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Monday, 27 January 2014

Rejection is the hardest to face for...

Ira Mark Egdall 
What I'd Wished I'd Known Before I Published 

Writing a book is hard (at least for me it is). Trying to find a publisher is even harder. Like so many things in life, the key is persistence. It's not a guarantee of success, but it sure improves the odds. Of course there are exceptions to the rule. I spoke to an author who found a publisher on her first try! That was certainly not my experience.
Ira Mark Egdall 

I found that in the face of rejection, you have to somehow find the inner strength to overcome your self-doubt and keep on trying. Like I said, it ain't easy. But success is possible. I'm an example. My first full-length book, Einstein Relatively Simple, is about to be published. (I still can't believe it.) It's for those who always wanted to understand Einstein's ideas but perhaps never thought it possible. (Shameless plug.)

The road to publication was long and difficult. Here are a couple of things I wished I had done to make it easier:

1. Listen to the experts -- At my first book fair, I was told by a literary agent and a bookseller that my manuscript would have its best chance with an academic press. But I was stubborn -- I wanted to try for an agent and major New York publisher first. After lots of rejections, I found an agent. She was unable to find a publisher. They praised the writing but not the market. So I turned to academic publishers on my own. After more rejections and two "almosts", an academic publisher said yes. I thought I would burst with joy.

I should have taken the advice of the experts and queried academic publishers first. It would have saved many months of time and heartache.

2. Listen to your reviewers. - Early on, I asked (begged) some friends, two physics experts, and a published author to critique drafts of my book. Several told me the book was too long. But I couldn't bear to "cut my darlings". Two years later, an editor advised me to cut the book by a third. I did this with the help of my wife. I then began to receive serious interest in the book -- resulting in a publisher.

As an author you have to evaluate criticisms from draft reviewers and decide for yourself what to change. But chances are when someone tells you your book is too long, it probably is.

My wife urged me to seek academic publishers first, and to cut the size of the book. That's another lesson learned: always listen to your wife!

Relatively Simple

Einstein Relatively Simple brings together for the first time an exceptionally clear explanation of both special and general relativity. It is for people who always wanted to understand Einstein’s ideas but never thought it possible.

Told with humor, enthusiasm, and rare clarity, this entertaining book reveals how a former high school drop-out revolutionized our concepts of space and time. From E=mc2 and everyday time travel to black holes and the big bang, the book takes us all, regardless of any scientific background, on a mindboggling journey through the depths of Einstein's universe.

Along the way, we track Einstein through the perils and triumphs of his life — follow his thinking, his logic, and his insights — and chronicle the audacity, imagination, and sheer genius of the man recognized as the greatest scientist of the modern era.

About Ira Mark Egdall... also the author of the eBook Unsung Heroes of the Universe and a popular science writer for DecodedScience.com. He is a retired aerospace program manager with an undergraduate degree in physics from Northeastern University. Mark now teaches lay courses in modern physics at Lifelong Learning Institutes at Florida International University, the University of Miami, and Nova Southeastern University. He also gives entertaining talks on Einstein and time travel. When not thinking about physics, Mark spends his time playing with his grandchildren and driving his wife of 45 years crazy.

Friday, 24 January 2014

The importance of promotion and platforms in...

What I Wished I'd Known Before I Published
Deena Rae Schoenfeldt
I have been involved directly and indirectly in the publishing world for over  two decades and I thought I had a pretty decent handle on what was expected on every phase of the journey. I have preached to my clients the importance of promotion and platforms; especially the last three years with the amazing rise in indie publishing. I just wish I had appreciated the hard work that comes after the book is finished, the editing accomplished, cover decided on, interior layout or eBook format finished. I never realized all the hard work that comes after the ‘art’ is ready for the world.

I have some absolutely amazing clients and author friends, but it never entered my mind what was involved in making sure a release was a success—I’m still not sure if I know, but I should have a better idea after the end of January when my launch is officially over.

