Here I sit and wait on one correction to be made on the back flap of cover for my republished book, Saga of the Ages. It has taken nearly a week to get something done. At least my original publisher was faster, although the books were more expensive online. Golden rule: You get what you pay for. I wanted to reproduce a book that was less expensive and more affordable to readers. I wonder if I invested wisely into republication. There is no way to know until I get results. Are there any other writers or authors out there that have experienced the same thing? Am I just too impatient? It has only been a few weeks if that.
As a retired teacher, I spoke to other retired teachers today. After the luncheon, there was a presentation of authors and then some book signing by authors. I was one of four authors to speak in the area. I went first. Good to do that. People generally remember the first and last speaker. You usually lose your nerve if you have to sit there and think about it.
I thought it went well. I got through the speech. There were some sober moments. An emotional flow of words, mixed in with highs and lows. But the most tortuous part was telling my story of how I got here, how I was inspired and who inspired me through life. My words spoke truth through my tears, my heart and my inner soul. I wear my emotions on my sleeves.
I just got a call from a traditional publisher about radio interviewing. True, I want to get radio interviews scheduled. I do need a way for a publisher to sponsor me. My dilemma is my medical condition, but I would like to start scheduling in the area if I could. If there are any sponsors in the metro-Atlanta area, please contact me. My trouble would be transportation outside the Atlanta area.
I’m starting to feel a little better this week. Going to Augusta to see my neurologist there on April 16. This is my last visit in the study and then every six months thereafter, if I wish to continue seeing Dr. Rivner. I prefer to keep seeing him. He has been a very helpful and knowledgeable source of information when I had no where else to turn.
Back to real life, my home physical therapist is coming tomorrow morning. I delayed occupational therapy this week due to my rigid schedule. Maybe a way to extend my physical therapy. The work over these last few weeks seemed to have help limber me up a little. I’m still stiff, but at least, I can walk across the floor now.
Someone tried to attack my name and writing on social media two weeks ago under my author’s name, Anne R, Murray. It is slander; I refute all wrong accusations. If they had bothered to read my novels, they clearly state that some of the events and dates are fictitious. Facts do manner, but they need to get their facts straight.
This is the tenth and final week I will be presenting tips to new writers and authors. I hope the ten weekly posts were helpful and something you can come back to. At least, it gives you an idea of what to expect in the publishing world. As reiterated many times, no course or book can teach you everything to learn about publishing. Practical experience and recognition as an author and writer are the best teachers.
A good writer knows how to write. A great writer not only knows how to write well, but will give direction and guidance to others. This advice is offered freely. I don’t proclaim to be an expert; I still have lots to learn too.
Five years of writing and publishing led me down this path. A path I did not choose; it chose me. To wrap up this week, I offer several suggestions:
- Look at alternate publishers before you select a publisher. Do your research beforehand and ask questions. You might find another publisher who does work less expensively than another and/or you get more profits (including royalties) from book sales.
- Remember to get everything you expect in writing before you sign a contract. If not in writing, then it is your word against the publisher or marketer. Once you sign a contract, you are bound to their regulations and procedures. Legally, you usually have 7 to 10 days to cancel the contract.
- Talk to your book consultant if any questions about the publishing process. Usually, they can advise about complimentary copies of your book(s) or marketing services offered. *Note – I find marketing services to be more expensive than publishing sometimes, depending on the service offered, so choose wisely. This seems true for self-publishing, as well as traditional publishing.
- Please note that once you publish a book, you are placed on a calling list. If it gets too annoying, you may want to ask the publisher to be removed from the list. If they say the list came from a website like Amazon, please ask to be connected to their customer service or a manager.
- Continue to market your book(s) online. Social media is a great way to advertise your book(s) online and very affordable. Shout my Book will market your book(s) on social media inexpensively. They will do as many books as you want daily or monthly (at a small fee, of course).
- Keep in contact with other writers. Seek a writer’s group or an organization for writers that meet monthly to discuss their books. This is an excellent opportunity to not only do some advertising, but to get advice from other writers.
- Keep getting your name out there – mail book markers, postcards or business cards to potential interested readers, like family, acquaintances or friends. This can get expensive with postage and takes time; however, it’s gets your name and title of your book(s) out to the mainstream public.
- Ask businesses (depending on the type of business) that know you if they would post a flyer of your book on their window. Usually, it is best if you are a customer or they’re acquainted with you.
- In retrospect, see if these businesses would let you market your book(s) through a book signing. You would be surprise. They might say yes.
- Keep hanging in there – never give up. Enjoy the writing process as you write that next “best seller” one day. Simply, just have fun with it.
