Five Publishing Secrets

by Val Tobin

I’m one lucky indie author.

When I wrote my first novel, I spoke to already-published authors, and the advice they gave me saved me time, money, and embarrassment. I’m always happy to save time and money and relieved when I’m spared embarrassment.

The following five tips will help you release your novel to the world with less pain:

A Professional Cover that Looks Great

Some authors can create spectacular covers for their magnum opus and no one would know they did it themselves. If you’re not a graphics guru (I’m not), then hire a good cover designer. It’s worth the investment.

Before I finished my novel, I thought about a cover. That readers judge books by their covers isn’t a secret—it’s an accepted fact. The secret you might not know when you’re starting out is that your cover will also have to look great as a thumbnail. Amazon and the other retailers will take that great big gorgeous cover of yours and shrink it down to the size of a postage stamp in results lists and ads. It still must look fabulous. Does it?

Beta Readers Who are Experts

I’d heard of beta readers before, but their importance in the writing process didn’t register until I’d completed the first draft of my first novel and needed to get feedback for it. I asked friends and family to read my manuscript and tell me where I went astray. In the process, I discovered a secret: sometimes you want feedback from experts and nothing says they have to read the whole story.

In The Experiencers, which is my first novel, I have a scene where two characters undergo hypnosis. I wanted to make sure the hypnotherapist in the scene came across as credible. I contacted an expert hypnotherapist, and, rather than asking him to read the entire book, I asked him to read that one scene. He agreed, I sent him the excerpt, and he provided valuable feedback.

I’ve since asked other experts to read snippets and received valuable feedback on my stories that I otherwise wouldn’t have gotten if I’d only interviewed the experts. Some of the most surprising and minuscule details catch an expert’s attention and experts can provide inside information you’d never get from a book or website on the subject.

This is one of those tips that will save you embarrassment.

Enter Tax Information Relevant to Your Country for Income Tax and the IRS

If you live in the US, you have to abide by one set of tax rules and if you’re outside the US you have to abide by another while being aware of how the IRS expects you to accomplish this. I’m in Canada, a country that has a treaty with the US and, as of this writing, I provide my Canadian tax number, and Amazon and other US retailers don’t take income tax from my earnings. You need to provide the correct tax information to any distributor you work with, such as Amazon or Smashwords, so you get all the revenues to which you’re entitled.

The secret here is to make sure you read all the information current at the time you open your account with your distributor. I distribute through Amazon and Smashwords, while some authors use Draft2Digital.

Don’t let the taxman take more of your earnings than he’s entitled to. If you’re outside the US, provide the correct information, or you’ll have a headache dealing with the IRS to get the funds released to you. The best strategy for this is to read the information on the distributor’s site when you open your account and talk to other authors in your country to see how they did it.

When I opened my Smashwords and Amazon accounts, it was more complicated. I had to request a tax number from the IRS. Thankfully, a website I found had step-by-step instructions on how to do this with the least amount of hair-tearing. It took weeks from the time I submitted my form to the IRS for me to get the documentation, and you had to be anal about the way you entered the information or they’d reject your application and you’d have to redo it. It’s much simpler now, but you still have to make sure you enter all the information exactly as they want to see it.

Don’t Publish Prematurely

You’re eager to hit publish. You’ve reviewed the manuscript countless times. Beta readers enthused about the story. What’s left? Editing and proofreading.

The secret here is to know what type of editing you need and when to get it.

I’ve read repeatedly that the biggest mistake most indies make and one that they regret the most is hitting “Publish” too soon. One way to ensure you’ve created the best product readers will love is to hire a professional editor at the correct time in the process.

If you need help with high-level developmental editing, you’d bring the editor in earlier so he/she can evaluate the story at the macro level before any line editing or proofreading is done. Line editing comes next, which will examine the style, sentence structure, word use etc. Proofreading would be done last because it’s done at the micro-level. It catches typos, spelling and punctuation errors, and grammatical errors.

