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Unformatted text preview: The Brass Tacks of Self-­‐Publishing Saturday 27 June 2015 10.30 am Everyone can write a book. Not everyone can write a readable book. Writing is the easy bit – planning, structure, plot, world building, and character development – even including the efforts required to turn the first draft into an enjoyable, top quality novel. Your concept, characters, pace and style may be fantastic, but without a thorough edit – checking for technique, consistency, continuity, grammar, spelling and punctuation – your novel will not shine. Sadly, many self-­‐published/indie books are poorly presented. Common faults include: • double spacing • text aligned on the left-­‐hand side, with the right margin jagged • crowded pages, not to mention • dreadful covers with awkward font style and colours • no copyright or publisher details • too small or too large a font or hard to read font • misplaced page numbers People will notice, but they may either be too close a friend to say, or too indifferent about your book to bother mentioning it. Tip: study mainstream books in bookstores and libraries and make notes about layout, titles, page design, fonts. Check what’s included and what’s not. The stages of self-­‐publishing a book Whatever publishing process you use, much of the basic process of producing a book is the same: • You write it. (The hardest part of writing is butt-­‐in-­‐chair) • You re-­‐write it and do a preliminary self-­‐edit. • You ensure it is at the best standard you can achieve – then send it to beta readers and a structural editor for comments on story, timelines, character development • Re-­‐write. Print it out -­‐ you will see so much more! • After your final, final rewrite/corrections, have it professionally copy-­‐edited. • Commission your cover, giving the designer very clear guidelines • Format the ebook files and upload to KDP, Smashwords, D2D, etc. • Format the print book files and upload to CreateSpace/Lightning Source (Ingram Spark) • Do not forget to compose a really good blurb/product description for the online retailers and decide on the price by researching similar titles • Comply with the registration requirements of your home country Using a self-­‐publishing /publishing services company Using a publishing services company takes the burden of production away. You will not have to spend days and weeks swearing over formatting, registrations, print files, covers, ebook files or buying ISBNs. But be cautious – some are ethical, high standard book-­‐people, but there are a lot of fraudsters out there who praise your work, ask for a hefty chunk of money and can leave you with a pile of unreadable, poorly printed and unmarketable disappointment. Before you part with your money … Ask to see samples of the books they have published Contact some authors on their list. If the company is reluctant to let you do this, wave goodbye. • Are any of their books in independent bookshops? • What do they offer in the way of editing and marketing? • Ask for a sample contract and check they are not taking publishing rights. These days, the good services companies are accepting fewer books, so if your book is not up to a good enough standard, you could be refused. Tip: make a spreadsheet comparing their services, charges and requirements – it will making your choice much easier Reviews, awards and quality marks Essential for visibility and discoverability, i.e. sales • The HNS has its own review process, highlighting the best indie (self-­‐published) titles as Editor’s Choices, plus an annual Indie Book Award. Be warned, not all work will be accepted onto the review program – they are tough! (See separate handout) • The B.R.A.G. Medallion is opened to nearly all fiction genres, but they have equally high standards with a 90% reject rate. (Contact via website below) Neither program seeks to reject, but both are driving indie quality standards up which makes the award so much more valuable Reviews whether on Amazon, or on independent blogs, or even in print, are essential. There are several who specialise in historical fiction. Approach them professionally, tactfully and in a team spirit; they are doing you a favour. Do check ‘prize’ and ‘award’ schemes carefully; there are some genuine ones, others just take your money, some are meaningless. For $75 or $99 you could buy other promotions that would bring you better results. Ask other authors. Promotion and social media Another essential, but do it in a non-­‐spammy way. Set up Facebook and Twitter accounts as a minimum and a web/blogsite if you can. And be interesting, creative and informative and chat to people. Tip: Join the HNS Facebook group – an ideal place to find research, hints and colleagues. Promotion is hard and nobody else cares about your book. Form working friendships with other authors and genre group and promote as a group. Like, share and retweet others’ book and articles. They’ll reciprocate and you’ll reach their audiences. Tip: Make your book returnable. You have a far better chance of getting bookstores to stock your title. You may have returns, but you can sell them at conventions, etc. CreateSpace does not offer this option, so consider using one of the services that does, like Lightning Source. (Dan Willis) • • Main sources: Discovering the Diamond by Helen Hollick and Jo Field ( ) The 500 Word Writing Buddy by Alison Morton ( ) -­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐ Your panellists: Anna Belfrage: Geri Clouston: Helen Hollick Alison Morton (Chair) -­‐morton.com Daniel Willis: © Alison Morton 2015 ...
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