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
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.
How many times do we fail in life? How many times do we sulk or cry over it as if we’d spilt the milk on the floor.
I have had plenty of fails. I remember two exams I failed at school/college. One was my error the other belongs to the college – twice, because they handed out the wrong exam paper which none of us were ready for.
I’ve failed in life – to see what people are really like. I still do at times. I’ve failed and got frustrated over learning the business of publishing and the one thing that stays in my head is – Try and Try Again! Actually I have a better one than this which I first saw on a t-shirt in Rotorua, New Zealand when I walked down the high street. I loved it.
F. A. I. L
First Attempt In Learning
There you go. It seems nobody fails at all. We are in fact learning as we grow.
If folks look at my writing from a few years back, though it is still similar, it has also improved a lot. As for my business. My latest learning curves have been with endnotes in ebooks and how to pull together a full colour children’s book. Yes I failed or..learnt as i pushed myself to get things right.
One thing I will say is that I am a perfectionist when it comes to formatting and publishing. I still make mistakes though. We all do.
Go on give it a go and F.A.I.L – First Attempt In Learning
I love technology. I had always wanted to be a computer tech, however my parents thought computers were a FAD so I wasn’t allowed to take computing at school in the 1980s. This was also prior to public internet. I loved every class and I was good. Never mind I eventually got my way over 25 yrs later when my husband went to college. Computer access was important.
Since that time I have developed some excellent skills and though I still have people help me out on odd occasions, I find I am now helping others and get called a tech expert – which I’m not. I just happen to know my way around various things and can teach others a few tricks I have learnt along the way.
Then you get those who aren’t interested in computers, those who can’t or won’t learn and those who would love to learn and should really take a course to get them on the right track.
I have a client who took a computer course – WOW she is so much more confident in what she does on her computer now. It is wonderful to see her take control and understand what I am talking about, without either of us getting frustrated. Mean while my parents still refuse to have a computer in their home, they dont’ even have cell phones. A lot of their friends do, so they actually see more about my family than my parents do. Sadly I doubt they will change. We do manage to get them on Skype on odd occasions at my sister’s house.
My sister is one of those who keeps getting computer issues and viruses. She also asks how to do certain things and makes me want to pull my hair out at times. Thank god my brother is easier to deal with. Mind I don’t see either of them very often to talk with online.
One of the technologies I have learnt along the way is building and setting up WordPress Websites. I love it. It is fun and I dont’ mind sharing my knowledge even though it is only basic – well to me. Another I have learnt a little about is JAWS – Screen Reader, which is for blind and partial sighted people. I looked into the technology due to having a couple of blind clients and friends. It was an interesting learning curve to be sure. The other type of technology I learnt was helping a client run a bed and breakfast – I had to learn how to use the booking websites where consumers book rooms. Each and everyone is different to use, different specs, different ways to enter data and places to upload photos. It is totally amazing how complicated it can get. Solving problems though is another area I can excel at – sometimes I have to wait for the lightbulb to click, other times it is working through several ideas until the right one turns up.
Over the last few years I’ve had several lightbulb scenarios. Daft ones having me saying DUH me and research ones which you win and grin with delight at your success. Then comes the question. Do I share with others or hold on to my info? Generally I share, I just can’t seem to help myself.
My next learning curve – is to work out how to use Flipboard website correctly so I can share my site with everyone. After this I really need to concentrate on those who don’t use technology and give them a gentle push in the right direction, by which I mean a computer course to a level suitable to them. Then I may go see my parents and try to set up a tablet for them to use. I will need lots of luck with this last idea. I already know my dad loves Skype from my last trip to see them.
Good luck with your technology and give me a shout, you never know I might be able to help. There again I might not.