There are many more suggestions, but I feel it would be too repetitious in words. This project started out as your idea, your creation and your book. It is your baby. When I publish a book, I feel like I have given birth to a new creation.
Please keep in touch and if you have any questions, I am here to help. I may not be able to answer all your questions, but I will attempt to find out the answer for you. In the meantime, have a wonderful week and hope to be reading your best-seller soon.
For new writers, it is an uncertain destiny. You’ve written and published your first book. Where do you go from here? Often, it is soul-searching. Remembering back to when I first began to write books, I was mystified as to which direction to go toward. It wasn’t much longer, that I wrote another book. From then on, I was hooked and started writing my third book shortly afterward.
I would suggest to just enjoy the ride. It is hard work to constantly monitor your book sales, but being well-organized is half the battle. Whatever you do, it is important to stay upbeat and positive in the process. Your door will open oneday. It is also important to never give up! If writing is your passion and you love writing, stick with it, no matter what anybody says. After all, it is your life. Nobody else can live it for you.
Again, as previously mentioned, no course taught me these things. Rather, it was hands-on experience over time. I offer several suggestions for new writers and authors, which I feel may benefit you:
- Seek out other writers and authors both in social media and the community. The more you reach out to others, the more your writing skills are recognized. In this case, a monthly writers’ group would benefit, as they offer advice to new writers.
- Do some self-marketing and advertising. Everywhere I go, from restaurants to social events, I give at least one person my business card. It identifies you as a writer and where to find your book(s) online or publisher.
- Acknowledge that your book(s) will not sell overnight. Rather, it will take time and effort to build up an audience of interested readers.
- Establish yourself in your local community before spanning out to other areas. People will usually purchase something from someone they know or acquainted with, rather than a complete stranger.
- Do not get discouraged. It is easy to find discouragement along the way. Remember that there are thousands of writers competing against you for recognition and notiety.
- Keep your communication lines open. You never want to give all your personal information online. If you have an author’s website, that should give interested readers enough information to purchase your book(s). If using social media, like Twitter, Facebook or Google, set up a paypal or method that readers can purchase your book(s).
- Always look for alternate ways to market your book(s), such as online campaign ads or newspaper ads. You never know when literary agents, publishers and marketers might find interest in your book(s).
- Constantly look out for conferences or meetings in the community. There are some organizations that allow new writers to speak to their members. Contact local organizations to see when their next meeting is. Introduce yourself and that you are a new writer in the local area. You can also check with local bookstores for booksignings.
Next week, I will be wrapping up my weekly postings. I will be discussing how to expand your horizons into other areas of writing. More importantly, how to write and get paid for it.
What does branding mean? I don’t mean branding like cattle. “Branding” is identifying yourself as unique that sets you apart from other authors. The key is developing a brand that is targeted and focused. You need to determine what genre and style of writing you want to go with among your readers. For example, five years ago, I started out writing nonfiction books. By the third book, I changed to fiction. My last several books have been historical novels, based on actual events, but the characters are fictitious. The readers will be more impressed if you identify with one genre or style. If you are enthusiastic about science fiction, branding yourself to science fiction books goes further than skimming around genres. If you love poetry and poems, establishing yourself as a poet is beneficial. If you love children’s books, then establishing yourself as a writer of children’s books or educational books is essential.
As a new writer, it is important that you establish yourself as early as possible in a particular brand. Once recognized on social media, your name will go a long way. The more your name is put out there, the more you are recognized. It is more than social media and online advertising. It is actually getting out in the community and marketing yourself as a writer/author. I started off with a pen name and changed it to my legal name later on. Why? Upon the advice of the publisher, my first two books were more on a personal nature and self-closure. I didn’t want personal confidentiality to get out to the mainstream public. I did that to protect my family and family members. But on the lighter spectrum, it allowed me to self-heal on the inside.
So, how do I get started as a new writer/author? I had issues with establishing myself as a writer/author of multiple books. Mine are mostly because of health/medical issues, but you are a young writer, trying to establish yourself in the community. My suggestion is to simply get out there. Pass your business cards around. Take extra cards with you to everywhere you visit. Remember, people will tend to buy books from someone they know or recognize rather than a total stranger. The very first thing is to listen to Sherry Beck Paprocki’s, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Branding Yourself. She provides a video on UTube that defines a branding story and how you can develop your own story. Stephen Hertz, managing director of interactive at Lavidge, offers four tips to authors who are new to social media. These tips help to get new authors started on social media.
- Claim your social profiles on all of the high traffic platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. It is important to register your information, no matter how active you are on each.
- Start out with short and simple posts so that you don’t overwhelm your readers or yourself. I realize that writers like to write, but remember less is more in this case.
