Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What Kind of Publisher to Choose, Electronic Publishing

EPUBLISHERS

Epublishers are like traditional publishers in the ways they acquire books through editors, and they edit their books, create formats, and covers, but they release their books in digital format although some also offer print options mainly in the form of print-on-demand publishing.

The advantage to epublishing is a wider range and number of publishers as well as less pigeonholing of book types. Since the costs of producing an ebook are much smaller than with paper-published books, the publisher can afford to publish books that don't fit tight market requirements.

Most epublishers handle the cost of editing and cover design, but only a few offer a very small advance on royalties.

You will usually have a great deal of impute into the cover art, editing, and the book blurb.

Distribution is nonexistent in bookstores, of course, but the books are available at the publisher's website, and most use ebook distribution sites like Fictionwise and the Amazon Kindle store.

One major disadvantage is less money. Not enough people are buying ebooks yet so the money isn't there.

Even erotica, the growth market for ebooks, isn't offering much profit for most new authors because of the glutted market.

Those most successful in ebooks are prolific writers who are able to produce three or more high quality books a year that are sold to the same audience. That audience buys all their books, and each new book draws in more readers who buy the backlist. Darrell Bain and Charlee Compo are good examples of this kind of success.

Epublishing companies also have the same disadvantage as small press. They are run by individuals so an illness or family tragedy can put your book on hold, or the publisher can fail completely.

SELF PUBLISHING IN EBOOK FORMATS

You can format your book into an ebook then sell it from your website and through a few distributors like Amazon Kindle.

The advantage is total control and a much cheaper setup cost than a paper book.

The disadvantages are much the same as with a paper self-published book.

Those who have had the most success with self-publishing already have a reader base created when they wrote for traditional publishers.

You will also need to learn a whole new series of skills to format your book, etc.

A WEB NOVEL

The final market really isn't a market because no profit is made.

If you want to be read and money doesn't matter, putting your book on the web for free via a website, a blog, a free download site like Memoware, or a listserv like Yahoogroups may be the route to take.

You will have to promote for readers, but you will get them, and a few will actually comment on your work.

Some writers do this as a learning experience. Others simply don't want to bother with the hassle of the publishing process.

The disadvantages are no money and the possibility your book may end up elsewhere without your permission and may have someone else's name on it.

The simplest way to gain popularity, readers, and comments is to write in a popular fan fiction universe like Harry Potter. A decent writer can become a big fish in a very small pool with lots of fans and none of the heartache of the professional markets.

FINAL COMMENTS

If you're still confused about which market you should try, think long and hard about what you really want from publishing and go from there.

And welcome to the wonderful world of publishing. Tighten your seatbelt because you're starting one heck of a bumpy but fascinating flight.


TOMORROW: How to find the right kind of traditional or small press for your book.


NOTE: Links of Interest will be back next week.


WORKSHOP:


Magic, Monsters and Amour: Creating a Believable Paranormal, Fantasy, or SF World. October 4-31, 2010 at SavvyAuthors.com October 4-31, 2010 at SavvyAuthors.com


http://www.savvyauthors.com/event.cfm?EventID=173


Are vampires, fairies, and space aliens real? If you create the right background for your paranormal romance, they will be to a reader. I'll show you how to create a fantasy or paranormal background from scratch and how to make it utterly believable.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What Kind of Publisher to Choose, Subsidy and Self-publishing in Paper

SUBSIDY PUBLISHING IN PAPER
Many of the subsidy and vanity publishers have a system for publishing the book set up so all you have to do is plug in the various components of the book. You will design the cover or pay to have someone design the cover, you will write the book blurb, and you will edit or pay someone to edit your book. They will take all this and print the book for you.
However, their services are extremely expensive, and they will take a majority of the profit and will often tie up your book's rights forever. Distribution is almost nonexistent, and the name of a vanity press on the spine of your book guarantees that no bookstore or anyone in the know will touch your book.
Even those subsidy presses who claim they can get your books on those shelves rarely do.
Subsidy presses owned by large publishers like Harlequin don't offer a better chance of getting your book onto bookstore shelves, and the vague possibility that they may recognize your greatness and move you to their regular publishing program is very unlikely indeed.
There is no good reason to go with a subsidy press.

