Nov 05

Self-Publishing – 3 Perks and 4 Warnings

Self-publihsing tipsIt seems the majority of people are self-publishing. With the limited traditional publishing opportunities, it only makes sense.

In addition to the difficulty in getting a traditional contract there are at least three perks to going Indie.

1. You are in complete control.
2. Getting your book published and available for sales will take a fraction of the time it will take a traditional publisher to get it out into the world.
3. You’ll make a lot more per book sale than through the traditional route.

All seems good, right?

Well, it can be. But, while self-publishing brings the brass ring within the reach of just about everyone, there are some things to watch out for.

Four things to watch out for when self-publishing:

1. You are in complete control.

While this is also a perk, it can be a pitfall. You don’t have the luxury of a publishing house editors, book designers, and illustrators. This means it’s all up to you.

Do you know what’s involved in producing a quality book?

If not, do your research.

You might want to start out with learning how to write if you’re not already a writer. Read books, take classes, do whatever you need to in order to write right. Keep in mind that this includes learning about revisions, editing, and proofing.

While self-publishing is gaining ground by leaps and bounds, there are still those books that are poorly written and published that weigh the arena down.

While writing a quality book is paramount, the book’s design and cover are also crucial.
Some questions to consider might be:

– Do you know what the front matter is?
– Are you qualified to create your own cover?
– What about the back cover design and copy?
– Do you know about interior layout design?
– Do you know how to properly format your book for publishing?
– Do you know how to upload your book to the service that will print it?
– Do you know you need to write a synopsis and description for your book?
– What about effective keywords and categories for your book?

There are more elements involved, but this will get you started.

If it seems overwhelming or is too time consuming get outside help. I recently hired someone on Fiverr to format and upload my book. I debated between publishing with CreateSpace and IngramSpark and ended up going with CreateSpace.

There are plenty of services and freelancers available to help you get your book published.

2. It’s most often not a slam-dunk.

I’ve had a couple of clients approach me saying they want a book that Disney will want to turn into a movie. I laugh to myself because so do I. After I find the humor in it, I tell those clients that there are no guarantees in books.

You must have realistic expectations when self-publishing. The market is flooded with books. It’s true that some books take off, but this is not the norm. Again, be realistic.

The best thing you can do is create a book you can be proud of and learn how to market it. The first part of book marketing is creating an author platform.

For more on this, read my article: What is an Author Platform?

3. You don’t have a hook.

With so many books available and more and more coming on the market each day, you need to find your hook. Simply writing a good book may not be enough. You need to let the reader know why they should buy your book. What makes your book different.

“Sensational writing, words that jump from a page, a heart stopping plot and real recipes from your grandmother in a village in Sardinia, where many people live to be 100, are all potentially unique aspects of a book, which will help you find readers.” (1)

If you don’t think your book has anything unique, take a closer look. Think of an accident witnessed by 10 people. Each one will have a different account of what happened. Even if only somewhat different, there will be differences.

Find the unique element in your book.

4. You’re not familiar with book marketing.

Even if you’re traditionally published, you MUST promote your books.

Book marketing begins with your author platform and the foundation of this platform is your author website.

Along with this, you’ll need to be on social media and you’ll need to create an email list.

While this may all seem like a lot of effort, if you want to make you and your books visible to potential buyers, if you want to sell books, it’s necessary.

If you need help with the first part of your book writing journey, writing the story, I’m a children’s ghostwriter and rewriter. Let me take your story for a spin. Contact me today at kcioffiventrice@gmail.com

Or, give me a call at 347—834—6700

Let’s get your book in publishable shape today!

Reference:
(1) 5 Horrible Mistakes Self-Published Authors Make

Articles on writing for childrenhttp://karencioffiwritingforchildren.com/2016/07/24/writing-a-book-to-publish-traditionally-or-self-publish/

Self-Publishing: 3 Tips to Help You Avoid the ‘I Want It Now Syndrome’

Writing with Clarity

Oct 08

Traditional Publishing and Self-Publishing – The Differences

Tips on writing your storyIt seems the publishing waters are getting murkier and murkier.