Can software such as ProWritingAid and Grammarly substitute for a professional editor? In my opinion, no. They can help you clean up your manuscript before you send it to your proofreader, but such software isn’t enough to put a professional polish on your manuscript. Even those who edit for a living hire editors for their books.

You can’t edit your own work because you don’t know what you don’t know. Most of the time, your brain skims right over mistakes you’ve made because you know what you meant. A savvy editor will catch embarrassing oopsies. My editor has saved me from such mistakes more than once.

Does this mean you have to spend thousands of dollars on editing? No. When you’re on a starving-artist budget, you can find ways to cut costs or establish a payment plan for editing. I found my editors through word-of-mouth referrals from other authors or from contacts I made online and in the industry.

Since I’ve been writing nonfiction for various online magazines since 2004, I made industry contacts over the years. Other authors will often happily recommend a decent editor. Or, if you read a book that’s edited well, check the acknowledgements. Authors always thank their editor for work done, and will sometimes include contact information for that editor. I provide links to my editors’ websites because I want my editors to thrive even if it means I have to adjust my release dates to accommodate their increasingly busy schedules.

Find a Local Printer

Amazon KDP Print is a great first option for printing your paperback books. However, if you don’t live in the US, you’ll want to find a local printer. The secret is that sourcing a local printer will help you sell your books to friends and family, at events and books signings, and at public speaking engagements.

It’s taken me years to find a printer that costs me less than I’d pay by ordering from Amazon, but I’ve finally done it. I’m excited about this, because the exchange rate on the Canadian dollar sucks right now, making buying author copies from Amazon expensive, which then forces me to charge higher prices on my paperbacks just to make a dollar or two.

Some authors I know use Ingram and are happy with it while others aren’t. Search for a printer in your area. You might find you can get paperback copies of your books at a much lower price than you’d get by ordering from Amazon or Ingram. You can even save shipping costs by picking up the order yourself, and not all printers demand you buy hundreds of copies to get the unit cost down to a reasonable level.

These secrets will help you get your work out there with less stress and with a better product. I hope you have a smooth and happy publishing experience.

About Val Tobin

From Newmarket, Ontario author Val Tobin studied general arts at the University of Waterloo, then went to DeVry Toronto to get a diploma in Computer Information Systems. She worked in the computer industry as a software and web application developer for over ten years, during which she started to get serious about energy work and parapsychology.

In October 2004, Val became a certified Reiki Master/Teacher. She acquired ATP® certification in March 2008, in Kona, Hawaii from Doreen Virtue, PhD Val received a bachelor of science in parapsychic science from the American Institute of Holistic Theology in September 2010. She subsequently obtained her master’s degree in parapsychology at AIHT.

Val wrote freelance and did editing work for online tech magazine Community MX. She also wrote for Suite101 and was Topic Editor for Paganism/Wicca and Webmaster Resources at Suite. A published author, she contributed a story to Doreen Virtue’s Hay House book Angel Words. Her books are available on Smashwords, Amazon, and from other retailers in both e-book and paperback. Her newest release, The Hunted, will be available on pre-order at Amazon in August 2019.

Website: http://valtobin.com/

Blog: https://bobandval.wordpress.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/valtobinauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/valandbob

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8291936.Val_Tobin

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Val-Tobin/e/B00KC5S69K

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/val-tobin

ALLi: https://www.allianceindependentauthors.org/members/val-tobin/profile/

Five Ways to Save Money As An Indie Author

Natasha D. Lane

If someone were to say writing is not for the feign of heart, I think writers everywhere would applaud in agreement. Now, if this same someone were to say writing is not for those with empty wallets, we’d applaud, then check our bank accounts. We indie authors would probably check twice for good measure.

Finances can be a struggle for authors everywhere, particularly those of us wild enough to go at it alone. Indie authors, unlike traditionally published, are responsible for every step of the writing and publishing process. Those steps include but are not limited to the following:

  • Brainstorming
  • Outlining
  • Writing
  • Editing
  • Professional Editing
  • Professional Cover Design
  • Formatting

In my experience, the bulk of publication costs stem from professional editing, cover design, and formatting. Of course, you could save money and ask your neighbour/mom/high school English teacher/the newspaper boy/random stranger with some experience to assist you with one of the bulk costs, right?

