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Self Publishing...time for quality assurance.


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Showing 76-100 of 150 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on 19 Apr 2013, 10:25:46 BST
In 2009, I wrote a short post for the Literature & Fiction blog, Is Writing Replacing Reading?:

http://shelaghwatkins.wordpress.com/2009/08/12/is-writing-replacing-reading/

The comments are very interesting!

Posted on 19 Apr 2013, 11:47:24 BST
Backbarrow says:
My journey to completing a book was self induced. I wanted fun, a laugh or two and be entertained. Two of my sons acted as proof readers, my wife wasn't interested. Yes my first cab of the rank was flawed. I started again, I certainly couldn't afford a conventional proof reader. Concentrated slowly and surely. Completed and uploaded. Checked out my Kindle edition and one font floated like a kite, I addressed. The book was was now for sale warts and all. Still unsure I waited for a response. Two books sold and two positive reviews followed. I had no idea how the book in real life would appear. I ordered one and when it arrived I was stunned with the quality of the book's cover. Yep, I found one or two errors but overall I was thrilled with the product. Nope I don't work for Amazon. I'm just an old guy who completed a mission. Ten years ago what Amazon offers today is a golden opportunity. Get real and feel good that you made it into print. Hey! One day whatever you wrote maybe a best seller!

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Apr 2013, 14:53:05 BST
Nav Logan says:
Hi Backbarrow, reading you're post was so close to my own story, best of luck with it.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Apr 2013, 17:23:24 BST
Book Buff says:
No offense, but six rejections discouraged you? Really? I wrote my first novel in 1995. Over the next three years it got rejected by somewhere in the neighborhood of a combined 40 agents and publishers. I took a break, got a job in publishing and started a family. Around 2001 I started writing again, spent the next couple years writing essays, flirted with maybe writing a memoir using my cobbled together essays, then in 2004 started submitting the rough draft of a new novel. After another year of submitting I got an agent. He submitted my book to publishers until 2006, I retooled the novel based on the various feedback I was getting in rejection letters, and then from 2007-2012 I received 55 rejections before finally signing a book deal in August 2012.

I realize I didn't answer the meat of your post about Amazon's editorial services, but I wanted to take a moment to highlight one of the worst side-effects of the self-publishing revolution, and that's the rewarding of impatience. An aspiring author should allot a minimum three years of vetting by traditional agents and publishers before he puts his book on any self-publishing platform. Do it right or don't do it at all.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Apr 2013, 17:41:09 BST
Ethereal says:
I agree!
Even if a writer decides self-publishing is the way to go, to be first accepted and then able to turn it down must be the best confidence boost - for readers as well as the author - that there can be and it must do wonders for their ability to take rejections/criticisms and build the necessary thick skins for authors.

Posted on 19 Apr 2013, 18:16:34 BST
Last edited by the author on 19 Apr 2013, 18:22:30 BST
LioninWinter says:
To Book Buff et al: You fell down, got up again, fell down again, got up, worked hard, kept trying and then, after years of struggle, you finally succeeded. And that, it seems to me, is how our culture still frames all notions of believable and acceptable success. It has to be earned, and then awarded. Your 'product' is better, presumably, because you triumphed over adversity and won out in the end, and in doing so, you were rewarded by producing something probably very marketable.

I've been thinking about this on and off all day since I posted this morning. It strikes me that self-publishing, even at its best, confounds those who have followed that particular path, and challenges those who believe we must all be adequately validated somehow before we break cover. In truth, we will always require the advice of the wise and experienced, but what most business-oriented publishers are looking for are marketable hits, and who can blame them. Perhaps self-publishing is a different kind of platform altogether.

Anyway, it has taken me almost forty years to reach a point where I could write, and another five in which I have attempted to perfect it. I don't call that impatience, though I agree, and am always concerned that the button - to 'publish' - is too easily hit. I hope the worst will fall away and the best will prevail, whether it is self, or published in the traditional way.

Posted on 19 Apr 2013, 18:36:55 BST
Book Buff says:
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In reply to an earlier post on 19 Apr 2013, 19:55:13 BST
[Deleted by the author on 9 Jun 2013, 22:13:44 BST]

Posted on 19 Apr 2013, 20:22:45 BST
Book Buff says:
"What's obvious is that many writer needs to develop self-critiquing skills that allows them to see their work for what it is."

And the next writer to develop this skill will be the first. ;-)

Posted on 19 Apr 2013, 20:25:29 BST
M Byrne says:
Wobbly: if there were an award for the best post 2013, I would be nominating you for it.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Apr 2013, 21:47:34 BST
Top post, I think a lot of writers are publishing before they're ready. I finished the first draft of my book in 1997. It took me from then until 2009 to turn it into a publishable book. I like to think I wouldn't have put that first awful attempt on Kindle... but I don't know. And that's where the gatekeepers are good, because in 1997 the first agent I sent it to returned it with a lovely letter that said, in a nutshell, 'one day you will write a decent book but you are not ready.'

Thank you for continuing to browse through the dross, long may you continue!

