Tag Archives: Self Publishing

Self-Publishing and Formatting Quick Tips

One of the biggest challenges to Indies is getting a professionally published looking book when up against the costs of editing, proofreading, formatting and cover designs. If you can afford these services then foregoing them is not a good idea, but when you really can’t afford them they can mean the death of some really great literature. There are a couple of things that can help though.

Editing or Proofreading Swopsies

Rather than simply asking for Beta readers, offer to swop proofreading services. Writers have a different kind of eyeball when reading. I’ve just finished a Joanna Trollope book, professionally published by one of the big houses, professionally edited and put together, but so far I’ve found a couple of typos and instances of poorly strung together sentences. As far as the cover design is concerned, if it wasn’t for the fact that I was specifically looking for and wanting to buy a Trollope book I wouldn’t have been at all “grabbed” by the image on the cover. We automatically see things that “normal” readers don’t. We’re also all very busy, and generally prefer to choose what we read for pleasure, so we’re more likely to put the effort in to read a draft novel to look for problems if we know that the same service is on offer for one of our own babies in exchange. Offer something valuable in exchange for this valuable job.

Cover Design

I you’re going to have to do your own cover design
then do a bit of in-depth googling and watch how to videos about the way to go before you even try. Do not use Paint or the basic software on your computer. Download free programmes designed for the purpose and find out how they work. It’s a schlep for the not artistically inclined, but at the end of the day it’s better to have a slightly forgettable cover than one which is eye-wateringly terrible. One of the biggest ways to ruin a fabulous image is to use horrible fonts. When in doubt go as plain as possible with fonts. There are thousands of beautiful free images to be had online. Before you choose an image make sure to have a look at how many times it’s been downloaded, and that way you can be a little reassured that it won’t be something that you see on loads of other book covers. This isn’t a huge deal though. Even with traditionally published books, very popular images often seen on more than one bestseller. Again though, while not a dealbreaker for a bestselling author, this could be a problem for Indies.

Formatting

Once again, this is something that’s going to require work and hours of research on your part, but it’s work that is going to be worth it at the end of the day. Have a look at our previous in-depth articles and view a couple of videos on Youtube by reputable Indies who have gone before. Unprofessional formatting will be noticed by readers and can lead to bad reading experiences and will possibly be followed by bad reviews. Take note that formatting is totally different for different types of book. The Smashwords meatgrinder has a slightly terrifying reputation, but to be honest there are only a couple things to note with it once you have your eBook
formatted for Kindle. First is to get rid of all extraneous line spaces. Never, ever, have more than two consecutive line spaces for Smashwords. Make sure to have “Smashwords Edition” in your front matter, and load your book up as a clean Word document. Unfortunately there are lots of disappointing books about how to format, but there are a couple of good ones too. A pet hate of mine are those who say “Hire a good formatter” when you get to the formatting sections. Seriously, why on earth publish a how to book without getting to the how to nitty gritty? Make sure that you have a look at the reviews before buying any how to book. They are the best indicator.
Basic formatting isn’t impossible to do, but it’s not a magical thing that will just happen without a bit of research and putting in of the time. Good rules to remember are to not format while you write. Forget about fancy fonts, bullets, page numbers and text boxes. These are anathema to Kindle books. Type your book straight out and then once you’ve formatted your paragraph indents and spacing, save different copies for each format—eBook and paperback.

Make sure that you have a NCX table of contents
for your eBook. Regardless of the chats on forums, this is a requirement by Amazon, and even if you’ve gotten away without them in your books so far, at some point their absence will be noticed and acted on.

Formatting for paper is often the most stressful thing for Indie authors. Using paid for software definitely makes the process a lot easier, but not everyone can afford it. When publishing your first book it can all seem overwhelming, but if you take the process one step at a time you’ll generally find it doable. Here are a couple of tips for newbie paperback publishers:

Book Size

Don’t automatically go for the default 6” x 9”. Consider how many pages your book has and then think about how thin or thick the end result will be. If you’re publishing a novella or something with few pages it might be a good idea to go with 5” x 8” to avoid having a really skinny result, or go bigger if it’s a massive tome.

Paper Colour

Generally cream looks better for fiction. White is best for non-fiction in most cases.

Full Colour or Black and White Text

Full colour is going to mean expensive to buy, so unless you’re publishing a book where images are the most important thing then black and white should be good enough. Remember that even one single full colour picture means that the entire book will be printed on a colour press. You could publish two versions—one colour and one black and white. You would use different ISBN numbers for each, and if you do choose to do this make sure to let potential buyers know that there are two options in the blurb section of each.

ISBN Numbers

Using your own ISBN numbers is obviously the best way to go if you can afford them, but there is no shame in using the free ones offered by CreateSpace. The only real drawback with the freebies is that you have to list CreateSpace as the publisher.

Templates

I’m not fond of templates in general, but they really can save a lot of hair pulling if you can’t face the thought of formatting yourself. They are free from CreateSpace and the most difficult task involved is a bit of copy and paste.

Margins

Once you’ve set your book size you will see your page count. Your margins can’t be set to less than 0.25 and 0.5 is recommended by CreateSpace for all four sides. Gutter margin settings depend on page count:
24 to 100 pages needs a gutter setting of 0.375
152 to 300 is 0.5
301 to 500 is 0.625
501 to 700 is 0.75
701 to 825 is 0.875
To set page size and margins go to Page Layout in Word and click on the arrow next to Page Setup. Change book size in the Paper settings and margins in the Margins settings.

Page Breaks

With a paper book it’s important to separate sections using section breaks rather than page breaks to ensure proper page numbering. Click on Page Layout > Breaks > Next Page to insert these and make sure to remove the regular page breaks where you do put these in.