Here’s a little idea of where I am coming from. I get many requests each day to post, tweet or blog about someone’s book, some of these requests are from friends, some are from acquaintances and some are from strangers.

Sometimes these requests are polite but others are downright rude or pushy (those people are ignored, by the way, because manners matter to those from the south J ).  So, back to my story… when I decided to compile and release my book I wanted to make it a learning experience that I could pass on to my clients and readers. I also wanted to do it on a shoestring!

I wasn’t going to spend a dime on someone to plan a virtual book tour. I wasn’t about to host a giveaway, or pay anything to anyone so I knew I would have to ask my friends and acquaintances if they could help.

I absolutely hate to ask anyone for anything (see above) but I bit the bullet and asked twenty or so of my writer and blogger buddies if they could help get the word out if I supplied the coded posts (that’s a secret ingredient—people aren’t necessary lazy, but they are busy!) Thank heaven they all said yes but it was hard for me to ask since I am sure they are inundated with requests.

I spent hours making sure I had all the information needed and started coding the posts, sending them —whew— it was a lot of repetitive work, lots of checking calendars to make sure I had posts on each day I was targeting. I will tell you honestly, putting together a book launch is hard work, and I just wish I had realized before how much effort it takes.
Navigating the World of E-Book Publishing

With a no-nonsense, conversational style, Deena Rae of E-BookBuilders gives advice to aspiring authors about indie publishing. Filled with information about social media, pricing, formatting styles, covers, reviews and platforms (to a name a few) there is a wealth of information for the novice author. Even experienced authors and publishers will find this book helpful and informative.

With sections such as ‘Authors — Quit Doing This!’, ‘In Praise of Audio(books)’, ‘Twitter Primer for Authors’, and ‘Should You Use Amazon’s Author Central’, Deena Rae gives detailed information that anyone in the industry of publishing should know and consider.
Whether you are just starting on your publishing journey, considering entering the literary world or have 30 books for sale, there is something for everyone in this book.

E-BookBuilders is the online alias of Deena Rae Schoenfeldt. She was born and raised in Texas — home of bluebonnets, boots, beef and big hair — into a family that was in the printing and publishing industries. Her father was a computer programmer for major newspapers when the equipment took up whole rooms and mother has been a publisher for almost 30 years — trying, unsuccessfully, to bring her into the family business. She is a second-generation genetically perfected super-nerd.

She was happily living her life, having three third-generation genetically perfected super-nerds herself, but then through a series of events (unfortunate and fortunate), she officially joined The Book Connection — her mother’s publishing and packaging company — as the Digital Director, to create the e-publishing division in 2011. Her computer skills, willingness to help authors, love of literature, no-nonsense attitude and quick wit has helped shepherd many authors through the maze of digital publishing.

Through her work with E-BookBuilders, Deena Rae has been able to meet authors and writers from all over the world and in every genre imaginable. She has a biting wit, obscure sense of humor, awareness of the absurd, and a love of literature all which led to the creation of Bluebonnets, Bagpipes and Books, the #NSFW publishing discussion podcast she produces and hosts with Janet Wrenn and Peter Burnett. Her no-nonsense attitude makes for some hilarious discussions and plenty of “Oh my God, did she really just say that?” moments. Sometimes it is as if there is no filter between her brain and her mouth. But if she likes you she tries to be nice — sometimes. Deena also has the safe-for-everyone author interview show, B3's Bookworm. You can find her most hours of everyday attached to her computer either researching, tweeting on her 6 accounts, posting on her different Face-book timelines and pages, coding e-books for her fabulous friends/clients or with her nose buried in her Kindle reading.

Monday, 20 January 2014

What you NEED to be told BEFORE publishing

What I Wished I'd Known before I Published
Part Four

Juliet Madison - Start planning promotional strategies and writing blog tour posts for your book before you're published, as these can take up a lot of time. 

