Category Archives: Publishing

Rejection #partofawriterslife

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Handling rejection will be a part of any author’s life if they choose the traditional path. In some ways I think it’s important to try this path simply to get the rejection. Does that sound strange? Let me explain. Rejection makes you re think your product. Why didn’t it get picked up? Was it too long, not well enough edited, confusing or have holes in the plot? I’m not saying your story has all these things, just that sometimes it takes an external influence to make you rethink and improve your work. The only problem with rejection rom publishing companies is they don’t tend to give a lot of feed back. Most of the time it’s just not what they are looking for. Still some are fantastic and give a few hints. One that I put my first novel in to simply wanted 600 word action picture books. Which are of course the hardest to write. Still if I ever get one done I will send it to them. Of course some rejection may be because the submission guidelines were not read carefully. Maybe your story wasn’t what they wanted, maybe they inly take solicited manuscripts. Read each guideline carefully before submitting. YOu may just be wasting your time.

I have had three books picked up by Strategic book group (semi traditional publishing) which was great but here are some tips to submitting to traditional publishers:
1. Read submission guidelines
2. Have your work assessed if not edited by an outside person first – make it the best product you can.
3. Spend time on a really fantastic cover letter – sell your product
4. Be patient – some take a very long time.
5. While waiting keep writing – start a new project.
6. NEVER GIVE UP!!!!

I hope that helps – have fun!

Where does the day go #neverenoughtime

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No time for meditation now. I can’t believe how quickly time flies and no it’s not all fun stuff. Although we had a great surprise holiday, which did put me back in terms of writing. However it was a much-needed break. Back into action now. With so much to do. It’s almost the end of April so I need to wrap up my publishing blogs. I’m pretty sure I haven’t answered too many questions. I hope I have shared useful information. Like everything the best thing to do is ask someone. Actually it’s best to ask lots of people and then decide what works for you. No one person can give you the definitive answer simply because there isn’t one. Work out al the pros and cons of both traditional and self publishing. I am actually laughing as I write that because the more I research the more I believe self publishing will soon be the traditional way! Well close enough any way. The most important thing is to get a finished product you are proud to call yours!

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The journey to that finished product will be hard work no matter which way you go, but it will be worth it in the end. So don’t give up at the first rejection. Use that as inspiration to improve yourself and keep going. More on handling rejection soon. We’ve all been there, so should be fun to have a look at that. In the mean time I need to catch up on all my jobs so have fun!

Where to go #selfpublishing #everyonesanexpert

Isn’t it funny how everyone has an opinion about things even if they have no idea!!! Well I would have to say I am developing some ideas bout self publishing, but am definitely not an expert. This blog today is purely my thought process. Do not take it as gospel or even advice. It’s simply what I have learnt so far!

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So I have a book and its ready to go. I have had it edited and even done a front cover (getting ahead of myself just a little bit here – humour me!) How do I self publish?

Here are some of the options I have heard of and what I know – also what I need to find out:

1. Create Space – I have been lucky enough to have stories published in anthologies through create space. Which means I have purchased both the ebooks and print books from this site. What I know, feel free to correct me if I am wrong:
– they look just as good as traditionally published books if formatted correctly (all of the ones I have are great!
– their shipping is less than Amazon
– all books go directly to Amazon for sales
– there is now a free expanded distribution option to spread your work further
– the instructions are relatively simple to follow
– you get a free print proof to check over
– payments are made by cheque – need to have over $100 for a cheque to be written and it comes through snail mail
– you can get a free ISBN or pay $10 for your own (means you can name your publishing group, to keep your books the same)

did I miss anything?

2. LuLu – I have had one story in an anthology published through LuLu and another one coming at some stage. The book is high quality!
– Formatting is relatively simple
– you need to put to Amazon yourself – not sure how to do this.
– payments are made through pay pal so can be any amount
– you get a PDF to check over, but would need to pay for a print proof
– think the ISBN is the same as create space

3. Smashwords – own a book printed here and have seen their ebooks
– apparently the formatting is quite complicated.
– they have their own store (similar to LuLu)
– you put to Amazon?
– no idea about anything else

4. Lightning Source – never seen a book from here
– I have heard good things, but will need to do further investigating into this one!

