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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: self-publishing, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 26 - 50 of 267
26. Self-Published ebook Competition

WD-SP-ebook_600px1

Writer’s Digest hosts the first-ever self-published ebook competition — the  Self-Published eBook Awards. This self-published competition spotlights today’s self-published works and honors self-published authors.Whether you’re a professional writer, a part-time freelancer or a self-starting student, here’s your chance to enter Writer’s Digest’s newest competition exclusively for self-published ebooks.

Deadline: October 1, 2013

Enter your book into one these categories:

  • Fiction (Includes but not limited to Mainstream/Literary Fiction, Children’s/Picture books, Genre Fiction, Middle-Grade/Young Adult books)
  • Nonfiction (Includes but not limited to Reference Books, Cookbooks, Life Stories)

One Grand Prize Winner will receive:

  • $2,000 cash
  • Interview with winner featured in Writer’s Digest magazine
  • Winner’s name on the cover of Writer’s Digest magazine (subscriber issues)
  • $200 worth of Writer’s Digest books
  • 30-minute platform & marketing consultation with Chuck Sambuchino, author of Create Your Writer Platform
  • Subscription to Writer’s Digest magazine

The First-Place Winner in each category will receive:

  • $500 in prize money
  • Recognition in Writer’s Digest magazine
  • $100 worth of Writer’s Digest Books
  • Subscription to Writer’s Digest magazine

The Second-Place Winner in each category will receive:

  • $250 in prize money
  • Recognition in Writer’s Digest magazine
  • $50 worth of Writer’s Digest Books
  • Subscription to Writer’s Digest magazine

Honorable Mention Winners will receive $50 worth of Writer’s Digest Books and be promoted on www.writersdigest.com.

All entrants will receive a brief commentary from the judges.

THE RULES:

1. The competition is open to all English-language self-published books for which the authors have paid the full cost of publication, or the cost of publication has been paid for by a grant or as part of a prize.

2. You must enter online. Acceptable file types include .epub, .mobi, .ipa, etc.

3. Entries will be evaluated on content, writing quality and overall quality of production and appearance.

4. All books published or revised between 2008 and 2013 are eligible. (Writer’s Digest may demand proof of eligibility of semifinalists.)

5. We accept check, money order or credit card payment for the required judging fee. Regular entry fees are $85 for the first entry, $60 for each additional entry Payment must be received before a title goes to the judges.

6. All Entries submitted must be postmarked by October 1, 2013. All winners will be notified by December 31, 2013.

7. Judges reserve the right to re-categorize entries.

8. Books which have previously won awards from Writers Digest are not eligible.

9. Employees of F+W Media, Inc. and their immediate families are not eligible. Books published by Abbott Press are not eligible to participate.

10. Writer’s Digest is not responsible for the loss, damage or return of any books submitted to the competition.

I know the fee to submit is high, but the rewards could be great. Good luck!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: awards, Competition, Contest, opportunity, Places to sumit, Self-publishing Tagged: e-book contest, Writer's Digest e-book Awards

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27. Self-publishing And Web Presence

Since I've been maintaining the Connecticut Children's Literature Calendar, I've been noticing an odd little quirk regarding the web presence of some of our local self-published authors. While it is common for self-published authors to have websites and blogs as sophisticated as anything you'll see in the world of traditional publishing, as well as Facebook pages, Google+ accounts, and Twitter feeds, it's also not unusual to see some self-published authors who have done nothing at all to market themselves on the Internet. I'll see authors making appearances at bookstores and when I try to find some information on them to link to within the CCLC, there is nothing. If I make a big effort (and I shouldn't have to--really, I shouldn't), I may find a small article in a local paper about Joe/Josephine Blow having published a book. And that's it. But sometimes I don't even find that.

What's going on here? you may ask. I certainly did.

In some cases, we may be talking about very inexperienced writers who are living the write-it-and-they-will-come fantasy. They may not realize that writers need to do something more than publish a book in order to find readers.

In other cases, we may be talking hobbyists, people who just want the experience of seeing their names on a book. Though why those folks are then making an appearance at a bookstore is a mystery. 

In either case, if they sat down and tried to come up with a plan to make it difficult for readers to find them, they couldn't do better than what they're doing, which is nothing.

I, of course, am interested in children's and YA writers for my children's literature calendar. I have occasionally come across writers who have chosen ambiguous titles and covers for their children's books. Unless the bookstore clearly labels these authors' events for children, and sometimes they don't, potential visitors/buyers can't even tell what age group the book is for and, thus, whether or not they're interested. If, on top of that, these authors have no web presence, there is no way to determine what their work is or who it is for.

Now, yes, traditionally published authors may not market themselves professionally, either. But the situations I have stumbled upon have all involved writers of the self-published persuasion.

I've had to put in some extra time and effort tracking down these people this past year. For the sake of my own work, I've recently made a couple of decisions: 1. If I can't find an obvious children's author's website immediately, I will list the event with no link for the author. 2. If I can't determine from the bookstore's marketing that an author has written a children's book, I can no longer justify taking the time to hunt down that information. That author's event just won't be listed.

Not only do these authors miss opportunities to connect with readers because they haven't put in the work to market themselves on the Internet, they also miss opportunities for professional networking. It isn't necessary to do every single form of Internet marketing, but it's hard to understand why someone wouldn't do at least one thing.


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28. Getting Ready to Self-Publish?

tsps-where-authors-get-help1

The above slide points out two things I think are extremely important to the success of your self-published book. IMO, cutting corners on the cover design and copy editing can make a big difference in how many copies you sell.

The report found that getting help, paid or unpaid, with editing, copy editing and proofreading provided a 13 per cent bump in earnings. Those who added cover design to that list saw a 34 per cent increase over the average. Interestingly, ebook formatting help added only an extra 1 per cent.

It was estimated that about 68 per cent of authors who’d spent money on their book would recoup that cost within 12 months. For the rest, no amount of lipstick could improve the story. So make sure your foundation is good and go through all the steps you would to get a solid, interesting story.

Writers with agents earn three times more than those without. Romance writers earn 120 per cent of the average, but science fiction, fantasy and literary writers do much worse earning 38 per cent, 32 per cent and 20 per cent respectively.

Those who had already had books put out by traditional publishers earned 2.5 times more than authors who’d been rejected by traditional publishers or who had skipped the traditional route all together.

The Taleist survey found that most self-publishers are “old hands” with 40 per cent having been writing for more than ten years, and 60 per cent for more than five years. Only one in ten were newbies, writing for less than a year.

Getting positive books reviews is important. In book stores like Amazon, getting reviews is key to getting your book recognised by the site’s recommendation algorithm. The survey found that those authors who submitted to book review blogs has slightly higher than average reviews and revenue. But those authors who submitted their book to popular reviewers on Amazon received 25 per cent more reviews than average and 32 per cent more revenue.

What respondents did to seek reviews actively:

ts4-2_seekingreviews

The authors who did best, however, did everything except pay for reviews: They gave away review copies, submitted to book review blogs and the mainstream press, sought popular reviewers on Amazon and asked their readers through email lists etc.

The results of the recent self publishing survey by Taleist.com shows Authors who submitted to popular reviewers on Amazon received 25% more reviews than average and earned 32% more revenue for their latest release.  But there can be potential risks, so spend the time to do your research. Getting a review for your fantasy book with a top Amazon reviewer who doesn’t like fantasy is not going to help your book.

Here is the link to the top Amazon reviewers: http://www.amazon.com/review/top-reviewers.

Did you know you do not need a Kindle to read an ebook from Amazon. Under its promise of “buy once, read anywhere”, Amazon provides free apps to read Kindle books on computers, smartphones, and tablets. Even if you have a Nook, you can use the Amazon App to read their books and everyday they have four Kindle book deals. These apps can be downloaded from Amazon here.

