NaNoPubMo: Wrap-Up

It’s harder to publish a novel than to write one. That’s my experience, anyway. After more than 30 days — my NaNoPubMo exercise started in late October — I still don’t have book covers for my series, and nothing else is going to happen until I have covers.

I’m not blaming the cover artist! Just saying, these things take time. I did get a portrait photo done, and I’ve learned a fair amount about website creation. I’ve written the copy for my website, but haven’t yet hired anyone to design it. I’ve talked to a couple of friends about doing some low-budget video for the site, and I have a concept for the video. I’ve pretty much settled on Bookbaby for the ebook distribution and print-on-demand books, but haven’t yet signed on with them, because there’s no point until I have the covers.

Bookbaby charges $200 up front for a book, so my four-book series will set me back $800. That’s okay. I can afford it. Publishing is a business, that’s all. There are setup costs.

I’m still hoping to have the series out in January. But I still have unanswered questions, especially about website creation. It smells to me like the people who offer this service are over-charging. $2,500 for a WordPress site using parts that can be snapped together like Legos? Really? That seems excessive. Granted, they have the expertise. I don’t.

There are places that let you build your own site for free, but the results may not look professional. A website is like a book cover — you only get one chance to make a good first impression. You want the people who visit to say immediately, “Oh, cool! This looks like an author I’ll want to get to know better!”

Yesterday a friend mentioned that she has a site that her husband designed for her. I took a look. She says it looks fine on her Mac, but on Firefox on Windows there’s a problem with the banner. Her name is partly blocked by a band of color. Her husband evidently didn’t check the site on Windows. That’s one of the things experts know to do. (In theory, anyway.)

Some site creation service providers use their own content management system (CMS) rather than WordPress. Should I trust them, or should I run the other way really fast? I have no idea. I suspect that in the fast-paced Internet world, some companies are sure to become flaky or even die. A site based on their own private CMS would, in that case, become unmanageable. These are the kinds of things one has to think about.

Promotion and marketing? I haven’t yet started thinking about all that in any serious way. Once the books are available and the website is done, it will be time to put my brains in a vise and start cranking until promotion ideas pop out. Or dribble out.

I’m confident that I’m a good writer. (That’s a topic for another day.) But good writing doesn’t matter if nobody knows about your book, or if they can’t find it. That’s what the NaNoPubMo experiment has been about. If you’re following this blog, keep comin’ back (as they say in AA). More will be revealed.

Sometimes that cliche is altered to, “More will be required.” That too.

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