Numbering

Click into your headers and footers BEFORE inserting numbers and remove any active Link to Previous instructions in any of them where there are to be no page numbers.

Then go to the page that will have the first page number in your book and click Insert > Page Number and select your preference for positioning.

One very big tip here is that Word can play with you here and reinsert the Link to Previous instructions sometimes, so if numbers keep appearing where you don’t want them, keep calm and simply go back into relevant headers and footers and remove them again. Also double check that you have section breaks in place. Where you don’t want anything in headers and footers in certain places throughout your book, remember to click on Different First Page also in the header toolbar on the relevant pages.

With a bit of work and research you can publish fabulous and professional looking books. Happy formatting!

#Interviewsintranslation Estrella Cardona Gamio (@EstrellaCG ) and LETTER TO CHARO. Small is beautiful

Hi all:

I’d been promising you more interviews and here is a very special one for me. I loved the novel Carta a Charo when I first read it in Spanish and I was lucky enough to be asked to translate it. Today, I have the pleasure of introducing you to a Spanish writer, Estrella Cardona Gamio, and her novel Letter to Charo.

First, the author tells us a bit about herself.

Author Estrella Cardona Gamio
Author Estrella Cardona Gamio

I have a BA in Fine Arts and I’m an author of novels, stories and children’s tales, I have also been a member of the Spanish Association of Journalists and Correspondents, and I’ve contributed editorials and short tales to different publications. I have also collaborated in radio with my own featured programmes. My first novel was self-published in paper years back, El otro jardín (The Other Garden). In March 2006, I published a book of short stories, La dependienta (The Shop Girl), with a publishing company in Madrid, hybrid publishing. In 1999, my sister, María Concepción, registered the publishing company C. CARDONA GAMIO EDICIONES (that started as an online publishing company that same year). From 2006 we started publishing books in paperback format and from the 28th April 2012 we are on Amazon, in Kindle format, broadening our horizons.

Letter to Charo by Estrella Cardona Gamio. Translated by Olga Núñez Miret
Letter to Charo by Estrella Cardona Gamio. Translated by Olga Núñez Miret

Here are the questions:

  • When and how did you start writing? I started writing novels when I was eight years old, instinctively copying others. I was an avid reader and wanted to imitate the writers I read. It was a game to start with but with time it stopped being one.
  • Describe for us your experience as an independent (self-published) writer: Very satisfying. Like many first-time writers, I went through the litany of sending inquiries to publishing companies and finally when Amazon reached Spain, I found what I was looking for, a serious and honest company. My official baptism of fire in the indie world couldn’t have been better.
  • Is there a moment that you remember with particular affection from your career as a writer, up to now? For me, the experience of writing is already the best of all moments.
  • What made you decide to translate your novel Carta a Charo (now available in English as Letter to Charo)? The fact that the action of this novel, now Letter to Charo, develops through the exchange of letters, between London and Barcelona, and I thought it would be very appropriate to translate it, and as you are an excellent translator (her words, not mine) I approached you with the project.
  • Tell us a bit more about your novel. It’s a novel written with plenty of love and I enjoyed the possibilities the interaction between the protagonists all immersed in the same novel, but so different between them, gave me, as they progressively share with us their thoughts and their personality. Charo’s character is a jewel, a true finding, as without her there would be no novel.
  • Do you have any advice for your writer colleagues (and especially for new writers)? Not to feel disappointed if they are not successful from the very beginning. Writing is a beautiful but thankless profession. We shouldn’t look for millions of sales, or for becoming one of the top ten writers, we should try to write well and not lose our patience in the process. All the writers who persevered triumphed in the end and that’s the important thing.

Here a review, written by a publisher, Marlene Moleon:

“Epistolary novels allow us to get close and personal with the intimacy of a character in a way not possible through any other narrative form. It is like entering the world of a person as she is, without embellishments or interpretations on behalf of the narrator. Estrella Cardona Gamio shows us her mastery of the genre with LETTER TO CHARO.

A short novel where rich human feelings and passions fit perfectly in the short number of pages given.”

Link to Letter to Charo:

http://relinks.me/B01LY90NED

 

Follow Estrella Cardona Gamio:

http://www.ccgediciones.com

http://www.estrellacardonagamio.com/blog

https://www.facebook.com/estrellacardonagamioautora/

https://twitter.com/EstrellaCG/

 

Thanks so much to Estrella for her interview and on my behalf for her words and to her and her sister Concha for the opportunity to translate this great novel, thanks to all of you for reading and don’t forget to like, share, comment and CLICK!

Help an Indie Author out.

We have several authors that work here on LWI. We’re all Indie Authors and you know what that means. Out of our own pockets for everything.

First time Author,  Angela Kay is trying to raise funds for her novel The Murder of Manny Grimes. But she’s doing something I’ve never seen before, although it’s probably been done. She’s giving away stuff at each level of donation.

Click the link to check it out and if you can’t donate at one of the levels, any amount helps. We all know that if everyone that saw this gave just a little then it would be done in no time.

You can see a mock up of her cover below.

Now back to editing her book.

Ronovan

https://www.gofundme.com/manny-grimes-novel

Manny Grimes Cover

To Self-Publish or Try the Publishing Option? That is the Question…

Great advice in a guest post on our very own Colleen Chesebro’s SilverThreading.com blog. A MUST for every author to read. Seriously!

