What’s Next and How Should I Publish?

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Well, of course, how you eventually publish is up to you. As a writer, you have not just persistence to run the race, but you are in control.

assassins have failed

Or are you?

Okay, so today I am not speaking about the writing process, the rewriting, the editing, your brand, and platform. We have other things to chit-chat about!

You’ve completed that novel, written a synopsis, query, proposal, cover letter, you’ve received your rejections and recovered. You’ve rewritten and edited–in short, you’re are so sick of your novel, you’re about ready to burn it.

Don’t do it! Stop, drop and roll! Who remembers that phrase?

marshallow

Marshmallows are a better choice than burning the house (manuscript) down. Use these sweet puffs of sugar over a campfire. Otherwise that’s sort of like being so sweaty after working outside that you go into the bathroom and cut all your hair off. I swear, I didn’t do anything like that. <cough>

Let’s talk about pros/cons, the positive/negative of different types of publishing, and avoiding falling into a trap. They all have them. Yet, there is no right or wrong. There is, however, good and bad.

Ghostwriting. This is where you tell someone what you want written. They will understand you, they get you… right? They write it for a minimum of $15,000. If you have enough for a house, perhaps you can afford upwards of $40,000. With the more spendy outfit, you will get what you pay for, and a better novel. And that’s the upside! The downside? You may have given the right to another to use their voice to speak the words you want. The cost tends to be prohibitive. They may want their name on it, so it’s obvious it’s ghosted. Unless you are a politician or celebrity. That cost is for their work of writing an entire novel off an idea. Now you have to recoup that investment. Yikes!

ghost

Vanity Presses. You have written a first draft. Perhaps through a contest. I don’t eschew contests for word count such as NanoWrimo, because by the time you’ve finished you have a draft. Not rewritten, not edited. The upside: you’re part is done but you will be charged upfront for a package to get your draft into shape. There is often a bait and switch involved and that’s still the upside. They call it vanity for a reason (this is how they refer to you, by the way).

primping vanity.gif

The downside: the majority of vanity presses fix your formatting and put a cover on it, fix a few spelling errors and that’s it. Oh, you have your words and thoughts down, all right, but they haven’t been filtered, rewritten, edited. And the cost can be in the thousands. Even traditional publishing houses will send you to an ‘arm’ of their company. Do research and don’t shell out a dime, because you have to recoup that investment–again! And some want royalties on top of that. My two cents…

Self-publishing. This is the fastest growing sector, especially for people who are frustrated with the book industry.

Pros: your book is done, you can have it on the shelves within a few days. There are a lot of successful self-publishers, and I know a few. Their writing is stellar. They have done everything that needs to be done for their manuscript to create a fantastic read. One name that comes to the surface immediately is Dale Amidei. I don’t care what genre you read. Read one (or more, you’ll get sucked in) and you will see exactly what I mean. However…

Cons: Many self-published writers decline to do the work, take critiques, advice, work the craft. They throw a horrid draft out there and call themselves internationally renowned.

prideful

 

Let’s say you are good. Just like any book, you have to market it. You design it, format it, choose the font, the size of print, purchase an ISBN number, the copyright, pay a graphic artist, you write the blurb, tagline and log line. You pay thousands for editing/proofing ($3000-4000 for a good edit, or more). Once again, you must recoup your investment, and on sites like Amazon/Kindle that can be 99 cents to 10 bucks. If it sucks, your name is now associated with bad writing. But wait! The self-publishing outfit gets royalties, too. Fifteen percent or more. You now have to recoup your investment in your royalties to pay off the graphic artist, editing (and by the way, editors cost by the hour, $30-40 is the going rate). Last, if you want to go traditional, most agents and publishers do not count self-publishing as published.

Before you go away crying… there are some really good SPers out there, not to mention hybrid.

