1. ChloeALR
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    ChloeALR New Member

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    Help With Self-Publishing?

    Discussion in 'Self-Publishing' started by ChloeALR, Mar 20, 2014.

    Once I have finished with my current project I would obviously love to have people read it. I'm proud of my idea and I really would like to self-publish it. I have never done anything like this before and I'd really like to give it a go... However, I need some help!

    I have been looking at createspace but I would like to know... Are there any other sites that do it better than createspace? If you have used createspace please let me know how you found it?

    Also, as for covers, what would your advice be for that? I am not creative? Should I have one commissioned? Where would I go to do that?

    I am not looking to spend an extortionate amount of money on this. How much are we talking here? Where does it cheapest? Can I do it for free?

    Any information about self publishing will be appreciated!

    Thank you all,

    Chloe.
     
  2. MattTalent
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    MattTalent Member

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    I've been kind of wondering that myself for when I finish my story that I'm working on. I don't know if you use any of Apple's devices, but I would suggest getting an Apple ID (if you don't have one already) and publish your book to the iBookstore (in the iBooks application). Good luck. :)
     
  3. MattTalent
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    MattTalent Member

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    And you also need to remember that even if you simply post your full story anywhere online, you've technically already published it. That shouldn't concern you much since you're self-publishing your story, but if you wanted to actually send it to a publisher, he/she would be able to find your story already available online, which would break your publishing contract.
     
  4. Edward M. Grant
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    Edward M. Grant Contributing Member

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    IMHO, Createspace is the best option for print on demand books when you're starting out. There are no fees and they can handle distribution to book stores in the unlikely event that anyone orders from them, but there are fewer options (e.g. no hardcover books), and the royalties are likely lower.

    For e-books, you've got Amazon, B&N, Apple, Google, Kobo, and a few others. The simple solution initially is to upload to Amazon and let a distributor like Smashwords or D2D handle the other stores for you. Createspace will convert your print book into an Amazon e-book if you choose that option, but I've no idea how good it looks.

    There are a lot of artists who do premade covers; they put an example design on their web site, you give them the title, author, etc, to fill in. You can find some good ones as low as $20 or so when they're doing a sale.

    You can do it for a couple of dollars for a stock image for the cover, and about ten dollars for a print proof of the paperback from Createspace. You can do it for free by finding a public domain image and doing an electronic proof, but I would certainly get a paperback the first time you make one.
     
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  5. JayG
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    JayG Banned Contributor

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    Chloe, your profile says you're sixteen, which is no problem (I wish I was sixteen again) but you should be aware of a few fairly important things. The first is that the techniques used in writing fiction for publication aren't a lot like those we learn in school, where they're giving a general skill, which is of use to most adults, so they can be useful (and interchangeable) to an employer. It's assumed that professions are learned after we graduate high school. And the problem is that writing fiction for the page is a profession, with its own set of specialized knowledge and tricks.

    Think about a horror writer. You don't complement such a writer by saying that you enjoyed the plot. You tell them you were afraid to turn out the lights after you read it. My point is that fear is an emotional response, and you're reacting to how it made you feel, not to the feelings the characters had. But they don't teach us how to manipulate a reader's emotions in school, only how to inform them.

    I'm not trying to discourage you. Quite the opposite. You have the desire, and you've demonstrated the necessary perseverance. And that's great. There is, however, a lot we must learn, and tools we must learn how to use. My point is that unless you've been studying the differences between what we learn in school and the unique techniques that the pros take for granted, you may want to look into them to see if you can make your writing even more exciting. Of course if you have been digging into the professional techniques disregard this.

    One of the problems we as writers face is that when we read our own stories we cheat. Before we read the first word we know the characters in the scene, what's going on, and even the state of mind of the various characters. So when we read we "fill in the blanks." We hear the emotion in the character and storyteller's voice. We can see the setting and the expressions on the faces of the characters. So of course it works perfectly. It's something we have to learn how to get around, so we view the writing as a reader who knows nothing but what the words, to any given point, mean to that reader.