SELF-PUBLISHING IN PAPER
With self-publishing, you must find and pay for the editing, the book cover, the formatting, and the blurb. You must also find a printer to print your book for you.
Some printers like Booklocker offer reasonably priced extras like cover art and editing, and they don't tie up your rights as a subsidy press will. But they can't guarantee your books distribution in bookstores.
The major advantage to self-publishing is you control every element of your book, and you will hold all the rights to your book.
A major disadvantage is that you control every element of your book's publication. If you don't know what you are doing, you will have spent a lot of money to make a fool of yourself.
Distribution is the biggest disadvantage of self-publishing. It is almost impossible to get your book onto the shelves of bookstores and in the catalogs of distributors. Once your book is out, you will have to literally hand sell each book. To do this, you must have the soul and charm of a successful used car salesman and lots of time.
A self-published book, unless it achieves best-selling status, is also more harm than good to a writer's reputation and future. Unfortunately, most in the publishing world have a great deal of disdain for the self-published so moving into another form of publishing later is much harder to do.

TOMORROW: Epublishing in its various forms.


WORKSHOP:

Magic, Monsters and Amour: Creating a Believable Paranormal, Fantasy, or SF World. October 4-31, 2010 at SavvyAuthors.com October 4-31, 2010 at SavvyAuthors.com


Are vampires, fairies, and space aliens real? If you create the right background for your paranormal romance, they will be to a reader. I'll show you how to create a fantasy or paranormal background from scratch and how to make it utterly believable.



Monday, June 28, 2010

What Kind of Publisher to Choose, Traditional and Small Press

You have your novel finished. Now what?
You have lots of options -- traditional publishers, small presses, ebooks publishers, vanity/subsidy and self-publishing.
I'll talk about each form of publishing with some pros and cons to consider so you can decide which fits you better.
TRADITIONAL PUBLISHERS
Traditional publishers are the usual publishers you find in bookstores. In US publishing, many are based in New York City. Some of these publishers of genre/popular fiction include Tor, Pocket, St. Martin, Leisure, and Kensington.
The major advantage to these publishers is distribution. Their books are carried by all the major bookchains and distributors so anyone can walk into the neighborhood bookstore and buy or order your book.
The better the distribution, the more books sold.
They will also give you an advance on your earnings and cover all the costs of creating the book itself including editing, the cover, and the printing.
Authors published this way are on the top of the author pecking order.
The major disadvantage is competition. You will have an uphill battle to gain a coveted slot in a publishing schedule and your competition will include many published authors.
In some markets, you'll need to get an agent even before you begin the fight for that slot, and this is an equally difficult and slow process.
Another disadvantage is lack of control. You will have almost no say in your book's title and cover. More often than not, you will also be required to change some of the book's content.
Pigeonholing is another problem. You must write to fit the current trends in popularity. It's a rare book that can be totally different.
SMALL PRESS
Small press is really a small version of the traditional publisher, but rather than being owned by a conglomerate, it is owned by individuals. Many are niche publishers specializing in a particular market like regional mystery or paranormal romance.
Some have the advantage of good distribution through book chains and distributors so they can be found in bookstores, but others do not. It will be much harder to find your book in a bookstore, but it should be available for ordering.
All the expenses of editing, cover art, and printing are covered by the small press, and some offer advances on earning which are usually much smaller than the traditional publisher.
The amount of author impute in the publishing process ranges from none to a great deal according to the individual press.
The disadvantages include poorer distribution, the vagaries of the how each runs its business, and the inherent risk of working with a small company where an owner's illness or family problems can stop the presses.
TOMORROW: Subsidy/vanity paper publishers and self-publishing in paper.


WORKSHOP:

Magic, Monsters and Amour: Creating a Believable Paranormal, Fantasy, or SF World. October 4-31, 2010 at SavvyAuthors.com October 4-31, 2010 at SavvyAuthors.com


Are vampires, fairies, and space aliens real? If you create the right background for your paranormal romance, they will be to a reader. I'll show you how to create a fantasy or paranormal background from scratch and how to make it utterly believable.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Links of Interest

PAINFUL HUMOR: Slush pile snippets and the agent's retort.


http://slushpilehell.tumblr.com/


SETTING: Real or imaginary. Which to choose.


http://circleoffriendsbooks.blogspot.com/2010/06/writing-settings-with-elizabeth-spann.html


LIFE OF THE WRITER: Why you should stretch yourself and how to to be a better writer. (Not exercise advice.)


