Author Talk Is On YouTube!
Short form videos to accompany the related blog posts below.
Short form videos to accompany the related blog posts below.
I am super excited to announce the launch of my new series Secret of Ceres! The first novel Ferocious is scheduled to be released March 14th, 2019. Ebook version is available for Pre-Order Now!
The magical utopia of Ceres and its inhabitants, the Aura, have been a well-guarded secret until now…
Farrah Andromeda is taking charge of her life outside of the Sanctuary of Ceres. A headstrong Aura PI she spends most of her day chasing cheats and scoundrels. At least until she’s tasked with a top-secret mission by one of the Ruling Four. A young Aura is missing, and the Farrah is determined to bring the family the answers they crave. Even if she has to suffer the oversight of sexy Security Force officer Donovan Mars to do so.
When Donovan Mars is summoned by a member of the Ruling Four for a secret investigation, the last thing he expects is to be partnered with Farrah Andromeda. Known for her reckless behavior and lack of decorum, Farrah is the exact opposite of what Donovan would want in a partner. He is determined not to be distracted by her beauty and unexpected charm.
Can the two avoid setting their world on fire as the mystery unfolds and sparks between them begin to fly?
You may have seen a lot of this information floating around the interwebs but I’ve decided to put all of my knowledge and experience with ISBN’s here in an attempt to uncomplicate and facilitate new authors starting out.
The short answer is YES!
Some publishing platforms offer free ISBNs but I prefer to get my own. There are many shady places that “sell” ISBNs but the only official and recognized source is Bowkers www.myidentifiers.com
You should buy your own ISBNs if you want to have yourself listed as the official publisher of your work. If not the platform you publish on will be listed as your publisher and it can cause issues if you want to publish across multiple platforms with that ISBN.
Nope. Once you use an ISBN it is assigned to that book and that book only. That includes the same work in different formats. You will need an ISBN for your ebook, another for paperback, and another for hardback. eBooks thorugh Amazon will be assigned an ASIN which is not an ISBN and is not transferable to any place outside or Amazon.
That is honestly up to you. I personally rather have all my bases covered and have ISBNs for my ebooks.
On Bowker’s My Identifiers Prices are:
Those prices can be pretty steep for some and a lot of self publishers opt for the free ISBN from their preferred platform for that reason. I know I did when I first started. So if you are on the fence about where you want to go with your writing. If your self-publishing journey isn’t something you are pursuing as a career than having an ISBN isn’t necessary but I highly recommend getting an ISBN for your book if you plan to become a professional author.
Now that you have your marketing strategy and time management down. It’s time to talk actual publishing of your work. If you have followed along with The Write Process Series you should already have a good idea of what formats you would like to produce and how to format them. If not then here is a quick rundown.
Audiobooks– The most expensive to produce, even if doing DIY. Not very lucrative without a dedicated following who prefers audiobooks. Complicated setup and high fees can be discouraging to some. I won’t be discussing Audiobooks in this post.
With that in
Kindle Direct Publishing/Createspace– Amazon is by far the largest distributor of eBooks in the world. Their set up is very user-friendly and a bonus it’s free! Even the royalty rates are more favorable to authors than other platforms with both 30% or 70% options available. Most self-publishers use this platform for that very reason, but it isn’t without its flaws.
New updates to reviewing criteria that denies or removes reader reviews, the demand for exclusivity to participate in their on-site promotions and kindle unlimited, and ever-changing algorithms that can either boost or bury your work make succeeding in sales on Amazon tricky.
Another thing to consider before doubling down with Amazon is if you want to see your work in brick and mortar stores. A lot of them see Amazon as a competitor and don’t stock books only available through Amazon. Especially if you choose to use the free Amazon ISBN. More on ISBNs Here.
Ingram Spark– The indie publishing arm of the massive Ingram complex, Ingram Spark provides quality print and ebooks with the backing of Ingram’s extensive distribution network (which includes Amazon). The downside, it’s expensive compared to other option running $50-$100 to upload your work. Formatting is much more involved for Ingram as well, and the provided tutorials aren’t very helpful. Ingram also has a dismal royalty rate compared to Amazon.
