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How to Start Off NaNoWriMo? Some Writing Advice From Snoopy

How to Start Off NaNoWriMo? Some Writing Advice From Snoopy

Hail and well met, NaNoers!  November has started at last.  I’d give you my word count, but alas, this post is pre-written and scheduled to post at 12:01 A.M. CST on November 1st.  By the time this posts, however, I’ll have been in November for five hours already!

To start off NaNoWriMo well, I figured I’d give you something to lift your hearts and bolster your first writing surge of the month.  Presenting…writing advice from Snoopy!

How do you start a novel?  Drag in your heavy, romantic briefcase and get out your typewriters.  Snoopy lets us know how real page-turners start: with the mystery of a fantastic beginning sentence.
Next, he lets us know that real writing is hard work.  And to get to 50,000 words by the end of the month, it’s going to take a LOT of hard work.  But we can get through it!
Also, Snoopy says, when presenting the beginning of your incredible work-in-progress to editors, make sure and be open to advice.  An open mind is always a good thing, so take the advice and make your story better.
In this one, Snoopy shows us how to write brilliant description: the strength is in the little details!
We all need editing, and Snoopy is no exception.  Edit as you go, but don’t get so caught up in the editing that you stop writing the story!
Snoopy also lets us in on the secret to emotional scenes.  Dialogue is key!
In the next few sections, Snoopy tells us how to react to critique after the story is finished, and what to do when you send in your story to the publishers.
Well, there you have it…the complete guide to writing your NaNoWriMo novel.  (Many thanks to Snoopy for offering to make a guest appearance on my blog.)
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Posted by on April 22, 2013 in Self Publishing

 

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Is there money in ebooks? [infographic]

Now Novel is a fantastic site committed to help authors go through the process of writing and publishing a book. Their team has just created a very interesting infographic every aspiring writer should take a look at.

Asking a question “Is there money in ebooks”, the chart shows a fantastic growth of ebook market – from 1% in 2008 to 30% in 2012 with a prediction of 50% in three years from now (figures for US market).

The most interesting part, however, is showing the revenue split between author, publisher, and agent. If you want your book to be published the traditional way (and of course if you will be lucky enough to get a publisher), you will receive roughly 12% of the pie. Getting into digital publishing shifts proportions – you, the author, are the one to get most of the revenue.

So, on one side there is a traditional publisher, who gets 80%. On the others side we see self-publishing platforms like Smashwords or Scribd, where author gets (at least) 80%.

But money comes not only from the revenue split. Ebook market is growing not only in the US. By publishing your book on Amazon or Kobo or Smashwords you are making it available for any English-speaking reader in the entire world!

And remember, you don’t (and in fact you should not) do everything by yourself. Self-publishing is not about writing publishing, and marketing a book the DIY way. Not any more. Digital publishing gives the author the steering wheel – a power to decide which experts to hire to make sure the new novel will have most chances to succeed.

Now Novel

Is there money in ebooks - infographic

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Posted by on April 19, 2013 in Self Publishing

 

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Self-published books becoming best sellers

Self-publishing allows writers to use ingenuity and self-promotion to be discovered by readers

Self-publishing allows writers to use ingenuity and self-promotion to be discovered by readers

There is a sea change underway in how some authors are published. Self-published books have made their way onto best-seller lists and the distribution model is attracting more established authors, the New York Times reports.

The Times article overviews how big publishing houses including Penguin and Harlequin are now operating divisions focusing on writers that are willing to forego an advance in exchange for a greater share of the overall profits. More than 250,000 self-published books are now produced annually, and while many may never be well read (or read at all), a quarter of the most popular titles sold on Amazon were self-published.

“While self-published authors get no advance, they typically receive 70 percent of sales. A standard contract with a traditional house gives an author an advance, and only pays royalties – the standard is 25 percent of digital sales and 7 to 12 percent of the list price for bound books – after the advance is earned back in sales,” the Times article noted. Romance and science fiction topped the charts, according to the report.

Another avenue of opportunity is using self-publishing to distribute backlisted books that have gone out of print. A 2011 Forbes article cited authors making greater royalties off of out of circulation titles than when they were in print. But many services are geared toward novices. A quick Web search turns up a bevy of sites dedicated to the practice including independent publishers. There are also guides to self-publishing and services to assist writers that aspire to make their first bestseller or just have their voices heard.

