Friday, April 17, 2015

15 Writing Doesn’t Stop When the Book’s Finished, by Alex J. Cavanaugh

We are thrilled to welcome Alex J. Cavanaugh to the blog today as he provides a glimpse into the writing authors face AFTER the deal is done! Alex first made waves, or jumped into hyper-drive, with his Cassa Trilogy, which landed on the Amazon bestseller list. He is also the founder and leader of the wildly popular online Insecure Writers Support Group. Surely that wouldn't describe any of us, now would it? Be sure to check it out as well as Alex's newest release, Dragon of the Stars, below.

Writing Doesn’t Stop When the Book’s Finished, A Craft of Writing Post by Alex J. Cavanaugh

Working on a book can take years. We create the first draft, revise, edit, incorporate more changes from critique partners’ suggestions, perhaps hire an editor and edit some more, and finally polish it to perfection. When a publisher says yes, we breathe a sigh of relief. We’re done!

Not so fast. Done? Hardly–we’ve only just begun.

For those who’ve not journeyed down this path yet, let me give you an idea how much MORE writing there is with that one manuscript.

Publisher revisions – No matter how polished, there will be changes. Sometimes minor, such as correcting grammar, clarifying points, tightening the prose, or adding description. Sometimes it’s more involved and results in rewrites or point of view changes. Either way, we will be working on that manuscript several times before our publisher puts it into production. And if we sign with an agent first, that’s an added layer of edits before a publisher ever sees it.

Synopsis – This will involve either adjusting the blurb from the query letter or creating a whole new one. We’ll polish it many times over, passing it back and forth with our publisher. (Unless you’re fortunate and your publisher does this for you.)

Cover art – Some authors have more input than others, but often there is a cover form that needs to be filled out that will give the illustrator a place to begin.

Author bio – Even if we have one already, it will need to be polished and publisher approved, as it will appear on both the book and your site.

Our social media sites – We’ll be ramping up our presence, writing blog posts, Tweets, and more in anticipation of our launch. We’ll be establishing our platform while making contacts. This takes time. It takes reaching out to others and building relationships. It takes becoming part of the community and giving back. Networking that’s done right, with comments, reTweets, and posts that support others, involves a lot of writing.

Website – Sometimes we have to construct our own website, comprised of some of the items above and more. We have to let people know who we are so they will feel a connection.

A marketing plan – Sometimes we’ll need one before signing with a publisher. But afterwards, we’ll definitely need to do our research and create a list. There are so many opportunities, and we don’t want to miss an important one.

Letters and emails – We’ll be contacting bloggers, authors, websites, bookstores, reviewers, schools, etc. We’ll need professional introductory letters when asking for reviews or blurbs. This will be an ongoing marketing effort, even after the book is released.

Online tour – Often there is an online tour during the launch, whether set up by us, our publisher, or a publicist. Requests will come in for interviews and guest posts. Each one will need to be different and fresh. And they can’t simply shout ‘buy my book.’ It will take effort to come up with an interesting topic or angle, one that will make readers comfortable with us and more likely to buy our book. We’ll be writing and polishing these for months, sometimes right down to the wire.

Speeches and more – We might be asked to join a conference panel or give a talk at a convention. We might be invited to speak at a school or an event. The last thing we want to do is go in unprepared. (Especially with kids who can eat us alive!)

Review copy edits – Yes, even after all that polishing, we’ll be editing and correcting some more. There’s always that one elusive typo…

There are a million other details that will require our writing skills, from preparing promotional Tweets to bookmark details. We might have to create our own book trailer. Maybe we’re writing up announcement for our local paper. Maybe we’ve started a newsletter that requires a couple hours of writing time each month. Plus our website content needs to be updated. And if you believe the social media stuff ends shortly after the book is released, think again!

Bottom line, there are a lot more words to write after the manuscript is completed. This can overwhelm some authors. But if we go into it with eyes open, prepared and willing, we’ll enjoy the release of our book that much more.

And then guess what? We get to start all over again.

Happy writing!

About the Book:
The ship of legends…

The future is set for Lt. Commander Aden Pendar, poised to secure his own command and marriage to the queen’s daughter. But when the Alliance declares war on their world, Aden finds his plans in disarray and told he won’t make captain. One chance remains–the Dragon. Lost many years prior, the legendary ship’s unique weapon is Hyrath’s only hope. Can Aden find the Dragon, save his people, and prove he’s capable of commanding his own ship?

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

What Are the Kargrandes?

About the Author:

Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design, graphics, and technical editing. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. He’s the author of Amazon Best-Sellers CassaStar, CassaFire, and CassaStorm.

Website | Insecure Writers Support Group | Twitter | Goodreads

-- posted by Susan Sipal, @HP4Writers


  1. Very helpful resource of information, Alex has had several successful book ventures and here has hit on many major points. It's not as easy as it looks, so many talented writers out there... how do you separate yourself from the group?

    Hard work, devotion and determination... that is Alex J. Cavanaugh!

    Jeremy [Retro]
    AtoZ Challenge Co-Host [2015]

    There's no earthly way of knowing.
    Which direction we are going!

    Come Visit: You know you want to know if me or Hollywood... is Nuts?

    1. Appreciate that, Jeremy. It's not as easy as it looks.

  2. Sometimes I think the biggest part of the work doesn't start until after the book is written! The marketing is tough but necessary. Great job in laying it out clearly, Alex. You do a fantastic job with your post-book writing. :)

    1. Thanks, Christine! I know, most of the work comes afterwards.

  3. Sounds daunting, but it's good to see everything laid out in list. If it's worth doing, it's worth doing well, right?

  4. And even with this list, it's tough to understand the reality until you go through it. It's many hours when you feel don't feel like a writer at all.

  5. Great resources and information, Alex. I stumbled through the first time, went "silent commando" mode for the second book when it came to marketing (not a wise choice), and now . . . well, I still in baby-step mode.
    Writing goes beyond the book, and I'm glad you wrote this post about that. :)

  6. Thanks for a really useful post.

  7. Susan, that's very true!

    Tyrean, you're better now!

  8. This is so true. Writing and finishing a story is only half of the journey. The other half is, well, everything else. The whole process can be pretty intimidating even when laid out in a list like this. But hard work pays off, right? :)

  9. Isn't that the truth? Makes me tired thinking about it. Grin.

  10. Your Tweet button does not work. It takes me back to the comments section.

  11. Shoo! That's a LOT of work.
    It's quite daunting to look at that list all at once.
    Alex, when it comes to post-book work, you are king!


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