Questions for First-Time Authors

Now that I’ve written my first novel, I think back to a few of the questions I wish I had asked myself before I started; questions every new writer should ask before typing the first word.

Why am I writing this book?Why am I writing this book? To fulfill a lifelong dream? To leave a legacy for my children or grand children? Or do I want other people to read it. If the latter is the case, you need a plan.

First, you need a budget. Just because you can upload your book to an digital publisher like CreateSpace for free doesn’t mean there aren’t other potential costs involved in publishing a book. Will you want a professional to design your cover? Are you good and formatting the interior or will you pay someone to do it? Will you want help in designing and hosting your website? (And in today’s world, you must have a website.) Will you hire someone to write and distribute a dynamite press release? Will you print advance copies to send to reviewers?  All of these services cost money. Ask yourself upfront how much you are willing to spend to get your book out and write that figure down, preferably in an Excel spreadsheet where you can keep track of all your expenses (helps around tax time).

Next comes marketing. Who is your target audience and where do they hang out. How will you let them know about your book? How much time do you have to spend on social media marketing? Will you need to pay someone to help you? Will you plan a book launch? Where will it be? Will you serve food or drink? How will you get people to come? How many books will you order for sales?  How much will the entire event cost?

Many writers hate the idea of marketing. If you’re one of them, you may want to outsource the entire project – another potentially big expense.  Whether you market yourself or hire someone, just remember as P.T. Barnum once said, “Without promotion something terrible will happen—nothing!




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