Category: self-publishing

06
Aug

Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing

When you finish writing your book, you inevitably face the question: self-publishing vs. traditional publishing? Should you go chasing agents, or upload your book to Amazon, and get on with it? This is a difficult question, and we hope that we’ll be able to answer it for you. But before going into the details of the most debated area of publishing, let me reassure you: it doesn’t have to be either this or that.

Whatever decision you make, it won’t last a lifetime. Many of today’s successful authors went both ways. The so-called “hybrid authors” have published books both traditionally and as self-publishers. Sometimes the very same books!

If you are here because you would like us to condemn one of these two ways, you are in the wrong place. We honestly believe that indie authors, indie publishers, and the big five can peacefully share the market. The right solution for you depends on your book, your circumstances, and your preferences.

In this article, we are exploring the reasons why somebody might decide to go for self-publishing or not, debunk some myths surrounding self-publishing vs. traditional publishing, and list the pros and cons of both ways.

(This is an older article that had been refreshed with new content.)

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30
Jul

Publishing Poetry in 2018: Trends, Tips, and Tricks

“I was broke. I was a student and I published Milk and Honey with like zero dollars ‘cause I was able to design, write and edit all of it. This is what I did when I was supposed to be studying for all of my exams.” said the bestselling, 25-year-old poet, Rupi Kaur, in a recent interview with Jimmy Fallon. Kaur’s friends and family were encouraging her to become a lawyer and try to convince her to abandon her aspiration to publish her poems. Now she is telling her story about publishing poetry to a 2.5-million audience on American television.

Nothing shows poetry’s popularity better than Kaur’s appearance on late night tv. The genre is flourishing; it’s more popular than it has been in the last twenty years. So, if you want to publish your volume of poems the time is now!

In this article, we’ll go over the recent publishing trends in poetry and then tell you how to publish the words that will inspire readers for a long time.

publishing poetry

Taken by Norman Walsh on 19 Jan 2015 with a E-P5. (Click the picture for link.)

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04
Jul

Create An Author Website For Free Using Wix

This week’s guest post by author Jules Fier underlines the importance of creating an author website and gives you a step-by-step guide to creating one using Wix. As the guide had been made for the layperson, everyone can easily follow it: there is no programming knowledge needed.

Importance of an author website

There is less and less spoken about the importance of an author website. With social media (Twitter, but mostly Facebook) available for everyone, Amazon and Google Play offering author pages, and GoodReads making it possible to interact with readers directly, author websites have somewhat become less interesting.

But not rightly so.

Jane Friedman has written a great article on the importance of still keeping an independent author website, outside of social media. Her reasoning includes keeping your independence (as much as it is possible) and be in control of your content and layout. Another important point is SEO: it is unlikely that your Facebook author page would rank as highly on Google as your website.

Main purposes of an author website

Before you start creating your website, sit down and think about the primary goals you would like to achieve with your site. It is possible that your author website will be the first (or only) thing an agent, publisher or readers see about you. Would you like to put yourself (your personality, your journey) in the center or your books?

Goals often include:

  • Showcase you as a “brand” and summarizing all your activities on one page
  • Offer the first impression to agents, publishers, and readers
  • Run a blog
  • Start a newsletter
  • Share book-related extra information (including pictures and videos)
  • Sell your books
  • Interact with your readers and followers directly

Depending on where you are in your publishing journey and what your plans are, your goals with the website could be entirely different.

In the following, our guest author Jules Fier will share his experience creating an author website using Wix.

About the author (Jules Fier)

Just a person who has traveled the world and also into the horror genre (but still actually love other ones too). I grew up reading horror fiction written by the original masters of teen horror like Lois Duncan, R.L. Stine, Christopher Pike, as well as other authors of teen horror, and of course the more adult-oriented ones like Bentley Little, Brian Lumley, Gary Brandner, Clive Barker, and all the rest of them.

My book What Happened Last Halloween Night is a young adult horror fiction that’s highly inspired by Jack Willamson’s Darker Than You Think. I also have a teen horror series called Witch’s Street and confess that my idea to write the series comes from teenage years (and even today) of having grown up reading R.L. Stine’s Fear Street. I always wanted to write my own teen horror series, and I am pretty much a big fan of horror TV anthologies. The only difference between my series and Fear Street is location and geography, as it is set in the UK rather than the US.

A step-by-step guide to creating an author website using Wix

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30
Apr

How to Create a Book Cover for Free

While everybody agrees that creating a beautiful book cover should be the work of an artist, hiring a cover designer could be very expensive. What happens if you can’t afford a designer? Can you still sell your book on Amazon or upload it to Wattpad? Yes. It is possible to create a book cover for free: you just need to learn the business very well to make one that looks professional.