Marci Nault - I wish there had been a manual handed to me the day I signed my contract - a published author boot camp. In it, there'd been a list of book bloggers, groups for writers, and wonderful advice by authors who'd been through the process. When The Lake House was coming out, I must say I felt like I was three hours late to a very fancy party where everyone was wearing their finest and I showed up in hiking boots, jeans, and a t-shirt. I didn't know about Facebook groups or even book blogging. But luckily so many authors took me under their wing and led me to the knowledge I needed. Of course, by then I was about three months late with beginning the promotion of my book and being on top of where ARC's went out and to which reviewers. So my advice, find published author groups as soon as you sign that contract. Those writer's will be your saving grace! And realize that the book blogging world is wonderful and they love sharing books so cherish and thank these people with all your heart. 

Ron Fritsch -  How much of the same advice I'd hear repeated over and over: editor, cover, marketing, social-networking, etc. I'm not saying the advice is wrong. It's a question of how many times one needs to hear it.

Jane Starwood - 1. Never publish a first or second or even third draft.
2. Line up good beta readers. (Not your mom.) You need people who will be brutally honest with you about what works and what doesn't. Ask for detailed responses. When you get them, consider them carefully, then put your manuscript away for at least a couple of weeks. It's hard, but starting another book is a great way to distract yourself. When you come back to the first book, you'll have fresher eyes to see what changes you need to make.
3. If you're new to writing, take as many courses and workshops as you can before you attempt a novel.
4. Writing well is hard work, unless you're a certified genius. I don't know any of those.

David A. Tatum - Heh. Having just done this for the first time...
You can do all your homework to plan for and expect all of the big things, but don't overlook the minor things you should have learned from everything else you do on the internet. Like your settings changing slightly in Createspace when you use their Interior Designer, causing a minor error that can delay acceptance. Or caching issues in Smashwords if you accidentally upload a defective file the first time causing your 'replacement' upload to be the same defective file. That sort of thing. Don't let these frustrations get to you -- most of them can be fixed, and with little effort.

Oh, here's another one:
The self-publishing industry can change on you in just a couple months. Find several blogs of professional veterans, both indie and trade, and keep up with them.

I'd recommend the blogs of PassiveGuy, Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch, ex-agent Nathan Bransford, and the Writing Excuses podcast featuring Howard Tayler, Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowel, and Dan Wells. Keep in mind that these people aren't perfect, either -- they have egos, can sometimes get locked in a particular way of thinking themselves, etc., so keep looking for new sources as well.

Mike Cooley- I would add Scalzi's blog to that list and probably Konrath's. My tip is: go over it and over it until it's fantastic, then pay an editor to go over it again. Oh, and don't take one person's opinion as gospel. You can drain the life out of a story trying to please everyone. It's not possible to please everyone.

Cheryl Shireman - Hire a great editor. Hire a great editor. Hire a great editor. Oh, and - hire a great editor!

Rikki Strong - Not everyone who receives a copy for review will leave a review, same with everyone who buys a copy of the book or downloads a free KDP copy (for me, with my four books out now, the sales to review average is somewhere between 1% and 5%). Some reviewers also have a very long TBR list. Whatever you do, don't keep bugging them about it every time you see them, or they may keep dropping your book tot he end of the list.

Karen Martin - Don't wait to start social networking until you have a book ready. Get your FB page up and running, start figuring out Twitter, Goodreads, etc. Start blogging. Start making connections. Otherwise, you'll have a finished book on your hands and nobody to tell about it.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

How Authors Sharing Tips Of The Trade Can Help You Succeed

What I Wished I'd Known before I Published
Part Three

It's great to have a book ready to go but in the digital book one book often gets lost so be sure to have book two ready to go hot on its heels. - Monique McDonell

Read the FAQ! - Alex Butcher 

Write every day. - Wayne Bartlett

If you want to make a living from your craft, you have to treat it like a business. Your writing is your product, and a successful business will do whatever it takes to put the best product out to the public. That means doing the best job you can where your talents are strongest, and hiring "outside vendors" to take over where you are weak. If you have a talent for graphic arts, do a great cover. If you don't, then for Ghu's sake, hire someone to do a professional cover.

