Author Solutions, authors, book marketing, Editing, Indie book publishing, Publishing, self publishing

The Guardian newspaper in the UK suggests $6,000 needed to effectively self publish. Debate ensues.

Last week, Suzanne McGee, penned a feature  in the Money section of the Guardian, with the headline, You can try to be the next Hemingway — for $6,000 and the subhead, Self-publishing has made it possible to get your writing out in the world. But it hasn’t made it cheap.

In her article, she suggests based on her interviews with a number of self published authors, there are some critical elements you need to consider if you are going to self publish. Those include

  • An ISBN number
  • Editing
  • Cover Art
  • Paid reviews
  • Promotional print copies of your book

The GuardianShe suggested the total cost of the project would be around $6,000 with the two-thirds of that budget going to editing. Not surprising her article generated 80 comments and many opposing views.  Some were civil in their comments and some were rude.  Based on her response to the comments I think she was simply trying to point out that self-publishing is not and should not be considered a “free” opportunity as some might lead you to believe.

Certainly you can spend more or less than the amount she suggests, but those who were debating the number I think missed the most helpful points of the article.

  1. You are going to have to invest in editing to have a good book--I think this is the most important thing every self published author needs to remember and good editors are not cheap or free.
  2. You will have to invest time and money in promotion–She suggests paid reviews and many debate the value of those, but the point is you can’t just publish a book and wait for people to find it. You are going to have to spend some coin to garner interest and publicity.
  3. You will have to give things away before you see sales—In her article she suggests you need promotional copies of your book to hand out to media or others to get word of mouth about  your book started.  I think that is true, but there are other things you may want to consider as well.

The other great value to an article like this is it points out the need to have a simple way to evaluate the options out there for authors. I have written extensively about this topic and have a white paper title The Four Paths to Publishing, that layouts out the different opportunities available today for authors to get their books in the hands of readers.

If you would like to read the complete article in The Guardian, you can find it by clicking here.




Author Solutions, authors, Editing, Publishing, self publishing, writing

Answers to Mistakes spell check would miss, but a good editor will catch

In my last post, I suggested that spell check does not take the place of a good editor.  In fact, it will overlook errors that an editor will catch. I gave these examples and asked you to see if you could find the mistakes.

  1. I did not here the gate change for my flight; so I did not get there bags on the plane.
  2. Once I realized I needed to move myself foreword: I had the angel I needed to see what I needed to sea.
  3. He was so surprised. He looked like a dear in the headlights.

Here are the corrections. quick edit of errors second attempt

 How many did you catch?

Also if you are looking for other information about editing, just simply type editing into the search box on the blog and you will find some helpful posts.



Author Solutions, authors, Ebooks, Editing, helpful hints, Publishing, self publishing, writing

Mistakes spell check would miss, but a good editor will catch.

One of the most important things self-published authors can do is have their book edited by an experienced professional. Spell check does not count as editing despite what some first time authors may think. Let me just give you a few examples of mistakes in the following sentences that spell check would miss.

  1. I did not here the gate change for my flight; so I did not get there bags on the plane.
  2. Once I realized I needed to move myself foreword: I had the angel I needed to see what I needed to sea.
  3. He was so surprised. He looked like a dear in the headlights.

See if you can find them all and post your answers in the comment section.

In a few days, I will post the answers.

Author Solutions, authors, Editing, helpful hints, Indie book publishing, Publishing, self publishing, writing

First-time author advice from Simon and Schuster Senior Editor, Abby Zidle

Archway logoArchway Publishing, the self publishing service of Simon and Schuster which is operated by Author Solutions,  has offered some outstanding webinars in the past year to help authors understand what they need to do to make their books as good as they can be. One of the presenters was Abby Zidle, senior editor at Simon and Schuster who did a presentation titled Top Ten Mistakes Writers Make. The webinar is free and you can watch it by clicking here. As a sampler of what you can expect, Abby offers some helpful tips in this 90 second video titled Avoiding Mistakes First-time Writers Make. Definitely worth watching if you are in the proess of workig on a manuscript.

Author Solutions, authors, book marketing, book selling, Ebooks, Editing, self publishing, writing

5 trends every author should watch as self-publishing evolves

Recently, I was asked what I believed to be the next big trends or issues around self publishing.  As I thought about it and shared my ideas, I thought it might also make a good blog post. See if you agree with my thinking and share your ideas in the comment section.

Editing is finally being recognized as essential by self-published authors.

This  seems like a “duh” statement,  but early on many self-published authors didn’t understand how critical editing was and so many books were not that good. All that has changed and most authors now work hard to find the right editor for their work.

Subscription models are cropping up everywhere. Authors have to figure out how to play. 

It seems like every week, there is an announcement about someone offering a subscription model for e-books. (See Scribd) It really isn’t that surprising when you see what happened in music. Books are simply following in the same path as the previous indie revolutions. The difference between music and books is you can sell individual songs from an album.  Not sure anyone would pay for individual chapters so how will authors participate?

Local stores like Books&books in south Florida are welcoming self published authors.

Local stores like Books&books in south Florida are welcoming self published authors.

Local independent bookstores are finally embracing and welcoming authors because they can create store traffic.

