Tag Archives: reading

4 Self-Publishing Essentials That No Author Can Publish Without

by Rosie Wylor-Owen

Self-publishing gives authors exciting degrees of freedom over their work. We can choose how long our books can be, what to put on the covers and *squeal* how much to charge for them. When we’re bound to publishing contracts, these important elements are left in the hands of editors and graphic designers who haven’t nurtured your manuscript the way you have. Despite this, in the hands of a publisher, all the costs of producing our book babies are covered. Self-publishing freedom is not without its expense.

Indie authors aren’t known for their riches, so sometimes we might feel tempted to cut corners. While we can take steps to be frugal, there are some things we just can’t sacrifice for the sake of cost. Before you self-publish your book, take a look at the self-publishing essentials you can’t publish without:

Editing

As indie authors, we tend to have a great network of author friends who are ready to beta-read our manuscripts for some cold, hard feedback. Ouch, right? While this is hugely helpful in creating a polished manuscript, beta-readers just can’t replace real editing by a seasoned professional. Without proper editing, you could quite easily publish an error-riddled book to your adoring fans.

No matter how many times you pore over your manuscript, something – nay, a lot of things – are going to slip under your radar. Editors may cost a pretty penny but the polished manuscript you receive from them is priceless. Even if you have to save a dollar at a time, hire the darn editor.

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A Professional Book Cover

First impressions matter more than we like to think they do, and that could not be truer than of books. The front covers of our novels are the first things our readers see and are the first excuse to say “no” to our books. You might be quite artistic, but the chances of creating a fantastic book cover without some real graphic design experience are slimmer than an intern’s paycheque.

Your book title plastered across a free stock photo in sans-serif isn’t going to wow readers who have probably seen one hundred better covers that day already. Investing in a good book cover is arguably even smarter than hiring an editor, because the cover is what gets your readers to the first page. Forget about Canva and Pixabay, and start researching some good graphic designers. Your manuscript deserves the best.

Reading

This question has bounced around Facebook writing groups since time immemorial. Does a writer have to read to be a good writer? The answer is yes. Is it possible for a musician to compose good music without listening to any first? Only if they have superpowers.

Some writers insist that their writing is often complimented and they never read. Here’s the thing: a good writer isn’t just someone who can write at an acceptable level and gets themselves a few hearty congratulations from Aunt Beatrice and Uncle Tom. A good writer is a writer who is constantly improving, and there’s no better way to do that than to read regularly and write regularly. The best dishes come from the chefs who do their homework.

Networking

This writing deal really does test us, sometimes. Writing is, by and large, an introvert’s profession. We like holing up in our studies and creating in peace and quiet; no people, and lots of coffee. Bliss. So networking isn’t at the top of our to-do lists, but if we want to get our books under the noses of our ideal readers, we need a helping hand (or several).

The good news is, since the marvelous invention of social media, we don’t have to meet anyone face to face. Don’t tell me that’s not ideal.

Authors need each other to help host their book launches, to share their giveaways and to recommend their books. Without a solid backing, indie authors struggle much more to get their work noticed. Go and say “hi” in a few writing groups, and write a thank-you e-mail to your favourite indie author. You might just find friendships worth keeping.

Whether you enjoy socialising or not, we need allies on our journey; a journey we can all make together.

Whether we like it or not there are some things that we can’t do without. Books, friends, and the dastardly red pen, among other things. If you want your writing career to be a successful one, try out these ideas and see if you can take the next step towards that bestseller list.

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Rosie Wylor-Owen was born in Worcester, England at the height of baggy jeans and boy-band popularity. Her work has been featured in the literary magazines The Fiction Pool, Anti-Heroin Chic and Ariel Chart, and the Manawaker Studios Podcast. Her short story “Arm-in-Army with Alchemy” was accepted for publication by Otter Libris for inclusion in the anthology “Magical Crime Scene Investigation.” In February 2018 she won third place in the Fiction Writer’s Global flash fiction contest for her story “In Exchange for Your Sins.”

http://www.rosiewylor-owen.com

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July 14, 2014 · 8:12 pm

The Mockingbird No Longer Teases Me

I have a secret that has recently been forced out into the light, so I may as well share it.  It’s not the deepest, darkest secret in existence, but it’s embarrassing.  There is something most people have done well before they are in their thirties, and sadly I never had.

I never read To Kill a Mockingbird.

I’m not sure how this happened.  I could blame the various schools I attended, because I’m fairly certain most kids are forced to read this book whether they like it or not.  It was certainly nothing that was presented as part of the curriculum and I skipped out on it, because I love to read even if it’s assigned.

I discovered the discrepancy when a discussion arose about To Kill a Mockingbird during a class I’m taking, and I was certain I was the only person who hadn’t explored this typical tome of teenage tutelage.  So I checked it out from the library (hoping not to have to make an excuse and say it was for my kids, who are far too young to read it).

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I finished the book last night, and here’s what I have to say:  Wow.  Just plain, flat out, wow.  Where had this book been all my life?  There was so much voice, the characters were amazing, and I found the plot gripping.  To Kill a Mockingbird addresses every kind of prejudice available:  white vs. black, class vs. class, and even disabled vs. not.  It’s a story of growing up and realizing how the world around you really works.  I can see why this is part of (most people’s) education.

As I finished the last page and shut the book, I made my spouse pause the movie he was watching so I could tell him how amazed I was.  The poor thing probably didn’t really care, but he humored me and told me he was glad I liked it so much.  This book has started a trend for me of catching up on the classics.  Sure, I’ve read Treasure Island three times, and absolutely adored Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, but my booklog is sadly devoid of many of the classics.  That’s kind of pitiful for a bookworm like me.

Next up?  Don Quixote, followed by Kafka’s Metamorphosis.  If you have other recommendations, feel free to hurl them my way!

 

If you liked this post, be sure to check out more of my work on Amazon.

 

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