I think the most significant difference between ‘real’ traditional publishers and services that are NOT ‘real’ traditional publishers (vanity presses, self-publishers, and others) is the cost. This is aside from ‘quality’ in many cases.

If you are submitting to a ‘real’ traditional publisher, you will NOT PAY A PENNY

What the ‘Real’ Traditional Publishing House Will Do

The publishing house, after they’ve read your manuscript, decided whether it’s marketable and given you a contract, will take your manuscript and request revisions if needed. It will then edit the manuscript and proof it.

You will pay nothing. The publishing house gets its income from the sales of your book. The publishing house wants to sell your book.

You will get a royalty from the sale of each book. And, unless you’re with a major book publisher, you won’t get an advance on royalties.

The royalties are usually somewhere around 10 percent. It may be higher for ebooks. And, you may get the royalty quarterly or less often.

So, while you don’t have to pay a penny, you likely won’t get rich from your books.

It should be noted, since this is a writing for children’s site, that this includes picture books. The publishing house will also cover the expense of having the interior and exterior illustrations created, along with the interior layout.

What Does Self-Publishing Services Do?

Self-publishing services will also do everything you need done to publish your book. BUT, you will pay for each service individually or in a package.

You’ll pay to have the book edited, proofed, formatted, layout, illustrations, and so on and so on and so on.

While you get most of the money from the sales of your books, there’s no guarantee that you’ll recoup the cost of self-publishing.

These services make their money from you, the author. They have NO vested interest in you selling a single book. Again, they’ve made their money.

Note: Picture book illustrations can be expensive and you’ll need at least 16 interior and a cover.

Usual Time Frame of ‘Real’ Publishing Houses

The other thing that’s distinctive about ‘real’ traditional publishers is it can take 16-24 months for your book to get published (available for sale) from the time you sign your contract.

And, keep in mind that it takes that long after you’ve got the contract. Don’t forget to include all the submissions, rejections, and time spent on this phase.

Yes, you have to be patient. But, again, you pay nothing. And, you have the clout of a traditional publisher behind you.

Time Frame for Self-Publishing Services

I think this can be anywhere from a two-weeks to four months, or so. The four+ months would be if children’s illustrations were involved.

It is quick!

Quality of Traditionally Published Books

I’ve self-published and I’ve traditionally published. And, I’ve read many, many, many books in my niche. ‘Real’ traditionally published books are usually of a much higher quality.

This goes from the cover illustration to the interior illustrations, to the editing, to the formatting, and so on.

A big reason for this is the quality control that goes into a book being published with a traditional publisher. The illustrators and editors are professionals and do quality work.

Quality of Self-Publishing Services

While you can have the same services done through self-publishing, you’ll pay for each of the services offered. The down-side is often the writers, editors, and illustrators are less than qualified or professional.

This is just the way it goes. The service needs to keep its costs down.

Which Is Better?

This question is a personal one.

It could be you’ve tried to get a traditional publishing contract, but it just didn’t work out. This may not mean your book isn’t good, it means the publishing industry in overwhelmed with books.

It could be you have the ‘I want it now’ publishing syndrome. The thought of having to wait even a year to get your book published is more than you can bear.

I personally think if you have the time, try traditional publishing first. Even if you’re impatient, give it six month. You just never know.

If you feel self-publishing is the way to go for you, GO for it.

While there are lots of less-than-professional services out there, there are also some good ones. You’ll have to do your homework. Research services. Review some of their books.

No matter what publishing path you take, you want quality published book. You want a marketable and saleable book.

You want a book you’ll be proud to be the author of.

What are your thoughts on traditionally publishing and self-publishing?

Sources:
Traditional Publishing Royalties
Should You Pay to Publish

Children's ghostwriterWhether you need rewriting or ghostwriting, let me take a look at your story. Just send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box.

Or, give me a call at 347—834—6700

Let’s get your book in publishable shape today!