- Find your biggest supporters on each platform and reach out to them for advice on the best way to approach that specific platform.
- Actively seek out feedback from your community of followers. This helps keep them engaged while providing you with valuable insights.
Next week, I will discuss scouting out different avenues of writing. Perhaps, you have decided in midstream to go from creative writing to free-lance writing. How do you get started? There are different avenues to consider and ways that you are even paid to write. Please stop in next week and you might find your answer. In the meantime, have a good weekend and enjoy this beautiful, sunny weather today.
This is the magic question every writer asks before publishing a book. My introduction to independent publishing started several years ago; a relative and a friend recommended the name of a publisher. Although I was skeptical at first, I contacted a well-known self-publishing company in the summer of 2013. The rest is history. I am a fanatic of self-publishing and know I made the right choice that best fits me. Often, the new writer has a decision to make of which method of publishing is right for him or her. A lot depends on the writer and what he or she is looking for. If you have a time-sensitive manuscript or looking at a particular time period, like to control your own decision-making of your book, then self-publishing might be the right choice for you, If you don’t have an online presence or don’t know how to find and reach readers, dislike social media, or want a publisher to handle marketing your book, then traditional publishing might be the better choice for you. Nether independent or traditional publishing are better than the other. Both have advantages and disadvantages, I believe.
So what is the difference between independent and traditional publishing? Traditional Publishing offers the author a contract to print, publish and sell your book through booksellers and other retailers. The publisher buys the right to publish your book and pays you royalties from the book sales. The publisher handles the marketing, distribution and warehousing for your book. In the traditional method of publishing, there is no expense to the author – mainstream publishers make a profit from the book sales.
- The publisher assumes all expenses for your book, including publishing, distribution and marketing services.
- The author receives royalties from the book sales.
- The publisher will be responsible for selling your book to bookstores and other retailers.
- The author gives the publisher the right to publish his or her book.
- The publisher makes a profit from book sales.
- The author gives some control of the publishing process to the publisher.
- Traditional publishing may be very time-consuming and a lengthy process.
Through traditional publishing, it is highly recommended that the author find a literary agent. Before you do anything, you need to identify the category of your book. If writing non-fiction, a book proposal is needed with three sample chapters and a synopsis of each chapter. If writing fiction, a completed manuscript is needed. Next, you need to send a query letter to potential literary agents. Be sure to mention the synopsis of your book, the chapter summary, the market or audience of your book and a description (bio) of yourself.
Self-Publishing requires the author to invest his or her own money to produce, market, distribute and warehouse his or her book. The majority of work falls on the author’s shoulders and he or she pays for all the expenses. The author controls when the book is published, retains all rights to the book and receive 100% of the profits.
- The author controls when the book is published, distributed and marketed.
- The author retains all rights to the book.
- The author receives 100% of the profits from book sales, plus royalties.
- Self-publishing may be more cost-effective than other publishing models.
- The author pays all expenses for publishing, distributing and marketing the book.
- All printing costs are paid by the author.
- The author is mostly responsibility for selling to bookstores and other retailers.
- This may require a huge time commitment by the author.
As I have emphasized every week, always do your homework and research before starting any project. This shows that you are knowledgeable about the subject and know at least some of what you are discussing. I have listed some resources that might help new authors and writers get started:
- Authorhouse Publishers, Inc. Author Learning Center for Self-Publishers, Bloomington, IN.
- Brewer, Robert Lee. 2011 Writer’s Market Deluxe Edition, F & W Media, Inc., Cincinnati, Ohio, 2010. Email: WritersMarket.com
- Larsen, Michael. How to Write a Book Proposal, 4th Edition Ebook, accessed June 8, 2018.
- Reedsy, How to Write a Query Letter in 7 Steps, accessed June 12, 2018. Email: https://reedsy.com
- Writers Digest Shop, How to Publish a Book: An Overview of Traditional & Self-Publishing, accessed June 8, 2018.
- Writer’s Market: Where & How to Sell What you Write, 2016 Guide to Literary Agents, accessed June 8, 2018.
Next week, I will be discussing how to sell yourself (brand) as a new writer and author. You need to be recognized locally throughout the community as an author. It is a competitive world out there, but do not get discouraged. Determination and perseverance are the keys to attaining success and maintaining it. Most importantly, you need to relax and enjoy the writing process along the way.
