Category Archives: Publishing

Challenges Faced by Self-Published Authors and How to Overcome Them

Challenges Faced by Self-Published Authors and How to Overcome Them

Self-publishing is one of the most viable options that a writer can take in order to have a book published. But unlike traditional publishing wherein the publishing needs of the writer are all taken care of by the publishing house, a self-published author has to handle everything. Which makes it a very difficult undertaking. In truth a self-published writer faces more challenges than a traditionally published one. But this does not mean you can’t succeed.

Lack of a Financial support

As much as you try to tell yourself that it’s okay not to have a publisher, this will still come out as a challenge. This is because having a publishing house gives you resources that will make the publishing process so much easier. There are so many aspects of having a book published that needs to be taken care of. First you will have to have your book edited, then you have to design a book cover and layout for it and lastly have it published by a publishing house. And all these things need a lot of capital to set up. Which is why having the backing of a publishing house is important if you want to succeed.

Solution: Having financial support to create your book is important but it is not a necessity. Even without backing you can still succeed if you know how to play it smart. If you want to have your book edited there are a multitude of freelance book editors that are happy to assist you at a reasonable price. Just remember that the more experienced the editor the better the quality of work. The same could be said for the book cover and design. As for the publishing process you have the print on demand option where your book will only be printed once it has been sold. With this option you don’t need to print out and stockpile your books in hopes of selling them. This would also eliminate needless waste of resources.

Multitasking

If you think about it self-publishing a book is the epitome of multitasking. This is because not only do you write an entire manuscript you also have to look for a means to publish your book. Not to mention the minor aspects of publishing a book. This situation can get stressful very fast and may lead the writer to stop midway due to the strain.

Solution: There is stress involved in every situation and it is a measure of your character on how you manage it. This also goes for self-published writers. Learn to handle your stress and stay positive. If the workload does seem too heavy for you, try to delegate some of your work to a professional.

Creating a fan base

This is one of the hardest things you will have to confront if you are a self-published writer. This is because your fan base is technically the lifeblood of your book campaign. And if you don’t have a fan base that means your chances of ever selling your books are exponentially low. This is why you have to create a fan base for your book as soon as possible. The faster you make a fan base the faster you sell your books.

Solution: Creating a fan base is all a matter of getting readers to notice your book. One way of doing this is by giving away free samples of your books. Free samples help your book circulate and gain attention. You can also send a sample of your book to fellow writers and book reviewers. You can use their reviews as a way to get attention for your book.

Advertising

It is difficult to advertise your work as a self-published writer because you lack the necessary funds to advertise your work using traditional advertising methods. Some examples of these methods are advertisements using popular forms of media such as television and newspapers. And having your book featured in these media forms will costs you a fortune.

Solution: You don’t really need to use traditional advertising methods to make an impression on readers. In this day and age there are a lot of methods that you can use to spread word of your book without spending a fortune. One method is using social media such as Facebook and making your very own blog site. You can also create a book trailer and load it through YouTube. With the technological advancements coming out every day advertising can be so much cheaper and effective.

20 Ways to Make Book Editing Easier

20 Ways to Make Book Editing Easier

Being a writer can be pretty overwhelming. Especially if you are a self-published writer. Being self-published you are expected to do technically everything. Not only that you are expected to shoulder all the expenses of having your book published.

If you have the ample funds all’s well and good then. But what if you don’t have the extra money to pay for all the publishing expenses. Foremost among these expenses is hiring people to edit your book. With the usual price going as high as $50 an hour having your book professionally edited can be pretty pricey.

Which is why it is a very good idea to self-edit your book. True if you do a bad job, it might hurt your book’s chances of being sold. But who’s to say that you can’t do a good job. A good many writers do their own book editing and have had no problems. Here are some 20 easy to follow tips on how to edit your own book.

1. Don’t rush the process

One of the biggest mistakes you can ever do if you edit your own book is to rush the process. Book editing takes a lot of work. Not only do you have to do the usual grammar checks on the book. You also have to make sure that your work makes sense. Which is why when you finish your work don’t immediately rush to edit your work. Take a rest, go out and have a change of scenery.

Take a week off and go on a short trip. Just as long as you change your routine. You may not notice it at first but after finishing a book, you are most likely suffering from mental fatigue. And to start on them immediately won’t do you any favors. You will inevitably make mistakes because you are not fully prepared for the process.

2. Have family and friends read your work

The best thing about writing your own book is that it can be a family event. Having family and friends read your work can help you gain a whole new perspective on your work. One of the setbacks of editing your book is that you might have a narrow outlook on the story.

Which is why it is a good idea to have someone who is not fully invested look at your work. By having someone else read your work, you can have an unbiased response and make the necessary changes.