Here is the link to purchase Not a Gold Rush – The Taleist Self-Publishing Survey [Kindle Edition]

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Advice, article, marketing, need to know, Process, Self-publishing, Tips Tagged: Importance of cover Design, Romance Writers earn more money, self- Publishing Statistics, Taleist Self-Publishing Survey

5 Comments on Getting Ready to Self-Publish?, last added: 6/27/2013
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29. Out There: The Wrong Goal of Self-Publishing


START YOUR NOVEL

Six Winning Steps Toward a Compelling Opening Line, Scene and Chapter
Start Your Novel by Darcy Pattison
  • 29 Plot Templates
  • 2 Essential Writing Skills
  • 100 Examples of Opening Lines
  • 7 Weak Openings to Avoid
  • 4 Strong Openings to Use
  • 3 Assignments to Get Unstuck
  • 7 Problems to Resolve
The Math adds up to one thing: a publishable manuscript. Download a sample chapter on your Kindle.

“I just want my novel out there.”
Ouch.
Too many times lately, I have heard people say this about their self-publishing efforts. Out there. I just want it out there. What does that even mean?

It means a couple things:
First, it means that the writer can find closure to his/her writing process. It means there is a finished product and the creative process has ended. Now, it’s up to everyone else to do whatever they will do with that product: ignore it, read it, praise it, trash it. But the writer can move on. There’s value in this, of course, to have something finished and not on the back burner, to have it stop nagging.

Second, the writer usually means that the story, novel, picture book, or nonfiction book will find readers. Here’s where the writer is wrong. The book will not find readers by itself. Guaranteed.

In their fascinating book, DECISIVE, Chip and Dan Heath talk about one flaw in the decision making process, namely, that people overestimate their own success and ignore solid data in front of them. In fact, most self-published books sell less than 100 copies. If your book is OUT THERE without any support, you will NOT sell copies. Your friends and family–because they love you–may buy copies, but that’s usually the 100 copies that get sold. Do not make this mistake (and how many ways and how strongly can I say this?), you will not sell copies if you do not market.
I just want it out there." Death knell for a self-published book
OUT THERE–publishing a book without marketing a book is not going to work.
Many of you will ignore this fact: you will convince yourself that your story is different and will beat the odds. OK. Do what you have to do. Put it OUT THERE. But it will not sell.

Unless.

A self-published book needs marketing. That means the publishing house (that’s you!) needs a platform, a network of connections that are proven places to sell a book. The author (that’s you!) needs to be working to support the publisher (Oh, that’s you, too!) to sell the book. This can be accomplished through any number of means: catalogs, speaking engagements and back of the room sales (BOTR), online venues, guest blogging, schools, special sales to corporations, gift shops, and on and on. The venues for sales of books are endless. But you must focus somewhere and work to get your book into those venues.

OUT THERE? You want your book out there? Get it out of your head by doing a small printing and giving copies to friends and family as Christmas gifts. But if you really want it OUT THERE in the world wide market place, get ready to work.

Instead, you should be saying, “I want to work hard to get my story into the hands of the right readers.” Now THAT is a worthy goal of self-publishing.

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30. Who Can Get You Into A Bookstore?

Last week I briefly mentioned a blog post I'd read called Eisler on Digital Denial. Author Barry Eisler wrote about his contention that the one major benefit traditional publishers can offer writers is distribution to "real" stores. Some folks disagreed with him. Tweeting was involved. It was all quite exciting.

While eating lunch just now, I stumbled upon Self-Publishing is for Control Freaks at the Forbes website. It appears to have been published a couple of days after Eisler's post at A Newbie's Guide to Publishing. The article is about a report on what authors look for when deciding whether to self-publish or seek out a traditional publisher. It concludes with this: "However, according to the report, distribution is far and away the most important factor and that should be comforting to publishers because, at this point, established publishers are the only reliable path into bricks-and-mortar bookstores, where a large proportion of sales are still made."

Only four comments follow the Forbes article. Eisler's article at A Newbie's Guide to Publishing got 185. Not that it's a competition, but either one readership found the concept waaaay more interesting than the other, or one site has more readership to begin with. Or something.

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31. Yeah, It's The Wild West Out There

I'm still recovering from a day of illness and hoped to stretch out with a couple of different kinds of research, which is like resting but different. But then I became glued to my desktop reading Eisler on Digital Denial at A Newbie's Guide to Publishing. And I scanned all the comments as well, which is where I read M.J. Rose's line, "It's the wild west out there."

That makes the exhaustion I've been feeling over publishing and marketing and everything I'm doing other than writing seem at least a little more interesting and exciting. A little pep me up.

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32. New Interview On Self-Publishing Backlist Titles

Tanita Davis and Sarah Stevenson have posted an interview/conversation with me at their collaborative blog, Finding Wonderland: The Writing YA Weblog.  The subject? Self-publishing Saving the Planet & Stuff. Note the great intro story about finding a self-published gem among the SFF Cybil nominees a few years ago.

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33. Weekend Links

This is an all self-pub Weekend Links.

Hugh Howey explains how the big Wool deal came about. This story will send tens--if not hundreds--of thousands of people into self-publishing.

John Winters has not had Hugh Howey's experience. Not even close. Tens--if not hundreds--of thousands of people should read this, but probably won't.

Hugh Howey kind of rebutts John Winters. I agree with a lot of what Howey has to say, except for the part about "learn your craft while producing material. You win over your fans directly."  He compares learning to write with learning to play a musical instrument and perform with same. "How many people teach themselves to play the guitar? We celebrate this, don’t we?"..."They go on to strum on the sidewalk with a hat by their feet much like someone might blog and hope for a donation. They play small venues on open-mic nights that we can think of as free books on Smashwords. They get a few paying gigs, which is like self-publishing on Amazon." He carries the comparison on until he gets to "This is how artists are born. They are self-made. They perform for people. They learn and improve as they do both."

Here's the big difference that he's not considering: Musicians may be learning performance and improving their performance as they perform but they have to have learned some kind of skill before that point or they aren't going to get many opportunities to perform in the first place, even on sidewalks. What's more, because we're talking performance, once that performance is over, it's gone. (Unless someone records it on their iPhones, of course. But try to see my point.) They are able to practice performance in public, but also somewhat privately because in most cases the public can't go over and over what they did and keep assessing it. With writers, it's different. You've committed something to paper or you've digitized it and the public has it and can keep looking at it. While everyone should continue to learn and improve throughout a career, if you are taking the attitude that it's appropriate for you to truly learn to write while you are publishing, then the public can be reminded over and over that your writing wasn't of professional quality with that first book. That you weren't really that good with the second one. Malcolm Gladwell writes in Outliers about how many hours the Beatles spent performing before they hit the big time. But they were performing in a strip club in Germany. How many people were able to hear those performances after the fact? The Beatles actually had a certain amount of privacy in which to perfect their performance skills. Personally, I think writers ought to consider looking for a similar type of privacy to learn their craft.

The Self-Published Authors Share 5 Things They Learned in 2012 series at Live Write Thrive Note that a few of these people stress the need for editing.

Some info on self-publishing in paper  from Maria Murnane

Info on making digital picture books at e is for book

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34. What Are the Best Resources for Self-Publishers?


So. I'm embarking on a project to self-publish a Guide to Writing a Novel.

What are the best resources for self-publishers? What are your favorite blogs, message boards, and books?

Art: The bookbinder by Anonymous

71 Comments on What Are the Best Resources for Self-Publishers?, last added: 4/8/2013
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35. WOOL – Self-Publishing Success

WoolWe have been discussing Self-Published books for the last few weeks and we have been talking for months about how the publishing industry is changing, so I thought I should make sure you don’t miss this article written by Wall Street Journal’s Alexandra Alter. It is an excellent article and one you really should read (the whole thing). It is long, but worth the five minutes of time. If for some reason you can’t take the time to read it, click on the above link and at least listen to the interview with Ms. Alter about her article.  But in the article, she talks about how Hugh Howey got his book off the ground.

This just might be the article that keeps you going when things seem bleak. I just ordered Part One  of WOOL on Amazon.  It is free for download to your Kindle.

Simon & Schuster has put down six figures for print rights to a post-apocalyptic thriller called “Wool” that it believes could draw the same readers that made “The Hunger Games” trilogy a success.

