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Posts Tagged ‘self-publishing’

Dragons AheadThe 14th century was a seriously bad time marked by The Black Death and The Hundred Years’ War. After the plague, to combat the wage inflation caused by there being 30-50% fewer folks standing around, the nobility said, “Sure, I’ll pay you twice what I used to pay you,” and then they turned around and devalued the coins they used. Thus, even though you were now paid 6 sous each day, with their value cut in half they’d only buy you 3 sous worth of goods. Complain as you might, you were powerless to change it.

Amazon is like that. No, not like the Black Death. Like medieval nobility. (Though you could make an argument for the Black Death, too.)

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It's a Trap!To be honest, I started this blog because I want your money. That’s not the only reason, but it’s definitely in the mix.

As a writer, I want people (i.e., you) to read my books. I’ve worked hard writing them, I’m proud of them, and I want folks to read them and enjoy them. I think my books are worth something, though, so I (generally) don’t give them away for free, which means readers must part with some of their money.

Ergo, I want your money. (more…)

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ND Author Services

Since the day Gutenberg pulled the first sheet off his press, we’ve been told “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” and for just about as long, we’ve done precisely that. It isn’t fair, but we do judge books by their cover and now, with the Big-Bang-like expansion of the self-published sub-industry, we probably do it even more.

For self-published authors, cover art is a morass of high cost and low quality. If you’re lucky enough to be an expert photo-manipulator, you may be able to create a decent cover, but even so, the costs of stock images and the complexity of rights and royalty limitations can be daunting.

I’ve created covers for some of my own titles. I’ve negotiated with photographers, fussed with fonts, and tried to apply the wisdom I’ve gleaned from those who do it for a living. I’ve had varying levels of success (the art for Unraveling Time and Cryptogenesis are probably my best), but I’ve never truly been satisfied. Still, whenever I’ve looked into contracting a graphic artist to create a cover, the prices have been out of my range, especially for shorter works which don’t have as high an earnings potential.

Enter ND Author Services.

ND Author Services (NDAS) is the publishing arm of the Hendee writing empire. The Hendees, Barb and J.C., are the authors of the best-selling Noble Dead Saga and other great series, and I’ve sent you over to NDAS before, to learn from some of their excellent articles on the business side of writing.

What most people don’t know is that J.C. Hendee is the talent behind most of their short-form covers. While all their long-form work is published by major houses, they self-publish all their shorter tie-in works, and J.C. crafts the covers. A while ago, I had the opportunity to look over J.C.’s shoulder and study how he builds layer upon layer of graphic elements to create his unquestionably high-quality covers. At the time, I could only dream of having cover art that good.

Now, however, we can all benefit from J.C.’s graphical talents, and you won’t believe how affordable it is.

NDAS began offering “pre-made” covers last year, and they now have an impressive gallery of artwork available for licensing. There are dozens and dozens of high-quality cover art on display, all organized into genre-specific categories. Select the artwork you want, and NDAS will customize it for your title, name, and other specifics. Then they’ll reserve that artwork for a year, so other authors can’t use the same piece.

You can license the work for e-book, print, or both, and here’s the kicker: the price for these is $30, $75, and $85, respectively.

Yes. You can get quality cover art for your electronic and printed book, both for only $85.

I know I sound like a shill, but anyone who has looked into hiring a cover artist knows that this is an incredibly low price, especially if you consider the quality of the work. I’ve paid more than that just to get the rights to a single photo to use in my covers.

Don’t see that perfect fit your title? No worries. NDAS offers services to create custom cover work, as well.

Trust me on this: if you are part of the self-publishing world, you really need to check this out. It may very well be the only cover art resource you need.

k

Typewriter

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Recently, Roger Sutton (editor-in-chief of The Horn Book, a magazine that reviews children’s and YA books), declared in an open letter to self-published authors his reasons for not reviewing self-published books. The next day, Ron Charles (editor of The Washington Post’s Book World) picked up Sutton’s commentary for an article and interview, adding his own two cents of support at the end. Other editors and reviewers chimed in, echoing the comments and sentiments of both.

A few hours later, the self-publishing universe achieved critical mass and exploded.

Unfortunately, most folks involved in that explosion didn’t bother to read Sutton’s letter or the WP article. They just heard that their books had been interdicted, and that was enough send them into orbit.

Which illustrates a huge part of the problem: Self-published authors don’t understand the industry.

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Stack of BooksLast Saturday, I battled a demon, and emerged triumphant.

Okay, maybe not “triumphant.” But I was able to walk away under my own power.

Last Saturday, the Sumner Arts Commission, in partnership with the Sumner Public Library, hosted a panel of authors on the topic, “Getting it Right,” i.e., the importance of accuracy in historical research.

With me on the panel were three respected authors: Rebecca Morris, co-author of If I Can’t Have You, about the true story of the Susan Powell disappearance; Ned Hayes, who wrote Sinful Folk, a novel set in the 14th century; and Candace Robb (writing also as Emma Campion) author of the Owen Archer mysteries and whose latest novel, A Triple Knot, focuses on Joan of Kent, cousin to King Edward III.

Yes. Three bestselling authors.

And me.

In front of a crowd of people.

Speaking.

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Dragons AheadI’ve never liked the word “submit.” To Submit, to place under, to capitulate, to yield.

Nope. Never liked it.

When I started writing, I learned a new meaning for the word “submit”: to send for consideration a manuscript, born of sweat and tears, wrapped in prayers and orisons, in hopes that, against overwhelming odds and counter to all probability, an editor will find it pleasing and bestow upon it the gift of acceptance.

And submit I did. Often and regularly. For years. I have the rejections to prove it (more on them, next week). For now, though, some thoughts on the mechanics of submitting your work to markets.

First: Do it.

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Pursuant to my earlier post on self-promotion, I want to share what happened to me yesterday: a prime example of what NOT to do.

I am very well aware that, these days, writers must promote their work. I also know that, for the self-published, all promotion is, by definition, left solely to the author’s efforts.

But there are limits, both to what is effective and to what is appropriate.

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