3. Eliminate overused words

One of the most common mistakes done by writers is that they tend to overuse certain words. Consider them as your favorite words and although there is technically no limit on the use of certain words it can be quite annoying for readers if they have to see the same word in every sentence.

The type of book writing software that you use is also a factor because they have different functions that can help you locate overused words. Two great examples is Scrivener and Microsoft word. If you are using Scrivener there is a function wherein you can see the frequency with which you use words. Microsoft word also has a free Word Usage and Frequency add in that makes it even more efficient.

4. Be consistent in your spell checks and grammar lapses

Although most book writing software already come equipped with a spell check function, it always pays to be vigilant. When you edit your work always make it a point to double check your spelling. With the enormity of the task of editing your book you may miss some misspelled words. Which is why you should always set aside some time to double check your work.

This also goes for grammar. There are various Automatic editing tools that you can use to make your grammar more refined. Some great examples of these editing tools being Grammarly and Autocrit.

5. Replace unnecessarily complicated or obscure words

When you edit your book try to identify unnecessarily complicated words. Sometimes in our wish to impress readers, we end up using words that normal readers would usually have to look through a dictionary to know. You can of course use complicated words, but only if it adds something to the manuscript. If it does not, it would only look awkward and unwieldy. Using them too frequently would only make you look pretentious to your readers.

6. Refrain from going overboard in your attribution

Although it is okay to be colorful in your attribution, going overboard with it can be annoying for readers. Try to be more subtle in how you use attribution. It is enough to use said or you don’t even have to sue attribution at all.

7. Also refrain from going overboard with punctuation, fonts and sizes

Some writers have the habit of overusing punctuation, fonts and sizes in order to add emotion to their sentences. Try to avoid this practice, because it is technically a way to hide the lack of emotion in a dialogue. Here are some examples of overusing punctuation, fonts and sizes.

  • He lost…… HIS HAND!!!!!!
  • I WAS WRONG!!!!
  • He broke the vase….I AM SOOOOO ANNOYED!!!!!

8. Refrain from using old cliches

Nothing annoys readers more than cliches. Old and overused tropes that do not anything to the story. If you want to really impress your readers don’t rely on them. Think up something new and exciting.

9. Use established writing styles

If you want your book to look professional you should follow established writing styles. One great example is the Chicago Manual of Style. This is considered to be one of the best editorial references ever and is widely used by most writers.

You can subscribe to the Chicago Manual of Style for only $35 a year. Of course you don’t really need to religiously follow it. But it is still advisable that you follow the format and learn more about it because it would help you improve your writing style.

10. Make sure your punctuation are used correctly

Have you ever had a problem with punctuations? Overused or used them incorrectly? Don’t worry it is a common problem for most writers. Just brush up on proper punctuation and make the necessary changes if you see them.

11. Don’t go overboard on the editing process

It’s okay to be thorough in your work but there is no need to go overboard with it. Although you should be critical of your work during the editing process, overdoing it would ultimately do more damage than good. Try to find a good balance between being vigilant with your grammar and spell checks and completely rewriting the book out fear that it is not perfect.

12. Read it out loud

Take the time to read your book aloud to yourself. This will allow you to properly scan your work for errors in grammar. Try to get the flow of the dialogue and see which parts you can improve. Take note of the errors as you read them and make the corrections accordingly.

13. Cut out unnecessary words

Try to make your work as concise and direct as possible. Don’t make your sentence composition too flowery. Unnecessary and superfluous words will not do your writing any favors. It is better to write sparingly but clearly than to write extensively but the sentence composition ends up complicated.

14. Make changes on the story structure first

One common mistake that some writers make is that they pay more attention to the sentence composition than the structure of the story. Thus when they find out that there is something wrong with the story structure, they will have to cut out huge chunks of sentences from the first draft. Thus wasting hours of editing work. This is why when you edit your manuscript always start with structure first then the sentence composition. This will save you a lot of time and effort in the end.

15. Take a systematic approach to the editing process

When you edit your work, take it slowly but surely. Although it may seem tedious at first it is important to remember that editing requires you to be meticulous and patient. Because if you hurry the process and there are errors in the final draft you are still the one who will lose readers.

16. Ask for advice from fellow authors

If there is a part of your book that you are discontented with or have trouble with, it is a good idea to ask fellow writers for their advice. Book editing is a very engrossing and work intensive bit of work. If you ask other authors for advice you can have a fresh new outlook on your book.

17. Use an editing app to be more thorough

Although editing apps are never as accurate as a human editor, they are still useful. This will help you to refine your manuscript’s overall tone. One great example is the Hemingway Editor app.

18. Keep a checklist of corrections

It is understood that book editing is very complicated work, which is why having a checklist of past corrections will really come in handy. It does not matter if it is your first or second draft. Always have a checklist so that you can make corrections as soon as possible. Having a checklist also helps you to make sure you don’t make the same mistake twice.