There might be some gimmickry, but it makes perfect sense to use the Internet to disrupt how books are distributed.  The model at least provides another option that casts off reliance on publishing houses’ marketing promises, agents, and other middlemen that reduce payback for what could be years of work. Maybe publishers will innovate their own services in response.

(image credit: stagecompany.org)

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Posted by on April 19, 2013 in Self Publishing

 

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Can The London Book Fair Balance The Needs of Authors And Publishers?

The London Book Fair's Author Lounge

The London Book Fair’s Author Lounge

Historically, the London Book Fair at Earls Court hasn’t been aimed at authors, but with over 1,800 exhibitors listed in its directory and 250 seminars and events, it’s now an opportunity too big to miss. There’s a huge amount going on over the three days and a lot of people to meet, so it’s easy to fill your diary with presentations and conversations. But there’s an unresolved tension at the heart of the fair.

The London Book Fair has always primarily been a commercial event, “the global marketplace for rights negotiation and the sale and distribution of content across print, audio, TV, film and digital channels”, as its website says. All the major publishers have large stands on the main floor, crammed with tables or desks occupied by people deep in conversation. Literary agents are hidden up in the International Rights Centre at gallery level, where they negotiate and close deals in relative private.

Despite the show’s main aim of serving the publishing industry, the schedule now includes events for authors and self-publishers. There’s also a dedicated Author Lounge hosting regular talks, with additional seminars held in the various conference rooms.

I was told by those who’d attended last year that the Author Lounge had then been tucked away upstairs and much too small, so this year’s move to the main floor was clearly a step up. But it was still too small with space for only about 60 people seated, and perhaps 80 or 90 when crammed in, standing, at the back. Almost every time I walked past, people were overflowing into the aisle and I can only imagine that there will be even greater demand from authors next year.

But several people I spoke to felt that the addition of unpublished or self-published authors to the mix created an awkward undercurrent. One literary agent I spoke to told me that she was there essentially incognito as she didn’t want to be pitched at all the time. And an editor at a major publisher explained how awkward it could be deal with authors wanting to pitch, not least because most publishers’ time has been fully booked with pre-arranged meetings.

The London Book Fair isn’t, in its current form, a brilliant place for authors looking for literary agents or publishers for their book. Some people do manage it, but anyone who turns up without having made contact beforehand is likely to be disappointed. Even though I was there not as an author but as a consultant and journalist, the only people I had substantive meetings with were those whom I’d already arranged to see or knew personally. And that’s the pattern of the fair: If you don’t have an appointment you can leave your business card and hope that someone calls you, but it’s unlikely to happen given how solidly booked everyone is.

I think that next year, the London Book Fair would do well to carefully consider how they expect authors and industry to interact. Some of the authors I spoke to felt under served by the existing set-up because although they could easily meet their peers or go to seminars, there was little opportunity for them to talk to people from the industry.

The elephant in the exhibition hall is, of course, the desire of some authors — though definitely not all — to sell their books and their inability to do anything much about it. Although there was a pitching session, it was an opportunity limited in scope.

One option for next year might be to have a pre-submission process where authors who have bought tickets can electronically submit their manuscript in advance to a limited number of publishers or agents, who can then request a meeting if they want to. Or maybe an author-agent/publisher speed dating event where the author gets five minutes to make an impression.

Another idea came from the literary agent I chatted to, who suggested that perhaps it might be interesting to create a fringe event for authors to provide a better environment in which to talk to agents, editors and publishers. I don’t think that it would be smart to separate authors off completely from the main fair — I found it very helpful to just wander round, look  at the different stalls and get a feel for the publishing landscape. But I think there does need to be more space devoted to authors and more opportunity for conversations not just with each other but with people from the industry.

As the industry continues its transition to digital, and as self-publishing becomes an increasingly powerful force, it makes sense to find ways to facilitate conversations that will meet the needs of both authors and agents/publishers, without swamping either with unrealistic demands. An unmediated casting call for new talent would drown agents and publishers in slush, of which they have enough already. But leaving authors to simply chat amongst themselves does them a disservice, as many of those who make the effort to attend are exactly the sort of highly-motivated, entrepreneurial authors that the industry needs.

