Phase 5: The Best It Can Be
You have completed your novel.
You have crafted your logline.
You have perfected your pitch.
Time to show your work to the world!
How are people going to hear about it? How will they locate it? How much will it cost? Will it be available in multiple formats (hard cover, paperback, e-book)?
The next two phases deal with the act and art of publishing, preparing your product for the marketplace and examining traditional vs. self-publishing options.
You're written the work to a fine polish.
All the spelling is good. No extra words. No missing punctuation.
Now it's about packaging - you're going to want to make sure your product is the best it can be before it hits the shelves!
Applying for an International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is not that difficult; most countries have their own dedicated websites.
Check out this wiki write-up, and note its links to country-based resources for issuance - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Standard_Book_Number.
If you're looking at traditional publishers, it's recommended you contact them first as they may simply do this for you.
Certain self-publishing sites offer you an ISBN if you don't already have one.
Getting that first ISBN can be a real buzz!
You CAN judge a book by it's cover.
We all do it.
Traditional publishing houses might give you some input, but remember: this is their product, too. They have a brand to protect and enhance.
For self-publishing, you have much more say.
What should your book's cover art look like?
Is this novel part of a series? You may want a consistent look + feel across the whole collection.
Is the book about a kid? Maybe it's a crappy-cool drawing on the cover.
Is it filled with irony? How about a daisy holding a machine gun?
Who's going to do the work of crafting it for you? Do you know somebody who will pull something together for you? Did you see a photo online that would be perfect?
Don't forget to secure the rights. And boy oh boy, I mean the "right rights" because there are layers to these things, such as distribution, accreditation, etc. that you don't want to mess up.
You want to be proud of the finished product.
Don't skimp on the cover art.
Time to bring that logline and short pitch to life.
All along, even before you started writing, you had your story distilled to its essence.
Time to revisit that and make sure you have a few tight sentences that convey the genre and raise the central story question.
The book jacket is more than catchy cover art - here is where you demonstrate how deep your hook can sink with a write-up that grabs and won't let go.
Writing a balanced summary of yourself is never easy. It should be a blend of professional history and writing accolades (awards, other projects) and personality, written objectively and not boastfully.
You want to show that you're a credible writer, that you're dedicated to this discipline, and that you have much more in you (i.e. readers invest in the author as well as the specific book).
But also want to appear relatable, not above your reader.
You are a novelist. You are more than the sum of all your books.
PREPARING TO SELL
Your books are your products.
They are for sale.
Make sure you have the right cover art, a powerful hook-shaped logline and a grabber of a write-up, and lay it all out so it's attractive at first glance.
Selling anything takes discipline and craft, and you'll get better at it with practice.
Yet the best-written and best-looking books can eventually sell themselves.
So make your book the best it can be!