19. Work on your writing style

True, you are writing your book and you are technically way above the level of a beginner. But this should not dissuade you from trying to improve your writing style. On every draft that you make, be it the first or second always try to learn from past mistakes.

20. Trust in your skill as a writer

One of the biggest challenges a writer could ever face is self-doubt. This is a challenge because doubting your skill will slow your growth as a writer. Always remember that you chose to be a writer and any setback can be overcome with hard work and determination.

Amazon KDP Select? Let's Take a Closer Look

Amazon KDP Select? Let’s Take a Closer Look

There have been so many changes in the publishing landscape through the years. Some years ago traditional publishing was the only viable form of Publishing. But as the years passed publishing has changed drastically. Self-publishing has emerged and author’s nowadays have a lot more options to choose from.

With the rise of popularity of eBooks the book market scene has become even more innovative. With the invention of the Kindle eBook device people can now store thousands and thousands of eBooks in their devices.

This innovation is truly a game changer in the publishing world. This is because the eBook format has the potential to change the book format forever.

A good number of authors are having their books written through the eBook format. Companies have grown because of these needs. Foremost among these companies is Amazon Kindle which is a series of e-Readers designed and marketed by Amazon.

The company has released a number of eBook programs that have proved beneficial to eBook readers everywhere. One great example of these programs is the Amazon KDP Select.

What is KDP Select?

KDP Select is an optional program that gives you the opportunity to reach more readers and earn more money. You can enroll a single book, your whole catalog or anything in between.This program also gives you access to various services that will help you sell and distribute your eBook.

In layman terms if you enroll with Amazon KDP Select you will receive five days to make your work free and also get paid for your eBooks that are lent through the Amazon Prime Library. The five free days can be very useful if you know how to use them. Such as garnering reviews and offering free reads to your fan base. You can also offer free reads to those who sign up for your mailing list. KDP is truly the most effective when it comes to increasing sales.

How much can you get in Royalties ?

Enrolling in KDP Select makes your book eligible for 70% royalty earnings on sales to customers in Brazil, Japan, India, and Mexico. Even better you can even earn your share of the KDP Select Global Fund amount when readers choose and read more than 10% of your book from Kindle Unlimited, or borrow your book from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library

How do you enroll?

All authors and publishers, regardless of where they live, are eligible to enroll their books in KDP Select.

The only books ineligible for enrollment are those for which you do not have exclusive rights for the primary content of the book. Other factors, including royalty option, price, genre, etc., do not impact a book’s eligibility.

Who should enroll in KDP select?

Although KDP Select is a great program for authors everywhere, its exclusivity rule may alienate some authors out there. Which is why it is a good idea to know if this program is really for you. Here are examples of people who should enroll in KDP Select.

  • New authors who want to set up a larger readership for their books.
  • Well known authors who want to jump start a new book.
  • Authors of a series of books who want a steady readership.

What are its features?

  • It allows you to market your book in a more efficient manner and earn more money in the long run.
  • Signing up in KDP Select gives you the opportunity to use a new set of promotional tools such as Kindle Countdown Deals and Free Book Promotion.
  • You should keep in mind though that should you enroll with KDP Select your book will remain for sale through the Kindle store only.
  • You have the option make up to 10% of your books available on other sites as well and you can also distribute your book through any form other than digital.

Advantages

  • You can earn a share of the KDP Select Global Fund based on how many pages costumers read of your book
  • Enrolling with KDP Select also includes your book in Kindle Unlimited which is a subscription program that allows readers to read as many books as they want.
  • Being enrolled in KDP Select also includes your book in the Kindle Owners Lending Library which is a huge archive of books that Amazon Prime members can choose one book from with no due dates.

Disadvantages

  • The exclusivity rule for Kindle may prove disadvantageous to you as a writer. Although Amazon may be big in the US and UK, there are still other countries that your book may not reach. This is because some countries use other devices and retail stores.
  • The exclusivity rule may also limit your book’s range. Although your book is well represented by being part of Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owners Lending Library, being unable to sign up with other eBook publishers stifles your book’s potential for growth a bit.

Should you enroll with KDP Select?

It all really depends on what you are looking for in eBook publishing. The KDP Select program does offer various advantages that would help increase your readership and earn more money. But there are some aspects of the program that you may find too constricting. Such as the exclusivity rule and the limited marketing range in some countries. All in all, it is up to you to weigh the pros and cons of the program and decide if it is really for you.

How to Prepare Your Manuscript for Publication

How to Prepare Your Manuscript for Publication

What is a Manuscript?