In short, that decision is yours. I always advise hiring people outside of your inner circle especially for the editing process. That’s a post for another time, though! Here are a few ways to save money as an indie:

1. Learn to Format Your Manuscripts

Formatting is a must if you ever want to sell your story. Amazon has systems in place which check for formatting errors before a book is approved for publication. These systems ensure words don’t bleed off the page, lines remain straight, and there aren’t large blank spaces. That being said, you don’t want to mess up your manuscript’s formatting.

A badly formatted novel will leave a bad impression, particularly for a reader new to your work. Of course, you can pay for this service, or you can learn to format. Not only are there plenty of YouTube tutorials, but some experienced authors offer courses. These courses are usually no more than one-hour long and cost a small sum. However, that’s a one-time payment for a lifetime of savings.

2. Work With Other Indies/Freelancers

Networking matters. It’s how I’ve learned to navigate the crazy publishing industry. Authors, fellow indies included, keep each other informed. They also act as referrals for external tasks such as graphic design and editing. Several of the editors I’ve worked with came through a recommendation from another author. This statement is true for the formatting course I took, as well.

On top of providing great referrals, indies want to support one another. If a graphic designer or editor knows you’re a fellow indie, they may be willing to offer a discount or special deal. Don’t expect anything for free (everyone has to eat, right?) but they’ll do what they can to stop your bank account from screaming at you.

3. Give Away Ebooks Instead of Paperbacks

This tip is pretty simple. Ebooks are cheaper to ship than paperbacks because you can send them via email at no cost. And once you have an ebook copy of your work (in either Epub or Mobi usually), all you need is that copy. You can send it to as many people as you like.

Though many readers prefer paperbacks, they’re more expensive to ship. If you know the reader’s address in advance, you can ship directly to them from Amazon. This step prevents you from paying twice for shipping costs: once to yourself, then again to the author. Still, it’s extra money that could have stayed warm and cosy in your bank account.

I do want to add a few caveats here. Amazon, like many print-on-demand publishers, offers author copies, so you pay less than a reader would for your printed book. This discount will be useful during those occasions when you really need your paperback copies.

4. Self-Edit & Use Beta Readers

Despite the number of times someone reads your manuscript, you’ll still need a professional editor. Some authors send their manuscripts in for several rounds of editing because there are different types. To name a few, you have developmental editing, line editing, and proofreading.

I sent my first novel in for both line and developmental edits. It cost a lot, to say the least. However, I’ve found that when I self-edit my novels and use beta readers, there’s less work for the professional editor to do. Less work means fewer rounds of edits and more money in my wallet.

5. Save Money In Your Personal Life

Another simple tip but still worth noting. The more money you have to spare towards your work, the better. No, money is not everything when it comes to writing or publishing a novel. But, it does make the process easier. Saving before you publish means you won’t feel the strain as much.

So, skip a few coffees, don’t go out to eat as much, and don’t buy that new pair of shoes. It’ll be worth it when you finally get to hold your book in your hands.

Thanks for letting me chat with you all. I hope you find these tips helpful! You can learn more about me, as well as my proofreading and sensitivity reading services here.

What other money-saving tips do you all have? Make sure to share them in the comments!

Author Bio:

Natasha D. Lane is a friend of most things caffeinated, a lover of books (particularly fantasy), and a writer to her core.

As a big believer in the idea that “the pen is mightier than the sword,” she graduated from Juniata College in 2015 with hopes of becoming a journalist. Instead, her path took her on a different route and Natasha found herself digging up a manuscript from her childhood.

This dusty stack of papers would become “The Pariah Child & the Ever-Giving Stone.” With one book under her belt, Natasha went on to release”The Woman In the Tree: The True Story of Camelot” and most recently “The Pariah Child: Sarafina’s Return” which released August 1st 2019.

