Welcome to Week 2!
No-one said it was going to be easy!
To re-cap and explain the title, last week I began this blog to help keep me motivated on my self-publishing journey.
In it, I referred to some tiny steps I realised I’d already taken and so this week’s post is all about bringing you up to speed and getting us on the same page.
Next week we can then, all go forward together!
I shan’t go into the pros and cons of self-publishing versus traditional publishing here, needless to say, been there, done that and presumably you have too, otherwise you’d be reading a different blog!
So, having made the decision to self-publish, the first impact of my decision was the realisation I was going to have to become more than ‘just’ a writer.
My future CV was going to include job titles such as entrepreneur and project manager.
Warning! Self-publishing is not for the faint-hearted!
But it is for the passionate.
It is therefore a really good idea to be passionate about your subject matter. If you love it, there’s a pretty good chance your target audience will love it too.
A familiar scene?
In front of you sits a story you’ve written, you’re passionate about the subject matter and (in my case) it also contains a strong message that you desperately want to share.
So, what next?
How do those words on your laptop transform into a physical book that someone picks up off a shelf, likes the look of and decides to buy? Or clicks on Amazon and excitedly awaits a brown package dropping through their letterbox?
There are a number of stages to go through and different people to gather around you. From my experience, so far (apart from the editing process) I don’t think the order in which you go about this matters too much.
They include the following:-
- Print on demand
(Marketing & self-promotion to be tackled as I get further into that side of things, myself)
It is vitally important to have your work professionally edited. This will of course, incur a cost. But to skip this stage would be a false economy – theirs notthing wurse than reeding a boook thut asn’t bin prropurly edditted!
It may be a brilliant story but if it’s annoying or hard work to read, it will never venture far from the shelf. Don’t make life difficult for the reader!
I can personally recommend Claire Wingfield ( although I must point out that she only edits my books, not my blog posts lol)
When you feel ready and brave enough to have your work edited, always go by personal recommendations or try sites like fiverr for reasonably priced and rated editors. I know people who’ve used this site and are happy to recommend it.
Consider whether or not you want illustrations. Even if you decide you don’t want them, consider again as perhaps your book might need them. As the age group I’m writing for is 7-11 years, I decided early on that I wanted illustrations to help my stories jump out of the page more. As an NLP practitioner I know that most of us think in pictures, anyway, so to expand any story with pictures is a good thing in my book! (Literally)
Adults like pictures too, remember.
I was given excellent advice to firstly research children’s books and see what type of illustrations I liked, felt would work well with my stories and then research illustrators via social media, forums etc. I was also advised to go with an experienced illustrator who understood the self-publishing process. This would then speed the whole process up for me as opposed to liking an artist’s work and the two of us ending up as the blind leading the blind.
Yeh, I didn’t listen!
I found an artist I liked and it has slowed the process down for me.
But I have no regrets and am championing Andy Templar, my wonderful illustrator – who needs to get a portfolio together to leave his day job and realise his dream of becoming a full-time illustrator.
I chose Andy because I’m a firm believer in going for and achieving your dreams. He’s helping me achieve mine and I’m (hopefully) helping him achieve his, in return.
Plus his work’s amazing! Don’t you agree?
What’s one of those & what do they do?
Yeh, I had no idea either.
However, I soon found out that if you want the pages of your book to look professional you’re going to need one.
( First draft)
As the job-title suggests a typesetter, sets the type on the page and designs (or implements an illustrator’s designs) front and back covers, discusses how many pages you’d like in the book (which obviously affects the sizing of the font used), discusses what font you’d like the words to be typed in, where you’d like the page numbers to appear, suggests ideas for designs around the beginning of chapters, last pages etc and most importantly can format absolutely everything that needs to be included in your book, ready to send off as a file to a print-on-demand company who will then publish your book!
(My next blog post will go into further detail regarding the ‘everything that needs to be included’ bit, with examples)
I was lucky that Claire recommended a typesetter to me that she’d often used herself, recommended to others and had good feedback about.
