60-Day Mega Post: 60 Things to Do to Prep for Publishing

Welcome to the 60-Day Prep on the 85K Writing Challenge

We’ve completed the 90-Day Write (Jan-Mar) and the 30-Day Finish that followed (April). Next, we moved on to the 60-Day Edit (May-Jun) and the 30-Day Finish that followed (July).

Our focus for the next sixty days is the 60-Day Prep (Aug-Sept), during which we prepare for the fourth and final work cycle, the 60-Day Publish (Oct-Nov). After that, the final 30-Day Finish cycle (December) will allow us to wrap up the year’s work and prepare for 2020.

Tasks performed and topics discussed during the 60-Day Prep

Because we address writing during the 90-Day Write, editing during the 60-Day Edit, and publishing during the 60-Day Publish, if it’s not writing, editing, or publishing, a topic is “fair game” for the 60-Day Prep. Therefore, topics discussed during the 60-Day Prep (August and September) will be as varied as establishing a marketing plan, attending writers conferences, writing your professional bio, designing a media kit, online networking, and more.

Helpful resources

Stay organized during the 60-Day Prep by downloading these helpful resources HERE.


Ready to get started?

Back by popular demand, our mega list of things to do . . .

Every day for sixty days, a new “prep” item will post below to our 60-Day Prep “60 Things To Do” List. Complete one item per day throughout August and September, and enjoy the feeling of being sixty steps “more prepared” and therefore sixty steps closer to pursuing your unique path toward publishing.

60-Day Prep “60 Things To Do” List

ONE ITEM ADDED EVERY DAY

Table of Contents

Part 1: Essentials (Days 1-10)
Part 2: Author Website (Days 11-17)
Part 3: Identifying the Market for Your Book (Days 18-20)
Part 4: Author Platform (Days 21-28)
Part 5: Book Assets (Days 29-30)
Part 6: Networking (Days 31-33)
Part 7: Building a Media Kit (Days 34-44)
Part 8: Connecting with Book Tribes (Days 45-48)
Part 9: Social Networking Book Sites (Days 49-55)
Part 10: Legal & Tax Issues (Days 56-58)
Part 11: Self Assessment (Days 59-60)

Part 1: Essentials (Days 1-10)

Day 1: Organize your desk. #85K90 Click To Tweet

Enjoy this C.S. Lakin Live, Write, Thrive step-by-step guide to getting organized including infographics for organizing your workspace.

Day 2: Write a 100-word professional bio. #85K90 Click To Tweet

This should help – examples with fill-in-the-blank templates: 100-Word Bio Examples from BioTemplates.com.

Day 3: Open an author email account. #85K90 Click To Tweet

Author Media explains why author email addresses make a difference.

Day 4: Register your author domain name. #85K90 Click To Tweet

Three items to help you get started:

1. How to do it – what’s important.

“How to Choose a Domain Name for Your Author Website” by Joel Friedlander on The Book Designer website.

2. Author name or book title?

“Your Author Website: Should It Focus On You As A Writer Or On One Book?” by Web Design Relief.

3. Blog post by 85K Writing Challenge Social Media Editor, Ari Meghlen: “How to Create an Awesome Author Website.”

Day 5: Order business cards. #85K90 Click To Tweet

Quite possibly the best article on the subject: “How to Design an Author Business Card” by Alyssa Hollingsworth.

Day 6: Schedule professional press photos. #85K90 Click To Tweet

5 Poses Checklist

Here’s a checklist of five poses (body positions) to use when shooting your professional press photos.

1. Change hair position

Hair on the shoulders.
Hair behind the shoulders.
Hair in front of the shoulders.
Hair all on one side.
Hair all on the other side.
Hair up.

2. Chin forward

Rather than bring the nose forward, bring the chin forward. Chin forward produces a more attractive jawline.