Some interesting things. Tax… it’s different in every country. Here in Australia you don’t have to claim things if they are a hobby. Which means basically you don’t earn a regular income and it’s not very high. This is pretty much where my writing fits at the moment. One day it may change. Then you need a tax file number and an ABN I would assume. However its all different. There us a number you need for US unless you want to be slugged 30% on their tax. Of course you can live with that, not sure about costs. Apparently it is quite easy to get a number. I have no idea about the rest of the world or if people just go with their own country and accept the tax on overseas sales… If anyone can shed some light on the subject that would be great.

So you can see there is still heaps to think about! Have fun!

Self Publishing #doingitforyourself

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I believe some fairy dust is required during the whole writing process! There are people out there who will simply say self publishing is for people you aren’t good enough to get a real publisher… Well I say phewie to them. Ask them this have they ever read a self published book? Is every traditionally published book worthy of being traditionally published???

I bet they won’t answer. Now I know my kids have brought home some pretty terrible books that have been traditionally published. I have also introduced them to some amazing self published books. So it works both ways. However to self publish I believe the key is to completely believe in your work. That does not mean you are pig-headed enough to not improve your craft constantly. It simply means you want to do it your way.

It possible depends on why you write. For me writing is a hobby, bow if it is one that can pay for itself then I am pretty happy. However the main reason I write is for my girls. There is just the added bonus that by writing and publishing other kids get to enjoy my books too and that feels pretty good.

As I begin my journey into becoming a self published author I have come to the following conclusions:
1. Getting a professional editor is important – I will still be doing this with all my manuscripts for sure. There is nothing worse that reading your own work and finding errors. Not saying it is going to be perfect, but it will help you to ensure it is the best product you can produce!
2. Formatting takes time – it depends on where you go and I will look at some of these options soon. However for print or ebook the formatting is important. The book needs to be easy to read.
3. The cover – you either have to do it yourself or pay someone to do it for you. Unless you have a great friend to work with. This is something I am playing with at the moment. It is certainly worth spending the time even for an ebook. That is after all what you have to market your book.
4. Illustrations – same as cover art work. Now I did my own illustrations for The HomeWork Goblin and was pretty happy with that. So this is something I will be doing for my chapter books. Which of course takes longer, but is worth it in the end. I also can not afford an illustrator so it’s me or they are not happening.
5. Marketing – it’s all up to you. Let’s face it unless you get in with the big publishing houses you are going to have to do this anyway. At least this way you get all the rewards.

Basically unless you believe in cutting corners self publishing is hard work. I say bring it on, but it is probably not for the faint hearted. Which is why I have complete admiration for self published authors. You rock! So I have all that work ahead on me – better get to it, have fun!

Traditional Publishers #gettingthatbookoutthere

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I think Snoopy sums this up pretty well. I love traditionally published books, but I also love self published books. The defining factor for me is simply the quality of the story. Yes presentation of the book is also important, but self published books done properly look just as good as traditionally published books.

So how do you get your book published the traditional way??? LUCK…. well okay maybe a bit more than that. However it certainly helps to have some of that on your side. You keep trying and with each rejection letter you can improve your product. Worked for J K Rowling. We all know Harry Potter got turned away first time out. I guess the key is patience, but its more than that. To me the choice between traditional and self probably comes down to why you write. Any way more about that later.

Let’s explore the pros and cons of traditional publishing:
Pros
1. It’s done for you – cover, editing, promotion (although I think more and more is required from the author)
2. They have the contacts for distribution
3. You may get contracts for further work

Cons
1. Working on their time frame – great if you are a professional writer, not so great if you are a working mum with millions of other things to do.
2. Probably should have put this one first – they need to choose your book. Let me discuss this for a minute. Yes I have complete confidence in my books – I think they are more than good enough to be sold in book stores, be in school libraries and be enjoyed by millions of children. That does not mean a traditional publisher will pick it up. I’m also not saying this isn’t worth pursuing and I may yet with my chapter books. Just looking at every option.
3. Royalties – split, okay your book is in more locations and you may sell more, but this needs to be a factor.
4. If you are traditionally published I’m not sure if you can classify writing as a hobby any more – which has tax implications (any one who can shed some light on this would be great???)

How’s that for a look?

Okay let’s be honest who wouldn’t want their book on every school list or library shelf or in every book store. Of course I want that. However choosing to go your own way has it’s advantages too. That’s the next topic – have fun!

