Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘indie publishing’ Category

Writing involves not only good technique but also personal investment. It involves practice and learning.

An acquaintance said recently that practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect. In other words, if we continue to repeat our mistakes, we are not getting any closer to perfection.

Michael J. Fox said he doesn’t aim for perfection but for excellence.

Sometimes it’s a matter of semantics. The key is to do our best at whatever we are doing, and that will always require effort, practice, and time.

IMG_1058

Here are seven key points that will, in my opinion, help us to grow our writing:

1. Keep writing regularly. This is the practice part, the refining, the trial and error.

2. Keep reading. This is the activity that helps us get the feel of good writing (and poor writing).

3. Keep learning. Attend workshops and conferences, take courses online or through books, videos, etc.

4. Polish your writing. Strive for excellence. Don’t ever say, “Good enough.” Be the best you can be.

5. Publish. This step helps us commit to finishing a project, whether it’s a blog, a guest post or a novel.

6. Market. Oh, bother! This is my greatest challenge in the writing arena. But what do we have to lose? If we want people to read our writing, we must make it and ourselves available. Try writing in a new genre or point of view. Try writing at a different time of day or a location more conducive for you. IMG_1116Subscribe to a new social medium that you’ve so far avoided. Can’t hurt. Then analyze the advantages and disadvantages and refine your lists to what works for you. Most new things become manageable with practice and familiarity. Some remain useless and can be scrapped. But give them a chance. Note: if you don’t have a website, create one. You can do it yourself or ask someone else to do it for you. Without a website, you won’t be searchable.

7. Share. One of the best ways to learn is to share what you know or what you’re learning. Again, use blogs, guest blogs or various social media to accomplish this. It will invariably help strengthen your knowledge and understanding of the topic, method or genre (or show you where you need to bone up a bit).

So let’s keep writing and encouraging each other to strive for excellence.

This post originally appeared on the InScribe Professional Blog in May of 2016.

Read Full Post »

I recently attended a free two-hour workshop on self-publishing, presented by Arthur Slade, “author of eighteen books, four comics, one graphic novel and a poem.” So says his website. He had many things to say about independent publishing, much of which I concur with because I have put out two novels and a short story under my own imprint (Tansy & Thistle Press) to date. But it was still good to be there, to hear other people’s struggles, questions, suggestions.

Just this past week, I drove down to Moose Jaw to participate in a one-day conference called LitCon, on independent publishing (also free). LitCon is supported by the annual Festival of Words conference I had attended a couple of years ago, so I had confidence that this mini-conference would be worth my while.

I write Christian fiction, primarily. Both of these events were secular in nature. However, I benefitted from attending, from rubbing shoulders with other authors I didn’t know before. We never know when, how or where we will have the opportunity to influence others’ lives.

I do not apologize for being a Christian author. Why would I? It’s who I am, what I do. And sometimes, secular authors are sincerely interested in the difference.

It’s about worldview. The lenses through which I see the world around me. Every one of us has filters that sift and interpret for us. This constitutes our background, experiences, attitudes, decisions, personality. So all’s fair. Just different. I think it’s healthy to observe and listen to people with differing perspectives. We can always learn from each other.

And isn’t life about learning?

P.S. An interesting thing happened at LitCon: I discovered at least two, maybe three other Christians in the group. It only takes a couple of words to connect with people of like faith.

Read Full Post »

Along with the innate freedom of self-publication, there have been a couple of major struggles to balance the euphoria.

One obstacle, which I have often referred to, is marketing. For those of us who aren’t inclined to narcissism, who don’t have a self-promotional bone in our bodies, marketing can be the bane of our existence. We just want to write, but if no one knows we have written, or what we have written, or how to access it, it won’t go beyond our own small world.

I encourage other indie writers—myself included—to reach for help in the marketing department. We cannot be all things to all people, but we can access the tools to gain our goals of promoting our work.

The second obstacle that comes to mind is that of placing our independently published books in brick and mortar stores. My first three books, traditionally published, were carried by local and larger center booksellers for years. I did arrange launches and presented my product, but the outlets were always glad to comply with my request. The reason: they could return any unsold copies to the publisher for a refund.

These same stores have either gently refused my request or passed it over, because they don’t have the same options of returning unsold books. My novels are released as POD (print-on-demand), so once they buy these books, they have no option to return them.

While I realize the difficulties for booksellers, I also think we need to find a way to promote and sell self-published books in the marketplace. There’s no problem with digital copies, of course, and I also publish e-books, but I have readers who either can’t or don’t choose to read digitally. When they ask if my latest books will be available in local stores, I have to direct them to the online store (Amazon or The Book Depository – no shipping cost for TBD), which also creates a barrier for some readers.

This is an ongoing issue that writers with more clout are working to fix, and although I don’t have that kind of influence, I’d still like to add any help I can by informing readers about these problems. Because the number of writers who are publishing independently is not waning; it’s growing steadily.

How can people help? One way might be voicing our concerns (not only as writers but as readers) to booksellers. A practical way to help indie authors is to request their books in bookstores.

 

Read Full Post »

One year ago, I decided to make the leap into independent publishing. Here are some of the things I have learned, in no particular order, along with a few tips:id-100355999

  1. I am capable of launching my own publishing company, including the various forms and fees required. (Print copies of documents so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time, so says experience.)
  1. I am capable of editing, formatting and creating covers for my books. I have carried out each step. However, if I wish to maintain my sanity and the quality I desire, I know I cannot do all these things myself all the time (kudos to those of you who can, and I know a few of you).

img_1237An Aside: I thought of an analogy this morning as my husband and I sat at breakfast contemplating a few upcoming renovations to our home. Three years ago, we transformed our attached garage into an office/guest room (it was too small for our vehicle). We, mostly my husband, did all the work. I helped where I could, including taping and mudding seams and corners after the drywall was up. I can do mudding, but I’m quite bad at it. I don’t ever want to do mudding again. The end result looks better if someone more skilled and patient does it. Just like I can do book covers and formatting, but it’s better for all concerned if I let someone more skilled do those jobs.