3. Lift arm away from the torso

Arms often lay flat when you’re standing in a natural position. This may feel comfortable but causes problems in a photo because your arm is pressed against your torso, making your arm look larger than it actually is. Lift your arm an inch or two away from your body so it’s “floating” and not pressed against your side.

4. Turn your shoulders

Looking straight at the camera (head-on) can make you appear bigger. This is good for “power” photos (football players and CEOs) but not good for friendly, “attractive” shots. Turning slightly will give a softer, more approachable shot and a slimmer appearance.

5. Color (not the whites) of your eyes

Dreamy shots are okay (when the subject is looking off into the distance) but try not to show too much of the whites of your eyes or you’ll appear hollow. Better to look “dreamy” and creative by staring at something beyond the shoulder of your photographer. You want to see the irises (color) of your eyes.

Day 7: Optimize your email signature. #85K90 Click To Tweet

Tips for what to include in your email signature:

“How to Write a Great Email Signature: 9 Tips With Real Examples” by Lindsay Kolowich

Want a graphic email signature? Lots to choose from here:

“19 Professional Email Signature Templates: With Unique Designs” curated article by Sean Hodge

Day 8: Write a six-word author tagline. #85K90 Click To Tweet Day 9: Note your three highest priorities. #85K90 Click To Tweet

Note your three highest priorities.

Where do you want to be in ten years?

1. ________________________
2. ________________________
3. ________________________

Five years?

1. ________________________
2. ________________________
3. ________________________

One year?

1. ________________________
2. ________________________
3. ________________________

Day 10: Save a copy of your novel on a USB Flash Drive. Place a printed hard copy in a safe. #85K90 Click To Tweet

Part 2: Author Website (Days 11-17)

Day 11: Self-host your website. Select a provider. Set up an account. #85K90 Click To Tweet

Advantages of self-hosting your author website:

1. You own it. The fate and future of your site is in your hands. No one can shut you down or discontinue service.

2. Greater capabilities in custom design. You decide the look, the layout, the colors, fonts, etc.

3. Greater capabilities in function. Wider selection of plugins and tools. Greater ability to analyze traffic.

4. More opportunity to monetize your site through advertising, e-commerce, and special landing pages for your books. (Without self-hosting, your website provider may prohibit advertising and selling on their platform.)

5. Easier to integrate an e-mail sign-up list, social media share buttons, and Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram feeds.

Disadvantages of self-hosting your author website:

1. Management of the site is up to you. If there’s a problem, it’s up to you to fix it.

2. Site security is up to you. You may need to pay a security provider to protect your site.

3. Site backup is up to you. You may need to pay a backup provider to backup your site.

Most issues that come up as a disadvantage can be solved with a plugin or added feature. Check with your host provider for services they provide in management, security, and backup.

Day 12: Write, edit, update the About page of your author website. #85K90 Click To Tweet Day 13: Establish a system for building an email list. Research providers. Open an account. #85K90 Click To Tweet

16 providers to consider (in no particular order):

  1. Mailchimp
  2. ActiveCampaign
  3. ConvertKit
  4. Constant Contact
  5. AWeber
  6. MailerLite
  7. Benchmark
  8. Newsletters2Go
  9. Drip
  10. Sendinblue
  11. GetResponse
  12. Wishpond
  13. Robly
  14. Infusionsoft
  15. Autopilot
  16. Omnisend
Day 14: Install an email signup form onto your website. #85K90 Click To Tweet

Wondering where to place the email sign up? Consider these locations: “14 High Converting Places to Add Email Signup Forms to Build Your List” by Mary Fernandez.

Day 15: Install a security/firewall plugin on your author website. #85K90 Click To Tweet Day 16: Add a share buttons plugin to your website. #85K90 Click To Tweet Day 17: Prep website Book page for covers, blurbs, reviews, buy links, excerpts. #85K90 Click To Tweet

Part 3: Identifying the Market for Your Book (Days 18-20)

Day 18: Research comp titles. #85K90 Click To Tweet

Complete the activities and the Comparable Titles Spreadsheet found in this post: Prep for Publishing: Know Your Comparable Titles by Kristi Tuck Austin.