Indie. This does not stand for sending your manuscript to India. I would never, ever believe that. Ever. <laughs maniacally>

laugh maniacal

Indie is perhaps the best method, these days. Check your genre and Google big Indie publishers accepting submissions. Usually, Indies are a consortium of individual artists, writers, formatters, editors, again, not from India, normally.

East_Indian_Group

You may or may not pay a nominal fee for membership and/or editing, proofing, artistic covers. Big Indie publishers pay out more royalties. Downside: Their guidelines are strict. They want a good reputation (as do you), so they are sticklers for good writing. You still have to pay royalties and membership fees. Ask to see a proof before it launches. Why do I say big Indie publishing? They have a bigger track record.

Traditional. Traditional publishing used to be the way to go, and it was hard to break into. Pros: Things have changed and they are looking for fresh writers (that they can bilk). Not all traditional publishers are cheap, however. Most give little or no advance (that’s hoping you make three times that or more, but don’t spend it. You may have to buy your unsold books back). But they have a lot of risk putting your book on the shelf. They take a nice chunk of royalties off the back of your sales. Many want you to go through an agent, and that is a terrific idea. It slows the process down, but your book is edited (recognize when I say ‘edited,’ I mean they send you the manuscript and tell you what’s wrong, and it is up to you to fix it). Agents work their behinds off, and if you get a contract, great. Hope that your book sells well (as the agents do) because they get about 15% off the back of your book as well. You may be looking at your take at 15% or less.

Small presses. This includes all venues of the above. Small presses have less revenue (generally) and won’t pay you an advance (most likely not), and won’t do much for your book because they are in the business of churning out books to get their name out. Royalties, well. Their communication maybe great, it may be nil.

This is not the totality of publishing. But it is a nice chunk to think about. Until next time, I bid you adieu. Pfft. ‘I’ll be back.’

terminator I ll be back

 

 

 

Reading Boone

Quote

via Reading Boone  

Dale Amidei: Leading into next month’s release of Boone’s fifth and epic title, A Garden in Russia, I have the opportunity to hand off the forum to a pair of her biggest fans, Rebecca Johnson and Claire O’Sullivan. Ladies, the floor is yours:

Rebecca: Firstly, thank you, Dale, for allowing us to guest post on your page. Claire O’Sullivan and I are here to nag Dale Amidei about his newest book discuss Dale Amidei’s first female heroine in his Boone series of espionage thrillers, a sort of international/ political Tales from the Dark Side. Dale writes complex, powerful novels that pull his characters into unthinkable situations, which is why I have temporarily given up paranormal fiction in favor of devouring his books.

Claire: Readers and writers alike, no matter their preferred genre, would find Dale’s geopolitical intrigue novels exemplary.

Rebecca: That’s some mighty highfalutin language there, but I think you’re absolutely right.

Claire: All I’m saying is that, as primarily a romance reader, I find his books a delicious departure from my usual reads, just like you do.

Rebecca: Can’t argue with you there … but about Boone: How do you relate to her character?

Claire: I think she’s a bad-arse, and I mean that in the “holy-crap-if-she-was-real” sense (and maybe she is). I wouldn’t want to get on her bad side. Respect her, yes. Mess with her, no way. I would actually like to be Boone. What about you? How do you see her?

Rebecca: Well, you know, every woman has those days when everything jells, right? The makeup and hair work, the clothes fit perfectly, the job rolls on smooth wheels. Then there’s the rest of the time, when the mirror and the closet are your enemies, and the job develops a square wheel and just clunks along, and the kids track dog poop all through the house ten minutes before the party. Those kinds of issues are hiccups in the greater scheme of things, I know, but they seem like disasters at the time. 

And then there’s Dr. Rebecca Boone Hildebrandt’s world. She’s an intel operative who deals in—how to say it?—correcting political situations detrimental to independence and freedom. She takes on the jobs no one in the real world wants to think about. Her profession involves stealth, constant situational awareness, and occasionally sudden death: both other people’s and possibly her own. She has to be good at what she does, just to survive. Dog poop on the floor is the least of her worries.  And yet, even with her youth and strength, she is full of flaws and desires. She has the same soul shadows and asks the same questions we all do: “What have I become? Did I ever have a choice?”