And whether or not you are a good editor, NEVER edit your own writing! Your mind will see what you *intended* to write, and not necessarily what you *actually* wrote. Hire a good editor. - Jeff Brackett

Learn how to market before you hit the publish button because it's all on the author. Wear a thick skin because no matter how many times you edit/check/re-check someone will find a typo and blow it all out of proportion. Get into a writers group like this one so you can keep gaining knowledge. - Elaine Raco Chase

Great cover art is worth its weight in gold. If you can't afford great cover art, see if you can do a swap (babysitting, editing, whatever). - Connie Keller 

I wish I'd known about creating a mailing list. I started indie publishing at the end of 2010 and I didn't know such things existed. I also wish I'd paid a cover artist sooner. Also--it is okay to go back to earlier books and 'fix' them. I just reedited (for dialogue tags and typos) my first book and uploaded. It just means that the people who buy it today are getting a version I like better. - Sarah Woodbury
Don't rush to publish. It's easy to do when the thrill of finishing a book is swimming through your head. After you've finished that final edit, step back at least two weeks, then reread. - Jolea M Harrison 
Actually I'm glad I wasn't told all of the pitfalls or how difficult it was to get published. If I'd known it might have put me off trying. - Patsy Davies 

Matthew Wayne Selznick - "Whenever possible, direct potential readers to the sales page on your website, not to Amazon.com or another retailer. There are two good reasons for this: 

1) Your reader might not want to shop at the retailer you choose in the region you choose.

2) (This is the big one) By bringing a reader to the sales page on your own site, you raise the chance they'll subscribe to your mailing list and become part of your reader community. This is far more valuable in the long run than the chance of a one-time sale."

Connie Keller  - Make sure your betas are good editors. Not every writer makes a good editor for someone else's work. Also, when proofreading, read the book aloud from back to front, i.e., start with the last chapter and read it through aloud. Then, the second to the last chapter, then, the third to the last chapter and so on until you read the first chapter last. This will keep you from getting caught up in the story and you'll do a much better job of proofreading.

Vickie Taylor - Pay attention to details. It's the little things that whisper "professional" versus screaming "amateur". Time to make a modern cover. Editing. Formatting. Proofreading. Sometimes the smallest things like using two dashes instead of an em dash or straight quotes instead of curly quotes can give a reader an impression of your book's quality and your skill as an author.
Secondly, develop an open mind, but thick skin. That means be able to listen to criticism objectively without hurt feelings and then decide if it is something you really want to rethink.
Three probably isn't fair, but here goes. Don't feel like you have to (or even should) publish your first book (as in for sale, where people are going to give you money for it). Put it out there for people to read, sure, possibly on your blog or on Wattpad or even a fan fiction type site where people can read it and maybe give feedback. But writing, like any other craft or art, can take time to develop. I've never seen a pianist charge for attending a concert to play Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star or whatever other first song they learned. Hone your skill. Go big when you're ready. And I know some people won't agree with that. That's okay. I've been working on my #2
Vickie Johnstone - Nothing will happen overnight. Finding readers takes time. Don't give up though and keep writing. Ask for beta readers. I only did this after publishing several books and they were a great help. It also takes the 'oh my God' out of hitting 'publish'. I published my first book without anyone having read it, which is scary, scary, scary! Oh, and make sure you get an editor. I am one, but still need one. 

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Don't waste writing time! Author tips shared here!

