#15 Do you have a marketing plan for the continued promotion of the book?

Yes. Congratulations. Follow your plan. Adapt it where necessary. You might think you are done, but you should write another book or put together auxiliary products or services to share or sell to the readers of your book.

No. Consider hiring a publicist, or do your own research to learn more about after-publication marketing.

Check out Marketing Plan Resources.

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#14 Has the book been published?

Yes. Continue to #15.

No. Continue working with your agent, publisher, and publicist or do you own research, to learn what you will have to do for marketing the book before and after publication.

Review the Pre-Publication Reviewer Resources.

Review the Independent Publishing Requirements.

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#12 Has your agent sold the publishing rights for your book?

Yes. Continue to #13.

No. Depending on how much time your agent has had to sell the rights to your book, consider whether a different agent may be a better fit for your book.

Be sure you have identified which rights you want your agent to represent you in any sale. The author’s bundle of rights includes more than the right to publish a work. This article on the Cornell University website provides an overview of what rights an author has, according to Copyright law. Go back and review #11.

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#11 Do you have an agent?

Yes. Continue with #12.

No. You can reach out to publishers and editors without an agent, but you must do the work of an agent, including learning what’s involved in writing a query letter. Research agents to find those who handle the type of book you’re writing. Follow the guidelines for what the agent wants in, or with, a query letter. Have a lawyer review any proposed contracts with agents. Other resources to consider follow.

*From Jane Friedman, How to find a literary agent for your book.
*From Writer’s Digest, How to find a literary agent: finding agents appropriate for your writing.
*From The Write Life, How to find a literary agent: a comprehensive guide for aspiring authors.

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#10 Do you know what indie authors must do for themselves?

Yes. Continue with #11.

No. An indie author must be prepared to handle the following or to hire someone to handle them.

*Obtain ISBNs for each version of the book: hard cover paperback, ebook, and audio book.

*Engage a professional cover designer. The same design can be used for both hardcopy and ebook, but an audio book requires a separate square design.

*Engage a professional copy editor. This is necessary even if a developmental editor has reviewed the book. I offer copy editing and proofreading services. I hope you’ll think of me when you reach this stage.

*Engage a professional book interior designer. The layout for the hardcopy book may not work for the ebook. Don’t assume one design fits all.

*Engage a professional proofreader. This last review should catch errors that may have been introduced when the copy edits were incorpoarated or overlooked at the time of copy edit. This step is especially important for nonfiction books with tables, graphs, figures, indexes, bibliographies, footnotes, and endnotes.

*Consider whether you should engage a professional indexer (for nonfiction in particular).

*Line up Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) reviewers.

*Engage professional web designer for marketing and publiity. Your website should be the place all marketing efforts bring potential customers to make the ask to buy the book.

*Line up Launch Team members to promote the book in advance of book launch and to amplify your efforst after the books hasl launched.

*Go back and review #1 through #9.

Continue with #11.

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#9 Do you want to publish your book through a traditional publisher?

Yes. First, realize that you probably need an agent. Check out to #11. Then consider the length of time it will take to get your manuscript through the publication process, typically 18 to 24 months. If you don’t want to wait so long, consider the independent publishing route by checking out the next answer. Continue to #10.

No. If you want your books to be available in libraries and schools, reconsider whether you should publish your book independently. Libraries and schools have requirements that are difficult for authors of indie published books to meet.

Indie publication may be the right choice if it isn’t important that the book be available in libraries or schools or if the deadline for publication is short. But be aware that the author must do all the work of producing the book or the author may need a book shepherd or work with a hybrid publisher to ensure distribution options are in place for bookstores, libraries, and schools to order them.

Check out these requirements on the topic of independent publishing.

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#7 Have you had your draft edited by a developmental editor?

Yes. Continue to #8.

No. A developmental editor doesn’t focus on spelling, punctuation, grammar, or style, but rather on consistency and pacing of the story, and may recommend restructuring or leaving out content. A developmental editor may assist at early stages of turning an idea or outline into a draft or once the manuscript is complete.

If you plan to publish your book through a traditional publisher, you may consider skipping this step, but be prepared for your manuscript to be rejected or to go through heavy editing by the publisher’s chosen editor in that case. See Why You Need an Editor and Stages of Editing from the San Diego Professional Editors Network.

Continue to #8.

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