When should you publish your book?
Authors are impatient people, and who can blame them. They have probably spent the best part of the year, snatching odd moments at different times of the day and night, trying to get their manuscript finished. Nobody will ever know what a herculean task it was. No wonder they want to get it out into the world. Once the manuscript is complete, speed is everything to get it published! Or is it?
Speed is the enemy of quality. If your book is to be the best it can be, and achieve its full potential, there are many things that you will first need to have in place. These are not just for your benefit, but they are also what a submissions editor would be looking for when you send you final manuscript to a publisher.
To start with, you will need to have clarity on who are you writing for. Who is your ‘perfect reader’ and why are they going to buy your book? What will they become or what experience will they have as a result of reading it? Unless you know this from the beginning, you might end up writing the right book for the wrong person. Your marketing starts when you write your first sentence. Take a look at other books on the same subject that are out there. What can you learn from other authors in the same space?
What genres should your book be found in? What keywords will people be searching for to find it? These words should be included in your book description and cover-blurb as this will help it to be found by the search engines
How many self-published books have you seen that have so obviously not been proofread? A slight delay to get your manuscript professionally checked would have made all the difference. That doesn’t mean getting a neighbour to read it, who once taught English. Qualified Proofreaders are trained to see things that ordinary mortals can’t. They can spot a double space at 20 paces! Your book is too important not to give it the best start in life.
Before publishing any book, you do need an independent, and competent pair of eyes to read it from cover to cover and to give you impartial feedback as to whether the book is ready for publishing, or if it needs a final polish. This is called a Reader Report and both you and your chosen publisher will find it invaluable. I know from my own experience that every author is far too close to their work to be able to step back far enough to be impartial.
However, your manuscript is just one consideration that you need to take into account for choosing the date for publication.
Far too many titles get rushed into the market before the author has had the opportunity to properly establish themselves online. An authors website is essential because this is a space that you can control, and where you can sell your books, events and services – something you cannot do effectively on social media platforms.
If you don’t have a website, you are not in business. You can be as ‘social’ as you like, but if you are an author you are in business and to do business you need a website.
You do also need to build a following on those social media platforms where your target readers are likely to be. You also need to incentivise them to visit your website and to register on your email list. There is no point in launching your book before you have enough followers in place to buy it.
Lastly, before submitting your manuscript, you should also have written a book description (both short and long-form), a synopsis, and the blurb for your back cover. These will be very helpful to the potential publisher and help to speed up the acceptance of your manuscript.
Be aware that, if you want your book to be considered by the book trade, they have a long lead-in time. You cannot hijack them with a new title at the last moment, they will laugh at you. Six months in advance of your publication date, an Advance Information Sheet will need to be sent to the book buyers to alert them to the upcoming title. For example, the books that arrived in bookshops on Super Thursday in August, for the Christmas market, were ordered way back in March. Doing justice to your book takes time.
So, to answer the opening question. When should you publish your book? Only when you have everything in place. Not before.
©2020 Chris Day MD Filament Publishing Ltd