Sunday, January 15, 2012

My Writing Week: Issue 3, Year 5

Hi all,

Best Place to Self-Publish a Book

For the past year or so I have followed a thread on LinkedIn that asked the question: What is the best place to self-publish a book? Here are a few things I have learnt:

  • Createspace (Amazon) comes up as the best self-publishing platform. It is relatively easy to use compared to other platforms and not many authors seem to have problems with it.
  • Smashwords rarely has a bad comment posted about it.
  • Until recently, I had not noted any references to Apple’s ibooks. This is probably due to writers having to use Smashwords or Lulu to prepare their ebook before it can be sold in the ibookstore.
  • Never use Publish America. It is a total rip off. The fact that it still exists means many writers do very little publishing research. Authors accuse Publish America of doing things like charging $350 for the placement of 15 copies of their book in Barnes and Noble. Many authors say they know they have sold books, but Publish America says they have not.  Publish America then seems to make it virtually impossible for an author to get the rights back to their non-selling book.


I am reading Hugo nominated author Ian McDonalds’ The Dervish House, published by Gollancz. Recently my reading was interrupted three times in thirty or so pages by typos. Twice a word was repeated and a word that should have been singular was pluralised. But in the hundred pages I have read since I have not noticed any more typos. Perhaps the proof-reader read those thirty pages on Friday, after a big night out.  

My Divine Writing

I wrote and submitted an article to DiVine magazine last week. It is about how I hid my Ulcerative Colitis from everyone. I will let the universe know when the article is published, which seems a bit odd when the article is about hiding my disease.

My Novel Writing.  

Much of my writing time last week was taken up with the Divine article. I had computer problems which always seem to happen at this time of year. I also spent a lot of time in the garden picking tomatoes and beans, watering and waging war on fruit flies. And then there was the cricket.

So I didn’t achieve my goal of 1000 words of the novel on any weekday. My best effort was 750 words on Friday. But, but, but…chapter thirty-four was so hard to write as the POV character kept on thinking up new evacuation supplies and activities for the crew to perform.

All up I added 1970 words to the now 70,900 word novel. This week I hope to do better.


Graham Clements said...

Read another twenty pages of The Dervish House last night and found two more typos, both were sentences that jarred because of missing words.

Satima Flavell said...

In the current economic climate, I suspect that a lot of shortcuts and cutbacks are being made by publishers. On the brighter side, I'm pleased to report that more and more self-publishers are engaging freelance editors before uploading their work.

I like to distinguish between self-publishing and what used to be called 'vanity publishing'. A better name for it might be 'desperation publishing' because it seems to pull in people who haven't a clue how to get their work out there and in desperation they pay some dodgy outfit to publish their books. Bad idea.

True self-publishing means that you engage your own editor, designer, layout person and printing firm and buy your own ISBN, which makes you a publisher in your own right and therefore a true 'self-publisher'. Paying some firm - even a relatively reliable one - to do all those tasks for a few hundred dollars - well you get the book you deserve! Three rounds of editing, which used to be the standard at publishing houses - don't come cheap, and nor do all the other services needed to get a book up to scratch.

And with vanity publishing, editing is thr first thing to go. If you're lucky you'll get a light copy-edit, and some don't even do that much.

Anyone who wants money from you to publish your book is a vanity publisher. Much better to set up your own outfit and have complete control over every stage of the work.

Sorry this is so wordy. I guess I should make it a blog post!

Graham Clements said...

Hi Satima,

I am nowhere near self-publishing yet, I just see it as the way of the future. If I go that way, I would get the novel edited first. I would also go the ebook route - thus cutting out the printing and distribution costs.

A lot of people these days set up their own independent publishing imprint just for their own books. I think some do this to hide the fact that they are self-publishing. Just today I checked out the publisher of an author and found it to be part of a company owned by the author. It was very easy to find out, just a couple of googles.

I am very surprised with the number of typos in The Dervish House, the most I can remember ever spotting in a published novel before is one.

If the publishing house really let their editing standards slip, and authors with traditional publishing contracts have to start hiring editors - this is already happening in Canada - then self-publishing will become a more attractive route for a lot of authors.

For most writers self-publishing will be their only route.


Anthony J. Langford said...

I've also come across many writers that I thought had been published discover, the old self-publishing front..

Self publishing aint what it used to be.. but then again, neither is publishing.. i'm going to exhaust all avenues before even considering it... I hope you do too.