🌼Colleen Chesebro Fairy Whisperer 🌼

Image Credit: Randomhousebooks.com/hydra

Last week I came across an article about Hydra, a digital-first imprint of Random House. Here is the link to read the article. Hydra is reported as presenting the next generation of science fiction, fantasy, and horror who says: “Every title is available for purchase at major e-retailers and compatible with all reading devices.”

The interesting thing was, the article opened up a dialog about the options writers have in releasing their books to the public. It then becomes all about traditional publishing and independent publishing. Trying to figure out what is best for you is sometimes hard.

I am lucky to have built up a friendship with Lyz Russo, an accomplished author and the owner of an Indy Publishing company called P’kaboo Publishers. As a novice author, writing my first novel, I wanted to hear what choices I had available to me. There are…

View original post 2,478 more words

#Seebooks (@seebookindie, @seebookUK) #Bookpromo you can touch and give away! And #giveaway

Hi all:

I wasn’t sure about sharing this post that I had already shared in my blog, here, but after discussing it with Ronovan, I decided to go ahead. I hope you find it useful, and if you have any queries, please, feel free to leave a comment here or contact me directly. My contact details are at the bottom of the post.

Here is my original post:

Hi all:

Some of you might remember that a few months back I brought you something I had come across in Twitter, called Seebooks (click here for a reminder of the post). I told you at the time that I had been exchanging information with Rosa Sala, the CEO, and I hoped to meet her in person in Barcelona.

Well, we met in September, and since I’ve been trying to give them a hand to bring the product to the UK (and hopefully many other places).

There are working on other products (including museum guides, audios…) and continuously renovating. And happy to hear new ideas.

Let me explain a bit more….

Seebooks look like a postcard and have the book cover at the front, at the back similar information to the back of the book (blurb, author picture if you like, and information about the author) and inside a code and QR for the book to be downloaded in a variety of formats. You can of course sign it or add a personal dedication to it. And, you can add bonus content (another story about the same characters, a video, a bit of audio, deleted chapters, PDFs with extra information… anything). You can send them to reviewers, readers, gift them as part of giveaways and take them with you to book launches or signings (and that way you can offer a less expensive alternative to your paperbacks). (Of course if you know bookshops or gift shops that might be willing to sell them there, they don’t take up a lot of space so… I’m wondering about card shops too.)

Here is a video (I just like the guy!):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Fm6rwJ-0KU

And they’ve just in introduced ‘Seebookmarks’ a bookmark that has the cover of the book at the front and a snippet of information about it (the author logo if you want, too), and at the back the QR and code that allows for the 33% of the book to be downloaded. When the readers get to the end of the sample, they get the links to buy it in all the shops where they’re available. You can use them like you’d use a personal card, with the advantage that it contains a gift and can hook the reader! I have talked to the local library where I live and they’re happy to have them there and to send them to the other branches. In Spain Seebook have a deal with the libraries in Barcelona and they‘re distributing Seebookmarks there (and exploring other places too).

Here is a presentation with a bit more detail about Seebookmarks:

http://bit.ly/1QCzGrG

Seebook have a virtual shop, and they collect information (about downloads: who, times, where, etc.), produce very detailed reports that they will send to you, and are happy to e-mail people who have already downloaded your books for future campaigns.

After chatting to them and working with them, they produced some Seebooks for me. Let me show them to you:

grupo-seebook-indie-Olgaing

And Seebookmarks:

marcapaginas-ing

As I was saying they are keen on seeing what authors in other places think about it, and have ask me to investigate (they call me their UK representative, but that’s only a big name). What it means is that if you’re interested in the product (check their website here) I can chat to you about it, send you samples, and offer you discounts.

You can leave you comments here, or contact me via e-mail:

 

olga@seebook.eu

or

mmxrynz@hotmail.com

And readers, I’m giving away five of my own Seebooks (and I’ll throw bookmarks in too) to five of you, in advance to the official publication of the single volume version of my YA series (due the 15th of December). Just contact me! (I’ll need addresses!)

Thanks so much to Rosa and Seebook for the Seebooks and for this opportunity, thanks to you all for reading, and you know, you can like, share, comment and CLICK!

LitWorldInterviews.com-The Week-In Review. 11/9-11/14

BOOK REVIEWS

‘The Blue Crimes’ by Enrique Laso
by Olga Núñez Miret
Olga_Núñez_Miret_author.jpg

The Blue Crimes by Enrique Laso. An intriguing case and an even more intriguing investigator.

The Blue Crimes by Enrique Laso
The Blue Crimes by Enrique Laso

The Blue Crimes is the first book in Enrique Laso’s collection of Ethan Bush Thrillers. Ethan Bush is a young FBI agent, one of the most promising, top of his Psychology class at Stanford and self-assured, or so he seems. He arrives to Jefferson County fresh from solving a serial murder case in Detroit and expectations are running high. Read The Complete Review.
 
 
 
 


The Judas Apocalypse by Dan McNeil “At times his encounters are humorous, deadly, and explosive.”
by Ronovan Hester
Ron_LWI

McNeil gives us a story that spans two thousand years, not year by year or hanging out in that distant past for so long you want to skip pages, and that story threatens to devastate a world, a way of life, and rewrite history. And he does so by piecing together historical The Judas Apocalypse by Dan McNeilfacts with bits of legends and myths that are most familiar and some not so to the average layman. He brings some new twists to the saying “everything old is new again”.

There are times when you completely lose yourself in Dan McNeil’s world. You see and hear things. You feel remorse at times, even surprisingly for characters you can’t stand. McNeil makes you have emotions and thoughts, or perhaps maybe I should say he has you examine things about yourself at times that may make you wonder. Read The Complete Review.


