I’ve had a section on creating an ebook (which has subpages on How to create a Table of Contents, How to create an eBook cover, and Tax issues for non-US eBook authors) for a while and was asked (Dec 2014) for advice on creating paperbacks so I created this page. Below is currently just information on self-publishing but I will add more so it includes traditional publishing. NB. I also have a section on Submission info. (which includes subpages for different genres) once you’ve created your book (or story / poem) and want to send it somewhere. Also take a look at my Marketing page. 🙂
The main three sites for self-publishing paper books are: https://www.createspace.com (amazon sister company), www.lulu.com (which I’ve not had great experiences with as a buyer of an anthology I contributed to, a misspelled cover!), https://www1.lightningsource.com/international/index.aspx?loc=en (which, according to my editor, prints books that are too large / white for independent bookshops).
The great thing about self-publishing these days is that you (and your readers) can order just one book, so gone are the days of 1,000 books sitting in your back bedroom. It also means that if you (or your reader) spot a mistake (it happens, so every writer should have an editor), you don’t have 999 books for fire kindling, you just correct the Word document and upload a new version… although, when you become incredibly famous, the pre-corrected version could raise another fortune on eBay. 🙂
Bridget Whelan, our first contributor on this page, says, “Never underestimate just how much effort it takes to sell a book to someone who isn’t already a friend or relative. In a crowded market I think the one element that sells the most books in the long run is quality. Don’t make do with a homemade cover. It is the first thing readers will see and it’s worth spending money on a professional. Don’t stint on the quality of the content. Make it the best book you can. Just being able to write to a high level doesn’t automatically make you a writer – there’s a craft to learn. If you can’t afford a copy editor, rely on the kindness of friends. They don’t have to like your book – they do have to be able to spot a mis-placed comma. Oh, and choose cream paper – it looks so much nicer than white.” Great advice. Thank you, Bridget.
Then said YA fantasy writer Katy Haye said, “Take Your Time. Self-publishing isn’t a race. It’s taken you years of writing to create a book fit to be published (if it hasn’t, are you quite sure your novel is ready for a demanding marketplace?), so give yourself enough time to launch your book successfully. Yes, work to a deadline, but you’re now the boss – if the deadline needs to move, move it. The biggest shock for me was finding that most book reviewers need 6 – 8 weeks to read and review a book – and most prefer paperback editions. This means your CreateSpace or Lulu books need to be ready a long time before launch date. My advice (which I’ll follow next time!) is to approach reviewers with a great cover and blurb while you’re formatting, and only firm up a launch date once you have reviewers lined up who will help you create a buzz around the book when it comes out.” Morgen: 6-8 weeks is pretty good going. At the moment (end Dec 2014), I’m booked up seven months… at one book a fortnight! Thank you, Katy.
A.B. Michaels talks about meeting your readers’ expectations, “I tried a cross-sub genre promotion recently between my historical romance, The Art of Love, and Sinner’s Grove, a contemporary romantic suspense novel which continues the story 110 years later (present day). It wasn’t that successful, I think, because readers who prefer a particular sub-genre often like to stick with it. In my case, the historical readers weren’t clamoring to try the contemporary and the contemporary readers weren’t jazzed about going back in time. I have to admit, the reader experience of the two books is very different. So, I am working on a trilogy in each sub-genre to make sure the readers’ expectations are met. Once they’re drawn into the story in their preferred time frame, maybe they’ll try out the other sub-genre to see where the story leads, either forward or backward, depending on the sub-genre they started with.”
I’d also love to hear from you… see the ‘call-out’ below.
I will be adding more details on traditional publishing including how to pitch to an agent but I’d love to hear from you… see the ‘call-out’ below.
Once your book is published
Paying tax: Thanks to one of my students, I found out about ‘literary averaging’ (for UK-based author) so that if you spend time / money researching – and therefore earn less money in one tax year but perhaps more the following year when the book’s available for sale – you can incorporate that time over two years (max). See here for details.
Call-out for advice / your experience…
What is your experience of self-publishing your book? Have you found a great traditional publisher? Do you have advice you’d like including here? I’d love to hear from you. You can either email me or complete the form below. Any comments containing advice will not be published but will be copied / pasted included on this page (at my discretion). Feel free to use the comments section though for questions on publishing (or you can use my Ask Me page) and I’ll investigate for you.