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"Roundheads and Ramblings"

self-publishing

I've Written a Book. How Do I Get It Published?

Tough question! But here's the first thing you need to ask yourself:


How much of a hurry are you in to see your book in print?

A.    All the time in the world.
 
Really? Then you have time to try the traditional publishing route.  That means trying to find agents who are taking new clients; pitching your book to maybe thirty or forty agents; waiting for an acceptance; waiting for your agent to pitch the book to publishers; sorting out the details of a contract; making all the changes the publisher demands; waiting until your book can fit into their publishing queue.

Years? Probably so. And you’ll be keeping your fingers crossed that agent or publisher or editor does not go out of business, transfer to another company, or die. Does that happen? Oh yes.  When I was trying to find a publisher for “A Scratch with the Rebels,” my first editor took a better job with a different kind of publisher, the second got herself into a fight with the managing editor and had all her projects cancelled, and the third was forced by his university to take mandatory retirement before the book’s contract had been signed.

Still, if you can afford to wait -- you're young, healthy, happy with your life, and gainfully employed outside of the publishing business -- then it's probably worth your while to give the --> agent --> big-time publisher route a shot. if you win the lottery, you'll get an advance, and the publisher will take over all those tacky details of  editing, designing, and marketing your work.

Is there any reason not to go that route if it becomes possible? Well, you'll loses control of your book. The publisher will probably change the title and make major demands for other changes so the book will appeal to a particular market niche. How big a control freak are you? Can you turn your "baby" over to someone else and get on with your life? Then go for it.


B.  How about next month?

You’re kidding, right?


 C.  I need it within the next couple of years.

Good. Then you can devote those next two or three years to learning what all goes into self-publishing. You can do this, but it will take both hard work and a fair amount of money. You'll have to build your own team of sub-contractors (like cover and lay-out designers, copy-editors, publicity hounds, marketing experts, digital formatters, lawyers, accountants, and several other specialists ) to perform all the tasks a traditional publisher would have taken off your hands.

If this is what you need, you've come to the right place. You can do it. Your book can hit the market within the next year or so, and we'll show you how.

Tomorrow's questionWhat is your goal for this book?

What's Showing Up in Your Crystal Ball, Oh Wise One?

Mark Coker, the creative mind behind Smashwords, published this article today. Everyone even considering self-publishing needs to read it.

Ebook Publishing Gets More Difficult from Here - Here's How to Succeed

First the good news. 

For indie authors, there’s never been a better time to self-publish an ebook.  Thanks to an ever-growing global market for your ebooks, your books are couple clicks away from over one billion potential readers on smart phones, tablets and e-readers. 
As a Smashwords author, you have access to tools, distribution and best practices knowledge to publish ebooks faster, smarter and less expensively than the large publishers can.  In the world of ebooks, the playing field is tilted to the indie author’s advantage.

Now the bad news. 

Read the rest of the article here: http://www.scoop.it/t/self-publisher

All the News That Will Fit in a Tiny Blog Post

Today's been a crazy busy day.  I've spent most of it coordinating a project among three or four people in each of four states. The details don't matter.  Just imagine emails that keep overlapping and a phone that won't stop ringing and you'll have the general idea.  So all I have time for tonight is to call  your attention to a couple of new content items available today.

Over on Pinterest, I added lots of new pictures to my "When I'm Not Writing, I'm a Lion" Board.  There are also some new pictures and maps on "Story of a Marriage, "and a couple of new pictures on "Nellie Chase."  Find them all at http://www.pinterest.com/roundheadlady/
The most important news, however, came in the form of an extended article about self-publishing.  I linked to it at the suggestion of Joanna Penn's newsletter and was blown away by the content.  If you have ever wondered if self-publishing was a huge mistake -- if you've ever been tempted to go after one of the big five publishers -- if you've ever envied the big-name authors -- you owe it to yourself to get the facts in this article. I "scooped" the article onto my curated page on self-publishing -- http://www.scoop.it/t/self-publisher,  but you can also find the original article at jakonrath.blogspot.co.uk 



Self-Publishing Is Not for Wimps, Part 2

Here are a couple more reasons why self-publishing is not for wimps. 
 
 The world is full of people who will lie to you.  Most of them want to charge you enormous amounts of money to handle the problems we mentioned yesterday. Publishing is no problem, they say.  Your book is wonderful. It doesn't need any editing.  They have slick salespeople who promise worldwide distribution, thousands of sales, fame and fortune. If you hire their services, what will you get? Ten thousand copies of a ratty book, all delivered in a driving rain storm and left on your front porch. 

 What's worse? Many of them have links to legitimate publishing houses, which makes you think you're getting their "A" team, when your book will really be handled by the equivalent of a totally unexperienced summer intern.. 

One  group of predator book publishers seems to be particularly active recently.  There is what one critic has called "a stealth relationships of Author House/Solutions with Hay House/Balboa, Thomas Nelson/Westbow, etc. Now that Penguin has bought Author House, God help the authors--it's a vanity press and upselling everywhere with mostly mediocre to crappy results." 

These publishers emphasize two things -- their "connections" to a big publishing company that might just step in and snag your book if it's really, really good (and only when pigs fly!) -- and the implication that they are faith-based companies, only interested in good Christian writing (most likely because good Christians are innocent, trusting souls who aren't used to dealing with crooks.)
 
The basic advice remains the same.  If you are a new writer, looking for a company to produce your self-published book, go with CreateSpace or Lightning Source.  Once the book is available in print, Smashwords will do a fine job of distributing your e-book. These are companies that consistently produce a nice-looking book, help you where you need help, and don't make you pay for anything you don't need. And don't let anyone put you off of CreateSpace just because they are an arm of Amazon.  Without Amazon, you're not going to sell many books.  And while Amazon may hold a giant monopoly on the e-book business, they are nowhere as evil as the companies listed above.

Self-Publishing Is Not for Wimps, Part 1


More and more frequently I am reminded that, of all the qualifications a self-publisher needs to have, none is more important than developing the hide of a rhinoceros.  For the next few days, we'll take a look at some of the reasons. 

Your first clue lies in the deceptive word "self."  In my book, The Second Mouse Gets the Cheese, I argued that every self-publisher needs a staff.  I wrote, "You cannot hope to sit isolated in your little home office and do everything yourself, no matter how talented you may be. The success of your book will depend upon how well you assemble a team of assistants.

I then compiled a list of all the people who had helped me with the publication of my books. Even I was surprised at how many there were: travel agent, mail clerk, photographer, design artist, layout expert, production company, printer, web host, banker, credit card manager, professional promoters, financial advisor, accountant, lawyer, sounding boards, manuscript readers, salesmen, and cheerleaders. Each of them deserved partial credit for any success my book had achieved.


Despite the arguments I made in favor of a staff, the simple truth is that in self-publishing, everything boils down to you.  Are there spelling errors, grammatical bloopers, punctuation flaws in your new book?  Who made them? You did.  Who failed to catch them? You did. Did your interior design team, or your cover designer, or your content editor mess up? Well, who hired them? You were wrong if you made mistakes.  You were wrong if you didn't hire an expert to do what you couldn't handle yourself.  And you were wrong if you didn't second-check the experts.  Each member of your staff deserves partial credit for any success you achieve. But the ultimate blame falls on you.


2. Not only are all the mistakes your fault.  There isn't anyone else to clean up after you.  You're all alone with the mess -- thus the need to develop the hide of a rhinoceros.