If there were a single piece of advice Natasha could give to young writers, it’d be this: Write your way through life.

Connect with Natasha on; – Website – Facebook – Instagram – Twitter – GoodReads

 

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When Romance Perturbs

By Holly Bargo

I remember the 1970s, the latter part of which I moved from reading Laura Ingalls’ autobiographical series to Barbara Cartland’s historical romances and Harlequin romances in which nothing more explicit than some passionate kisses occurred. Romance novels at the time fell under the derogatory category of“bodice rippers.” Many books deserved such disparagement. By the early 1980s, I’d plunged deeply into fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and hardcore romance with explicit sexual content.

Establishing Expectations

What I remember most about those many, many books is that the heroines overwhelmingly fell into two categories: wealthy, pampered, and innocent or indigent, desperate, and innocent. They relied upon wealthy, powerful men to guide them and/or rescue them. They had no marketable skills other than “housewife,” “governess,” or “nanny.” Occasionally, an adventurous author cast her heroine as a nurse, secretary (relabeled in the 1980s as an administrative assistant), or grade school teacher.

That is not to say that many housewives, governesses, and nannies aren’t skilled, intelligent individuals. It simply seemed an expectation that a woman’s industry belonged in the home. A professional woman always—always—took a lesser position than a man.

By the time I reached high school, attitudes began to change. Women could do more than clean and take care of the kiddies. They could—gasp!—hold professional positions as accountants, doctors, scientists, and professors. I have yet to see a romance in which the heroine makes her living as a plumber or paperhanger or rodeo clown. Being somewhat liberated myself and quietly rebelling against an extremely traditional upbringing (My father’s words: “No, you don’t need to learn to change the oil in your car. Your husband, brothers, or I will always do it for you.”), I reveled in that development of woman as intelligent, competent individual.

In those romances I continued reading, men did not grow gentler, although they were less likely to take their heroines by force. Heroines grew bolder, stronger, kickass. Heroines acquired skills, education, and respected professions. Authors gave heroines permission to feel sexual attraction and act on it. Non-consensual sex, rampant in romance then and (unfortunately) now, receded as an expected and romantic part of the male-female relationship, because society finally began to acknowledge that women didn’t want to be raped and certainly didn’t enjoy it.

Well, that didn’t last long.

A Devolving Legacy

Over the past decade or so I have seen an upswell of romances featuring heroines backsliding into the old domestic tropes: woman as a receptacle for male passion. Then Fifty Shades of Grey burst upon the scene and the BDSM subculture went mainstream. Not only was a woman’s purpose to receive male passion, but to obey said male’s every command, too.

And I thought the Women’s Liberation Movement had succeeded. Stupid me.

Now, book advertisements flood my social media, promoting stories that disguise brutal rape as passion, torture and beating as sexual stimulation, and unquestioning obedience as natural and desirable. I cringe at stories glamorizing Stockholm Syndrome and oppression as wonderful, delightful fantasies which excuse the antihero’s selfishness and cruelty justify the heroine as deserving of such horrors as would drive any real woman to suicide just to escape. Stories of sexual slavery have ascended as the new height of romantic literature as romance authors attempt to build upon and exceed the debauchery and degradation glamorized by E. L. James.

Egad, have we really come to this?

Is this the message we want to send to the adolescent girls and young women who read our work? (Don’t’ delude yourself: teenage girls are reading these books.)

When did alpha heroes who want their heroines to be happy become passé?

I missed that memo.

Rachel’s brother uses her as collateral to settle a debt with an outlaw motorcycle gang. She flees to a local bar and pleads with a darkly handsome stranger to help her. His help results in homicide. When eagle shifter Diego’s vacation is interrupted by the innocent young woman he recognizes as his mate, he flees with her across national borders because she’s his and he’s not letting her go. 
 
Having essentially swapped one captor for another, Rachel knows the dashing, sexy Spaniard is keeping secrets from her. He showers her with kindness and generosity in exchange for her obedience. Diego’s control over her and his secrets elicit her distrust and resentment. 
 
