Showing posts with label Writers on the Move blog. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Writers on the Move blog. Show all posts

Ten Reasons Why You Shouldn't Shortchange Self-Publishing

                      Ten Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Shortchange Self-Publishing 

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning 
HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers




I have been Sinatra’s proverbial “prince, pauper” and a number of other things when it comes to publishing—meaning that I have tried publishing every almost every way imaginable and am here to tell you there is no one right way to do it. It can depend on your personality (are you super independent?), your pocketbook, the nature of your title, the time window you have and more. Because the term self-publishing is so often misunderstood, it is important to tell you what true self-publishing is and is not.

1.      It is frugal—or not—depending on the choices you make. It is flexible. You do everything yourself which is very frugal—very nearly free—with everything but you time. Or you hire the skills you know you should (like book cover design) and some skills you don’t want to take on (perhaps like formatting) when your pocketbook allows. And when you chose to ignore those guidelines for skills everyone adamantly recommends you avoid because you are too frugal or just plain stubborn (like editing), you tackle learning as much about it as you possibly can with the vengeance of becoming a professional and plan on doing double duty when it comes to getting help from beta readers as suggested in my The Frugal Editor.

2.      As suggested above (but bears repeating), you can publish with no upfront costs.

3.      You make all the net profit from your book. If you don’t, then it’s not really self-publishing. In fact it may be an indicator that it is vanity publishing which carries problems of its own. (By the way, I don’t like the “vanity” term because it negates the value of creativity of any book.)

4.      That you can’t use your own ISBN number is a myth. You must pay for your ISBN if you want one that carries no hidden code for a press that isn’t your own, but they can come free with some like Amazon and others like the dreaded vanity presses you have probably heard about. Most readers won’t know the difference.

5.      You keep all the rights to your work and, yes, though it isn’t easy, you can change your mind later.

6.      You make all the net profit from your book. If you don’t, then it’s not really self-publishing.

7.      You can (but won’t always!) publish more quickly. There are some very good reasons to want to do this. Your book’s topic may be time sensitive. You are aware that you may not live forever. You may simply have other stories (or books) waiting for their own time in the sun.

8.      You make all the profit net profit from your book. If you don’t, then it’s not really self-publishing. A better net profit is about making earnings for your efforts, but they also give you more room to play with like offering your book at a discount at book fairs and still make a profit for yourself (albeit a smaller one).

9.      Make no mistake, the likelihood of your self-published book of becoming a true bestseller or of seeing it on the shelves of bookstores everywhere is far less than if you snag a huge (read that “Big New York Five” as an example) contract. But if you’re publishing only to get huge sales (or profits), it is a long shot in cany case. Publish—traditionally, self, or somewhere in between—for other good reasons. There are plenty great reasons for each scenario.

10.   If you have another business, you can self-publish a book that will impart your professional credibility to your customers and attract new ones. (To say nothing of producing a little extra income stream).

Note: Your book may lead to other creative income streams like audio books, CDs, toys, and suggest other free promotions for the good of your book or other pursuits.

More About the Author



Carolyn Howard-Johnson started what she considers her “real writing” career when most are thinking of retiring. She brings her experience as publicist, journalist, marketer, editor, retailer, and the author of those books published almost every way possible including traditionally, to the advice she gives in her HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers and the many classes she taught for nearly a decade as instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program including a class on editing for self-publishers. The books in her HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers have won multiple awards. That series includes  The Frugal Book Promoter and The Frugal Editor which won awards from USA Book News, Readers’ Views Literary Award, the marketing award from Next Generation Indie Books and others including the coveted Irwin award. Her self-published How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically launched to rave reviews from Karen Cioffi, writer and publisher.

 

Karen says, “I’m an author, content writer, and online marketing instructor. Reading Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s The Frugal Editor has given me lots and lots of tips and reminders on how to write right, whether I’m writing fiction, nonfiction, blogging, or marketing. It’s a writing tool I’ll refer to over and over again.”

Howard-Johnson is the recipient of the California Legislature’s Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award, and her community’s Character and Ethics award for her work promoting tolerance with her writing. She was also named to Pasadena Weekly’s list of “Fourteen San Gabriel Valley women who make life happen” and was given her community’s Diamond Award for Achievement in the Arts.

Here's What You May Not Know About Adverbs

Pesky Adverbs or the Means to Making Pure Gold?


 

Here’s What You Seldom Hear About Adverbs

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson, 
writer of fiction, poetry, and the multi-award winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers

 

We are often warned that adverbs can be overdone. Then writers take the warning too literally; they think they shouldn’t use any at all! 

 

Of course, we wouldn't have adverbs if they didn't serve a purpose. But when we examine them—carefully (very carefully!) we often find that they duplicate a quality that the verb itself (or another adverb) has already achieved for us. That makes them redundant. 

 

Adverbs are often awkward. Or they slow down the forward movement of a sentence. Or both.