For example, the print version of my novel Ferocious is listed at a price of $8.99 but subtract the wholesale discount of 50% and the print cost and I only get roughly $0.30 per book. To get a larger cut I can raise my price, but being a lesser known Author I risk out pricing my audience by doing so.
At this point, you are probably wondering why I chose to use Ingram over KDP for my book. The reason is that I wanted to see my book in Brick and Mortar stores, have greater distribution into libraries, and I honestly feel the color and print quality of Ingram is better than Amazon if only marginally so.
Draft2Digital– This is basically a giant agreggation site. You upload your work to them and they take care of all the different criteria required by various sites. I have not used the print side of draft2digital nor their audiobook services but the ebook side is similar to Amazon in ease of use and cost.
I’ve only been on Draft2Digital for a week at the time of writing this article so I can’t say if it’s a better option than Amazon for ebooks. I can say that it is nice to have a single link to all of the places my books are available. No more giant lists of links for each format and platform. I will provide an update when I have more experience with this site.
Other sites that I have little to no experience with:
I highly suggest checking out each platform and deciding which best suits your needs and wants as far as distribution and offerings. Where you publish and how your book is distributed can really make the difference in how professional you come across in your publishing endeavors. If you have any questions, comments, or additions to this post please feel free to add them to the comments section.
So you want to go for it on your own? Let me tell you that self publishing is definitely not a solitary act. You will need a solid support base in order to achieve your goals of self made stardom.
Okay, maybe I’m being a bit dramatic. Self Publishing is not a get rich quick scheme by any means. It is a lot of hard work but with the right attitude and effort, it can be a very rewarding experience.
In part one of Self-Publishing I will discuss mostly the marketing and budgeting aspects of self publishing. Even though its called self publishing to be successful, however that looks for you. There is a heavily social aspect to the job.
1.) Self Publishing is not an excuse to produce sub par work!
Your reputation as an author is everything in Publishing. So don’t skimp out on editing to meet some arbitrary deadline. One of the perks of being self-published is being on your own schedule. If you need more time to put out a quality product take it. If it’s an issue of money, that can be worked around too. There are tons of blogs like this one with ample resources to help you put forth a quality product no matter you time and budgetary constraints.
2.) How good are you with budgets?
You aren’t going to have the privilege of an advance or the resources of a major company behind you. All of your production and marketing costs will come out of your pockets. That’s why it’s important to set a budget, figure out what services you are willing to pay for and which ones you can DIY. The lower your costs, the higher your profits if any. Gig sites like Fiverr can come in handy for discount book covers, and marketing graphics but I wouldn’t suggest them for an editor.
You will also need to learn to budget your time. It’s very easy to get caught up in the social media and marketing aspect and lose sight of the actual writing, or vice versa. Setting a schedule for writing, marketing, and networking will go a long way in easing the burden of the multi hat wearing self publisher.
3.) How are you with self promotion?
Being shy about promoting yourself and your work will not go over so well in the self-publishing world. A lot of your sales will come from people who feel connected to you in some way. There are ways to maintain a level of anonymity, but the more outgoing you are, the easier it will be to reach and attract an audience. On the flip side, you also don’t want to be that person that doesn’t interact with others but is constantly posting promotional material. You will quickly be labeled a spammer or worse a scammer.
Outside of the digital realm, be sure to have some sort of card or flyer to hand out to people who may be interested in your work. The boots on the ground method is often more effective than wading through the depths of social media. Cards can be placed at local businesses (with their permission of course), handed out by your personally, and/or given to friends or family to help spread the word in your community.
4.) Are you good with social media?
Social Media will be your number one avenue for marketing. You don’t have to be an expert or a master of all platforms. Just find one or two that you are most comfortable with and start building your audience. By audience I mean readers! While having a bunch of writing friends is excellent, and some authors do support other authors. You don’t want to get caught in a trap of groups and spaces of authors promoting their work without reaching actual readers.
Not so good with social media? Having an active mailing list is often more valuable than a thousand followers on social media. So focus on building a list with a simple newsletter format. My newsletter is weekly but monthly is just fine if you don’t have a lot going on. Update your readers about your writing process, share some funny memes with anecdotes to your writing or daily life, inform people of upcoming appearances and events both your own and other writing-related events. There are plenty of options to keep people invested in what you have to say.