How do you get a book published? #alwaysgetasked

Anne Rice recently posted this on her face book page
I’ve often said there are no rules for writers. Let me share the WORST AND MOST HARMFUL ADVICE I was ever given by others. 1) Write what you know. 2)You’ll have to polish every sentence you write three or four times. 3)Genius is one tenth talent and nine tenths hard work and 4) You’re not a real writer if you don’t write every day. — ALL OF THAT WAS HARMFUL TO ME. ALL OF IT. IT HURT AND IT SET ME BACK. —– So I say again, there are no rules. It’s amazing how willing people are to tell you that you aren’t a real writer unless you conform to their cliches and their rules. My advice? Reject rules and critics out of hand. Define yourself. Do it your way. Make yourself the writer of your dreams. Protect your voice, your vision, your characters, your story, your imagination, your dreams.

Which I thought was fantastic. I often have people tell me they want to have a book published and where should they start. I’ll admit while I don’t mind being asked it does frustrate me when people see me as a way of cutting corners. Getting my first book published didn’t happen over night.

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I sent off other stories to publishers and got rejection letters. I did the hard yards going through multiple submission guidelines and waited and waited. Only to finally receive those wonderful rejections letter. Yes I still have them in a folder as a reminder that you can get past these hurdles. I had no idea about self publishing and no clue about what to do. I didn’t give up though. I found online Strategic Book Group. Now I know people have had bad experiences with groups like this. However I am only talking from my experience. I have now had three books published with them. Overall I am happy. I have learnt along the way. I now use my own editor instead of theirs. I have had to learn to illustrate my own books because I can’t afford an illustrator. I’m pretty happy with how that book turned out anyway:

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The actual publishing process was great. I worked over emails with some pretty wonderful people and I am very proud of my three books:

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So why wouldn’t I use them again??? Well I may in the future. The biggest issue is shipping. Yes they now publish on demand in Sydney so this has reduced the cost of ordering books, but I still need to order big numbers to get a decent price. Of course I don’t get all the money, they get some of the royalties. That’s fine just means buying books is more difficult, which makes selling more difficult. My books are however available on Amazon, at book depository and other online sources. They also give me lots of marketing options – but I have to pay for these, just as I would if I was self publishing.

All of that is fine, but I guess now that I am more comfortable with the fact that I am an author I am starting to think I should do it myself. More about self publishing later. So to sum up using Strategic or a similar company:
Pros
1. They do the book set up
2. They do the web page set up (I pay a bit for this)
3. They put out to online places like Amazon
4. They handle all print set ups – I approve proofs of course
5. The put the front and back cover together – will write blurbs and press releases – I approve of course

Cons
1. Sharing royalties
2. Working to their time frame
3. Number of copies I have to order to get discount prices
4. Paying for marketing – if I am going to do this then I would rather get all the rewards

So you see there are things that are great and things that will take me more time if I do it myself, but the benefits may be greater. Lots to think about here! Have I missed anything? Any one want to share their experiences??? Please do, would love to compare notes – have fun!

Where to from here? #whattodonext

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So I finished the challenge – let’s publish our books….. Mmm okay so there are a few million steps before I get to that stage. Still it is nice to look ahead. This is sort of a funny place for me to be at the moment. Kind of a post challenge halt. Not that I don’t have things to do. Just where to go from here. So this month I am going to explore publishing options. This will be completely from my point of view and what I have learnt. Nothing on this blog will be gospel, but hopefully it will help me get my head around the options and it may help other authors. So here’s a list of publishing options:

1. Don’t do anything – yeah been there, not that it doesn’t work and is a complete waste of time. It is amazing to see how much time can be wasted doing nothing, but it certainly doesn’t work for me anymore. I have had three books published, I want more!

2. Go back to Strategic Book group and see if they will publish another book with me – they have done my three books and I will blog more about this option later.

3. Approach traditional publishers and see if they will take unsolicited manuscripts – have done this too, more later.

4. Self Publish – A whole new learning curve for me.

Right I think that sums up most of my options. Any other ideas???

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All to get those little books in print and hopefully out to the hands of millions of children… Aiming high I know. Right so let’s work out the pros and cons of options 2, 3 and 4… But first I need to get back to editing. Have fun!