Tuesday, March 17, 2015

If You’re Gonna Self-Publish, publishing, sometimes we don’t know how or can’t decide how to pull it all together. Go the traditional route or self-publish. These days, fortunately for indie writers who choose to go it alone most readers, I’d guess the majority, don’t really care how a book hits the shelves or Amazon or any other distributor.

So, if you’ve considered different methods of getting your work out there and have settled on self-publishing for right now, read on.

Despite the fact that most readers don’t care if a book is self-published, for a lot of reasons (including they don’t actually know it is) if the indie writer is smart he or she won’t allow what has become a big down side of the self-publishing world jump up from the newly purchased work and slap them in the face.

What’s that you say? You're asking what downside? Come on, if you’ve gotten Ebooks (and of course self-published print books) you’ve experience the total crap that can be out there.

Believe it or not, readers are truly turned off by books that look like crap. Books that have awful spelling, grammar, formatting, infantile covers, insanely long and convoluted sentences, links from table of contents to chapters that don’t work, etc. You know, unprofessional. It’s shoddy, it’s messy and it won’t keep or get you any more readers. The one reading will give up and new readers, if they read sloppy samples, will pass you by.

 That’s the big plus of professional publishers. They do it all. I know, I know, not so easy to get them to publish your work even if you choose to go that route as opposed to indie. But take note. The books they produce look professional from cover through text. Well, at least most of the time. I’ve seen some doozies there as well (but my guess is the Editor was fired). Still, it’s worth emulating their methods.

Bottom line, you don’t want to look like an amateur.

Another bottom line, too many writers think they can simply crank it out, slap it up and sell a million.

Uh, no.

If you have any self-respect as a writer at all you should be going
for the polished, professional, outstandingly stunning look.  You want a reader to be unable to tell the indie published book from the traditionally published book – until or unless they look at the imprint name in the listing. So the goal is to make the book look very professional so your fantastic story won’t be tossed aside, the reader insisting any self-published book is junk. Not good for you; not good for other struggling Indies.

So, pay attention to your work. Check and double check. Have volunteer readers or an editor, or both, go through looking for all those little mistakes. And throw in a professional formatter versed in the various venues if you just can’t seem to get the hang of it yourself.

If you do that from the very first book, make sure it’s professionally done, your readers will know who to come to for a great story AND a professionally done manuscript. You know, one they can read without being jerked to a stop, pulled out of the flow of the reader’s trance, every few sentences by some glaring error that should never have been allowed to see digital or traditional print.

And let’s not forget the cover. It has to be professional as well. Remember that old saying “don’t judge a book by its cover”?  Well, really, people do. Sorry, that’s life. The reality is if you don’t have a great cover you aren’t going to hook ‘em in the first place and they’re not going to read your truly fabulous story.

I suspect it’s always been true, but modern life has only exacerbated the problem. With all the distractions we have, work, cell phones, the net, video games, hardly any free time in between, you want to give your reader some eye candy to lure them in.

The take-away here is check and double-check. Everything. Twice.
Don’t let something stupid or blatantly obvious slip through the cracks. Don’t think, ‘if it’s there they’ll buy it,’ because they won’t.

And readers, I don’t blame you. I’m a writer in addition to being a reader and I understand. We can all forgive an occasional typo or maybe a left-out close quotes, but if it’s peppered throughout the book it becomes unforgivable.

Writers, I understand your pain as well. There are a whole lot of platforms to publish with out there, Amazon, Smashwords, Create Space and others and every one has a format that claims “It HAS to be exactly my way”. There’s a lot to dead with but that’s exactly why you have to be on your toes and get it right. It’s much too easy to get it wrong.

So get your work out there, but get it right. Thrill your readers and boost your books. And proudly do the work all Indies can also take pride in.

Go ahead, tell us about your good and bad reading and writing adventures in Indie world. Let’s see what’s right and what needs to be fixed.

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