 

Fort Applegate & The Battle of Wounded Knee by Brian Wu.
by Jason Royle
Judas Hero Misunderstood

Brian Wu’s approach to teaching children about the immune system in his book, Fort Applegate & The Battle of Wounded Knee, was informative and effective. As Wu Fort Applegate & The Battle of Wounded Kneestates in his opening “tips” section, Fort Applegate & The Battle of Wounded Kneeone of the primary goals in the writing of this book is for it to be used as a means of getting children interested in their immune system, and as a teaching tool. I found this to be true. Read The Complete Review.
 
 
 
 


FEATURE ARTICLES

Are You A Published Author? Then I Have A Question For You.
by Hugh Roberts
5c7f0fa5629d1be714bbc32bb9e48ddf

When Ronovan initially started Lit World Interviews, his idea was that it would be a place where authors could promote themselves as well as their work. It’s also a place where authors come to seek help and advice from others. Of course there’s the book reviews as well.

I don’t know about you, but I often find that my pride gets in the way when I want to ask for some help. That’s where blogs like this can really help because I don’t feel as afraid to ask for advice especially as many of the readers here are published authors. I am sure that all of them will have been in a similar situation to where I find myself today. Read The Complete Article and Comments.


Promoting Your Books on Amazon
by Jo Robinson
Jo Robinson Author

I’ve only just discovered, too late, that when you run a Kindle Countdown deal it either happens at Amazon.com or Amazon.UK, and not all regions at the same time. So while this time I’ve managed to put different books on Countdowns for the different regions, I’ll know better for next time.

The thing to do if you want your deal to be available to both regions is to set up two separate promotions for the same book on the same dates – one for UK and another for the USA. Read The Complete Article.

 

© Copyright-All rights reserved by LitWorldInterviews.com 2015

LitWorldInterviews One Year Anniversary.

Lit World Interviews

It’s been one year since I opened the doors of LitWorldInterviews. An idea that was to be for me to share the few and random interviews I did of my Indie Author friends and those I happened upon who needed them has turned into something a bit more.

That was in part due to meeting Jo Robinson who I instantly saw as a person sharing my interest in Indie Authors and their support. Once she agreed to join things snowballed.

60+ Interviews, around 100 Book Reviews (and those are just the ones we published) and 10 Team Members later, here we are.

I am hoping we have helped some authors, created a good reputation as a quality site for tips for Indie Authors about Self-Publishing, and are known for being a place the author can trust to put their work in the best light (if it deserves it). We sometimes run across a book that doesn’t quite work, but those books we don’t publish a review of. We would rather give the author our opinion and let them decide. An opinion is an opinion after all. How many movies have you loved the critics hated?

To all of you have trusted us, I say thank you. To those I have let down due to my health not allowing me to read books, do interviews all because I’ve forgotten (pesky concussion/amnesia thing), my apologies.

I stated recently a desire to add Book Reviewers. I reiterate that at this time. Mature in thinking, passionate in heart, and professional in manner about the written word is what I am looking for.

Email me at ronovanwrites(at)gmail(dot)com with your interest, your site if you have one (I’m just mentioning one, you don’t have to have one at all, not a big deal), and background. Include your genre preferences.

Do you have a book available for us to review? Click the Book Review Submissions tab below the header photo or click here to go there. Some of our Team have forms on their own blogs to fill out but if you fill the one out here it will reach that Reviewer.

 2015 © Copyright-All rights reserved by litworldinterviews.wordpress.com

Can You Call Yourself Stephen King? by @JoRobinson176

Apparently. But should you? There’s an author who publishes on Amazon called Stephen King. He isn’t the Stephen King who we know and love though. The four short books of his that I noticed all have two and a half, or two star average ratings overall. One of them has over two hundred reviews. All four of them are being lambasted, but all of their rankings are high, so they’re consistently selling well and have been for quite some time. This writer is obviously quite happy to take the flack while making money.

Many of the outraged reviews sharing that this isn’t the “real” Stephen King would make you wonder why people would keep on buying it. I nearly bought it though. Certain authors like King and Terry Pratchett I always just grab when I see one that I don’t have in my collection. It was only because the cover was so bad that I scrolled down to the reviews. I also don’t read these books as soon as I buy them. Generally they hang about for months in my Kindle – I’ve got some that have been lurking unopened in there for years, so returning them wouldn’t be an option. I could see where such a deception could lead to me posting my first ever one star review.

I’m pretty sure that Amazon wouldn’t let anyone use Stephen King as a pen name, so I’m assuming that this writer really does own that moniker. It must be a fairly common name. He’s not doing anything illegitimate if that really is his name, but I wonder why anyone would want to purposely sell his books knowing full well that readers think that they were written by someone else. And then just carry on doing that after hundreds of complaints. I don’t see any glory in that. When the other Jo Robinson’s books occasionally get added to my lists, I always request that Amazon remove them. I don’t want to reach readers by hanging on to the coat tails of an already very successful author. Slow and steady is good enough for me.

The minute there’s a breakout success, thousands of writers latch on and try to emulate the bestseller. The thing about breakouts is that they are in some way unique. They challenge, inspire, are relatable, or in some way emotionally moving or funny. Carbon copies of them might possibly give a reader some pleasure, but it will never be the same as the original. We need to be our own breakouts. If we believe in our work there is no need to think for a moment that tricking readers into thinking that we’re the real Danielle Steele will lead to anything but rage, just because we have the same name. E L James did manage to luck out by piggy backing Twilight, but that’s a one in a million kind of thing, and a whole other can of worms. Write what you write, follow your own star, and be proud and brave enough to make sure that readers see the real you.

12247844751816776100wsnaccad_feather-pen.svg.hi

Why Free Ebooks Don’t Sell.