http://mysterywritingismurder.blogspot.com/2010/06/stretching-ourselves.html


PLOT AND NAME GENERATORS


http://pbackwriter.blogspot.com/2010/06/cool-gen-ten.html


BASICS OF FICTION: Jennifer Crusie gives an overview of writing a novel.


http://www.arghink.com/2010/06/21/the-basics-of-fiction


CRITIQUES: How to critique and stay friends.


http://www.suvudu.com/2010/06/how-to-critique-manuscripts-still-stay-friends.html


WRITING ARTICLES: Suvudu has a series of articles by professional writers on various craft and professional subjects. Well worth the look.


http://www.suvudu.com/2010/06/new-in-the-suvudu-free-library-master-class.html


BUSINESS OF PUBLISHING: When a multi-book contract is a good idea.


http://pubrants.blogspot.com/2010/06/one-book-or-two-maybe-three.html


CRAFT RESOURCES: Writing tips, articles, etc., from author and writing teacher Bob Mayer.


http://www.bobmayer.org/index.php?id=28


BUSINESS OF PUBLISHING: The one book contract, advantages and disadvantages.


http://pubrants.blogspot.com/2010/06/one-book-deal.html


CRAFT: Rewriting overview. Pretty good.


http://www.alanrinzler.com/blog/2010/06/22/getting-the-most-out-of-a-rewrite-tips-for-authors/


CRAFT: Those scenes of exposition that beg to be shown.


http://storyflip.blogspot.com/2010/06/re-write-wednesday-telling-yourself-to.html




~*~


WORKSHOP


Magic, Monsters and Amour: Creating a Believable Paranormal, Fantasy, or SF World. October 4-31, 2010 at SavvyAuthors.com October 4-31, 2010 at SavvyAuthors.com


http://www.savvyauthors.com/event.cfm?EventID=173


Are vampires, fairies, and space aliens real? If you create the right background for your paranormal romance, they will be to a reader. I'll show you how to create a fantasy or paranormal background from scratch and how to make it utterly believable.


*~*



SCHEDULE NOTE: Next week, I will be doing a number of posts on choosing the right type of market and the publisher for your genre novel.


Monday, June 21, 2010

How to Finish a Novel

QUESTION: I keep starting novels but can't seem to finish them because I can't figure out how. Help!


Writing isn't just inspiration. A novel involves a great deal of planning, thought, and preparation. Those who just write instead of doing some form of plan or outline are more likely to be unable to finish a novel, or their novel falls apart.


Learn how to make that plan, if not an outline.


To do this, read books on writing. Most are one-size fits almost nobody, but you may eventually stumble on the one idea or method that gives you an "ah ha!" moment.


Mine was Ben Bova's WRITING SCIENCE FICTION THAT SELLS which helped me understand the relationship between plot and character. It's a good book even if you don't write science fiction.


Find a good teacher. The Internet has some wonderful online teaching sites.


Ask questions at blogs like this one.


And when you find novels you really like, reread them and try to figure out what the writer did and how the novel was structured.


Take the book apart by writing a short description of what happens in each chapter so you can better see the structure.


Don't give up if you really want to tell the story. Eventually, you will figure out how to finish it if you work at it.


*~*



SCHEDULE NOTE: Next week, I will be doing a number of posts on choosing the right type of market and the publisher for your genre novel.


WORKSHOP


Magic, Monsters and Amour: Creating a Believable Paranormal, Fantasy, or SF World. October 4-31, 2010 at SavvyAuthors.com October 4-31, 2010 at SavvyAuthors.com


http://www.savvyauthors.com/event.cfm?EventID=173


Are vampires, fairies, and space aliens real? If you create the right background for your paranormal romance, they will be to a reader. I'll show you how to create a fantasy or paranormal background from scratch and how to make it utterly believable.



Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Links of Interest

WORLDBUILDING: Creating a dystopian world.


http://leaguewriters.blogspot.com/2010/05/making-of-world.html


WRITER WARNING: A new copyright protection service is less than advertised.


http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2010/06/copyright-protection-service-another.html


CRAFT: Dramatic irony.


http://storyflip.blogspot.com/2010/06/oh-irony.html


BUSINESS OF WRITING: Why and how you need to create a stylesheet for your novel.


http://bookendslitagency.blogspot.com/2010/06/style-sheet.html


PROMOTION: Creating an online presence.


http://bookendslitagency.blogspot.com/2010/06/ellery-adams-on-establishing-online.html


