Tag Archives: self publishing

Why I Decided to Self-Publish + Prize Winners Announced!

Why I Decided to Self-Publish

beautiful&deadlycover FINALIn two weeks I will be releasing Beautiful & Deadly: A Fantasy Collection. It will be my first time venturing into the world of self-publishing. In the past I had never really seriously considered self-publishing—preferring to stick to the traditional publishing route. Self-publishing has typically had a bit of a stigma attached to it—self-publishing is for authors who can’t get published by traditional means, right? Plus it would mean all the marketing and business side of publishing would fall to me. I didn’t feel I was business-minded and that I lacked the confidence to market my own work.

But over the past few months my mindset has changed.

Why I changed my mind:
  1. I listened to a webinar on self-publishing children’s books through 12 x 12 and it got me inspired, especially when it was mentioned that children’s writers could do well through being hybrid-authors (authors who are both traditionally published and self-published). I ended up signing up for the Picture Ebook Mastery course run by the Children’s Book Insider and I started playing around with the idea of self-publishing my own children’s book. My biggest drawback came from the fact that I am not an illustrator and hiring an illustrator would be costly.
  2. A friend put me onto the ‘Rocking Self-Publishing Podcast and I started listening to it. I became even more inspired. There were writers out there making a good living off self-publishing. I think there is this mindset that there are so many badly self-published books out there that self-publishing has developed a stigma that turns readers off. But the authors on these podcasts were finding that if they put the work in and put out a professional-standard book, they could do well. I began to think, “If they can do it, why can’t I?”
  3. I started reading more about self-publishing and seemed like a lot of authors were saying that even in traditional publishing a lot of the marketing was left on the shoulders of the author. That was a big selling point for me. The marketing aspect of self-publishing had been a major off-putting aspect for me, but if I was going to be responsible for marketing my work even in traditional publishing, then it was no longer a point against self-publishing. In fact, marketing a self-published book would be great practice if I ever end up being traditionally published. Plus haven’t I already been marketing my short stories in their respective anthologies? This wouldn’t be too much different, except it would just be me (no other contributing authors/publisher to share the load).
  4. There have been times in the past where I briefly thought I would like to put all my published short stories into a collection, but now that the idea of self-publishing had lost its stigma for me, I started entertaining the idea much more seriously. The more I planned the collection, the more I wanted to make it a reality. And because most of the stories in the collection have been previously published, I think it took some of the pressure off, because they’d already been through a lot of edits and I knew I could put out a professional book. There are two rules for self-publishing; one of those is for your book to be professionally edited.
  5. The second rule is to have a professional cover. I started researching cover artists, but at the same time I started playing around making my own cover. Thankfully I have been doing graphic art for about 8 years as a hobby and I have made a lot of mock covers over the years. My first cover was very amateur looking, so I scrapped it and made another. This one I felt looked professional, especially after some tweaking based on feedback. It was more validation that I could actually self-publish a professional-looking book. (P.S. For others considering self-publishing, I highly recommend getting a cover artist, unless you have been doing graphics yourself for years and have enough skills to do it yourself. If your cover doesn’t look professional, readers will be put off buying the book.)

Fingers crossed and wish me luck as I plunge head first into the world of self-publishing.

For those interested in exploring self-publishing, this series of posts by Author Entrepreneur Management Solutions is a must read. It takes you through planning, marketing, expenses and predicting income.

I’d love to hear stories from anyone else who has taken this route. Or what other writers think of self-publishing? Would you do it? Why or why not?
PRIZE WINNERS!

And now for the winners of my blogiversary giveaway!

Prize 1: An advance copy of Beautiful & Deadly.

Mary Preston!

Prize 2: A limited edition short story of your choice from the collection.

Angelina M Linan!

Prize 3: Your choice of a story critique OR a $5 Amazon gift card.

Melissa Gijsbers Khalinsky!

Thanks to all who entered and shared the competition. Winners, please check your email for your prizes!

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Helpful Blog Posts – May 2013

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, but I’ve come across some great posts this past month. Don’t forget you can check out the masterlist (click the tab at the top of the page) for a comprehensive list of helpful writing topics.

Agent Tips – From Querying to Accepting an Offer

A comprehensive post covering each stage on the journey to acquiring an agent, including how to set out your query letter, what to do if your manuscript is requested, what to do if you receive an offer and how to handle multiple offers.

Understand the Key Book Publishing Paths

Not sure if you want to go the traditional publishing route or self publish? This infographic looks at the various book publishing paths, including the values of each and any warnings.