When freedom beckons, Rachel answers its call; however, freedom brings hardship and indignity. Will she return to the controlling alpha male who stirs her blood or cling stubbornly to her freedom?

Storytelling and Genre Expectations

The premise of good fiction is to take an ordinary person and plop him or her into extraordinary circumstances. Think of the ingenue who discovers she has powers and must learn to control them, the woman who dies and arises a vampire, or the administrative assistant or waitress who finds herself the target of an elite assassin or mob boss.

Good storytelling begins there.

Considering how much romance has regressed, one might wonder why I continue to read it and write it.

I believe in love.

Furthermore, I believe in love in which the parties involved want to make each other happy. Genuine, powerful romance involves both give and take by all parties involved in the relationship.

My novel Rowan, published in 2014, features our “ordinary” heroine—actually not so ordinary, but an immortal sidhe—who finds herself the romantic target of a vampire and a shapeshifter. One’s immortal, the other isn’t. The heroes, who are friends and business partners, work out an arrangement so that each gets what he wants, but … wait for it … our heroine consents. She initially consents for practical reasons, but practicality soon gives way to romantic love. In no way does this woman wallow in victimhood or accept herself as a victim, even when circumstances exceed her ability to overcome them by herself.

This year I dipped my toes into science fiction with a reverse harem romance titled Triple Burn. The heroes resemble such antiheroes as written by other authors (whom I won’t mention) in that they endure a mating instinct that drives their actions. Yet, the heroes in this book—warriors all—can and do exert some self-control because they want a happy mate. Although they dominate her, they don’t oppress her. Their patriarchal attitudes run toward protection and coddling rather than domineering exploitation and forced obedience. Sure, they expect their fragile (compared to them) mate to obey their commands, but their goal is to protect her from harm. Of course, the heroine doesn’t understand that at first, which introduces the relationship conflict needed to propel the story along.

Even the practically-a-caveman hero of my novella The Barbary Lion who most closely resembles those antiheroes so prevalent in today’s so-called “dark” romances learns that the presence of a uterus does not nullify mental capacity or free will. The resourceful heroine teaches him a hard lesson, and he realizes that he must give in order to get. He negotiates with her and she holds him to his word. In other words, he finds redemption because he finally understands that his mate—the love of his life—is not his sex slave. He makes concessions to secure her consent to come back to him—and then he keeps his word. His rigid code of honour—keeping his word no matter what—strongly characterizes him.

Perhaps the difference between heroes who imbue the romantic alpha characteristics that romance readers love between the antiheroes who also exhibit that same dominance lies in two simple concepts: honour and compassion. Even when sexual attraction blazes hot between a hero and his heroine, he holds to honour and exercises compassion. Those two concepts lead to redemption of an otherwise irredeemable character.

Is there honour in harming or terrorizing someone weaker?

These antiheroes whose authors wallow in such cruelty and oppression are nothing more than mature bullies who add rape and violence to their repertoire. I don’t understand why some readers and authors find that romantic, especially when I’m sure they would collapse in puddles of pain, terror, and tears if they experienced even a smidgen of what those poor heroines endure with orgasmic smiles and open legs.

If romance is a genre primarily for women and focusing on supporting women, women’s ambitions, and women’s happiness, then why are romance authors writing about the subjugation and exploitation of women? And why do readers like it so much?

I wish I could answer those questions.

Love and Expectations

Romance, ultimately, is about love. I believe in love and I believe that romantic love exists, grows, and endures beyond the chemistry of gonads. It requires an emotional connection that authors and readers of sex slave stories apparently forget. The trappings of a sub-genre—science fiction, fantasy, paranormal, billionaire, etc.—serve as window dressing because they don’t change the essence of the umbrella genre. The hero is always physically powerful and handsome, even in the occasional happenstance of not being wealthy. The heroine gives up damned near everything to cleave unto him and adapt to his life. (For what it’s worth, the hero gives up his criminal life to live with the heroine in my book, Russian Gold. Many readers let me know they disliked that violation of expectations.)

