So you're using Microsoft Word, typing aimlessly, thousands upon thousands of words added to your W.I.P. and then BAM....computer crashes.
All of those ideas.
All of that flawless writing.
Now, you try writing with Google Docs. Same scenario. But guess what? Your W.I.P. is saved to the good ol' World Wide Web!
Cheers all around right?!
Not only is it saved, it can easily be shared with your friends, beta readers, or whoever else you may get advice about your writing from.
AND since it is on the internet, you can use it wherever you have Wi-Fi. Even if you don't have Wi-Fi, I believe (don't quote me on this because I've never used the app) they have an app you can write on and it will sync once you are on Wi-Fi.
Sounding like a winner?
Now don't get me wrong, even Google has their flaws (I know, I know, unbelievable) but Google Docs is an awesome writing tool! It helped me through my first published book and hopefully it will help you too!
As a new author, one of the early decisions you have to make is whether you are going to submit your book to a publishing company or be an Indie author and self-publish. To provide advice on that topic since I have zero, I asked two authors, both of which have published a book recently (like last week recently) for their takes on the matter.
Ahyiana Angel (www.lifeaccordingtoher.com) recently published her debut novel, Preseason Love, with publishing company Strebor Books which is owned by New York Times best-selling author Zane.
What factors did you consider when deciding to use a publishing company vs. being an indie author?
Being a first time author, I felt as though I needed to at least try to secure a deal with a major publisher. I figured that if I tried and it did not result in a success, at least I would know for sure that it was not an option. If I had never tried to be a traditionally published author then the “what if” question may have always nagged me. Although, now there are many options when publishing a book, there is still a perceived credibility that comes along with being traditionally published. I felt that was important on my first project to establish myself.
Zane is a big deal! Being a new author, how did you get her to take a chance on you?
I did my research. I made sure that when I approached Strebor Books (her publishing company) with my project that I was completely and one hundred percent ready. When you are pitching yourself or your work to someone, you only have one opportunity to be considered. Preparedness and opportunity can
equal a beautiful outcome.
What benefits have you found that come along with having a publishing group?
The number one benefit is the name recognition of the publishing company. You can use their name to your benefit. Make it work for you and use it to open doors. Another benefit is having the opportunity to get an inside look at how a book goes through the publishing process. You may not be privy to every single detail but it is important to understand the life cycle of your book.
What disadvantages are there to working with a publishing group?
All of the other authors. There are so many authors on the roster that it may be a challenge to get answers quickly. You will also have to share the talents of the designated publicist, which means that you will essentially end up doing much of your own PR and marketing.
Any advice for those wanting to submit to a publisher?
Get your work edited by a professional. Just as with the music industry, companies are looking for a finished product that they can package and sell right away. Lastly, once again, do your research. You will thank yourself later.
Christina C Jones (www.beingmrsjones.com) recently self-published her 8th novel (7th of this year), Didn't Mean To Love You.
What factors did you consider in making the decision to become an indie author? I just kinda... decided to do it. I had never submitted anything to a publisher before, but I was working on my first book. I ran across an article about self-publishing, so I looked into my options. From there, everything just kinda happened.
What benefits are there to being an indie author vs. an author with a publishing group?
Control is the most important to me. I don't have anyone nitpicking my story, modifying my voice, etc. I choose what I write, when to put it out, how to market, etc. Another benefit is probably income. Royalty structures aren't the same for every publisher, but I can say with confidence that I make a larger royalty per book than a traditionally published author. BUT, I'm sure they sell more books, so that could very well be a wash.
What disadvantages are there to being an indie author?
You do it all yourself, and that can be overwhelming. Editing, formatting, book cover, marketing, you're responsible for all of it, plus writing the book. Sure, you can outsource, but that takes a budget that you may not have when you first start out.
As an indie author, what methods do you use to promote your book?
I'm terrible at promotion, LMBO. I'll post about it on my facebook page, tweet it, blog it, and send a newsletter announcement, but all of that is usually surrounding release day. I need to do better about consistent promotion.
Any advice for those interested in going the indie route?
Do it! But, before you do it, read about it. There is a wealth of information online to assist you with not only writing your book, but polishing it, so that when you put it out there for public consumption, it's the best that it can be. And make friends who are already in the industry. Not so that you have people to beg to buy your book, but so that you expand your network to like-minded peers. This will serve as motivation, give you something to aspire to, and also put you in touch with people who *get* it, when you need to reach out and talk to someone.
*Special thanks to both of these ladies for providing insight on this topic of interest for new authors! You can check out both of their books by clicking the book cover!
We all love or have loved Facebook at some point in our lives. It's a nifty tool where you can reach MASSES of people very quickly. So it makes sense to promote your book in every place available on the site; right? Wrong. I am a member of many Facebook author groups, book promotion pages, etc. and I can honestly say that ALL of those pages are heavily saturated with posts upon posts from authors but hardly any interaction from readers. Think about how you may post to a group...
You get your "press release" ready.
You copy it.
You paste it.
You move on to the next group.
Do you even look at the posts on the page? I do, for The Bookworm Lodge reasons, but sometimes even I'm overwhelmed by the amount of posts. You may catch the eye of one, maybe two readers if the post shows up on their timeline. But most of the posts to those pages are quickly replaced with others.
So how can you use Facebook to your advantage?
Start a personal author page where your readers can reach you, engage with you, and brag about your work to others.
Accept random friend requests. Often times, it may be a reader trying to connect with you and tell you how good you are.
Ask friends to support you by making your book cover their profile picture. Now their friends can know about you too. Don't expect the friends to keep it like that forever; eventually they're gonna want to show off their face again.
Join Book Clubs Vs. Author Pages. Book clubs for people that read the genre you write are more likely to have actual readers (which means actual customers), or people looking for a book rather than just authors trying to promote their book. Trust me, they'll be excited to have an author joining them.
Any other Facebook tips for authors? Comment them below! :)
As the website continues to develop, I've happily received TONS of books (thank you guys!). I support all new authors as everyone has a story to tell and every reader has a story they can relate to no matter who wrote it or what it looks like. But I can honestly say it's harder, for me personally, to show love to the books with low to no budget book covers. I understand, as a new, up-and-coming author, you probably don't have a huge budget to hire models, organize photo shoots, hire a creator, etc. But please, if you're going to invest in something, invest in a good book cover. The old saying, "Don't judge a book by its cover" may always ring true, but what do most people do? Yup, you guessed it; Judge a book by its cover. It's a habit. The cover alone can either intrigue a reader to at least skim a few pages or it can make a reader skip right over the book because if the cover is anything like the content..yikes. Okay, random rant over. Happy Writing Folks!
Looking for a good cover artist? Ask around for any local college students in graphic design or photography. They are usually just as good for half or less of the money!
As an Author, you put everything you have into whatever book you're working on. You spend countless hours writing, developing characters, developing story lines, etc. Hours that you may never see the compensation you deserve for. You work your butt off; period. So if someone finds out you're an author and asks you about your book, you should know what to say right? I mean this is your creation, your baby, something you may have been thinking about for months or even years. It should be EASY to talk about, even brag about to an extent.
If you end up on the elevator with a potential customer (everyone is a potential customer but you know what I mean), do you know what to say about your book? I encourage ALL authors to be able to give an intriguing description of your book in 30 seconds or less. Think about what will draw a reader to your book and lock in on it. If you say, "Oh, my book is a love story", who cares? There are MILLIONS of love stories. What makes yours different? What makes your book unique? What makes a potential customer HAVE to have it? Think about it, practice it, and stay ready. You never know who's checking for you. :)