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New Author - Dos and Dont's

Leah Banicki - 
Author, graphics design, book formatting and computer guru. 
In the editing process of self-publishing my third book, Angela's Hope.
I have helped publish 17 books for myself and clients.

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A few things I have learned along the way, from my mistakes and some shared from authors I have known.

If you have a book published the one guaranteed thing you will hear from a lot of people is..."I have always wanted to write a book."

My number 1 Do  - Write the book. One day at a time. Get the discipline to get the words on the page. Whether it's a good idea or not let the words start flowing. The rewrite is where you clean it up. JUST WRITE!
National Novel writing month, called Nanowrimo,  is a good community and a great way for a budding author to get a swift kick into writing.

One thing I have noticed a lot of in the world of self-publishing is some BAD book covers.
My Number 1 Don't - Don't go cheap on the book cover!

This mistake I have learned the hard way. Do get an editor. I am not made of money. This economy has put a hurt on my bank account. I understand all the excuses. I am living them. I bartered and begged and made my first published book from a laughingstock to a book that people are buying consistently. The first release was a shambles of messy past and present tense... I was a fool and learned my lesson. I don't know if any book is 100% perfect but we can all try and put the best book out there that we can.

The editing process is a nightmare for most writers and we have similar dread for the rewrite process. The one thing that is the most common for author when the book is ready is the hurry up phase. It never EVER works out well when you rush it. Don't rush the rewrite! It needs to spend time away from you with an editor or beta reader. It will give you space from the dreaded burnout. Trust me the burnout of editing is mean and has a big, fat headache attached to it. 
While your book is out of your hands - Do start the next book. You need the new inspiration to keep the "gotta publish the book at lightning speed" feelings away. 

  My next piece of advice is to slow down and don't panic. By the time you have your book in the editor's hand and the list of to-dos gets to be this stressful knot in your stomach. You have the visions of huge royalty checks in your mind and you want to freak out cause it's taking SO LONG!!!! Breath, take a walk, and recharge your batteries. Authorship is a marathon, not a sprint. The reason it needs time is because the mistakes are there. The ones you don't want the readers to see. The goofy fact that you changed the character's eye color mid-way through the book, or your research was a little off, or you have 2 chapter 14s. 

For publishing there are some great places for a writer to go. Check out if you do not have a personal fortune to order your own warehouse of books. That way a poor girl like me can order 1 book or 200 printed copies and pay the same price for each book. It also gets you on and all the other popular book hangouts online. It's a great way to get your foot in the door. Using a secondary publishing house can cost a lot of money and the book ends up costing a lot more for you to make any profit.  If you have a personal fortune then you are in luck. :) 

Once you think your book is perfect, send it to someone else to read again! Beta readers are 100% necessary. Remember all those goofy mistakes... There are still a few lurking in there. 

Do publish in print and ebook format. Kindle Direct Publishing is by far the best sales I have had to date. I use the KDP select program for the advertising but it's is a personal choice for every author. My second favorite is It is an author's friend, getting your book published easily to many markets, Sony, Apple iBooks, and many more. Don't skimp on the research. Always read the fine print when publishing with any company. It's your book, you should be making the majority of the profit. This is the new age of publishing when the author gets paid. 
When it comes to marketing read everything you can about it. Lots of authors have blogged on the subject. I promise you will get plenty of great ideas. 

Make an Author Page  - Here is mine as an example.  
It is very important to have a separate page from your main facebook personal page. You want a place that is just about your writing. That and your fans don't have to read about your favorite sandwich and your kid's pictures. This author page represents your professional writing business and is a fantastic tool to get more readers. Put this author page as a link in every book, blog and email. Invite people to send their thoughts about your book there. The more people are talking about your book the more their friends and their friend's friends will see it.

Do tweet! Twitter is a growing, massive marketing extravaganza. Learn some lingo, hashtag it up and get the buzz started about your book. I absolutely love seeing that someone actually tweeted about me or my books. Free advertising. Self-publishing is all about word of mouth. 

Be patient about sales. Some months are great with sales, some are not. It has an ebb and flow. As people get to know you and your work it will sell. If it stays slow forever then you need to rethink pricing. Giving your book away for free is a great way to get the ball rolling. I have a nifty trick for doing that. Feel free to contact me on facebook and I will gladly share my tips, no charge. :)

Pricing for self-published authors should stay low in my opinion, with 4.99 being a max for a while. You want readers, and unless you are paying for major ads, no one knows you yet. We are on our own for now. Ask your friends and family for shares, likes, tweets and reviews. You gotta start somewhere. Don't be obnoxious and spam, though. There is a fine line between marketing and getting your facebook page blocked from all your friends.  

Get on The book giveaways are a great and cheap way to advertise your book. You need to have a copy or two of the print book to mail to the winner but you can get a lot of interest in your novel. Goodreads is a very active website. Readers Unite!!

I want to end with an encouragement to you. Just keep writing. I never thought someday I would have a book series and be helping authors with their books, but I am doing it. A small town girl, that always filled up notebooks with scribblings full of nothing. Then one day it was something. 
Good luck on your writing journey! 

 The list!

Write the Book!
Get an Editor!
Start the next book! 
Slow down! 
Check out! 
Send the book to more readers, again!!!
Do publish in print and ebook format!
Find out how to market your book!
Make an Author Page on Facebook! 
Tweet. Twitter and books are friends!
Be patient about sales!
Goodreads book giveaways!
Keep on writing!

Don't go cheap on the book cover!
Don't rush the rewrite!
Don't panic!  
Don't skimp on the research!
Don't be obnoxious and spam!

To find out more about any part of the publishing process go to. - I love to help people. Feel free to ask away. 

Are you an Author and want to share more dos and dont's?  Please feel free to email me at Leahsvoice(at) I will gladly add more to this and give you credit and link to your site, blog and/or author page. 


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