That expectation that a woman leaves her family and everything else when inserting herself into her husband’s life has ancient roots in most cultures. It goes back thousands of years. So do the erroneous ideas that rape is romantic and that women like being chattel. Perhaps anticipation or actuality of reader backlash against violation of expectations prevents romance authors from writing otherwise.

Another expectation of romance is the “HEA” (happily ever after) or “HFN” (happy for now) ending. Romance readers find satisfaction in those endings, especially the HEA. Defying that convention also invites reader backlash. I learned that with Triple Burn which does not have a traditional (i.e., expected) ending.

If violating expectations garners negative feedback, then perhaps the hundreds or thousands of positive reviews authors of dark romance receive from writing sex slave stories redolent of rape and brutality feed readers’ expectations of what romance should be. Such violent treatment of women satisfies them somehow. Somewhere in the depths of their minds, they approve of it. They think it right and good.

I shudder at the thought.

About the Author

Holly Bargo is a pseudonym but really did exist as a temperamental Appaloosa mare fondly remembered for protecting toddler children and crushing a pager. The author and her husband live on a southwest Ohio hobby farm with a menagerie of four-legged beasties that, yes, includes horses. They have two grown children, neither residing in Ohio. Holly works full-time as a freelance writer and editor.

Holly writes primarily in the genres of romance and fantasy and often combines the two. Her latest book, The Eagle at Dawn, was released on July 1, 2019. She plans on publishing another short story collection of westerns with co-author Russ Towne this autumn, following their original collaborative project titled Six Shots Each Gun: 12 Tales of the Old West, which was released in February 2019.

Readers who enjoy Holly Bargo’s work can visit with her at the upcoming events listed on her website. She welcomes interaction with readers who may contact her through the Hen House Publishing website.

 

 

 

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A Publishing Experience by Dorothy A Spruzen

I started my historical novel The Blitz Business in graduate school at Queens University of Charlotte. A very early draft formed the thesis for my MFA in Creative Writing. Of course, the book went through many iterations after that in response to various nuggets of feedback I received in conference workshops and from agents who were kind enough to say something helpful. Indeed, some of the changes turned out to be seismic, others resulted in me taking a character off In another direction – particularly one, who I decided had not been murdered after all. I started submitting to agents too soon, as I slowly came to realize.

When I started writing this book, I knew two things: I would set my book in England during World War Two, and my protagonist would be a teen who was intellectually challenged. I served for ten years on the board of an organization that provides residential support services for such individuals. I wanted to show this young man as a fully rounded character who had dreams, fears, needs, talents and flaws just like everyone else.

“The Blitz Business is a tale of resilience during World War II through the eyes of Jamie, a teenager with intellectual disabilities. D.A. Spruzen’s narrative will make readers rethink their perceptions of the challenges facing people with such challenges, a bold and progressive perspective even in today’s modern world.” -Betsy Schatz, Executive Director, Langley Residential Support Services, a residential and community support provider for adults with intellectual disabilities

When I felt I had a finished product, I sent it to an editor for copy and line editing and restarted the submission process. I knew enough to check the website of every agent first, to make sure they hadn’t jumped to another firm (which they do like fleas these days), and also to double-check the submission guidelines. It’s a tough business, especially in the U.S., I think. Major publishing houses number around four – all the other names you see are imprints under a very large umbrella and the bottom line is their top priority. I probably should have tried querying British agents, since the book is set in England. I tried a few Canadians, but Canadian writers take first bite up there as the government gives certain benefits to publishers who favour their countrymen (I’m not sure of the details).

Finally, I tried small publishers as they will accept un-agented manuscripts, unlike the big houses. I found one online whose owner did a lot of ministry in his church with the intellectually challenged. Aha! And he liked it.

The first thing I had to do before getting a contract was fill in a massive questionnaire, wanting to know the target audience, marketing plans, etc. They also wanted to know how I envisioned the cover – which I described in detail. I got the contract.

