There are lots of new writers out there each and every day. There is also a heck of a lot of confusion in writing groups. The same questions get asked constantly, people give inaccurate information to each other, few do their own research to find the information they need to publish a book. The main issue is paying for publishing.
Paying for Publishing – Confusion
What is the new writer really asking? What should your reply be if you’re trying to help them. We really need to look deeper than saying things like ‘don’t pay for publishing it’s Vanity Publishing and Publishing is FREE’ If you say publishing is FREE then you obviously don’t value the time it took you to write, to learn the processes of how to publish. Not everyone is good with computers, websites, marketing, graphic design, etc. And these aren’t even the start to building your Author Brand
There are steps to publishing a book and getting it accepted by a distribution website, the same as there is a process if you wish to try traditional publishing. It doesn’t matter which way you go, you will PAY for various things along the way. Now you want to know HOW or WHY, or WHAT THE HELL…
With Traditional Publishing you will pay for the work they do via royalty share for the life of the book. This is how they make their profit. If they don’t see a profit in your book, you won’t get a contract. Of course prior to that is the time it takes to find an Agent, write proposals, etc. It is all time consuming and your time shouldn’t be FREE.
With Independent Publishing you will pay one off FEES for various areas you don’t have the skill set to do yourself. If you are willing to lean, it makes it cheaper, though please remember your TIME is not FREE. Everyone should have an Editor even if it is your job in life. We all miss things in our manuscripts. The best part of Independent Publishing is you get to keep all your royalties and copyright. If you’re good at Marketing, you may earn a decent income.
AUTHOR BRAND – AND WHAT YOU NEED TO DO
Step One: Writing a first draft of your manuscript. WRONG. The first thing you need to do if you wish to earn a decent income as a writer is research your Author Brand. What is this? you ask. Well it’s developing you and showing everyone who you are and what you can do. A bit like a Resume. Once you’ve listed what you know about yourself you can REASERCH what you need to do to get there. What do you need to learn? What way do you wish to publish? How does Publishing work. Do you want to try Independent Publishing or Traditional Publishing. Both have different processes you will need to learn.
At this stage I’m looking into Independent Publishing. You’ll need to research the genre you write. Who’s in the top 100 on Amazon? What are their book covers like? Why are they a best seller? What is their book blurb like? How many novels have they written. How did they find their fans? What are their websites and social media sites like?
There’s so much to research before you even start to write and though you can learn from other writers and authors, you will find some things don’t work for you or are incorrect. RESEARCH is still the key to develop your Author Brand and any learning curve processes you will need.
Step Two: Social media and websites. To build your fan base you need to start chatting, sharing teasers, photos, information about you, your stories. It depends on which social media sites you use. This is where your learning curve begins. Guess what you need to do…Yep RESEARCH… This time you need to learn how to build a website and how to use social media to your advantage and which ones are best for you! How to make a newsletter and get readers to sign up. Once you decide what you need to learn and how to use them, the real work begins. For many, it’s not as easy as it seems, especially when social media keeps updating their technology, causing frustration due to having to learn something new…AGAIN.
Also remember you’re supporting yourself at this time. (unless you have another job). Think about how much you’d expect to earn each hour you research, each time you do something to move forward. How much an hour are you worth? This is the FREE part of publishing, though only if you consider your time is worthless
Once again, I have seen New Authors get caught up in messes with supposed Editors from FIVERR. I know there are many good ones out there, like with anything else, it’s a matter of finding them. RESEARCH every part of building your book. This is why our MOTTO is ‘Building Books One Step at a Time’ we will look for the best fit for you, your manuscript, and genre. Even Editors prefer to work with a genre they enjoy reading. It also means they have experience with word usage in your manuscript and can assist YOU to build a better book.
Get the wrong Editor and disaster can strike. I know from experience how bad it can be along with helping others when it comes to the crunch. I’m not an EDITOR. I can CRITIQUE and PROOFREAD. The flow of your story is important. At this point, I’d also like to say I’m not a Planner or Plotter. I FLOW WRITE, I let my muse tell their stories. It’s not until I go back over the manuscript that errors are picked up and more information is added. This is something I do several times prior to beta or proofreaders.
My first Editor was also an Agent. I know for a fact they’d worked with other authors as one later became a friend, and they’d had a horrifying story of a supposed Trad Publisher they were guided to via this agent. This isn’t anything to do with Fiverr, which just goes to show you need to go deeper with your research than I did originally all those years ago.
