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Dear Extra Squeeze Team, I Finished My Book, Now What?

May 31, 2018 by in category The Extra Squeeze by The Extra Squeeze Team tagged as ,
Now What |The Extra Squeeze Team | A Slice of Orange
Rebecca Forster | Extra Squeeze

Rebecca Forster 

USA Today Bestselling author of 35 books, including the Witness series and the new Finn O’Brien series.

After thirty-five published novels (and a few that are still under the bed) the best advice I can give an author is to step away from the book. Leave the house and do something physical for a few days. Play tennis, jog, or get a massage. When your body is energized, so is your mind. You have also now made a break with your creative responsibilities and are ready to tackle your administrative one. Here are the next steps that I think are critical. These steps will make it easy for readers to sign up for your mailing list and help you get reviews – the two most critical things for successful marketing.


  1. Construct your front and back matter. This will include:
    •  Carefully worded reviews request linked to relevant bookstore (front and back)
    • Links to your website, BookBub and Amazon page follows. (back)
    • Information on your lead magnet with a link to your sign up page (front and back)
    • Backlist with title, one line blurb and a few books covers (can be front and back) If you have a zillion, limit to ten and then offer a link ‘for other works by this author’
    •  Short author bio (back)


  1. Check every link to make sure they are live and go to the right place.


  1. Reread the entire book including all the additions to catch last minute mistakes.


  1. Publish the book.


  1. Wait a few days before aggressively marketing so that the book establishes itself within the Amazon algorithms.

H.O. Charles

Cover designer and author of the fantasy series, The Fireblade Array

That depends! Do you want to self-publish or try the traditional route?

Whichever you choose, it is worth getting someone you trust (and who is supportive) to read it through for basic errors at this stage, if you haven’t already. If you plan to self-publish, find an editor or proofreader to clean up the final draft. Next, you’ll need to choose your distributor, a formatter and a cover designer. It is possible to format e-books and paperbacks yourself (and really not that difficult) but learning anything new takes time. Choose your cover designer carefully (!) and make sure you communicate exactly what you want to them as clearly as possible. Again, it’s possible to do a cover yourself (I did – do!), but I would recommend first looking at your online competition and honestly questioning whether you can create something that meets those standards (this sounds soooo harsh, but unfortunately so is the bookselling world).

Both your formatter and cover artist will need to know which distributor you are publishing through. There are quite a few choices out there, but beware that the more you use, the more complicated updating each version of your book will become, because you will have to upload it to each distributor each time! I currently use KDP, Smashwords, Createspace and sometimes Google, but I wouldn’t want any more distributors than that.

If you decide to go the traditional route, then my advice has to be based on the experiences of two friends who write non-fiction. Both of them had to try several agents before they found a good one to represent them, and both already had significant success in the journalistic and broadcasting world (a background you don’t need in self publishing!), which helped them achieve good publishing deals.

Finding the right agent was what really landed them the deal to provide the income they needed. Their previous agents were happy to take them on, but in both cases the agents did very little work in promoting their books to the publishers.

Alternatively, you can go directly to publishers (depending on who they are). Remember that publishers are looking for something and someone they can sell and make lots of money from, so you need to present them with a good investment opportunity. Therefore, consider everything about yourself that might reassure a publisher you are a ‘safe bet’, and also consider how large a market your book might have. Choose your publishers and/or agents carefully. Research them. Make sure they will put in the same effort to promote your work that you would if you were self-published.

Good luck!


Jenny Jensen | A Slice of Orange

Jenny Jensen

Developmental editor who has worked for twenty plus years with new and established authors of both fiction and non-fiction, traditional and indie.

Fine. El Fin. La Fin. Fund.

You’ve typed The End. An amazing accomplishment. An awesome accomplishment. Awesome by both hipster-speak and actual definition!

But you’re not finished.

You’ve invested untold hours, sweated buckets of emotion and given a piece of yourself to the story. Next step is to protect your investment: have the manuscript edited. What type of edit is up to you. It’s time for some harsh and honest self-analysis.

If you are not completely confident that the book will read as well to the public as it does to your ears, arrange a content edit. At the very least get an Editorial Assessment. Then act on that advice from a neutral party.  Finessing and polishing a completed manuscript is – and always has been – a part of the process.

If you are certain every detail is consistent and every word is worthwhile and imminently readable, and you’re sure your premise, characters, action, story arc are all as strong as they should be, then hire a professional editor for a line edit. Last line of defense is to have the manuscript proofread. If the product you present the world is rife with misspellings, typos, ungainly sentence structure etc. it will not sell.  Unless you offer a clean manuscript it won’t matter what marketing effort you invest; you won’t get the positive response needed to make an indie book stand taller than the millions of competing books in the Indie forest.

When you are 100% confident that your book is as perfect as you can make it then it’s time to get your production ducks in a row.

Cover designer


ISBN number

Front and back matter

Marketing (a nifty one word concept that sums up volumes of effort)

Fortunately, The Extra Squeeze features two brilliant published authors and one outstanding PR/Marketing guru. Their experience and guidance will speak to marketing strategies much better than I can. There is a trove of support available on line – a lot of it for free. From Shewrites.com to Mark Dawson’s selfpublishingformula.com, the resources are there if you seek them out and take the effort to implement.

Remember, the product you offer to the reading public, the product that represents everything about you as a writer, the product that will make you new friends by the hundreds (aka fans) – and not a disappointment that will manifest itself as bad reviews and no sales and a stinky digital reputation that never really disappears – must be polished, professional and perfect.

From the time you type the first The End to when you’ve got your marketing efforts in place, your investment will be gigantic. Don’t squander your investment. Have your manuscript edited before it ever sees the light of day. A pitch perfect product is your best first step.

Robin Blakely | The Extra Squeeze Team | A Slice of Orange

Robin Blakely

PR/Business Development coach for writers and artists; CEO, Creative Center of America; member, Forbes Coaches Council.

There is a rumor that Robin has gone fishing.  Where ever she is, we’re pretty sure she’s wearing her tin star.

The Extra Squeeze | A Slice of Orange

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Ever wonder what industry professionals think about the issues that can really impact our careers? Each month The Extra Squeeze features a fresh topic related to books and publishing.

Amazon mover and shaker Rebecca Forster and her handpicked team of book professionals offer frank responses from the POV of each of their specialties — Writing, Editing, PR/Biz Development, and Cover Design.

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