amazon summary for you. Make sure to read it carefully so you are fine that it represents your book.
Leading up to release day you’re going to want to:
- Promote through social media by interacting with people. Post funny memes. Make a Pinterest board for your book. Don’t spam your book information.
- Decide which conferences to attend.
- Set a budget for SWAG (Stuff We All Get). It’s the promotional materials you hand out to interested readers,
- Keep in mind paper is generally thrown out.
- Don’t break the bank. In the end, a cool pen will not make someone buy your book.
- Build up your newsletter. Social media comes and goes. The rules change. The emails you acquire are yours to keep.
- Research mail chimp
- See if your publicity team can help with the set up.
You’ve made it! Now it’s officially your book birthday. On Release Day, you are going to
- Promote throughout the day.
- Buy champagne or chocolate or both. Or buy yourself flowers. You deserve it.
- Remember, there is nothing you can do to make people buy your book.
- Don’t read your reviews. And when you do read your reviews realize they’re subjective. Opinions are like buttholes. Everyone has them. And some of them stink.
From here on in, it’s wash/rinse/repeat if you’ve got a multiple book contract or an agent that’s working on selling your next book. Keep writing and in the downtime, don’t forget to rest, relax and spend time with your family. And if you really don’t want to write that next book, you can always research how to become a hybrid author and dip your toes into the self publishing pool. But that’s another blog post for another day!
Did you have any questions for me about the publishing process?
Author BLISS BENNET joins us on Friday, March 3.
USA Today bestselling author, Jamie K. Schmidt, writes erotic contemporary love stories and paranormal romances. Her steamy, romantic comedy Life’s a Beach reached #65 on USA Today, #2 on Barnes & Noble and #9 on Amazon and iBooks. Her Club Inferno series from Random House’s Loveswept line has hit both the Amazon and Barnes & Noble top one hundred lists and the first book in the series, Heat put her on the USA Today bestseller list. Her dragon paranormal romance series from Entangled Publishing, has been called “fun and quirky” and “endearing.” Partnered with New York Times bestselling author and former porn actress, Jenna Jameson, Jamie’s hardcover debut, SPICE, continues Jenna’s FATE trilogy.
AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE
The first book in my sexy romantic suspense series, The Sentinels of Babylon is on sale until March 4th. Necessary Evil is currently on sale for .99.
Barnes & Noble
To get some behind the scene footage of Necessary Evil, I’ve posted two deleted scenes on Instafreebie. You can download and read the chapters here: https://www.instafreebie.com/free/3Ztwi
The second book, Sentinel’s Kiss comes out on March 7th.