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Writing in the Era of Self-Publication


Brayon

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With self-publication become more popular, it seems to me that anyone can become a writer, and put a book out. I know at my current skill level I am by no means at a place to even entertain such an idea. However, from some stories I've read some Authors have overestimated their skills. I've recently have read a few Amazon Kindle eBooks, that have been less than stellar. While fun and light-hearted some have been, they've been really low quality. (Which is why I think they were free.) For those that have Self-Published, how do you go about standing out in a vast crowd of eBooks? Have you thought about going small press, and use companies like Dreamspinner Press?

 

I hope to one day be good enough, for publication on a more professional level, but I'm happy being an amateur right now.

Edited by BHopper2
That dreaded Typo Demon...
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6 minutes ago, Cia said:

which is very hard because it's easy to miss the words there for the ones you know are supposed to be there for the story that's in your head

lol....that's a very wordy sentence Cia....what I've started doing is having my computer read the chapter to me out loud. That way I can hear if I've missed a word or if something doesn't sound quite right.

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That was amazing information @Cia. I wish I could give you more than one like for that, but it should be absolutely required and essential reading for anyone ever considering publication of their works. 

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9 hours ago, JayT said:

lol....that's a very wordy sentence Cia....what I've started doing is having my computer read the chapter to me out loud. That way I can hear if I've missed a word or if something doesn't sound quite right.

Yes, it is. LOL You could liken it to the saying that you can't see the forest for the trees--just in reverse.  You see the scenes in the story in your head, so it all makes sense. That makes it hard to see what the sentences show readers and possibly issues/typos with the words because you just don't 'see' it was easily. A good tip for self-editing to avoid this issue is to review on a different format. Some authors print their work and redline with an actual pen, or use a read back program to listen to the story (which also helps with flow, like what you mentioned) or a different device. I like to create a quick mobi format and put the manuscript on my kindle and then make edits on my computer as I read. Even something as simple as inverting the color scheme on your editing program (dark background with light text or vice versa) can make it easier to spot issues.

 

9 hours ago, Hunter Thomson said:

That was amazing information @Cia. I wish I could give you more than one like for that, but it should be absolutely required and essential reading for anyone ever considering publication of their works. 

:) I've published with a small 'new' press, Dreamspinner, and self-published books both for myself and assisted with publishing for other authors. I've had a lot of help along the way, so I like to share what I've learned if someone asks. You have to be a like a sponge and soak up every bit knowledge if you want to be successful.

 

5 hours ago, BHopper2 said:

Thank you, @Cia. That is very valuable information and a lot more work than I realized.

Publishing is much harder than someone who hasn't tried it might think. Sure, the eBook market has made it easier for the average author to get published, but if you want to do it well, you must put a lot of thought and effort into the process. If you have a concept for a story you'd like to publish, it'll be at least a year on average before you get it out. Start marketing yourself immediately during the writing time, then either edit and format yourself or submit to a publisher. As an fyi, publishers like DSP take 8 weeks to review a submission to see if they want to contract it and then it can be 6-10 months before it'll be released. And you'll start specific marketing like sending out ARCs to review sites or readers and organizing cover reveals, release day blasts, book tours, interviews, etc... about 2 months before the release date. You have to think long-term and plan accordingly to use your time wisely.

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11 hours ago, JayT said:

lol....that's a very wordy sentence Cia....what I've started doing is having my computer read the chapter to me out loud. That way I can hear if I've missed a word or if something doesn't sound quite right.

 

 

You can get the computer to read it to you?? That's amazing! What software do you use? 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 6/10/2017 at 4:37 PM, BHopper2 said:

With self-publication become more popular, it seems to me that anyone can become a writer, and put a book out. I know at my current skill level I am by no means at a place to even entertain such an idea. However, from some stories I've read some Authors have overestimated their skills. I've recently have read a few Amazon Kindle eBooks, that have been less than stellar. While fun and light-hearted some have been, they've been really low quality. (Which is why I think they were free.) For those that have Self-Published, how do you go about standing out in a vast crowd of eBooks? Have you thought about going small press, and use companies like Dreamspinner Press?

 

I hope to one day be good enough, for publication on a more professional level, but I'm happy being an amateur right now.

 

I recently talked to a published author on another site. She was with Torquere and told me about how awesome it was to be with a self publisher. Torquere is closed now, I guess, but she's still not going to self publish. She said there are costs that come with self publishing a QUALITY story and I'm sure you don't want to put out low quality stuff like the ones you mentioned on Amazon. 

 

I guess, as a last resort, self publishing isn't a terrible option. You should probably get an editor. And cover art... you have to pay for that too, right? This published author mentioned she didn't want writing to be an 'expensive hobby' and I agree...

 

I may try to approch a publishing company in the near future....

 

Can you guys tell me... If you published a story on this site, something in the rules here forbids you from ever publisihing elsewhere for profit? I'm probably remembering wrong but I'm late for a doctor's appointment now. I have to run!!!

