Tag Archives: amazon kindle

How Not to Self-Publish?

6 May

My next book shall be titled, ‘How Not to Self-Publish.’ To be honest, I think everybody who has taken the route, could probably write the same guide.

As with everything in life, no matter how much you know, and no matter how much of a perfectionist you are, mistakes will be made. Anyone who disagrees with this is not entirely honest with themselves.

For me, the mistakes I have made in my little adventure sting more because of the books contents. To produce ‘A Simple Guide to Self-Publishing’ and then make errors in the process, make me question my knowledge. If I’m questioning it, then others must be too.

But knowledge, and following a process are two different things. I relate this to getting married. When it came to going to get the dress, I knew exactly what I wanted. I tried on hundreds of dresses, but nothing seemed to work. I finally chose the dress, headed home, so happy, only to receive a call from the bridal shop saying the dress was damaged.

When I returned to the shop, I walked in and spotted the most amazing dress. Still, I tried on the damaged dress (because I had chosen it and it was what I knew I wanted), to realise it wasn’t right. Straight away I chose to try on the amazing dress, and you know what? It was that dress I walked down the aisle in.

At the time everyone around me was really annoyed. If only I had been more open to styles in the first place…

With my book, I knew what was required. Completing the steps I got lost in my knowledge, rather than being receptive to different ideas. A good example of this is sizing of the physical book. As I had researched, I had at that stage decided the style and design, when it came to conversion (oh what another headache), I was stubborn in my choice. Eventually I gave way, and it was sorted within thirty minutes. Seriously, I need shaking at times!

Another idea that has been drummed into me is that as soon as the book is completed, get publishing. With this in my mind, you have to be thinking about marketing, blogs, author pages, twitter, Facebook pages…I should have stopped, and reminded myself that yes, I want to be published, but you don’t need to put pressure on yourself.

My final assignment is due in next week and that is me finished at uni. Yes that is right. I have tried to get this book published and marketed, whilst completing my final year…oh and did I mention I have a daughter under one and a son of three?

As the semester is ending, I am now able to look at things more realistically, whilst patting myself on the back. I have several people who helped out with some areas of the book – those with a more credible stand within the self-publishing world. I need to email them and tell them of the books process (assuming they are not reading the blog). I have made a decision I shall wait for the paper version to be available, as well as the e-book being listed on the iBookstore (it is now available on Amazon), before making contact. In the meantime, I shall finally get to grips with twitter, make the Facebook page more credible, whilst I may finally sort out the links and images for this very blog.

One thing I am sure of, there is no need to rush in and make this work, because I can’t just make it. I need to take time to study and understand before I go further (whilst reminding myself to be more receptive to ideas).

I am already being asked what the plan is next. I have everything ready to send to agents for my novel (although not complete – it is fully outlined with the first nine chapters written). I am also considering how the guide could be improved. Whether that be an extended version, or just ‘A Guide,’ I don’t know just yet. I shall take my holiday to Spain in a few weeks and decide after that.

One thing it won’t be for sure is a guide of ‘How Not to Self-Publish.’ We all make mistakes, and no one learns better than those who make them. My guide is just to get you started, and perhaps you can share your own mistakes. A giggle between friends with a cuppa is always welcome.

Does the delivery of text affect your interpretation?

16 Mar

Yesterday, I spent the morning in the library researching new media and how it has affected our decisions about e-publishing. It was all very academic in its approach, taking into account convergence culture and post-modernism just to mention a few.

I wrote 1600 words in three hours whilst studying a huge pile of text books. I didn’t really have a direct path to follow. I was just tying it altogether, trying to create organised content in an area that is very rarely written about in a rapidly evolving industry.

I took a break and read through what I had written. Why was this industry evolving? Who was pushing the change towards eReaders and the e-publishing industry?

We know it is not the traditional publishers. Authors are adapting to (some even embracing) the change, but most still have some reluctance, still wanting to take the traditional route if offered. So is it the reader?

I think most people with an eReader, although finding positives, understand that it is a luxury, not a necessity, and not necessarily something that they would miss. Would they?

I have read through many reasons about why an eReader is a positive experience, most of which rely on external factors such as saving trees. So, where has this phenomenon come from?

My conclusion is that the only people who benefit from eReaders’ are those whom create and sell them, along with the content. This demographic is made up of predominantly Amazon and Apple.

However, I remain open-minded at this stage in my research; I may still have this completely wrong. Maybe you can help me out here. Do you have an eReader, what benefits do you see to owning one?

I understand the benefits for writers, and I won’t knock them, but for readers it is intriguing to understand what part of the experience you enjoy most. Does the delivery of content affect your experience?

E-publishing – where I am at.

2 Feb

I have spent the last two weeks, although it feels like much longer, trying to tie up the loose ends with this e-publishing how to guide.

Knowing that my brain is a complete blur, and I struggle to remember what I have done each day, let alone whether I have blogged about whats been going on, I shall apologise now if I am repeating myself.

So what am I doing?

As many of you know, this started out as a University project. I was to research the e-publishing industry, and write 10,000 words on it. Somewhere along the lines, this changed to me actually following through this process. The content, everything I have researched.

Where am I at?

I wrote the first draft and was pretty pleased with the results. I sent the text Eoin Purcell, (Green Lamp Media)  who came back with a few pointers. This coincided with a tutorial with Sally Harrison, my Media Communications lecturer. She also had read the text and had found some of the terms confusing. (The guide should be written in a very basic way for non techies – I think I must have forgotten somewhere along the lines.)