What I wished I'd known before I Published
part two

KEEP CALM. Writing already takes second place to my day job and I was squandering this meagre resource in pursuit of a frenzy of Facebook, Twitter, forums and pestering. I can’t compete with the fulltime twitbookers, but it doesn’t matter. I do as much publicity as I can, but make sure I stay on top of the important thing – writing.- Eric Tomlinson 
It is crucial--not just a good suggestion--to at least some kind of marketing strategy in place BEFORE you publish. - Rikki Strong
I wish I'd been told not to get distracted by what seem like great opportunities that actually take you on a path away from what you wanted from your writing. Identify the one thing you want from your writing, print it, pin it to your wall, and never forget it. - Dan Holloway

Write. Keep writing. Set deadlines and guidelines and stick to them. And 15-minute writing sprints are magical. - Madeline Freeman 

Don't spend months (or years) pouring your heart and soul into your book and then slap a crappy-looking cover on it! That's like putting a bikini on a mature woman - no one wants to see that and it will deter potential purchasers!- Janet Eve Josselyn

The rewrite and editing process really takes as long as writing the book. - Lene Andersen

That it's important to separate the business side and creative side of self-publishing. Mixing the two can be detrimental. - Adrienne Thompson

Not to underprice yourself. - Deb Nam-Krane

Carmen Amato - Join a writer's group and don't argue when your stuff is being critiqued. And what Jane Starwood said about not publishing a first draft. Maybe the 20th. Plus, if you going develop the "author platform," with a presence on Twitter, FB, blog, etc, do so in as professional manner possible. No orange text on purple background.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Indie authors, listen up!

Authors are offering advice in 'What I wished I'd known before I published' all through January

Part One

Before publishing I wish I had known about self-publishing and the many great programs that can be used to do so. There are pros and cons to using a publisher, it can get costly and frustrating with the time consumed in the communication during the process. - Anna Othitis

Don't rush to get out there. First impressions are everything. Cover, blurb, opening pages. You only get one chance at a first impression so make it count. Also, don't think that just because trad books "have a few typos" that it doesn't matter if yours does too. It does matter.- Debbie Bennett 

Agreed, don't rush, get someone else to edit for you and get beta readers! Then, listen to other writers and use the common information they are giving you before pushing that publish button. In other words, do NOT do what I did! LOL - Linda Zukowski 

Make sure your book blurb is the best it can be before you press publish. It goes without saying that editing, formatting, cover and presentation is as good as it can be too. - Pam Howes 

I wish I had been told, sternly, that a social media platform is essential for building your author brand but you have to discipline yourself in ring-fencing time to continue writing creatively. - Ruby Barnes 

I wish I'd known that by reading a printed proof I’d notice literally dozens of errors that I'd missed on-screen, despite reading the electronic document many, many times. - Peter Reynolds

Don't write for money, fame, or accolades. If you do, you'll be disappointed. Write because you love it.- Simon Parkinson

Focus on writing more books. You don't realize how much having a second book helps until you have a second book. Promotion is helpful, but if you spend more time promoting than writing your next book, you're not spending your time well. -  RJ Crayton

Matthew Wayne Selznick - A month of planning before you type "Chapter One" will save reams of paper and hours of editing after you type "The End."

Rachel Eliason -  Publishing your first book is the beginning of the process of becoming an author, not the end of it.

Jolea M Harrison - Don't rush to publish. It's easy to do when the thrill of finishing a book is swimming through your head. After you've finished that final edit, step back at least two weeks, then reread.

Mandy White  - 1. Ebooks are where the money is. Ebook first, print after, not the other way around. Only do the print version AFTER it's been edited by a professional.
2. Don't waste money ordering a zillion copies in print of a book that you haven't even seen yet. There WILL be things you want to tweak before you distribute it to friends, family and local readers. Take your time and make sure it's perfect. Your credibility as an author is at stake.
3. Readers can and will judge a book by its cover. Make sure your cover is a good one.
4. Understand that other writers are busy with their own projects. If someone offers to use their valuable time to read your work or offer advice, express your appreciation.