This Editor & Agent worked on part of the first chapter of my first ever story, one I still haven’t published. Yes, it was a mess and a new author learning the ropes of how English had changed since I’d been at school. What this Editor did was laughable, it was obvious to anyone they didn’t know anything about English History, especially during late Regency times. The Editor didn’t understand Regency language usage. Now I’m a history researcher and I always enjoyed reading Regency books, though I thought many were too long-winded. My novel will never be a true Regency book in any shape or form. It may end up in the future with a Regency theme, who knows.
This is why I say you all need to find an Editor in the genre you write. Make sure they know the genre, ask for references, and sample edit. This is what I do for my clients. I usually ask around five Editors for Samples and send them on to a client to read through and see which makes the most sense to them as the author. So far this has worked well. It also gives me a list of Editing Contractors I can trust and contract out to again when the need arises.
The latest manuscript I’ve been asked to help with was Edited by a Fiverr Editor. Putting it mildly it was horrible. The editing that is. I’m enjoying the story. Generally, I use GRAMMARLY – though not the best, it helps as long as you have a good grasp of English. I used American English Grammar and it came back with over 2500 errors. HOLY… The manuscript didn’t flow well, it was worse than the original. I was asked to Proofread and Critique this work and though not an overly long story it has taken a while to do. I’m on the last few chapters.
Questions to Ask
1. Do you do Sample Edits? 2. Do you have references? 3. What genres do you edit in? 4. Do you have links to your work? 5. What English do you edit in? UK, USA, Canadian, Australian, etc. 6. Do you do Line Editing? 7. Do you do Proofreading? 8. What type of editing do you offer? 9. What are your charges? 10. Do you have a website? 11. Do you use a contract?
If there is a contract involved. It should be easy to read and understand. It shouldn’t be over 4-5 pages. If there is something you don’t understand, ask! Ask other authors or in Author Groups. Make sure you know what you are signing up for. Also, remember you can look at books on Amazon ‘LOOK INSIDE’ to see how a book is Edited. It can be quite an eye-opener.
Here I was proud to be a Director of my own limited company. With a gentleman who was going to assist with Marketing in exchange for publishing a book and my daughter as a contractor to do Book Covers.
My daughters hobby business is Ceejay Designs. Claudia was studying Graphic Design after being trapped in our home with agoraphobia. This was her first step into the real world for two years. I was and still am so proud of her accomplishments. Today she still suffers from Anxiety, however she is braving the world, moving from New Zealand to England with her family to have time with her English grandparents.
Back to my Publishing Company…
It was the end of 2014 beginning of 2015 and I had a few articles in the Newspaper about my business, me as an author and my first client (exchange not paid). This bought in three more clients over 2015. It was great. A small amount of work, though I was still learning the ropes. This helped me grow at the rate I needed to. Those clients were – Norman McClean, Captain B M Commons & Bob Sutton, the last two have since passed away.
During 2015 I did two business courses. One was a short 12 week course – called Incubate, which was to advanced for my business at that stage. However, it was interesting all the same. I learnt a lot about the ins and outs of business. One thing I did realise was it would be years before I could employee anyone, however contracting out would work well until I was ready. The other course was a Certificate in Small Business Management, Level 4 which I studied one night a week at Te Wananga o Aotearoa which is a Maori College. I met some amazing students there who are still good friends today. The third course was a diploma in Small Business Enterprise, Level 5. Both of these taught me a lot of different skills which I needed to run a successful business. However, I also needed publishing skills. How to format a book to look professional.
What did I do…?
Research, which is something all authors need to do if they wish to be proficient and successful. This is where the library and the local book stores come in handy. You can look at books and see how they are set out. It is mind-blowing how much work goes into creating a book. As many say – ‘Writing the book is the easy part’. Not sure I would always agree with this, however I now know the ropes to help my clients get the best formatting around. Yeah, I am proud of myself and what I can do.
Some of the things you need to learn as a publisher…!
What does a paperback book page look like? Where does the Copyright page go? Do you need a Contents Page? Do you need a Contents Page?
Acknowledgements & Dedications? Where does the Author Biography go? Author Links? How do you make them and where do you put them
Then you need to style the paperback pages…
Headers for paperbacks Page Numbers. Fonts Style – Which are the best to use? Font Size
Footnotes & Endnotes
Criteria for Distribution Websites
What about ebooks…?
