There are a lot of Search Engines out there. I happen to prefer Google, so that's what I'm going to use in this post, but feel free to substitute your search engine of choice whereever you see the word Google.
As an Indie Author, you will find many reasons to use Google, but do you use it as fully as you can? I'm going to offer some options that you may not have considered as a self-published or Indie author.
Before you even start your novel, you should be using Google regardless of if you're a plotter or a pantser. Yes, you will use it as you go along: What do swans eat? How do you fix a transmission? How common are green eyes? As a plotter, you will probably do some of this research early, but even pantsers will research as they write.
I'm talking about even more basic research.
Book Titles: Has your preferred title been used before? What do you see when you do a search on it? It's perfectly fine to use the same title again, but you should consider the pros and cons.
Author Name: What do you intend to use for an author name? Your own? Again, search Google and see what comes up. If your name is LeBron James, you might want to use a pseudonym. Even shortening it to L. James brings up author E.L. James and so on. Again, this is something to consider.
Character Names: What are you using for the names of your main characters? If you live in a bubble, you might want to Google 'Christian Grey' before you use the name for the sweet vicar who solves the mystery in your detective novel.
Pictures: If you decide to use a photograph for your cover or inside your book, you should be checking Google. Most cover artists are ethical and use stock photos that they have the rights to. But that doesn't mean that someone else hasn't decided to use that picture you wanted for your cover to do a Imodium commercial. Or the model became a porn star after she gave you the rights to that perfect picture.
It's easy to check: right click on your photo on the internet and select 'search Google for image' to see what comes up.
Once you have finished your book, you need to do more research. There's marketing to do. Maybe you decide that you want to send the book out to Agents or Publishers. All sorts of people contact you with offers; how do you know which are good to go forward with?
Editors and Preditors: Bookmark this site ( http://pred-ed.com/ ). They research for you and it's not just editors. They look at contests, promotions, magazines, book stores, agents, and much more. Always, always, always check here first!
KBoards: This is the community forum for authors. There are a lot of good boards and forums, but the best part is that authors share their experiences. It's a good place to look for more information about possible editors, agents, graphic artists, etc. who might leave you with a bad experience.
Otherwise, just Google and see what comes up. Like any reviews or comments, you should make your own judgements based on what you find. But if you don't look, you'll never know that there is an issue until you get a certified letter in the mail.
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