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Feb 26

The Front Matter – Before the Story Text Begins

Your book's front matterI get lots of questions from my clients as to what comes after the story is written.

While a lot of the questions are about illustrations, what’s been coming up more and more is about the pages that come before the story text begins. The pages before the story are called the front matter.

Just this week, someone asked me about a Dedication Page.

So, here is a list (in order of appearance) of the pages that will or may come before the first page of your story. Some examples are included.

1. Half title page – this is a page at the very beginning of the book that has ONLY the title of the book. It’s usually only used if pages are needed to thicken the book.

2. Frontispiece – this is a page that is an informative or decorative illustration that faces the book’s title page. It appears on the opposite page of the title page. This page is optional.

3. Title page – this is the page that lists the title, subtitle, author, and publisher. I may include the publisher’s location, year of publication, a description of the book, and either the cover illustration or other illustration.

4. Copyright page – this is the page that lists the copyright notice and the “All rights reserved” warning. It should also include the publisher’s name and address; printing details; the edition of the book; and the ISBN(s).

It may also include ordering information, your website URL, disclaimers, and the CIP Data Block from the Library of Congress.

In regard to the CIP Data Block, Kindlepreneur.com explains:

The Library of Congress issues a CIP data block to you. It is not something you can create for yourself. However, if you’re a self-publisher, you are not even eligible to have a CIP data issued to you by the Library of Congress.

You can, however, pay to have a P-CIP (Publisher’s Catalog-in-Publication) data block generated for you, if you truly desire. Having P-CIP data can make your book look more professional. It costs anywhere from $60-$100, and can be done by Quality Books, Inc. or CIPblock.com. (1)

5. Dedication – this is a page that explains the author’s source of inspiration and/or who she is dedication the book to. It can be a single name or it can be a paragraph or two. This page is optional.

6. Epigraph – this is a page that includes a quotation, sentence, or poem. It can face the Table of Contents or the first page of the text.

I’m currently working on a 10 book series that will have an epigraph in each book.

Epigraphs can also be used at the beginning of chapters, on the same page the chapter begins or on a separate page opposite the beginning of each chapter.

According to LiteraryDevices.com:

An epigraph can serve different purposes such as it can be used as a summary, introduction, an example, or an association with some famous literary works, so as to draw comparison or to generate a specific context to be presented in the piece. (2)

This page is optional.

7. Contents Page, also known as the Table of Contents – this page lists each section and/or chapters within the book. It helps the reader navigate the book in longer works, like middle grade and young adult stories.

You would not use a Contents Page in a picture book.

8. Foreword – this page has a short piece written by someone other than the author. Its purpose is to introduce the author and the book. It most often includes the writer’s name and signature.

Usually, the writer of the foreword is noteworthy.

This page is optional.

9. Preface – this page is written by the author and usually tells about how and why the book came to be and the process. It may also include what the book is about and why you think it’s important. This page is optional.

10. Acknowledgments – this page lists the people or entities the author is grateful to for help in the creation of the book. This page is optional.

11. Introduction – this page discusses the purpose and goals of the book. This page is optional.

12. Prologue – this page sets the scene for the fiction story. It can include backstory and should be told in the protagonist’s voice. This page is optional.

13. Second half title – this page helps set off or end an extensive front matter. As the name implies, it’s identical to the first half title page and is added before the beginning of the story text. It is used when needed.

Other pages in the front matter that you may find in some books are: List of Figures and List of Tables. But, for the majority of authors self-publishing children’s books they aren’t needed.

I just want to note here that most of the front matter isn’t necessary until after the story is written. And, if you have a picture book, it won’t be needed until after the illustrations are done.

You’ll need it when you’re ready to upload your book to sites like CreateSpace or when you’re ready to hand it over to them to upload it for publication for you.

That’s about it for the front matter of your book. The story itself is considered the ‘body of the book.’ When I get the time, I’ll write about the ‘back matter’ of your book.

Hope this is helpful in your self-publishing journey.

