Polishing your first book – Part 1

You’ve just finished your first book and now you want to publish it. Before you decide on how to publish, look at your work again. Preferably, after a three month cool down to clear your head. When you go back to it, keep a few things in mind.

Look at your word count. This might not seem like a big issue, but it can be. If you’re trying to go through a publishing house, check their requirements. You don’t want to give them an excuse to delete your submission. And don’t think they won’t. Agents and publishers have a mound of submissions to go through. They might even delegate the work to a bunch of underlings. Put yourself in their shoes, if you have a thousand submissions a day, and only eight hours each day to work, how are you going to get through it? Remember, most agents and publishers only take a few books a year. I’m talking count on one hand type of thing.

But I digress. We were talking about word count. This is one of the biggest mistakes new writers make. Your manuscript might be 350,000 words long, but FlyByNightPublishings requirements are 70,000 to 90,000 words. No more, no less. Why is this? Because big word count books are expensive to publish. Even the self-publishing printers will give you grief if you go to high on the word count.

Have you ever gone to a convention or book fair and spotted an author trying to sell a 300K count book? I have. Those tomes look intimidating. Not something you’d spend an afternoon reading. And the print, the warning labels on your aspirin bottle has larger print.

If your story hits 100,000 words, it’s time to figure out if you need to make it more than one book or consider whether you over wrote your story. This is where editing comes in. don’t worry I’ll get to that in one of these posts.

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Publishing House or Self-Publishing? Part 3

Self-Publishing is instant gratification. You can write up your grocery list and publish it. Can you make money off the list? Probably not. But a well written story could fill your change purse.

The best thing about self-publishing is; you’re in control. But the worse thing about self-publishing is; you’re in control.

Let’s face it, when it comes to self-publishing, everything falls on your shoulders. You might have a full novel, but how is the quality? Is it full of grammar mistakes? Is it formatted correctly? Is the story coherent?

Just because you can publish doesn’t mean you should. Some people will only give you one chance, and that’s it. Others are a little more lenient. There is a lot that goes into a book before it’s ready. When you choose to do it yourself, you not only have to write the story, you have to edit, and find a good cover. After that, there’s marketing. And Marketing is a whole other animal.

There’s a lot that goes into self-publishing so I’ll handle it in more posts.

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Publishing House or Self-Publishing? Part 2

Very few authors make it to the Big-Five, but there are a lot of mid-range to low-level publishers out there. Many of these you don’t need an agent for, but make sure you read the contracts before you sign anything. Having a professional looking the contract over might be a good thing too. You don’t want to find out later that you have to be in Albuquerque for a book signing or lose your rights on the story when the job that pays your bills says you must be in New York.

Note: Don’t get into writing for the money. Do it because you love it. Most authors make less than poverty level wages. Only the rock stars of the writing world make the big bucks and they had real jobs before they made it big.

Another thing you want to look at with the smaller publishing houses is, How big are they? And What have they published? You can tell a lot by visiting their websites. Plus, their requirements are also listed.

Do read the requirements and follow them. While many publishers are in competition with each other that doesn’t mean they don’t talk to each other. If you piss off one, three or more might get a memo about you. Also, don’t send a romance book to a horror publisher with the hopes that they will publish it just to be nice. Remember, these people are in the business to make money. They’re not going to do anything with something that is not their specialty.

Another reason to check out a publisher’s website is, what will you be getting? Is it a stable business, or some grade-schooler working out of their parent’s basement? What is the ranking of some of their books? This will tell you if they know how to market a book. You may think they all do, but once you sign the contract, you are at their mercy.

Reid and I had this problem when we first started. The publishing house didn’t have a marketing person, used free labor college students as editors, and never sold more than a handful of books. The owner had some big plans and wonderful ideas. Unfortunately, she seemed to be her own worst enemy. I don’t know everything that went on, but I heard and experienced enough to know something wasn’t right. Reid’s first editor put more mistakes into book one of his trilogy than he bothered to take out. As for book two and three, the crickets were more active. As for my books, that would take an entire post and then some to explain.

When the company closed, we were lucky enough to get our rights back. We both spent an entire year editing, formatting, and self-publishing the old books. The reason being was that there were people out there who liked our stories. But the problem was that they were already published once. Remember what I said about publishers wanting to make money? In a sense, our books were now tainted. Self-Publishing was the only option.