In this article, we’ll explore the main steps of creating a book cover; what are some free online apps to use to design your own book cover; and what tools are required. Self-publishing a book is never easy, and an amazing cover can help you get it right.

To read more about ebook covers, check out our other articles in this topic:

(Article was updated with more information on May 22, 2018.)

What you’ll need to create a book cover for free (checklist)

Before we start looking for the best app, let’s have a look at what you might need. (You can use the links to jump to the correct position within the article.)

1Your title and your author name. There is no need to put anything on the cover other than the author’s name, the title and the subtitle.
2A suitable image or images. These will be used as the main part of your cover. It is uncommon to create completely typographic covers unless the book is literary fiction.
3A genre-specific font. Serif or sans-serif?
4An editing app. You can use an online service or get a professional photo editing software.
5A feedback group. Just as you wouldn’t publish a book without getting somebody to read it first, you can’t publish a book without getting feedback on your cover either.

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20
Feb

Self-publishing Sci-fi and Fantasy: Interview with Joseph Malik, Author of Dragon’s Trail

Sci-fi author Joseph Malik has not only collected favourable reviews on his first release, but has been selected as an eligible author for the 2018 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in Science Fiction/Fantasy. He published the Dragon’s Trail independently, by setting up his own publishing business, Oxblood Books. We asked him about his experiences on self-publishing sci-fi or fantasy: it is a fascinating read. You can find his bio at the end of the interview.

When did you start writing? Did you have any rejections?

I started writing when I was a teenager. I had sent out manuscripts early-on before I realized that writing a book didn’t constitute nearly enough writing to write a good book, but I didn’t get serious about the craft of writing until my mid-twenties.

Dragon’s Trail went through several versions which would probably qualify as separate books entirely over about fifteen years. I have a folder with 47 rejection slips in it. I am sure I received many more.

The biggest piece of my writing journey, though, is that I set out to write a fantasy novel that did for knights in armor what The Hunt for Red October did for the nuclear submarine. To that end, I did all of my research firsthand. While I was developing my writing and studying the craft, I was learning swordsmanship, horsemanship, mountaineering, blacksmithing, martial arts, pacing off castles and ruins in Europe, building a functional Elvish language, and on and on. I wanted to have the mundane elements of the world correct—if not historically accurate, at least mechanically and functionally feasible—before I introduced the magical aspects of the story. I was told repeatedly by major publishers and agents that this would never work, and that there was no market for a “realistic fantasy.” I finally quit writing fantasy altogether after about fifteen years of rejection.

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15
Feb

What Is a Beta Reader and How to Find One

Fanni SütőWhat is a beta reader and how to find one is brought to you by Fanni Sütő. Fanni writes poetry, short stories and a growing number of novels-in-progress. She publishes in English and Hungarian and finds inspiration in reading, paintings and music. She writes about everything which comes in her way or goes bump in the night. She tries to find the magical in the everyday and likes to spy on the secret life of cities and their inhabitants. Previous publications include: The Casket of Fictional Delights, Tincture Journal, Enchanted Conversation. Fundead Publications, 600 Second Saga.

Being a writer is no easy feat, especially if one chooses the path of self-publishing where, to misquote a classic, with great freedom comes great responsibility.

One has to oversee every step of the production and one has to be in control all the time. This, however, doesn’t mean that you have to be alone. Quite the contrary, you should have a team of professionals around you who can assist you whenever you need them. Today I am going to tell you about the importance of beta readers and critique partners, and give you some ideas about where to find them. Last but not least, I’ll briefly speak about blog hops, which are a great way to get feedback and encouragement from your fellow writers.

what is a beta reader

What is a beta reader and a critique partner?

You finished your novel yesterday and you’re already planning to publish it tomorrow? I would strongly advise against it. After you let it rest for a few weeks, give it another read with a fresh eye and edit it like there’s no tomorrow. You’ll probably find a few typos, unnecessary digressions and things to rewrite completely. When you are more or less happy with the result, it’s time to ask for a second opinion.Continue Reading…

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10
Nov

Import your books straight from Pronoun

This was not an easy week for indie publishers and self-publishers: Pronoun has announced to shut down, effective immediately.

We have built an importer to help migrating your books from Pronoun.