You worked hard on your manuscript. It has been submitted to the publisher. If you are self-publishing, it generally takes two to three weeks to publish. Your book is first submitted to a check-in book coordinator. Once the content of your manuscript is approved (usually 24 to 48 hours), it goes into the design stage. This is when your front and back covers are designed and the interior text as well. This stage can last up until you finish all corrections or revisions of your final manuscript. Once you have made corrections and revisions (if any), you will approve the final layouts of the covers and text. Your book then goes into the production stage, whereby it is ready for the printers. This stage takes anywhere from a week to two weeks usually. Once completed, you will be sent a complimentary copy or copies of your newly published book. This is your time to start promoting your book. We have covered many of the marketing strategies in the previous week. There are some suggestions that you might find effective doing this time:
- Promote your new book through word of mouth to acquaintance, friends and family members. They are most familiar with your written work and writing skills.
- Network an interest to readers through your blog, social media (Twitter, Facebook, Google, etc) or email.
- Set up a time at a local book store to introduce yourself as a new author. You can usually email to set up a time and date.
- Book signings are important as it introduces you as a new writer/author to the community. Set up a time and date through advertising and/or a local newspaper – it will also promote book sales.
- Advertise your new book in the local newspaper. You can contact the newspaper for costs. Usually, week-long ads will be more costly. It may be more cost-effective to set up once monthly or weekends only.
- Send an article about yourself and writing experience with a photo to the local newspaper. This could be less costly than advertising your book.
- Look at local organizations and clubs for times to speak about your book. This gives an outlet to be recognized in your community as a new writer/author.
- Explore radio stations to set up an interview talking about your book. Be adamant and set up a time and date.
- Set up an author’s website with your new book. You can add additional books as well. Ask the publisher if they have this marketing service.
- Marketing is costly, but you may want to ask the publisher about online campaign ads.
- Find other local writers and authors in the area by joining a writers’ club. They meet monthly and offer advice to new writers and authors. In addition, you get to meet others that share your same passion of writing.
- If you received a marketing kit from the publisher, send out postcards to persons that might be interested in your new book.
As always, do your homework beforehand. I like to research online before starting a project. Next week, I will be discussing some differences between independent publishing and traditional publishing. Seems like a broken record, but it is valuable to you as a new writer and author.
This is one of the most important steps in the writing process. This is your final draft of the manuscript. During this step, the second or third pair of eyes become essential. If self-publishing, you want a squeaky clean manuscript, free of errors. Once finalized, it will not be corrected without costs. Note – some publishers will allow up to 25 to 50 free corrections before publishing. However, this doesn’t include publisher errors (e.g., printing). Please see the publisher’s guidelines for submission of your final draft.
Before you submit your manuscript to the publisher, you will select what type package you want (hardcover, softcover or both, e-book, etc). Hardcover includes the bound cover with dust jackets, whereas softcover is the paperback. E-books are available online to be downloaded. If you have written a book before and using the same publisher, ask about discounts. Some publishers will allow up to half off for a second book or additional books. The check-in coordinator will discuss with you about any questions you might have. In this stage, you will select what type genre, age range (audience) or package (condensed or dust jackets, also called flaps for hardcover).
Publishing multiple books in a five-year period, I find there are some helpful hints not necessarily known to the general public:
- Once the draft is finished, thoroughly review your draft before submission. This includes any typos, spelling, punctuation or grammatical errors. Remember, Spellcheck and other software programs will not catch 100% of the errors.
- I suggest having at least one reader read your final draft before submission. I found in my last book, out of 424 pages, I still had three errors when published. A second or third person can catch errors that the writer doesn’t catch.
- If self-editing, read through the manuscript yourself and correct errors. You may need to revise or even rewrite some parts that don’t flow well within the manuscript.
- If professionally editing, then allow up to two months to receive final draft back. There will be suggestions and/or corrections to make. Note – editing is not free nor cheap and is based on how many pages (or words) the manuscript contains.
- Once you make corrections and satisfied with the final draft, combine chapters into one document. Note – most publishers will not accept separate chapters. Rather, they want the total manuscript. Even if they do allow, I find it causes more confusion and more work to go back to correct.
- If self-publishing, the writer will be given one chance to look over the final draft from the publisher before approval. Once approved by you, the final draft is submitted for publication. Note – once you send the final approval, the manuscript goes into the publishing stage. No changes can be made afterwards, unless you are willing to pay for corrections.
- Most publishers prefer that the writer submit the manuscript by email. In some cases, it can be mailed or faxed, but that is difficult, especially with a lengthy manuscript. Please see the publisher’s guidelines for submission of your manuscript.
- It usually takes up to two or three weeks to publish. The writer will receive a free complimentary copy of the book. If you selected both hardcover and softcover, you will receive a copy of both. Please look over the book and make sure no publisher errors were made (misprints, blurring or spacing errors, etc). It is best to correct when the printing is fresh rather than go back later.