CRAFT: What you need to have to create a successful novel.


http://www.alanrinzler.com/blog/2010/06/08/ask-the-editor-the-1-issue-for-writers-today/


CRAFT: Good online grammar resource links.


http://bloodredpencil.blogspot.com/2010/06/exploring-web-resources-for-writers.html


CRAFT: Common mistakes new and some more experienced writers make.


http://www.genreality.net/common-mistakes



QUERIES: Yet another article on what a good query needs.


http://behlerblog.wordpress.com/2010/06/09/do-editors-change-their-minds/


BUSINESS OF PUBLISHING: The definition of "lead title."


http://pimpmynovel.blogspot.com/2010/06/terms-to-know-lead-title.html



CRAFT: Keeping a series fresh.


http://storyflip.blogspot.com/2010/06/how-they-do-it-guest-blogger-cathy.html


CRAFT: How to show a character's emotions.


http://storyflip.blogspot.com/2010/06/youre-so-emotional.html


CRAFT: Keeping narrative focus.


http://storyflip.blogspot.com/2010/06/re-write-wednesday-keeping-focused.html


CRAFT: The story frame. If and when you should use it.


http://mysterywritingismurder.blogspot.com/2010/06/been-framed-by-margot-kinberg.html


CRAFT: Describing a character.


http://mysterywritingismurder.blogspot.com/2010/06/character-description-dumps.html


CRAFT: Why putting your character in moral rather than mortal danger can be more powerful.


http://www.kith.org/journals/jed/2010/06/08/13081.html


CRAFT: What to do when different feedback contradicts each other.


http://cba-ramblings.blogspot.com/2010/06/dealing-with-contradictory-feedback.html


BUSINESS OF WRITING: Should you copyright or trademark you novel or title? A lawyer answers.


http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/publishing/ask_a_lawyer_should_i_copyright_my_title_164031.asp


COZY MYSTERIES: What they are and what they need to have in them.


http://djskrimiblog.blogspot.com/


SPACE OPERAS: What they are.


http://spaceopera.suite101.com/article.cfm/what-is-space-opera


CRAFT: Deep viewpoint problems and how to fix them.


http://bloodredpencil.blogspot.com/2010/06/deep-pov-three-mistakes-and-how-to-fix.html


http://bloodredpencil.blogspot.com/2010/06/deep-pov-three-mistakes-and-how-to-fix_16.html


CRAFT: A character's flaws as well as his strengths.


http://mysterywritingismurder.blogspot.com/2010/06/flawed.html


WORLDBUILDING: How much science is needed in science fiction romance.

http://sfrcontests.blogspot.com/2010/06/walking-line-in-sfr-world-building.html


LIFE OF THE WRITER: Dealing with fatigue


http://pbackwriter.blogspot.com/2010/06/fighting-fatigue.html


LIFE OF THE WRITER: Creativity. What blocks it and how to keep it flowing.


http://www.genreality.net/creativity


~*~


WORKSHOP:


Magic, Monsters and Amour: Creating a Believable Paranormal, Fantasy, or SF World. October 4-31, 2010 at SavvyAuthors.com


http://www.savvyauthors.com/event.cfm?EventID=173


Are vampires, fairies, and space aliens real? If you create the right background for your paranormal romance, they will be to a reader. I'll show you how to create a fantasy or paranormal background from scratch and how to make it utterly believable.


Monday, June 14, 2010

Semicolons in Fiction, CRAFT

QUESTION: Someone told me I shouldn't use semicolons in my stories. Why?



First, a grammar reminder about semicolons (;). The three most common uses of a semicolon are


*Compound sentences when a conjunction (and, or, but) isn't used.


The wind blew through the trees; the chimes sang like angels.


*Compound sentences when a conjunctive adverb (however, therefore, nevertheless) is used.


The wind blew through the trees; however, the chimes remained silent.


*Sentences with long, joined clauses which may have commas.


The wind blew through the trees, I was told; but because the chimes had become tangled, their sounds did not echo through the forest.


As you can see from the examples, most semicolon sentence structures have a formal quality to them that is uncommon in fiction but is often found in nonfiction. In other words, it belongs in nonfiction, not fiction, particularly genre fiction with its more vernacular style.


Use the semicolon as rarely as you would an exclamation point in narrative, and only when nothing else will do for clarity.


If you find yourself using semicolons quite often, your narrative voice is probably too heavy or didactic for popular fiction.