Sources:

(1) https://kindlepreneur.com/book-copyright-page-examples-ebook/
(2) https://literarydevices.net/epigraph/

Additional Sources:
https://wikipedia.com
https://www.thebookdesigner.com/2012/02/self-publishing-basics-how-to-organize-your-books-front-matter/
https://www.scribendi.com/advice/front_matter.en.html

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

10 Tips to Hiring a Children’s Ghostwriter
5 Top Fiction Writing No-Nos
Writing a Book – To Traditionally Publish or To Self-Publish

Need Help With Your StoryLet me take a look at it. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and editor. I can turn you story into a publishable and saleable book.

Shoot me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com (please put Children’s Writing Help in the Subject line). Or, you can give me a call at 834—347—6700

Jul 24

Writing a Book – To Publish Traditionally or Self-Publish

Writing a book - Should you self-publish or traditionally publish?

Whether to publish traditionally or self-publish is the question I get most from my ghosting clients. Most new to the writing arena don’t understand what’s involved with either path. This article will helpfully shed some light on the topic.

Traditional Publishing

With traditional publishing, you submit your EDITED manuscript to publishing houses and/or literary agents.

To submit to publishers means finding ones that accept submissions in your genre. To do this, you’ll need to write a query letter. It’s the query letter that you first submit. And, until you find a publisher who’s interested in your manuscript, you have to keep submitting.

It’s the same process for both publishers and literary agents.

There’s no way to determine how long it can take to find a publisher or agent who will offer you a contract. It could happen quickly (not the norm) or it can take a year, two years, or more. There are no guarantees it will happen.

As an example, it took Chicken Soup for the Soul 144 rejections before finally getting a publishing contract. And, they put a lot of time and effort into their publishing quest.

The traditional process takes perseverance and commitment. You need to research publishers and agents. For this process, I recommend getting “Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Marketing [current year].” It has hundreds of listings.

If you’re not a children’s author, you can use “Writer’s Market [current year].”

Assuming you do get a contract, it usually takes about two years before your book will actually be available for sale.

Again, there are no guarantees with the traditional publishing route.

But, with all that said, there is still a level of ‘status’ and credibility with books that are traditionally published. And, you never know if you’ll get a contract quicker than expected. An added bonus if you’re writing a children’s picture book, you won’t have to find an illustrator or pay for illustrations and a book cover.

Self-Publishing

With self-publishing you’re in control.

You write your story or hire a ghostwriter to write it for you. Just make sure the story is edited and proofed before moving onto the next step.

Once that’s done, you’re off to find an illustrator – this is if you’re creating a picture book or even a chapter book / middle grade that will include some illustrations, even if just black and white.

You can find children’s book illustrators at:

http://fiverr.com
http://upwork.com
http://www.childrensillustrators.com
http://blueberryillustrations.com (look for children’s book illustrations)

You can also do an online search.

While you can find some ‘cheap’ illustrators out there, be sure of their skills. Be sure they understand what you’re looking for. And, be sure they proof their own work. You MUST also check the illustrations to the text – make sure the illustrations are relevant to the content on that page. You’ll also need to check for accuracy and consistency within the illustrations.

I’ve coordinated illustrations to text for clients and have found a number of errors from missing parts of feet to inconsistent furnishings from scene to scene.

After you have the illustrations and text combined, you will need to prepare/format and upload the book to publish it. For this, you can use services like Kindle KDP (for ebooks on Amazon, but they are now introducing paperback options) or CreateSpace (for print book to Amazon).

For non-Amazon distribution, you can go with IngramSpark for print books or Draft2Digital for ebooks.

Just be aware that with these services, you’ll need to do the work yourself (format and upload). If this intimidates you, you can hire someone on http://fiverr.com or http://upwork.com to format and upload your book.

If the thought of having to find someone to format and upload your work is still too intimidating, you can simply use a service like Smashwords.com (for ebooks only)  or BookBaby.com, GoldenBoxBooks, or DogEarPublishing.net for help in this area. They offer packages.

