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There has never been a better time to self-publish

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This article originally appeared on BookBaby.com

Excerpted from BookBaby’s latest guide, 5 Steps To Self Publishing, Part I of our series addresses why this is a great time to self-publish and the importance of professional editing.

self-publish

“There’s never been a better time to self-publish than right now.”

It’s a statement I often repeat when speaking at writing conferences. The good news is that this message is being received loud and clear by thousands of aspiring writers around the world, just like you. They’ve completed the journey of taking their manuscript directly to the marketplace. From romance novels to religious books, from children’s titles to nonfiction, every author can succeed with a self-published book.

Why self-publish? There are lots of compelling reasons, but you only need four:

1. You can and will make more money. A lot more. Self-published eBooks can earn between 60% and 70% in royalties. Your printed books can earn you up to 50% in royalties when you sell direct-to-reader through BookBaby. Now, compare this with the 12% to 20% royalties earned by traditionally-published writers. You may ask, “Are self-published authors actually making money?” Yes. In fact according to recent reports from authorearnings.com, as a group, they are making MORE than traditionally-published writers.

Download your free copy today!

2. Self-publishing is fast. It takes weeks, not months or years. Your edited manuscript will be available on major online retailers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the rest within a few weeks. Meanwhile, it can take 18 to 24 months for your finished manuscript to reach the marketplace at the end of the traditional publishing process. And that doesn’t even count the time-consuming task of finding both the agent and publisher who are willing to take you on as a new author. That alone could take months or even years!

3. You retain control of your book. No contracts or signing away your publishing rights. Self-published authors are the CEOs, making the call on every aspect of their books, from edits to cover design, book reviews to promo. And finally, one reason that may be obvious and yet still very important:

4. You’re guaranteed to be published. Self-publishing is a sure thing. You WILL be published if you go this route. For many that’s a dream in and of itself. For others it’s a start to a literary career. In today’s low-risk traditional publishing environment, it’s the longest of long shots for an unpublished, unknown new author to get that dream publishing deal.

And if you are holding out in hopes of finding an agent and a traditional publishing deal, let me give you one more reason why you should self-publish.

5. The very best way to be discovered by a traditional publisher is to succeed at self-publishing. Authors can make their best first impression on agents and publishers with quality books, a strong work ethic, and practiced promotional skills. I’ve seen hundreds of examples of self-published authors from either BookBaby or elsewhere being signed by huge international publishing houses.

Professional editing is a must for your book

Once you finish your manuscript, you’re not really finished. Here are five reasons why a professional editor will improve your book.

1. Editing can turn a good book into a great book. Like housework, editing goes unnoticed unless it’s not done. Professional editing is an indispensable part of a novel’s journey to publication. Editing can transform your writing, get readers talking, reach the ears of professional publishers, and catch the eye of movie producers. An editor will make sure that the reader remembers the dazzling plot and characterization – not the problems with grammar.

2. Editors give honest, objective feedback. Lots of authors ask friends and beta readers to take a look at their novel. Most people are flattered by the request and are happy to help. While any feedback is welcome and can help improve the manuscript, friends tend to give a lot of positive encouragement. They can gloss over some of the novel’s shortcomings to avoid causing offense. However, professional editors are experienced at giving criticism. They are systematic and thorough, covering not only familiar issues of grammar and punctuation, but also matters of style, pacing, dialogue, plot twists, and fact checking (to name but a few). Above all, the feedback they give is honest and objective. It takes teamwork to craft a polished and captivating novel that could become tomorrow’s bestseller. In short, authors need professional editors.

3. Editors work together with authors. It’s the editor’s job to be honest with the author when suggesting improvements (such as rewriting, restructuring, or cutting sections) while respecting the author’s message, meaning, tone, and style. Both the author and the editor have a shared interest in producing a work that gets – and keeps – the reader’s attention. What’s more, if an author so wishes, an editor with experience and knowledge of the book-selling market can also suggest ways to take the novel in a direction that might better attract the eye of a publisher or an agent.

4. An editor is a sounding board. Authors often pour their deepest feelings, and even their secrets, into their novels. For that reason, they are often cautious about who reads their early drafts. In such cases, authors can benefit from the impartial opinion of an editor. An editor takes a bird’s eye view of a novel, identifies the elements that work and those that don’t, and suggests the necessary changes. While editors often get to know authors well throughout the editing process, especially in the case of full, substantive editing, they are not concerned with your private life. They won’t be flattered or annoyed if they appear or not in the final version (although a credit is always nice).

