Category Archives: self publishing

Networking, Fiction Writing and Why I Committed A Cardinal Blogging Sin


As most of you would know, there are a lot of other “cyber tasks” (apart from actually writing blog posts) that fill up a busy bloggers day ie visiting other blogs, editing and emailing guest posts ( my first soon to go up at WriteAnything ), researching ideas, cyber networking and leaving comments on other blogs.

What can I say, I like to keep busy!

Anyhow, due to all of the above, and a few other things I will go into in a moment, this week I happily committed (perhaps not a cardinal, but rather just a venial sin) of ‘reposting’ a previous post.

Personally I don’t think there is anything greatly wrong with that.

After all your readership may have grown over time and what’s wrong with a little resharing of some relevant and perhaps interesting facts about a particular topic?

Nothing Monica, except I’d read it before, I hear you say.

Yes, well, as I am now in the confessional box, I may as well mention to you another significant factor that affected my (blogging and all other aspects of) life last week. It was called CYCLONE YASI.

You’d have thought that the weather gods may have had enough fun with us Queenslanders lately (with the recent floods and all) but apparently that was just a test run. For just weeks later a category 5 cyclone, which had the dubious honour of being the most severe cyclone in our country’s history, began approaching off the coast. 

I don’t wish to turn this post into a news report about the event. I’m sure there have been plenty of them, worldwide. Suffice to say that this second disaster did once again, hit heart and home.

Our relatives in North Queensland experienced a horendous night (but are all safe) and are now enduring the second week of living with no electricity and a diminishing city water supply. Hardship and adversity has also hit the many  (sugar cane, banana and dairy) farming communities for the second time in just a few years, so these guys are all doing it tough. So please keep them all in yours thoughts and prayers. Thank you.

Okay, well apart from sharing this event with you from my own personal perspective, I also wanted to mention a few great writing sites and projects I have recently become aware of. This also involves sharing with you:-

Some Stuff You Didn’t Know About Me

I’ll make these points briefly (because there’s only a few of them!) :-

1) Apart from my own ebook, I also love to write non-fiction.

2) I have written a 50,000 word romance novel (that currently sits at the bottom of my filing cabinet) that one day, I will dust off and send to a publisher!

3) I am always on the lookout for magazine’s and other places, to submit my short stories to.

4) Last year, I had a story accepted for publication in a national parenting magazine;

5) Then, after a few months of back and forth email contact with the magazine’s editor, it was er….non-accepted (with many sincere and genuine apologies from the very lovely editor. I learnt two things from this experience. One was that  these people all work in editorial teams and as such, what one says, doesn’t always go. And two, they are very busy people and subject to constant changing circumstances about which content is appropriate to produce and which isn’t.

Arghh, all a big learning curve for aspiring writers!! Still, I am an optimist and can not feel anything but gratitude for the little bit of ‘foot in the door’ I was permitted (even if that foot is still just a little bruised and sore from it’s experience!!)

Anyhow, this all leads me to explain why I was so excited to discover a project called #FridayFlash, which as you might have guessed by the hashtag usage, is a fantastic, twitter born, opportunity for writers. Basically, this project involves uploading your own fiction each Friday and participating in the online community of writers bought together by @JMStoth.

If you yourself are intersted in joining in with this project you can do so here.

I myself will be uploading stories  (the stories are already written and on my computer files) as soon as a few hitches with my Microsoft office program are fixed!!

So there you have it friends – a confession, a heartache and some new writing ventures, shared. 

 

  

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Becoming A First Time Author Using Web Tools or The How’s and Why’s Of The New Publishing Model (Part Two)


 

Writing your book is a fantastic goal and the prospect of actually finishing it and getting it out there is pretty exciting. At least I think it is!

In my last post we looked at some of the fantastic options for doing just that, specifically digital publishing or creating ebooks. Today we will look at the self publishing print options, something that many authors prefer, although I think it is probably necessary to go down both paths, if possible.

Self Publishing in Print

If you really want to, of course, the traditional route to publishing is still available for you to pursue. That is if you’re happy to wait several years, read many rejection letters, possibly pay half or more of the publishing costs yourself (I have met authors who have been offered these sort of ‘deals’ from publishers), are prepared to wait months and months to hear back from editors and are lucky enough to find an agent who will return your calls.