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Publishing House or Self-Publishing? Part 1

You’ve written your story. Now what do you do with it? It’s a question so many of us have. Many people dream of getting into the top five publishing houses while others are happy to get into the small or mid range places.

If you want to get into the top five, you’ll probably need an agent. Maybe I should say, you will need an agent. Agents are the first line of hurtles authors need to pass. Think of them as the first line of defense of the publishing castles. These people make their money by convincing the big publishing houses to run with your book. When you think about how few slots are available each year, that’s a tall order.

Out of the thousands of prospective authors, less than half a dozen spots are open for each publisher. It makes you wonder if playing the lottery gives you better odds.

Here are a few things to keep in mind. What’s trending now, is not what the publishing houses are looking for. They’re looking for what will be hot two, three, or possibly four years from now. The reason being that’s how long it will take to get whatever book they choose today to get out onto the market. Big publishing houses are not an add water and stir type of thing. A lot of people are involved, and for those of you who have had to deal with big company business meetings, you can imagine what happens.

A lot of people ask why go with a big company? The answer, the rubber stamp of approval. It means that someone thought your story was good enough to make money. Not just have you make money, but them.

Think about it. If you tell someone that you have a book published, what is their reaction when they hear Publishing house verses Self-publishing?

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We Had a Great Time at ConFusion

The ConFusion weekend was fun. Reid and I met some very nice people.

Our neighbors in the Artist Alley were:

Rachel Quinlan, Pocket Demon Creations, Michael Kucharski, The Fairy Goth Mama, Wyrm Tales Press, Ink and Fire, Crystal Mielcarek, Subterranean Press, Not Available Comics, Earthenwood Studio, Mackenzie Flohr (Author), Emily Zelasko (Art), With a Grain of Salt Designs, Treasured Roses, EDE Bell, and Imagining Games.

Would you believe I brought my camera but left it in the luggage? All I had was my phone. We spotted an Alice or two along with the Queen of Heart and got a fuzzy picture of the White Rabbit.

Reid’s AetherMagneto Degaussitron, or as one person called it – The Human Bug Zapper -gained a lot of attention.

He was carrying it on his way to the ConSuite to get a sandwich and never made it to the end of the hall.

Jim Butcher was at Confusion this weekend. He seemed like a very nice and amusing man.

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New Years Resolution

This year I plan on doing more posts. Preferably writing related.

If anyone has a question or topic they would like to have covered, please let me know.

 

Right at the moment, Reid and I will be at Confusionsf this weekend. Please join us for a weekend of fun.

 

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I’m trying out the Pre-Order Button

 

Why is this under a pen name? Because it’s not Sci-fi.

A friend suggested that I not mix genes, so that’s why this one is under my middle name. The books is a cozy mystery with seniors who refuse to grow old. And a dog. Can’t forget Puccini.

For those who know me, murder is my Achilles heel. I’m not a big movie watcher, but if it involves murder and a puzzle to solve, I’m there. It’s the same with books. Victoria Thompson has me hooked on her Gaslight series, and her new book is just as promising.

Curious to see if I could write a mystery, Dead Letter was the result. It’s been gathering dust for the last year or so while I debated on what to do with it. Book two, Body in the Boot, is still locked up in my head. Finding time to write everything down is a chore. Don’t worry, It will get written.

The first book will be offered at 99 cents for the month of January.

Order now

Dead Letter: An M Falcon Mystery

Martin Davies and Della Rose are more interested in having fun playing detective in their golden years than being detectives. Their team of enthusiastic blue-hairs is a treasure trove of unexpected skills and employ unconventional tactics.

Behind the sweet wheelchair-bound grandmother facade, Estelle is a master hacker with the online handle MeatGrinder56. Wendy, a semi-retired actress, lives her dream of being a superspy while scrapbooking fingerprints to go with her surveillance photos. Homeless veteran Mac, the team’s eyes on the street, is invisible to the public.

When a letter arrives from a deceased client asking them to retrieve a cheap china doll, the game turns fatal as they find more dead bodies than answers. When the killer decides that Della and Martin are getting too close, the couple needs to find the murderer before their fun comes to a permanent end.

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