Hello, dear readers. I am pleased to once again participate in a blog tour. Please give a warm welcome to indie author J.L. McFadden as he discusses publishing!
Take it away, J.L.!!!
First off, I want to say thank you for having me here for a humbling chance of doing a workshop for up and coming authors. Besides the fears and self-doubt that besieges every new author’s mind, there is also the questions of how for so many different things in writing, so let’s start with the largest and most loaded question that we all have been faced with:
To Self-Publish or hunt for a Publisher?
By all means if a large publisher wants you, have a lawyer look over the contract and have at it, but without a Literary Agent none of the large publishers will ever take a look at your work. Literary Agents are very hard to get your hands on, so it leaves most to go with a smaller E-book Publisher, a Printing House that camouflages its self as a Publisher or go it alone.
Many pray for a publisher and there are some that curse their publisher – some of my published friends are very happy and others all anything but happy – the secret is all in the contract. There are so many E-book publishers and printing houses out there that promise you the hills. Research everything and do not be afraid to reach out to some of their authors and ask questions – most authors are very kind and glad to answer any of your questions.
Some of the small E-Book publishers offer you to have your books go to print after so many E-books have been sold. Some of them do a good job at PR and others leave you out in the cold to do all your own. It is best to vet anyone you are going to do business with.
This is more for a self-published author – because most publishers will have you use their own- I believe the editor makes or breaks the book. It is very important to find an editor that you feel comfortable with; because this is the person you are going to spend a lot of time debating parts of your book. Even if your grammar is perfect and you believe you have everything in order – because there are times when an author will write something that is obvious to them – but not to many of the readers – I have been guilty of this many times – just ask my editor – we have gone over this item a few times.
There are a ton of options: Create Space, Smash words, Ingram Spark, lighting Source and many more. You need to find the one or combination that fits your need in distribution. Be careful, because some “publishers” or “printing houses” actually will be using one of the above as their printing house and distributor while taking a percentage from you or charging you an extra flat fee. I believe that having your books on Amazon and BN is the most important of all of the companies. One of the tips I would like to give is after a good book blits and you have some reviews to use, contact a smaller independent book store and try to have some sort of promotion there, to get your books on the shelves and their shoppers to know about you. We will talk a bit more about this in the next section – for it is more fitting since it is about PR.
Now it is game time – you have gotten your books on to a distribution company and now you are waiting for the sales to flood in – and waiting. You will be waiting until after the cows come home if you do not get yourself some help. I know that a lot of people are misguided into believing that all they need is a Facebook page and Twitter account, but how many times can you ask you friends to pass your promo for your book around until they unfriend you or ignore you. A Publicist has connections with bloggers and these bloggers have various sized followings – followers of people that follow, because they trust this bloggers reviews and taste in books – these are the people you need to reach – not your friend’s great, great aunt that once read a romance novel.
When it comes to online book tours, this is when your Facebook and Twitter friends are good, because by now you already should have some friends that are authors, giving you a chance to ask what tour company is effective and which one is not.
Who doesn’t like a good giveaway? Or what about a fun filled scavenger hunt that not only can you get a gift certificate, but also a collection of books to go with it? These are all great tools, but do not forget about your locals that may not visit these blogs or sites, they are just as important; I suggest calling smaller independent book stores and offering some sort of promotion: Gift Card for that store, Signed books, free books, other merchandise you may have for your books at a speaking engagement for instance.
You always need to take a step back and ask yourself, “What parts of the market am I missing and how can I afford to get my iron into those flames?”
The bulk of your money will come from your e-books, so you need to have a good format, so that you can get distributed on all of the sites. BN, Apple, Google, and Kobo all have strict regulations on the formatting of the books; usually, my books cost $35 -$50 for formatting – not much to gain a lot more ground on distribution.
After you have gotten your book onto your domestic market you may be thinking about expanding abroad – this is very tricky – because a translator may lose the entire feeling of your book. I have been blessed by not only finding a good translator, but having enough fans that read the books in English and were willing to proof read the translations in their native language. Ending up in a book that not only was these readers loved – but has opened my books up to so many more people – that I would never be able to reach without their help. You need to be very careful with translators, because many of them will to a literal translation and murder your story; it will be void of the emotion that it once had. Some things do not translate well – I speak four languages, so I can support this – idioms and certain things just do not translate to some cultures – so you need a translator that is just as gifted in their language as you are in your own.
There is only one of you and you should be proud of that; always strive to improve yourself, because all of us have room for improvement.
I hope you all have enjoyed this short workshop and a lot of success on your writing.
J.L McFadden was born in Pennsylvania and spent his life bouncing around the States until beginning to travel the world. Starting out he was a well-known musician in upstate New York that had a heavy playing schedule. Later he went back to his home state to work in the Lumber mills of the mountains. In California working in sales, management and even directed a small moving company until deciding to see the world. His travels around the world have allotted him to not only join an International Aikikai Aikido Federation, but have trained with Sanseis from Belgium, Ukraine, Russia and other European countries. He accounts his journeys and meeting of new people to his broad character types in his books.
While still doubled over, picking up a book, Adela stated with a sultry voice, “One of these days, I am going to make you deliver on all of those promised ideas, running through your head when you watch me.” She had a playful sound to her voice with her smile, telling that fulfilling his dreams was not out of the question.