 

Authors often worry when an editor removes their adverbs. They think those edits will change their voices. Though an author can (and should) reject edits that he/she thinks aren't appropriate, these edits of adverbs rarely change a voice. Certainly voice isn't achieved by using adverbs or most other edits. It is achieved by much subtler elements of writing. Point of view. Use of colloquialism or slang. Choice of detail. 

 

For the most part, I think most writers worry way too much on having their voice changed and not enough about improving their writing skills.

 

Having said that, I worry more about editors who don’t really have the training to be editors. Would an editor really remove all of a writer’s adverbs? And how would a new author know if an editor is overstepping if he/she doesn’t have lots of information on editing under his or her own little writer’s belt?

 

I hope those of you who have been relying on an outside editor—someone you hired or a friend—will read The Frugal Editor in its 3rd edition and now published by Modern History Press. It includes lots of do-it-yourself stuff. I know most authors—you?—don’t hire an editor for all the daily stuff they do like writing query letters, media releases, etc.) but this book also includes how to partner with an editor, how to save money hiring an editor, and how to hire one that is compatible with your personality and the kind of writing you do. Many good editors like Barbara McNichol (www.barbaramcnichol.com) specialize in specific genres, nonfiction vs. fiction, etc. Larry Brooks (www.storyfix.com) helps writers of fiction with structure. Good editors know that it is hard to be an expert at everything.

 

Editing is a two-way street. There's gotta be some trust and also some confidence. The more an author knows about editing, the better equipped she or he is to discard or keep edits. That’s comforting. But it’s essential to know things like agents’ pet peeves. They rarely have anything to do with the grammar we learned in the fourth grade.

 

Essential? Yes, because those are the documents you send to the people who have something to say about the future of your book including newspaper and magazine feature editors, movie producers, and the millions of folks who read what you put out there on the web. So, yep. Examine every adverby "ly" word. And then use each one to your advantage. Know the adverbs we usually don’t think of when we hear the term adverbs (like “even” and “just”). There is a list in The Frugal Editor (see Amazon’s new series page for it at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BTXQL27T .) Make a list of the ones you tend to overuse. Either discard each one or use one of the methods in The Frugal Editor to turn them into more visual writing. Their best quality? Adverbs can turn you into a magician—that is help you turn them into image-producing gold—similes, or better, metaphors.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults, and speaks on issues of publishing. Learn more about her other authors' aids at https://www.howtodoitfrugally.com. She blogs on editing at https://www.thefrugaleditor.blogspot.com and all things publishing (not just editing!) at https://www.sharingwithwriters.blogspot.com. She tweets writers' resources at www.twitter.com/frugalbookpromo .

 


 

                                                                         LINKEDIN

Valentine's Gifts: Sometimes Words Fail Even a Writer

 


He Won’t Write You a Love Letter

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers

 

Way back in the dark ages when I edited Ann Landers’ columns for a newspaper I worked for, I learned some advice columns can be nearly as valuable as an expensive therapist. My habit of turning to Ann’s column before I read the headlines came in handy recently when Ask Amy, her successor, published a letter dealing with a problem I’ve often heard applied to comedians who don’t like it when someone demands they “be funny,” when they haven’t quite finished swallowing whatever they are chewing. It never occurred to me that it applies to we writers as well.

 

Amy’s column featured a wife who had been married for thirty years to an “eloquent, thoughtful writer” who chooses words carefully. She says, “He turns mundane subjects into interesting reads.” She also says that he is smart, funny, great person, husband, father. (Yep, she’s still complaining to Amy!)

 

This rotter—her husband—won’t write down his feelings for her. He won’t do it for Christmas. He apparently has refused to do it to save money on a more expensive gift. She was hurt and when she pushed, he pushed back. She pushed again. Ugly argument.

 

All this scoundrel could come up with on demand for Valentine’s day is a card with a website address for planning a beautiful trip. No personal poem or sentiment suitable for a card but for her eyes only. One wonders if even a heartfelt “I love you” would do the job. I feel nothing but pity for her. Ahem?

 

At the end of this story, Neglected Wife admits that she knows he loves her. But she assumes she must not be the love of his life and wants an explanation. Now. For Valentine’s day! 

 

Wow. If she is dejected now, just think how disconsolate she’ll be when she finds out about the fifth-grade crush he can’t quite forget!

 

Amy tries to “describe the dynamic of being a writer and getting an emotionally loaded assignment” to this obviously ungrateful reader. The mere idea of fulfilling an assignment like the one this woman has given her husband gives Amy “writer-hives.”

 

So, what do we have here? Is he passive aggressive? Is it creative paralysis. Or do we have here a case of a controlling nature, a persistent controlling nature. On the part of the wife. Or a spouse (either one) who is insecure with love, with writing, or both?

 

I admit, I’ll often take the wife’s part when I read columns like this. So does Amy. I suspect we both figure a lot of men just don’t know how to fill the expectations of the woman they marry—or any other for that matter.

