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Finished your manuscript? Turned it over to your spectacularly brilliant copy-editor/designer wizard? Breathing a sigh of relief, are you? Well, suck that breath back in! It’s time to get your pre-publication kit together!
Hopefully, you’ve been filing info as you go: organization makes the final stages easier. Right now, I am in the middle of gathering pre-production information for my novel, OF SEA AND SEED, The Kerrigan Chronicles # 1. While I’m at it, I’m sharing it because most of what I need, you will too.
Here is my list:
Acknowledgements.It takes a village. Remember to thank every member.
Author Bio. Keep the bio short.
Author Headshot. Make it professional.
Bibliography. This is a maybe, necessary for me, as my literary suspense series is set in historical Newfoundland.
Book Endorsements. You need a blurb or two or three for the cover of your book. So write a few authors and make a request. Ask and ye shall receive, or not. But ask anyway.(One of my favorite quotes comes from Wayne Gretzky: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”)
Call to Action. In the back of your book, include some or all of the following: a link to your homepage and social media, a bonus offer if they sign to your mailing list, a chapter of your next book, a letter asking for review.
Cover Image. Use a stock image or hire an artist. (The image for my above cover mock-up comes from Shutterstock.) In your book, credit source of image.
Dedication. (for Mom? Dad? Dog? Place?)
Disclaimer. “A statement that is meant to prevent an incorrect understanding of something (such as a book, a movie, or an advertisement”~ Miriam-Webster Dictionary (This is standard in all fiction. For examples, just check the front pages of any novel.)
Epigraph. Short quote for front, if you plan to use one. Caution here: think Public Domain.
Flap Copy. Brief synopsis for back cover, one that will draw reader in.
Key Words for SEO. Brainstorm. Check genre.
List of other Publications. All other books written by you.
Map ? (Maybe you need a map inside the cover? I plan to use a map of Newfoundland as a frame of reference for readers.)
Pricing Strategy. Check others in your genre.
Questions for Reading Clubs. Compile a list and put it in the back.
Am I forgetting anything? Please share any info you have!!
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Looking for writing/marketing tips? Here are my Top Twitter picks for May, 2015:
Recently, I watched, then tweeted about SHOWRUNNERS: THE ART OF RUNNING A TV SHOW (Don’t usually include my own tweets here, but I was blown away by the amount of work these writers do! This show is available on Netflix and is well worth the watch!)
Are you about to publish a collection of your short stories? I have done that once and am considering a second. Here are six suggestions based on hindsight:
Go for a ‘sense of book.’Group stories around one theme, one character, one setting. My first collection is varied: most of its stories were written, not with the idea of a book in mind, but for contests based on prompts. It was long after their completion that I chose a theme.
Give thought to the title.
Take time to examine your collection. Perhaps, as book title, you might choose the title of one story or the name of a place that is common to all stories. After I read through my stories, I realized there was indeed a thread: the choices we make and the paths we take. Thus the title: Passages.
Consider, as title/subtitle, “a collection of short fiction,” not “a collection of short stories.”
I used stories in the subtitle of Passages and wished I had used fiction, especially after I dropped a narrative poem into the mix. (Yes, I know: could have eliminated the poem. Sigh.)
Acknowledge previous publications.
List the stories that have been previously published, and include publisher, publication, and date of same. In Passages, in acknowledgements, I thanked creators, administrators, and judges of writing contests, and named a couple of specifics. There was no ill intent in my lack of a list of previous publications; I was simply unaware of the courtesy.
Share background of story.
Many of the short stories in Passages were written for contests. In retrospect, I could have enhanced the reader experience by writing a paragraph or two before each short, revealing the prompt or inspiration for the story.
Give thought to the placement of stories.
You might consider placing your best story first and your second-best last. I went a different route: I put an award-winning short story first because I wanted to draw attention to the fact that it had grown into an award-winning novel. As for the last story in Passages, it is a very short piece called Final Passage, a piece that is more than appropriate for its position in the book. The only thing I would have done differently with it is listed above: I would have revealed the inspiration for the piece.
Why do I love story contests? Click on image to link to “Why Enter Story Contests.”
Are these suggestions helpful to you? If you have already published a book of short fiction, what were the steps that worked best for you? What, if anything, would you do differently the next time?
Are you looking for ways to get your short stories and poems published?
I recently received an email from a writer who was seeking ways to do that. What follows is what I offered her, what I thought could be shared here as well.
I have used two avenues for publication of short stories: Story Contests and Literary Journals.
I use story contests to hone my craft; therefore, I’ve researched them and have entered many, including 24-hour story contests. This has resulted in having many stories published, both online and in journals in Canada and the United States.
The most comprehensive resource for contests in Canada is the Canadian Writers’ Contest Calendar. This calendar is published in the fall of each year, usually by November. All contests are listed by deadline. Everything you need to know—submission guidelines, eligibility, word count limits, etc. — are given for each contest and, yes, poetry contests are included.
The best site I’ve found for information on contests and journals in the U.S. is Poets & Writers, “the nation’s largest nonprofit organization serving creative writers.” On the right hand side of the landing page, under Tools for Writers, you will find an impressive list of databases for literary magazines, contests, agents, etc.
I know how much time and energy go into the pursuit of publication. I hope the above is helpful to you.
Do you have any suggestions to share? Please send them along.
Annie Daylon reading short story “Buryin’ Day” at launch of Freefall Literary Magazine (Vol XIX, Number 1) in Calgary. (First contest entry, second place!)
Good luck on your journey.
Please subscribe to my Author Newsletter by placing your first name and your email address in the space provided on the upper right.