Simon & Schuster’s print-only editions of Hugh Howey’s Wool, which brought in over a million dollars as a self-published ebook was published yesterday. Howey’s long holdout for a traditional publishing deal came a reality and allowed him to keep his ebook rights.

Hugh Howey’s postapocalyptic thriller “Wool” has sold more than half a million copies and generated more than 5,260 Amazon reviews. Mr. Howey has raked in more than a million dollars in royalties and sold the film rights to “Alien” producer Ridley Scott. And Simon & Schuster hasn’t even released the book yet.

In a highly unusual deal, Simon & Schuster acquired print publication rights to “Wool” while allowing Mr. Howey to keep the e-book rights himself. Mr. Howey self-published “Wool” as a serial novel in 2011, and took a rare stand by refusing to sell the digital rights. Last year, he turned down multiple seven-figure offers from publishers before reaching a mid-six-figure, print-only deal with Simon & Schuster.

“I had made seven figures on my own, so it was easy to walk away,” says Mr. Howey, 37, a college dropout who worked as a yacht captain, a roofer and a bookseller before he started self-publishing. “I thought, ‘How are you guys going to sell six times what I’m selling now?’ “

It’s a sign of how far the balance of power has shifted toward authors in the new digital publishing landscape. Self-published titles made up 25% of the top-selling books on Amazon last year. Four independent authors have sold more than a million Kindle copies of their books, and 23 have sold more than 250,000, according to Amazon.

Publishing houses that once ignored independent authors are now furiously courting them. In the past year, more than 60 independent authors have landed contracts with traditional publishers. Several won seven-figure advances. A handful have negotiated deals that allow them to continue selling e-books on their own, including romance writers Bella Andre and Colleen Hoover, who have each sold more than a million copies of their books.

Print-only deals remain extremely rare. Few publishers want to part with the fastest-growing segment of the industry. E-book sales for adult fiction and nonfiction grew by 36% in the first three quarters of 2012, compared with the previous year. Mass-market paperback sales shrank by 17% in the same period, while hardcover sales declined by 2.4%, according to a recent report from the Association of American Publishers.

When “Wool” hits bookstores next Tuesday, publishing industry insiders will be watching the experiment closely. Simon & Schuster will release a $15 paperback and a $26 hardcover simultaneously, competing directly against Mr. Howey’s digital edition, which costs $5.99.

“We would have preferred to own all the rights, but that wasn’t going to happen,” says Simon & Schuster President and Publisher Jonathan Karp. “It was a very unusual circumstance.”

“Wool” became a viral hit last winter, a few months after Mr. Howey began publishing the five-part series on Amazon. The novel takes place in a postapocalyptic future where a few thousand remaining humans live in a giant, 144-story underground silo. Couples who want to have a child have to enter a lottery; tickets are distributed only when someone dies. Citizens who break the law are sent outside to choke to death on the toxic air. Those who are sent to their deaths are forced to clean the grime off the digital sensors that transmit grainy images of the ruined landscape to a screen inside the silo. The images are meant to remind residents that the world beyond the silo is deadly, but some begin to suspect their leaders are lying to them about what’s outside and how the world came to ruin.

Mr. Howey says he was watching cable news one day when he came up with the idea of a future where people get all of their information from a single, unreliable screen.

“Wool” landed just as the entertainment industry was searching for a high-concept, dystopian hit like Suzanne Collins’s young-adult “Hunger Games” trilogy or Justin Cronin’s postapocalyptic vampire novel “The Passage.” (Mr. Cronin blurbed “Wool,” calling it “an epic feat of imagination.”) The serial format helped build buzz and anticipation among binge readers who were desperate for the next installment, while the 99-cent price tag made each installment an easy impulse buy. “Wool” was the most favorably reviewed book on Amazon in 2012, with an average rating of 4.8 out of five stars. The novel seems to appeal to both men and women, and has attracted hard-core science fiction fans as well as general readers, much like “The Hunger Games.”

Mr. Howey comes across as a charming, self-deprecating goofball (he posted a video of himself doing ballet on his lawn on YouTube after he signed his publishing deal), but he’s proven to be a savage negotiator and slick marketer. He sent free copies of “Wool” to book bloggers and reviewers at Goodreads, a social-media site for avid readers. Early raves prompted more people to try the book, and the reviews snowballed. “Wool” now has more than 12,500 ratings and around 2,200 reviews on Goodreads. He hosted an “Ask Me Anything” session on the popular website Reddit, fielding users’ questions for more than 12 hours. He encouraged fan art and fan fiction set in the “Wool” universe; his readers have designed book covers and written their own novella-length takes on the story. He conscripted 30 of his most ardent fans to be “beta” readers who edit early drafts of his books for free.

Mr. Howey grew up in Monroe, N.C., the son of a farmer and a schoolteacher. As a teenager he devoured popular science fiction books like “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” and “Ender’s Game,” and always had a wild imagination. He studied physics and English at the College of Charleston, but dropped out his junior year to sail to the Bahamas. He cycled through a series of odd jobs, working as a yacht captain, a roofer, and a technician for an audio-video company. Four years ago, he decided to give writing a shot. He and his wife were living in a 750-square foot house in Boone, N.C. He was unemployed; his wife, Amber Lyda, was working as a psychologist. He had an idea for a story about a young spaceship pilot who travels across the galaxy in search of her missing father. He sold the novel, “Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue,” to a small Indiana publisher for less than a thousand dollars. Sales were meager.

“When he first published ‘Molly Fyde,’ I’d call his wife and say, ‘How many books has he sold? Should I go to Amazon and buy three more?’” says his mother, Gay Murrill, who owns a yarn shop in Charleston.

Mr. Howey kept trying. He got a 30-hour-a-week job at a university bookstore that paid only $10 an hour but gave him some flexibility. He got up at two or three in the morning to write, and wrote through his lunch hour and after dinner. He designed his own cover art, enlisting his wife and sister to pose in photos. He would often jolt up in bed in the middle of the night to scribble down ideas.

“It was almost a compulsion for him,” says Ms. Lyda. Ms. Lyda said she pleaded with him to leave his pen open on his nightstand, because the clicking noise of his pen kept waking her up.

“Wool” started as a short story that Mr. Howey dashed off in three weeks. He posted it on Amazon for 99 cents in July 2011. Within three months, the story had sold 1,000 copies. Mr. Howey was stunned.

“I told my wife, ‘Baby, we’re going to be able to pay a couple of bills off this short story,’ ” he said.

Readers begged for a sequel, and in November, Mr. Howey released another installment. He sold more than 3,000 copies that month. The next month, he released two more installments and sold nearly 10,000 copies total. In January, he released the final installment, for $2.99, and published all five as a single volume, for $5.99. Collectively, he sold 23,000 copies of all the editions that month. “Wool” shot up Amazon’s science-fiction best-seller list. Mr. Howey quit his job.

Literary agents started courting him. The BBC proposed a television deal based on the series. Most of the agents wanted to auction off print and digital rights to the highest bidder. Mr. Howey wasn’t interested. One agent, Kristin Nelson, said she didn’t think he should sign away digital rights, but that she could help him with foreign rights and film and TV deals. He signed with her in January of last year. They sold the series in 24 foreign countries. Several British publishers bid on the book, and Century won rights for a high-six-figure sum.

Ms. Nelson also sent “Wool” to U.S. publishers, and received a few low six-figure offers. Mr. Howey turned them down. Through Amazon’s self-publishing platform, he was collecting 70% of royalties, which amounted to nearly $40,000 a month. Most publishers offer a digital royalty rate that amounts to 10% to 15% of a book’s retail price.

That spring, Mr. Howey began selling the books on Barnes & Noble‘s BKS -2.57%Nook and Kobo’s e-reader and through Apple’s iTunes store. An agent at United Talent Agency began shopping film rights. Three studios bid on the book. 20th Century Fox and Ridley Scott, director of the blockbuster science-fiction films “Blade Runner” and “Alien,” optioned it. Indie writer and director J Blakeson is writing the screenplay.