    What I'm suggesting is that you use your local library (not the school library) as a resource and see how your approach matches up with what successful writers and teachers have to say about approaching various tasks and areas of writing.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i've self-published 6 books and done all the styling, cover, etc. myself... didn't cost a cent on amazon/kindle or free-ebooks.net...

    feel free to email me if you need any help getting yours put together, promoted, whatever...

    love and hugs, maia
    maia3maia@hotmail.com
     
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  7. ChloeALR
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    ChloeALR New Member

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    I know that I am young. But I don't just use what I've learned in class. I am serious about writing. I love it. I also read a hell of a lot. I look into how to improve my writing, I read a whole variation of books from authors and writers I aspire to be like. When I was eleven a book I wrote about my hamster was very close to being published. I even spoke to a publisher on the phone. I am an A* English student. I know that I'm only sixteen but I don't think it's fair to disregard my writing ability just because I'm a teenager.

    I take on board your comments but I am not a giggly, mindless, teenage girl. On the contrary, I am passionate about writing. I am passionate about becoming an author. I am passionate about literature. I am obviously not going to rush into things. I am determined and I do not need to be patronized because I am sixteen. Surely this just means that, as my target audience are girls and boys my age, I have a better insight to the issues I need to be tackling in my story?

    Good day.
     
  8. Edward M. Grant
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    Edward M. Grant Contributing Member

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    Our hamster is sitting on my feet in her ball at the moment :). I keep meaning to write some hamster horror stories, but haven't had time yet.

    Let us know if you need any more detailed help, a bunch of us have self-published multiple books and stories as e-books and print on demand. The main thing to avoid are the companies that charge a lot of money up front, some of which have been making millions from writers for decades.
     
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  9. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Hi Chloe, I echo what Edward said, avoid any companies that want to charge money upfront!.

    I published on kindle first, quite easy to do but do spend the time to read through their terms and conditions as they not only have a section called KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) but they also have a section called KOLL (Kindle on-line lending library). I do know that if you publish through KDP, you have to be exclusive to Kindle for approx. three months before you can publish anywhere else. After three months, you are free to keep the book on KDP and publish anywhere else too, like smashwords, ibooks, google play etc. If you also enrol the book in the KOLL library then you have to agree to NOT publish anywhere else for 90 days, this 90 days period refreshes every 90 days and you have to give notice to remove your book from KOLL. While ever it's in the KOLL program, you can't publish anywhere else so, either don't use the KOLL option, or use it for the first 90 days and then remove it from the KOLL option but keep it on KDP.

    Createspace, print on demand is good. It took me a good few weeks to work out the spacing/sizing/blank pages/cover etc, and I did order two proofs at a cost to myself of $18.00 each but to me, it was worth it. There is no time limit between uploading to createspace and hitting the "ready to publish" button and at every stage you are offered the chance to proof an on-screen digital copy or order a paperback proof, giving you the chance to get a copy in your hand and make any necessary changes. Oh yes, files for createspace have to be PDF or epub but there are free on-line converters available.

    For the cover, I personally did my own covers, both of which are photographs that I have taken and then opened up in photoshop or digital imaging programs and then "messed" with them until they look how I want them to look. Then simply add the text and change to a new file name.

    So if you are willing to learn, practice and read up on the process - and it sounds like you are - I would say go for it! Have a go, save all your changes, back-up everything just in case and take your time!

    Once you've got that far, get on twitter and facebook, build a website (free ones available, I use a free site-builder) and scream to the world about your book!

    Good luck, hun. (((hugs))) from a fellow Brit! x
     
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  10. S Raven
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    S Raven Member

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    I can also speak highly of Createspace. It's has step by step instructions from start to finish. The only downside (and probably the only one) is that you need to make sure your book is formatted with the correct margins and other layouts like cover borders. You can download free templates to use, but may you may need to completely reformat your whole book, which can be a bit of a hassle. By using Createspace you can select channels, such as Amazon, and other online stores. Once they have approved it, and once you've done a proof check - which can be done as printed copy or online, your book will quickly appear online on Amazon. Also, with a few extra clicks you can list on Kindle (read t&c as advised in a previous reply above).
    You don't need to pay anything up front, which is great.
    I also advise caution to any publisher who charges up front - that's how they make their money and don't care too much if you sell copies or not.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2014
  11. Edward M. Grant
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    Edward M. Grant Contributing Member

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    There are legitimate reasons to pay some money up front: LSI, for example, charges a fee for setting up your PoD book, but I think it's only about $25. Similarly, you might want to hire an editor or cover designer, and you'll have to pay for that.

    It's the 'yeah, we'll publish your book and it will only cost $10,000' types you want to avoid. Particularly if they expect you to sign over rights to the book as well.
     
  12. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not quite sure how to say this without making things worse, but....JayG's manner in his post to you is his manner to everybody. Of any age. To steal from My Fair Lady, or maybe I mean Pygmalion, we're all flower girls, not duchesses.
     
