Did you write a book or are you thinking about it? Whether you’re published by the Big 5, an indie publisher, or self-published, there is more work to do after you release it into the wild. Work that is much more tedious than writing it, which is already incredibly tedious. Writing a book turns out to be the easy part.
Let’s review your pre-publication checklist:
1. Make sure your cover, when it’s thumbnail size on all your social media accounts, is readable. Unless Tom Thumb or a Lilliputian is looking at it, no one will be able to decipher your thumbnail except the people in the movie Downsizing. I’ve ignored this directive on both my books and will continue to disregard it because if people are staring at my thumbnail rather than reading my book, I’ve got larger problems.
2. Try and increase your social media accounts. I can hear most of you groaning, but it needs to be done. Publishers are reluctant to take on books if the author doesn’t have a substantial social media presence. Twitter is where I sold the majority of my indie-published book, Celebrity sTalker, and Facebook is where I sold most of my second book, Mommy Tried to Kill Me, which I self-published. While I still post links on Tumblr and Ello, I had to drop LinkedIn when they sent me a notice that my friend Steve had died and asked me to “Congratulate Steve.” I’m guessing their algorithm is stitched together with alcohol and sleeping pills.
3. A great editor is a key to your book’s success. But editors cost money and while you’re waiting for the Prize Patrol to show up at your door with your first check from Publisher’s Clearinghouse, find some beta readers who either teach English, have a Ph.D. in English, or are just know-it-alls. But beware of the know-it-alls as they might try to tell you that you spelled your name wrong. Do not use family, close friends, or people who owe you favors as beta readers. They thought your ugly Christmas sweater was pretty, remember? I use people I interact with on social media that I’ve never met in real life. I ask them to be brutal and not to spare my feelings, which sometime during the writing of the book have vanished anyway.
4. Run your manuscript through the online app Grammarly.com. It’s free, but you can update it to a more vigorous and painful version. The painful version may flash these words: 13 critical errors, 21 advanced errors. And while this may also refer to your love life, it will show you where the mistakes in your work stand out. It will also find unoriginal text by checking against a database of over eight billion web pages. The updated Grammarly, at $59 for three months, is a bargain. Say it with me, “Commas are not my friend.”
5. Climb Mount Everest. It’s the same as trying to browbeat people into reviewing your book. You need reviews if you want more sales so begin the quid pro quo with your friends’ books now so that you can hit them up when you publish. Good luck, Sisyphus.
6. Read your manuscript out loud and backward. According to some, it’s easier to catch mistakes this way. I was once stopped for speeding, and the cop asked me to count back from 100 by seven. I laughed because I thought he was kidding. He wasn’t.
7. Keep your day job.
Suzy Soro is a writer, standup comedian, and actress. You might have seen her on Seinfeld, in the episode where she got the last chocolate babka, ranked 25 out of all 169 episodes of Seinfeld. Or you might have seen her on Curb Your Enthusiasm, where Larry David calls her an asshole because she refuses to take off her sunglasses when we're inside eating lunch. Suzy has traveled the world doing standup comedy, working for both the USO and MWR, and she toured the United States and Canada with her own comedy group, Single, Married & Divorced. Her first memoir, Celebrity sTalker is about all the Hollywood celebrities she has annoyed over the years. Mommy Tried to Kill Me is her second memoir. Her work also appears in four anthologies, available on Amazon. Follow Suzy on Medium.