After news of the movie deal broke, publishers pounced again. Mr. Howey flew to New York in May to meet with five major publishers. Four of them bid. Mr. Howey, who by then was making $120,000 a month, wasn’t swayed. Some of the publishers wanted to change the book’s title, a proposal that Mr. Howey called “comical,” since it would sabotage his online branding efforts. Others insisted that he immediately take down his digital edition, which would erase all records of the thousands of five-star reviews the book had accumulated, forcing him to start from scratch.

One meeting went better than the others. Mr. Howey sat down with Mr. Karp, the head of Simon & Schuster, who had heard about “Wool” from two of his top editors and from Dave Cullen, author of “Columbine,” a 2009 book profiling the shooters behind the 1999 mass killing. “When I read more about it and saw what a culture phenomenon it had become, I realized it was something we should take seriously,” Mr. Karp says.

Mr. Karp was unusually solicitous, asking Mr. Howey what kind of deal he would accept. Mr. Howey said he wanted a co-publishing deal, where he kept digital rights and Simon & Schuster held hardcover and paperback rights. Mr. Karp was noncommittal, and said he’d be in touch.

Sales soared over the summer. Mr. Howey and his wife moved to Jupiter, Fla. and bought a slightly larger house—900 square feet. Mr. Howey continued to write and self-publish new books, including a zombie novel and prequels to “Wool” that explore how and why the silos were built.

In October, Amazon discounted “Wool” for 24 hours as part of its Kindle Daily Deal, a discount program that highlights select titles. Amazon dropped the price on the “Wool” Omnibus, which has all five stories, from $5.99 to $1.99. Mr. Howey sold 20,000 in a single day. New offers from publishers poured in, some in the low-seven-figure range.

Then Mr. Howey’s agent got an email from Mr. Karp, asking if they would consider a print-only deal. Ms. Nelson says she wrote him back, “Is this for real?” and he wrote back, “Yes.”

Simon & Schuster now has to transform a digital hit into a traditional print blockbuster. The publisher is sending Mr. Howey on an 11-city tour, and has planned a bold six-figure marketing campaign that will capitalize on the film news and online reviews. They are releasing the book simultaneously in hardcover and paperback in an attempt to capture both the library and first-edition collectors market as well as retailers like Target and Wal-Mart WMT +0.85%. Much of the online marketing will fall to Mr. Howey, who has proved himself to be adept at digital self promotion. He’s still selling 50,000 e-books a month.

“A lot of the things we normally teach authors to do, Hugh has been smart enough to do himself,” says Richard Rhorer, who oversees marketing at Simon & Schuster.

Mr. Howey just returned from book tours in Germany, Scotland, Wales and England, where “Wool” recently hit the best-seller lists. He’s starting to feel more like an established author. “Publishing is changing so quickly that we are all equal experts,” he said. “We’re all trying to figure this out.”

Mr. Howey recalls feeling anonymous at a science fiction conference last summer in Chicago. He got excited for a moment when a woman approached him—he thought she wanted his autograph—but she was looking for the bathroom.

Nearby, fantasy writer George R.R. Martin, author of the best-selling series “A Song of Ice and Fire,” was signing hundreds of books. Mr. Howey went up and introduced himself. When it became clear that Mr. Martin had never heard of him, Mr. Howey told him his novel was No. 6 on Amazon’s list of science-fiction and fantasy best sellers, behind Mr. Martin’s five books. Mr. Martin gamely signed a book for Mr. Howey, inscribing it “To # 6—Keep trying!”

A few months later, Mr. Howey landed at the top of the list, just ahead of Mr. Martin.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: article, authors and illustrators, Book Contracts, Publishing Industry, Self-publishing, success Tagged: Alexandra Alter, Hugh Howey, Wall Street Journal, WOOL

8 Comments on WOOL – Self-Publishing Success, last added: 4/7/2013
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36. Self-Published Book? Get Noticed

21stSelfPub-800px-300x86We have been talking about self-publishing for the last few weeks, so I thought you might be interested in reading about this annual contest.  The entry fee is high, but if you have a self-published book you think is good, entering this premier self-published competition could help get your book noticed. It is exclusively for self-published books.

Writer’s Digest hosts the 21st annual self-published competition — the Annual Self-Published Book Awards. This self-published competition spotlights today’s self-published works and honors self-published authors.

Early Bird Deadline: April 1, 2013

Wondering what is in it for you?

  • A chance to win $3,000 in cash
  • Get national exposure for your work
  • Catch the attention of prospective editors and publishers
  • A paid trip to the ever-popular Writer’s Digest Conference in New York City!

How to enter: register and pay online or download a printable entry form. (Early Bird Entry fees are $100 for the first entry, and $75 for each additional entry.)

Enter your book into one or more of these categories:

  • Mainstream/Literary Fiction
  • Genre Fiction
  • Nonfiction
  • Inspirational (Spiritual, New Age)
  • Life Stories (Biographies, Autobiographies, Family Histories, Memoirs)
  • Children’s/Picture books
  • Middle-Grade/Young Adult books
  • Reference Books (Directories, Encyclopedias, Guide Books)
  • Poetry

One Grand Prize Winner will receive:

  • $3,000 cash and a trip to the Writer’s Digest Conference in New York City
  • A priceless endorsement for their book from the Writer’s Digest Editors–10 copies of their book for submission to major publishing review houses.
  • A one-year membership for Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), the largest not-for-profit trade association representing more than 3,000 independent book publishers, courtesy of Brian Jud & Book Marketing Works, LLC.
  • Guaranteed acceptance in a special sales catalog and national representation through 1,800 salespeople who sell to non-bookstore markets, courtesy of Brian Jud & Book Marketing Works, LLC.
  • A one-year membership to Author-U, courtesy of Brian Jud & Book Marketing Works, LLC.
  • A copy of Show Me About Book Publishing and consultation with Book Shepherd Judith Briles (valued at $500), courtesy of Brian Jud & Book Marketing Works, LLC.
  • A guaranteed review in Midwest Book Review, courtesy of Brian Jud & Book Marketing Works, LLC.

Nine First-Place Winners will receive:

  • $1,000 cash and promotion in Writer’s Digest
  • A one-year membership to Small Publishers Association of North America (SPAN), courtesy of Brian Jud & Book Marketing Works, LLC.
  • A guaranteed review in Midwest Book Review, courtesy of Brian Jud & Book Marketing Works, LLC.
  • A one-year membership to Book Central Station where you can find lists of suppliers rated by previous clients, provided by Brian Jud & Book Marketing Works, LLC.
  • An ebook titled Beyond the Bookstore by Brian Jud (with CD).

All Grand Prize and First Place winners will:

  • Be featured on the Writer’s Digest website
  • Receive a copy of The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing, 4th Edition by Tom and Marilyn Ross.
  • $100 worth of Writer’s Digest Books

Honorable Mention Winners will receive $50 worth of Writer’s Digest Books and be promoted on www.writersdigest.com.

All other entrants will receive a brief commentary from the judges along with a link to the entrant’s website (only if the URL is accurate) on writersdigest.com.

THE RULES:

1. The competition is open to all English-language self-published books for which the authors have paid the full cost of publication, or the cost of printing has been paid for by a grant or as part of a prize.

2. You may register and pay online for faster service.

3. Entrants must send a printed and bound book. Entries will be evaluated on content, writing quality and overall quality of production and appearance. No handwritten books are accepted.

4. All books published or revised and reprinted between 2008 and 2013 are eligible. (Writer’s Digest may demand proof of eligibility of semifinalists.)

5. All books not registered online must be accompanied by an Official Entry Form. Photocopies of the Official Entry Form are acceptable. You may enter more than one book and/or more than one category; however, you must include a separate book, entry form and the additional fee for each entry.

6. We accept check, money order or credit card payment for the required judging fee. The early bird entry fees are $100 for the first entry, $75 for each additional entry must accompany submissions. For books submitted after the April 1 early bird deadline, the fees are $110 for the first entry, $85 for each additional entry. Payment must accompany submissions.

