DID YOU KNOW?
Writers Beware is one of the first websites all new authors need to read before they look for a publisher or at self-publishing. Along with this you should read ‘The Ultimate Author Checklist.’ an great PDF full of information from an excellent Marketing website.
Both websites are excellent resources for authors. Writers Beware informs and keeps us updated of things we need to be aware of. It lists Vanity Press and all the ongoing scams which are ripping us off due to writers not doing their research correctly. It is also continually updated. What a lot of writers do is Google publishing or ask in writing groups we belong to. The problem is Vanity Press know how to use SEO’s to their advantage and Writing Groups get a lot of Scammers in them or people who say they know what they’re doing when they don’t.
The Checklist is more about setting yourself up as an Author, getting social media working for you, making or paying for a website and so much more. We give this PDF out to our clients no matter how far along they are in their journey.
SEO’s (just in case you don’t know what they are.)
Search Engine Optimization. Part of this is keywords businesses use to get their sites and adverts in the top spots on Google and other types of search engines. Because it is at the top, you are more than likely to go and click on them, and they have you… unless you know the ropes of what they are offering, which is why research is important part of life.
Many of you will use your own keywords during your publishing and marketing days to help readers find and buy your books. Publisher Rocket is great for finding good Keywords for your genre. (It was formerly known as KDP Rocket.)
The first thing you need to be aware of is the cost of publishing. Many say it is FREE! It isn’t. Uploading a manuscript and book cover to KDP and other distribution websites is generally FREE, though some do charge fees. (Ingram Spark and Lulu). All Vanity Press businesses will charge you large amounts of money. Not only that, they also charge BEFORE they do any work on your manuscript. You will also be asked to sign a contract which you need to read and understand. A lot of these contracts give them copyright of your manuscript in all types of publishing, be it eBook, paperback or hardback. Each one will cost you more money to produce. If you wish to get out of the contract, they can take ninety days or more to hand back copyright. You will need the associated paperwork to prove to distributors like KDP that the copyright has reverted back to you.
The main worry about Vanity Press is they don’t do the work they promise. They don’t pay out the royalty; they charge you for storage of books they print, some expect you to buy copies in their hundreds and of course you pay for freight, which they charge more for than they should. I know of one person who did their own freight, and it came out $400 cheaper… This is why WRITERS BEWARE is a must read.
Another thing you all need to remember… When you have work done in your home, building a deck, car maintenance etc… You don’t pay them until they have finished the work. You pay AFTER the work is finished. NEVER pay a contractor in the writing world until you have approved the work they’ve done for you, unless it is a deposit, which many businesses use these days, so they don’t get scammed by clients. Sadly, this does happen and has happened to my business.
Research every contractor you work with. Seek out the details you need by asking the right questions. Get to know what those questions are by reading blogs. Ask for sample edits from various editors and find which one you feel more comfortable working with. Do the same with graphic designers and illustrators for book covers and images you may wish to use. There are certain things contractors need to know to do their job correctly.
This is a post I wrote a while back about Fiverr and Graphic Designers...after all you get what you pay for!
Do they edit in the English Language you use—British, American, Canadian, Australian, etc?
Do they edit in your genre?
What type of editing do they offer?
Line Editing, Copy Editing, Beta Reading, Proofreading?
How much experience do they have?
Do they have qualifications, or have they learnt on the job?
Do they have good reviews (ten or more good ones)
Do they buy stock photos?
What DPI do they work with?
What type of file do they save too?
Are the fonts they use for commercial usage?
Proof of purchase of any fonts and stock photos?
You can use photos you have taken as long as you can prove they are yours.
Reverse check any sample images they give you. (some lie or steal other peoples work)
Ask other Authors and check out their covers.
Check reviews (ten or more good ones)
The last thing you want is to be sued by a photographer or font designer for copyright infringement.
Formatting or Interior Book Designer
As well as being an Author Consultant, bringing contractors together to build books, I also work as a formatter, and turn manuscripts into a professional files to upload on KDP and other distribution websites. There are many formatting apps around now, though many are not as professional as people seem to think. Pick up a paperback printed by a traditional publisher, and you will see what I mean. Look at how it is set out, how tidy it is. If you are contracting out for formatting, you will be paying more than $10 to get a professional finish. Note the differences between eBooks and print books. There are quite a few, including page numbers- which don’t start on the first page of the manuscript, header and footers, endnotes/footnotes, images and in eBooks Alt Text for images so people who are sight impaired can read the image.
Technology is advancing in leaps and bounds, changes and updates happening all the time. If you’re not a techy person, then you do need to research every detail about producing a book. It is hard work if you want a professional outcome.
Always remember paperbacks and hardbacks need to be justified with a line spacing of 1.15 cm at the most. Indents shouldn’t be more than 0.5 cm. Learn how to use STYLES in WORD if you write in WORD. If you use an app, you still need to make sure these things are correct. This means you need to learn to use the app correctly, watch the videos, or talk to someone who knows what they’re doing. Keep yourself updated with the changes.
Websites and Social Media
Most authors have websites, though these only work if you use them, share the posts, and have a marketing plan. You need to know about SEO’s and keep your website relevant. Post at least once a week. Talk about your books and yourself, about your writing, how your muse helps or hinders you. There are plenty of ideas out there which you can write about.
Social media also seems to be slipping to the wayside, especially Facebook with all their rules and regulations, people getting banned for weeks or months. I’ve noted a lot now use Instagram and TikTok, if you’re not camera shy like I am. You can get Book Trailers made for YouTube or you could read one of your books on video and share the links.
An excellent resource for Marketing is ‘The Ultimate Author Check List.’ It is brilliant, and even I still need to finish reading the document and put things into place. Marketing will cost more money and this should be the only one going cost with your books. If you are a techy person, you maybe able to make Teasers and Adverts to use, remembering each social media website has criteria your advert needs to fit.
Once again, be careful of scammers, especially from those who approach you! Most are dubious. I like to work with people who have reached out to me or have read a review. Word of mouth is a wonderful thing. Don’t forget to leave your contractor a review, especially if they fulfilled all the criteria of the contract.
We welcome questions in the comments area. We are happy to help new authors find the right way to go for their needs. Meanwhile, be careful out there.