Getting Started

Image“You need to ask yourself three questions about your collection”

1.  How many copies do I need?

2.  How do I want it to look?

3.  How much am I willing to spend?

-Dan Taylor, independent author

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author’s corner: words from an expert

chain_linksNetworking—connecting or linking to operate interactively—a term becoming more familiar to each of us as we continue to learn and experience its reaping benefits.  Recently I’ve been informed that 80% of people placed in a new career have landed the opportunity due to networking, a tool I will utilize myself as a soon-to-be college graduate.

But, not only will networking bring about career benefits, it will certainly always bring insight from the expert to the beginner.  This being said, beginning independent authors can gain the most expertise from those who have been through the self-publishing process already—those who can inform them of those opportunities to take advantage of, and which to always turn down.

In my own pursuit of self-publishing knowledge, I had the opportunity to ask some questions of a veteran author, one who has been through the traditional publishing process as well as published 11 of his books independently.

author_interviewQ:  Is it difficult for a writer to publish their own book?  What were the steps of the process you went through in publishing your work?  How long did it take to go from manuscript to printed book?

A:  No and yes.  No, it isn’t difficult to get something in print.  Yes, it is more challenging if one wants a higher quality.  And it’s quite challenging to get people to recognize that it exists.

Q:  If an author’s book targets a primary market, how should they go about promoting it to others? Are there any inexpensive ways that an author should take advantage of when marketing their book?

A: Publishing–easy, publishing well–harder, promoting successfully–hardest of all.  A few things I’ve done in the last few days (and even this morning):

  • made and ebook version available on KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) Others can see Amazon for what this does.
  • created an author account on Good Reads
  • signed up to give away 15 free copies of the book on Good Reads
  • created a “sell sheet”
  • sent a copy of the book to about 15 campus pastors on Christian college campuses (I plan to do more)
  • sent copies to bloggers I know of
  • sent copies to other Christian authors–some whom I know and others not

Q:  What are the benefits of self-publishing as opposed to using a traditional publishing company?

A:  pleasing yourself rather than someone else (which can also be a danger).  The turn around speed–14 months with my last book with a publisher from time of final manuscript submission to publication–and 4 months with my most recent self-published book.  Also you get a good cover that satisfies you versus satisfying the publisher, including the making, design, different aesthetic choices.  Also you are controlling the fate of the book and you are maintaining complete copyright rights.

Q:  Some are told that in order to get the best out of their book, they should consider converting their manuscript to an ebook.  Did you decide to do this with any of your books?  Do you feel that this is something author’s should take advantage of? Why?

A:  this is something I am testing myself.  I spent $400 turning a 388 page book into an ebook.  It’s listed with the print version on Amazon.  I will have to see if it pays off or not.  The word is that an increasing number of people buy ebooks, but I have heard recently that this is leveling off.  So we will see what develops.

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don’t let writer’s block be your excuse

Last week I encountered an author who had delayed writing her book for an entire year.  “Writer’s block!” she exclaimed.  It is real, writer’s block does happen.  Because of it this author’s frustration had grown so much that she allowed the process of her book to come to a screeching halt.  Most of the writer’s I’ve heard from have experienced this phenomenon in one way or another, but it’s really up to the author how they will go about handling it.  One should never allow writer’s block to be an excuse for not writing.

writers-block21

 The key is to leave your computer, pen or paper behind, but keep your mind in that writing mode.  Allow yourself to have a break from writing, while engaging yourself in activities that will stimulate and shape your writing process.  This writer explains 23 tips that don’t involve writing that will do just that—give you a break without taking off your thinking cap.

tumblr_lxsa87a5Nm1qd9a66o1_500Reading someone else s work, observing others through a little people-watching or getting in some outdoor exercise are a few that I found to be the most effective.  Updating your website or blog is another great activity that can give you a break on the writing yet further your marketing goals.

Let yourself use these activities for the break you deserve, but in moderation.  Quick intervals will keep you away from that procrastination fever that can easily take control.  Don’t let the “I-should-be-writing-but-I’d-rather-be-doing-something-else” thought turn into your writer’s block!

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How self-publishing works

As mentioned, the focus of my blog is to provide some insight for writers who might be considering publishing their own work.  As someone who is new to self-publishing, I claim no expertise on the topic, but would instead like to take others along my own journey of discovery in this rapidly growing domain.  I think it might be best to start at the very beginning:  how does self-publishing work?  As this becomes a popular means of distributing a book, most are probably familiar with hearing about the topic from news articles or other writers, but many might not be aware of all the ins and outs of independent publishing.  So, let’s start at the beginning!

Self-publishing can be defined as, “The publication of any book or other media by the author of the work, without the involvement of an established third-party publisher.”  This means that the author is responsible for the whole process of bringing their book to life, including how they want the book to look, how much they feel it should cost, as well as distributing and marketing it for readers.  Some authors choose to tackle this process solo, while others are guided by companies that walk them through the steps or offer services of assistance.

If you’re like me, your first question might be how much is this going to cost?  This can be a hard question to answer depending on which routes you choose to take as the author.  Go ahead and Google self-publishing and you will get an abundance of companies claiming to offer a reasonable price for their services- the next steps are up to you, this whole process is indeed in your hands!  Liberating or overwhelming?  You’ll decide quickly I’m sure.

Here it claims that today, one can create a book of decent quality for around $5,000.  (Also an interesting video from an author who’s been there)

If you decide to get assistance from a company, the prices will not be made clear until you have requested an estimate- they will need to take in account the number of pages, artwork and illustrations, etc.

The three primary ways to get your work out there are print-on-demand, paperback publishing, and e-publishing.  E-books have skyrocketed because of the easy process and the fact it won’t cost a cent to upload your manuscript to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashword etc.  E-book conversion could be a book in itself so I will discuss the process at a later time.

Print-on-demand (POD) or publish on demand, is a print and distribution plan that enables an author to have their books printed and shipped as individual orders are made.  This means that books can be printed and ordered one at a time- a great option for an author who is writing a memoir or book that they intend only for family members or a small audience.

This is just our general starting point.  Look forward to a wide array of entries providing insight on ordering an ISBN, typesetting information, cover design and layout as well as some tips for the often overlooked aspect of publishing—publicity & marketing!

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Highly Anticipated Indie Books of 2013

In the spirit of a new self publishing trend, I’ve often found myself searching around to find some of these well-known titles written by independent authors.  This list is proof enough that writers are now choosing their own route of publishing… here are 500 highly anticipated indie books of 2013 to look forward to!

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a transition to self-publishing

2011 marked the year when self-publishing books took flight.  In prior years, becoming a well-known author was hard work, requiring a lot of dedication, money and often a bit of luck to be picked up by a traditional publisher.  Self-publishing your book was seen as a last resort, but now, many authors are choosing the option over the former because of its flexibility and ease.  In fact, more than 200,000 titles were published in this last year. Self-published books are topping the charts of Amazon.com and, four self-published authors had seven novels on the New York Times ebook bestseller list. It is being said that,“everyone has at least one book in them, and now we can buy them.”   

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“Whatever you m…

“Whatever you may have heard, self-publishing is not a short cut to anything. Except maybe insanity. Self-publishing, like every other kind of publishing, is hard work. You don’t wake up one morning good at it. You have to work for that.”
― Zoe Winters, Smart Self-Publishing: Becoming an Indie Author

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