After Sunday’s post on editing, I’m going to offer some information about the next step — the possibilities (there are many!) for getting your work out once you’ve completed it. If any other writers or publishing professionals want to add their advice in the comments, or send me a link to their own posts on this topic at firstname.lastname@example.org, I’d be happy to add links to the end of this post.
In the digital age, the possibilities for getting your work out there are practically endless. You could:
- start a blog and include excerpts and free reads there
- post stories and excerpts on Goodreads and many other sites offering free reads
- enter contests and submit work for anthologies
- pursue self-publishing
- pursue a more traditional agent-to-publisher or straight-to-publisher route
Any combination of these styles may work for you. One style may be perfect for one of your projects, and a different style could work wonderfully for something else you’re working on. We shouldn’t feel limited to one track – because we aren’t.
Make sure you wait to move forward on any publication plan until you believe with all you have that your work is ready. That includes making use of authors’ services companies if you don’t have a good handle on the area of editing/formatting/cover art. There are many companies and independent contractors out there. But do careful research and be careful what you pay. Some companies have cropped up that offer services you can easily complete on your own, or by networking and asking other authors. Make sure you understand what’s included and how much you’ll pay when you contract for services.
For those who choose independent publishing, there are many decisions to make! It’s super exciting! Do you want to publish in ebook form, or in hard copy, or both? Have you always wanted to hold your book in your hand, or are you looking for the widest reach?
I have not yet pursued publication in hard copy form. From what I hear, the formatting for paperbacks can be … difficult. But not insurmountable. (This is an area I need to dig into further before I publish Queen Witch, so I shall do more research and probably another post in the future. Advice anyone??)
There are several established companies that offer different approaches to the self-publishing process. For example, Lulu.com makes it possible to publish for free in print (on demand, so you don’t pay for copies that then sit in your garage) and ebook form. They also offer additional services that range from editing to cover design to marketing. Those are fee for service offerings. They also sell books from their site, and distribute to the biggies, like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Apple. Their approach is flexible and tailored to the author’s needs, and they offer a wide range of sizes for paperbacks.
Each site is going to have it’s own system for formatting/distribution/other offerings. This is a brave new world, and innovative business models give us all a better chance at success.
what’s my advice on what to pay for and what can be done on your own? This is a matter of being honest about what skills you possess, and where your work would be strengthened by another set of eyes or a different skill set.
Graphic design is my biggy. I’m completely willing to pay for a cover. Prices are reasonable, and I do not have the slightest clue about graphic design. Just learning would cost far more in my time than it would save me – not to mention the hassle that’s saved by buying my covers. Ask authors you like where they got their cover art.
Many writers will want to pay an editor to at least proofread their work. A second pair of eyes is absolutely essential. Writers with solid self-editing skills may get by with beta readers. But be honest with yourself, because this is your product you’re talking about. Depending on the scope of the project, the editing help you need may vary. Editing can be costly, because good editors make a living wage.
Formatting, especially if your book contains images or special formatting, and not just text, might also cost you.
Writers Beware!! Don’t pay for someone else to upload your ebooks to Amazon, Smashwords, All Romance Ebooks, PubIt!, or anywhere else when you can do it yourself, without careful thought. I’ve heard of companies charging hundreds of dollars to do what takes me about two hours (and I hear I’m slow). Remember that these retailer sites make it simple to publish ebooks. Your success is their success. It might mean learning some new skills, that is true. But what happens when you want to make a simple change, or even change your price, and you don’t know the systems you’ve independently published through? It is worth the time investment to do these steps on your own, in my humble opinion.
The options will only continue to increase as the digital age progresses. Times have never been brighter for writers. So get out there and pursue your dream! And remember to chime in if you have something to add to the conversation. 🙂