Okay, I paint a dim picture. However, I am not about to argue with the thousands who have gone before me and had these experiences.

Especially since we right now have several viable alternatives to traditional publishing. I am also encouraged by the stories of authors who have already gone down the self publishing path and in time, gone on to get traditional book deals, after achieving sales success with their originally self published books. Two examples of people who have done this are Christopher Paolini and Lis Genova. So it can happen!

Making Your Book A Reality

Okay, so now that you’re jumping up and down with excitement (at least I hope you are !), how can you do this?

Well, there are several online companies who specialise in making this happen and here’s a list of them: –

www.lulu.com

www.createspace.com

www.booksurge.com

www.wordclay.com

www.fiverainbows.com

and

www.blurb.com

Check them all out if you want to, but the two that I think offer the best options for first time authors are Lulu and Createspace and these are the two that I will be looking at in the new year. Having not long ago reformatted my manuscript for Smashwords, I now have a little more work to do to produce print ready files for uploading to these sites.

Print On Demand

One of the great services offered by these companies (at least most of them) is Print On Demand, where books are printed as they are ordered. Someone puts in an order, they print it and ship it to the customer!

This saves us authors from having to store hundreds of books in our garages and also means no up front costs for printing, storage or distribution.

Learning The Trade

One of the main aspects of being an independent author is that you take charge of the marketing and promotion yourself. Luckily these are skills we can all learn and indeed for many of you reading this, you probably already have some experience with this.

I am still investigating and learning about things like creating press releases and marketing and reaching an audience. It’s a learning curve but one I am happy to be taking. The journey so far has been fun, interesting, stimulating and extremely self satisfying to have reached some of the writing goals I have set for myself.

I can’t begin to tell you, after all those months of working hard on my manuscript, how excited I was the day my book went ‘live’ on Smashwords!!

I know you too can also experience this feeling and I hope that the information I have shared here enables you to. Thanks for coming back for Part Two and I would love to hear from any of you who are currently working on manuscripts or who hope to in the future.

Wishing you all the best with your writing,

Mon

Before You Go….

Why not leave a comment? I would love to hear how your own manuscript is progressing, if you have one. Or perhaps you have thoughts about writing a book, but aren’t sure where to start ?

Also, was this information helpful for you or if there is something else that you are interested in reading about in relation to writing or any of the other topics discussed here?

Have you had any experiences with writing and publishing?

Love to hear…..

P.S. I have had some technical difficulties with my internet service lately (it keeps dropping out) so I have not gotten to visit everyone’s blogs for a few days. I have been trying!! I’m hoping it works long enough today for me to publish this post! Darn internet!

Becoming A First Time Author Using Web Tools or The How’s and Why’s Of The New Publishing Model (Part One)


 

The Book (as we used to know it)…

Okay, so like me you want to be an author. Correct? For whatever reasons of your own – perhaps it was a childhood dream or it is an unfulfilled wish you now have –whatever the reasons and background, you are now madly and passionately in love with the idea of seeing your book in print (although there are other options, too, which we’ll discuss soon) with a glossy cover and your name on it.

I don’t blame you. It is my wish too and I am part way there.  I am still learning though and don’t profess to knowing or doing it all,  (if I had already put it into practice everything I’ve learnt you would be reading these words on a much more ritzy looking author page!!). I am however, more than happy, to share with you, as I learn.

So This Is What I Know

Right now, the publishing industry is going through big changes. Large bricks and mortar stores are closing. Whilst some put this down to the impact of the Global Financial Crisis, there is another phenomenon effecting traditional publishing. It’s called the internet.

New technologies, such as the Ipad, the Iphone, the Kindle and similar e-reading devices are thriving. Predictions from experts in the field, are that the growth of ebook technology will eventually save the book, but not in its original format.

One day not too far away, school children will be using tablets and netbooks, not just in their ‘computer classes’, but as a complete replacement for print textbooks. They will be doing their homework online and emailing it to their teachers. Traditional school classrooms will ‘go global’ and connect with other classes across the world.