Claire:  I’ve read all four of Dale’s Boone’s File novels, and I’m waiting for the fifth one, A Garden in Russia. Taken together, they chronicle Boone’s journey from a flawed, confused enforcer of justice to a clear-headed confident woman who manages to reconcile her profession with her soul. She’s a cool, aloof bad-girl trigger mama in the first book, truly someone you’d not want to disrespect. But she changes as each novel unravels another of her protective layers, and she begins to thaw into something more human and fragile.

Rebecca: Exactly! And I think the title of the first Boone book, Absinthe and Chocolate, describes her perfectly. Chocolate represents everything Boone is: rich, lush, exquisite, and extreme.  Absinthe, nicknamed the “Green Fairy,” symbolized a changing social order in 19th-century Paris, a new generation of free thinkers and transformative ideas. The Green Fairy was also the embodiment of rebellion, especially female rebellion. Boone is nothing if not transformative and rebellious.

Claire: Well, you’re just chock full of weird information. But why am I not surprised? Dale’s first book hooked me into the series. It really showed Boone’s skills as well as her flaws. But in the second book, The Bonus Pool, Boone learns from a persecuted Chinese Christian pastor how to find peace in her life, and that we all “go from darkness into the Light.” Dale is a master at crafting Boone’s reflections on the old man’s words, as she moves from her internal conflict toward peace.

That starts the ball rolling for Boone. By the end of the third and fourth books (One Last Scent of Jasmine and Meat for the Lion), she’s moved away from her despair and doubt, and into a more clear-headed sense of her purpose in life.

Rebecca: Seeing her transformation made me want to say, “Maybe I can do that, too. In my own way I can be better, if I remember that every move is always from the darkness toward the Light.” In these days of turmoil both here and abroad, that’s a good way to think, not only for Boone but for the rest of us who are still cleaning up the dog poop.

Claire: But regarding the writing—you know, Dale writes so well that there are days I wonder why I even bother. And did you ever ask yourself, how does he know so much?

Rebecca: After reading his novels with all those Special Ops and gun-related details, do you really want to ask that question?

Claire: Well, maybe no. But I do enjoy his books, because they’re not just complex in terms of characters and storylines. They address the human condition, whether it’s Boone or another character discoursing on current global and political issues. And in Boone’s case, he manages to hold up a mirror to her soul, so that she—and we—can see her heart laid bare.

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.’
-Paul of Tarsus (or 1 Corinthians 13:12)

I feel like I know her better now.

Rebecca: Well enough to mess with her?

Claire: You think you’re so funny. .. 

Rebecca Johnson was born and raised in the southern United States, mostly in North Carolina with brief relocations to South Carolina and Virginia. She is by education a medical technologist, graduating with honors from N.C. State and UNC-Chapel Hill, and by preference a calligrapher, needlework designer, and graphic artist. She writes paranormal romances by night when no one is watching, and hides her manuscripts under quilting and needlepoint projects during the day. In her spare time she beta-reads for other writers, searching for nitpicking errors. She believes that God’s purpose for her life is to cause as much trouble for as many people as she possibly can, and she spends at least part of each day fulfilling that purpose. 

Claire O’Sullivan was raised in corn and cow country in the Midwest where she learned the nuances of ‘moo’ to PhD level (piled higher and deeper). She attended the University of Wisconsin at River Falls (aka Moo U) with a major in psychology, and changed minors every other week. She left Moo U and attended Lutheran Bible Institute and obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Biblical studies. She has fiddled with writing forever, and currently has several crime/romances in the works, including a comedy noir. She’s pretty sure that Rebecca is indeed fulfilling her purpose by tormenting her daily… er, helping Claire endeavor to write.

Thank you, ladies. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Boone’s novels may be found on the sidebar:
AmazonAppleNookKobo
and other places where ebooks come alive.