Day 19: Collect and analyze audience-specific descriptors. #85K90 Click To Tweet

Complete the activities and create a spreadsheet to collect and analyze the 21 audience-specific descriptors found in this post: Publishing Your First Book? Know Your Audience by Kristi Tuck Austin.

Day 20: Starting w/comp titles, research Amazon's Also Bought. Create a list of reader preferences. #85K90 Click To Tweet

Part 4: Author Platform (Days 21-28)

Day 21: Brainstorm methods for increasing your online and offline visibility. #85K90 Click To Tweet

Here’s a list of components helpful for increasing author visibility.

Author visibility is anything you do to increase your target market’s awareness of you.

Components that contribute to author visibility include . . .

– social media
– social networks
– blogging
– podcasts
– getting published in online publications
– getting published in offline publications
– speaking engagements (conferences, book groups, schools, businesses)
– radio appearances
– television appearances
– etc.

YOUR GOALS:
First, try to reach your target market and increase your visibility. Second, try to
convert them into fans, friends, followers, and subscribers.

Day 22: Schedule a 12-month plan for increasing your online and offline visibility. Be specific. #85K90 Click To Tweet

Though editorial calendars are but one aspect of planning to increase your online and offline visibility, “How to Create an Editorial Calendar” by Megan Conley is a great place to get started.

Also helpful: “Authors Unplugged: Smart Book Marketing Includes Going Offline” by Joel Friedlander

Day 23: Brainstorm methods for increasing your online and offline reach. #85K90 Click To Tweet

Need help adding structure and “how-to” to your brainstorming? Check out “How to Brainstorm: 5 Ways to Get the Creative Juices Flowing” by the Lucidchart Content Team.

Day 24: Determine three ways to use your author platform to entice new readers. #85K90 Plan, schedule, implement. Click To Tweet

The easiest way to entice new readers is to provide great content. This includes writing the best possible novel you can, supported with great content on throughout your author platform.

Day 25: Determine three ways to use your author platform to engage existing readers. #85K90 Plan, schedule, implement. Click To Tweet Day 26: Map out the body of work you intend to include as part of your author platform. See types and examples in this post. #85K90 Click To Tweet

Map out the body of work you intend to include as part of your author platform and then begin to research companies and services to assist with this effort.

Some possibilities to consider:

  • Will you write blog posts? Standalones? Series? Posting schedule?
  • Which social media platforms do you intend to use?
  • Will you have an author newsletter? Frequency? Content?
  • Will you enter to world of podcasting, video, webinars, or similar?
  • Do you intend to reach out to influencers? If yes, who, how, when?
  • Do you intend to cross-promote through guest posting and the like?
  • Do you intend to cross-promote by joining a network or author collective?
Day 27: Schedule a 12-month plan for increasing your online and offline authority in your subject area. #85K90 Details in this post. Click To Tweet

On Day 22 the focus was using your author platform to increase your visibility. Day 23 focused on reach.

Today’s task is to ask yourself: in what ways can I use my author platform to increase my authority in my subject area?

If you don’t feel you’ve reached your desired level of authority and expertise, take a few moments today to brainstorm, plan, and then map onto a 12-month calendar actions you will take in the coming year to increase your authority, working toward becoming a subject expert, if possible.

As you grow and gain credentials, use your author platform to communicate those credentials to the industry and to your readership.

Day 28: Schedule a 12-month plan for increasing your online and offline social and media influence. #85K90 What is your plan to network with influencers and/or become an influencer? Click To Tweet

Wondering how to get started? Read “9 Tips for Developing a Network of Influencers Who Support Your Business” by Cheryl Conner and “Want to Become an Influencer? Follow these 13 Tips” by Forbes Agency Council.

