Writing on, and about, an island

Posts Tagged ‘self-publishing’

Writers – Are You a Doer or a Talker?

In Books, Writing on March 28, 2012 at 11:22 am

If you want to get a book published, this is the question you have to ask yourself – and be honest when you answer.

I felt compelled to write about this today because I’m staring down the barrel of a self-imposed deadline. I know myself pretty well, and I know that I do my best work  when my back’s up against a wall. It helps me ‘jump my shark’: perfectionism.

My perfectionism can be crippling. Working as a journalist and an advertising copywriter has cured me of perfectionism in the corporate world, and gone a little way to helping me overcome it in my personal writing, but it’s a daily struggle!

It’s not that writing is hard – it’s avoiding distractions and staying driven that’s fucking hard.

Are you a doer or a talker?

Doers…

  • Have no expectations (you may finish, you may not ­– but that’s not the point right now)
  • Let go of perfectionism (worry about perfect later – just get the words on the paper)
  • Do the hardest things first (the easiest things in life always get done anyway)
  • Make writing a priority every day (not TV, shopping, cleaning, sleeping in…)
  • Work smarter, not harder (identify the time of day when you’re most energetic, creative and inspired – and dedicate that time for writing)

Talkers…

  • Make excuses

Having said that, I believe it’s important to still talk about yourself as a writer – it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, and it starts to make your dream real.

 

Consider a Media Teaser for your eBook

In Books, Crime & Mystery Writer, Writing on March 14, 2012 at 11:26 am

The death in my crime novel happens in Tasmania on the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic – which is 15 April 2012.

To capitalise on this, and the flexibility that self-publishing allows me, I’ll be sending out – on 14 April – a book teaser to my media and book publishing contacts, to my social media connections, as well as to Titanic interest groups and forums.

I imagine that my contact list will receive an e-release, that alerts them to ‘a death’ the following day, in connection to a controversial Titanic conspiracy theory.

The idea being, that they’ll then head to my author site, where they can download the first chapter for free, watch a video – and find out that the mystery will be unravelling over the following month.

At that point, a month after my first e-release, my contact list will receive another email letting them know the murder has been solved, and that they can download the entire book on my site.

I thought about releasing a chapter at a time, but at this stage I think it’s a clever publishing/marketing model I’ll save for the future…

Checklist for Self-Publishing an eBook

In Books, Writing on February 14, 2012 at 5:11 pm

February

  • Complete editing of book
  • Book design – internals and cover, plus epub compatibility
  • ISBNs x 2 (one for hard copy, one for online) DONE
  • Buy WordPress publishing template DONE (Templatic’s Publisher theme)

March

  • Create mini-site – including PayPal function
  • Make a promo video
  • Launch mini-site (including video and first chapter)
  • Email press release/video/book teaser to media and contacts

April

  • Launch ebook

Later…

  • Publish hard copy


Why I Won’t Publish on Amazon

In Books, Career, Crime & Mystery Writer, Writing on February 6, 2012 at 12:35 pm

If you are considering epublishing, I suggest you read this very thought-provoking article on the phenomena that is self-epublishing…

Considering that I plan to self-publish my crime novel, and produce some non-fiction e-guides later this year, does the article worry me?

No, for 3 reasons:

  1. I was never going to publish on Amazon – I’m retaining control of every stage, thanks very much
  2. I believe in my persistence
  3. I believe in my ability to be prolific

I have not mentioned talent. That’s because persistence and ‘prolificness’ are more important than talent.

And that’s something I quickly learned when I worked in-house as a book editor, and sat in the Monday morning ‘slush-pile’ meetings, where all the publishers would put forward their cases for which authors the publishing house should offer a book deal to next.

I was startled – perhaps I shouldn’t have been – that those authors who could argue a case for several follow-up books and that they’d be able to stay the distance (through publicity tours and changing trends) easily trumped those who could ‘merely’ write incredibly beautifully.

Of course, having talent, persistence and the ability to be prolific is the best combination.

In that instance, Amazon can go to hell.