Copyright for Authors

Ever wondered how copyright applies to your writing, including your unpublished writing? This post explains it.

31 Ways to Find New Readers, Outside Your Network

Though this post is aimed specifically at Indie authors, it is just as relevant for those who are traditionally published. Lots of suggestions on how to reach readers beyond your usual social media circles.

What Are the Real Costs of Self-Publishing? Wrong Question

A great post for those looking at self-publishing and how best to budget to produce a profitable product.

Helpful Writing Sites and Blog Posts April/May 2012

I seem to have accululated quite a few links on promoting yourself as an author the past two months, from having a great author bio to having a professional headshot to hitting #1 on Amazon. Speaking of Amazon, don’t forget you can still get free copies of Eighty Nine for Kindle until 5.59pm AEST tomorrow (Friday). That’s 11.59pm Thursday US Pacific time and 8.59am Friday UK time. You can see my previous post for more information and links.

And now to the helpful posts for April and May…

Writing

Writing the Longer Picture Book

Mara Rockliff talks about writing longer picture books (over 600 words), including important tips for authors to keep in mind when writing a longer picture book.

8 Apps Every Writer Should Have

A list of 8 helpful writing apps for your phone, including a story tracking app for those who are in the process of submitting queries and a rhyming app for poets/picture book writers.

Ideas for Story Structure

I’ve seen a lot of different ways to plan out story structure, but I just love the simplicity of this idea. It’s not only a simple way of plotting out your novel/short story/picture book (yes, it can equally be applied to all three), it manages to incorporate the main points of the story arc. I’ll definitely be using this system in future.

Promoting Yourself as an Author

Five Ways to Fix a Boring Bio

Whether you’re published, unpublished, querying, have a Twitter or Facebook account or a blog, at some point in your writing career you will need to write an author bio (multiple times!). Think you’re boring? Or haven’t done enough yet? This post offers 5 simple and logical ways to spice up your author bio.

The Seven Worst Mistakes of Indie Authors and How to Fix Them

If you are taking the self-publishing route, this post by Joanna Penn is a must-read. She has some great advice, with solutions to oft-made mistakes by self-publishers. She speaks from the experience of someone who has been down the self-publishing path and had to learn from her own mistakes.

Amazon Bestseller: Top Ten Tips for Hitting #1 on the Amazon Store 

A post from author Rachel Abbot, whose book has topped the Amazon charts. She shares her experience of starting out thinking all she had to do was upload her book and the profits would roll in, to discovering the key factors to marketing her book successfully.

Author Business Cards

A literary agent, who is not generally a fan of business cards, talks about how to make a stellar business card that won’t get thrown in the trash. Some really great tips!

Mastering Your Author Headshot

Author August McLaughlin offers some helpful tips on making sure your author headshot gives the right impression and how you can get the most out of a headshot photo session. She includes an interview with headshot photographer Ken Dapper.

Helpful Writing Sites and Blog Posts January 2011

Time for the first ‘Helpful Writing Sites and Blog Posts’ post of the the year. I’ve collected a lot of great picture book links through the 12 x 12 challenge Facebook group, but I also have a few links in other areas of writing, too.

Writing (General)

Some Advice to New or Aspiring Authors

Some great advice and tips for writers new to the writing/publishing journey.

How to Make a Boring Character Interesting

This post outlines the various reasons your character could be coming across as boring or flat and offers some solutions to make your character more interesting.

Five Tips for Revising Your Novel

Literary Agent Courtney Miller-Callihan gives five tips that look at your novel as a whole when doing revisions, including a tip on character names and another on dialogue tags.

What Will Make an Agent ‘Gong’ Your Query

Thirteen reasons why an agent will stop reading your query–things to avoid when writing query letters.

Grandma Mary Can’t Market Your Book

Whether you intend to self publish or go the traditional publishing route, authors need to consider marketing. This post gives 7 steps to building a marketing plan and reaching out to your readership. It even includes a nifty chart you can use.

When to Quit Querying and Self-Publish

This post does a great job of presenting the various aspects you need to consider if you’re thinking about self-publishing after having little success with querying. It takes a very honest look at the possible reasons your work may be getting rejected and whether self-publishing is a viable alternative and also gives the honest facts about what it takes to self-publish. I love how honest, balanced and unbiased this post is in regards to self-publishing vs. traditional publishing.

Writing for Children

9 Factors That Make a Picture Book Successful

If you are a picture book writer this is a post well worth reading. These are nine important elements to writing an effective picture book.

The 6 Most Common Mistakes Made by Aspiring Children’s Book Authors

6 common mistakes this editor sees made by picture book authors and some advice on how to avoid them.