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On 2017-6-12 at 3:52 AM, Hudson Bartholomew said:

You can get the computer to read it to you?? That's amazing! What software do you use? 

My Mac and my Windows 8 both have it built into their operating systems. It should be in settings. If not, give it a google for a good guide to using it.

 

1 hour ago, mastershakeme said:

Can you guys tell me... If you published a story on this site, something in the rules here forbids you from ever publisihing elsewhere for profit? I'm probably remembering wrong but I'm late for a doctor's appointment now. I have to run!!!

 

I believe GayAuthors asks for a short term exclusive license on submissions to the anthology. That is all. @Cia

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My Mom and I both have self published through Amazon and a lot of thought and work goes into it. She has now published like 12 books through Amazon/CreateSpace and has enjoyed moderate success with her writing. She has a pretty dedicated fan base and has even been part of many book signings and speaking engagements through the years. She's been featured in blogs, her books were part of a segment on one of the local news networks out of Pittsburgh and so many other awesome things. (I'm one of her biggest fans. I pimp out her books to everyone I know if you couldn't tell).

 

The most important thing about self publishing (besides having quality writing and design for your book) is marketing. You have to have a website or Facebook page where you can plug yourself. Talk about new releases, share your writing journey, talk to your fans; things like that. She always makes sure whatever she is publishing is top notch and fully polished before she sends it out into the world. Some of her books and covers look better than things I've seen published professionally which is amazing.After publishing something, she reads all the reviews that get posted on Amazon. She talks to her fans. She engages with fans and other writers about her books, their books, their lives, etc. She always makes sure that people can see there is someone behind that writing.  

 

Basically this whole rant is saying that even though anyone can self publish now what makes you stand out from the crowd is having something you stand by 100% and have put everything you have into it. You put your blood, sweat and tears into and make sure it is the absolute best your story can be and your passion and hardwork will show in those pages and people will see you are more than just another faceless person in the crowd.

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On ‎6‎/‎21‎/‎2017 at 7:35 AM, mastershakeme said:

 

I recently talked to a published author on another site. She was with Torquere and told me about how awesome it was to be with a self publisher. Torquere is closed now, I guess, but she's still not going to self publish. She said there are costs that come with self publishing a QUALITY story and I'm sure you don't want to put out low quality stuff like the ones you mentioned on Amazon. 

 

I guess, as a last resort, self publishing isn't a terrible option. You should probably get an editor. And cover art... you have to pay for that too, right? This published author mentioned she didn't want writing to be an 'expensive hobby' and I agree...

 

I may try to approch a publishing company in the near future....

 

Can you guys tell me... If you published a story on this site, something in the rules here forbids you from ever publisihing elsewhere for profit? I'm probably remembering wrong but I'm late for a doctor's appointment now. I have to run!!!

A lot of the publishers who've closed recently totally screwed authors, so I won't touch 99% of them. I like DSP because they're making changes and are totally transparent with authors that the market has shrunk. They're looking to the long-term and protecting the company and the ability to make them and us money. If you self-publish, unless you can edit well and make cover art, or know someone who can, then yes, you do have to pay for them. I'm lucky in that I can do both and have fellow authors who are willing to help proof. That being said, I've had only moderate success, but one author I know (who isn't even one of the 'big' names in the MM romance genre) made over 50k last year--that's a pretty damn lucrative hobby.

 

Also, the site does not forbid you from publishing elsewhere for profit. There are short exclusivity clauses for stories posted to site contests or anthologies before you post them elsewhere, and we do have policies in place to prevent authors from using GA to edit their work then removing the stories so they can publish. That would result in not being promoted to Promising or Signature in the future, or even removal of author status if it's particularly overt that the author is using GA just to improve their work without being a true part of the community. Some authors have done things like asking to have their story placed in the Premium content area to keep it on the site but no longer visible to the majority of the members/visitors to avoid a conflict, but that's decided on a case-by-case basis and depends on story quality.

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1 hour ago, Cia said:

A lot of the publishers who've closed recently totally screwed authors, so I won't touch 99% of them. I like DSP because they're making changes and are totally transparent with authors that the market has shrunk. They're looking to the long-term and protecting the company and the ability to make them and us money. If you self-publish, unless you can edit well and make cover art, or know someone who can, then yes, you do have to pay for them. I'm lucky in that I can do both and have fellow authors who are willing to help proof. That being said, I've had only moderate success, but one author I know (who isn't even one of the 'big' names in the MM romance genre) made over 50k last year--that's a pretty damn lucrative hobby.

 

Also, the site does not forbid you from publishing elsewhere for profit. There are short exclusivity clauses for stories posted to site contests or anthologies before you post them elsewhere, and we do have policies in place to prevent authors from using GA to edit their work then removing the stories so they can publish. That would result in not being promoted to Promising or Signature in the future, or even removal of author status if it's particularly overt that the author is using GA just to improve their work without being a true part of the community. Some authors have done things like asking to have their story placed in the Premium content area to keep it on the site but no longer visible to the majority of the members/visitors to avoid a conflict, but that's decided on a case-by-case basis and depends on story quality.