When used in publishing terms a manuscript is the typewritten or handwritten draft of any literary work. It is understood to be an author’s written, typed, or word-processed copy of a work, as distinguished from the print of the same. Before the arrival of printing, all documents and books were manuscripts. Manuscripts are not defined by their contents, which may combine writing with mathematical calculations, maps, explanatory figures or illustrations. Manuscripts may be in book form, scrolls or in codex format. Illuminated manuscripts are enriched with pictures, border decorations, elaborately embossed initial letters or full-page illustrations. In short a manuscript is the prototype of a book before it is made into a book.

How do you make a Manuscript?

When you create a manuscript, there are many things to take into account. In truth when it comes to the book production process this is the most difficult because it takes a lot of time to come up with the main concept of the book. It takes a lot of hard work, soul searching and hours and hours of writing to make one. And it does not even count the additional hours of revision and double checking. It is understandable though, if you take into account of the fact that some books have at least 100,000 to 200,000 words. Which is why you’ll need as much help as you can when you start writing a manuscript. Here are some very useful tips.

  1. Make a writing schedule that you can keep, as it was stated before the writing process takes a very long time. So you should really make plans on what time you start on your manuscript and how much time you plan to give to this schedule. It can be anytime, just as long as you can regularly keep up with the schedule.
  2. Make your workspace as comfortable as possible, it can be a café, your room or even a cabin in the woods. All that really matters is that you are comfortable.
  3. Leave the formatting and corrections for later. When you make your manuscript, especially for the first time your full attention should be on the content.
  4. Make an outline for your manuscript. Think of it as the blueprints for your book, and like any blueprint your outline must be well thought out. Don’t rush the process.
  5. Read books for inspiration. This does not mean that you get their ideas for yourself. Just use their ideas to fuel your own creative drive.
  6. Ask advice from fellow authors. It pays to ask help from fellow writers because they are some of the only people that can relate to how difficult it is to create a manuscript.
  7. Have family critique your work. It is kind of difficult to have someone go through your work and point out the inconsistencies, but if you want to be a good writer you will have to toughen up and take the criticism. So it’s best that you have family and friends check your work because you know that their criticism is not malicious but is meant to make your work better.
  8. Make a deadline for yourself. This is not meant to pressure you or give you any anxiety. It is meant to give you a feeling of responsibility for your own work.
  9. Double check your work before you send your manuscript to any publishers.
  10. Have your work checked by a professional copyeditor. Although it is good to have trust in your abilities it is still a good idea to have your book checked by a professional. It just adds to the quality of your work.

How many words should a manuscript have?

When it comes to how many words a manuscript should have, there really is no set word count. It all really depends on the genre and whether it is your first time to write a novel or you are already a veteran writer. If you are writing an adult novel 70,000 to 80,000 words are quite acceptable, but 100,000 words seem a bit too much for an adult novel. For Science fiction books 100,000 to 150,000 words are perfect, not too short that it would lack detail and not too long to make it tedious. For middle grade books 20,000 to 25,000 words is the best amount. When it comes to Young adult novels 55 to 69 thousand words are quite acceptable. For picture books 500 to 600 words are good enough. For westerns 50,000 to 80,000 words are good. As for memoirs 80 to 89 thousand is perfect. These word counts are usually the format followed by a number of writers and is thus taken as a norm.

Why are manuscripts refused by publishers?

There are a lot of reasons why manuscripts are refused by publishers. Here are some examples.

  1. The manuscript follows recent trends too closely. Although it is understandable that some authors want their books to be relevant. But sometimes following trends tend to make your book too common and in the end lose its uniqueness.
  2. The manuscript has too many errors. Although it is quite acceptable that there are some grammar mistakes on your manuscript, too many mistakes may deter the publishing house from accepting your work.
  3. The characters are too boring. When your characters have no personality and are as bland as stale bread there really is no reason for a publishing house to take it up.
  4. The plotline is predictable. It is very unlikely that your work is selected if your plots are too linear and the twist can be seen a mile away.
  5. It is too preachy. Although it is a good idea to have a moral in the story, being too preachy in your manuscript could make your book boring and unattractive to prospective publishers.
  6. It is too repetitive. The story may be moving too slowly and tends to repeat itself.
  7. The story may seem too orchestrated. One of the things that a publisher usually looks for in a story is authenticity. If the story does not seem feasible in real life, there is little chance of it getting published.
  8. The words used may seem pretentious.
  9. The story has no cohesion. The storyline is all over the place and the events and characters do not seem to mix well with one another.
  10. It is just plain boring. Although there are no glaring errors, the story in itself is just to plain, it does not seem to pop and can’t get the reader’s attention.

Where should you submit your manuscript?

In submitting a manuscript, there are two options. You can send your work to a traditional publishing house. A traditional publishing house has both advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that you need not pay a thing for the production and promotion of your book. The disadvantage is that you will give up a majority of creative and monitory rights to the company. The other option is that you can send your work to self-publishing houses. When you self-publish, the advantage is that you will have overall freedom for your book. The disadvantage is that you will have to pay for the production and promotion of your book.