 

Here’s my suggestion to the wife. Back off and stay there. Your man already has an editor. Maybe a lot of them. People who are demanding (or give assignments) are often critical of the final product, even when the author (like certain presidents) think it’s “perfect.” He knows damn well that if he’s in trouble now, it will be worse once his sentiments are indelible. [Disclaimer: I am an editor and I try to be gentle; perhaps you can tell it’s my job to give advice.)

 

My mother used to say, “You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” I used to hate it. I thought it applied only to women. Women have to be made of sugar plumbs. Men get to be sauerkraut if they damn well want. Of course I was wrong. Even flies come in two distinct genders. What works for flies works for writers. Reluctant writers. Married writers. Writers of any gender. But it’s a little na├»ve to think it will always work.

 

Still it’s fun to think of the stories we might come up with if we writers apply this advice to other creatives. Do a little dance for your comedian friends. While I’m at being controlling, don’t tell them jokes. They pay writers for that.

 

MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Carolyn Howard-Johnson brings her experience as a publicist, journalist, marketer, and retailer to the advice she gives in her HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers and the many classes she taught for nearly a decade as instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program. The books in her HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers have won multiple awards. That series includes both the third edition of The Frugal Book Promoter and my publisher and I are hoping for a February release of the third edition of my The Frugal Editor. They will then both be published by Modern History Press and between them they have won awards from USA Book News, Readers’ Views Literary Award, Dan Poynter’s Global Ebook Award, the marketing award from Next Generation Indie Books and others including the coveted Irwin award. How To Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically is still in its first edition and waiting for you in its indie-published edition. 

No Need To Worry About Amazon's Kindle Prime Lending Program

How Is Kindle's Lending Program Kin to Libaries'?

What Might Ann Landers Say About
Amazon’s Kindle Lending Program



By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

I often use a “Q&A a la Ann Landers” format for my SharingwithWriters newsletter. I became a regular reader of her columns when I started my first job in journalism and part of my duties were to make her column fit the “society page” layout. In other words, it was an edit-to-fit task. No way would I interfere with her copy! Gasp! I cringed every time I had to delete something, but I learned much from her—about life and about editing! I am still hearing from readers of my books who don’t quite understand how the concept of borrowing a book benefits their marketing campaign.

QUESTION:

How do you feel about the free borrowing feature offered by Amazon to their Prime members for their Kindle books?

ANSWER:
I don't think any of us would have objected to library lending back in the days before Kindle. Yes, there are some differences—not least of which is that libraries bought the books they lent. But benefits of lending programs still exist—whether we’re talking library or Kindle's lending or online Peek-Inside features.
Here are some of them:
 

  Libraries buy books for their shelves, too. An e-book that does well in a library may also be considered for their system wide purchases. That can be quite a Ka-Ching for books so chosen by large library systems. Sometimes 50 books or more. Online entities logarithms might reward oft-read books with more exposure.

  Amazon provides a stipend from their huge KDP Select global Fund when customers read their books from the Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. It’s based on how many pages the reader actually turns (or reads). Amazon announce the amount to money that goes into that fun regularly.

  Loaned books allow people who can’t afford a book (or won’t spend the money) to read them. Most authors want their books read. Great readership can create sales greater momentum in a still wider world of readers.

The same concept applies to readership in general—purchased, lent, or borrowed—that will likely increase the buzz about a book which results in more sales.

  Activity on book lending gets noticed by Amazon’s algorithms. The more action you have on you Amazon account, the more likely Amazon’s logarithms will be to peg your book for additional exposure.

There is another big advantage. If your book is available to borrow on Amazon's Prime program, reviewers are often just as happy accessing your book that way instead of having you send a hardcopy to them. That's saves time and money for the author or publisher. In fact, that is one of the tips I give in one of the books in my #HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers.  It is How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically.
 
One last thing: Borrowing of any kind over paper that also must be shipped minimizes your carbon footprint. That’s important for authors who are also greenies.
 

More About Today's Author:

Carolyn Howard-Johnson brings her experience as a publicist, journalist, marketer, and retailer to the advice she gives in her HowToDoIhttps://howtodoitfrugally.com/tFrugally series of books for writers and the many classes she taught for nearly a decade as instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program. The books in her HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers have won multiple awards.
Howard-Johnson is the recipient of the California Legislature’s Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award, and her community’s Character and Ethics award for her work promoting tolerance with her writing. She was also named to Pasadena Weekly’s list of “Fourteen San Gabriel Valley women who make life happen” and was given her community’s Diamond Award for Achievement in the Arts.
The author loves to travel. She has visited nearly 100 countries and has studied writing at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom; Herzen University in St. Petersburg, Russia; and Charles University, Prague. She admits to carrying a pen and journal wherever she goes. Her Web site is https://howtodoitfrugally.com.

PS: The typewriter featured in this article is the very one Carolyn used for personal projects back in the day she was trimming Ann Landers' columns to fit what people then called the "Society" page of the newspaper she worked for.

 

 

 

Your Children's Story and the Message

  By Karen Cioffi, Children's Writer I get a lot of clients who want to tell children something through a book. These people want to sen...