As my editor did a great job, the changes the publisher’s editor wanted were minor. They submitted six cover designs to me. One was exactly what I wanted. But the publisher wanted me to pick two and put it to a vote on Facebook! A marketing technique, I guess. Anyway, my choice got the most votes. I would have insisted on it anyway. The publisher set up a phone conversation to talk about publicity. I could have opted to pay for his person to be my publicist, but it would have been costly. I have to admit that misguided faith in my own marketing prowess led me astray, too. I did hire someone to do social media posting – Instagram, Facebook author page, an Twitter. According to received wisdom, she did all the right things for several years. This month I ended our association as this has not translated into sales. A conference panel I recently attended asserted that social media is a waste of time and podcasting is the way to go. I have yet to dip my toe into those waters!

After I’d approved the galleys, the publication was set, although it was delayed for a couple of weeks – annoying because I cut short a trip to accommodate it. I set up a book launch at a local independent book store, for which I paid a fee. Over 50 people attended and the store sold all the books. They declined to keep the books in inventory, though, because small publishers often make returns difficult.

Then it was all down to me. My publisher did nothing further. No publicity, no recommending for awards, no nothing. In fact, he seems to have run into difficulties, because early this year he dropped 50 or 60 of his authors, including me. I had to pay him a hefty sum to have my book transferred to Ingram Spark. I could have taken the book back and self-published, but that would have meant losing my ISBN and losing my Amazon reviews, and losing the wonderful cover.

So, if I find a small publisher for my new novel Sleuthing with Mortals (an urban fantasy featuring a Norse goddess turned private detective – yes, really!), I will look very closely at services and contact other authors for feedback. For now, I’m querying agents and hoping for a new deal with a larger publishing house.

My poetry chapbook Long in the Tooth was also published by a very reputable small press that specializes in poetry and doesn’t have the resources to provide much support. But poetry is a different animal, at least in the U.S., so I didn’t have great expectations.

Marketing is an ongoing challenge. I will post to my website blog much more frequently so as to maximize my place in search engine queues and keep looking for the best way to promote my work. I do appear on writing panels at various meetings and conferences and am a reviewer for Washington Independent Review of Books, so that helps name recognition.

 

About the Author

D. A. Spruzen earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Queens University of Charlotte and teaches writing in Northern Virginia. Her poems and short stories have appeared in many online and print publications. A historical novel, “The Blitz Business” (Koehler Books), a poetry collection, “Long in the Tooth” (Finishing Line Press), and other novels are available on Amazon.com.

You can find out more about D. A. Spruzen by visiting her website www.daspruzen.com.

 

 

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Traditional Publishing Vs. Self-Publishing

Writing a book is a great achievement, but what do you do when it actually comes to getting your book out there? Nowadays there are many options for authors looking to publish their book that it can become a real minefield.  

We look into the two main ways which are both rather popular with authors of today; Traditional and Self-Publishing. Both have their good and bad points. One may suit one author where the other will suit another. There is no right or wrong way to getting your book out there, all that matters is what you want from it.

 

Traditional Publishing  

With traditional publishing, the author completes a manuscript, sends a query or proposal and their manuscript to a publishing house or agent. If the manuscript is first sent to an agent they will then send it on to potential publishers for the author, that is if they accept to take on the manuscript. Within a publishing house, an editor will read the manuscript and decide whether or not it is worth publishing.

If a publisher does decide to publish the authors work, they will buy the rights of the author and pay them in advance for any future royalties. Royalties being the percentage the author gets from the retail price of their book.

The publisher will then sort out all elements of the book including design, marketing and price.

Pros

  • Gives you the confidence that your writing is good enough to be published 
  • Easier to get your books in stores and shops
  • Have a professional team to back you
  • Literary prizes are more likely

Cons

  • Publishers take a percentage of your book sales
  • Slow process
  • Don’t have much control over the process
  • Only take on work that they believe is good enough
  • Low royalty rates

Self-Publishing

This type of publishing is a little different. With Self-Publishing the author is the publisher. The author has full responsibility for the book from the proofreading, to the design, to the selling. The author is in charge. People/Companies can be employed by the author to do such things with the book but all funding for the book must come from the author or in some cases authors may take part in events such as crowdfunding.