Part 5: Book Assets (Days 29-30)

Day 29: Whether pursuing traditional or indie publishing, write a 1-page synopsis and 3-paragraph query letter. Wonder why? Answer is in this post. #85K90 Click To Tweet

A one-page synopsis and a three-paragraph query letter are useful no matter the publishing route you intend to pursue. Both are needed when querying agents. Both are needed for marketing materials. Both are needed when speaking professionally about your book.

Day 30: Establish a plan for ARCs and reviews, early endorsements, and begin building the metadata that accompanies your book. #85K90 Click To Tweet

Part 6: Networking (Days 31-33)

Day 31: Join or start a writing group. #85K90 Find or start building a trusted network of authors to discuss writing and industry trends. Click To Tweet Day 32: Research writing conferences. Determine which conferences you will attend in the coming year. #85K90 Click To Tweet Day 33: Join at least three industry organizations that support writers. #85K90 Click To Tweet

Part 7: Building a Media Kit (Days 34-44)

Day 34: Creating a media kit? Begin by assembling all contact and link information. #85K90 Click To Tweet Day 35: Assemble 50-word, 100-word, and 300-word bios. #85K90 Click To Tweet Day 36: Assemble metadata and other specifics about your book. #85K90 Click To Tweet Day 37: Write an author Q&A. #85K90 Click To Tweet Day 38: Assemble a collection of pull quotes from book reviews. #85K90 Click To Tweet Day 39: Assemble early endorsements and testimonials. #85K90 Click To Tweet Day 40: Assemble links to relevant media, content, and landing pages. #85K90 Click To Tweet Day 41: Assemble links to media coverage and awards. #85K90 Click To Tweet Day 42: Assemble photos of the book (front, back, spread, angle, stack, author/book, still). #85K90 Click To Tweet Day 43: Assemble a collection of author press photos (casual, professional, event). #85K90 Click To Tweet Day 44: When your book is placed on pre-order, add buy links to your media kit. #85K90 Click To Tweet

Part 8: Connecting with Book Tribes (Days 45-48)

Day 45: Research, make a list, and then start connecting with writers in your genre. #85K90 Click To Tweet Day 46: Research, make a list, and then start connecting with organizations that serve your genre. #85K90 Click To Tweet Day 47: Research, make a list, and then start connecting with book bloggers and bookstagrammers. #85K90 Click To Tweet Day 48: Research, make a list, and then start connecting with book clubs and book groups. #85K90 Click To Tweet

Part 9: Social Networking Book Sites

Day 49: Establish an author profile on Goodreads, a social networking book site. #85K90 Click To Tweet Day 50: Establish an author profile on BookBub, a social networking book site. #85K90 Click To Tweet Day 51: Establish an author profile on LibraryThing, a social networking book site. #85K90 Click To Tweet Day 52: Establish a profile on BookLikes, a social networking book site. #85K90 Click To Tweet Day 53: If distributing ARCs, establish an account on NetGalley. #85K90 Click To Tweet Day 54: To connect directly with readers, establish a profile on Wattpad. #85K90 Click To Tweet Day 55: To connect directly with readers, establish a profile on Medium. #85K90 Click To Tweet

Part 10: Legal & Tax Issues

Day 56: Spend an hour researching copyright law. #85K90 Click To Tweet Day 57: Determine the legal structure of your business (sole proprietor, corporation, LLC, etc.). #85K90 Click To Tweet Day 58: Brush up on accounting and taxes (e.g. sales and use taxes, costs of goods sold, etc.). Establish a system for record-keeping. #85K90 Click To Tweet

Part 11: Self Assessment

Day 59: Define, in specific, quantitative terms, what success means to you. #85K90 Click To Tweet Day 60: Complete unfinished items on this list then sit back, relax, and celebrate a job well done. #85K90 Click To Tweet

You did it! You completed a 60-item “things to do” list. You rock. What’s next? The 60-Day Publish cycle – scheduled for October and November.

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Julie Valerie

Julie Valerie

85K Writing Challenge: Embracing the writing life by advancing the practice of productive writing from the first word to the first reader.

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