7. All early bird entries must be postmarked no later than April 1, 2013. Entries submitted for the regular deadline must be postmarked by May 1, 2013. All winners will be notified by October 14, 2013. If you wish to receive confirmation that your entry was received before the deadline, we recommend using certified mail or some other tracking method to send your entry.

8. Judges reserve the right to withhold prizes in any category. Judges reserve the right to re-categorize entries.

9. Books which have previously won awards from Writers Digest are not eligible.

10. Employees of F+W Media, Inc. and Book Marketing Works, LLC and their immediate families are not eligible. Books published by Abbott Press are not eligible to participate.

11. Writer’s Digest is not responsible for the loss, damage or return of any books submitted to the competition.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: authors and illustrators, awards, Competition, Contest, Marketing a book, opportunity, Publishing Industry, Self-publishing Tagged: Self-Published Book Awards, Writer's Digest

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37. Self-Publishing – Getting Your Book Ready

picture book banner500

I have met authors who have spent over $25,000 to self-publish their own book in print. Not counting the content of the book, the quality of the illustrations, paper, cover was beautiful. This was before print on demand, so that same person now could self-publish the same book for less than half that amount.  But still that book had problems. Two many pages, too young of story for the writing and format.  This is something many new authors make and the reason I tell you not to rush your book out the door.

To have a good selling enjoyable picture book the illustrations and design has to go along with the text. Many times a new author will go with a Vanity/Subsidy publisher who offers to publish their book, because they can forego an agent, graphic and interior layout designers, editors, printers, advertising, distribution,  marketing specialists, and book publicists. But buyer beware, what type of artwork will they provide? The books I have seen have used low level artists or the pay so low, that an illustrator can’t give the book the time it needs to shine and the results are awful. I don’t know about you, but I buy most of my picture books because I love the artwork. Of course I have an art degree, so illustration is a big part of my life, but in my opinion a picture book must have enjoyable art or it will fall flat on its face. So spend a lot of time making sure you hire someone who can make it happen. But don’t be a control freak. You will stiffle the artist and not get the best out of them.

So hear I am preaching about the steps you need to take to help lift up the reputation and quality of Self-Published books. These are the steps you need to take even if you want to snag an agent or pique the interest of a mainstream publisher.

The First draft – just the beginning. This is where you write your story and then get your critique group to read it and give you their thoughts. They should be able to point out if they see any holes in your story. Whether they like your main character. Is he/she sympathetic? Too mean? Too dumb? Are there places in the manuscript where they were pulled out of the story?
Are their holes in your plot? Here is a list of questions you can ask them to answer:

Is the conflict strong, or is it contrived and something a conversation could resolve?

Setting? Does it seem real?

Are the senses involved? (description of smell, touch, taste, etc.)

Does the story hold your interest? If not, where did you lose interest?

Accuracy and consistency: Do the facts seem accurate, (no cell phones in the 1700s, for example) and are they consistent (blue eyes don’t turn green somewhere along the way.)

Were you able to suspend disbelief?

Does the story work? Do you want to read more?

With characters, ask yourself: Are the main characters three-dimensional? Sympathetic? Are other characters well drawn? Are motivations strong and clear?

Writing Style

Voice: Strong? Too passive?

Any problems with point of view? If there are multiple points of view, are the POV changes handled well?

Does the dialogue sound natural? Is the dialogue of each character distinct, or does everyone sound the same?

Does the dialogue move the story forward?

Were there too many “he said” dialogue tags, or awkward substitutes for “said?” (snarled, hissed.)

As to back story: Is it woven into the story, or are there any info dumps or “As you know, Bob”s (use of dialogue to dump information into the story.)

Is there too much narrative? Too many flashbacks?

Are the sentences clear, or do they need to be reworded to improve clarity?

Is the story well-paced, or does it slow in places?

Is there plenty of white space, or is the writing dense? (In other words, are the paragraphs short and interspersed with dialogue, or are they long blocks of type running a half page—or more.)

Second Draft – This is where you go back and correct the problems that rang true from your critiques.
Then you get your critique group and if possible, a few different people to read your story to see if you improved the story. Just because you rewrite doesn’t mean you have made the manuscript better. If you have, then it is on to the third draft.

You could also hire a consultant to read and critique your story to help you through this process, but that is additional money you will have to spend. This can run you $150 – $5000, according to the amount of pages, the amount of time, and the amount of expertise.

Third Draft – This is where you read every line and decide if each line is written to the best of your ability. Can the sentence be tighten? Have you repeated the same basic thought in more than one sentence? Have you repeated the same word a number of times? Have you overwritten a scene? Do you need every word? If you are writing in first person. Have you avoided starting your sentences with “I” as much as possible? Have you avoided the use of dialog tags where you can? Do your characters act age appropriate? Does your first page hook your reader? Do you have a sagging middle? Do you have a subplot? Do you have tension that builds to the climax? Are there words that can be changed to be more interesting word?  After making these changes, it is on to the 4th draft.

Fourth Draft – This is where you read the book aloud. How do the sentences sound? Do you hear anything that breaks the tension. Do you hear anything that takes you in another direction?

There are many roads to take to get to this point. Now you should be ready to submit your manuscript to publishers or decide on the plan you are going to follow to Self-Publish. Next week we will talk about your plan of action.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: authors and illustrators, children writing, Process, Publishing Industry, reference, Self-publishing, Tips, Writing Tips Tagged: doing your homework, Getting Your book Ready, Making a Plan, Self-Publish Your Book

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38. Self-Publishing Starters

Every book sold on the market needs an ISBN Number and a bar code, so if you are planning to self-publish a book, you will need both of these things, too.  Retailers use these numbers to track and catalog your books, and to report your sales.  

I am not saying you should run out and purchase these right now, because it will depend on the choices you decide to make. You may decide to accept a package from a company that includes these numbers. You could run into an editor who wants to buy your book and that would change everything.

That being said you should realize what they do for you and your options.

bowker

ISBNs are sold like any other commodity by Bowker www.bowker.org and a few authorized re-sellers. And to accommodate the needs of these self-publishers, they made individual numbers available for the first time.

In addition, Bowker is actually registering your publishing company when they issue you your numbers, not your individual books. This is a key step for many self-publishers and that’s a pretty good reason to get an ISBN as well.

Bowker sells most of the ISBN numbers and discounts according to the amount purchased. The cost of buying just one is $125, so it is better to buy a block of numbers, because you will need more than one anyway. Most publishers these days are going to publish at least five (5) versions of a book (Hardback, Softback, EPUB, MOBI, and PDF), each of which requires an ISBN.

Smashwords will tell you that retailers such as Apple and Sony will not accept your Smashwords book unless you have a unique e-ISBN and everything on Smashwords is an e-book, but there isn’t a special e-ISBN, just plain old ISBNs.

Owning a block of 10 ISBNs is usually enough for two different books. Those who purchase blocks of 10 ISBNs are usually self-publishers who have researched their needs before making a purchase and realize this is the most cost effective purchase for their needs. The price of 10 ISBNs is $250.

barcode_homeThe Bookland EAN Barcode is an essential component of booksellers handling of the book. You must provide a retail price for your barcode. Cost $25

The largest book retailers, as well as many book wholesalers, require books to display the Bookland EAN barcode graphic symbol which carries the ISBN. At the point of sale in a bookstore, the ISBN is scanned and all related information about the title is accessed in their sales system — identifying the price correctly and subtracting a copy from their inventory etc.

In the US, the first digit of the add-on data indicates which currency the price is expressed in — so for US dollars, the designated digit is a 5. So an add-on of 51995 indicates a price of US$ 19.95. The largest US retailers such as Barnes and Noble now require the use of EAN-5 barcode on books they handle. Scanners in American bookstores cannot read the Bookland EAN code without the corresponding 5-digit add-on. Publishers who don’t comply with this requirement may be penalized.