Why does Free not sell?

That’s a question I have seen a few times around the author blogs. Having recently, okay, not too recently signed up for BookBub.com I have been getting a lot of Free Ebooks. But then again I’ve passed on a lot as well—a whole lot. I subscribe to a broad range of genres, from kids to adults, from romance to even horror.

Why do I pass on getting a Free book?

  • First thing is the cover just doesn’t work for me. Yep, the visual hits me first.
  • But, I can move past that if the title works. But then the Title doesn’t work.
  • Then the blurb doesn’t work.
  • Then there is the pen name of the author. The name chosen doesn’t work because it’s an obvious cheese attempt to grab attention. It grabs attention but for the wrong reasons.

I think we all want to believe we can do it all ourselves and for free. Perhaps you are a great book cover artist, creative book blurb writer, and you already have a great name for an author. But for the rest of us I think we need to come to terms that if we want to stand out from the crowd and catch an eye we need to be willing to either put in the effort to really learn how to do everything professionally, which does mean some money and a lot of time, thus meaning a longer time to get that book out there, or we pay professionals to do things for us.

Really, it all depends on what our idea of success is.

  • Do we want to be a million-seller?
  • Do we want to sell enough to do okay living?
  • Do we want to simply have people read and enjoy our work?
  • Do we want the sense of accomplishment that we wrote a book?

If you want to test out what you’ve done, you could put a selection of book covers on your site, without author names and titles, and see which ones work. Use books already out there and mix yours in. That doesn’t mean to actually use their book cover as your own if people like it better. Then do book titles. Then go for book blurbs. Test out what people like. Look at Amazon and see what those top selling people, that aren’t perhaps big names, doing. Big names can almost put out a blank cover with their name on it and people will buy it knowing what to expect inside. Test, test, test.

Much Respect

Ronovan

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© Copyright-All rights reserved by litworldinterviews.wordpress.com 2015

We are what we eat…

A Diary of Writing Wisdom (and other nonsense)

#THREE

We are what we eat…

038-001

The Latin proverb simulac hoc, ergo propter hoc, which may be translated, “everything is the product of its environment,” is the basis for this writing theory.

According to this idea authors are like rivers. Rivers do not create water; they receive it from springs and streams. In the same way authors receive their ideas from the streams of thought that are flowing in the corner of the world in which they live. A middle-class Eastern author will receive middle-class Eastern ideas. A working-class Western author will receive working-class Western ideas.

To say it another way, authors “are what they eat.” This idea applies to minds as well as to bodies. It assumes that, just as my body is the product of red curry or pulled-pork BBQ (depending on my background), so also my mind is the product of French ideas or American ideas, liberal ideas or conservative ideas (depending on my background).

Growing authors, however, will realize this about themselves and seek out ways to “alternate” what they eat (every once in a while).

As a step toward becoming more aware of the kind of writer you now are. As a step toward becoming the kind of writer you someday wish to be—take time to consider not only how what you eat may be contributing to your writing, but how what you only eat may also be limiting your writing.

Variety adds spice . . . to writing life.

Proofreading When the Writing’s Done by @JoRobinson176

One of the biggest things I learned on my Indie trip was that I couldn’t see my own mistakes. I must have proofread my first manuscript dozens and dozens of times, and I was very confident that it was pristine. Then I went on to editing and made some changes to paragraphs, swopped words around, and thought that that was that. I had put many hours into the polishing, and was feeling all warm and fuzzy that I’d done the work well when I hit that publish button. How very, very wrong I was. There were still typos and grammar gremlins in the book after all of that hard graft, primarily in the changes I’d made, and I came down to Earth with a bang in a blaze of shame, realising that that the editing was not at all complete when I thought it was.

I learned that if you write something and proofread it yourself, your brain knows what word is coming next, so it often sees a typo as it should be, even though a typo in another writer’s work will stop you in your tracks, seeing your own isn’t so easy. These days I’m much more careful, and I make sure that eyeballs other than my own go over my stories before they’re published. Typos still can slip through, but luckily with Indie publishing they can be very quickly fixed. There are some tried and tested ways to help yourself when you dive into your first round of proofing.

Firstly, take a break and put the manuscript away for a week or so, or at least a few days if you can’t wait. Do your run of the mill spell check, then choose how you’re going to read it. I generally print it out for the first go around, and mark it up with a gel pen, using a thick ruler under the sentence I’m reading so my eyes can’t be drawn to what comes next. After fixing the errors I’ve found so far I then convert it to a Mobi file using the free Calibre software, and read it through again on my Kindle for PC. I’m always amazed at how many errors I pick up this way. Then after another fix up session I’ll read the word document with the font size increased quite a bit, and then print it out again for another going over. I have heard some writers say that changing the font colour when reading on the computer is jarring enough for them to spot more errors, but I haven’t tried this one out myself yet.

It’s a slow process, and so it should be, as I discovered to my mortification, so now I do the work. For my semi-final going over, I separate the book into chapters and read them in random order. I read a page at a time, and from the bottom up, one sentence at a time. It took me some getting used to, but it really worked for me. I tried reading upside down as one fellow scribbler recommended but that just made me feel a little queasy. Finally I use the Find function in word to search for words I know I always overuse. I check my character’s name spellings the same way, and I then search a couple of commonly mixed up contractions and apostrophes.

