self-publishing

Making a publishing decision? The publishing industry is in the midst of turmoil. Those cart tracks have expanded to four-lane super highways. Anyone who wants to be published nowadays can be.

It’s Throwback Thursday with an important publishing decision.

It’s Throwback Thursday, and I’m republishing a blog I wrote in 2011. Yeah, that long ago, when making a publishing decision was almost a no-brainer—traditional publishing or this relatively new thing called self-publishing.

Making a publishing decision? The publishing industry is in the midst of turmoil. Those cart tracks have expanded to four-lane super highways. Anyone who wants to be published nowadays can be.

Here’s the blog:

I attended our monthly writers’ group meeting today. As always, I returned home in total awe of our members.  They are a fantastic group and never take no as an answer.

It’s easy to forget between meetings, when you’re sitting in the basement staring at a blank screen, that there are others just like you. As Emily, our newest member said, “Writing a book is hard.” Yes, it is, but we keep plugging away, writing, critiquing, editing, submitting and hoping for publication.

But boys and girls, the road to publication is no longer a small trail with a select group of tollgate keepers deciding who gets to progress forward. The publishing industry is in the midst of turmoil. Those cart tracks have expanded to four-lane super highways. Anyone who wants to be published nowadays can be.

Is that a problem? Will junk and dreck clog the choices we have? Probably. But think about that for a moment. How many people actually write a book? As Emily noted, it’s hard. Damn hard. Your competition will remain the same. If xxxx people finished a manuscript in 2006 b.k. (before Kindle), a similar amount will write a book in 2011. The only difference is that more of them will become available to readers.

How many of your fellow authors are really, really good, on the cusp of being accepted for publication but have never quite got the nod from New York? I can tell you, their chances lessen more and more. Publishers can’t scramble fast enough to keep up with the minute-to-minute changes in the industry. They hang on to their best selling authors, squeeze the mid-list and don’t take chances on newcomers.

Making a publishing decision? The publishing industry is in the midst of turmoil. Those cart tracks have expanded to four-lane super highways. Anyone who wants to be published nowadays can be.

How are you going to get a break if you don’t make your own?

Yes, there’s something to be said for traditional publishing. I’ll always love the feel of a book in my hand. I miss being able to thumb through the pages to the part I want to re-read (2/3 through the book on the left hand side.) But, I can carry dozens of books in my purse on an e-reader. (which will be super handy during my upcoming eight hour flight). I can have what I want to read available within seconds instead of ordering it through the mail or hunting through library lists.

Ebooks have their drawbacks, but, at Amazon, they’ve already surpassed sales of paperbacks. The Kindle (I’m using it as the standard of all ereaders) is not even four years old. Wait until the price drops below $99.

Traditional publishing might not go away, but do you want to miss out on the greatest opportunity that has ever happened to the industry? The industry you’re so desperate to break into?

Think about alternative ways to offer your book to your readers. That’s all I ask. Think about it.

I know I am.

****2017 Cheryl back again****

Has your publishing decision changed since this was written? Do you still crave the legitimization of “traditional” publishing? How’s that going for you? It’s harder, not easier to be traditionally published, and the doors are shrinking.

Do you still think of self-publishing as not really being published? Or have you embraced it?

Tell me your views in the comments.

Blessings,

Cheryl

p.s. Kindles are available for under $99 if you’re interested. I no longer own one. I read on my laptop or my phone using the Kindle app.

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Book review:Writer on a Budget: Insider tips and resources to help you write, polish, publish, and market your book at minimal cost

Writer on a Budget: Insider tips and resources to help you write, polish, publish, and market your book at minimal cost by Sarah Lentz

Book review:Writer on a Budget: Insider tips and resources to help you write, polish, publish, and market your book at minimal cost

Writer on a budget

I’ve been remiss in not posting more book reviews to my blog. I read a great many books, blogs, and downloads and have learned many tips and techniques about writing and book marketing. I should share this information more often. My latest download is Writer on a Budget: Insider Tips and Resources to Help You Write, Polish, Publish, and Market Your Book at Minimal Cost, written by Sarah Lentz.

Do you need to spend a fortune getting your book to market?

Sarah Lentz says no. After going the pro route for her first book, paying for someone else to edit, format, and build a cover, she determined to find a better, less expensive way to do the same work on her own.

The author takes on a logical journey through the writing process, starting with writing the book, and the steps she’s taken, the pitfalls she’s encountered, and the resources she’s used. At the end of each chapter, she liberally lists her sources, from books she’s favored to blogs and YouTube videos.