For All Picture Book Writers, Read This

Links to a four-part interview with Vice President and Editorial Director of HarperCollins Children’s Books and a three-part interview with Golden Books/Random House Editorial Director. Lots of great little nuggets of advice for picture book writers in both interviews.

Picture Book Tips from Successful Agents

Children’s book author and editor Tamson Weston consulted with agents on what makes a picture book successful and shared the top five tips for making your submission stand out.

Writing Easy Readers – Or How To Get 2nd Graders to Love You

5 quick tips for appealing to early readers as shared by an author of children’s chapter books.

Helpful Writing Sites and Blog Posts November and December 2011

I missed posting last month’s helpful writing links post in the craziness of NaNoWriMo, so this month you get the best writing sites and blog posts I’ve come across in the last two months.

Writing

Write Like Jane Austen

I was going to put this website under ‘Just for Fun’, but it is actually quite a helpful writing tool for anyone writing historical/period pieces. Just type in a modern word and it will tell you the equivalent word Jane Austen would have used.

Need a Jump? Four Ways to Fix a Stalled Story

This isn’t about writer’s block. This is for when you know where you want your story to go and you have your plan, but the story just won’t write. The scene you’re writing feels boring and lifeless. Something just isn’t working. This post can help you pinpoint why your story has stalled and how to fix it so you can get momentum going again.

Writing Fantasy Genre Stereotypes Part One: Your Heroine is Too Beautiful and Part Two: Writing the Opposite Gender

This two-part series looks at gender stereotypes in fantasy writing and how to avoid them. In particular, it looks at how in fantasy female characters are often stereotyped as either a sex object or a man in women’s clothing (or often both combined). Part one deals with visual stereotyping in the fantasy genre and part two deals with women who act like men and men who act like women (particularly aimed at women writing male characters or men writing female characters).

10 Ways to Create a Plot Twist

Plot twists are a great way to keep your story exciting, but it’s all about finding the right moment and right scenario to introduce the twist. This post provides ten ways for adding a plot twist into your story.

25 Reasons Readers Will Quit Reading Your Story

As writers we want our readers to keep reading until they turn the very last page. If we don’t want readers to close our book half way through, or, even worse, after the first page, this list provides tips on what to avoid in your novel to ensure your readers will keep turning pages. A great checklist for revision.

Revising

Polishing Till it Shines

A great checklist of things to look out for when revising to make your manuscript as good as it can possibly be before submitting.

Self Publishing

11 Self Publishing Strategies for Success

A lot of authors now look to self publishing as an alternative to traditional publishing, but it is by no means an easy road. This post offers some strategies to help ensure your self publishing journey is a success.

So You’re Thinking About Self Publishing

A round up of helpful sites for those thinking about self publishing.

Social Media

8 Incredibly Simple Ways to Get More People to Read Your Content

Not getting many reads on your blog? This post offers some simple solutions to help get your blog posts noticed (and shared).

How to Write a Popular Writing Blog

Tips for what makes a blog popular (a post for writers who blog).

I hope you all have a happy and safe New Year!

Helpful Writing Sites and Blog Posts July 2011

It’s been a quiet month here on the blog (due to my family being hit by some nasty illnesses), but I have still been collecting helpful writing sites and blog posts during July to share with you.

Writing

7 Things I’ve Learned So Far

A guest post by author Sydney Salter on seven things she’s learned on her writing journey so far. She has some great advice on rejection and criticism of your work.

How to Write with Kids at Home

As a mum with two young children at home I know how difficult it can be to find five minutes quiet time to get some writing done. This writer/mum offers some tips on keeping the kids occupied so you can write.

4 Writing Crutches That Insult a Reader’s Intelligence

Some great reminders for writers on writing crutches and how to avoid them. (Are you guilty of using too many adverbs or telling instead of showing?)

What Makes for a Great Thriller

Some tips from two thriller authors on the essential elements of a thriller.

Pitching/Queries

Why Pitches Fail

Three reasons why pitches fail.

Self-Publishing

Three Reasons to Self-Publish (and a big one not to!)

Advice for anyone considering self-publishing.

Social Media

What Social Media Stats Should You Include in Your Book Proposal

A look at blog stats agents and publishers deem relevant.

6 Secrets to Writing a Killer Author Bio

On our blogs, Twitter, guest posts, interviews, etc. it’s important to have an author bio. This post gives tips on writing an effective bio.

The 5 Biggest Mistakes Writers Make on their Websites

The five most common (and easily fixed) mistakes writers make on their website.