Self-publishing is an attractive option for writers
Is it a good thing?
When you self-publish your book, you don’t have to go through the long and painful process of submitting the manuscript to publishers. Traditional publishing starts with finding a publisher hat accepts your genre. After you submit your manuscript, you must wait months for the acceptance or rejection letter and then wait about a year before you can see your book published.
Nowadays anyone can publish a book, but the truth is that some of the self-published books are pretty bad. There are many books out there that are badly written, badly edited and formatted. Writing a good story is hard work, and self-published authors (if they don’t learn to do every step of the publishing process) have to pay for services to make their book presentable and enjoyable to readers.
Writing a book:
I’m not an expert on writing the perfect novel, but readers and literary critics tell me that my series have a strong story line, well developed and relatable characters and surprising twists and turns that hold the reader’s interest. I don’t follow the formula when I write; I don’t like stories that seem to be made by a cookie-cutter formula. I keep one rule in mind, “Show, don’t tell.” When you”show” what is happening, it creates a picture in the mind of the reader as if a movie is playing. It is not an easy task; I’m still struggling with this rule when I write. I come across books that give me the feeling as if haphazardly thrown words and sentences landed on the pages. I can’t figure out what the story is about; the characters are flat or over described, and the book reads like monotone pages follow one another.
It is crucial to have every book edited. I come across books that are loaded with errors such as misspelled words and incorrectly used words. I’m not an expert on grammar rules either. Usually, when I finish a chapter, I turn on my editing program. Sometimes the program seems to be overwhelmed with my errors and especially with my notoriously misplaced commas. Publishing a book without editing is a big mistake and usually results in a lot of 1* reviews such as I’ve seen, “What is this? A joke?” and “Who wrote this garbage? At least, have the decency to edit what you publish!” or “You’re giving indie authors a very bad name.”
The manuscript has to be formatted correctly, so the publishing sites could easily convert it to Epub or Mobi files that can be downloaded to Ereader devices. Some writers try to create indents by hitting the spacebar fifteen times and paragraph breaks by hitting enter three or four times. This mistake creates a lot of empty spaces, which might show up as empty pages or half pages in the eBook. Incorrectly added page breaks, incorrectly linked chapters make everything flow as one continuous chapter. If the illustrations are not embedded correctly, the pictures might show up in the middle of sentences perhaps a few pages before or after they’re supposed to be.
If your book is so exceptionally good that every reader will recommend it to fifteen friends, those friends recommend it to their friends and so on as soon as they finish reading it, your book will make it. But, let’s be realistic here. Even if the story is great, there’s a good chance that the book won’t sell like candy. Among the millions of books out there, even if it’s a masterpiece, there’s a good chance your book will go unnoticed unless you can spend time and money on marketing.
Quality doesn’t guarantee success, but publishing a quality book is vital. Don’t just put your hard work out there and hope for the best. Have your story edited, formatted, have a book cover made that is attractive and looks good in the thumbnail, and then publish it.
Make a living?
Yup, we need to be realistic here too. Don’t be hasty to quit your job when you publish your first book. Believe it or not, I’ve seen it happen. A new writer joined my group a week after she published her first children’s book and vented her frustration in a post, “I’m so frustrated and disappointed. I quit my job eight months ago to write my book. I spent over $3000 on illustrations, book cover, editing, and formatting. I paid someone to upload and publish my book. She showed me how to look at my stats and so far I didn’t have a single sale. I was counting on that money and hoped that I can get my investment back within a short time and make a decent living from he sales of the book.” (Yikes! Unrealistic expectations or what?)
Promotion and marketing are the hardest part, which I haven’t mastered yet. My books, like so many others, are not doing well with sales. However, it gives me great satisfaction when a reader finds my book in the huge “book stack” and enjoys reading my story.
Write if you enjoy writing. Don’t have unrealistic expectations and if you publish your book, publish a quality book.
~Author Erika M Szabo
Planning to publish your book?
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