I woke this morning to grey skies and a half-mowed yard.  As I write this, the rain keeps coming down in a steady drizzle, leaving the roads slick with oily puddles and my lawn thick and green and completely wild-looking, with weeds poking up through the grass in some kind of chlorophyll-rich reminder something along the lines of you really should have thought this one through before we got to this point.  It’s not that I haven’t put thought and a little muscle into mowing my yard–I picked up one of those engine-less little reel mowers that require a lot more pushing because I thought it would be a good and simple way to incorporate a little more exercise and a little less carbon exhaust into my routine … but the end result has been I mow a lot less, it takes a lot longer to finish the yard, and the lawn looks like an overgrown mess.  Sometimes a retired neighbor of mine will even take pity on me and use his ride-on lawnmower to take care of my jungle while everyone else is away at work.


You might be thinking, what’s the big deal?  Why the long monologue about your yard, Elizabeth?  How could this possibly relate to self-publishing?  The answer lies in the planning:

Making publishing decisions early will help your end result.

I’m talking about editing and putting together a strong, custom cover design.  These things will make a book far more successful than a book without–and putting them together at the last minute or even in the frenetic rush of the middle of your publication process can hamstring your ability to create a truly high-quality, attractive final product.  But your book’s appearance isn’t the only beneficiary of planning ahead: as others have said before–and no doubt with more panache–you simply can’t wait to start marketing until after you’ve published your book.  I mean, you can wait, but your plan is likely to fall apart under the pressures of the day-to-day realities of working, writing your next book, promoting your current book, and managing all of the other intricacies associated with sales … if you don’t have a sound plan and well-established marketing strategies.

Your marketing plan will help you to determine if your targeted audience is going to want a paperback or a hardcover, for example–and this knowledge creates a feedback loop to how you approach the publishing process which is far easier to exploit if you’ve started your marketing and planning process in advance.  What kind of cover design would appeal to your targeted audience?  You’ll know a lot more about them if you’re already in contact, before your book rolls off of the (digital, sometimes) printing press!

Perhaps this subject is only on my mind because I’m staring out my window at my soggy excuse for a yard, and wishing I’d had the foresight to have a plan for days like today–days where I don’t have the energy to mow a large lot with a little reel push mower, and when the weather exacerbates all of my finest procrastinatory tendencies.  Or perhaps it’s part of a larger whole–a larger set of decisions that I, and every other person working in the self-publishing world, face every day.  We can either let life get ahead of us, or we can feed those parts of ourselves that give us the foresight and energy to get ahead of it!  Some days its harder than others, but I hope you always feel convinced that …


You are not alone. ♣︎


ElizabethABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 18 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, pre-production specialists, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.

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