60 “Things To Do” Before Publishing

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

The 60-Day Prep is the third work cycle in the four-part, year-long 85K Writing Challenge.

We’ve completed the 90-Day Write (Jan-Mar) and the 60-Day Edit (May-Jun). Our focus for the next sixty days is the 60-Day Prep (Aug-Sept). What follows the 60-Day Prep? The fourth and final work cycle, the 60-Day Publish (Oct-Nov).

Of course, we’ve taken a few breaks throughout the year during our 30-Day Finish cycles. Strategically placed during the months of April, July, and December, the 30-Day Finish cycle is dedicated to completing the previous timed task cycle; preparing for the next timed task cycle; or simply, taking a break to recharge.

Increase your productivity by following an organized, consistent, systematic “work flow” throughout the year.

We start each year writing a rough draft of a novel in 90 days. We take a break in April to either finish the rough draft, get ahead on the editing, or simply, take a much-needed break. In May and June, we edit and revise for sixty days. We take a break in July to either finish the editing, get ahead on prep work, or simply, take a much needed break.

In August and September, for sixty days, we prep to publish. In October and November, for sixty days, we explore options in publishing. We finish the year with December’s 30-Day Finish. Time to tie-up loose ends, plan for the coming year, or simply, take a much-needed break to enjoy the holidays.

IMAGE: Year At A Glance

About the 60-Day Prep:

During the August and September 60-Day Prep, writers work for sixty days to prep for publishing. Prepping to publish encompasses a variety of tasks, from marketing and branding, establishing an online presence, and connecting with others at industry events.

Inspired by traffic cones and construction sites, content for the 60-Day Prep is color-coded orange.

A word about prepping to publish . . .

You’ll notice in our logo, we group our efforts into four main categories: write, edit, prep, and publish.

IMAGE: 85K Corporate Logo

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.

A word about publishing . . .

Whether traditional, hybrid, or indie the path toward publishing is unique to every writer and every piece of writing. The 85K Writing Challenge encourages writers to pursue the method of publishing that is right for them, when the time is right for them, which may or may not be during the months the topic of publishing is discussed on our website.

It’s time to prep for publishing. Ready to get started?

Every day for sixty days, a new “prep” item will post below to our 60-Day Prep “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.

In addition to our list of things to do, visit our website during the 60-Day Prep cycle to enjoy blog posts, checklists, tips, and custom worksheets to download.

Visit our members-only forum to discuss topics with other writers.

IMAGE: to do list on lined white note pad

60-Day Prep “Things To Do” List

(With additional daily topic discussions held in our 60-Day Prep Forum.)

Part 1: Essentials

Day 1: Organize your desk. #85K90 Click To Tweet Check out the “Day 1” resources in the 60-Day Prep Forum: 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 “Day 2” resources in the 60-Day Prep Forum include “Best Of” professional bio examples, how to write an author bio when you don’t feel like an author, and examples with fill-in-the-blank templates. Day 3: Open dedicated email account for your business. #85K90 Click To Tweet Day 4: Register your author domain name. #85K90 Click To Tweet Discussion in the 60-Day Prep Forum: Should you register your author name or book title? How and what you need to know before registering. Day 5: Order business cards. #85K90 Click To Tweet Day 6: Schedule professional press photos. #85K90 Click To Tweet In the 60-Day Prep Forum: Checklist of poses to use. Day 7: Optimize your email signature. #85K90 Click To Tweet Graphics, email signature templates, what to include, how to write, what to avoid: 60-Day Prep ForumDay 8: Write a six-word author tagline. #85K90 Click To TweetDay 9: Complete the Author Goals Worksheet. #85K90 Click To Tweet Download the Author Goals Worksheet found in this post by Kristi Tuck Austin: Prep for Publishing: Know Your Author Goals.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

