Self-Publishing The Novel
Updated: May 20
Good news, everyone.
I’ve decided to self-publish my debut novel, “Spare Parts.” It’s been quite the ride thus far, dealing with everything that comes along with headlining a large project yourself, so I’m gonna outline some of the steps that were taken in case you ever want to go on this journey yourself.
Step One: I wrote the first draft. Seems easy, but it took me about three years to complete. I admit, I can be slow at times, but at least I got the sucker done.
Step Two: I had to edit the bastard. First off, I let it sit for a good few months to give myself some perspective on it. Once I felt ample time had passed, I stuck my nose to the grindstone and went at the thing with a metaphorical hatchet. My first pass through consisted of writing notes in the margins (I used the comment function on Google Docs) to ensure that all my characters kept the same appearances/idiosyncrasies. I did this by working backwards because at the end of the novel I was writing better than when I started. My next edits started from the beginning, correcting everything that my notes said, and going through the language looking for typos and terrible sentence structure. My third pass was edited with a heavy hand. I attempted to shave off ten thousand words by tightening up everything.
Once I’d edited it a few more times by myself, I employed the help of a friend who does editing for newspapers, and got her to give it a once over. She was an invaluable, and an extremely frustrating, editor. She made me cut out an entire POV from the book, and replace it with someone else to give more context to the story and background for some of the characters. While she was one-hundred percent correct in her assessment, it still sucked. But I gotta say, my novel wouldn’t be as good as it is if it wasn’t for her.
Step Three: During the editing process, I reached out to another friend of mine who’d done me a good turn on some cover art before. I asked him if he would be interested in doing the cover art for this novel. Since he did me a solid for relatively cheap last time around, I told him I would pay his full hourly rate, with a specific cap. I appreciate the good work he does, but I’m still a poor, working class stiff and can’t afford to go broke paying him. He accepted and the cover art is being worked on. I’ve gotten a few mock-ups, and we’ve decided on the best one to move forward with. Huzzah!
Step Four: More editing. This time I was looking strictly for continuity issues. Making sure the seasons all lined up, the name of the hospital was the same, blah blah blah.
Step Five: Getting reviews. This one is a little tricky, and requires a lot of research. There are a ton of places that will give you a review for free, provided you give them a copy of your book. The hard part is finding out which ones are still active, and who suits the genre of your book. I have a little bit of experience with this, as I was able to get some reviews for my short story collection. The biggest thing is the time table in which you need your reviews. I would suggest getting one or two to drop the week before your book launch, as it will build up some hype. After that, you want the majority of them to come out the day of your launch, or a day or two later. You should maybe save another one or two to come out a few weeks after your launch so you won’t be forgotten in the public eye.
One point I would like to make about book reviews is this: don’t argue with them. They took the time to read your book, and put the work in to review it after YOU asked them to. If they give you a less than favourable review, thank them. I would suggest still sharing negative reviews because maybe the reviewer doesn’t like the large amount of gore you wrote about, but I can guarantee you a few of their readers might enjoy that. Always be courteous and respectful of these humans. A lot of them are doing it for no pay because they love reading. Respect that.
That’s it for now. Closer to the launch I’ll write a detailed account of what we’re going to do for advertising so anyone who’s planning on self-publishing can learn from any and all of my mistakes.
Last point. If you have any hook-ups for people that are willing to review a horror novel, hit me up in the comments so I can be lazy and do less research, please and thanks.