No Page Numbers
No blank pages
Remembering we read an e-book as if it is a scrolling document. You don’t need to choose a font or font size, the distribution websites do this for you. A reader can change the size and font to what they wish once the book is downloaded. This is unless you embed the fonts you are using
How do Children’s books Differ…?
Artwork & Illustrations.
Full Colour or Black & White Fewer Pages Bigger Font Size Different shape and size books – paperbacks.
What you need so you can turn your manuscript into a product people will buy…
Book Cover Design Editing and all the different types a writer may need
ARC Reviews Contacts & Connections Social Media Marketing
The list goes on and I continue to learn something new every few months. I will probably talk a bit more about my learning curve and how or what I had to do to get the job done.
Towards the end of 2015 Plaisted Publishing House made their first Anthology. There were so many entries that two books were made with about 600 pages in each one. These Anthologies were made in conjunction with the AwethorsGroup on Facebook. They were to be used as a marketing tool for the authors who participated. The e-book would be FREE and the paperbacks – due to being so big, were $25 a piece. It took months to organise with many of the group volunteering their services with Beta Reading, Editing and Checking. I was in charge of the formating and publishing. What a learning curve that was.
We had a huge release day over several continents and if I remember I think I stayed up for 17 hours posting on my website about each and every author who filled in an interview form. Of course in those days I was new to WordPress as well. If I knew I could schedule posts, I probably would have gone to bed a lot earlier.
During the Event several of us did Take Covers on various blogs. This was my post as an author. The characters take control…LOL. This was posted on Northern Witch Books
My Muse Attack
All in a day’s work by Claire Plaisted
“Claire what on earth are you doing to Fabia, who’s attacking her?” demanding Zoe, flying through the door, Jagan (thank the lord) a small drag on her hand blowing fire. “Slow down Zoe, and please tell Jagan to stop his fire, I don’t want the fire alarms or sprinklers being set off again,” I told her sternly. “Jagan,” she scolded. “Sorry, it’s such fun,” he sighed, curling up to go to sleep. “Fabia will be fine, she is allowed to have an adventure too.” “I don’t want her getting hurt.” “I won’t get hurt Zoe,” said a smiling voice from the door. “Fabia, she squeals, shoving Jagan in her pocket. They ran to each other hugging, both talking at once. “Girls, will you either calm down or get out of my office. “Sorry Claire,” they grinned. They sat on the sofa, clasped together giggling when Tristian from ‘Fred the Evil Incarnate’, walked in, they gawked, eyes wide. “Yes Tristian?” “What did you do with my son?” “He went exploring.” “Please find him.” “Da da, I’m going to have an awesome adventure.” Tristian’s youngest boy rushed through the door, his dark hair and grey eyes alight with excitement. “Where too young man,” he said crouching down. “Into the other worlds beyond the edge,” he replied. I cringed, waiting for the explosion of temper, before he could Abraham from GIB walked in, his hands in his pockets. He looked tired and on edge. “Abraham,” I murmured standing up and approaching him. “What’s wrong?” “The world is going to go to hell!” he said looking down at me. “What do you mean?” “I met…oh never mind, just get ready to die, the world…” sighing he walked out again. “What was that?” said Zoe?” “That was Abraham, he works with Garrett Investigation Bureau,” I replied frowning as I sat back at my desk. “What was he on about – the world going to hell stuff,” said Fabia. “Our world went to hell and is on the brink of returning to near normal again.” “Tristian, meet Zoe and Fabia, best friends from a book called “Princess of the Earth.” “Hi,” he smiled down at them kindly. His son tugged on his dad’s hand. “Yes son?” “Who’s that in the doorway?” “Hey Cera, solved anymore riddles lately,” I grinned. “No,” she scowled. I can’t find…” “You can find anyone.” “Those dratted faeries took her, I lost her track,” she snapped. “Well get the heck out of here and find her and hurry up. I want your novel on sale by this coming Christmas at the latest.” “Charming, has to be my fault.” “Well you’re the one with the magic powers Cera the Black Cat.” “Whatever,” she said as she changed into her cat form and padded out of my office, the others with their jaws dropped open. “Get outta here you lot and go do your thinking, I need to get some of these draft stories finished. There was a knock on my window. I looked out and nearly screamed, when I realised it was Paul the Moa with David his best friend. Quickly I jumped up and flung the windows open. “Oh my, it’s two years since I last saw you two, how you’ve both grown.” “Yeah Paul is quite scary now he’s twelve foot tall,” laughed David, with a cheerful grin. “So you must tell me your adventures, last time I was writing about you, Paul was only a baby and fast asleep.” “We’ll stop by soon when you’re not so busy,” he replied. Pulling on the bridle, Paul pecked me, making me laugh then lifted his head away and off the ran over my back garden, I looked now at the rather large footprints Paul left behind and winced, my gardener was not going to be pleased. “What the hell was that thing, it looked like an overly large Ostrich,” gasped Eilish Garrett, who’d entered my office while I was chatting with David. “That’s a Moa, a native New Zealand bird which was thought to be extinct.” “It’s huge.” “Maybe I’ll introduce you one day. Meanwhile, everyone out, I need my office back so I can finish at least one novel. “Grumbling the left, though I knew I would be disturbed again soon. It was always the same with my muses. God help me when the Gothixies finally put in an appearance.
