Oct 22

Small Home-Grown Book Publishers – Good or Bad?

Publishing with Small PressesI’m thrilled to announce that I have an article up at Writer’s Digest!

It’s about the pros and cons of working with very small book publishers. What I mean by “very small” is the publishers that are primarily one-man or one-woman businesses.

While these home-grown publishers can be a life-saver for the new author and certainly do have benefits, there are a few things to be aware of before jumping in.

Here’s the very beginning:

As a new author or even if you have one or two books under your self-publishing belt, you may be thinking of entering the traditional publishing arena.

I’ve been there and have had my share of rejections from the larger well-known publishing houses.

But, I didn’t let that discourage me … well, not entirely.

While disappointed, I dug in my heels and attended writers conferences and joined writing groups. In one of the online conferences I attended, small publishers were on hand to take pitches from authors. Naturally, I took advantage of this opportunity. I gave my pitch and the owner of the publishing house asked to see my manuscript.

Excitement, excitement.

Check out the full article – it has very helpful information and insights into publishing with a small home-grown publisher:

The Pros and Cons of Publishing with a Small Publisher

HEY! While you’re there, please SHARE and COMMENT!

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!

Jul 30

Small Book Publishers Fill the Gap

Helping Authors Get PublishedOne of your primary concerns as an author is to get your book published. While self-publishing is a viable option, many authors still strive to be traditionally published.

The problem though is getting your manuscript past the acquisitions editor of a major publishing house. And, while I always say nothing ventured nothing gained, getting published by one of the “Big 5” publishers isn’t very probable for a new author. (Though, never say never.)

According to Book Business, the Big 5 are: Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Hachette, and Macmillan. (1)

And, while you may have a better chance with one of the Big 5’s imprints, getting published will still be a tough goal to achieve.

So, what do authors who want to be traditionally published do?

Simple, they submit to small publishers.

In an interview with her local paper, Edmond, Oklahoma, Vivian Zabel said, “There needs to be something between the major publishers who won’t accept anything and the vanity or self-publishing entities.”

Taking the ‘bull by the horns,’ Zabel created her own small publishing company, 4RV Publishing. It’s put out 115 quality books over the last 10 years. They publish from children’s books up.

Zabel went on to say, “4RV looks for authors who fall through the cracks at major publishing houses.”

Larger publishers look for the “marquis authors.” Because of this, 4RV gets to find some great stories.

To read about 4RV and get an idea of how a small publisher works, check out Zabel’s interview at: Small Publisher Fills the Gap Between Major and Vanity Publishing

(Sorry, the link above no longer works. I’m in the process of finding out why.)

Reference:
(1) http://www.bookbusinessmag.com/post/big-5-financial-reports-reveal-state-traditional-book-publishing/

Let's talk about your children's writing projectLet me take a look at it. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and editor. I can turn your story into a publishable book that you’ll be proud to be author of.

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

Articles on writing for childrenWriting – It’s Not Wise to Revise Too Soon
Writing for Children – 4 Simple Tips
Writing for Children – Character Believability and Conflict

Jul 24

Writing a Book – To Publish Traditionally or Self-Publish

Traditional or Self Publishing - The Author Dilemma

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 hopefully 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.

And, there are lots of other famous authors who had their share of rejections. Check out this LitHub article: The Most Rejected Books of All Time

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 Market [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 can take up to 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. I provide my clients with a list of illustrators my clients have worked with.

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 with text layout, you will need to prepare/format and upload the book to publish it. For this, you can use services like Kindle Direct Publishing KDP (for ebooks and paperbacks).

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

Just be aware that with these services, you’ll need to do the work yourself – the manuscript will need to be properly formatted and you’ll need to upload it yourself. If this intimidates you, you can hire someone on http://fiverr.com or http://upwork.com to do it for you.

There are services that will take your manuscript and run with it through print-ready files. They often offer packages. One is BookBaby.com, another is 1106 Design.

