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Self-Publishing Step 1 – The Timeline

Image courtesy of - David Castillo Dominici
I’ve discovered that the most important thing to do first, once one decides to self-publish (other than writing the darn book) is to put together a timeline starting with the desired launch date and working backwards to the current date showing on the calendar.  It’s a real eye-opening experience to realize how many moving parts there are to the process. Making sure you have everything slotted on the timeline is critical otherwise that deadline is going to whizz by while you're staring wild-eyed at the ever-growing ‘To Do’ list.

This really shouldn’t have been such an earth-shattering revelation for me since it’s what every good event planner or communications strategy developer does every time a new project presents itself.  Since that’s my background, it should have been a no-brainer!

It’s now been a little more than a week since I’ve made my pronouncement that I’m going to self publish my novel and my chosen launch date of March 8th seems a lot closer than it did at that time (there may have been some holiday spirits involved). However ambitious the timeline, I am still committed to making it happen, even if I have to launch in stages and use March 8th as the launch for the Kindle version and follow up shortly thereafter with the print version. 

So, here are my top 5 key elements that must be included early on the self-publishing timeline (the more lead-time the better):
  • Proofreading and editing (by someone other than yourself)
  • Gathering reviews for the back cover and other marketing (which I started ages ago knowing I would need them whether publishing traditionally or self-publishing)
  • Registering ISBN number and purchasing barcode (for print version)
  • Cover design (front and back if doing a print version) and inside layout and design for both eBook and print versions.
  • PR/Marketing plan (this is huge and there are several elements that need to be in place long before the launch, including your social media platform, which I’ve been building for about two years now… phew!).

I think I’ll leave it at that as I can feel the heart palpitations starting, so I’d best get back to work.  I’ll add more in my next post.  In the meantime, feel free to include your own list of the top 5 must dos!

P.S.  One element of the marketing plan that I have initiated already is a blog specific to my novel, where I’ll be sharing chapter excerpts each week leading up to the launch.  I have already posted twice: The Announcement and Excerpts from Chapter 1 so feel free to visit and sign up to follow:


L. Diane Wolfe said…
Very smart!

I teach seminars on publishing and work with a lot of writers and authors, and so many that self-publish do not allow enough time between finishing the book and bringing it to market to do what is necessary. Sounds like you have set up a great timeline.
Thanks Diane! I hope you're right :)
Expat Forever said…
Congrats Anne. It seems you are very well prepared and organized.
It is very interesting to follow your experience since I want to self-publish the next time too. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks Veronique! Fingers crossed. It's definitely a very laborious process but enjoyable so far. Happy to share the trials and tribulations. Hopefully there won't be too many... but as my mother always says, "Nothing in life that's worth it is free!"
Anne :)
I-Padmini said…
Thanks, Anne, for your very useful tips especially as I plan to self-publish. I've now decided on a launch date, six months from now. Keeping my fingers crossed and hoping to get everything ready by that date.
Thanks for sharing your experiences.
Hi Paddy,
I love sharing! If there's any way I can help as you prepare for your launch, let me know :)

Heart palpitations indeed! I've been published the "old-fashioned" way writing my romance novels for Harlequin, but now I (probably) need to self-publish my book of lighthearted adventures living in exotic places. Just thinking of all that work involved makes my head spin and I am so not a business type, self-promoting type of person.

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