Category Archives: Self-publishing

Self-publishing advice for the Indie Author

Traditional vs Self-Publishing: My Experience

I’ve recently finished working on my latest novel, Personal Assistance. It’s an exciting romantic suspense set in a Middle Eastern kingdom, in the midst of a civil war.

The beautiful and stylish heroine, Hannah, who works as the Arab Prince’s personal assistant, comes across a top-secret document that could change the course of the war. Knowing that she’s committing treason, a crime punishable by death, she flees to the British Embassy and enlists the help of a disgraced (but devastatingly attractive) special forces operative.

Tom has been posted to the war-torn country on “embassy duty” as punishment for a botched mission in Afghanistan. Suffering from survivor’s guilt, and eager to redeem himself, he’s a man with everything to prove. The beautiful Englishwoman and her devastating secret couldn’t have come at a better time.

So Tom agrees to help  Hannah get the information out of the country and into western hands – with the Royal security force hot on their tail, and a revolution unfolding around them.

Read the first chapter of Personal Assistance on the Entangled website.

What Being Traditionally Published Taught Me:

1. That even when you think your novel is finished, your editor might have very different ideas. I rewrote Personal Assistance three times, each time taking three to four months. It was a loooong process. I realised that winning the NaNoWriMo Entangled Competition didn’t automatically mean they liked the book as it was. In my case, they liked the style for their imprint, but I had to change a lot of things before they were happy with it. Some of the changes I agreed with, and some I didn’t, but in the end, being a published author means team work, and you have to put your faith in your editor, and trust that they know what they’re doing.

2. You never stop learning. This process taught me how the cogs of a publishing house work. It was an eye-opener. The self-published novels I’d written before were edited professionally, proof read and copy edited. I’d worked with professionals, cover designers and formatters, but nothing prepared me for the time delays, edits, approvals, red-tape, rewrites and deadlines that came with being traditionally published. I’d recommend even the most stalwart self-publishers to go down this route at some point, if they can. It’s an experience that makes you more professional in yourself, and pushes you to the limit of your ability.

3. Not even publishers are perfect. I wasn’t happy with my physical book cover, and I had limited ability to affect changes. I didn’t think the marketing was very good, and I did more to promote the book than with many of my other self-published novels. I wasn’t happy with the purchase price, but that too was out of my control. You realize how limited your influence is when you’re with a big publishing house and you’re ‘just the author’. Traditional publishing definitely has it’s limitations, and given the choice I’m not sure I’d go down that road again. Although, for the reasons above, I’m glad I’ve done it once.

4. Networking really makes a difference. Through the Entangled network I met many virtual on-line friends and their support and encouragement was vital in the launch of my book. That in itself is worth the journey.

5. Being traditionally published doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll make more sales. For starters… you take home less. Traditional publishers take a chunk out of your sales, and you’re left with the scraps. Unless you are making thousands of sales per book, I don’t think this is a financially viable option any more. Also, you can’t leave it up to the publishers to promote your book. Again, unless you’re a mainstream author with a solid fan base, you are going to have to do most of the marketing work yourself. Just because a publisher has a big name, doesn’t mean you get the exposure that goes with it.

In conclusion, being traditionally published is a worthwhile exercise for unpublished or self-published authors. There is a lot to learn about the writing and publishing process. It pushes you, it challenges you and it makes you dig deep into your reserves of patience and motivation. These are all great learning experiences that will make you a better author. Does it translate into more sales? Rarely. And your limited control over your book cover, the editing process and the price can be frustrating, if you’re not happy with what is provided.

Please let me know your thoughts on traditional vs self-publishing in the comments below. I’d be interested to hear about the experiences of other authors.

Thanks and happy writing!

Louise x

The eBook Revolution – It Will Effect Your Life

As a writer, the ebook revolution will transform your writing career. The brilliant and innovative Mark Coker was recently speaking at the San Francisco Writers’ Conference and had this to say about the future of publishing.

10 Trends that will Transform the Future of Authorship

  1. Reading moving to screens: Yes, screens are the new newspapers and magazines. Ebooks look set to overtake print books in the very near future. On some platforms like Amazon, this is already happening. But why is this the case? Well, screens offer a better reading experience that paper, they have a changable font size, they’re portable and compact, they cost less and there is a bigger selection.
  2. Bookselling moving to the web: Book purchases made online has increased exponentially in the last ten years. This is putting many smaller bookstores out of business and consequently book stores are disappearing, print is declining, and big publishers are losing control of distribution.
  3. Authors gain control of publishing: The power has shifted from the traditional publisher to the self-published author. Ebook printing and distribution is free. Author tools and self-publishing advice is free and plentiful. There are no barriers to entry. Writers no longer need publishers in order to publish, distribute and sell their work. A question authors are asking themselves is “What can a publisher do for me, that I can do for myself?”
  4. The rise of indie book publishing: Self-published books are dominating bestseller lists. Why is this? For authors, it’s faster to self-publish than wait for feedback from a traditional publisher. The author has more control over the publishing process from editing to cover design and pricing.  Expenses are low. Distribution is easy and free of cost.  For consumers ebooks cost less than print books, they’re easy to download onto an ereader.
  5. Traditional publishers are suffering from high prices: Book buyers are price sensitive. From every sale the author earns a royalty and gains a fan.
  6. Current explosion leads to downward pressure on prices: As more and more authors flood the market with ebooks, the demand wanes and price competition sets in. Lower prices make ebooks more affordable and accessible for consumers with more books being read than ever before.
  7. Print is dead: For most self-published authors, print doesn’t even feature as one of their distribution options. Customers chose cheaper ebooks over more expensive print books.
  8. Ebook retailers going global: Online retailers are going global and expanding into markets outside the US.
  9. Big publishers getting into self-publishing: It really is a case of adapt or die. Smaller, specialised agencies dealing in online publishing are rising to the challenge and creating opportunities for writers that never existed before.
  10. Stigma attached to self-publishing is disappearing: Thankfully. The old model Author-Agent-Publisher-Bookstore-Reader has changed to Author-Bookstore-Reader. Many successful authors will straddle both worlds.

Exciting times. The power is in the writer’s hands now. We have more options than ever before. As writers, it’s up to us to take advantage and create our own success.