I am one of those people who happens to be fairly social so I’m across multiple platforms. You can check me out at the following links and don’t be shy about being friendly!
My Social Media Links in Order of Activity
Let me know if this article has been helpful and post any other questions you may have in the comments. Happy Self-Publishing!
I am not a traditionally published author. I have never sought out to be a traditionally published author. It has honestly not been something I’ve taken into serious consideration, but if you plan to publish at all its good to take stock of all the options in order to make the best decision for you. This article
Just a few guidelines to get you in the right head space for the Traditional Publishing Journey.
Very rarely will your first attempt at being picked up by a publisher will be sucessful. There are many steps and many gatekeepers that make the process long and tedious.
Rejection comes in many forms and will most likely come often as you submit your work. Try not to take it to heart. Even JK Rowling was rejected at the beginning of her career.
If you are lucky enough to receive feedback from your submissions, take the criticisms and work them to your advantage. There is something to be said for creative integrity and freedoms, but if you need to change your manuscript or a minor character to get in the door, it may be in your best interest not to fight it.
1.) Have a completed manuscript– I know some people will try and start the publishing process before their manuscript is complete, but how are you going to sell something that doesn’t exist. We all know that writing doesn’t always go as planned. If you are serious about getting picked up by a publisher, you need to put your best foot forward. In this
2.) Build your readership– Having an already established readership will go a long way in enticing Agents and Editors to give your work a shot. So get on social media and make some reader friends. Entice them to join your email list and share a few shorts or excerpts for your work to have them clamoring for your full length projects.
3.) Find an Agent – this step is not always necessary but comes recommended by the few of my traditionally published friends. They key is to find someone who understands your work and will passionately promote you and your best interest. Remember an Agent works for you so if you aren’t jiving with their strategy don’t feel obligated to stick around.
4.) Submit where you fit!– Do your research to mitigate rejections. Make sure wherever and to whoever you submit your work, that they specialize or are at least open to your genre and style of writing.
5.) Submit a Query– This is a widely covered topic that I have no experience with, but I found this awesome blog by Jane Friedman that covers all the important stuff.
6.) Wait and Resubmit– Most companies have a long waiting process when it comes to submissions. You will be lucky if you even get an acknowledgment of your submission in some cases. Don’t stress yourself out if you never hear back. If you do choose to resubmit after waiting an appropriate amount of time be sure to be professional about it. No one likes a snarky writer in real life.
That covers what I know about Traditional Publishing. If you are a published Author or just more knowledgeable about the process feel free to comment any additional tips!
Probably one of the most heated debates in the literary world. Which one is better? If you ask the writing community across social media, you will find many strong opinions about both. In this article, I will try and give an objective list of the pros and cons to help you decide for yourself.
Not all authors choose between the two. A lot of traditionally published authors self publish works for niche markets not represented well by traditional publishing. On the other side of it, many self-published authors still send out queries and pursue agents to traditionally publish their work at some point. The writing world doesn’t have to be one or the other.
It all comes down to what makes sense for you and your work.
Hurray! You’ve completed your manuscript and its run the gammut of editing. Now it’s time to format for publishing.
I am going to be honest. Formatting your manuscript for print can be a total pain. Formatting isn’t just an issue for self-published authors. A poorly formatted manuscript will quickly get your work rejected by agents and traditional publishers alike.
Thankfully, manuscript formatting is fairly straight forward. Most writing software already has a manuscript template or setting that cuts down on your work immensely. Still, it’s good to know what the guidelines are in case you need to format on your own. The following is a screenshot of a template for Microsoft Word.
The title page should include your name and contact information, number of words in your manuscript, as well as the obvious title and by line.
Headers should have the author’s last name, the title of the book, and page number.
The Body of the manuscript requires a little more work. If you have chapter titles, include them instead of the basic Chapter One. There should be one-inch margins and double spacing between lines. Text should be Times New Roman with 12pt font. Some Agents and publishers may require slightly different settings or additional content, but these are the basics.
This is where things get more complicated. Most people skip this part altogether and rely on a formatting program or pay a professional to do it for them. How you format your self published novel depends on your genre and personal style.