Please remember what I said last week, writer’s who want to self-publish need to do there homework and try to hold back their enthusium in order to make the right choices, so please check back for my weekly post or start researching on your own if you can’t wait. Just make sure you do your homework before you jump in with both feet. Click here to read 1st Self-Publishing post

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Advice, authors and illustrators, How to, Process, Self-publishing Tagged: Bookland EAN code, Bowker, ISBN Numbers, Self-Publishing

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39. Show the love: Third Annual Mini-Comics Day

Tweet I’m a HUGE mini-comics fan; I think they encapsulate the potential and diversity of the medium perfectly in the way in which they combine storytelling, art, and innovation with accessibility and a do-it-yourself attitude. Its currently a very good time to be fond of the floppy- the format has been experiencing somewhat of a revival in the past [...]

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40. The Weekend Writer: The Difference Between Traditional And Self-Publishing

I am a very linear person and had planned to begin this series with the beginning of a writing project. However, this past week I "attended" IndieReCon, and I'm going to be making a self-publishing announcement, myself, next week, so I decided to start writing about the end of the writing road.

While I suspect most of my readers are very knowledgeable about the publishing process, there are many people who are not. And a lot of them want to write and publish books. This post is for them.

What Needs To Be Done To Publish A Book

Editing--Before publishing, any manuscript needs both developmental (what I used to call "content") and copy editing. Developmental editing involves an editor working with the author to make sure that

the plot makes sense

characters behave consistently and logically within their storylines

there are no unnecessary characters

scenes are not drawn out or unnecessary

voice is maintained throughout

and a great many other things are done correctly.

Copy editing usually involves another editor checking for spelling, punctuation, and usage.

Proper editing is the hallmark of a professionally prepared book.

Cover--The cover needs an illustration as well as design layout with whatever titles are required. If this is a paper and print book, the spine and back cover must be designed. Fonts must be chosen and guess what? Some of them are copyrighted, so someone needs to deal with that. A good cover is another hallmark of a professionally prepared book.

Interior design--Someone has to lay out the pages, deciding how wide the margins will be, what the text will look like, what kinds of fonts will be used for chapter titles, etc. If this is an eBook, someone needs to format the manuscript.

Marketing and promotion--Someone needs to find a way to get the book into the hands of reviewers, whether they be print journals or blogs. Should there be press releases? To whom should they be sent? Should the author do public appearances? Where? Who should be contacted to try to arrange them?

Distribution and Sales--If this is a paper and print book, will bookstores carry it? How will the book come to their attention? Will Amazon carry it, and how will that be done?

There will probably be more things I haven't thought of.

Traditional Publishing

With what has been known in the twentieth century as traditional publishing, a publishing company selects manuscripts submitted to it on the basis of quality or marketability and agrees to do all the above for the author. In return, the traditional publishing gets a big chunk of the profit made on the book. Authors might get, say, twelve percent of the cover price on their books with the publishing company getting the rest. However, the author has not invested any money in this project, only the publishing company has. In addition, the author has received an advance payment against the income she's expected to receive on sales of her book. She gets to keep that even if the book doesn't sell enough copies to meet that expected income.

Self-Publishing

With self-publishing, authors do all the work that needs to be done to publish the book. If she can't do it herself, she has to find other people to do it and pay them. She gets to keep a much bigger cut of the money that comes in, but she's done a great deal more work and invested her own money in the project.

I've seen blog posts from self-published authors that suggested there were a few simple steps to publishing a book. One traditionally-published author who was planning to self-publish her next book announced that she was going to have her mother edit it, because mom had a master's degree. The Honest Inside Scoop or the Pros and Cons of Indie Publishing by Jessie Harrell, which appeared at the IndieReCon site this past week, is a very good assessment of the work involved with self-publishing. IndieReCon also ran Costs of Self Publishing by Miral Sattar of BiblioCrunch, which will give you an idea of what some of the expenses can run up to. (Hey, you know what? If your mom's good enough to edit your book, she ought to get paid.)

The point I want to make here is that publishing a book is publishing a book. The same work has to be done whether a traditional publishing company is doing it or you're doing it yourself. Self-publishing is a serious endeavor. The people who are making any money at all are investing time and money into their work.

You don't really need to know a great deal about publishing if you're lucky enough to have a manuscript accepted by a traditional publishing company. I certainly didn't when I first started publishing. If you're thinking about self-publishing, you'd better know a lot or find a way to learn what you need to know. This isn't something you want to go into blind.

0 Comments on The Weekend Writer: The Difference Between Traditional And Self-Publishing as of 2/23/2013 10:11:00 PM
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41. Self-Publishing Homework

working on laptopIf you have decided to self- publish, there are lots of things you need to know and consider. Don’t think you get to wiggle out of doing your homework and making a plan on the steps you need to take and things you need to consider.

The biggest mistake writer’s make, is thinking their story is ready after they have finished writing their book. Whether you go the traditional route or want to self-publish, it is always a mistake to run out and seek someone to publish your book after the first draft. You should pat yourself on the back, because you have accomplished something that eludes many writers and you have a right to be excited and proud, but 99% of the time it is not ready for publication. You have just taken step one of the publication process.

So many self-published books could have made money for the author, if only they could take control of that excitement of finishing that first draft.  Even if it is your fourth draft and is the best book ever written, don’t mess it up by accepting a bad contract. There are companies who try to act like real publishers, who will take anybody and any book and offer a contract. The author is elated and jumps at the offer. Don’t do That!

I am convinced these companies do not give any thought as to the quality of the content. Sometimes I wonder if they even take the time to read the books submitted. They offer production, distribution, press release, and design and artwork, but it is all so inferior that even if the first draft of the book was well written and unique, it ends up being so ugly and made from such poor quality paper that no one, other than friends and family would purchase the book. Then they throw on an extremely high price, like $25 for a picture book, which further dooms the sale of the book.

These pretend publishers realize everyone has friends and family and will get those sales and occasionally they might get someone who really promotes their book and sells more than 50 copies.  For all their work these motivated authors end up making maybe a total of $150. When if they had taken their time, did their homework, and made the right choices, they could have put out a good book that people actually read and would have made money for them.

There are so many things to consider and now so many forms of publishing your book. At the beginning of the year, I promised to start including self-publishing in my post. Next week, I will start pointing out steps you need to take, places to consider, and what they bring to the table, new formats and how to make that happen, and how to get your book seen and distributed.

Hope you’ll stop back.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Advice, authors and illustrators, demystify, How to, need to know, Process, publishers, Publishing Industry, reference, Tips Tagged: How to Self Publish Your book, Self-Publishing

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42. Introducing The Weekend Writer; Also, IndieReCon Is Next Week

I have written about writing process here, but usually I'm whining. I've frequently written about plotting. I've written about publishing and e-publishing. But I've never been one of those writers who actually writes Advice for Writers or maintains that kind of information at her website. For one thing, reading about writing can be boring as Hell, and I wasn't confident that I could do anything about that problem. For another, many writers are already doing that at their websites, and I had no reason to believe I could do it any better. For still another, I've never thought that I have all that much to offer. And, finally, I thought this blog is probably read mostly by other writers, litbloggers, and my computer guy, none of whom are looking for writing advice.

However, earlier this week a friend from long ago contacted me to, indeed, ask for some publishing advice. She had written a story, found a publisher on-line, and contacted it, evidently giving someone there her telephone number. This was a self-publishing company with a "Not Recommended" rating at Preditors & Editors. What sounds like a salesperson called her, offering her a deal if she signed a contract by the end of the week. After that, the price would go up several hundred dollars. She was considering borrowing money to take advantage of the offer.

I am still upset about this.

There are so many people out in the world who want to be writers and have no idea how to even begin. Writing words on a piece of paper is the least of it. There's the whole issue of how to write and what is good writing and how do you know if you're even approaching good? Publishing is a whole other thing that should come long down the road.

Writing is becoming very professionalized. That's not a bad thing. Studying/training in your field in order to learn all the things discussed in the last paragraph--a very, very good thing, in fact. But I don't think a lot of people outside the writing world realize that you ought to actually know something and go out and learn it before you even try to publish whatever it is you think you've written. Some people would argue that a lot of people within the writing world don't know it. But one of the issues with training for a life as a writer is how? Must you go to college and graduate school? Can you get what you need from reading books? Going to conferences?

