Tag Archives: aspiring authors

Indie Author Guide


Ever since I published my first book in 2012, I have been asked how I did it, along with many other questions that I feel I have enough to fill a book. Most of the questions are usually the same ones that I am asked repeatedly. I try my best to answer each one and at times I feel like I’m leaving something out.

I want budding authors to strive in this business, as being an author is a business. It’s how we earn an income. Some authors earn a lot more than others but I don’t want to keep aspiring authors from learning their craft to where they can’t make a living. I want to help them become successful.

I have decided to take these questions and answer them by writing a book. Not only do I answer their questions, in length, I added a plethora of other useful tips and tidbits that they should know to help them in building and marketing their brand. Though it’s a guide on how to become an indie author, I do write a little about what to expect in the traditional publishing side of becoming an author.

Indie Author Guide

Though I don’t have an exact date set for when it will be published, I do know it will be out sometime next Spring.

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Self-Publishing vs Traditional Publishing, Pros and Cons


There’s a big difference between choosing to publish traditionally than there is to self-publish. I have listed a few pros and cons that should help you choose.

Traditional:

Pros:

  • You have a chance of seeing your work in a lot of stores, especially the big name bookstores.
  • It isn’t as costly to publish, but it does come out of your sales.

 

Cons:

  • You have to market yourself. The publishing company is putting their faith in you when it comes to marketing your work. They’re making money off of this, too!
  • You have to sign a contract. If your work isn’t selling, your contract will be forfeit. Your publisher will drop you.
  • Publishers pay you 15-30% royalties.
  • Agents charge you at least 15-20%.
  • Not all publishers give you an advance. If they do, you don’t get paid till your books earn every penny the publisher gave you in your advance.
  • If you publish one book with a publisher in one genre, then write another book in a different genre, you may have to find a different publisher for that second book as your publisher may only publish a certain genre.
  • It takes a year, up to three years to get your work published.
  • If you queried an agent, it make take weeks or months for them to respond. Then it takes longer to read and edit your work. Then it takes even longer for them to find the right publisher for you and to get said publisher to accept your work.
  • You may have to change your story, plot, characters.
  • You don’t get the say in the formatting, cover design, pricing.
  • You may not get to publish your book the way you want such as paperback, hardback, audio, and ebook. Sometimes, you are only able to publish one or two of those styles.

 

Self-Publishing:

Pros:

  • You are your own boss. No contracts.
  • You set your own prices. You can also decide when to put everything on sale.
  • Sort of a pro and a con… If you want to see your books in a bookstore, you have to pay (a small fee) to use a certain service. If you want to see your books in the big name bookstores, you will have to write up a press release, requesting your work be placed on their shelves.
  • You can publish whatever genre you want, using whatever self-publishing service you want. Granted, there is a limit to publishing EVERYTHING.
  • It takes 3-12 days to have your work published, depending on the length of your manuscript, formatting, etc.
  • You get to choose your cover design – hire a professional, unless you are the professional.
  • You are paid 35-80% in royalties (Amazon will pay you 35% if your book is priced below $2.99, but will pay you 70% if it’s $2.99 or above.)
  • If you choose not to be an author anymore, you don’t have to wait on a contract to end, you can cancel your books at any time.
  • You can publish your book the way you like; ebook, paperback, audio, hardback. Plus, you can choose the size of the book.

Cons:

  • You market everything yourself, as if you weren’t already. You don’t make money if you don’t market your work.
  • Self-Publishing has a bit of a bad name to it, some people think that your work will be rubbish and not bother giving you a chance. You have to show them that they’re wrong.
  • You have to spend a little bit more out of pocket for services, such as editing, cover design, formatting, but you can budget yourself on this. Pro: I’ve learned to format my own work to save me money. It isn’t that hard. You can do your own cover design if you are very familiar with Photoshop and your cover designs look really good.

 

Hopefully I have answered some of your questions. If I missed something, message me. You can find me on Facebook. I am working on making some Youtube videos to share my writing/publishing journey with everyone.

If you haven’t already, check out my webpage: www.twistedcrowpress.com

Cheers,

JA

One of My Sister’s Graduates College


This past Thursday I attended my sister Jessica’s graduation. Though I’ve been to college and have graduated, it wasn’t a University, nor did I attend my graduation. I was in a small class of five and I didn’t wish to be the only one showing up just to receive my diploma. Instead, I had my diploma mailed to me.

My sister’s ceremony was amazing and interesting. It was somewhat like a High School graduation, but with added extras. The teachers dressed in cap and gowns, marched before and after the students. A person banged a staffed on the stage floor, calling the graduation ceremony to begin, then later did the same for it to end. There was an Honorary Degree Recipient; half the crowd gave her a standing ovation…of course I stood and applauded. She worked for civil rights and social change, something that I hold close to my heart, among many things.

When my sister’s name was called, we cheered and clapped for her. We’re so proud of her and her achievements! Nine years, she said it took her to get her diploma. I’m well on my way as well; a year down with three semesters done. I need a total of 65 credit hours to get my Associates Degree; I have already lost count as to how many credit hours I’ve already obtained thus far, but I will continue my education like she did until I receive my diploma or degree.

Stop over at her blog page and leave her a comment or two. She’s a writer like myself and is working on writing a book. http://jessicabragg1writer.wordpress.com

Getting published


It took me about a week to write the story for a children’s book. I had a friend proofread it for errors. I searched the internet and spent a lot of time browsing the shelves at the book stores. I would thumb through Writer’s Digest magazines, Self Help books, publishing books, how to publish books, whatever I could find to help me learn the process to get to my next step.

The next thing I needed to know was if I need to illustrate the pictures in my children’s book myself or will the publisher’s do that for me? This was also another thing I spent many exhaustive hours trying to find the answer to. Finally I found my Eureka moment. I didn’t need to draw the pictures myself, or hire anyone; the publisher’s had an illustrator that does that kind of work.

The next step, finding a publisher; this was another reason why I spent time in the book stores. I would flip the book to the inside cover to find the publisher’s name. I would then write the information down in my notebook. I would look them up online and see what all they had to offer, what Better Business Bureau said about them, then also, how many of their books did I see on the shelves?

After finding a publishing company of the genre I’m writing, I’ll pick one of the publisher’s and write down their names and email addresses. I also make sure the publisher is also interested in the genre that I’m writing about. Next would be to work on a query letter.

  • A query letter talks about your book and a little bit about yourself all on one page. Make sure your query letter is in Times New Roman, size 12 and submit it to the publisher. You don’t necessarily have to send to one publisher, you can send to more than one at a time.
  • When they accept your query letter and wish to read your manuscript, make sure it is in Times New Roman, size 12, double spaced, also your name, address, phone number, email address in the top left corner, then email it to that publisher. Sometimes they may request the first ten pages or the first chapter or the first three chapters. Each publisher is different.

I was lucky, I made a phone call and left a message on the publisher’s machine, she was on vacation at the time. The next day she called me and I told her that I was curious what all they had to offer, that I had a manuscript finished and was looking for a publisher. She told me a little about their company that wasn’t listed on their website. She told me some pricing information, also not listed on their website. She asked me how many words are in my story, I told her almost 700 words (children’s book requirements 24-40 pgs). Then she asked me if I would be willing to email her my manuscript so she could read it. I told her I would. The next morning, the phone rang really early in the morning; she had called to tell me she loved my story and wanted to publish it if I was willing to accept them (her company). I said sure!

Something about her company is that they don’t just accept everyone that sends query letters or manuscripts to them. So I was really lucky to be accepted.

She had sent an email and then the UPS had sent me a contract. My grandma and I went over the contract and I signed it. The next thing I had to do was break into my savings. It cost a nice chunk of change to get a book published, so be prepared. She had emailed me when they received my contract and then told me that I will be assigned an adviser. I then got an email from my adviser telling me what all I needed to do next.

She continues to email me every other week with tidbits of useful info about publishing and writing. Then she sends me the email to tell me when my book will begin production; which is in September. She told me that it’ll take 180 days to go through production. She also has sent me emails telling me what all to expect during that time and what I should do during my last month of production. I am really pleased with this company that I chose. How helpful they are. They are even most helpful in answering any questions that I have and I had many. I told the publisher that I would have many books after this one, as they are a series, she told me that she would offer me a discount, but if my books are popular I would get a much bigger discount.

I chose to go with this company because of the offers they give and the royalties are much greater than most of the companies out there. They also have a good standing record with BBB. I’ve also seen quite a lot of their books on shelves at bookstores and on amazon and not to mention, I met one of their authors during a book signing.

It was a dream of mine to finally become a published author. I have finished another book, a Young Adult novel and am in the editing process. I’m planning on finding a literary agent, hopefully this summer. I will let you know how the process of that goes as I did here with the publisher. I imagine it will be the same.