 

Yay! I didn't even have to ask, but I'm like a sponge right now, I'm trying to learn everything I can! I appreciate SO MUCH all that info you just dumped into my brain! Thanks Cia! 

 

I love real life experience ^_^ It's fantastic to hear what has worked for you. Maybe if I keep raking in these little tidbits of knowledge, I'll be able to tell my own publishing story one day :P

 

And don't mention 50k... That's not even fair :P

 

Just one more question, because I think you straightened out the bulk of my confusion (for today anyway!) but what is DSP? Is that just another word for self publishing? 

 

 

 

 

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6 hours ago, robertlee said:

My Mom and I both have self published through Amazon and a lot of thought and work goes into it. She has now published like 12 books through Amazon/CreateSpace and has enjoyed moderate success with her writing. She has a pretty dedicated fan base and has even been part of many book signings and speaking engagements through the years. She's been featured in blogs, her books were part of a segment on one of the local news networks out of Pittsburgh and so many other awesome things. (I'm one of her biggest fans. I pimp out her books to everyone I know if you couldn't tell).

 

The most important thing about self publishing (besides having quality writing and design for your book) is marketing. You have to have a website or Facebook page where you can plug yourself. Talk about new releases, share your writing journey, talk to your fans; things like that. She always makes sure whatever she is publishing is top notch and fully polished before she sends it out into the world. Some of her books and covers look better than things I've seen published professionally which is amazing.After publishing something, she reads all the reviews that get posted on Amazon. She talks to her fans. She engages with fans and other writers about her books, their books, their lives, etc. She always makes sure that people can see there is someone behind that writing.  

 

Basically this whole rant is saying that even though anyone can self publish now what makes you stand out from the crowd is having something you stand by 100% and have put everything you have into it. You put your blood, sweat and tears into and make sure it is the absolute best your story can be and your passion and hardwork will show in those pages and people will see you are more than just another faceless person in the crowd.

 

Hey! This is also super helpful! Wow! I'm just blown away by anyone, both you and your mother in this instance, that have taken the big leap and risk of putting your work out into the world. 

 

I'm really taking my time. It took me years of secretive writing through high school to finally start sharing my stuff in college. I've been posting on AFF since Maybe 2013 but I just deleted all my old stuff so, idk maybe that wasn't the best move. 

 

I'm occasionally on this forum but I've been on AFF, hiding with my betas too long! Lol. Idk how to market, but I'm glad at least to kinda get an idea from what you said has worked for your mother... 

 

Thanks for sharing! 

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10 hours ago, mastershakeme said:

 

Just one more question, because I think you straightened out the bulk of my confusion (for today anyway!) but what is DSP? Is that just another word for self publishing? 

 

DSP is Dreamspinner Press. They're one of the larger publishers of gay fiction.

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56 minutes ago, Wicked Witch said:

 

DSP is Dreamspinner Press. They're one of the larger publishers of gay fiction.

I love the story behind how Dreamspinner Press was formed too. I've been a customer of that site for a long time now,

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15 hours ago, Wicked Witch said:

 

DSP is Dreamspinner Press. They're one of the larger publishers of gay fiction.

 

Ok, yea... I've heard of Dreamspinner. I'm looking at it now actually... It seems like the guidelines are extremly lax, but I swear i heard someone say they were hard to get into. They probably don't like it when you've already had a story posted for free :( 

 

 

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11 hours ago, mastershakeme said:

 

Ok, yea... I've heard of Dreamspinner. I'm looking at it now actually... It seems like the guidelines are extremly lax, but I swear i heard someone say they were hard to get into. They probably don't like it when you've already had a story posted for free :( 

 

 

 

I believe they don't accept general submissions at the moment. Only specific calls on specific topics.

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5 hours ago, Wicked Witch said:

 

I believe they don't accept general submissions at the moment. Only specific calls on specific topics.

I'm not going to worry about it until I have something I'm ready to submit... It's great to gather some information and store it for later thou! 

 

I appreciate it :2thumbs:

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On ‎6‎/‎22‎/‎2017 at 11:21 PM, mastershakeme said:

 

Just one more question, because I think you straightened out the bulk of my confusion (for today anyway!) but what is DSP? Is that just another word for self publishing? 

 

Sorry, busy week and I didn't see this. DSP is Dreamspinner Press. I have 3 scifi novels published with them, a contemporary novella in their States of Love series, 2 short stories in their donation anthologies for the victims of the Pulse attack, and a new contemporary novella coming out with them in September. I've learned an insane amount from working with their staff, and they're absolutely awesome and totally transparent with authors. I have published with a small press previously, but I didn't have a great experience with that because after the first book was released, I had more knowledge than the owner about producing eBooks, to the point of making my own eBook files for the 2nd novella I released with them, which meant I was basically doing their job. After that I decided to stick with self-publishing and Dreamspinner.

 

And, yes, they are currently closed to general submission requests from authors. You have to submit for one of their open calls for anthologies, special series, or specific house lines open to all authors if you are not already published with them.

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