And a lot of the training is expensive. Going to college and, possibly, getting an MFA, for those who do it, costs some serious change. Conferences, retreats, workshops, professional memberships--not cheap. It's not too much of an exaggeration to say that I come from a rural, poor background. The idea that a writing career could be out of the reach of people like myself because of its cost, just as so many other careers are, is disturbing for me.

I'm not one of those all-dreams-can-come-true types. I'm a use-objectives-to-work-toward-goals type. That requires knowledge. Who can tell what a dream requires?

I still think I probably have limited help to offer and there are probably few inexperienced writers reading this blog. Nonetheless, I'm going to try to become a little more organized with my process and publishing posts, focusing them on Saturdays so that someone interested in just that type of information can stop by here one day of the week to get it. A lot of these posts will involve links to other writers and bloggers who are writing for writers, so that I can, at a minimum, direct readers to help. I may try to get other writers to add information in the comments. I may try to find a way to organize The Weekend Writer posts so that readers  can find them all easily in one spot. I may try to get Computer Guy to make me a The Weekend Writer button.

Yeah. I'd like a button.

Anyway, not to waste any time, I have some publishing information for any of you who are interested in learning more about self-publishing. Next Tuesday through Thursday  IndieReCon, an on-line writer's conference, is going to be held...ah...on-line. And it's free. This will be similar to WriteonCon. I've registered, though I'll probably have to "take part" in most of the Wednesday and Thursday events after the fact.

You'll be hearing about my experience at IndieReCon, maybe in a Weekend Writer post.

0 Comments on Introducing The Weekend Writer; Also, IndieReCon Is Next Week as of 2/16/2013 8:51:00 PM
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43. Self publishing - what's the truth of it now?

Some people who are self-published make hundreds of thousands of dollars.  

Many more make a few dollars.  

Some who buy a high-priced package of services for self-publsihing may end up losing money.  

Some get a glowing review from the New York Times' Michiko Kakutani.  (Who, as Annie Lamott once said:" The one little problem with Michiko, though, is that if she doesn't like your book, she will kill you -- cut your head off with a surgical knife, and play hacky-sack with it until she grows bored. Then, maybe in the last paragraph, she'll pour acid on it.") (Read more about her here.)

Most never get noticed.  

And no one really knows why something like 50 Shades of Grey is a huge success.

When I got my first contract in 1997, the only people who self-pubbed were deluded fools who ended up with boxes of books in their basement.  I still meet people who have paid thousands to have their picture book published with cheap materials and bad drawings.  (Often, sadly enough, they seemed to be suckered in by a company that claims to be Christian.)  

I've seen people break with traditional publishers, and people who have had success self-publshing happily sign with one of the Big Six (or is it Big 5 now?).

Recently, I've read two interesting articles about self-publishing.

One lengthy one in Time magaizne says, "Its an article of faith in the indie movement that writing fiction can be a way to get rich."  

Here's a link to a pdf of the article called The 99-Cent Bestseller. he author they profile earned $352.70 in nine months. Not get-rich-quick stuff.  

NPR also covered self-publishing, including looking at the prices people pay for help in getting their book in e-print.

I have put all my backlist out as ebooks.  I seldom earn more than $300 a month.  But hey, it's free money (I did the formatting and my husband did the covers), and it means that people are still reading my older books. 

My ebooks and another ebook that for some reason isn't showing up when I click Kindle. 





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44. Becky Cloonan Reveals New Mini-Comic, ‘Demeter’

TweetBecky Cloonan, she of making universally acclaimed mini-comics when not drawing Batman, Swamp Thing, Northlanders and Demo fame, has just announced that this year she’ll be publishing her third mini-comic. This will follow the previous success of her self-published comics Wolves and The Mire. Called Demeter, here’s the teaser image for the comic Cloonan revealed only scant moments [...]

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45. What Authors Want

What Authors Want: Third of Published Authors Interested in Self-Publishing Next Book by Jeremy Greenfield for Digital Book World

dbwlogo
The lure of self-publishing is showing that it has some appeal even to authors who have been accepted and invested in by traditional publishing houses.

A third of traditionally published authors are interested in self-publishing their next book, according to a new survey from Digital Book World and Writer’s Digest.

The survey, What Authors Want: A Comprehensive Survey of Authors to Understand Their Priorities in the Self-Publishing Era, queried nearly 5,000 aspiring, self-published, traditionally published and “hybrid” authors (authors who have both self-published and traditionally published). It was presented in a keynote presentation at the Digital Book World Conference + Expo.

This trend should be worrisome for traditional publishers, which are struggling to demonstrate to the marketplace that they add value to the publishing process in an era where anyone can publish a book.

Perhaps of even more concern is that two-thirds of hybrid authors are interested in self-publishing their next book. It’s not surprising given the context of the rest of the survey: Time and again, hybrid authors had relatively negative opinions about publishing companies — that they keep too much money, don’t “get” digital and, generally, don’t add much to their publishing process.

At the same time, when offered the opportunity to publish traditionally, nearly three-quarters of hybrid authors are interested and — also good news for publishers — about two-thirds of self-published authors are interested. Not surprisingly, 92% of traditionally published authors are interested. The prestige of a traditional publisher, the wide distribution a publisher can generate and help with marketing were all reasons cited.

The wide-ranging survey also dived into how authors are building their social media platforms, what they think about advances, royalties, ebook prices, agents, ebooks in libraries and more. A full report will be available on DigitalBookWorld.com in a few weeks.

Pre-order the full report on what authors want here.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: article, authors and illustrators, demystify, News Tagged: Digital Book World, Jeremy Greenfield, Self-Publishing, Survey, What Authors Want

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46. Veni, Vidi, Vici: 3 great comics you need to read

TweetOk, so the title’s a bit dubious, but I thought it’d be nice to have a feature where we look at 3 comics, the criteria being that these are either older books I’ve missed, or smaller, self published work. To kick things off, a top notch trio- I enjoyed each one of these offerings immensely, albeit in different ways. [...]

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47. Weekend Links

I've actually had a little time to look at some of the Internet gleanings I've been saving up these past few weeks. And I can't wait to discuss them.

It took a while for me to get around to The Last Word on Blurbs at Educating Alice, because the documentary about Gary Shteyngart's blurbs that Monica links to runs 15 minutes. When I finally saw the  little film, I found it interesting because it seems to project the pointless nature of blurbs and suggest that the literary world, itself, doesn't take them seriously, while all that same time portraying Shteyngart, a well-known "blurb whore" in blurbing circles, as a nice guy trying to be helpful. As I was watching it, I imagined hundreds, if not thousands, of writers contacting him, hoping for a blurb, not because it would say anything particular about the quality of their books but because it would be neat to have a Shteyngart blurb. I'm thinking it could be like collecting autographs or balls signed by athletes.

Some of what you'll see at Six Things I Learned About Publishing a Book That Very Few Books Will Tell You at The Huffington Post you probably have seen in a lot of books. However, I was particularly interested in Points 1 and 2. 1. The author, Nataly Kelly, talks about connecting with an editor on LinkedIn. I have wondered about whether or not LinkedIn would be useful. I rarely hear any talk of it in author promotion materials. However, my limited knowledge of it suggests that it is professional rather than social. Shouldn't that mean you'll get fewer political rants and odes to pets there and more real professional exchanges? I could be convinced to link up with LinkedIn. 2. Kelly says an agent is necessary to assist with negotiations, even if you "made" the sale yourself. I've often heard that. However, in this video Mark McVeigh did for the 2010 WriteonCon, he said that getting an agent at that point is a little late, and that for most new authors, an agent won't be able to do much more for you than the editor's original offer. Which way to go? I am at a loss.

New Developments in Self-Publishing at Turbo Monkey Tales. Note that in spite of the new technical developments related to self-publishing, the post also makes the point that self-publishing is still publishing. In order to publish a book, someone has to do the work of a publisher--"editing, design, and marketing, at the very least." If authors publish themselves, then they either have to do that work or they have to pay someone to do it. But there's no getting around the fact that it needs to be done.