Cheers

MTM

Posted on 19 Apr 2013, 22:07:19 BST
M Byrne says:
Brian Book Buff, thanks so much for the chastisement for lack of fortitude when faced with rejection. I say that, having taken no offence from it. I didn't go into detail on that subject as it was only of slight relevance to the topic at the heart of the thread. But trust me when I say I have my share of rejection letters, most from agents/publishers that didn't read the manuscript, (I used to put the second, or third page upside-down, if it came back the same way-unread. If returned the right way up, I knew it had at least been read). Most of the rejection was to some extent my own fault; not really understanding the requirement of a cover letter, and also having a manuscript with a plot that was not easy synopsized. Despite this, I actually did gain an agent, for a short while...Anyway, the 6 agent comment I made was on a new manuscript. Honestly, to have an agent read it, tell me it was really good (this was true comment, not a polite
shove-off, it picked up on specifics), then say it is "too Different." Knowing less than 10% of submissions get read, to find that when one is...and when it is appreciated, it makes no difference as the agent is too gutless to support his instinct...Well! Somebody here mentioned what the marketplace (agents) are looking for. What they have been looking for in the last 5 years is nicely behaved vampires who need a girlfriend more than they need blood. And what they will be looking for in the next five years is poorly behaved ladies who get a kick out of being tied, gagged and left in an attic.

And so I intend to explore self publishing. Not first with my "too different" manuscript, my first is something else. But trust me, it has legs that are sturdy enough that it will stand true. The reason I am holding back the "too different" manuscript is that if I make any mistakes along the way first time, I wont next time.

Had a look at the explore pages of your "Belly Dancer." The first thing I would say is, I think it would be an idea if the last paragraph on the back cover were somewhere it could be seen up front. I had no clue to genre until deep into the sample, and then was still guessing (correctly) until the back cover at end of sample.

Would I buy it?

No.

Why?

The subject matter is a genre I don't often visit, though I do occasionally. Would saying it is of a type that could be compared to: The World According To Garp, be fair? (Its hard to be analytical from just the sample). But Garp is pretty much (for me) the perfect novel of that type, and (for me), though my view of Belly Dancer is mostly favorable, there is just enough that is not, which deters me from a book in a genre I don't fully thrive on. I wont detail here; I will say it would most certainly exceed any minimum standard I would like to see installed, and I'm sure those more open to this genre would enjoy it.

If you would like more detail on why I wouldn't buy, I will happily explain, but not here. So if you do want detail, let me know how to reach you.

Good luck with it, as I said, I'm sure you will find an appreciative audience.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Apr 2013, 22:48:31 BST
Book Buff says:
Very astute observation; Garp is one of my all-time favorite books. I went to Amazon's Author Central page and manually made the switch you suggested. That's actually how I originally positioned the description, but I was having some formatting issues with the masturbation/testicles quote.

I had a solid 20 editors/agents send me earnest page-long breakdowns of my book that if you read everything but the last sentence would make you think they were going to sign me. Don't want to out myself too much here, but I only moonlight as a writer; I actually work a day job on the other side of the table as an acquisitions director for a publisher, so I think I can speak to their tendencies better than most. Editors exist in a climate of fear. Their lists are shrinking. The bookstores in which they can peddle their lists are shrinking. It's not about an editor just falling in love with your book, it's about an editor falling in love with your book, crafting a platform by which he can pitch your book, and then walking into an ed board meeting and convincing a room of editors to think the very same thing. I didn't just get to first base, I got to third base...three times. Three editors sent me acceptance emails, and then summarily got shot down by their co-workers. That is rejection. That is disappointment.

Thanks for the earnest feedback.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Apr 2013, 23:06:32 BST
[Deleted by the author on 9 Jun 2013, 22:13:05 BST]

Posted on 19 Apr 2013, 23:24:23 BST
Book Buff says:
My comment was somewhat sarcastic, but still an admonishment nonetheless of writers, especially the self-published variety. By and large, a self-published writer is not his own worst critic; rather, he's his own worst enabler. The only thing he wields more recklessly than his pen is his martyr complex. Editors exist because of the simple fact almost no writer has the capacity to realistically and honestly edit himself. It's not about learning how to self-critique, it's about learning how to listen constructively to honest and justifiable criticism. Most of our best wordsmiths never learn the simple act of looking in the mirror and saying, "You're not that good." It takes someone else to do that.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Apr 2013, 23:42:06 BST
F Mundo says:
Great post, Wobbly. I couldn't agree more. Thanks for posting.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Apr 2013, 23:50:37 BST
Last edited by the author on 19 Apr 2013, 23:51:01 BST
!'m not that good. No false modesty here. My sales are testament to the fact that I'm not that good. I've actually given up writing. Not because I'm not good enough; being not very good doesn't stop others from continuing to write so why should it stop me? Anyway, how could everyone talk about all the dross if it didn't exist? Some of us have to produce it. I stopped writing because there really is no need to continue. No fan base waiting for the next novel, no real loss of earnings and no wondering about what I might be missing out on by not writing. So there you have it; I'm not very good and I won't be peddling anything new.

