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

The Art of Interviewing

Artful interviewing is the key to successfully crafting an article.

I have conducted hundreds of interviews over the years–in-person or by telephone–with ordinary folks, government types, public officials and celebrities.

Since most of these people have busy schedules and little time to waste, it is imperative that you make sure the time you spend with them is well-planned.

Do lots of research on the topic so your questions demonstrate that you have, at least, a minimal knowledge of the subject or topic.

For example, if you are interviewing a celebrity about their career, you should have totally researched their successes, failures, and life stories, so you can get beyond questions of fact to more substantive issue such as why they made certain choices or how these choices affected their lives.

Also, make sure that you record the interview and take notes. The recorder captures everything; your notes capture what is significant.

Your goal is to discover something new, something real, something provocative, or something moving that will engage your reader.

Readers want to read about celebrities and others who have experienced or overcome the universal problems of  life–loss, disappointment, self-doubt, failure, or deprivation.

Whether a celebrity or ordinary folk, we are all travelers on the journey of of life.

Help your readers connect with your interview subjects and your mission will be accomplished.