Day 11: Self-host your website. Select a provider. Set up an account. #85K90 Click To Tweet In the 60-Day Prep Forum: Advantages and disadvantages of self-hosting your author website. Day 12: Write, edit, update the About page of your author website. #85K90 Click To TweetDay 13: Establish a system for building an email list. Research providers. Open an account. #85K90 Click To TweetDay 14: Install email sign up onto your website. #85K90 Click To TweetDay 15: Install a security/firewall plugin on your author website. #85K90 Click To TweetDay 16: Add a share buttons plugin to your website. #85K90 Click To TweetDay 17: Prep website Book page for covers, blurbs, reviews, metadata, buy links, excerpts. #85K90 Click To Tweet

Part 3: Identifying the Market for Your Book

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

Day 21: Brainstorm methods for increasing your online and offline visibility. #85K90 Click To Tweet In the 60-Day Prep Forum: A list of components necessary to increase author visibility. Day 22: Schedule a 12-month plan for increasing your online and offline visibility. Be specific. #85K90 Click To TweetDay 23: Brainstorm methods for increasing your online and offline reach. #85K90 Click To TweetDay 24: Schedule a 12-month plan for increasing your online and offline reach. Be specific. #85K90 Click To TweetDay 25: Brainstorm methods for increasing your online and offline authority in your subject area. #85K90 Click To TweetDay 26: Schedule a 12-month plan for increasing your online and offline authority in your subject area. #85K90 Click To TweetDay 27: Brainstorm methods for increasing your online and offline social and media influence. #85K90 Click To TweetDay 28: Schedule a 12-month plan for increasing your online and offline social and media influence. #85K90 Click To Tweet

Part 5: Book Assets

Day 29: If pursuing traditional publishing, write a short synopsis to include in a query letter. #85K90 Click To TweetDay 30: If pursuing indie publishing, write a short synopsis to include in marketing materials. #85K90 Click To Tweet

Part 6: Networking

Day 31: Join or start a writing critique group. #85K90 Click To TweetDay 32: Research writing conferences. Determine which conferences you will attend in the coming year. #85K90 Click To TweetDay 33: Join a few industry organizations that support writers. #85K90 Click To Tweet

Part 7: Building a Media Kit

Day 34: Assemble all contact information. #85K90 Click To TweetDay 35: Assemble 50-word, 100-word, and 300-word bios. #85K90 Click To TweetDay 36: Assemble metadata and other specifics about your book. #85K90 Click To TweetDay 37: Assemble an author Q&A. #85K90 Click To TweetDay 38: Assemble a collection of pull quotes from book reviews. #85K90 Click To TweetDay 39: Assemble testimonials if applicable (e.g. nonfiction). #85K90 Click To TweetDay 40: Assemble links to relevant media, content, and landing pages. #85K90 Click To TweetDay 41: Assemble links to media coverage and awards. #85K90 Click To TweetDay 42: Assemble photos of the book (front, back, spread, angle, stack, author/book, stilllife). #85K90 Click To TweetDay 43: Assemble a collection of author press photos (casual, professional, event). #85K90 Click To TweetDay 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

Day 45: Research, make a list, and then start connecting with writers in your genre. #85K90 Click To TweetDay 46: Research, make a list, and then start connecting with organizations that serve your genre. #85K90 Click To TweetDay 47: Research, make a list, and then start connecting with book bloggers. #85K9 Click To TweetDay 48: Research, make a list, and then start connecting with book clubs and book groups. #85K9 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 TweetDay 50: Establish an author profile on LibraryThing, a social networking book site. #85K90 Click To TweetDay 51: Establish an author profile on BookLikes, a social networking book site. #85K90 Click To TweetDay 52: Establish a profile on ThirdScribe, a social networking book site. #85K90 Click To TweetDay 53: If distributing ARCs, establish an account on NetGalley. #85K90 Click To TweetDay 54: To connect directly with readers, establish a profile on Wattpad. #85K90 Click To TweetDay 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 TweetDay 57: Determine the legal structure of your business (sole proprietor, corporation, LLC, etc.). #85K90 Click To TweetDay 58: Brush up on accounting and taxes (e.g. sales and use taxes; costs of goods sold, etc.). #85K90 Click To Tweet

Part 11: Self Assessment

Day 59: Define, in specific, quantitative terms, what success means to you. #85K90 Click To TweetDay 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 first word to first reader.

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