Pros

  • Have control over the whole process
  • The possibility to make more money
  • Publishing houses are likely to take more notice of self-published books
  • Higher royalties

Cons

  • Difficult
  • Sometimes isolating
  • You may find bookshops won’t accept self-published books.

Poll

We posted a poll up on our social media to see what our followers, both authors and publishers, thoughts were on the different routes of publishing. Whether they preferred Traditional or Self. The results showed there to be a 50/50 split.

One of our most loyal and long-standing customers, Goylake Publishing posted an interesting comment: “We think that books published by independent publishers and authors offer readers greater variety in terms of subject matter and story structure. It is argued that traditional publishers act as ‘gatekeepers’, but we would respectfully suggest that readers should be trusted with that role. Self-publishing has a long tradition – Dickens self-published some of his titles while many modern, well established, authors are now choosing the self-published route. As readers, we look for good books, regardless of the publisher, and we believe this trend is common amongst modern readers and will continue.”

 

Conclusion

Choosing the right publishing route is down to you. If you have the motivation and dedication to create, market and sell your book then great. If time isn’t a big issue and you feel you need more help then that’s fine too.  You just need to get a clear idea of exactly what you want from your book and what you are prepared to do.

We hope this has helped. Please share with fellow authors and give them a helping hand.

Pros & Cons of Paperbacks & Hardbacks

Tip 203- Paperback or Hardback

Paperback or hardback? That’s a question that many people will ask themselves when it comes to printing their book. We thought we would look into the pros and cons of both types to give you a helping hand in making this decision.

Paperbacks

Paperbacks are a popular choice for many. They offer a professional finish and provide a high-quality option for reduced weight and cost. Paperbacks are used widely throughout the book industry whether it be a novel, poetry, children’s book or an autobiography; they suit all.

Pros

  • Easy to carry around- they are a lot lighter than hardbacks, making them more portable.
  • Cost effective- they are the cheapest book printing and binding option out there.
  • Flexible- they can be made into any sort of vision you have. Whether it’s special paper, a specific effect on the cover or an unusual size. We will try our utmost to produce your paperback as weird and wonderful as you like it.

Cons

  • The cover may damage quicker than hardbacks- the covers on paperback are printed on a heavyweight card (not board). This means that the cover can be more prone to damages. However, we take a huge amount of care in your books from production to delivery, so damaged books are unlikely.

Hardbacks

The demand for hardbacks has grown rapidly over the past couple of years with many people choosing hardbacks for a more ‘special’ feel. With the number of choices you have with hardbacks you really can make your book your own.

Pros

  • Tend to last longer- with the thickness and quality of the cover it gives the book protection that you wouldn’t necessarily get with a paperback.
  • 2 covers in 1- if you choose to have a hardback with cloth and dustjacket it allows you to have two different styles of cover in one book.
  • Looks nicer- even a standard hardback tends to look professional and luxurious. Plus, with the added extras, you can really make it look high end.

Cons

  • Expensive- there is a lot of work that goes into making a hardback so they tend to be more expensive than paperbacks.
  • Not very practical- the weight and the extra thickness that hardbacks have makes them a heavy product to carry around.

Conclusion

In all honesty, it really depends on what you want from your book as to what form of book you go for. If you want to reduce spending and have an easily portable book then paperback is what you should go for. However, if you are looking for a more special, high end feel to the book and are not too worried about portability, then hardbacks are the way to go.

Some people decided to print both paperback and hardback. They may go for more paperbacks than hardbacks and then promote the hardbacks as being a special edition. This isn’t difficult to do as generally the text is the same in both, paperback and hardback, the cover just needs slight editing to fit the hardback.

We are happy to give you a quote and advise on paperbacks and hardbacks just get in touch.

We hope this helped if you would like more info take a look at our services page.