Preparing to Launch Your First Novel

By Kathleen Jones, The Quirky Novelist. Please sign up for free updates at ‪ 

You’re finished writing (and perhaps editing) your first novel, you’ve set up your online platform . . . now what? Exactly what do you have to do to publish, sell, and market your book?

You draw up a schedule filled with tasks and deadlines to keep you on track. Here’s a very brief—and definitely incomplete—schedule that a novelist might follow:

  • Month 1: Submit your manuscript to literary agents.
  • Month 4: Follow up with agents.
  • Month 5: If you haven’t yet found an agent, submit your manuscript to book publishers.
  • Month 8: Follow up with publishers.
  • Month 9: If you haven’t found an agent or a publisher, you might consider self-publishing your book. If you choose this route, set a publication date and apply for an ISBN (or two ISBNs if you’re publishing both an ebook and print book). You can also choose to register copyright for your book. Once you have this information, create cover copy and a title page in Word. Next, hire a cover designer.
  • Months 10 to 12: Once you’ve hired a cover designer, ask him or her to create Advance Review Copy (ARC) and final versions of the cover for both the print book and the ebook. Be sure to add the ISBN to the back cover. Hire a formatter for the ebook and print book.
  • Months 13 to 14: Using a program such as CreateSpace, print several copies of the ARC version of the book; be sure to use the ARC version of the cover. Search for prospective reviewers to review your book before it’s published. Ask the reviewers to email their reviews to you and send them the ARC copies as soon as you receive them in the mail.
  • Month 15: Follow up with the ARC reviewers to see if they received their books. Contact PR firms for blog tours; if they turn you down, consider creating your own blog tour.
  • Month 16: Finalize plans an set up a schedule for the blog tour.
  • Months 17 and 18: Place ads for your book and start the blog tour. At the conclusion of the tour, email each blog to thank them for participating.
  • Month 19: Email ARC reviewers who have not yet sent their reviews to you.
  • Month 20: First, publish the ebook. Next, publish the printed book; be sure to use the final version of the cover and text, not the ARC versions. Add the reviews (from the ARC reviewers) to your book pages on Amazon and Goodreads. Announce the publication of your novel on your social media accounts (author webpage, Twitter, Facebook, etc.), and add your book’s cover, blurb, and link to its purchase page on Amazon to your author site. Finally, send a personal email to the ARC reviewers to thank them.

Then write your next novel and start the process all over again!

Kathleen Jones’ first novel, a midlife comic romance set in the world of stand-up comedy, will be published in April 2018 by Moonshine Cove Publishing, LLC. Visit Kathleen Jones, The Quirky Novelist, online at   or on Twitter at and sign up for free updates at ‪ 




Photo credit: Underwood Typewriter via photopin (license)


Author: kath1960

A lover of words who writes from the heart. Welcome to my site! I’m a refugee from the corporate world, a lover of books, dogs, and 1940’s/1950’s vintage clothing (not necessarily in that order!), a wife and a mom . . . and, oh yeah, a novelist! My first novel, a lighthearted romance set in the world of stand-up comedy, will be published by Moonshine Cove in April 2018.

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