Wisdom from Kristen Lamb

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This is another good post from the insane, I mean … wise Kristen Lamb’s blog. These are editing tips you do not want to skip.

Why… Pay… More?

kill bill

So slash those sweet lil’ things you love so much. Hey, I had to, and it … sucked.

http://authorkristenlamb.com/2018/04/self-editing-writers/#comment-92608

Don’t blink. Save them in another folder if you can’t let go, but … <pulls pages from your hands> Just Do It. Stop thinking.

wonder

Self Publishing. Is it up or down?

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Make Self-Publishing Mighty – Setting Goals

Claire O’Sullivan

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorClaire1/

Steps to publishing have many different routes, including (yay!) self-publishing. These free the writer from the constraints of the traditional route. I point to the length of time one may wait for agents/traditional houses to accept a novel. Not all (many) make it through slush pile(s). Indie is self-publishing peppered with a light to traditional publishing taste, except… different.

The cavalry has arrived. No, really. The cavalry is here and self -publishing, after several years, is gaining popularity. Again, yay! That cavalry is you. So this is a sexist image, but… okay, I think he’s hot.

cavalry

 

How does one enter the foray of fast growing market? As you read, don’t lose heart. It seems overwhelming for first time self-publishers. Self-publishing is a funny animal. It has ups. Then… downs. The market waxes and wanes.

These are the goals you must have to follow through. You are starting a business, and floundering around ends in ‘dead fish’ fodder.

While tempted to throw your first draft to a self-publishing outfit, don’t, have a cup of coffee. Do not pay an agent or publishing house unless you are wealthy (or a politician). Do you want to spend your hard-earned money for ‘I’m published’ gleam in your eye? The real sparkle is in their eyes: the scratch in your pocket. Oh, get your mind out of that gutter. Money.

 

Here it is:

You’ve completed the manuscript. That is an endeavor. And a half.

pen and sword

 

Determine your budget for every step of this endeavor listed. I cannot stress this enough. Encourage an elephant to sit on you before you write checks. Have a look around for self-publishing groups.

What do you want to sell, e-books only? Consider Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/about/tos Or both e-books and paperback? I recommend both, but in the end, this is up to you. E-books are far less expensive but bring fewer royalties (though I have heard some great success stories). Smashwords gives you about 70-85% of royalties… though you pay 35 cents per book sold. This royalty number is awesome. You keep copyright, and can participate in other parts of the program. Well worth the look. Your biggest obstacle with ebooks is the dearth of readers who are aghast at any work requiring more than 99 cents.

 pay writers ha

 

Set a time goal. Six months before your novel is ready for printing, start your online advertising. Tell your friends. Get the word out. You are Wonder Woman. Or Superman. Pick one.

      Wonder_Woman                              superman          

 

Plan a marketing program. Let’s talk cost. Squish your toes in social media. Make it sexy. If you don’t have a website, fer cryin’ out loud, get one. WordPress blogs are free. Their websites cha-ching your pocket from one hundred to five thousand dollars. A domain name will cost from ten dollars to one hundred. Go Daddy and others will offer for a fee, SEO (search engine optimization) to improve visibility.

marketing

Some custom websites charge ten times that amount.

Facebook fan page. Love this. If you want advertising on your Facebook fan page advertising costs, but nominal. Twitter is free. With WordPress blog free, you can post to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter… you get the idea. You can find free or pay for website services. I went cheap. As in, starving-artist-free: http://cmahoneyfnp.wixsite.com/claireosullivan a DIY site. 

 

ISBN number. You must have one for your novel. That’s the little barcode on the back so you get paid. CreateSpace offers one free, however it remains with them … forever. You can also purchase one for one hundred dollars or more.