The door crashed open. “When are you publishing my story?” demanded Jones. “Another few weeks, now get out,” I was getting aggravated with them all. “Touchy aren’t you,” he grinned and slammed out again. “Just one more interruption and I’ll scream,” I muttered as I began to type once more.
Since this was blogged. Jones’ story has been published, the world hasn’t ended and nor has Abraham’s book been finished so you still have time to prepare for the end of the world. The other lovely characters and muses have draft books still pending.
Back to the Event…
What I didn’t realise at the time, was this event would increase not only my knowledge but my connections as well. We enjoyed the event so much, we also did an Anthology in December. Religion sort of got in the way, however my daughter came up with the book title ‘December Awethology’. Once again there were two books though much small this time.
In Part Three I will tell you about the difficulties I had…Publishing isn’t all easy, sometimes Clients can misbehave and I’ve had several.
Identifying the right kind of beta reader cannot only help polish your work but it also becomes a valuable sales and marketing tool.
The term ‘beta’ is most commonly used in the world of software development. Before an app is deemed ready for public consumption, it’s usually sent out to a group of people tasked with putting the software through its paces.
Known as ‘beta testers’ this helpful bunch will sniff out bugs and offer constructive feedback on the usability of the app, amongst other things.
The same methodology is now being applied to self-publishing, with ‘beta readers’ becoming a common fixture in aspiring authors’ toolboxes.
Just like software testers, beta readers lend their eyes to completed drafts in order to help the author refine their work for the intended audience.
If you’re yet to dip your toes into the world of beta reading, or actively campaign against the very idea – they’re not for everyone – here is some insight into how they can be used effectively.
Bashed after professional editing and no it wasn’t by my excellant Editor. It seems to get a book into a bookstore your book has to be perfect if you are an Indie Author – never mind the bloody Traditional Published books which nearly always have one or two errors in them. The Bookstore owners sure as hell aren’t going to read them just to point out errors otherwise they’d not have a business.
I am sick of it. No only is spelling and grammar different in each English speaking country, you then have to fight for the right to sell them locally. Online it is fine, if someone points out an error you fix it and re-publish, be it print or eBook.
I do wish New Zealand would catch up with the rest of the world with Independently Published books and give them a chance. Personally if I ever won lotto or inherited a fortune I would open an Indie Book Store with a Coffee Shop. If only…
It isn’t that I think we should be lazy with our editing at all. It should be top rate, as good as you can afford. It also needs Beta Readers, Proof Readers, Line Editor and so on. If you know someone you can exchange services with etc then go for it. Writing sure as hell isn’t a cheap business. Even with all the above errors will still find a way in…You could edit for years and never publish at all I suppose.
Anyway I was given a helping hand and a possible solution to help tighten up my books with editing which includes my lovely editors. It was Thanks toA L Mengelwho I chatted to earlier this evening for ideas and ways to improve my own books. Here is what he told me.
I practice several rounds of edits. The first round,is the story structure, I do myself. Someone has to turn the draft into a flowing story, and the author really needs to do that.
After that, I send it out for a read through for flow and consistency
Then more edits are made.
Next is another set of eyes for line edits – Remember the first editor is already too familiar with the story. They may read over errors.
Then more edits are made again before it goes to the proofreader. Another set of eyes
The last step is the beta readers. They receive special copies which they read (usually 1-5 people) and if they see an error, they’re asked to record it.
That is where my conversation ended with Mr Mengel. There is one main thing I noted. He had different people doing different parts, making sure new eyes were looking over the book. It is this sort of journey which will give you and exceptional book in the end.