Deb Nam-Krane - 1. I want to take off on what Mandy White said: order a print copy of your book BEFORE you publish the e-copy and read it through. Plan on doing it twice, because you'll find things you'll need to change, no matter how many times you and your editor looked at it. Make the changes to the e- and paper-versions, then put them up for sale. I cannot tell you how much less angst I had with the second than the the first doing it that way rather than publishing the e-version and then going through the print.

2. Outsource anything you can't do well yourself (for most of us that's the cover and for all of us that should be the editing), but if there's something you *can* do yourself, do it. Learning to format your own book can save you money as well as worry if you want to make small changes.

Mandy White What Deb Nam-Krane said is also true - to proofread a print copy because the book will look different on paper than it does on the computer. You will see typos that you missed on the computer. The reason I said ebook first, print second is that I skip the paper-proof step by reading it on my Kindle. I find the Kindle works just as well as a paper copy and it costs nothing to put my book on it.

More author tips all through January on WWBB in 'What I wished I'd known before I published'.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Jane Linfoot advises Review Blog Tours with...

Wished I'd known that before I published
Jane Linfoot
My first tip is very simple and that's talking to fellow authors! I was chatting to fellow Harper Impulse Author, Aimee Duffy on Facebook and she suggested a Review Tour.

Not having a clue, I pushed for more information and discovered that this is where your book is reviewed by each Blog Host on the tour, so, subsequently I was put in touch with Lisa Filipe of Tasty Book Tours and the ball was set rolling for How To Win a Guy In Ten Dates.

I found the outlay for this (see prices on the Tasty website above) was very small, compared to the solid start it gave both the book, and my author platform, and I would definitely recommend this route/tool to other new authors.

A 10 Date Challenge -  a firecracker of a romance

How to Win a Guy in 10 Dates
Day 1: Take one loaded commitment-phobe explosives expert, embarking on the impossible–a challenge to have ten dates with one woman.
Day 5: Add in a fiercely independent and feisty burlesque teacher who has sworn off men.

Day 10: She’s so not his type and he’s so not in her life-plan. But the heat is sizzling and the attraction is explosive. And they’re fighting it all the way….

In Jane's own words...

'I’m Jane Linfoot, and I write fun, flirty fiction, with feisty heroines with a bit of an edge.

I live in a mountain kingdom in Derbyshire, England, where my family and pets are kind enough to ignore the domestic chaos – happily, we’re in walking distance of a supermarket.

For me, writing romance is cool because I get to wear pretty shoes instead of Wellies. I love hearts, flowers, happy endings, all things vintage, most things French.

When I’m not on Facebook, and can’t find an excuse for shopping, I’ll be walking, or gardening. On days when I want to be really scared, I ride a tandem.'

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

What I wished I'd known before I published!

Discovering Book Tags
Louise Wise

This month, I've asked authors to send in their contributions for what they wished they'd known before they'd published.

The eBook publishing industry is changing all the time and it's difficult to keep up, and when I first started out not only were the words 'eBook' and 'Facebook' a twinkle in the developer's eye, I seemed to be the only struggling author in THE WORLD!

That's how it felt, but I've come a long way since then, or so I thought, until, only a few months ago, I realised the potential of tags: a keyword or label given to your book after uploading onto Amazon (or Smashwords, D2D etc).

These tags not only help the customer find books, but allows your book to rise to the top of a category with only one or two sales: say you have tagged your book with romance, love, coming of age, friendship.

The romance and love tag are common, but coming of age less so and friendship even more. These are the categories where your book has the opportunity to hit the top spot when it's lagging at 100,000 in the charts. And once it hits that top spot it has more chance of being seen and pulling in readers from other directions.

So study your book's possible tags and use them wisely.

Sequel to Eden...

Your Amazon
Buy from
Jenny was marooned on Eden a long time ago. As a woman from the 23rd century and living life in the fast lane, adapting to her prehistoric world was never going to be easy. She tamed Fly, her alien lover, and fell in love with her new life. She has everything she wants: an alien man who loves her.
But then he's taken away.
Jenny's out for revenge.
Eden's sequel - HUNTED