Wednesday, February 29, 2012

OMG! I Really Have To Do All This To Publish A Book?

This post is a continuation from Indie Publishing - What Not To Do & What To Do - So if you have not read that yet it would be a good idea to read it first.

So let us get down to some basics.

Writing The Book
  1. You have to write. Think I am joking. Think again. You first and foremost have to write. Interesting concept there. You have to plan out your book, know where you will start from, understand the message you want to convey, and have an idea of who or whom your audience is. That is not a simple task.
  2. Then You have to actually sit and write the book. Or stand and write it. Or watch TV and write it. I do not really care. You do have to write the book though. Spending time in forums asking for names of characters and other such things, may be fun, but it is not writing.
  3. You need to familiarize yourself with tools. Like for one. You need to understand the nature of a sentence, a paragraph and when to break things up and yes, even when to break the rules. 
  4. Going into this part too deeply, if you do not understand it already, is futile. Obviously, if you want to publish a book you know you have to write it first.
  5. This part of the process, believe it or not costs you the most money in many ways. Why? Because if you are writing you are not doing other things. Like work, like paying attention to the family, little things like that. It can have a great cost both in monetary means, friendships and in relationships. You need to be prepared and actually committed to the sacrifice you are going to make. If you are not prepared to do it, do not start it. Bad Karma that one.
  6. Some tools that may help you. 1. Chicago Manual of Style or another accepted style book. 2. A spell checker 3. A Grammar checker. 4. Grammerly (but that costs money). and its companion USE THEM.
Now you say, "Okay big mouth, Teddy. Now I really have finished my book. So now all I need to know how to upload and get it into Kindle and/or Smashwords and/or some other places. Right?" And I smile sweetly and say, "Oh so wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong."

Planning your next stages:
  1. So now you finished the book. You probably read it over once or twice. Good. Now make a backup copy and put it away. That is right. You did not misread that. Put it away for 10-14 days. Do not look at it. Do not show it to anyone. Do not tell anyone you just finished your book. Do not start anything on that book. Not yet. Do not even get into a forum and say "OMG I am so happy. I just wrote my last paragraph!" Keep your mouth shut and your eyes away from the book and use your computer for other things or your next book.
  2. Now you need to be ready to spend some money.Take a deep breath. Because this is reality folks not a world of wishes and dreams. You will have to be ready to spend that money. In this article and the one that comes after it the amount of money will be up to you and exactly what you expect from your book and your writing. But despite everything you have read it is my contention, and this is based upon research, that you will not get away with a decent book and even mediocre sales if you are not going to spend what is needed. (And please do not fall for all that BS and hype of I wrote my book, I self-edited it, I made my own cover, and I gave away 15,000 copies for free on Amazon and it is now a best-seller. Do not fall for it, cause it just in the end will not be true.)
  3. But now you say "I do not have the money to spend on anything." Fair reaction and probably true. Most Indie authors do not have money lying around. So in this case you have a few options.
    • You can go the route of reading all that well meaning material of how to become famous and great and sell a zillion books through the use of Social Networking (rolls eyes here),  put up your FB page, get on the twitter lists which will twitter your posts to authors in your position (kind of worthless), get into LinkedIn join the proper groups, post there, start a blog, start a web site, join 10 forums, and spend the next year trying to get people to buy your book. After all you have nothing better to do than marketing all day - like writing another book. Right?
    • Or you can just skip over all the other information here go to Kindle and/or Smashwords and upload your book and say your prayers
    • Or you can face the facts and realize being an author and publishing your book is just not for you 
    • Or you can figure out how to get that money that you need to continue. And this depends on how much you do believe in yourself and how much you believe in the Fairy Godmother.
Now comes the part where you have divide your mind into a few compartments. And depending on your capabilities and your past writing experience and financial wherewithal will determine just what has to be done and what you need to plan on.
So let us deal with them one at a time shall we?

Edit & Proofread:
If you think you do not need an editor, I just throw my hands up. You prove everything that has been said about the "bad" in the Indie industry. If you think you can write, self-edit your own material, and create a great book cover and then sell it, why the hell are you not on the top 10 best-seller list already?

