I am a member of ALLi – the Alliance of Independent Authors. One aim of this alliance is to raise standards and help people produce work that is as good, or more often, better than mainstream press. One way we do this is to offer mentoring to other members. I am in the middle of such a mentoring exercise with a talented new author. This has been a steep learning curve for her and surprisingly me too. I thought I knew most of what was needed to produce good quality work but I am learning that I must not assume an author has any knowledge of the technical, formatting and copy editing needed to produce high quality results.
One tends to forget one’s own long journey. I’ve been an Indi publisher/author for more than ten years and have acquired a great reserve of hard won and often painfully earned knowledge.
It was always my intention to use my imprint to provide publishing services to new authors.
The time has come to take that step.
There are many publishing services out there, some are infamously bad and most are stupidly expensive. My service will be tailored to the requirements of individual authors. There will be no standard charges. Every writer needs a different level of help and each needs a different commitment from me. Each has a different budget and some have none. So I will offer the service needed at a price that suits the need and the ability to pay. That may include profit sharing – ho hum- that’s a risk for me. Most Indi authors make no profit.
So if you simply must get your work out there and want to ensure the best possible standard for the budget you have, then contact me and we will see what we can do.
My last post was about thinking and doubts… well now it’s time for the action.
Like many writers my focus is on the words, the plot, the characters and the dialogue. With my editor I’ve done well with all of that. I made a big mistake however and I now intend to correct that. I badly underestimated the importance of covers and design.
I knew I was doing as well as I could with limited resources but that was not good enough. Only the best professional design can do justice to the work Miriam and I have done on the novels so… that’s what’s going to happen. All the novels, begining with the trilogy and Companions will get a full make over. The Daniel series will follow. Continue reading →
There must be a way to stop the traditional Indi bookshop fading into a fondly recalled past. Most of us who love books also love bookshops. We can fondly recall the smell and feel and hush of the ranks of familiar and yet to be discovered friends in our favourite shop.
Perhaps there was an owner whose knowledge we’d tap into. Perhaps he sold second-hand books too and took our read ones in trade – but only those that we didn’t put on our own shelves to cherish or forget for years until the house move, when the dust gets blown off and they’re opened once more to produce a sigh of remembrance and a promise to read again. Continue reading →
Self-belief and affirmation from objective readers is a necessary first step. There are, I’m sad to report, too many writers who have pushed their work into the new world of self-publishing too soon or without the much needed step of affirmation from objective readers. Self-belief alone is a dangerous thing for it can too easily combine with impatience to produce arrogance and self-delusion. I know, I’ve been there.
My first published effort is now a thing of shame to me. Not that it was a bad novel. It had great potential but it was forced into the world scarce half made up. Impatience and self-delusion led me astray. Ever since I have been struggling to learn and get over my shame. My salvation came in the form of my editorial angel, Miriam. Her diligence, generosity and commitment have made it possible for me to become truly independent. I withdrew all my work and it’s all being re-edited with her help.
Here is the first lesson. Please do not imagine you can do it alone. Seek out an editor/proofer you can trust and value them. Reward them as well as you can manage financially and know that no matter how good you are as proofer or editor you really do need that objective eye. One can self-publish at no cost so there is no excuse for not investing a little up front for an editor. It’s simply not worth putting out work that has skipped this step. I thank my lucky stars I learned this before I ruined my reputation pushing novels that were not properly complete. Impatience was what led me astray and now my mantra is – get it right. Then get a proof copy and check it again and again and only then send it into the world of Amazon KDP and Createspace. Only then start the push and the publicity.
I’ve recently had the experience of trying to review a couple of fellow writers work. These were well proofed and had slick social media publicity pushing like mad, but the work was lacking in one fundamental respect. Not proofing errors but something much more intangible and hard to self-judge. These writers had no talent! One created a list of events that was turgid and impossible to read. Another a beautifully crafted compilation of fashionable cliché. No content, no style, no story telling ability. Just wanting to write is not enough. One needs to have a good story to tell. One needs to have rich believable characters and one needs to set them in a location that is real and involving. The writer needs to know the what and where of their work intimately. Write where and what you know.
One can learn the rules of creative writing and there is a whole industry devoted to making money from our urge to express ourselves through the medium of the novel. However, if after all that, you skip the affirmation from objective readers through fear or excessive self-belief, then you run the risk of joining the ever growing pile of 99cent or free novels out there that are just clutter and income for those willing to make money from the creative impulse of wana-be writers.
This is the most difficult question of all for any writer to face: Can I really write a novel worth reading?
By all means try. But don’t be impatient and don’t give up and please don’t publish it until you and a few others are sure it will have worth, real worth. Not just your own desire to be seen in print. I learned this lesson the hard way. I’m fortunate. My work was just badly proofed and needed editing better.
I know absolutely it has worth and my self-delusion has been stripped away. Now I am trying to be patient and will not push the work until there is more out there and then?
Well we shall see.
The censorship on the home page here today is a shock but the message is important. Let’s act.