We are sorry to see an innovative competitor go: competition drives the industry to provide better service and keep improving. However, we understand that authors are frustrated and worried. These are bad news, especially before Christmas: losing your reviews and rankings sounds awful just before the most important sales period. There is a lot of confusion: should you remove your books from sale already? Do you need a copyright statement to confirm your rights?

pronoun import

PublishDrive is here to make migrating your books easier. Our development team was busy this week working on an import tool for former Pronoun authors. You upload your ZIP file and we do the switch, keeping your reviews.

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10
Nov

Authors Leaving Pronoun: How to Choose a Distributor

On November 6th, the Macmillan owned Pronoun announced that they are shutting down their services. Pronoun gave an author-focused service, inspiring competitors to innovate, and I believe their presence will be missed. This article is aiming to help former Pronoun authors (and others looking for a change) decide what to do in the information-overload that naturally follows.

Pronoun’s closing must have come as a shock for many: as an author you could think that a self-service portal backed by a big publisher is a safe place. You have probably already planned your Christmas promotions, prepared your new releases, and now you have to start everything all over again. But looking at the current chaos: this is no time to mourn. This is the time to share verified, true information.

To decide your next steps, you will have to consider the pitfalls of ebook distribution. Choosing a distributor is never easy. How to do your due diligence on your next partner?

If you are a writer or an author taking themselves seriously, do not rush this decision. You will have to think about the long-term consequences of finding your next innovative publishing partner. There are six questions you have to ask.

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03
Nov

Frankfurt Book Fair As Indie Author – Should you go?

Are you interested in attending a book fair as indie author? Should you attend book fairs as an independent author at the first place, or is this just a waste of money? This question is driving most authors nuts: on one hand, book fairs seem like the heart of publishing industry, where experts from all fields meet, network, make deals and give amazingly interesting lectures. On the other hand, book fairs are all about signing deals and making new contracts: what can an indie author make out of it?

As a relative newbie in the publishing industry, this was the first year I ever attended book fairs: early summer I went to London (this was kind of home territory), then this October I participated in Frankfurt Book Fair: I thought it will be similar to the London one, but I was mistaken.

At this point, most big book fairs have an area dedicated to indie publishing. However, this area always is a tad detached from the rest of the fair: in London, Author HQ was right behind children’s books, at the far end of the fair; and in Frankfurt, author services were at the back of Hall 3.0, Amazon present with only a tiny stand in a whole separate building dedicated for German publishing. Definitely very far away from the rest of the fair that was happening mostly in Halls 4 and 6, with the agents’ lounge and the business tables all situated in at least 10 minutes of walk; and surrounded with German teens queuing up for signings.

Authorpreneur event at Frankfurt Book Fair 2017

Despite the hostile environment, though, the organizers of the International Independent Author Program (Porter Anderson and the Publishing Perspectives) did everything in their power to make the program interesting and engaging.

Starting with IngramSpark’s Andrew Bromley (who was the only one using the great chance to give away free books); continuing with ALLi’s Orna Ross giving an inspiring pep talk on how the indies should use every opportunity to give away free samples of their writing (by blogging for example) in order to attract much needed audience; and finishing with our very own CEO Kinga talking about smart tools indie publishers can use to increase their ebook sales, the program has something in it for authorpreneurs at all levels. Last but not least, there was a discussion involving all speakers and the audience.

I’m sure that all attendees have enjoyed it.

However, it isn’t necessary to have been present in Frankfurt in order to access all these talks and much more: ALLi organized an Indie Author Fringe to coincide with the Fair, collected great speakers on their own and published recordings of the Frankfurt speeches as well. All for free. Lecturers include Porter Anderson on whether Frankfurt Book Fair is indie author friendly, Joanna Penn and Sukhi Jutla on how to become an author-enterpreneur and Tim Lewis on using a podcast to deepen follower engagement.
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25
Sep

Self-Publishing Podcasts: Everything You Wanted to Know

self publishing podcastsPodcasts are like Marmite: love it or hate it. With an overwhelming the majority of the Western world’s population having a smartphone (and commuting long hours every day), podcasts are once again on the rise. Many of them are produced by self-publishers: but who is the audience? Should you go for fiction or nonfiction? Stay with us to learn more about how self-publishing podcasts help readers, writers and authorpreneurs. Our special guest for today’s post is Tim Lewis, host of the Begin Self-Publishing podcast who has kindly agreed to share some of his insight us.

What are podcasts?

Although podcasts have been around for a few years now and have developed a loyal follower base, there are still millions of people who don’t know what they are missing out on. Podcasts are like a radio show but on demand. Once you sign up, you don’t have to worry about downloading and deleting content, managing your phone’s storage and keeping up-to-date. Your daily news, interviews, analytics and fiction will just magically be on your phone when you get on the bus and realize that you forgot about your book.
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