5. Editing is a professional skill. It can be tempting to ask a friend to edit your book. Someone who is not an editor but who is good with language and is prepared to do the job for little or no cost.

The issue here is that you often get what you pay for. Editing is a profession like any other. It is their job to help the author produce a work that will keep the reader engaged and cause that magical, lasting effect the author has set out to achieve.

This post was excerpted and adapted from 5 Steps To Self Publishing: All the essential information you need to go from manuscript to marketplace. Download your free copy today.

About BookBaby

Based in the Philadelphia-area, BookBaby is a team of authors, poets, bloggers, and artists — so they know the thrills and challenges of bringing a book into this world.

Since 2011, BookBaby has helped thousands realize their publishing goals by offering the largest eBook distribution network, including Amazon, Apple, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and many other popular retailers in over 170 countries around the globe.

Learn more at www.BookBaby.com.


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Which authors services are right for self-publishing authors? 1

Which authors services are right for self-publishing authors?

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self-publishing book cycleThe Independent Publishing market is strong and vibrant, and as a result, a whole slew of providers for author services have emerged, which can leave authors confused about where to turn to for help. And you do need help. You need to turn your manuscript into a polished, professional product and get it out of your hands and in the hands of readers.

In the traditional publishing model, it was all about the publisher. They not only controlled the process, but they controlled all aspects of the product. They chose the book title, the cover, controlled the editing, release dates, and the distribution channels. They also controlled the purse strings, and shared only a small return with you. And yet, if you wanted your book to be successful, you had to jump into the marketing and bear those expenses.

But independent publishing has changed all that. This process is no longer a ferris wheel-type structure where you, the author, are completely absent. There’s now a streamlined flow and YOU are at the center of everything. EVERYTHING! For reputable service providers, it’s all about YOU:  About helping you to be successful, about helping you produce a world-class product that you can market around the world.

the-book-cycleStep One: Write
It starts with the writing. Many authors simply put their pen to paper and fly, but others, particularly if they are writing nonfiction like The Book Professor clients, need help to organize and express their message. They get help from a writing coach.

Step Two: Edit
Every big-name author has a phenomenal editor, and if you skip this step, you will certainly fail. Professionals don’t rely on their college student or their friend who majored in English to edit their book. They engage a professional book editor who knows how to sustain and shape a message over a couple hundred pages.

Step Three: Proofread
Don’t think that you or your editor can proofread your own material. You can’t. Your brain is amazing, and it will fill in missing words that you accidentally deleted. You’ll never even notice if you’ve made a mistake – that is, until you see it in print!

Step Four: Design
There are two parts to your book design: the cover and the interior. Hire a professional for both. This is non-negotiable. You must do it.

Step Five: Produce
You’ll have to decide what forms your book will take, and with the advent of print-on-demand services, you can produce physical books without making a costly up-front investment. The books are printed as they are sold, and if you want to change the content, you simply upload a new digital file. eBooks, of course, are an especially hot market for Indie authors, and you need a conversion partner like BookBaby who will do your book justice.

Step Six: Distribute
Your book must be available for readers to buy, and you’ll want them to be available through every possible channel.

Step Seven: Market
Marketing your book feel overwhelming, but the easiest first step is to join Bookarma, where authors help other authors market their books globally for only $15 per month. Click here to see how it works

CHOOSE WISELY

Some service providers take advantage of authors. They over-promise and under-deliver, and have been known to produce substandard results. You don’t need that.

What goes on inside that Bookflow makes all the difference. When those of us who serve authors as reputable providers give and help and share and serve you, it changes the game. We know the Bookflow from beginning to end and perform our part without cutting corners to get ahead, without rushing through and making mistakes, without over-promising, without over-charging, without missing deadlines. We are free to do our best, to offer best pricing, and to work together to establish a total project budget that a serious author can afford. That’s the abundance attitude. That’s good karma!


