Month: May 2014

From Pre-Published to Published Part 3: The Big Steps

It’s clear from my previous posts in this series that my intention is to self-publish. The reasons are many of which are covered in detail by Freelance Editor, Lynnette LaBelle in her pros and cons article (there’s also one for traditional publishing here). There are several reasons which stand out to me not the least of which is the issue of royalties which is much larger per unit sold. Control is another reason. Who doesn’t like to have a huge say in the artwork and other facets of their project? Another reason is where I see the industry moving. With the rise of successful independent authors we now have those work as hybrids. What this means is that self-publishing is morphing into a proving-ground (or minor league) where authors can show what they’ve got and transition into hybrid publishing as a result. There are even those who remain big leaguers all on their own.

Regarding the debate

There are those who debate which publishing path is best. But as Dario Ciriello writes, it doesn’t have to be one or the other. In fact, many authors who want to realize income from other pieces of the publishing pie will need an agent to arrange agreements for rights ranging from international, to audio and even movies (for those who achieve such notoriety). Having an agent an realizing added income means becoming a hybrid writer and I’m more than open to this notion.

Production

As mentioned in the first post of this series, there are many decisions to make. In the second post I discussed the crowdfunding decision and some options out there. But suppose I’ve completed a successful campaign. What’s next?

Securing the production services toward publication is the next step. First, an editor must be hired. I have someone with whom I’m comfortable with at the moment but there are many listed out there and ways to find one. Once thoroughly edited, the book is should then be formatted. You can learn this skill or hire it out – though much of the cost I’ve seen is not expensive. If you’re going to learn the skill I suggest you practice on a short story first since it’s smaller (and not on your original). Last in the production phase is artwork. This is one service which I’ll be investigating in the coming months. The visual aspect of the book is highly important so paying for quality work is important.

Publication

Regarding points formatting and artwork, there are several main strategies you can take with self-publishing. Amazon offers several services in a variety of packages but this gets costly. But this brings up another choice to make. Amazon is the big-dog on the block with book sales, especially e-books. However, there are other venues for self-publishing, namely Smashwords. Founder Mark Coker offers a number of resources for free to help authors. There is the free e-book with marketing tips, his list of known formatters and artists, tips for successful e-publishing and their catalog. At this point, the Smashwords catalog distributes into the major e-book vendors easily without the need for multiple ISBN’s and can even distribute to Amazon once an author’s book reaches a minimum sales of $2000. Amazon and Smashwords are great for indie authors but for the reasons mentioned, I lean toward using Smashwords.

Only for e-books

That’s correct, Smashwords only deals with e-books though they have a list of recommended POD services. Here’s my thinking on this matter which circles back to my earlier points: start with e-book sales and see where it goes from there. I might attract enough attention to transition into being a hybrid author. Also, my initial cost is limited but income can later be directed into releasing hard copy through POD. It also frees me from some of the higher costs of full-jacket artwork and other time-consuming details that could be used for producing more books.

That’s my general plan. What are your plans or how have you published previously? I’m very interested in your comments so take a few moments to let me know what you think. Fill out the form above so you can also follow this blog by email.

Thanks for reading,

PHS

P.S. For extra reading, check out Mark Coker’s take on the Amazon/Hachette dispute.

From Pre-Published to Published Pt. 2: Publication

From Pre-Published to Published Part 2: Publication

The previous post was a discussion about launching an author’s platform. Next I want to address the ultimate goal: publication. On the surface this seems like a simple goal, especially when taking the self-publication route. However, there are drawbacks where cost is concerned.

To produce a quality novel requires editing even when traditionally published. When self-publishing, editing and other elements of a book – such as cover art – are costly. This begs the question: if I am starting the platform inexpensively how do I pay for editing?

Answer: crowdfunding.

Crowdfunding, for those not familiar with the term, is a way of raising money for creative projects in order to launch them. To read more in depth about how this works see Kickstarter or Indiegogo among others. There are also tips about which other people have blogged which are good resources such as Lee Moyer’s post-Kickstarter campaign insights (very helpful).

Other authors have successfully completed crowdfunding campaigns, one such being Michael J. Sullivan for Hollow World. For a look at an ongoing campaign check out Daniel Adorno’s for his book: The Blade Heir on Prefundia. I must admit that I am intrigued by the possibilities and have begun seriously considering this option in order to bring my own series to publication. Yet crowdfunding is no walk in the park as noted by M. K. Hobson’s observations on a successfully completed campaign. Crowdfunding is daunting to consider and requires lots of work throughout the length of the project (and after) – but the rewards are the funds needed to accomplish the goal of publication.

I’m increasingly willing to take the plunge on this concept. Why? Regarding cover art, I have neither the skill nor the time to learn it. But the reader might ask, “Why not do your own editing if you are a writer?” It’s a fair question. The answer is that no matter how much editing a writer does another pair of eyes are good – and necessary – to have in order to produce a piece of novel-length fiction that is both structurally sound and as error-free as possible.

My conclusion tends to be if I’m willing to build an author platform then I must do what I can to push the WIP into publication.

What are your thoughts on crowdfunding? Have you ever tried it? What service do you prefer and why? Please leave comments with your opinions and certainly sign-up to follow my blog through email.

Thanks for reading,

PHS

From Pre-Published to Published Pt. 1: Planning

Planning and executing a publishing plan is no small feat. As my readers, you get to ride along with me as I grow from a pre-published author into one who is published. You get to see my plans bear fruit as well as the mistakes along the way. Part of the plan with this blog is to give the fans a transparent view of the ups and downs of transforming into a published author.

In this first series of post is where I discuss my plans. I want to address the nuts and bolts behind the platform while the next post(s) will deal with book development to publication and the path I choose.

As you may have noticed, this website is under construction and this blog still has that new blog smell. I’ve started my author platform as part of the plan of travelling to published-land. These days an author needs exposure on the internet in a variety of ways. It takes developing your name like a brand which means consistency across several web formats. To that end, I have purchased my web-domain registration at minimal cost. This allows me to use a consistent web presence between my web site, email and social media.

However, as a pre-published author, my funds are limited so I have chosen the path of least expense – for the short-term. As this endeavor grows so will my internet infrastructure – especially this website. It’s no secret were my site is hosted by the logo appearing in the upper left of this page. Right now, I am running the site under the free offering from WordPress. This means that my choices for themes, etc. are limited unless I pay for them or upgrade my account. I’m willing to live with what I have for the near-term and grown when I can.

When I do grow my web presence I will then have greater control over themes so there will be greater consistency between the website and various forms of social media. Getting there will be a milestone for my brand and a major step toward publication.

Likewise, my site and email hosting will likely change too. At that point I will have complete control of my web presence. I hope this will occur before the initial release of my first book so I can incorporate cover art into themes for both my website and social media accounts.

For now less is more but I have every hope of growing and those who follow along get to live the changes with me. Feel free to provide feedback and subscribe to my email list for updates. Let me know your thoughts and suggestions on growing and author platform.

See you at the next post!

PHS