The Self-publishing World

Liars, Leeches, and Other Losers

 To all you eager, new―and as yet unknown―authors who have finally finished your manuscript, welcome to the world of publishing, where dreams come true, and fame and fortune are only a book tour away. Or perhaps not! Let me see…how do I break this to you gently? Not one single literary agent will have anything to do with you. At most, your query letter will trigger a form rejection response as cold and pitiless as an IRS audit notice. And you can forget about sending your manuscript to any of the Big Six publishing houses. To them, you are lower than rust on the third rail in the subway, and equally untouchable. However, I doubt that these brutal facts will deter you from pursuing your dream, nor should they. So as you embark on this journey, let me just share with you a few words of caution about the liars, leeches and losers who populate the world of publishing. Let’s start with the first group of liars―your friends and family―albeit well-meaning ones. In your heart, you know that you have not written the next great American novel but you still think your book is pretty good. Damn good in fact!…

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Folio Prize to allow self-published work

  The Folio Prize has confirmed it is to consider self-published entries, a move which has been welcomed by the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi).Sixty titles on the 80-strong longlist will be put forward by the Folio's academy, made up of members of the literary community, and it is understood they will be allowed to select self-published works.The remaining 20 will be called in by judges following publishers writing letters of support for particular titles. Self-published authors will be able to act as publishers and write letters of support for their own titles, which will then be considered to be called in.Dan Holloway is campaign manager of ALLi's Open Up To Indies program, which encourages prizes, festivals, the media and other bodies to be inclusive of self-published writers and works.He said: "This is important news and greatly welcomed by ALLi's Open Up To Indies Campaign. Whilst self-publishing has been stripped of much of its stigma by a string of high profile commercial successes, the suspicion remains in some quarters, notably the media, that the self-published corpus is not a place to find works of outstanding artistic merit that could take their place alongside the works of a Hilary Mantel or…

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To KDP or not – that is the question!

A blog piece by Jim Kukral at the Huffington Post on the subject of KDP Select gave me food for thought and I began researching other points of view on this very popular means for indie authors to sell their books.As Mr. Kukral points out, there are two very strong sides to this issue. I think the big question is "making money" versus "building an audience". Many of our B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree authors take advantage of KDP and utilize the opportunity to give their books away for free for a limited time. They get a bit of boost in sales and make a bit of money in the process. The question is – does this actually build their audience? As this article states, those who seek out free book downloads are not particularly loyal readers and may do little talking about or reviewing of books. I do not know the statistics, but I wonder how many authors who take advantage of KDP actually build a big following?Sales on Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Sony eReader and other means of reading eBooks arguably do not match the sales that amazon.com does. On the other hand, by placing their book on a site…

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A response to Sue Grafton’s angry words.

I guess you saw the comments by bestselling author Sue Grafton about self-published authors. If not, you should! During an interview with a local newspaper she said- "that's as good as admitting you're too lazy to do the hard work". The self-published books she has read are "often amateurish", she said, comparing self publishing "to a student managing to conquer Five Easy Pieces on the piano and then wondering if s/he's ready to be booked into Carnegie Hall". According to Grafton, Becoming an author is about hard work: "taking the rejection, learning the lessons, and mastering the craft over a period of time". Having had her first three novels rejected, she said she sees "way too many writers who complete one novel and start looking for the fame and fortune they're sure they're entitled to". She added "To me, it seems disrespectful ... that a 'wannabe' assumes it's all so easy s/he can put out a 'published novel' without bothering to read, study, or do the research," said Grafton. "Learning to construct a narrative and create character, learning to balance pace, description, exposition, and dialogue takes a long time. This is not a quick do-it-yourself home project. Self-publishing is a…

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Oh To Be A Fly On The Wall!

I'm sure many of you have seen the recent press releases announcing that yet another traditional publisher has acquired a self-publishing service, or is opening a new self-publishing division, or in what must be the most bizarre case of them all, has contracted with a competitor to utilize their SP service. It is rather amusing to see the spin that their PR agencies have put on these actions. Ever since the advent of print-on-demand technology opened up the world of publishing to hundreds of thousands (and soon to be millions) of author-wannabees, the traditional publishing houses have looked with disdain upon these unwashed masses. Until now that is. But can it be that the fat cats and effete intellectual editors who populate the giant publishing conglomerates have suddenly decided that "we the people" aren't such bad writers after all? Not! The truth of the matter is that there are three principal reasons behind this rush to get into the SP biz...they are money, money, and more money. Wouldn't you like to be a fly on the wall in the boardroom when the CEO of one of the big publishing houses was first presented with this idea by his senior vice…

