1. TrinityRevolution
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    TrinityRevolution Member

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    Self publishing journey

    Discussion in 'Self-Publishing' started by TrinityRevolution, Sep 17, 2012.

    I've decided to self publish my finished novel. At first I had wanted to shop it around at publishing houses, but have decided against, because I really don't have the drive to do so.

    Any tips and tricks from people that have gone through the process are much appreciated.

    I'll keep you all updated as I go along.
     
  2. Edward M. Grant
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    Edward M. Grant Contributing Member

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    Some suggestions:

    1. Don't put anything up before you've had feedback from readers.
    2. If you can't afford an editor then go through it again and again until your brain melts looking for problems. Either read the text or use a text-to-speech program so you can hear whether it sounds right.
    3. Formatting is easy when you've done it once, but hard the first time.
    4. Don't forget PoD for those who want print copies. Some services charge substantial fees up front, but some allow you to upload a book for free.
    5. Ensure you have rights to any cover images you use.
     
  3. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    An example I'm reading right now of a self-published Kindle book backs up the editing comment. It would actually have started quite well if it weren't for some obvious errors. E.g. some completely unnecessary repetition. ". . . and salesmen who long learned their lesson long ago; . . ."
     
  4. TrinityRevolution
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    TrinityRevolution Member

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    I can't afford an editing service having researched it a a lot, and after trying other various ways I got some not so friendly responses.

    So the only resource at my disposal is an english teacher I know, she writes books herself and hopefully can pick up on what I've mist.

    @DefinitelyMaybe, with the self published book you're reading, was it priced reasonably? I'm leaning towards the 99ยข route.
     
  5. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    The book I'm reading was free. It also uses quotes for internal thoughts. And I found a spurious space at the beginning of one of the quotes. I'm hoping that learning to spot these errors in other people's prose will help me spot them in my own.

    There are some online sites where you can paste in text and it claims to grammar check it for you. I don't know if that would be better than the grammar checking built into, say, Microsoft Word. Might be worth a go. It shouldn't hurt provided that you take the corrections as something to consider, not just apply the recommended corrections blindly.
     
  6. TrinityRevolution
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    TrinityRevolution Member

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    My main problem I find with my work is appropriate use of semicolons. They still confuse me every now and then, and I often find instances where I just cannot figure out whether comma or semicolon is the go...

    Quotes within dialogue are annoying also, but are much less frequent as I've done well to avoid them.
     
  7. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not sure about semicolons and full colons myself. We both might benefit from a question posted in the Word Mechanics forum, or searching for past threads.

    Edit: A quick google suggests that semicolons are used to separate two phrases that could be independent sentences, but are merged into one because they contain related content. But without explicitly saying what the relationship is by using a connective. E.g.:

    John writes in blue ink; Jane writes in red ink.

    A colon can be used for a list of items.

    My favourite foods include: chocolate, olives, nougat, and marmite.

    A colon can also be used for an explanation or a definition. E.g.

    Beverley couldn't escape the zombies any more: she was exhausted.

    Mouse (noun): a small rodent occasionally found living in houses.

    I hope this is correctly paraphrased and that my source is correct. Hopefully someone will correct this post if I have it wrong.

    I've ordered myself a copy of "Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition: How to Edit Yourself Into Print" by Browne and King. This book has been recommended by a poster at this site, and the reviews at a well known online bookseller are also very good.
     
  8. TrinityRevolution
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    TrinityRevolution Member

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    See I can remember an instance in my book where I have a comma after include.

    I'll go change that. Thank you!
     
  9. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    If you cannot use semi-colons correctly, don't use them at all. They are good but not at all necessary, as you should always be able to use a full-stop in place of a semi anyway. And if you can't use a full-stop in place of a semi, then you probably shouldn't be using semi-colons at all (unless it's a list, but even then, commas are fine).

    The thing I keep spotting in self-pubs are actually punctuation for dialogue.

    For example, I often read this even right on the very first page: "Help me!" She shouted.

    When it should be "Help me!" she shouted.

    Alternatively I see things like: "You shouldn't be here." He said.

    When it should be: "You shouldn't be here," he said.

    I'm not sure why this is so confusing but many people get it wrong. So watch out for that.
     
  10. evelon
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    evelon Active Member

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    I've been in a small writing group for years and learned a lot from other writers. Friends are good for giving you a general opinion, but there is nothing like a critiquing session with people who actually find it interesting to discuss the positioning of commas. (yes we are a bit nerdy, but you like what you like!)

    Can you find a group - or even start a group - in your area. You'd get support and encouragement and be able to tap into the experience of others.
     
  11. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    If we're submitting, then I agree that your suggestion to not use semi-colons at all is a good one.

    But if we're writing drafts and posting in the Writing Workshop, showing drafts to friends etc., then surely using semi-colons is a good idea. As if we've got it wrong, we'll get feedback on that. In that way we'll learn to use them properly. Sort of a "you can't make an omlette without breaking a few eggs" type thing.
     
  12. TrinityRevolution
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    TrinityRevolution Member

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    I've seen that also, but it's correct if followed by action right?

    Say... "You're funny." Jane fell off her chair in laughter.
     
  13. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would make use of crititque groups, online or real person, if you can't afford editing services. You'll also need to find someone to design your cover, with marketing in mind.