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Ten Fatal Mistakes Made By Self-Published Authors

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Ten Fatal Mistakes That
Self-Published Authors Make

I own a professional publishing company and receive numerous submissions each year from writers who want to be published. I only work with nonfiction, so the manuscripts are usually from nonprofessional writers who have experienced or learned something that will either save lives, change lives, or have a positive impact on society. Because the writers are amateurs, their writing is usually substandard, and I rarely find a manuscript I can publish. Here are ten common mistakes that send their work to my recycling bin:

1. They think they have a great idea.

Before you start writing, make sure you have an original idea. How do you do that? Research, research, research! Read other books in the same genre and on the same topic, and if you find that your message has already been delivered, then save yourself the time and aggravation of writing a book. Better yet, find a unique angle about that topic and write to that perspective.

2. They love their own writing.

Seasoned authors know the value of outside criticism and will seek it at every opportunity. Amateur writers think that if they scored well in high school English, that they write well and don’t need any feedback. That’s a big mistake. You’re probably not as good as you think you are, and neither am I. An overconfident attitude produces the kind of sloppy writing I toss aside.

3. They think writing will be easy.

Writing isn’t easy and it never has been. It’s a hard discipline and very few can hack it. If it were easy, you would have already written your book! No one has ever accidentally written a book, and neither will you. You must create disciplined deadlines and be accountable to them. Write all the time; practice makes perfect. As Agatha Christie said, “Write even when you don’t want to, don’t much like what you are writing, and aren’t writing particularly well.”

 4. They don’t know how to start a book.

Think about how you would start any multi-layered project, like building a house. You’d start with a plan wouldn’t you? Your book project should also begin with a plan that you can execute, which will carry you from concept to cover. You must know what you’re trying to accomplish in order to hit the goal. Begin by answering these foundational questions, then write a book that is targeted to your answers.

  • What purpose will the book serve?
  • How is it different from other books published on this same subject?
  • What is the main theme of your story? Secondary themes?
  • What new information or angle does your story present that hasn’t already been heard?
  • Why will people want to read this story?
  • Who is your audience? Define your primary and secondary markets.
  • How will this work impact that audience?
  • What change do you want to invoke in the reader?
  • Why would others recommend this book to others?
  • Finish the sentence: “The purpose of this book is to ­­­­­­­­___________________.”
  • Who would you like to endorse your book? Another expert in the field? A celebrity? Figure that out, then write the kind of book that person would endorse.

5. They don’t exhaust the language or expand their style.

Readers appreciate a varied vocabulary, but are impatient with the repetition of words, phrases, and sentence structure. Be sure that your writing is interesting, that there’s a mixture of sentence styles, that you’ve employed active language, and that your verbs are sharp and distinctive. Language matters.

6. They don’t understand grammar and punctuation.

You may not understand the rules of grammar and punctuation, but that doesn’t mean that others don’t. They do, and they’ll spot your mistakes in a flash. There are strict rules for both grammar and punctuation, and you better sharpen those skills if you don’t want to be dismissed.

7. They won’t invest.

So maybe you’re not good at grammar and punctuation? Hire an editor. Not sure if there are mistakes in your manuscript? Hire a proofreader. If you want to self-publish, then hire a professional cover designer and interior designer. Just because you can do everything yourself, that doesn’t mean you should. This is a specialized, professional industry, and you should work with professionals.

8. They trust the opinions of their friends.

Friends and family are great, but they have limitations when it comes to offering you objective feedback. When it comes to writing a book, their opinion doesn’t count. They are inexperienced, care too much about your feelings, and may only tell you what you want to hear. Seek an outside opinion from a professional editor who is trained to critique writing. But brace yourself—this could hurt! Be eager to make the necessary changes to meet professional standards.

9. They don’t know how to end the book.

Your opening line is important, but the ending can make or break a book. How and where do you stop? Decide if you want to tie your story in a neat bow or allow it to continue. Write three or four endings, then choose the one that is most satisfying. Moreover, be sure to tie up loose strings on all subplots, and revisit those foundational questions to be sure you’ve accomplished your stated goals.

10. They are in a hurry.

Amateur authors often set unreasonable deadlines, then latch onto them for dear life. Come hell or high water, they’re going to get their book finished by Christmas, or their birthday, or by any other manufactured deadline that has nothing to do with the book itself. Know this: by the time you’re in the home stretch, you’re going to be sick of your book. You may even hate it. But that doesn’t mean that you push it out the door just to get rid of it. Pull back and be thorough with every edit, with every research item, with every jot and tittle. Exercise a firm discipline and slow down, so you can produce a professional and polished manuscript and become an author, not merely a writer.


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