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Recording your own Audio Books

Richard Denning's advice on recording your own audio book - Two years ago I recorded The Amber Treasure and released it in episodes via Podiobooks.com. This is a US based site which will publish audio books. It also feeds them to Itunes again as podcast episodes. Over a couple of years the book had 300+ downloads and some good feedback. As a first experiment in recording audiobooks it was not a bad way to go. Recently I decided to move forward and look to record some of my other books and I am using http://www.helpforwriters.me/ whom I met at the New Writers UK Fair. (This annual event at Nottingham in November is a gathering of self published authors, associated folk such as editors and agents etc). I don't find I sell many books there BUT as a place to network and make contacts it is useful. They are taking both The Amber Treasure and Child of Loki (which I am currently recording). My "home studio" is very basic. It consists of A)This PC B)A free to download copy of Audactity Which is a recording and editing programme. C)A Shure FM 58 XLR microphone . This was recommended to me by…

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Coffee with Doug Carlyle

  One of the things I enjoy the most is getting to know the authors who have joined us at indieBRAG.Doug Carlyle, the author of In Search of the Fuller Brush Man, drove from Texas to Wisconsin to visit his daughter and was able to join me for coffee. It was a wonderful time getting to know Doug, his daughter and very cute- and VERY well behaved – grandson. Although I could not possibly read all the books that our reading teams read, I did have the chance to read Doug's book and I really enjoyed it.Doug is a member of both the Writers' League of Texas and the Houston Writers Guild. I would encourage all self-published writers to take advantage of such organizations. They provide a forum for support and help. And many are genre specific which may help you to refine your skill in telling the story you want. They are also a great source of information for marketing your book. Some of the larger groups provide workshops on writing and promoting along with information on book events and venues for selling your book. I urge you to go online and search out your area for writers groups…

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Audio book for no investment!

    Did you know that you can have a professionally developed audio book for no investment? Yes, it's true. One thing I sigh about continually is how many people try to sell to us authors. Classes, webinars, conferences, marketing, and on and on. Don't get me wrong; I participate in these activities as much as I can. Many are helpful and work to promote our books, but costly none the same. I have recently found a way to drive more revenue out of the book I already wrote by getting it produced as an audio book! It's true! Sandy Weaver Carman of Voicework on Demand, Inc. is in the business of helping authors grow their "revenue river".Here is how you get started. Amazon has a company called ACX. http://www.acx.com/ ACX walks you through registering and uploading your book for auditions. That was actually very fun and extremely rewarding to hear people read your book in character. Then you chose the narrator that you feel captured the essence of your story and you are on your way. You review each chapter and if there is anything you want reread, you let the narrator know and they will redo any mistakes.…

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Ripple by Tui Allen honoured at the 2012 Frankfurt Book Fair

New Zealand was the guest of Honour at the 2012 Frankfurt Book FairRipple by Tui Allen was chosen to represent New Zealand and we are proud to say is a2012 B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree Thank you Tui for taking the time to share your thoughts- My book Ripple was selected by the New Zealand Society of Authors (NZSA) as one of forty to represent NZ literature at Frankfurt. This happened because NZ was this year's Frankfurt "Country of Honour." It's a bit like being the host country at the Olympics, except that the fair is always in Frankfurt Germany.It is the biggest book fair in the world and is the size of a medium sized NZ town except taller. Being on many levels, it goes higher into the sky than towns do here. To get around its buildings you catch a bus!We NZSA authors became known in NZ as the "Frankfurt Forty" The list we were chosen from did not include authors who had already been chosen by the Publisher's Association of New Zealand (PANZ). The PANZ authors were all very well-known and had been thoroughly conventionally published and their Frankfurt costs were paid for them. Several of the NZSA list…

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The SPBE October 27, 2012 NYC ~Get more sales!

    Now we are going to get down to what you can and should be doing to get more sales! It is possible to do all of the following yourself; however, there are some things you probably should get skilled help with. Foreign Rights: This is where you license the right to translate and sell your book in a foreign market. Although you can do this on your own, it is exceedingly difficult. Without a foreign rights agent who knows that particular country there is no way of protecting your rights or guaranteeing that you will get paid. Amazon is considering offering this service to its authors at some point in the future but for now you had best seek an agent. And for those of you who can afford it, attending the Frankfurt International Book Fair in October, 2013 would be well worth your while. Literally hundreds of thousands of people from the global publishing industry attend this event and most are looking to buy (or sell) foreign rights. Global Distribution: Short of licensing the foreign rights of your book, this is something you can probably handle on your own. At most online booksellers (e.g., amazon, B&N, pubit,…

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