Tuesday, April 8, 2014

What is the best way forward for Indie Authors for publication?

Part Two - In his last post Rik covered Traditional and Vanity publishing, now he looks at Self Publishing.

Rik and Linda are a husband and wife Author team with numerous years experience within all aspects of Authorship - AND Rik was kind enough to volunteer the time to put it into print for us - Thank You!

Some simple thoughts on publishing your own works.

Point one – You can do it! Honest.

Point two – If you can’t do it all, remember this adage:

“Do what you do best and what you love, hire out the rest.”

So, what are the steps?

The steps are simple:
1.    Write a great story
2.    Re-write, tear it apart, put it back together, edit, proof, spell check and polish.
3.    Send it to beta readers. And wait.
4.    Gently remind the beta readers.
5.    Re-write, tear it apart again, put it back together, edit, proof, spell check and re-polish.
6.    Have it professionally edited. There are lots of steps that you can do yourself; this is not one of them. Sorry. An author cannot edit their own work. You are too close to it. When you read it you will see what you thought you wrote, not what is actually there. Editing will cost you between $1.00 and $2.50 a page. And it is well worth every penny.
7.    Go over it again, more than likely accepting most of what your professional editor suggests.
8.    Format your book. If you choose to format it yourself – you really need to read the next blog – Part Three – Formatting. Formatting for a normal novel for one eVersion file and a POD (Print on Demand) version file using my services will run you between $75 and $500, depending upon who you hire. Many will charge much more because they think you are willing to pay more. Shop around! Good guaranteed work should cost you less than $100. Now, if your work is non-fiction or has numerous formatting challenges, it might cost a little more. And, reasonable fixes should be free.
9.    Get, buy, hire or make a great cover. Having one produced can be as little as $40 or $50 dollars and can easily run ten times that much if you choose to do so.
10.  Choose a vendor. Create the appropriate accounts and PUBLISH!!!!
11.  Have a party, do a Snoopy Dance, make a toast, hug your cat and do all the other wonderfully silly things authors do when they first see their work on Amazon or hold a print version.
12.  Cross your fingers.

Making “The Bigs” is as much luck, providence, God’s will, or whatever phrase you choose. Steps one through ten above, if done wrong will stop you from making “The Bigs”, but doing them all perfectly will not guarantee that your book will be a hit. Readers are fickle people. It is one of those things where being in the right place at the right time can make or break it.

If Oprah (or someone like her) picks up your book and likes it – instant millionaire.
If a Rock Star picks it up and likes it and mentions it in one of their songs - instant millionaire.

Help, I need somebody Help, not just anybody…

The Beatles recorded Help on my 19th birthday in 1965. And we all need somebody at some point. So, who do you need?

·         You sure can use some help with encouragement. A significant other, a parent, a child, a support group. Now, I am not talking about AA here, but I am talking about any number of great Writer’s Groups, both face to face and virtual. And while the virtual groups are nice, a face-to-face, we meet the second Tuesday of each month, we read and critique without rancor each other’s works, we nourish and help each other … That kind of group is important.
·         You can use help with beta readers. Those are the people, who, for whatever reason, are willing to read your WIP (work in progress) and tell you what they think. Hopefully in a timely manner, hopefully kindly and hopefully they will say more than just, “Great book, I couldn’t put it down.” Beta readers can be a great help.
·         Book covers – here is where some of the great virtual writer’s groups can help. One such group is the Indie Author Group on FaceBook.
Many of these great FB groups have files where people list their services for you. Again – shop around, ask lots of questions and get the cover that you really like, that speak to you, no, that SINGS to you. You can’t judge a book by its cover, but a great cover really does help.
·         Vendors – this one is great because there are so many options. And yes – here is a place where virtual groups can again help. Here’s my advice:
Where to put your eBooks
1.    Kindle (Amazon) KDP - You put it here directly yourself. You need the document, the cover and a KDP account. You do not need an ISBN (Amazon uses an ASBN of their own) You get a royalty once a month with day by day sales reports view-able. You also get the chance if you wish of using their exclusive KDP Select agreement.
2.    SmashWords (SW) - putting your book here, you can let your book be distributed to: Sony, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple, Diesel, Page Foundry, Baker-Taylor’s Blio, Library Direct and Baker-Taylor’s Axis360. They do not distribute it to Amazon. You get a royalty once a quarter. You need: the document, the cover and unique ISBN for the digital version (not a print version ISBN) and an account at SmashWords. SW will assign a free ISBN if you want.  If you are an author outside of the USA, you can probably get free ISBNs from your own government.
3.    Barnes and Noble - if you wish, you can distribute directly to B&N. You need: the document, the cover, the same unique ISBN as you used at SW (not a print version ISBN) and an account at Barnes and Noble (called an ePub account). You get a royalty once a month with day by day sales reports view-able.
4.    Kobo -  - if you wish, you can distribute directly to Kobo. (KWL - Kobo Writing Life). You need: the document, the cover, the same unique ISBN as you used at SW (not a print version ISBN) and an account with Kobo. You get a royalty once a month.
5.    If you just go with SW and Amazon life is very simple.
All of these vendors have great websites and great support which will really help you.
6.    And remember – these vendors are fluid, more are coming up, some are dying off – you just have to go with the flow.

Point Three –this is just beginning. Please remember Point One. Go back up and re-read it. You can do it, with just a little help from your friends. (Beatles, 1967)

Just Rik's morning coffee thoughts ...


Bio – Rik is married to Linda, an author. Rik and Linda met 44 years ago in the student newspaper offices at a college in Chicago. Linda was writing then, Linda still writes (http://WriterHall.com)

Other than checking out potential lady friends, Rik mostly just hung around the office, wrote a few headlines and tried to look busy. The next Christmas they were married. Forty-four years later Linda has more than 25 works published, both traditionally and by self-publication. Rik is a sort-of-retired educator. Today Rik provides educational technology support to a local university, formats books for authors (http://RikHall.com), is a professional Magician (http://RikHall.com/magic) and spends as much time with Linda on their boat, Mystery, with their cat Captain Hook, as they can. They have two children and seven grandchildren.

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