You’ll learn the going rates of hiring an editor, what editing software is available, and where to find beta-readers.

In the formatting chapter, she shares the tools she’s used, how to set up styles, insert images and hyperlinks.

Formatting isn’t as hard as you think

The author delves into the ins and outs of formatting a book from cover page to end matter, proving it’s a matter of following guidelines for both ebooks and printed versions. She also praises the ease in creating a cover with Canva.com (as I did in this post).

KDP Select or not?

Should you put all your (distribution) eggs in one basket? How do you choose the right keywords? What categories should you choose, and can you add more than the two Amazon allows? (Her answer is Yes!)

Which marketing books are worth the money (or download)?

Which self-help authors are worth your dollars? Do I launch my Amazon book on Kindle Select, free, permafree, at 99 cents, or more? How do I promote my book before and after launch?

In conclusion

Sarah Lentz has written a helpful, comprehensive book on taking your book from concept to bookshelf. She shares a boatload of books, blogs, links, and advice, and if she has no experience with a resource, she’ll admit it. She has impressed me with the amount of research she’d done and her willingness to share with the D.I.Y. writing community.

Thank you for joining me on my blog today. If you know of someone who can benefit from Writer on a Budget, please share this post.

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Blessings,

Cheryl

 

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ProWritingAid is an essential part of a writer's toolbox.

ProWritingAid is an essential editing tool

ProWritingAid is an essential part of a writer's toolbox.After a month (or two, or three) of writing non-fiction, I’m back at work writing fiction. One of the essential tools I use is ProWriting Aid. I touched on its features briefly in my “R” is for Revising Your Rough Draft blog. I’d like to explain more of why I find it invaluable.

ProWritingAid is more than spelling and  grammar.

Let’s examine its features:

  • Writing style checks.
    • Highlights areas where your writing style might be improved, such as use of passive and hidden verbs.
    • Passive verbs:been taught, been raised, was killed. These can change to a more active verb: taught, raised, killed.
    • Hidden verbs:a meeting with can change to meet with; the disappearance of can change to dissapear.
    • Adverb usage inside and outside of dialogue. I tend to keep adverbs inside dialogue as that’s how people talk.
    • Using the same word to start three or more sentences.
  • Grammar check. Checks text for grammar errors and potential word misuse.
  • Overused word check. Compares the frequency of commonly overused words in text to published writing to give you an indication of where you may be over-using words.
    • ProWritingAid, for example, will suggest you remove 13 of the 33 instances you used “had”.
  • Readability.
    • Approximate reading time
    • Points out difficult to read paragraphs.
    • Cliches and Redundancies
  • Sticky sentences.
    • Sticky sentences contain a greater-than-normal amount of small articles and words such as”a, head, out, of, the, way” which slows reading.
  • Diction, Vague, and Abstract words report
        • Diction—ending sentences with a preposition; simplifying words (using “want” instead of “desire”)
        • Vague and Abstract words—it mostly objects to “would, could, some,” but also takes exception to perfectly good words. I mostly ignore this section.

      Other ProWritingAid reports:

    ProWritingaid helps eliminate errors in your writing

  • Repeats check.
    • Points out when you’ve used a word or phrase more than once.
  • Close repeats.
    • Highlights any words or phrases you’ve used more than once in a short space of writing.
  • Sentence length check
    • You might want to break up that 43 word sentence.
  • Thesaurus
    • By hovering over a word, proWritungAid suggests alternatives
  • Dialogue tags check
    • Highlights all dialogue, gives a percentage of dialogue used, and counts how many and of which type of tags.
  • Consistency
    • Spelling consistency
    • Hyphenation consistency
    • Straight quotes vs. curly quotes
    • Capitalization consistency (Commander vs commander)
    • Em and en dash use
  • Pacing check
    • Identifies slow paragraphs, such as backstory and introspection, so you can spread them out.
  • Pronoun use
    • ProWritingAid suggest 4-15% of pronoun usage and <30% of initial pronoun usage (beginning a sentence with a pronoun)
  • Alliteration (spaceship in sub-space)
  • Homonym
  • Transitions. Transitions make it easier for your reader. I fail woefully at transitions.
  • House styles. You can set up your own style sheet.
  • Plagiarism. This is a paid report.

ProWritingAid is a paid platform at $40 per year. There is a limited FREE version for a 14 day period. I suggest trying the free version first to determine if the software is compatible to you.

If you know of someone who might be interested in ProWritingAid’s features, please share this post.

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Blessings,

Cheryl

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