Then the manuscript heads off to fresh eyeballs for a brand new going over, and when it comes back I read it again, out loud, before starting on the formatting for publishing. If you can’t afford to pay for a professional proofreader then you could maybe try and swop proofing with another writer. Or maybe exchange it for something else that you’re good at – like cover design if that’s what the other writer prefers, but you definitely need someone other than you to read your book before you publish it. It’s a learning enterprise this Indie journey, and we grow as we go, and help each other along the way. I’ve heard some wonderful things about Grammarly lately. It’s a free online tool that finds so much more than just typos – things like homonyms and other grammar gremlins that hide so well, so I’ll be giving that a try next time round. Hope you all have a wonderful long weekend fellow scribblers.

Grammar Gremlins

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Traditional Publishing Opportunity by @JoRobinson176

One thing I don’t understand is why writers firstly seek out small publishers, or worse still – vanity press. You’ve written a book – you think it’s fantastic. You’ve edited it and made sure that it’s the best that it can be. Why then would you send it to a publisher with three books on their list and sign your submission to them “from an aspiring writer”. If you’re writing, you’re not aspiring to write – you’re writing – you’re a writer dude! You don’t need a certificate to call yourself a writer. If you write you’re a writer. Yes. I’ve loved my self publishing trip. It’s been really hard work though, and there is no way I would ever submit any book that I’ve written to any agent or publisher that I thought wasn’t anything less than awesome.

If you’re going to be rejected, then get rejected by the best. Look up the very best agents in the world, and submit your novel to them. Expect to be rejected – all the greats have been. But don’t stop submitting to the best. So far, apart from a short story in an anthology, I only have knowledge of self-publishing, so I’m no expert by any stretch of the imagination. The further I go on my scribblers journey, the more I’m liking the word Hybrid. The best of both worlds. Finding ways to make your books appear to potential readers from the millions out there isn’t easy, and there’s no magic formula. Say what you like a about traditional publishing though, if your book gets published by one of the biggish houses, you’re most certainly going to have way more new readers for your Indie books as well.

It’s certainly worth a shot. A couple of publishers are accepting un-agented submissions at the moment. One that’s caught my eye is Hachette’s Tinder Press. As long as you’ve never been published by a traditional publisher – no matter how small a press it is, (except for short stories in anthologies) you can submit your book to them between now and the 15th March. Go for it I say. Even if your book is already self-published it’s eligible. Submit the first fifty pages in double spacing on A4, a short bio, and a one page single spaced synopsis as attachments to the email address there, and see what happens. Who knows? Your book could be the next break out novel of the year. So click on the Tinder Press link and good luck!

2015-03-05 11.38.00

Book Review. Alex Haley’s Roots. An Author’s Odyssey by Adam Henig

Alex Haley's Roots. An Author's Odyssey by Adam Henig
Alex Haley’s Roots. An Author’s Odyssey by Adam Henig

Title:  Alex Haley’s Roots: An Author’s Odyssey
Author:   Adam Henig
ASIN:  B00HRN891A
Published: 5th February 2014 
Pages:  119
Genre:  Biography/Essay 

This is an informative account of the period of time in Alex Haley’s life following the publication of roots and the TV series. Although it does not delve deep into the author’s motives (it is not a deep psychological portrait), it does a great job of reviewing existing sources and even on occasions adding new material from interviews. I was aware of some of the controversy surrounding ‘Roots’ but not of the evidence and details that unfolded. This is a must for people interested in Roots and Haley, and considering its length, it offers a good summary of the sources. I’d love to see and read more of the extensive sources the author explored to produce this work, as there seems to exist much untapped potential.

A well-written and compelling account of a fascinating work (however we might choose to define it) that changed people’s perception of African-American history and stories.

As an author, I also enjoyed the collection of blogs chartering the journey of Adam Henig to, first research, and finally self-publish the book. I hope more books will follow.

What the book is about: What happened to Alex Haley once his book ‘Roots’ and especially the TV series, hit the big time.

 Book Highlights: I was aware of some of the controversy surrounding ‘Roots’ but was not aware of the details or the full extent of the impact it had on the fame of the author and the cause of genealogy and the popularity of African-American studies.

 Challenges of the book: I personally found it a fascinating read, but I watched ‘Roots’ many years back and also read the book. Judging from other reviews it seems even people who were not aware of Roots enjoy the book, but it might be difficult to quite comprehend the impact it has for somebody totally unaware of it.

What do you get from it: A good summary, well-documented, of the life of Haley following Roots, exploring the fact versus fiction argument. I also enjoyed the compilation of blogs that offer a good insight into Henig’s research methods and his reasons for deciding to self-publish.

 What I would have changed if anything: The book offers some snippets (gathered sometimes from writing, sometimes from interviews) of the man behind the book, but this is not a detailed biography and we only get a summary view of who Haley was prior to writing ‘Roots’.  If I could have my wish I would have liked to have access to the direct sources (or more of it) as these are detailed and referred to. Greatly admiring Haley’s Autobiography of Malcolm X I would have loved to read something about its genesis as it’s only mentioned in passing (although I know that’s not what the book is about). One wonders also if it would have been possible to develop more of an insight into who Alex Haley really was, but maybe that’s a task beyond the scope of this book.

 Who Would I recommend this book to?: People who know of Alex Haley’s work, who love (or not) ‘Roots’ and anybody interested in African-American studies and history.

Ratings:
Realistic Characterization: NA
Made Me Think: 4.5/5
Overall enjoyment: 4.5/5
Readability: 5/5
Recommended: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
 

Buy it at:  Amazon
Format & Pricing:
Paperback:  $6.99
Kindle: $3.60

Audio: $ 6.84

 

Olga Núñez Miret

@OlgaNM7

http://OlgaNM.wordpress.com

http://www.OlgaNM.com

Review of Self-Publishing Steps to Successful Sales by Seumas Gallacher

Self-Publishing Steps to Successful Sales
Self-Publishing Steps to Successful Sales
  • File Size: 620 KB
  • Print Length: 45 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: SGC Publishing (March 27, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00JBL6K80

 

Seumas Gallacher is a writer with a large on-line following. In this book, Mr. Gallacher shares his experiences of self-publishing. From his discovery that this was indeed a possibility, to now having thousands of books sold to his name.