It wasn’t that long ago that bookstores would turn away any author who self published, but now bookstores are recognizing that a local author with a good book can drive traffic to the store.  So instead of rejecting them, they are welcoming them. That is unless you publish with Createspace. Most stores won’t accept those books because they believe Amazon has greatly undermined the retail market.

Hollywood is looking at self-published books more than ever for source material. 

A few years ago, I could not get any one in Hollywood to talk to me, if they were on fire and I had a bucket of water. But now the whole entertainment industry is looking for new ideas to feed the multitude of cable and subscription channels. And self-published books are a great source of new material. That is why we created The Hollywood Pitch database and the Book-to-Screen Pitchfest.

99 cents used to be a way to differentiate, but now every one is doing it so authors have to find new ways to use price.

Low price is always a purchase incentive and early on, many authors used a 99 cent price to build readership. Now it is a strategy that many authors employ so what will the next creative pricing strategy be to stand out from the crowd?  Time will tell.

authors, Editing, Indie book publishing, self publishing, writing

“Free” is a fantasy when it comes to self publishing.

With the Indie Revolution in full swing, there seems to be quite a bit of chatter in social media about what it should cost to self publish. If you were to believe some of the loudest voices, you might think if you pay anything to publish you are foolish. Fortunately there are other voices entering the discussion that point out there are costs associated with publishing a good book no matter what method you choose.

Media shiftFormatting an e-book can be free, but publishing requires an investment.

PBS watches the self-publishing space and reports on it in the Media Watch section of their website.  Recently one of the columns was written by Miral Sattar with the title: The Real Costs of Self Publishing.

In this informative article, Miral, who is the CEO of Bibliocrunch,  lays out some key areas every author should consider when publishing a book. More importantly, she suggests a range of costs someone might pay for those services. Here are some of the things to think about and the range of investment you might need to make based on a 70,000 word manuscript. To read the complete article, click here.

  1. Developmental editing:  An editor will evaluate and critique your manuscript, suggest and provide revisions, and shape it into a smooth, workable piece. They’ll look at the big picture and make sure everything flows and is consistent. Expect to pay anywhere from $3,000 to $18,000
  2. Copyediting: Once your manuscript is in good shape, the next thing you need to do is hire another editor called a copy editor or line editor to go through and catch spelling mistakes and adjust for grammar, punctuation and consistency. Expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 to $7,000
  3. Cover design: Yes, books are judged by their covers.  If you want to hire someone to make a custom cover design, you can expect to pay anywhere from $150 to $3,500. The higher end is for award-winning designers who have done Random House- or HarperCollins-type covers. Expect to pay anywhere from $150 to $3,500
  4. Formatting for print and and digital conversion:  If you’re looking to hire an expert, you can find someone to do the print-on-demand conversions for as little as $150 or as much as $2,500 to convert from Word or InDesign.
  5. Getting an ISBN: An ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is recommended if you’re doing a print book or want it placed in a library.
  6. Distribution: Lots of options here. If you do the work yourself, it is usually free. If you hire someone, they will usually take a percentage of sales. That is not necessarily a bad thing, because you have to evaluate how much your time is worth. You can do this yourself by following the instructions to get your books distributed into the various retailers. However, if you use a third-party they do take a percentage of each book sold.
  7. Marketing & PR: This is probably the toughest part after you’ve written the book. If you have the time, you can do a lot of the marketing yourself. Also, good book publicists can get you radio spots and press pickups for anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 per month.

What do you think of Miral’s assessment? Use the comment section to let me know if you agree and if there is anything she missed.

authors, Editing, helpful hints, Publishing, self publishing, writing

What every author can learn from the author of Anne of Green Gables

We can all learn something from the life of L.M. Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables

Recently I had the opportunity to visit the site that inspired L.M. Montgomery to write the classic Anne of Green Gables series. The setting for the books and the site is Prince Edward Island so I expected it to be quite lovely and it was. However, what I did not expect was the story of the author and her journey from writer to acclaimed and beloved author. I could not help but think there are lessons from her life that apply to all authors. So here are my observations about her and her work that can help us today. Many of these things may simply be a reminder, but it is always interesting to these points lived in the life of a successful author.

  1. She wrote what she knew. If you have read any of the Green Gables books, you will note the very vivid and imaginative descriptions of her surroundings. Now having been to her place of inspiration, I appreciate even more how she wrote what she was experiencing and seeing. That is a simple but important reminder for us.
  2. She practiced her craft. I knew about the books, but it wasn’t until the visit to the Green Gables site that I saw how many journals she kept. Many of them have now been published, but what struck me was she was constantly working to be a better writer.  Her craft was important to her.
  3. She believed in her work even when others rejected it. Like many successful authors, Lucy Maud Montgomery had to face rejection. In fact, four publishers rejected her manuscript before it was finally published. One interesting fact was the post office for the island was run from her grandparents home where she lived. So instead of having the rejection LM Montgomeryletters appear in public, she was able to grab them before anyone knew. Some think it was one of the reasons why she persevered and kept sending out the manuscript, but regardless, she did keep sending it because she believed in her story and her work. Take heart from that if you are doubting yourself. Believe in your work and press on.