Posted on 20 Apr 2013, 02:10:18 BST
M Byrne says:
Self-publaholics Anonymous

I'm not that good. But I have worked and worked and worked at it, and maybe I am getting there. I have an indicator, in that I have a short story soon to be publish mainstream. And when I do publish, as I have said, a good many personal friends will buy a copy, and if it doesn't do the job, I know they won't be slow in letting me know. In fact quite a few will buy it just to slap me about the head with It (in a fun way). So I will find out if I am walking the path of the writeous (do you see what I did there?) soon enough.

Shelagh, don't give up. Just try to get to where you want to go by a different path. THE SUCCESSFUL AUTHOR IS THE WRITER WHO LEARNED HOW TO EDIT. Get yourself a copy of `The First Five Pages' by Noah Lukeman. Don't write anything new for a little while, just edit, edit and edit what you have. Once you have done that, edit it again. Put this together to make an email address: steve p byrne at hotmail .co .uk

Ask anything. I might not have the answer, but I will do my best. Meanwhile I'm going to edit those first pages of `Flying' I wont get them perfect, but I will bring them forward. And I will put better explanation to them, than shown previously. If you have gotten in touch, I will send to you, and we will move forward from there.

Giving up is the pathway to regret. Hard work takes you along the path of aspiration, walk along it long enough and you find it takes you to achievement.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Apr 2013, 11:51:34 BST
Thanks for the offer of help. I wrote Mr. Planemaker's Flying Machine in 2002. It was first published in 2005. I added it to KDP in October 2010. It has had 15,031 downloads (free and paid). In 2009, it was serialised on Preston FM (48 daily episodes and 10 Sunday omnibus editions).

The ebook is currently free on Amazon US and, as of yesterday, is free on Amazon UK. If you want to edit it, go for it. You'll find the book here: Mr. Planemaker's Flying Machine

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Apr 2013, 12:02:52 BST
carol arnall says:
Shelagh,
You write for a niche market. We had a similar conversation before didn't we?
I love and understand your poetry. I for one feel sad that you have decided not to write for now.
It's because you are a niche market that you don't have high sales. Remember the majority of authors don't achieve high sales and write for the love of it. A few never sell a book.
I do know that as an author (and a good one at that) you will write again. Please don't let negative comments get to you.
It was lovely to see you on my thread this week. Pop by again, and hopefully we can chat.
Hope we can catch up soon, Shelagh. I'll be in touch.
Everyone sees different things in other people's work.
Please don't lose confidence in yourself.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Apr 2013, 12:35:39 BST
Last edited by the author on 20 Apr 2013, 12:55:39 BST
Thanks, Carol! I haven't lost confidence. I have written three novels, had my work published in anthologies to raise money for charity, written and published short stories and poetry, edited, contributed and published three anthologies written by writers from around the world (over eighty authors), published books by three separate authors: a children's book, a memoir and a textbook, and published volumes of author interviews from my Literature & Fiction blog. In total, since 2008, I have published fourteen books. Time for me to call it a day.

The fact that someone has offered to edit my first published novel does not bother me in the slightest. I took a great deal of care with the writing of that first book. Since it was written for children, I felt obliged to stick to the rules of grammar. Many modern books contain sentences beginning with "and" and "but" and other conjunctions. They also contain sentences ending in a preposition, split infinitives and other grammatical errors. This may be acceptable in adult novels, but if we want to maintain standards in written English, children's literature has to be exemplary.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Apr 2013, 13:01:01 BST
Kriss says:
It is all true.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Apr 2013, 13:02:38 BST
Kriss says:
Story is important.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Apr 2013, 13:09:45 BST
carol arnall says:
Yes, you have wonderful credentials. I have always been full of admiration for you and the hard work you have done.
All I'm saying is please don't desert us. I'm sure you will return to writing.
Speak soon.
Back to the embroidery article.

Posted on 20 Apr 2013, 13:43:54 BST
M Byrne says:
Shelagh, I didn't offer to edit for you. I offered to assist you editing, very big difference. I'm not good enough at editing to able to say I can edit your book for you, I only wish I were. As you point out your grammar and punctuation are good, better than mine. Where I see you can improve is mostly in `show don't tell' and `imply don't supply.' Your characters have charm (where appropriate) and are warm (where appropriate) and have mystery as in estate agent lady.

There is nothing wrong having someone help you edit, I have paid for just that help. I have also learned from that experience and I would be happy to pass what I can of that on to you. Stephen King has an editor. J. K. Rowling has an editor. Tell me of an author who doesn't have an editor. All authors must also be able to edit. The better an author's edit the better job an editor will do following up.

Here's the thing, you take up my offer, in a couple of days you will see it working for you, or you wont. If it's not working-bale. If it is working, you just might find your falling in love with writing all over again..

Shelagh, you have given years, so what harm in giving another week. Now put the divorce on hold, get that book I recommended, get in touch, and lets get started.
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Discussion in:  fiction discussion forum
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Initial post:  17 Apr 2013
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