I have been reading and enjoying a self-published book. Well, I was enjoying it until the editing seemed to run out. First a couple of typos and then a sentence that said - we we're there. From then it declined into a mishmash of writing that shouldn't have been available to the naked eye after the first draft. The story was good but not enough to keep reading.
No longer regarded as vanity or last resort, for many authors self-publishing is their first choice.
However, it still has to be edited and if you are unable to do your own, get a professional. Please! When we continuously look at our own work we develop word-blindness because we stop seeing it. I am always boggled when I see the amount of things I've missed on my 'clean' copy.
I recently chatted with Autumn Barlow, the publisher of Top Hat Books and prolific author. Here are a couple of questions I put to her:
What advice can you share for someone who wants to write a book?
You must love it but you must be workmanlike. Also, consider your motivation. Do you want to simply finish it for your own sense of achievement? Or do you want to be published? And if so, why? To change the world? To become rich? Both are unlikely but having a clear reason will influence what path you take. If you want to write as a career, make sure you really understand what that entails. Long, lonely hours. No guarantees. The dizzying terror of absolute freedom. If you want to write books to make your living then you must understand who your reader is and what they expect from your books, and then you must provide what they want. Again and again and again. Write your first book but be thinking of your next.
What are your top tips for anyone interested in self-publishing?
Go into it with a businesslike head on. You might be wanting to self publish because you want to keep the higher royalties and you want control over your book, and that's great. But would you start a restaurant business and not employ any staff at all? Would you grow your own food, cook it, serve, clean and everything? Of course not, yet I keep seeing self-publishers try to edit, format, promote and design. There's a myth of self-publishing being free or cheap. It's not if you do it properly. There's a reason that publishers still exist! I self-publish AND I work in traditional publishing. Everyone is different. Take a good hard look at your skills before you commit to one or the other. And some genres work better traditionally published – many types of romance, for example, due to the Mills and Boon influence. It's so hard to make a name for yourself in an oversaturated market that authors banding together is essential, and doing that under the umbrella of a publisher can be beneficial.
The rest of the interview is here
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