  13. eleutheria
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    eleutheria Member

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    Just because he does it to everyone doesn't make it less patronizing. :p

    Chloe, I have read things from your age and younger that were absolutely amazing. It sounds like you take it seriously and are doing all the right things (reading and writing!). I can't help much with self-publishing, but I wish you good luck!
     
  14. swhibs123
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    swhibs123 Active Member

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    Chloe, my honest advice, as someone who presently has 4 books self published and about to self publish 8 more this year, is to explore all your options. Learn about the trade publishing route. I know people will disagree with me, but if I didn't have an agent, my self publishing ventures wouldn't be as good as they are. There is so much to line up before you leap, and it's really important to do it right. It makes SUCH a difference.

    16 or 60, it doesn't matter. There are plenty of professional authors who published their first book at 16. Take your time. Once you have a system in place, you can start producing a lot faster.

    Good luck!
     
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  15. J.C.O. Goss
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    J.C.O. Goss New Member

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    I can see you've gotten plenty of good responses here, most or all by people with way more insight than me, but all I can add is to go to Fiverr.com, because there are people on there -- plenty of whom are very talented -- who can do your cover, and even edit or advertise/promote your work, for $5 each.
     
  16. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i've heard deviantart is the best place to find an affordable artist... but wherever you find one, make sure to have a tight contract in place spelling out in detail what the payment arrangement and credits will be, before going ahead...
     
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  17. Devlin Blake
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    Devlin Blake Member

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    S.E Hinton was 16 when she wrote The Outsiders.

    Anyway, go to fiverr.com. You'll find some good artists there. But you do have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find the right one. $5 basically gets you a 'proof'. Then you pay more to get the PSD (around $20-$50)But it's worth it. Because the PSD is yours and you can use it on future books. (Great for series.)

    What I suggest is put aside $100-$150 for this. Get a few proof covers made for $5 and see which one is best. No need to go crazy 2-3 different people usually works. ($15) Then, buy the PSD from your favorite designer. And keep going back to that designer for future books.

    Design is not really about being creative, it's more formulaic. You have to know what colors and fonts work together, what covers look like in your genre, what looks good at thumbnail size and so on. It's well worth hiring a designer.

    Get the 'proof' of your book (from CreateSpace)

    Spend any leftover money on promotion.

    You also need a good editor. This costs about .02 cents per word for a really good one.
     
  18. Howard_B
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    Howard_B Active Member

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    Hi Chloe - I am 58 and just wrote and published my first book (see my sig) all by myself on Amazon Kindle Store and Smashwords. You say you are not creative ? really ? Did you write a piece of fiction ? And you still think you are not creative ?

    I wrote my book on Scrivener. I reached out among extended family and found that my nephew is a bit of a computer geek. So I asked him to put together some ideas for a cover and after he found a few ideas I tidied them up and added the text and finishing touches.

    I had to spend a little time learning about Kindle Publishing requirements and then write a blurb etc. But imho if we can't write a blurb then we can't write.

    Will it sell ? Who the heck knows :crazy:
     
  19. cynthia_1968
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    cynthia_1968 Active Member

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    I love to work with lulu, because it's a free service. They offer print on demand and you can also convert them into e-books.

    Though I admit that I haven't been into self publishing yet because I'm searching for a publisher. If that doesn't work out than I'll opt for self publishing ;-)
     
  20. Howard_B
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    Howard_B Active Member

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    Good luck. I can't abide sitting around or a year for someone to demand my next five books and pay me 15%. But I hope it works out for you !
     
  21. PaulGresham
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    PaulGresham Member

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    You don't get much for five dollars on Fiverr, but then, five dollars isn't much money.
    I tried it, and wouldn't use it again, I probably expected too much.
    I finished up taking my own photos. and plan to use them on my cover.
    It seems to me that the biggest obstacle is choosing the right typeface, aka font.
    I took some advice and downloaded a couple of free ones, which look okay, although I'm no typographer.
     
  22. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Amazon has a cover creation tool that is serviceable if you have an image to go with it. Not as good as hiring a professional graphic artist, of course.
     
  23. Stephen Paden
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    Stephen Paden Member

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    Garamond is a great font.
     
  24. PaulGresham
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    PaulGresham Member

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    Garamond isn't a book cover font.
    I've done some research.
     
  25. Stephen Paden
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    Stephen Paden Member

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    I apologize, I was thinking copy.
     

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