If you do not know the difference between the stages of Editing and Proofreading ask around. Look it up. You need both. So when you are looking for that editor make sure they know you are requesting an edit and a proofread.
  1. If you have an editor that you know, trust and already used then schedule a manuscript to be sent to her 1 month from the time you finished your book. Remember we put away the book for 10-14 days. Then go open your computer and start writing your next book.
  2. If you do not have an editor, do research on the net and in all the forums you already belong to. Remember there are scams out there. You need to get people who will recommend the editor and not just read what is on their website and the testimonials. You need to garner a list of at least 2-3 editors. You need to send them an email with who you are, your book, word count and ask what the process editing with them entails. You need to wait for all the answers. READ THEM. Because a lot of your choice will depend on how long it will take for someone to get back to you and how professional their answer will be.
  3. You must be incredibly careful if you belong to a forum where you are known, if you wish to pick an editor in that forum. If something does not work out, if even you both are not on the same page, or the editor does not like your work or you think they destroyed your book...kiss goodbye to that forum and that friendship. So be really sure you want to go that route if the editor is in your forum or even worse, someone you know in real life. Be real careful. MHO - your editor is not your friend, just like your literary agent should not be your friend. If a friendship develops that is wonderful. But this is not something to pick based upon friendships or witty comments in a forum. This is serious business, and should be treated that way.
  4. Money does matter. This will cost you. Some people offer to edit for free. But free also means that you are on the back-burner if something else happens in their lives. Take out your calculator. Do a word count by the charge per word. And then add like 10-20%. Why? Because there are always the fixes you did not think of which cost even more.
  5. Some people like the "farms". These are a business with professional editors and proofreaders and quite a few good ones out there. There is some personal contact but not a whole lot. They do work fast. Some others like the "personal touch". An editor you can write to or call, and expect an answer from. Also quite a few good ones. This all depends on you and how your personality works. In both cases, make absolutely sure they are not scams.
  6. Make sure that your editor also understands you want a proofread as well as that costs more money. (I will get to these in the next post and tell you not such a funny personal story on that one - cause yours truly decided once to skip the proofread step.)
  7. As "snobby" as this may seem, an editor should actually have finished some type of University or have some type of degree that is not related to "underwater swimming". I will even accept here self-educated. But I would not rely on it for my own books. Editors need to know language, grammar and proper constructs. They are not just readers. They are editors. Education here is a must as well as the eye for editing. (Shoot me later for saying this, but this is what I believe.)
Remember your book is still tucked away. You have not yet looked at it again. Right? Right! Next planning stage:

Book Cover:
At the same time we are looking for that editor, we are also going to look for the book cover artist. But a few words of introduction. I have seen in my short time, more discussion on book covers than content of books. That is very sad and even creepy to me. Yes, a book cover needs to be decent. Yes it needs to express something. No, it does need to be the Mona Lisa. No, it does not justify hundreds of posts in 10 forums asking for ideas and compliments and critique. No, it does not justify spending more time on the cover than you did on your book. And certainly, it does not justify nor prove that a book is judged by its cover. So you sucker in 500 people to buy your book based upon the wonderful cover. And one of those people just happens to know a legitimate and influential book reviewer. And that book ends up in the hands of a book reviewer. Guess what happens next? Beautiful book cover, no more suckers buying your book. Or even more realistic, 10 of those 500 people absolutely trash your book in reviews on Amazon & B&N. So yes, "we do NOT judge a book by its cover". Despite what you read on all the wonderful forums touting the "stunning" book covers.
  1. If you plan on doing your own book cover, you can and should start working on it. Whatever you chose here, that too will have to sit once you think you are done, so you can come back to it with some perspective. 
  2. If you plan on finding a book-cover artist once again there are many ways to go. Research, email, price, and see real book covers this person has done. Price is really crazy here. Some people will charge you $50. Some $1500. Depends on what you want and what your tastes are.
  3. If you have any plans of producing a Paperback or Hard Cover, a book cover is NOT a simple picture. There is a spine and a back. Believe it or not the spine and back are your big problems if you are not a graphic artist. So make sure the quote you get is for what you need.
  4. Make sure you own the full rights to that cover. Period. NO ands, ifs, or buts about it.
  5. You can also use Create Covers in Amazon, or use their service where you put out an idea and have people bid on it. The choose. You can pick a private person. 
  6. A lot of what you do should have also thought involved as to if you can lay out your book yourself for either Ebook or Paper publishing. If you cannot do that, you are going to need to plan on that as well (but that is the next post!)
  7. Your book cover is important. It is not your book. It is a cover. This is not rocket science here. Spend what you can or create it yourself. Do not delude yourself into thinking that if your book cover looks nice in a thumbnail you will have a best-seller.
  8. Once your decision is made on who will do your book cover, then just go ahead and do it. If you have a spine, you will need to know roughly the approximate of pages that will be in the printed book. That may demand you lay it out for print beforehand. If you do not know, or cannot lay it out, you will need another service to do that as well. So you will have to hold off on the book cover.
Now your 10-14 days are up. Now go open up your masterpiece and start reading. And then read it again and start correcting. By now you should have a date from the editor you chose. You have that much time to do the best reading and editing you can on the book. Use it well. Do not try to read 500 pages in one day and edit them. You need perspective and sleep. You need to make that book as good as you can BEFORE it goes to the editor. Like cleaning the house before the cleaning crew arrives. 

So far we have covered just two topics. The next posts will deal with what else needs to be done. Scared yet? If not, you should be. This is serious business. You can, if you wish, ignore all the advice here. But remember:

All illustrations above are from the All hyperlinks on the posters will take you to their original page @

Don't like what I said here? Leave a comment. Trash it. Prove it wrong. My next posts will be be a continuation of the steps of what you should be doing in the process of getting your Indie book to succeed.

Books by Ted William Gross
Available in Paperback & Kindle Formats

1 comment:

Kindle How To Publish said...

Wow! These are great points. Individuals who struggle with procrastination often put things off and never take action. The reason for procrastination is usually based on the idea something can be done better tomorrow than it can be done today. I think this can be one struggle.