Typesetter’s fees can vary and so I did some research myself before making a final decision. Be aware that typesetters will either charge per page, or per completed job and as a guide their rates are between £4-£9 a page – and this may or may not include formatting files to send to your chosen print on demand company.
My final edited anthology of my first three books in the ‘Kids of Kernow’ series comes to just under 28,300 words.
That equates to a lot of pages! (Which peculiarly runs in multiples of 4 in the self-publishing world)
Therefore I urge you to do the maths at this early stage to make sure your budget will stretch far enough, bearing in mind that other costs will be involved too.
PRINT ON DEMAND
I’ve opened an account with Ingram Spark– and with that, you pretty much know as much as me! It is a website/company I need to study more as my first reaction, after joining, (which is free to do by the way) was a serious allergic reaction to information overload. All I know is that these people have a very good reputation in the self-publishing community, especially with the Alliance of Independent Authors.
The Alliance of Independent Authors- they seem a good bunch too! Join them if you can, as an Associate member. It costs about £60 a year from memory but they do also offer a free Self-publishing advice center that’s definitely worth taking a look at.
I’ve been an Associate member since June this year, but haven’t had time to take full advantage of my membership. Too busy actually writing the books!
Chicken and egg.
However, I’m looking forward to gleaming lots of good stuff from them from now on and I promise to share any nuggets of wisdom with you all, too.
This stands for International Standard Book Number and all books need one.
If, like me, you intend to write more than one book and want them stocked in shops as well as online, you will need to buy a block of at least 10 ISBNs. You can only buy 1, or 10 or blocks of larger amounts.
This is because every version of your book will need a separate ISBN ie an e-book, paperback, hard copy etc, so you can see how the numbers add up quite quickly.
10 ISBNs cost £159.00 from Nielsen Book ISBN agency.
You can purchase these anytime ( although I’ve tried already and got into a right muddle, am awaiting help from a friend who found the process easy -so it’s obviously just me!).
However, they MUST be purchased before the back cover is uploaded to your print on demand company as this is where the ISBN will go, along with a bar code if you want your books to be sold in shops.
More expense? NO- not if you open an account with Ingram Spark because they give you (& by that I mean whoever’s uploading your file!) a free cover template generator that’ll include bar codes for free too.
Lovely! One less thing to concern myself with!
I’ll let you all know when I’ve finally bought my ISBNs and will then write a simple guide for you all . I wish one already existed!!
If you’re doing anything for your ‘self’, are self-employed in any way, shape or form then branding is EVERYTHING and therefore it applies to you if you’re going to be a self-published author.
A word of warning here and please learn from my mistake. It’s important to decide what name you’d like to be known by on your books.
Before I’d finished my mentorship with Claire, I (with the help of my wonderful hubby- who fortunately for me, knows how to create websites) got a basic website up and running. However, by the time I’d finished the mentorship I’d changed my mind as to what name I wanted to be known by on my books.
Meaning it now all needs to be re-done.
Was I running before I’d learned to walk?
From my research you can’t have a website, too soon!
Your website is your very own, Author’s platform – where you can advertise your soon to be published books, take pre-orders, gather interested parties email addresses and list stockists etc
How’s mine coming along? Ummm, not there yet, but I intend it to be by the end of the year, along with an increased presence on social media to promote both myself and my books. Quite a daunting but necessary task.
Even if you go down the traditional publishing route, from what I’ve learned, you have to do most of your own publicity yourself, anyway- so I might as well do it my way!
The old ego will hopefully show itself enough to give me the confidence to speak my truth coupled with the book’s messages speaking for themselves! Parents and children alike will then be interested enough to buy and read what I’ve written.
Well, I can but try!
I shall leave you with something I read on a post from the Alliance of Independent Authors site this morning.
“Know That Self-Publishing is Challenging