I also now offer Writing to Publication, taking your book from ghostwriting or rewriting through to illustrations and publication (including uploading to Amazon and IngramSpark). If you’re interested and would like to discuss this service, send me an email to kcioffiventrice@gmail.com.

Warning: Some 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.

Another thing to look out for is that companies that offer publishing packages may not have the best copywriters, editors, and illustrators. ALWAYS check the work they do for you and if it’s not right, insist they revise it. And, be sure to check out a few of their published books. And, if you hired them to do a website, check some of the websites they’ve designed. This means reading the copy they have on the pages too.

To find reputable self-publishing services, visit Alliance for Independent Authors. (Scroll down to the list of services and their grades.)

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

Children’s Writing and Publishing Process – The Traditional Path
Self-Publishing: 3 Tips to Help You Avoid the ‘I Want It Now Syndrome’
Striving to Be a Better Writer by Writing More

Need Help With Your Story

Let me take a look at it. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter and rewriter. I can turn your story into a publishable book you’ll be proud to be author of.

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

Mar 27

Had a Children’s Book Ghostwritten? Now What?

Sefl-pub or Traditionally pub

With a steady stream of ghosting clients, I am often asked what comes after the manuscript is written and edited.

Well, this depends on which publishing road you’ll be taking: self-publishing or traditional publishing.

Since the majority of my clients go the self-pubbing route, I’ll start there.

SELF-PUBLISHING

BASIC PAGES AND COPY (in addition to the story).

1. You’ll need back cover copy. This is a brief synopsis of the story, usually 100-200 words. It needs to be ‘grabbing’ and ‘clear.’

2. It’s a good idea to have an About the Author or Author’s Note page at the end of the story. It’s definitely optional though.

3. A Copyright page – you can include acknowledgements on this page.

4. A Dedication / Acknowledgment page is a thought.

5. Some authors want a Preface page, but in most cases this isn’t necessary.

6. If you have words that may need to be defined for the young reader, you might include a Glossary right after the story. Most authors don’t bother with this.

7. Then there’s the Activity Page and Reading Comprehension Page. If you’re hoping to get your book into the classroom this is a must.

Unless you’re creating your own pages, these items will be an additional fee.

ILLUSTRATIONS

Interior:

If you have a children’s picture book you’ll need to get illustrations done. Depending on your budget, you’ll need to decide if you want 14 interior illustrations (one per spread) or 32 illustrations (one per page). A standard picture book is 32 pages.

Keep in mind that a full spread is considered two pages and you will be charged for two illustrations.

Note: A spread is the two pages you see when you have a book open. For example, pages 1 and 2 / pages 3 and 4 / and so on.

Pricing for illustrations vary. I recommend a few illustrators to my clients: the cost is somewhere between  $80-$150 per interior illustration. There are others who charge $200 and up per interior illustration.

Exterior:

The book cover is a BIGGIE. The cover is one of the most influential elements to motivate someone to pick up your book. You want it done right. Covers are more money than interior spreads.

You might also want to go for a small back cover illustration. This isn’t really necessary though. You can simply have a colored back cover with your synopsis on it. Possibly include an image of yourself (the author).

On the flip side, you can probably get illustrations cheaper through various services / illustrators. Just be sure the one you choose is capable of creating quality illustrations.

Again, cover illustrations are more.

Here are a three places you can look for illustrators:
https://www.upwork.com
https://fiverr.com
http://  blueberryillustrations.com  /childrens-book-illustrations\
(Sorry I had to break up the last link, WP kept bringing up the clip for it.)

You can also do a Google search. Just please be careful. Be sure to review a portfolio of their work and books they’ve done.

So, you can see that self-publishing a children’s picture book can get pretty expensive.

Hot Tip: Unless you’re a professional illustrator, or really, really, really good, don’t attempt to do your own illustrations.

Checking the Illustrations and Illustrations to text.

Unless you hire someone to oversee this process, you will need to make sure there are no errors in the illustrations.

