Is self-publishing an option for you?

Thinking about self-publishing?

A word to the wise: research, research, research.

Make sure that you know what you want–publication on demand (POD), print copies, e-books, or a combination of both–before selecting a self-publishing service.

Amazon’s Create Space, Book Baby,  Lulu, iUniverse provide a smorgasbord of services. Your costs will vary depending on what services you want/need, such as design, editorial, marketing, or promotional.

iUniverse, for example, offers book packages ranging from $999 to $7,499 (which includes an “editorial evaluation,” to advise you about any editing your manuscript might need). You pay extra for editing.

Book Baby, on the other hand, provides a variety of customized options that determine will determine your costs.

It is important to remember that most self-published books sell a mere 100-150 copies. In addition, the likelihood of your book being picked up by a major (traditional) publisher or book chain (e.g. Barnes & Noble) after self-publishing is slim.

In addition, you are competing with thousands of other writers who believe that their product is worthy of publication.

On the positive side, self-publishing allows you to bypass agents or traditional publishing houses to get your work before readers.

Likewise, with self-publishing, the time from submission to publication is much faster.

Before submitting your manuscript, consider paying an editor to scrutinize it and give you an unbiased assessment of it.

A well-crafted manuscript might give you an edge in the crowded self-publishing arena.

Tips for Writers

Designate a writing space to promote creativity and productivity

Just as my granddaughter spends lots of money on shoes and gear that increase her running safety and efficiency, having a designated writing space can promote your creativity and productivity.

Whether that space is in a corner of your bedroom or in a separate room, surround yourself with the tools of your trade: files, notebooks, reference materials, or anything else that keeps your focus on writing.

For example, inspirational posters, famous author quotes, or photos of writers you admire can enhance your writing experience,

My former office was an unused bedroom in a five-bedroom house; it was my writer’s cave.

I hung framed copies of a health newsletter that I had previously published; kept a small, antique pillow from a deceased colleague–whose work I admired–at my desk; and had a glass wall hanging engraved with the words, “Your story begins at home.”

Of course, you can write just as well from a kitchen table, but nothing says “serious writer” as much as having an at-home office.

You “go” to work there, just like you do at your job.

The difference: on your job you produce for someone else; at home, you produce for yourself–and hopefully, the world.

I am in the process of setting up a writing space in my new apartment. With less space, I need to get creative about where it will be.

The “where” is less important than the “why:” increase my productivity and nurture artistic expression.







Tips for Writers

Rejection is tough so get tougher

As an editor for several New York City magazines and newspapers, I worked with many fine staff writers. Most of my dealings with them were mutually respectful. The best of them accepted my editorial suggestions yet, if necessary, could defend their choices without rancor.

On the other hand, some freelance writers would bristle with indignation when I rejected their article. One writer demanded to know why his submission was not acceptable. Needless to say, I did not add him to my list of freelancers.

He did not understand that rejection does not necessarily reflect the quality of a writer’s work. Instead, other editorial considerations determine an article’s suitability for publication:

  1. Has a similar article been published or been scheduled for a future issue?
  2. Is it suitable for the target audience?
  3. Is it written in the style and voice of the publication?
  4. Is the topic timely?

Editors seldom provide more than a brief explanation for rejecting an article; they are simply too busy.

Rejection is tough. Writers put in many hours perfecting a story and wholeheartedly expect someone will publish it, so  it is disheartening when expectation does not meet reality.

Truth is, writers need a tough skin. Think of yourself as a salesperson. Not everyone will want or need your product. If Customer #1 says, “no,” move on to Customer #2. Don’t waste time trying to convince a reluctant buyer.

Many famous authors faced rejection; it is the price for admission to the world of writing/publishing.

Unless, you choose to write a blog where you are the decision-maker about what and how you write, develop a rapport with those editors whose publications reach your target audience.