And while we're talking about writers needing to spend money, as we were in that last para, let's also touch on them making money. The financial realities described for genre novelists are similar to those for children's novelists. I would add something to this quote from the excerpt from Brian Keene: "And you probably won’t see a royalty check until another year AFTER your book has been published (provided enough copies have sold to earn out your advance)." The part about "provided enough copies have sold to earn out your advance" is extremely important. Many books never sell enough copies to earn out the authors' advances, and, thus, those authors never see a royalty check, never see money beyond the original advance. Some authors only make money the years they receive advances. 

Okay, we're going to end this weekend's links on a lighter note. Maybe. Take a look at 7 (More) Children's Books by Famous "Adult" Lit Authors at Brain Pickings. My personal favorite is the first one, The Crows of Pearblossom, by Aldous Huxley. It's about a crow couple who are having no luck at all starting a family because a rattlesnake that lives below their tree keeps eating their eggs. Seriously. It eats 297 of them. They trick the snake into eating two stone eggs, which, as you might guess, kills him. They then go on to live happily ever after, I guess, with the 60-plus children they proceed to produce. There is a Greek tragedy element to this story that appeals to me.   


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48. How I Make My Picture Books: Part I, Getting Ready

First of all I make sure that my manuscript is well edited and ready.
You will need to know who your printing company will be beforehand and understand all their guidelines, margins and all the printers requirements.
Next, I resize all my images. I use a few art programs to do my artwork in and resize them. They are Adobe Photoshop Elements, Corel Painter Essentials and Corel PaintShop Pro. I use each one for whatever the program does best.

(NOTE: my images and dates are not in order which does not matter for this preview)

To start with, here, I am using PaintShop Pro to resize images and add frames, edges and borders to some of them to neaten them up.

Here, I'm using EFFECTS, then choosing EDGE EFFECTS for this image.

1. Here, I'm using IMAGE> PICTURE FRAME.
 ď»żď»żď»żď»żď»żď»ż
2. Here you see there are a number of choices.




For printing books your printer will need the resolution or DPI /Dots Per Inch to be 300 DPI or 600 DPI.  I always scan in my images at 300 DPI. A higher DPI means a higher quality print, image or screen resolution. (NOTE: Also know, that the larger the images the more space each image will need on your computer for storaging them. This is important to know because the more high resolution images on you drive can stop some programs from running due to limiting usable space on the hard drive.)








I pick the size of each image due to the size page that it will fit on in my book.








Making sure the images are at least 300 dpi or higher.



NEXT: Moving To My Book program: Indesign CS 3

How I Make My Picture Books: Part II

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49. How I Make My Picture Books: Part I, Getting Ready

First of all I make sure that my manuscript is well edited and ready.

You will need to know who your printing company will be beforehand and understand all their guidelines, margins, fonts and all the printer's requirements.

Next, I resize all my images and make sure they are in TIFF format which works best, I've found in Indesign. I use a few art programs to do my artwork in and resize them. They are Adobe Photoshop Elements, Corel Painter Essentials and Corel PaintShop Pro. I use each one for whatever the program does best.

(NOTE: my images and dates are not in order which does not matter for this preview)

To start with, here, I am using PaintShop Pro to resize images and add frames, edges and borders to some of them to neaten them up.

Here, I'm using EFFECTS, then choosing EDGE EFFECTS for this image.

1. Here, I'm using IMAGE> PICTURE FRAME.
 ď»żď»żď»żď»żď»żď»ż
2. Here you see there are a number of choices.




For printing books your printer will need the resolution or DPI /Dots Per Inch to be 300 DPI or 600 DPI.  I always scan in my images at 300 DPI. A higher DPI means a higher quality print, image or screen resolution. (NOTE: Also know, that the larger the images the more space each image will need on your computer for storaging them. This is important to know because the more high resolution images on you drive can stop some programs from running due to limiting usable space on the hard drive.)








I pick the size of each image due to the size page that it will fit on in my book.








Making sure the images are at least 300 dpi or higher.



NEXT: Moving To My Book program: Indesign CS 3

How I Make My Picture Books: Part II

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50. How I Make My Picture Books, Part II: Working in Indesign CS 3

I use Indesign CS3 for make my books. (There are now later versions of Indesign.)
 Indesign does not come with a book instruction manual and there is a lot to Indesign cs3. I suggest you read one or two books on it so you know the ins and outs for this book making wonderful tool.

The books for Indesign CS 3 that I have are:
 Adobe Indesign CS3 Bible by Galen Gruman. I use this one as a reference book.
Adobe Indesign CS3 Classroom in a Book

I found Indesign to be a fun program to work in. It has some much more to it than I use.

There are many tools and you have to familiarize yourself with them so you can use the ones you will need for your project.


The tools I used most are:
Direct Selection Tool - to grab and size pages and images
Selection Tool - moving and re-sizing images
Type Tool - the Type Tool makes the frames needed to place your text in. To edit and format with the
                   Type Tool. It works much like word processing software. Indesign has auto-fill which you use  
                   by load the Type Tool and it flows through the text frames. However, I manually add my text    
                   due to the amount of images, the small amount of text on some pages and how I design my
                   pages.

In Indesign, you make images and frames. For text frames you place your text either using 'auto fill' or cut and pasting then place a image and the two frames click together. Then you do it again for the next page, and on and on.

If your images are your pages, and you plan to add text into them you selected the Type Tool and place the text where you want it in the image.

Before we get started, let me remain you to SAVE often while you are working in Indesign.

You start by creating a document.
                             
 Start Indesign.    Choose FILE: then, NEW: then, DOCUMENT
Here I am opening the document.  FILE: NEW: DOCUMENT

The file opens and this is what it looks like.



I choose for the DOCUMENT PRESET: Custom 
In the Number of Pages area, I add the number of pages, including the blank first page, title page, the copyright page, dedication page (if any) and a blank page at the end of the book required by my printer for their use.
I also click the FACING PAGES check box, for just that facing pages in the book.

For PAGE SIZE I use inches, and having check for book sizes in my book printer's specs (which you should know at this point.)

At COLUMNS I add a 1, since one column is what is needed for my books.

In the MARGINS area, click on the MAKE ALL SETTINGS THE SAME icon for the same margin on all sides of the book.  I add half inch/ .50, which is the margin my printer uses.

At the BLEED area I add one quarter in/ .25.
I don't worry about the SLUG area.

You can save your PRESET for later use for another book.

 Here you see that I have a PRESET for chapter books.

Here the DOCUMENT is open. This is a title page/first page of the document.



With INDESIGN you can put GUIDES around the document so you can see the margin, gutter or bleed areas and not place text or images in them.

                                                                                 ~
A



B
In both  pictures here, A and B, you can see the Arrows pointing to the top and side GUIDES. The Guides turn from read to blue when placed.  You GRAB the Guides by going to the ruler, (top and left side rulers,) with your Mice and drag it to your margin, gutter and bleed areas. THAT EASY!~
~




To add an image or graphic (in TIFF Format) to a page, you  use the Selection Tool and go to FILE> PLACE.
Your computer opens and you find the image you are looking for and click OPEN.
Then move the Selection Tool to the place you want it on the page and click the spot.









HOW to make a text frame is you take the TEXT TOOL and click and drag on the area in the page you want to add text.
To add text by cutting and pasting, you open you Word, Office Writer or other word processor
and copy from it the text you want to use and move back to Indesign and paste it where you want it.
Now here I have images I have put text into. The area where the text is in these two picture is part of the image themselves. When I PLACED these images in Indesign I had yet to put the text in. So to do what
I did just what I had in the example above, and COPIED and PASTED the text from my word processor and added it to the area I had painted for that purpose.

Throughout this process you are designing your book!

Now you will show how I send my BOOK DOCUMENT to my printer.

To return to Part I: http://jdswritersblog.blogspot.com/2013/02/how-i-make-my-picture-books-part-i_8924.html

To go to Part III: http://jdswritersblog.blogspot.com/2013/01/how-i-make-my-picture-books-part-iii.html

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