Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Ten Articles To Read Before Self-Publishing

Written a novel? Thinking about self-publishing? If that sounds like you then I'm here to help with that all important research into the industry. Self-publishing is an expensive, time consuming, and a hands on option which needs full engagement from yourself to be successful, which is why you can never read too many articles.

Every link on this page has been carefully vetted, cutting out the pessimistic, the ‘how to’ book sellers, the overly optimistic, and the obviously clueless, and thus cutting some of the hassle for you.

Note, this article is not me trying to persuade you for or against self-publishing. My honest view is that is that there’s a good way to go about self-publishing which few take or manage successfully – here’s hoping this research gets you off to an informed decision.

1) What an Agent Does & Does Not Do by Courtney Carpenter

Before you decide to self-publish, you need to know what you’re giving up on. Here are the basics on what an agent does and does not do from the Writer Digest.

2) What Are The Benefits of Having an Agent? by Rachelle Gardner

Here’s a more in-depth version for those who know the basics and want to really dive into the discussion of what an agent can provide. This article is by no means suggestion an agent is always needed, but the costs of an agent are quite obvious: they take a cut of your money and may request changes in your novel in order for your work to be published. So what are the benefits?

3) 7 Brutally Honest Writing Tips by Therin Knite

These tips are what every aspiring author should heed whether they plan to self-publish or not. It states the honest truth about self-publishing – and how to make sure your writing is up there with the best of them.

4) Why Self-Publishing Doesn’t Work – And How It Can by Dr John Yeoman

Here’s another short and honest view of self-publishing which I agree with from start to finish. 

After becoming aware of the risks and work involved, it’s time to start researching your main options and comparing publishers. This is something which you should make yourself vaguely aware of before starting, and then hitting it hard once the editing and beta-reading stage is complete. This article is a good start.

6) Proposed Standards for Book Typography by Dave Bricker

The typeset of the page needs careful consideration. 

There is much discussion between whether you should typeset a novel using Microsoft Word or not. I believe that as long as you follow a guide and check a proof copy of the finished product, there’s no point in spending money on formatting software.

However, the typeset of a novel is very important. Whether you’re creating an ebook or a physical copy, it needs to instantly look professional.

Here is one guide, with plenty of details and explanations. You may find it too detailed. The alternative is to buy a style manual and it always helps to look at several books in your genre and decide which look better and why.

7) The Best and Worst Book Covers by the SavyBookWriters.

This first link is a gallery of horror – a place you don’t want to see your novel circulating. For the love of biscuits, get a proper cover.

And because looking at bad covers isn’t really an article, here’s a proper read. It mentions why you should get a good cover and what you should discuss with a designer:

8) The Top Ten Mistakes Writers Make When Self-Publishing a Book by Guy Kawasaki.

Here’s a few bits and bobs which are good to be aware of. This article is clearly structured which typical assumptions followed by the reality which makes it good reading. 

I found a lot of articles on top however many mistakes of self-publishing, and every single list said concurred that not getting a professional editor was a huge and obvious mistake – I’m in luck! There are many services sold to authors which are unnecessary and can be done with a bit of effort, but professional editing is not one of them – writing and editing are two entirely different skills.

9) What’s the Worst Mistake an Author Can Make? by Helen Sedwick

If you’re going to be in control of all your rights, you need to know them. One thing I’ve learned recently is not to quote lyrics in novels without asking for permission because it can come back to bite you in the form of a hefty bill. 

The good thing about this article is its current (June 2014) and goes sections of Outskirts Press and Smashwords contracts in a bit more detail and has an example of a section in a contract to avoid from an unnamed press.

10) Help! My Book isn’t Selling by Joanna Penn.

Lastly, you want to sell your novel, right? But it’s not as easy as publish and wait – you need to make sure the product is good quality and that you’re doing all you can to make it available to the right audience.

This article is aimed at those with an already published novel, but it’s never too early to plan your marketing strategy and it has plenty of tips that can be applied to pre-published material.

This is probably the best article I found.

Bonus articles! 

I have a Scookie Reviews original to end the list with. I put this guide together after reading around fifteen self-published novels and realising that only three of them were books I would buy. For that reason, I threw together a guide containing the biggest copy-editing and developmental issues and how to avoid some of the biggest put-offs so that you can give your novel a fighting chance.

You want to make a book which you’re proud of and other can enjoy. Here is the best advice I can offer.

A Must Read Guide For Self-Publishing Authors by Samantha Cook