(What’s 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.
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This article was originally published by Karen Cioffi at: