So, you’ve spent months/years/decades writing your book and for whatever reason(s), you’ve decided to self-publish. So what now? Here’s what I’ve learnt about the preparation part (that it would have been nice to know before…)
Here’s a great article on the Books & Such blog about any last minute checks you need to do to your submission regarding common grammar mistakes. It’s a good checklist (one of many!) which can be found on the blog here. I’ve attached the full article below.
As my agent reminded me, a first page has to do so many things, e.g. set the time and place, introduce the main character, set up their motivations/dreams/desires, start the action, allude to where the book is going, etc. It’s one of the hardest things to do, although thankfully it’s possible to do the best revision of the first few pages at the end of the writing process, when you can pull everything together. There are some useful tools to help.
Some good advice from Pixar’s storyboard artist Emma Coats on the BookBaby blog, where she outlines her top rules to ensure people care about your characters. The article can be found here but these are the full 22:
Ex-literary agent Mary Kole is full of useful expertise on her frequently brilliant blog (kidlit.com) and I think this is one of the most interesting in regards to worldbuilding, entitled “Pimp your premise”. The gist is simple – if you spend most of the book building a world with a surprise ending, you’ve more than likely missed a trick. Much better to sell the world you’ve created up front, rather than hiding it. It’s great advice and you can find it here, although I’ve reproduced the entire article in full below.
Found a great revision checklist on Nathan Bransford’s blog (he’s a US author and former literary agent) covering everything that needs to be considered in the revision process, e.g. pacing, voice, writing tics, descriptions, tenses, etc. It’s a really comprehensive list and completely invaluable. The blog entry can be read here but the checklist is provided below in full.
The Guardian ran a series in 2012 on how to go about the planning of writing a book. Even if you don’t think you can do it in the suggested 30 days (!), the advice they offer before beginning is great, covering brainstorming, character sketches, research and plot development. You can find the series on the Guardian website here – it may be a useful tool for nanowrimo too.