Stuff Every Author Will Need When They Publish
Most of us started writing because we wanted to tell a story, describe a life event or just plain make stuff up.
As we’ve said in several of our blogs, writing is the easiest thing you’ll do. It’s all the other, often little, things that will pop out of the woodwork when you’re totally unprepared for them that will have you mumbling to yourself. The things you never thought of.
Yeah, you knew we were going to get her in here somehow
So, our job in this blog is to make you aware of the most common things you’ll need and let you develop them when it’s convenient and easy. That way you’ll not be surprised, and they’ll be in your files when you need them.
Note: Throughout this blog we’ll use the term “work” to mean your manuscript, book, story, memoir or whatever it is your writing.
Let’s start with things that are, or should be, part of your work.
Your Work’s Description
As you write, keep in mind that you’re going to need a description of your work; actually, several versions of it.
The longest version will be something for the back cover. This can often also be used for the description on your Amazon page or other places where you’ll post your work (The Authors Den, Goodreads, and other places you list your work). Typically, this description will be five to seven paragraphs long, but shorter is better.
Keep in mind the intent is not to tell your story here. It’s only to give potential readers enough information to get their attention. Briefly mention characters, where things take place and only enough of the plot to pique their interest. And always, always leave them with a question.
Next will be a shorter version for places that have a word or space limit. If you’re skillful you can usually chop the middle out of the above long version, or at least skinny it down, so you have one or two paragraphs.
Your Author Bio
For the back (sometimes up front) of your work, you’ll need an “About the Author” section. Typically, this will contain:
- Where you’re from
- Where you live now
- Places you’ve lived or favorites you visit often
- Schools you went to
- Degrees you’ve earned
- Things you like to do; read, travel, sports, volunteer, etc.
- Married, single, kids
- Anything else about your personal or writing life you’re okay divulging
- A listing of your available works (keep the list is short, no more your latest five works) and upcoming work to be released soon (within the next several months)
- Links to your website, your author pages and other places your work is posted.
This bio can also be used for your Amazon Author Page, your Goodreads Author Page, other sites where you list your work, your website, author interviews, etc.
Like with the description, you’ll probably want several versions of your bio; each a different length and possibly appealing to the interests of different groups. For example: Charity or animal groups you belong to/or support, volunteer with or that your work may be about.
What Others are Saying About (Yourk Work)
If you have beta readers, friends or professionals reading and complementing your work, write down what they have to say about it. Their positive comments can be added to the descriptions when you post them, your webpage, your author pages, or anyplace else your work appears.
Your Head Shot
You’re also going to need a relatively current head shot of yourself. This can be used for author pages, your website home page, inside your work if appropriate, author interviews and blog posts. Make sure you’re dressed appropriately and don’t have too much going on in the background. They want to see you, not be distracted by your kids or a semi-naked girl running on the beach behind you.
When you publish your work, you’re going to need to provide key words wherever your book is listed. This is not the genre(s) your work fits in. These are words that someone might use when searching for your work.
For example, if you write romance don’t list “romance” as a key word. Why? Because it’ll automatically be listed as your genre. Instead try: love story, young adult, contemporary, teenage, crazy love, etc. List anything you can think of that someone might search by. Oh, and it doesn’t have to be just one word, it can be a short phrase and even another author’s name whose genre and style is similar to yours.
If you’re writing a memoir you’ll want to add key words that help describe what your life (or event) was about. Like: life on the farm, raised in religion, growing up in Iran, funny stories, world travel, professional golfer, etc.
Be sure to jot down the links to wherever your work is posted. Often you’ll find yourself where you can’t leave a half completed page to go copy a link; at least not without losing everything you’ve already entered. So, have a list of link addresses handy for just such occasions.
Once your work is published and you have an ISBN, jot it down. Trust us, you’ll need it, especially when you can’t get to a copy of your work.
Yup, just like ISBNs, someone will want to know how many pages there are in your work when you’re mumbling, “Where is my copy?”
If you don’t have an Amazon account, you should establish one as soon as you can. There’s not much you can do about a KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) account until you have something to upload and publish but adding KDP to your Amazon account is literally a one click step before you start to upload.
Other On-Line Accounts
As with KDP, a lot of other on-line accounts like Draft to Digital, Goodreads, Authors Den, etc. all pretty much require you have something ready to publish or already published; if not, get your account established and the personal details out of the way. For the rest, you might want to start a list of sites you want to establish accounts with. That way, you’ll not forget them. If you’re like us, once you’ve got all of the above information at hand, you’ll get on a roll and want to establish as many accounts as you can.
Books Go Social
We haven’t talked much about marketing, which is a blog, and then some, all its own. But like everything above, you’ll be facing it before you know it. Thus, if nothing else, read through Books Go Social. They are expert at setting up social media and other marketing accounts to help you sell, advertise and market your work.
It never hearts to be smart, before you need to be, so you can avoid surprises.
What’s he got to do with this? Nothing. We just thought he’s cool
Your Web Site
The last thing we’ll bring up is your web site, but it’s the one thing that every author should have! Your web site allows you to collect anything and everything you think your followers and readers need to know about you and your work. It also lets you blog about things that are important to you and it’s the one place where you can provide a link to everything you.
Web sites are inexpensive, or free, relatively easy to set up and you can (and should) claim your domain name as soon as you can. There are tons of ready to use formats and simple to follow instruction for making your site attractive and up and running in a heartbeat.
Once it’s up, adding to it is simple and we suggest you play with it and learn how to link it to everything else, because once your work is published it’ll become your center attraction and likely your theme.
Most of this seems so simple but, trust us, having it prepared ahead of time, and all in one place that’s handy, will save you a lot of frustration.
We know we’ve missed things, so help us out here. What bit of information have you needed and didn’t have or had to hunt for that we should add to the list?