I started to re write the text, providing more detail, and for those complex terms I couldn’t get rid of, brief explanations. I also started to include quotes from industry insiders to basically back up what I was saying. I examined the word count of the text, and decided for the effort it was taking, I needed to bulk it up. Not fill it with trash, the e-book industry is too vast at the moment to need to bulk out, but I needed to consider where I should expand, and how.

I have spent countless hours looking at pricing and services for  the main ‘e-publishers’. I have made charts and codes. I have researched until my back aches and my arm is frozen from RSI.

So what now?

I have four weeks until I need to hand in a portfolio to university which will include this text. I haven’t got my cover designed. I haven’t had it proof read/ edited. I haven’t considered a typesetter, although I do know which ‘e-publisher’ I shall be using. I know there is more to that list, I just can’t be bothered to go back and check that manual I just wrote. My point is, can I get this turned round and completed? Four weeks….

The original plan was to have this published for when writing up the final portfolio, so I could really say I have followed the whole process. I don’t think it will happen, I have become slightly too obsessed to rush it, but if I don’t, at least it will be for the right reasons….I don’t want to produce some trashy, half attempt at a self published e-book – that would be just too embarrassing.

E-publishing – who should do it?

10 Jan


Before I could start my research of how e-publishing works, it was important for me to be able to distinguish between the various forms of publishing, but also, I needed to be able to understand who would e-publish.

Simply, publishing in recent years has been defined by two sectors. Traditional publishing, where an author has the backing of a large house, and self publishing, where the writer lays out their own money to create and market the finished product.

As a rule, self publishing has a negative reputation. However in recent times, specifically since the success of the internet, perception has shifted. Correctly managed, self publishing can be very successful due to the writers ability to self market to a vast audience.

So who would e-publish? The market for this industry lays at the feet of would be authors. A stepping stone for those who wish to be published, but can’t get an agent, or haven’t the confidence or the know how to make that leap.

E-publishing allows the author to have full control over their own work. Editing, design, marketing is all in their hands. For fiction writers, it also means not having to adapt your work to suit what the publisher feels is the market need or want.

Many of the major publishers are adapting to the market place, and offering their books as an e-version. Likewise there are many that haven’t embraced the idea of change within the industry and are slow to get started.

Back catalogues of works will increasingly become more readily available, however at this time, many books for sale on Amazon without an e-edition, have a link for you to click to tell the publisher you wish to read it on Kindle.

Authors themselves, who have a publisher, may wish to e-format their own back catalogue. One of the first contacts I made, Helen Smith, has decided to follow this route herself. ‘I published my e-books in the Amazon kindle store. They had gone out of print and I wanted to revive them. Publishing in e-book format offers a great opportunity to do that with very little investment on the part of the author. ‘

Similarly, there are authors who have chosen to make the leap without a traditional publishing deal, and become successful. Joe Konrath, is one of many ‘indie authors’ who made that leap. In December alone, he sold over 10,000 copies of his e-published novels.

E-publishing is for everyone. It is how you choose to do it that makes the difference.


Which e-reader?

6 Jan

I have been asked which e reader I would recommend. The simple answer is I don’t know. It all depends on your own needs.

For me at this time I would be happy with a kindle. It serves its purpose, providing downloads from the largest e-book seller.

As I write this though, I’m considering the benefits of the iPad. What with video availability, it would seem daft to discount the options available in terms of the enhanced e-book. lets not forget the Nook, that now has these options also but not the notoriety of the ibookstore. That’s not to mock the market share of Barnes and Noble.

But I can’t miss what I have never had. I have never opened my book and been greeted by illustrations that come to life, other than those in my mind. If I allow my device to offer this, will I be losing part of the reading experience. Unlikely, but it is worth considering as part of your own personal enjoyment.

I will be honest, I am not in a ny major rush to commit to a particular reader. What with the google ebook store on its way (launched in the US in December), will I even need an eReader. I have a notebook that I am happy to carry around, do I want another electronic device?

This is a very personal decision for each of us. Just like your mobile phone (I don’t have a blackberry or an iPhone), you go with what suits you. Allow yourself to be led by marketing and you won’t get the most out of your experience.

New eReaders are coming to the market all of the time and I struggle to keep up. I haven’t even mentioned half of them in this post, let alone the various models. I shall attempt to compile a comparison chart over the coming days, or if all else fails, find one online.

New York Times – E-book article

20 Oct

Check out this article that featured in the New York Times, http://roomfordebate.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/14/does-the-brain-like-e-books/

In particular I enjoyed David Gelernter’s opinion. The suggestion that ebooks aren’t designed to replace the book, just merely enhance it, is one I can go along with.

I have mentioned several times my dislike for the e-book; I should say, my dislike for the idea of where ebooks could take us. The more I read, the more I am coming round to the idea that this technology could be a good thing.  However, I still maintain, nothing beats the smell and feel of a  good book. Or is that just me?

The Writers Handbook 2011

19 Oct

In the past I have purchased many books that I believed would enhance my writing, teach me all I needed to know, and offer me that magic answer of how I would find myself with an agent/publisher.

It didn’t take long before I realised there was no easy way to success; no matter how much I read.  So, I did what all writers should do, i knuckled down, wrote, re wrote, and then started over. The truth is the easiest way to get published is to work hard.

I am not published. I’m  not even close. I have however, finally found that one book that potentially can help me along the way, The Writers Handbook.

Why I have never heard of this handbook before I do not know. Published every year with lists of agents and publishers, along with helpful advice from those in the know, it is worth every penny I have paid for it and more.

Having only received my copy earlier today, I cannot claim to have read it in full. Truth is I have only reached page 12, but I am so happy with my purchase I felt compelled to tell the world, or would be writers to be exact, to buy buy buy.

If you want further information about this guide, follow:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Writers-Handbook-2011-Publishers-Broadcasters/dp/0230207294