For the first part, you need to carefully review each illustration, including the cover and back cover (if you have an image on the back cover).

It can be something as simple as part of a foot missing, or a picture described in the story conveyed wrong in the illustration. These, among many others, were mistakes I found for one of my clients who hired me to oversee this process for him.

It can even be consistency, maybe how the characters look throughout the story or even the background scenery. In one project, the illustrator had molding in some illustrations and none in others where is should have been.

You’ll have to have a keen eye for this stuff, but getting it right is the difference between a good quality product and a poor quality product.

For the illustrations to text review, it’s the same. You want to make sure the illustration fits the text per spread. Most illustrators get this right, but I’ve come across a few who do make mistakes.

This is your book. You want it to be the best it can be. This means getting all the details right.

TIME FRAME

Having the book ghostwritten and illustrated can take around 3 months, possibly longer.

The Story

Using myself as an example, I usually take one-four weeks to write a children’s picture book manuscript of 800 – 3000 words (depends on what my clients’ needs/ wants). I do mention in my freelance agreement that it can take up to six weeks.

It’s important to know that if you’re self-publishing your word count can be over 1000 words. If you’re going the traditional route it’s a good idea to stay around or under 800 words.

Another factor in the time it takes to write the story is the time it takes the client to respond to questions and approvals of content. If a client takes more than a couple of days to respond to emails, the time frame will be thrown off.

The Illustrations

Getting the interior and exterior illustrations done can take two-four months, sometimes more. It will depend on the illustrator you use and his/her workload.

GETTING THE BOOK PUBLISHED (ready for distribution / sale)

Depending on your budget, you can hire someone from a site like Fiverr.com to format and upload your book onto Kindle and/or other publishing venues.

Or, you can hire a service, like BookBaby to do it for you. This route will cost more money, but you’ll have all your “Is” dotted and “Ts” crossed.

Self-Publishing a Chapter or Simple Middle Grade Book

If you have a chapter or simple middle grade book ghosted, you’ll only need illustrations for each chapter. And, they can be simple grey tone sketches.

While it’s not an absolute must to have illustrations for these books, it does help with engagement for the young reader.

THE TRADITIONAL ROAD

The traditional route will cost much less. All you’ll be paying for is the ghostwriter. You won’t need illustrations.

While it will cost less, it will certainly take a lot longer.

You’ll have to submit your manuscript to publishers and/or literary agents to hopefully get a contract. You’ll need a query letter for this. And, having a synopsis of the story is a good idea also.

When and if a contract happens, it takes an average of two years before your book is actually published. So, patience will be needed.

And, be prepared for the publisher’s editor to go over your story and possibly request changes. This is just part of the process. Be open to suggestions.

I recommend you get the most recent edition of “Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market” by Writer’s Digest Books. This book provides information on publishers and agents in the children’s writing arena. These are the people you’ll be submitting your manuscript to.

And, for more information on traditional publishing, you can read:

Children’s Writing and Publishing – The Traditional Path

THE AUTHOR WEBSITE

Before you publish your book, you absolutely need an author website. Publishers and agents will expect this. And, if you’re self-publishing it’s even more important.

According to Chuck Sambuchino of Writer’s Digest, in his book “Create Your Writer Platform,” an author’s platform (its visibility, connections, and reach) is a key factor when looking for a publisher or agent.

Take note that this is not after a book is published; it’s when the author is looking for a contract. Your platform begins with a website.

Summing it Up

This is a basic run-down of what to expect and what you’ll need to do to get your ghostwritten manuscript published.

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

Make Your Children’s Writing Website Focused – 3 Must-Haves, 6 Tips
Editing a Children’s Book – 10 Tips Checklist for Authors
Submitting Your Manuscript – 8 Tips
4 Book Marketing Strategies Guaranteed to Keep Your Platform Moving Forward

Need Help With Your Story

Let me take a look at it. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and editor. I can help turn your 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