A big revolution in the way we read and learn is happening and if we want to be authors, it’s a great idea to get on board now and embrace these new technologies.

You’ve Already Begun

From my own research, one of the most important things for an author using this new technology to do is – start a blog – so, you can tick that one off!! An online presence is important not just for the connections you make and the audience you may begin to develop, but it is also valuable for off line sales as well. It is somewhere to direct a potential buyer or reader to, where they can find out more about you. 

You can also get feedback from your audience sooner this way and improve as you go. This is probably not new information to you, if you have been blogging for a long time, but I mention it here, to give the newbie bloggers a little nudge and let them know that if they want to be published authors, then they are certainly heading in the right direction with blogging. It gives you a platform to build from and although I am still building that platform myself, I am also learning heaps about writing both online and off, at the same time.

Blogging Matters

As I mentioned in my last post, many bloggers have already turned their passion for blogging into a book. An example of this can be seen here. To make the importance of blogging clearer, here are also a few more examples here and here, of famous authors who yes, still blog everyday.

Self Publishing Options

Stay with me now, I’m getting to the good stuff!!  I don’t want to miss or skim over any of the options though, so I have decided to make this a two part (at least) series post. Over this 2 part series, I will cover the following three areas.

#Affordable Self Publishing
#Print On Demand and
#Digital Publishing/Ebooks

Ebook Self Publishing

Since my own experience has been with ebook publishing, specifically with www.smashwords.com, I will talk about it first. 

The ebooks on Smashwords can be read online using our online readers, or they can be downloaded to other reading devices such as the iPhone, iPod Touch, Amazon Kindle, Sony Reader or IRex Iliad, or to other ereading devices. Smashwords also offers generous sampling options to readers so they can try before they buy.

I published about four months ago at Smashwords and this is what my own book page at Smashwords looks like: –

What Smashwords Offers Authors

Smashwords offers distribution to major online ebook retailers such as Barnes & Noble, Sony, Apple iPad iBookstore, Kobo (and Borders) and the Diesel eBook Store, and to all major smart phone platforms via app providers such as Stanza, Aldiko, Kobo and Word-Player.

They also offer free author pages with bios, headshots and lists of works; the industry’s broadest range of sampling options; embedded YouTube videos (I’m working on mine ) for video book trailers and virtual author events; reviews from readers; ebook downloads in multiple ebook formats; a coupon code generator for custom promotions (I’ve used this and it’s great) and more tools in the works. 

Smashwords does some of the marketing for you but, most of the promotion and marketing is up to you and thus, how many sales you make is also, up to you. In effect, being a Smashwords author is no different in this regard to being a mainstream published author. Although traditional publishers will do some of the work for you, most traditionally published authors find that a large part of the book marketing is up to them. This is why you will find so many of them on Twitter and Facebook. Yes, I’m there too.

If you would like to have obtain more information about marketing your Smashwords ebook, then you can do so for free by downloading the Smashwords Book Marketing Guide.

I do thoroughly recommend Smashwords, as any easy (if you use their guides) to follow ebook publishing platform.

However there are also other options such as www.scribd.com.

Part Two of this series….

So that’s about it for Part One of this series on Becoming A First Time Author, Using Web Tools. Stay tuned however…..because I will be back with as much information about the current publishing options open to new authors, as I can find. More links and useful information to come…….

And if I was a real clever bunny like Tristan, from The Blogging Bookshelf, I would also work out how to offer you the entire two posts as a download PDF ebook, but I’m not sure if the functionality of this blog allows that. I’ll let you know next time…..

You Should Comment Because….

1. I’d love you to !!

2. You can let me know if this information is of any help to you and your endeavours.

3. Even though I don’t have that great plug-in called Comment Luv, you can still link to or mention your own blog or latest post!

4. I will drop by your blog and leave a comment too! 🙂

As usual, I really would like your feedback, comments or suggestions. I am open to all thoughts and ideas, I won’t be offended if you didn’t like something I wrote and I am keenly interested to learn from you, too. 🙂

IF YOU LIKED THIS POST, PLEASE RETWEET IT OR SHARE IT.  THANKS. 🙂