    I do worry about your comment "I really don't have the drive to do so". If you don't have the drive to write and send out queries, how are you going to handle being a publisher?
     
  14. The Crazy Kakoos
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    The Crazy Kakoos Member

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    Not capitalizing the first letter of a dialogue tag is the only thing I've learned from Microsoft Word spell check. Most other times it gets in my way with fiction.
     
  15. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm still trying to get LibreOffice to do any grammar checking at all. I've downloaded grammar checking extensions, checked that the right dictionaries are selected. Made sure the "check grammar" option is selected. But if I tell it to check the grammar of:

    it doesn't find anything wrong with it at all.

    I've just finished reading a self-published free ebook.

    It ended on a cliff hanger. But I think it might have been a cliff hanger by accident as the last events weren't explained properly, and I couldn't work out what was actually going on.

    I'm a little bit disappointed.

    Addressing the OP again, can I please say that one thing self-publishers should be careful about is making sure that your book gives readers some sort of closure.
     
  16. JamesOliv
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    JamesOliv Senior Member

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    Self publishing because you don't have the drive to pursue trade publication is like opening a bakery because you don't feel like going out to the store to buy bread.

    Self publication involves you taking on the role of publisher. Now, you can upload your work to createspace and have a handy book printed. But will anyone buy it? You said you cannot afford editing. To me, this is a dangerous game. The lack of professional editing in self published work is often glaringly evident.

    What about a book cover? If you use a "cover builder" as is available on createspace, you will likely find that your book looks like you created the cover using an online template maker. Many advocate stitching photos together from shutterstock. That remains an option. However, if you intend to offer print copies of your book, you should not that shutterstocks licensing agreement specifically prohibits use of the images for "POD." Professional cover design can run from around $200 up to (the highest I have seen so far) around $2,000.

    You will need to promote the book if you want anyone to read it. If you intend to just sell copies to family and friends, that's fine. But in that case, you haven't really published a book. You would have just had your book printed to look pretty on our bookshelf. That type of thing ceases to be "self publishing" and becomes "vanity publishing."

    If you don't promote it, the book will not sell. Period. If you think people will happen upon it while perusing amazon, you are mistaken.

    So if you lack the drive to send out queries, I cannot imagine you possess the drive to start and run a successful blog and ceaselessly promote your work.

    Having said all of that, it sounds as though you have committed yourself to this path. So, good luck and let us know how it all turns out for you.
     
  17. marktx
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    marktx Contributing Member

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    You're probably going to be doing most of the promotion yourself regardless of which path you take. Legacy publishing will get you into their catalog and on bookshelves in stores that choose to pick up your title, but in most cases probably not much more than that. Unless you're an exceptional case (and receiving more than average $5000 advance for new authors), I wouldn't overestimate how much promotional push you're likely to get.
     
  18. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Uh, no. Why on earth would a trade publisher take on a book, spend money on editing, cover, distribution - and then not promote it? Sounds like you've been listening to the Self-Publishing Gurus, who are full of half-truths and spite (like that "legacy" thing).
     
  19. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I second shadowwalker's post. Sure, you may have to do book signings and all that if you go the traditional route, but that's nothing compared to the work involved in promoting the book all by yourself.
     
  20. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Yup your example is correct, but that's 'cause Jane falling off her chair is not a dialogue tag :) Believe it or not, I actually learnt this on this forum :D

    Although, if you don't have the drive to just send out queries, I must wonder if you actually have a book at all to publish. I mean, sending out letters is the easy part, surely!?
     
  21. marktx
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    marktx Contributing Member

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    No gurus...just a couple of authors who have published both ways.
     
  22. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    That is really misleading. With a traditional publisher, you will certainly be expected to contribute greatly to promotion, but you will still have the resources of the publisher, such as marketing channels, at your disposal. To try to equate self promotion with that is a gross distortion.

    This site will not be used to disseminate propaganda for the companies getting fat exploiting self-publishing writers.
     
  23. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, there are a couple of the big Gurus who have done that - hence the spite. It's still a misleading generalization.
     
  24. marktx
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    marktx Contributing Member

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    Okay, I give up.

    My main point is that there are some significant developments in the past two years that merit a serious look. That's all.

    I won't argue the point. My only advice is to Google "nytimes self publishing" to read NY Times articles covering the shifts. You'll get articles on the pros, the cons, the new developments. No, it's not a panacea. Yes, it's got its challenges and drawbacks. No, it's not right for everyone. Yes, it may be right for some people.

    My primary objection is the complete out-of-hand dismissal of something that has undergone what I consider to be some recent significant changes. All of the blanket dismissals would have been completely appropriate two years ago. I'm just not convinced that those blanket dismissals are as valid today.
     
  25. JamesOliv
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    JamesOliv Senior Member

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    Yeah, the main problem I have is that you took my statement out of context. You quoted my piece about needing to promote your work in order to sell books at the start of this whole thing. But, I wasn't talking about trade publication. I didn't say people who publish through established publishers didn't have to do ANY promotion. All I said is that if you self-publish and you don't promote, you will not sell books.

    Some publishers do a better job than others to promote a book. Some self-publishers do a better job than others promoting their book. even if you spoke to authors who published both ways, I doubt you spoke to enough to be able to form a blanket opinion of the entire publishing industry.

    Anyway, all of my original points stand.
     

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