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Posted by on April 19, 2013 in Self Publishing

 

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6 Easy Steps To Book Your Author Blog Tour

6 Easy Steps To Book Your Author Blog TourIt’s pretty common knowledge in the publishing industry that most book signing tours don’t generate big bucks for new authors. Sure—book tours can stir up buzz and interest. But most of the time, bookstore tours are put in place only after an author has established some kind of meaningful reputation that can translate into lines that wrap around the store.

These days, there’s a new way of connecting with readers that doesn’t involve brick-and-mortar book signings: blog tours. A blog tour is when an author does a series of interviews or guest posts on the blogs of book readers and reviewers. Blog tours are fantastic for author self-promotion.

Most of the time, blog tours are synchronized with book releases so that writers can sell more copies of their books. Blog tours can be inexpensive, fun, and rewarding!

How To Set Up a Blog Tour To Promote A Book

There are many ways to kick off your promotional blog tour. You can:

  • Hire a publicist to nab spots on popular blogs.
  • Hire an established and reputable book blog tour company (NOTE: There are unscrupulous companies that claim to get gigs for their clients on dozens of blogs, many of which lack a meaningful audience or are owned by the companies themselves).
  • Set up blogging dates yourself.

If you’re a DIYer and want to book a blog tour without having to pay for publicity help, here are the five steps that will get your book on great blogs.

1. Start reading book blogs. Do your research and narrow your focus to those blogs whose audiences are active readers in your genre. Make a list and track the blog’s attributes, audience participation, readership, and proclivities. HINT: Establish a clear minimum number in your head for the number of blogs that you’d like to appear on.

2. Establish a relationship. If possible, begin leaving comments on the blogs you like. Visit regularly. You may need to demonstrate your genuine appreciation of the blog before you’re invited to appear on it. Use Twitter and other networks to give shout-outs to blogs you like.

3. Write up a pitch plan. Some bloggers have writers beating down their door, begging for reviews and free promotion. You’ll need to make yourself stand out with a personal touch as well as an incentive. Are you willing to give away free copies of your book? Is your idea of what you’d like to “do” on the blog consistent with what the blogger is already doing? Are you willing to do interviews or only guest posts? Will you host the blogger on your author blog in exchange?

4. Draft your “nice to meet you” letter. Reach out to the blogger via a personal email when possible. Be kind, flexible, and maybe a little deferential: you’re asking to be invited to the party, after all. Express your appreciation for the blog and volunteer to host a giveaway (should the blogger believe that his/her audience would benefit from your visit to the blog).

5. Follow instructions carefully. If a blogger agrees to host you, be sure to follow directions. Also, include links to your social networks and author website in your post—just don’t overdo it.

6. Set up your blog calendar. On the days that your blog post is to appear on each guest blog, be sure to put in an appearance that day. Leave comments, interact with readers, thank the host for having you. Then, if you’re running a contest, follow up as soon as possible by sending out the prize.

When Your Author Blog Tour Is Over

Be sure to thank your host for his/her willingness to help you; you might even want to mail out a little thank-you gift. Then, keep your contacts well organized so that when you have another reason to do a blog tour, their contact information will be at your fingertips.

QUESTION: Do you like the idea of doing a blog tour?

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Posted by on April 18, 2013 in Self Publishing

 

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Q: What is a Library of Congress Catalog Number (LCCN)?

Q: What is a Library of Congress Catalog Number (LCCN)?

Image source: Wikipedia

The LCCN

If you plan to sell your book in libraries, you’ll need an LCCN (Library of Congress Catalog Number). You can order your own through the web site of the Cataloging in Publication Division of the Library of Congress. The best news is that applying for an LCCN is free, so it makes sense to simply add an LCCN when you self publish a book.

*Remember, your book must be longer than 50 pages to qualify for an LCCN, so many children’s books and others do not apply

 

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Posted by on April 18, 2013 in Self Publishing

 

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Blog Post # 5: How To Publish a Book on Lulu.com

Self-publishing

This is a great, informative video that shows you how to get started publishing on Lulu.com.

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Posted by on April 15, 2013 in Self Publishing

 

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