How to Edit Your Book

In Books, Career, Crime & Mystery Writer, Freelance, Writing on February 1, 2012 at 10:55 am

It’s D-Day. Today’s the day I start editing the first draft of my crime novel. I had a nightmare last night that involved packs of Tasmanian Devils attacking me in a dark garden. Coincidence? I think not.

After having done nothing but the prologue of my novel for years, I wrote my 70,000-word novel in winter 2011 – in 3 months, while working full-time and managing a freelance business and a family.

I make these points (which I will turn into posts at some date) because they mean that, while I got a novel written quickly, it’s in a state you’d expect of something written in a flurry.

It will need countless revisions, but this first thorough edit will be mammoth.

I’ve worked as a magazine and book editor for about 15 years. So, therefore it follows that it will be near-impossible for me to edit my own book. Sort of in the same way that chefs don’t like going home to cook for their family…

But, as I plan to self-publish, I am committed to doing this thing. All I can do is approach my book in the same way I approach a stranger’s manuscript.

The 7 Stages of Editing

  1. I read the entire manuscript in one go – straight through, without stopping or worrying about obvious errors.
  2. I start structural editing – onscreen, in Word or InDesign if it’s an illustrated book – tracking my changes as I go. I love, love, love structural editing.
  3. After the structural editing, I do a copy edit (for grammar etc) – all the way through, making a Style Sheet as I go.
  4. I do another structural check, and cut the clutter (unnecessary words and sections), as well as make a note of anything that needs to be padded out. I know the book pretty darn well at this point, and I find this stage easy, and exciting.
  5. I do another copy edit, making sure I’ve adhered to the publisher’s specific requests.
  6. I do another full read through, ignoring minor errors, to make sure the story makes logical sense (I remember one crime novel I edited, where a murderer killed the victim on a Sunday, when it turned out later that the victim was still alive on the following Monday… Actually, that author mistake is not such a bad idea for a book…).
  7. Final tidy up – a proofread – and it’s off to the author and publisher.

I spend a while on stage 4, especially as I need to liaise with the author on what I recommend be removed, and also what I need from them.

Of course, every book is different and I don’t necessarily follow this exact recipe with each – an illustrated book, for example, often requires work on the appearance and the typesetting, and the writing of captions; I also do a lot of ghostwriting for authors at the editing stage – but it’s my tried-and-tested method for most of the author books I am privileged enough to work on (I get paid to read books!).

Hopefully it’s a method that will work with my book.

A Novel Decision

In Crime & Mystery Writer, Writing on January 20, 2012 at 10:12 am

People will think I’m mad (nothing new there) but, after thinking long and hard, I’ve decided to self-publish my crime novel. There are a variety of reasons for this:

1. I’ve edited and published lots of books for other people, and worked as a book publicist at one time, as well as working in-house at Random and freelance for HarperCollins and Murdoch Books… ie, I know what I’m doing.

2. I have an April deadline I want to meet for plot reasons – going the traditional path will mean I’ll miss this deadline.

3. I’m not publishing a novel to make money – I’m doing it because I want to tell a story. Breaking even would be sufficient!

4. I have a large network of people who I can tap into for assistance and support – creative friends for cover design, for example, and also the media (my colleagues).

5. I’ve recently won a Scarlet Stiletto award for a short crime story, and now’s a smart time to leverage a novel off that.

6. And I have come to the realisation that trying to fit myself into the conventional publishing model was sapping my inspiration and just feeling plain wrong. I just couldn’t get interested in it, it was frustrating me, and I realise it’s one of the reasons why this project has dragged on longer than I wanted it to.

But mainly, this decision is all about cutting out the middle man. I’m over having to give away my power to people who are gatekeepers of contrived conventional processes. Just because I’m told it’s the way to do things, doesn’t make it right or true. Thanks to the magic of technology, I can do things my own way. This is not to denigrate traditional publishing, by any means. Traditional publishing works for many, and it’s an industry I’ve loved working in – but I know it’s not for me when it comes to my book(s).

So, I’ll be selling my book online – both as an ebook and as a physical hard copy. Maybe I’ll sell it through a couple of bookshops (but then maybe not, as I’m not that keen on giving them 40%).

I’m very curious to see how things go.

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