 

ISBN.png

Get your murder hat on. Why do I mention this here in your goals? You want your book to sell I suspect. So, slash those scenes like Dexter in a bad mood, those that don’t push the plot along. Some self-publishing businesses will not pass three-hundred-eighty pages. Paying for editors is not cheap. Pretend for a second your novel is five hundred pages. You want to pay said editor a zillion buckaroos for pages to be removed, and edited… again? How do you spell redrum? Editors often charge thirty to forty dollars per hour. Your team of readers/critique buds can help with murder. One with the vase. One with the rug. One with the shovel.

kill em offer

 

The cover. I know you already have a cover in mind. Now find an artist/photographer to design, or look at stock photos, you can pay a lot or minimal. On my website, I have stock images I want on my new works. Some folks have luck with fivver, a less-expensive method. Fivver is a conglomeration of people who will work in five-dollar increments. Ask your Facebook fans which cover mock-up they like best.

CreateSpace offers free front/back and spine flaps with limited covers, though you can upload your own. When they create a cover for you, now you are looking at over three hundred dollars. I changed one book’s title and cover three times… that’s a buncha clams if you switch from one picture or another through custom artists. Keep that in mind. This was my second free cover (which I liked), another DIY on CreateSpace. The Big However… upon beginning the first chapter as a reader, I realized my fiction (and title) didn’t fit the cover—the formatting was fine. Don’t bother looking for it, the cover never moved passed the proofing stage. Sigh. Looks lovely, though. Keeping it for my next book.

CreateSpace is an easy platform that offers eBooks and paperback. They do the hard work such as bookbinding. They will gently place your work on Amazon, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and it’s ready. Amazon Publishing is not currently accepting unsolicited manuscripts, but this is their site: https://amazonpublishing.amazon.com/work-with-us .

Preview your work online. Order five book drafts if in paperback. Most self-publishing requires a minimum. CreateSpace requires five. When you receive the box, shout with glee, review it, and bust out the champagne (or beverage of choice). I have declined some first copies and reformatted. No they don’t give you your money back. Rats. Each print-on-demand book through CreateSpace costs three dollars and ten cents. Minus shipping and handling.

Social media blitz and marketing. Put pictures of the books, a box of books in fact, onto every social media site you have. Plug to your friends, and now, family (they don’t count early on). Take the box you’ve ordered to local bookstores. Go to signings wherever you can find them. Authors Innovative Marketing on Facebook is chockfull of ideas for authors. Post your novel on Goodreads. Don’t forget! Put a PayPal button click on your website, and your Facebook fan page-

social media

 

Before you think the endeavor is beyond you, it’s not. Royalties may be great: but read the contract with a jaundiced eye. Not … really jaundiced, but … Consider the amount you will pay for twenty-five books, print-on-demand. Three-dollars per book. Consider shipping/handling and your profit and loss.

So check around. Self-publishing sites that are true self-publishing sites are tough to find. Vanity and boutique presses, shrouded vaguely, tell you the cost for purchasing a package and then sink their teeth in your pocketbook like Monty Python’s savage attack bunny… “Run away, run away!

monty python

            If you are interested in Indie publishing, the larger Indies (for independent, not East Indian) pay well. And do not make fun. I thought that’s what Indie meant… hey, it was a long time ago, yeesh.

 

https://www.myidentifiers.com/Get-your-isbn-now ISBN site

 

This is Diggypod. I don’t consider these folks self-publish but you may get some ideas: https://www.diggypod.com/self-publishing/companies/

 

Here is CreateSpace, and I do recommend taking a look: https://www.createspace.com/

Post your books on https://www.goodreads.com/

 

And … a list of the top Indie publishers: https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/publisher-news/article/73281-fast-growing-independent-publishers-2017.html

Here you have it. Goals for your journey to self-publishing.

I love editing … said nobody, ever…

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. . yes, still editing Forget Me Not . . . and trying to decide if I should change the title.

      Forget Me Not: Non Compos Mentis — refers to a specific character…

     OR . . . should I change it to Nobody Girl — the victim?

 wonder

     Thoughts?

     Let me know!

     You can also give me thoughts at c.mahoney.fnp@gmail,com