  1. Excellent and reasonably priced services are available to help indie authors in areas where we don’t feel competent, or where we can’t manage it all time-wise. Some of these skilled people may already be in our circle of friends/acquaintances. Trading skills is a mutually beneficial arrangement.
  1. Marketing remains my pianissimo (as opposed to my forte). I must continue to ask, read, search, learn. Again, there are people who are good at this, trained, willing to help. I need to reach out.
  1. I love the flexibility and the control that indie publishing offers. I decide the order of projects on my to-do list. I decide on the cover, the size, the interior design, et cetera, together with those I’ve asked to assist me.
  1. I am ultimately responsible for the outcomes, for my promises to my readers, for deadlines.
  1. A Reminder: As a Christian author, I am not my own boss. God is. That adds a much higher lever of accountability to my writing life.
  1. A human accountability partner who knows my writing, at least some of my personal situation, and my overall goals, is an immeasurable asset. We can pray for and support each another.
  1. I must continue to learn, to review, to experiment, to observe, to ask.
  1. I must continue to write so I have something to publish. I must learn balance.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13.

Tips in a Nutshell:

— Pray for wisdom, guidance and strength daily (or moment by moment)

— Do what you can

— Ask for help when you can’t

— Trade skills

— Count the costs, make a budget, treat this writing like a calling/career/vocation

If you are a self / indie published author, what are some of the things you have learned about the process? I’d love to hear from you.

Read Full Post »

You might say, “I could never self-publish / independently publish my work.” I’ve said that myself, but it’s not true.

pixabay.com

pixabay.com

I think the courage to move ahead into indie publishing came to me gradually. I had created my own website (with the help of a good writer friend) with an About page, a Resume page, a Contact page, and pages about my books. I had also decided to post weekly blogs on my site. Every time I hit the “publish” or “schedule” button, I self-published.

According to Wikipedia, “self-publishing is the publication of any book or other media by its author without the involvement of an established publisher.” So if you’ve written blogs or online articles, you are independently published. If you are traditionally published by an established, no-upfront-fee house, as well as indie publishing your own work, you become a hybrid author.

We have been warned not to confuse self-publishing with independent publishing, but I think the terms are what we make them. As long as we avoid paying for someone to publish our material (vanity presses do that, and we don’t want to go there), it’s valid.

Often, independent publishers are considered those who run small presses, whereas self-publishers are those who realize the entire publication process themselves. However, since launching my own imprint, Tansy & Thistle Press, I feel I have the right to be called an independent publisher. It took quite an effort, as well as time to fill out government forms and pay fees for my press name, so I could publish for other writers if I chose to do so (that’s not happening right now, and the probability of it happening in the future is highly unlikely), but the press is authentic.

pixabay.com

pixabay.com

So let’s not allow naysayers to tell us what we are. We need to own our writing career. Self-publish. Indie publish. Do the hybrid thing. Just keep writing and getting your work out to the public in the most effective and efficient way.

Note: This little rant reflects my current personal feelings, so if you agree or disagree, you can comment below. I’m always willing to listen, and I might even be persuaded to shift my opinions…slightly!

 

 

Read Full Post »

It’s not that I don’t appreciate traditional royalty publishing. That route offers a modicum of security in a very wide world of the written word. I have been there and felt more or less comfortable that others knew the ropes and would see my work through to publication and even distribution. The sales rate for my first three books was relatively small but still worthwhile.

However, there are several reasons why I prefer independent publishing.

 TRADITIONAL    vs     INDEPENDENT

One reason is that the tradition publishing houses are in constant flux. Only “the big five” are worthy of being called secure. Because of this fact, those houses are inundated with submissions. The possibility of acceptance is steadily declining. Even if my writing is good, there are so many reasons why another author might take my place in line. Acquisitions editors have limited opportunities to present their cases, and their publishing group meetings are numbered with the surviving houses.

Another motivation for “going indie” is that I can make the decisions as to the when and how of my work. This, of course, involves planning, scheduling, prioritization and self-discipline in order to meet my own deadlines. If my manuscript is complete and edited, I can put it out in a matter of days instead of waiting for months for an acceptance, and then another year or more for publication.

Life is constantly changing, and even though indie publishing can be downright frightening at times, with all there is to learn, it enables me to change with the times and to have some control over my works.

So that’s what I’ll be doing for the rest of my writing career. Hopefully, I will become more adept at the process as time goes by.

Read Full Post »

th
I think the most challenging aspect of Independent Publishing is staying with it. Remaining faithful in the face of uncertainty, whether that refers to actual skills or wondering when the monetary rewards will kick in.

I have memories of my earlier publishing experiences with a small royalty press. Although I had a say in a few things (very few), I left the details to my publisher and continued writing the next novel.

However, all the expectations of my previous publishing experiences have been turned upside down with indie publishing. Not only do I have a say in crucial decisions, I am the final word. It’s an entirely new portfolio, one for which I was not prepared. Wet behind the ears. Green. Unreasonably optimistic.

b8f57e67-b317-39cc-9037-ce93e44421a7

But we don’t give up just because of challenges. There are many avenues to learning what we need to know to persevere in indie publishing.

We can google. We can search for books and blogs and articles that can help us in our journey. We can talk with people who are on the same journey, receiving encouragement from those ahead of us and giving encouragement to those a step or two behind.

The key is perseverance. That and faith in the One who gives gifts and the will to use them.

Verse for the day: II Corinthians 9:8 (NIV)

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times,

having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: