Friday, May 12, 2017

Favorite links for writers - self-publishing a book

The production of a book (transforming a manuscript into an actual product that readers can hold in their hands or read on an electronic device) requires time, effort, patience, and perseverance. Traditional publishing houses handle the details of book production for their authors. But if you are self-publishing, then you are the publisher; you own all details.

I have self-published 7 books and learned a lot along the way. In this post, I list some helpful blogs, websites, and publishing professionals that I've discovered. My thanks to anyone who sent their favorite links to me; I've included them here.

Overview of my self-publishing experience

In 2015, a small press reverted my rights on 3 books (the I Wish series). I worked hard to turn those books around fast, 8 weeks or less. Looking back, I don't really know why I thought it was so important, but I did. In putting myself under that pressure, I missed out on the opportunity to connect with the pioneers of self-publishing--who had already figured out the process. Please don't make my mistake!

I wrote a blog post about all of the Fun Times with Self-publishing that I experienced.  Feel free to read and enjoy. Although it was originally written in March 2016, I update it to keep it current. Self-publishing and the book market changes quickly--and book production is definitely improving every day.

Self-publishing blogs and support groups

  There are thousands of these groups to help you navigate the challenges of self-publishing. Here are a few sites that I've found helpful:
 Facebook and Goodreads also have many author support groups, so search both sites and see if any feel right to you.

Book cover design

  Your book cover is the best marketing tool that you have. Gorgeous covers will help sales. Bad covers will hurt (or destroy) sales. Ask your writer friends for recommendations or check out cover designs and see what appeals to you. Your genre/subgenre will make a difference too, as they often experience trends.
  Covers can cost from $100 up to $1000s, so research is key. Some suggestions for cover designers to consider include:

Ebook formatting and layout

The internal layout and formatting of your book requires technical knowledge of ebook publishing formats, like MOBI/AZW and ePub. If you have a good understanding of these formats (or HTML), you might be able to do the work on your own. I'm a software engineer in my day job, so I do my own formatting and stick to the basics. But I suspect that most indie authors seek help, such as:

Professional editing

If you want to sell a quality book, you need a good editor to point out your flaws. Not just spelling and grammar mistakes--but holes in the plot, inconsistencies in characters, and continuity errors.

Professional editors are not cheap, and the costs range widely depending on their education and experience. Seek recommendations from other writers. If you find an editor who you want to hire, see if they will edit a sample chapter. It will give you insight into whether their style aligns with yours.

I've only ever used one editor, Laura Ownbey, so she is the only one I can recommend from personal experience. She is amazing!

If you have any links you would like to suggest, please add them in the blog comments or send them to me through my website.

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