This is not a detailed manual on how to format your book, or how to create you cover. There are plenty of posts, books, etc, that share that type of information. This book offers general advice on the topic, and it is concise and to the point. Moreover, it emphasises the author’s personal experience, that is, of course not fully replicable by anybody else. If you have not read Mr Gallacher’s posts in the various social media, you don’t know how personal his style is. His advice is sound and has to be adapted and transformed by every author. One of the points Mr Gallacher emphasises is the business aspect of writing. Although you might see it as an expression of your inner being or as a need to inform people of something, or as a deep felt vocation, if you plan on making a living out of writing, or trying to, you must approach it professionally as a business, the same you would any other. Of course, your reasons for writing could be others than to make money out of it. In that case you would be well advised to create your own definition of success and not worry too much about rankings or sales, although this book would still provide a useful general guide.

Personally, I found the book clear, easy to follow and a quick read. Mr Seumas’s personal style shines through. I particularly enjoyed the non-internet part of his experience that demonstrates the importance of making connections, knowing the area you work in, and not being shy. Try it. If they say no, you’re no further back that when you started, but if they say yes…the sky could be the limit.

I recommend this book to new authors and also to those who have a number of publications to their name. You might be reassured you’re doing the right things, you might wonder about a change of strategy, and you will enjoy the style of writing and discover plenty about the business. And also a few things about this great and generous author.

Ratings:
Realistic Characterization: NA
Made Me Think: 5/5
Overall enjoyment: 5/5
Readability: 5/5
Recommended: 5/5
Overall Rating: 5/5
 

Buy it at:  Amazon
Format & Pricing: Kindle £1.86
Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Self-Publishing-Steps-Successful-Seumas-Gallacher-ebook/dp/B00JBL6K80/

 

Thank you all for reading, thanks to Seumas Gallacher for his book, and you know what to do, like, share, comment and CLICK!

Olga Núñez Miret

@OlgaNM7

http://OlgaNM.wordpress.com

http://www.OlgaNM.com

Authors: You Got Searched

You’ve Been Searched!

Think about that for a moment. Who in the world would Search you? Why?

  • You sent in a query somewhere.
  • You self published and suddenly have good numbers.

In other words, there might be people out there in the literary/publishing world looking for YOUR NAME. And why do they do this?

 

Straight Talk With Ronovan: The Search is On

 

Writing a great book will not always get you published or make you the success you want to be, whatever success that is. Either traditional or self published it doesn’t matter, because people are going to look for information about you.

I Search for you. Yes, when I do interviews, book reviews, anything I do about an Author, I Search. Why do I Search? Why do Agents Search? Why do Publishers Search?

Personally I have a list of names that I want to ask to interview, but have to wait until the ones I have get caught up, or better yet . . . they ask me. You ask me and you are legit, 99 times out of 100, you get an interview.

But why do we Search?

We Search to see a few things;

  1. What is your web presence
  2. Do you have a web presence
  3. What publicity is there out there about you
  4. What work of yours is available to see, and
  5. What’s your reputation

Why do we want to know these things?

  • How marketable are you, and
  • How much marketing capability do you have in place of your own
  • And are you who you say you are

Yeah, I know, you dream of that big signing and everything gets taken care of for you. Sorry darling, that’s a rarity. It’s kind of like a rock band; the money is in the tours and the t-shirts not the albums.

Same for the Author, everyone wants you to sell yourself for them. You are the return of the original rock star, the author. You could sign with anyone but you have to promote yourself.

In days to come I will be putting out articles about how to get that network in motion NOW, before you’ve finished your first draft, your first chapter or even knew you were going to write a book. Start today setting up a network for whatever you want to do in the future, even if it is something as simple as setting up Twitter and gaining Followers. Do it now.

Read what I have for you or not, it will be coming to help you. Trust me, as a writer myself, I hate the idea of having to take time to do self promotion, but by doing a little at a time now, it sure saves a lot of time later.

 

Much Respect

Ronovan

Ron_LWI

 

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Procrastination

I believe that procrastination is always caused by fear – not laziness. I’ve always really wondered with what ears we hear our inner voice. That’s assuming that all of us humans operate pretty much the same way and have these little guys yammering away at us all day long about one thing or another. I’ve also always wondered why my particular inner voice is sometimes as harsh as it is. I think that that little nag in your head that says things like – Why on earth would you think you could write a book? Why are you such a lazy sod? You should have written two thousand words by now – slacker! You’ll always be mediocre, because you never finish what you start – because it’s trying to protect you from failure, ridicule, and pain.

Most of our fears and general weirdnesses really do stem from our childhood. Thank you Dr Freud. Our parents generally (with even the most loving of intentions) plant the biggest seeds. If you don’t get A’s you’ll never get anywhere in life. I won’t even mention those parents out there who don’t have the most loving of intentions – they’d create some pretty nasty inner critics. Our school teachers plant more seeds. Stop making excuses – climb that rope – learn that equation, or you’ll FAIL! Or our peers – children growing up can often be hurtful little guys. You don’t get picked first for the team, and therefore you’re not good enough. That little voice that resides in you remembers every single one of these terrifying painful things, and wants to protect you from feeling the future pain of failing horribly. And of course, the best way not to fail is never to try. So that loving, caring, worried little terrorist will stop you any way that it can.

