Authors often dream of seeing their books in print and calculate the royalties they expect to earn per book once their baby hits the market. Few stop to consider how much capital they need up-front to cover pre-publication expenses. These expenses can be broken into three general categories: product development, business development, and marketing.
This post contains summaries of common expenses, a downloadable worksheet authors can use to create budgets for their own books, and ideas for ways to save cash along the way. The cost estimates provided below are not intended to scare off would-be self-publishers. Rather, they illustrate why self-publishers struggle to compete with even the smallest publishing houses in the book market. They also serve as a reminder that authors should not give their work away free . . . everything in publishing comes with a cost and some of those costs have staggering price tags. Continue reading →
Are you interested in self-publishing? The Palouse Writers Guild is dedicated to assisting self-publishers achieve their goals. This summer, I’ll be presenting a workshop on budgeting for publication at the Palouse Writers Festival, along with a line-up of other great authors.
Budgeting for Publication, Workshop Description: Authors dream of seeing their books in print and calculate the royalties they expect to earn once their baby hits the market. Few stop to consider how much capital is need up-front to cover pre-publication expenses. This workshop covers the cost of publication, including: Continue reading →
Metadata is what drives search engine optimization (SEO) and enables web designers to get their websites to rank higher in search results. But metadata isn’t only for website and blogs, it’s also for books. Like SEO, metadata is text written specifically to aid computer systems and search engines. In an era where online shopping is the norm, an absence of metadata (or poorly written metadata) means a book won’t show up in the search results when shoppers are perusing the digital shelves of their favorite online marketplace.
Book metadata helps sell books by using keywords and phrases that make it easy for readers to find them. Because of this, it’s vital that indie publishers include metadata creation as part of their book promotion strategy. So what exactly is metadata? Continue reading →
My short story, With or Without, won a Judges’ Choice award for the IDAHO Magazine 2021 fiction contest.
This was a fun story to write for three reasons. First, it was my first attempt at writing in second person. Second, I drew inspiration from a bevy of bygone boyfriends and who doesn’t have a few ex-boyfriend’s worthy of skewering? Lastly, I got to explore the inner workings of that woman.Continue reading →
James Dall is an alcoholic slacker whose weaknesses are women and whiskey. He tells himself that he’s a good guy because he goes to church every Sunday. Not the same church. And never long enough for the congregants to get to know him. He makes a habit of arriving late and leaving early. Truth is, he’s just there for the free coffee. His free-time is dedicated to writing the great American novel and chasing women. Continue reading →
I’m in the process of removing an enormous shrub in my backyard and planting a fairy garden in its place. Quite a bit of thought has gone into deciding which plants to include and how they should be arranged. Shamrock was one of the plants I settled on.
All clover varieties are sacred to fairies. The shamrock especially so for leprechauns, those lusty, capricious little fellows whose magic might delight you one day and kill you the next. And you needn’t search for a four-leafed clover in order to be blessed. The distinctive tri-leaved pattern of common clovers is sacred to the Celtic triple goddess Brigid. (That’s Saint Brigid for the Catholic folks among us.) Continue reading →
Good covers get readers to pluck your book off the shelf and thumb through it. Poor formatting, interior design, and typesetting will cause them to set it back down—costing you a sale. A well-formatted manuscript is vital for publishing success. That’s because, ultimately, readers care about readability.
Readability is the ease with which a book can be read. Not to be confused with reading level, readability refers to formatting books in ways that are conducive to reading. To compete with traditionally published books, it is important for self-publishers to make sure their books look professional, inside and out. Before uploading a manuscript to one of the many self-publishing services and paying for a proof copy, dedicate time to properly formatting the book’s interior. Continue reading →
Len Pennie, a 21-year-old Fife student is making waves in Scotland with her poem, In Memorium. The poem honors Scots women who were persecuted for witchcraft between 1563 and 1736.
The poem was commissioned by the Witches of Scotland campaign who have lodged a petition with the Scottish Parliament seeking to secure a pardon, apology, and national memorial for the nearly 4,000 Scots accused, convicted, and executed for practicing witchcraft. Their petition states: “As with elsewhere in Europe, the vast majority of those accused, some 85 percent were women.”
Pennie describes the treatment of accused witches as “state-sanctioned murder” and pledges to “demand justice” for those who were tortured and tried under the Witchcraft Act, branding it “a punishment lacking a crime.” Continue reading →
Writing, it’s said, is a lonely profession. Images of writers sequestering themselves away for the purpose of finishing their novel abound. Some novelist are so overconfident, they believe they don’t need help. Others avoid seeking help, paralyzed by the secret fear that their writing simply isn’t good enough. But, behind every successful author is a slew of people who have left their mark on the manuscript.
Self-publishers, eager to see their books in print, often ignore the undervalued topics of manuscript evaluation, revision, and editing, instead focusing their attention on buying ISBNs, contracting print-on-demand services, and marketing. They do this at their peril. These are the essential steps that makes a manuscript worth reading. Flawed plot lines and inadequate character development are impossible to salvage after the book is published. To catch (and resolve) problematic aspects early in the writing process, the manuscript must be read by others, starting with its earliest draft forms. Continue reading →
Write a book, get published, make millions, right? Wrong.
I’m not sure what bothers me more about this misconception: the would-be authors who think a book deal is the key to financial success and easy living or the countless readers who operate under the delusion that authors are so well off that they ought to give their books away, for free.
Authors Earn Less than Minimum Wage
The Bureau of Labor Statistics list average annual income for writers and authors as $63,200. What many writers and readers fail to realize is, this average includes the salaries of corporate writers who are responsible for crafting the limitations for your insurance and warrantees, the microscopic legalese that’s included with the terms and conditions of your credit card, and the impossible to follow instructions included with every “assembly required” item you’ve ever purchased. Actual author income is much, much less. Continue reading →