There are some template available online, most of them are for word. How you format your self-published work also depends on what publishing platform you decide to use, and if you are publishing an Ebook or Print Book. Sites like Ingram Spark, Draft2Digital, Amazon KDP, and LuLu all provide either a template of guidelines for submission.
If you plan to publish with Amazon, the process isn’t as bad. Amazon provides users with a free formatting app, Kindle Create, for ebooks that simplifies the process immensely. While the app says it works for print as well, having personally used it, I cannot confirm that claim. Hopefully, there will be a way in the future as this is still in Beta testing. Below is a screenshot of Kindle Create using the word file from the manuscript template shown above.
Editing can not only be expensive but you have to be sure what editing you are getting in the process. Each editor will have their own system and definitions so be sure to check their website to clarify what services they provide and the cost of each.
Professional editing costs range from $300-$5000 depending on what type of editing you choose, the length of your manuscript, and the amount of errors in your work.
Copy Editing– F
Content Editing– focuses on plot and story structure. I prefer to do this type of editing on my own but its always a good idea to have an outside pair of eyes take a look. Whether you pay a professional or rely on your Alpha/Beta readers to help with this is up to you. Cost is similar to Copy Editing.
Comprehensive Editing– Both Copy and Content editing, also style editing in some cases. The most expensive type of editing, but worth it if you don’t want to do as much editing on your own.
Editing is one area you don’t want to cut corners. Finding the right editor for you and your budget is a lengthy but necessary process. While you can find editors on gig sites like Fiverr or smaller independent editors through social media, I highly suggest checking out more reputable sources first. Even if you only get a free test edit from a larger expensive editing firm. It can show you what you need to look for before taking a chance on a smaller operation.
I know in my Rules for writing a first draft I stated “not to talk about write club” but that was just for the initial output of ideas. Now that your draft is completed and you’ve given it cursory scrub in the first edit, it’s time to share the wealth. I am not talking about hitting the publish button just yet. Your draft is still just that a draft and it will go through several more drafts before it’s done. This is where alpha readers, beta readers, and professional editors come in.
These are the first people to lay eyes on your work. Their critiques can help you find the holes in your plot that you hadn’t noticed before. Tell you if your characters are relatable and give you input on how marketable your story may be. These are all good insights to have before shipping your work off to the editor or pitching your manuscript to an agent or publishing company.
Betas are your final scrub team. They can also be the same group you used as Alpha readers or a completely different set of people all together. Beta readers will give you many of the same insights as Alpha readers but since they will have your completed and formatted work at their disposal they can also check for formatting errors and anything else missed in previous rounds of polishing. Most Beta Readers will also gladly provide reviews for your books in exchange for the opportunity to read your story before its published.
The best place to find Alpha’s and Betas is within your own writing circle. People within your local writing group, other writer friends.
I have also used writers groups online. Simply asking for people who would be interested in being a beta reader, although this approach is hit or miss. Out of the ten that said they were interested, only five provided emails to receive my work and out of those five only two actually provided feedback. One I traded critiques with but none were repeat customers.
By far the best experience I had online with finding critiques online was using the writer’s community of Scribophile. The site is a critique for critique format and while it takes work to get a good community, it’s definitely worth it in my opinion.
Check out Scribophile Here
First I would like to say that even if you are the best grammarian you know, having a professional look over your work is always best. With that being said, before you drop $$$ on that professional look you should at least do some editing on your own.
If you are going the traditionally published
That’s why in my writing process, plot holes is the first round of editing. Unless you outlined you story to death beforehand, it’s very common to find glaring holes in your plot or actions that don’t really make sense to your characters personality or motivation.
This first look is strictly about tightening up your story. Don’t worry about grammar and punctuation just yet. Why not? I personally think that it’s better to stay in the free form mode when editing for the plot. I am more creative that way and my new writing may not be so grammatically correct. I rather catch all of that at once, if I can.
Bonus doing some self-editing can save you money on professional editing. The more polished the draft, the less time and corrections for the editor to make. Depending on the length of your work and how your chosen editor charges their fee, that could mean the difference of a couple hundred to a couple thousand dollars.