You’ve just had an amazing epiphany about what comes next in your book. You excitedly zoom over to your computer, load up your work in progress, read the last paragraph, and suddenly know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it’s utter garbage. Then that brief period of time when your mind goes absolutely blank, and you can’t even remember what your epiphany was. Now your turgid inbox, or the pile of dishes that need to be washed seem much more important to get to doing. Creativity nicely replaced with mundane, safe things. Before you know it you’re parked on the couch watching reruns of Friends, eating three thousand calories of Doritos in one sitting, and accomplishing nothing at all. Job done. No book will be written. No readers will scoff at you. You will not ever feel those sharp, icy tendrils of rejection in your soul. You will never have an epic fail. You’ll never know if you’re any good at what you know you’ve been called to do because you’ll never do it. Well done little inner voice guy.

Every writer will cope differently with this protective critic. Personalities are different – with some the voice will win every time and nothing will be accomplished, and others will squish it on arrival and finish their books at record speed. Some people agonise about how they are perceived. They worry about hurting feelings or offending people. Some people couldn’t give a continental, and write away without worrying about any sort of reactions. But for those of us who listen to the voices within, and creative souls spend a lot more time than most inside their own heads anyway, those paralysing little criticisms are impossible to avoid. The thing to do is to realise what they are, stare them down, and let them know that you know that they’re lying.

You’re not mediocre or untalented, and you don’t leave everything you start unfinished just because someone back in the forgotten mists of your life told you so. The fact that you actually have a work in progress means that you’ve already accomplished something totally unique – not many of the billions of people on this planet will ever get around to writing even half a book. So when you freeze, staring at your computer screen, unable to think of a single word, before heading off to the television, have a quick little look inside, and sooth your little protector with the truth that you can do anything you want to do. It doesn’t matter what anyone else has said or thought of you in the past. It doesn’t matter if you’ve failed in the past – everyone else has too at some point or another, or if you fail again in the future. All that matters is that you trust in your own ability, grab your desire to write your story, and just go right ahead and do that. This is your life – it is finite – there are no guarantees – it’s important that you do whatever you feel driven to do, regardless of the outcome. What’s the worst thing that can happen? You’ll have written a book. 2014-08-31 10.14.19 ab

Welcome Jo Robinson to the LitWorldInterviews Team! @jorobinson176

Welcome Jo Robinson to the LitWorldInterviews Team!

Jo Robinson
Jo Robinson

 

As soon as I interviewed Jo I knew I needed her to join me on this adventure in helping authors be promoted and give her invaluable advice as a successful self published author. What makes someone a success? She is doing it and doing it and it’s her choice and she knows it inside and out. Her goal in may ways will be to help authors see how self publishing can be done by pointing them in the right direction while also giving her own tips on writing along the way. She brings a wealth of expertise in the self publishing arena as well as an author. I am blown away she said yes when asked to join up!

 

Thank you Jo for joining LitWorldInterviews!

 Make sure to check out Jo’s site and her books as well.

 

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Self-Publishing is the Future-Guest Post by Author-Kimberly Castillo @K_A_Castillo

Self-Publishing is the Future

by Kimberly Castillo

Kimberly_Castillo

 

 

 

 

Author of The Convenience of Lies

 

Two separate small publishers offered me contracts to publish The Convenience of Lies. I turned both of them down because I didn’t like the terms they were offering. For both contracts I would receive minimal royalties (less than $0.25/copy sold), would be required to do all of my own publicity, and I would have to sign away the rights to my book. One publisher even required me to pay my own editor! At that point, it seemed like all the publishers were really providing for me was cover art and prestige, and for a very high price.

To be honest, I didn’t want to sell myself out like this. The Convenience of Lies is a project I started 10 years ago and I have truly invested my heart, time, money, and soul. While I was shopping my book around the traditional publishing world, it fell into the hands of an editorial reviewer, who gave me a glowing review of my work. Not only that, but my mom is a high school English teacher and she’s had boys in her class who don’t like to read complete it in one night, by choice. I was not about to let a traditional publisher take advantage of my creation.

At the same time as I was querying publishers, I was also researching self-publishing. I discovered that I could self-publish through Amazon’s CreateSpace and receive royalties of over $5.00/copy, which is more than a 20x increase from traditional publishing. Also, CreateSpace has a cover creator tool that I could use to generate the cover, and has a print on demand option. Meaning, when someone orders my book from Amazon, CreateSpace prints it, takes their cut of the profit, and sends me the royalties. There is no up-front cost for either party.

Not only is self-publishing arguably a better business decision, due to the internet it is now the choice of the future. We are in an era where we don’t need a publisher to reach our audience. The internet has cut out the middle man and made it so that artists can reach their audience directly. This applies not only to publishing your book, but also to promoting your book. Between tumblr, twitter, facebook, reddit, and the blogosphere, you can reach out directly to readers as I am doing now. Keep in mind that many traditional publishers require authors to do this promotional work. So, let me ask you, what is that traditional publisher really doing for its authors?

As ironic as it is for me to say as an author, the world of traditional publishing is ending. Artists can now affordably create professional works and also reach their audience as never before. Not only that (and a real cincher) the author can also keep possession of the rights to their works through self-publishing. The world of traditional publishing is simply taking too much from authors and not giving them enough in return. The internet has cut out the middle man with the connections and has given you direct access to those connections. As they say, it is simply up to you to seize this opportunity.

 

Kimberly Castillo  

http://www.kacastillo.blogspot.com/

Buy Convenience of Lies at Amazon

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