Warning: Services that offer packages in addition to formatting and uploading your book for publishing will probably offer lots of other services: cover design, editing, illustrations, and so on. They can be expensive and I’m not sure of the quality of, say their editing services. So, have the book already to go. All you should need them for is actual publishing and distribution.

Summing it Up

So, whether to self-publish or go the traditional route depends on your time frame, finances, and commitment to submitting your work. And, if you choose the traditional path, you’ll need to have patience and perseverance.

Reference:
https://janefriedman.com/self-publish-your-book/

MORE WRITING FOR CHILDREN

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Need Help With Your Story

Let me take a look at it. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and editor. I can turn you story into a publishable and saleable book.

Shoot me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com (please put Children’s Writing Help in the Subject line). Or, you can give me a call at 834—347—6700

Jul 17

Self-Publishing: 3 Tips to Help You Avoid the ‘I Want It Now Syndrome’

(What’Writing and the I Want It Now syndromes a ‘Wannabe’ Author to Do?)

Self-publishing is a ship everyone wants to sail on. And, for good reason. This publishing avenue is quick and cheap.

Yes, self-publishing is fast. There’s no more submitting to a publisher or multiple publishers and waiting for (possibly) months for a response. Will they accept your manuscript that you’ve been working on for months, maybe years? Or, will they send you a generic standard rejection letter? Either way, the time waiting for an acceptance or rejection isn’t fun. With self-publishing, as soon as your manuscript is ready to go, it goes.

There are lots and lots of places to publish an ebook. And, you can publish with more than one service. And, you can sell that ebook right from your own site. That’s pretty convenient.

In addition to being a quick process, ebooks are cheap to create and publish. If you do everything yourself (aside from editing), it will cost nothing. In the event you need help, services like Fiverr have people who will help you for a very, very reasonable price.

But . . .

While it’s obvious to see the benefits to self-publishing, these benefits have one drawback in particular: everyone thinks they can write a book and self-publish it, whether or not they have the skills to write a book and whether or not it’s a quality product.

Part of the problem, possibly the main problem, is the ‘I want it now’ syndrome that self-publishing lends itself to. New authors don’t want to take the longer ‘proven’ road of learning the craft of writing and having their manuscript edited before publishing.

This ‘problem’ does all authors a disservice. It lessens the validity of self-published books as a whole. Readers (buyers) never know if the book they’re buying was done professionally or if it was carelessly slapped together.

So, what’s the solution?

Well, there are three basic strategies to use when thinking of writing a book and self-publishing:

1. Learn the craft of writing.

The first thing a ‘wannabe’ author needs to do is learn the craft of writing. This isn’t to say you must get a MFA, but you should take writing courses. There are some online courses that are free. And, you should belong to writing groups.

Along with this, you should actually be writing. Practice does make better.

Finally, you’ve got to read and read and read in the genre you want to write and in lots of other genres also. You especially want to read recently traditionally published books.

This will help you get an idea of what publishers are looking for, what quality work is being published, and how it’s written.

2. Join a critique group.

The second thing is for the author to join a genre appropriate critique group. Having your manuscript critiqued by others helps with grammar, clarity, story line, characters . . . you get the idea. Critique groups help you write your book. Those extra eyes will catch things in your manuscript that you glaze over.

3. Hire an editor.

The third thing the author should do, after the manuscript is as ‘good’ as she can get it, is to find a reputable editor and have it edited. It’s easy for an author to think she’s found all the errors in her manuscript, but in actuality, this is almost impossible to do. As the author, you’re much too close to the work to see it fresh and with unbiased eyes.

Self-publishing is an amazing opportunity for authors, but it needs to be done responsibly. Authors need to take the readers and the industry into consideration when venturing into it.

Instead of being one of the “I want it now” authors, be one of the ‘I want it, but am willing to work toward it’ authors.

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

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How Do You Build a Successful Writing Career? (3 Tips)

This article was originally published by Karen Cioffi at:
http://www.karencioffiwritingandmarketing.com/2013/07/self-publishing-3-tips-to-help-you.html