Now The Real Work Begins

Vaughn C. Hardacker

My seventh thriller novel, RIPPED OFF, is scheduled for release. I believe that one of the biggest shocks new writers get is when they learn that writing a novel is only the beginning of the process. Most writers enjoy writing, it’s what we do… many of us do not enjoy selling I speak with many of my colleagues, and most of us have a tendency to isolate… we do it every time we sit down to put words on paper.  Unless you are Stephen King, Michael Connelly, or Robert Crais, you must do most of the promotion. I have often been told, “You’re one of the best writers nobody has heard of.”) How does this all come together? The steps (as I see them) are as follows:


  1. The idea. What is the basic plot? In RIPPED OFF, it was “What would happen if, after being divorced for the fourth time, a retired hitman learns that his financial manager and accountant have stolen his retirement funds?” The step includes researching specific areas needed for the plot to be credible.
  2.  I’m a pantser, so I begin writing, believing that the story will take me where it wants to go. Therefore, I do not outline. I have tried many times but have yet to complete an outline.
  3. Finish the first draft.
  4. Edit the first draft.
  5. Develop a query letter. Query agents and/or publishers.
  6. Once accepted, await the editor’s comments. Make corrections as needed (rewrite as needed).

    Coming January 2023

  7. When the publisher gives you a release date. (I find this to be the most challenging part of the process), develop a marketing plan (campaign). The campaign should include: (a) how many ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) will be required. (b) Develop a list of people to receive ARCs. Consider people who are published authors, book reviewers, etc. (DO NOT SEND COPIES TO RELATIVES… they will tell you what you want to hear, not what you need to hear.).

  8. Design documents for a mailing campaign. I write a cover letter, a press release, a possible poster that can be used for appearances at bookstores and libraries, an 8 X 10 author photo, an 8 X 10 cover photo of the book’s cover, and a USB drive with all of the aforementioned.
  9. Consider what promotional items you might hand out at personal appearances, conferences, etc.
  10. Mail the package to places and people who are in a position to assist you.

We aren’t finished yet. If you don’t have a webpage, get one. I recommend having it professionally designed. It is best if you pay a bit more to purchase a URL and a secure server. If you obtain a site via a provider, Yahoo, Verizon, etc., they will provide you with both. However, you will not own them, the provider will.

Of all this, the most critical thing is obtaining book reviews {step 7. (b) above.} from known authors and book reviewers. Some will charge you a fee for them. Your publisher may assist here, sending review copies to reviewers such as Publisher Weekly.  (Do not assume that paying for a review will guarantee a positive one. Reviewers know that their success depends on their credibility, which comes from giving accurate, unbiased reviews.) There are many online places to get reviews, Bookbub, and any professional organizations to which you belong (International Thriller Writers–ITW). Approach media outlets such as local radio and television stations, and offer to do an interview either via phone or in person. Don’t overlook word of mouth. I have gone so far as to give complimentary copies to people who are in a position to spread the word.

Finally, don’t overlook Amazon. If you don’t have an author page with them, get one. Amazon is another place to obtain reviews.

If anyone is interested in obtaining a free copy of my campaign package, contact me via my website https://www.vaughnchardacker .net.

About Vaughn C. Hardacker

Vaughn C. Hardacker has published seven novels and numerous short stories. He is a member of the New England Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America, Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance, and the International Thriller writers. Three times he has been a finalist in the Maine Literary Awards Crime Fiction category, SNIPER in 2015, THE FISHERMAN in 2016, and WENDIGO for the 2018 award. The second installment of his Ed Traynor series, MY BROTHER'S KEEPER, was released in July 2019 and is available through all major booksellers. A signed copy can be ordered directly from Vaughn ( RIPPED OFF is his most recently published crime/thriller, it was released on January 25, 2023 by Encircle Publications. He is a veteran of the U. S. Marines and served in Vietnam. He holds degrees from Northern Maine Technical College, the University of Maine and Southern New Hampshire University. He lives in Stockholm, Maine.
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3 Responses to Now The Real Work Begins

  1. John Clark says:

    Excellent and thoughtful advice, thank you Vaughn

  2. Thanx, John. I hope it is helpful.

  3. Pingback: Now The Real Work Begins | Tough Guys Write

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