- The writer will be given a chance to order a maximum number of free copies once published; only shipping charges are applied. My publisher allows 5 hardcover and 10 softcover books. Publishers may vary in the number of free copies allowed; please check with your publisher for details.
Once your book is published, congratulations, you have now become a new author. Enjoy the accomplishment of a finished product. More importantly, enjoy the writing process. Writing was an adventure that started out as self-therapy for closure to painful events in my past. The first time I published, I was fearful, but over the years, I became more confident in my writing. Now, I love the writing process in publishing books for readers to enjoy.
Next week, I will discuss marketing strategies. Going into publishing five years ago, I was blind about marketing. I struggled as an unknown author. It is just as important to have a marketing strategy and a plan to advertise your book(s). Marketing is expensive and there are some ways to advertise your book(s) without costing an arm and a leg. I find social media and networking works some, but it takes more effort. The writer has to get out there to the public to be recognized.
Tune in to my blog weekly. If you are a new writer and/or author yourself or know someone who is, please refer them to my blog. In the meantime, Happy Memorial Day to all veterans and everyone.
I stand in correction about copyright law (thanks Ray) from the discussion last week. Even though traditional publishers do take some control of your book, they do not take over copyrights. Rather, it is the creation itself. For example, if you post online on your blog, it is considered published. It should not be reproduced (copied) unless given permission by the writer. A similar concept with a published written work or a book. Once published, it is considered copyrights of the writer/author and can not be reproduced. It is the monetary gains in courtrooms that intensify the legal battles of what is considered “copyrights” or not.
I will discuss traditional vs. independent publishing in oncoming weeks. Frankly, I feel there are pros and cons of each one. My personal preference is self-publishing; however, I do not advocate one over the other. For now, I will stick to what I know firsthand: the process of writing and getting your book published.
We have discussed naming your book and creating the plot (storyline) in prior weeks. However, there are certain things to determine before writing the manuscript. There are two parts of writing your manuscript: the initial draft and the final draft. Most publishers will send guidelines for preparing and submitting your manuscript. If you have questions, please contact the publishing consultant assigned to your book. There are some guidelines I feel may be helpful in preparing your manuscript:
- The first thing is to consider what type genre (history, self-help, inspirational, religious, poetry or general, etc) your book is about. Is it fictional (story, novel) or nonfictional (autobiography, true facts or true story)? Who will be your audience and what age range do you want to reach?
- Consider the font style and pica format. Some publishers prefer the standard New Times script and 12 pica in Word Document. These should be included in their general guidelines.
- Indentations are determined whether you want the standard 5 or 3-tab indentation. Also, if single or double-spaced between lines and paragraphs. You may also do 1.5 spacing. Again, that will depend on the type of book you are writing. Poetry, for example, will have a different format and/or sequence of writing.
- I find writing chapters individually before combining chapters is easier to go back to correct and revise. There may be portions of your manuscript you may want to rewrite. Always read through each chapter to check if script sounds smooth and flowing. If not, you may have to revise or rewrite.
- Do not number your pages beforehand. The publisher will number as the length of the book will be longer with additional appendages. This includes the Table of Contents Page also – do not number pages before submitting.
- The very first page should include the Title Page, which includes the title of the book and the name of the author or pen name. You want to write Acknowledgments to give credit to those who helped in publication of your book. Dedications are optional, but may be included.
- Formats may vary with each writer, but I find an Introduction or Prologue useful. The Introduction can be short, but enough detail about the book. The Prologue or Chapter One should be more descriptive and give explicit details.
- Forewords usually go along well with proven writers/authors. Yet, someone who is familiar with your written work may write a Foreword or a Blurb for your book. I submit a Blurb on the back cover for this purpose. Adding an author’s photograph is nice too, where readers will recognize you.
- Always reference where you are getting information for your book. These can include References, Notes or Bibliography at the back of your book.
- End with an Epilogue explaining the conclusion or related to your book. For example, if writing a historical novel, write something concerning that era or the story you have written.
- At the very back of the book, you many want to include an About The Author page. This will include your biography, your writing experience and other publications (if applicable).
- If nothing else, always go through the initial draft with a fine-tooth comb. Some spell-checkers will not correct all spelling or punctuation errors. This includes grammar errors too. Please note that if you are self-publishing, the publisher is not interested in correcting your manuscript, unless you have paid for professional editing.
Next week, I will finish with submitting your final draft to the publisher. This is an important step, as once you approve and submit your final draft, no more changes can be made without a charge.
Please respond with any comments or feedback. Remember, any opinions or statements posted, are just opinions. I do not feel that any responses are wrong, just different in thought or opinion.