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Thread: Life After self-publishing

  1. #51
    practical experience, FTW Nandi's Avatar
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    Why not be courteous and just say, "Hey, don't do that. It's redundant."
    Because agents are swamped with queries, and it is doubtful they would want to pursue an unknown writer--whom they will likely assume doesn't know any better--when they have a heap of well written queries to choose from. Of course it's picky, but agents are the ones holding all the cards. No need to hand them a tailor-made reason to reject you.

  2. #52
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    but agents are the ones holding all the cards
    Nope, they hold most of 'em, but they no longer hold ALL the cards; other avenues for seeing your work in print without an agent or traditional publishing house are growing more numerous by the year.

    If you've ever wondered why the acrimony and snide remarks enter into almost every POD topic ("I'll NEVER go POD, self-published work is not good enough to be traditionally published otherwise it would be."), the reason is fear of losing their jobs or having to compete with someone in the marketplace that had the audacity to buck the trend and put themselves out there with a self-published work. All without the benefit and safe harbor of an agent and traditional publishing house.

    Things have changed in the print media world, the genie is out of the bottle and there isn't a damn thing that they can do about it, except take pot shots at POD out of fear. The gatekeepers have the keys to the gates, but the gates are the only things left standing; the walls have been removed and good POD work can just go around them.

    Let's just say for arguments sake that POD takes off and a few more success stories make their way into the wild and get picked up by traditional house editors. It's already happened and it will happen with more frequency as authors pursue their careers in the self-publishing arena. I can tell you that if I ran a publishing house, I'd hire my own agents as acquiring editor and cut out the middle man/woman and split the difference with the author and the house.

    Like it or not, that's the trend and it's not going to change. The world is a different place and that's just the way it is. I'm not going to lie; I'd love to get picked up by an agent and have my work repped. But, that's not going to happen for me anytime soon and I'll be damned if I'm going to let the traditional literary market get in the way of seeing my work in print and available to anyone who might want to read it and pay for it to boot.

    That's my two cents, two bits, two dinars and my opinion.
    Mods, please remove me from the AW member rolls please.

  3. #53
    Resident Curmudgeon Requiescat In Pace ResearchGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JosephR View Post
    . . . My point is that it's a huge assumption that using "fiction novel" always means that it's a lousy novel. . . .
    I believe that the issue is not the quality of the novel (which they will not read anyway, having immediately round-filed the query), but rather the inferred unpreparedness of the writer. But I'm only the messenger here. Pick up that issue of The Writer, read the article, and follow up with that agent.

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  4. #54
    Terri Coop has been known to write circlexranch's Avatar
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    Snook - a question for you about CreateSpace.

    I've been asking them what the shipping/handling charge is on purchasing copies of my own book. They won't tell me, saying it is weight based and I should set up my book in the system and then I will be able to figure out shipping.

    That is annoying me more than a little bit! However, since you are about to pull the trigger with CreateSpace, may I ask the length of your book and what your shipping charges would be if you purchased, say, 50 copies?

    I am looking hard at CreateSpace because we have a 'pocket market' project that isn't going to interest commercial publishers. My family owns a toy company with its own stable of trademarked characters and there is demand for stories involving the characters. So, I'm looking into setting up an imprint under our existing corporation and creating a series of short novels in the style of 50's pulps and include promo material in the back such as discount coupons for our website.

    But I gotta have a clue on shipping to see if the project is cost-effective!

    Thanks in advance and BTW, the memoir looks awesome. I helped my brother self-pub his journals which include the story of members of our family now long gone. 'Circulation' will probably be about 25 copies. The royalty? Beyond Price and Value.
    Terri Coop

    The Blog Coop (keeps them safe and from wandering around)

    "Why I Fear Clowns" A journey along the CCC (creepy clown continum).

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  5. #55
    Resident Curmudgeon Requiescat In Pace ResearchGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laura Lond View Post
    I wonder whether anyone has ever tried to submit a "non-fiction novel"??
    Truman Capote is credited with founding that genre, with In Cold Blood.

    You can qualify "novel" with several terms (such as historical, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary, and yes, even "nonfiction"), but NOT "fiction."

    Yes, that might seem unfair, and is probably quite confusing to novice novelists. "Nonfiction novel" has a specific meaning in the trade, precisely to distinguish it -- as a novel that is closely based on or adapted from true events yet still a work of fiction -- from the generality of novels that typically are entirely works of the author's imagination, even if informed by real life.

    --Ken
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  6. #56
    practical experience, FTW
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    circlexranch: I'll try to give you an idea. The memoir is a 6X9 trade copy, 304 pages, 49K words, full color cover, cream 55# stock. I signed up for the free Pro plan upgrade last month and saved $3.09/book. This is right off my account page:

    Your cost to order multiple copies: Pro $4.49 per copy. UPS shipping was $6.35 for my proof copy. Total was $10.84

    USPS is probably half that and if you order multiple copies it'll be even cheaper. I'll let you know what the damage is tomorrow after I review the final proof copy and approve for final release.
    Mods, please remove me from the AW member rolls please.

  7. #57
    On the rocks cwfgal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snook View Post
    Nope, they hold most of 'em, but they no longer hold ALL the cards; other avenues for seeing your work in print without an agent or traditional publishing house are growing more numerous by the year.

    If you've ever wondered why the acrimony and snide remarks enter into almost every POD topic ("I'll NEVER go POD, self-published work is not good enough to be traditionally published otherwise it would be."), the reason is fear of losing their jobs or having to compete with someone in the marketplace that had the audacity to buck the trend and put themselves out there with a self-published work. All without the benefit and safe harbor of an agent and traditional publishing house.

    Things have changed in the print media world, the genie is out of the bottle and there isn't a damn thing that they can do about it, except take pot shots at POD out of fear. The gatekeepers have the keys to the gates, but the gates are the only things left standing; the walls have been removed and good POD work can just go around them.

    Let's just say for arguments sake that POD takes off and a few more success stories make their way into the wild and get picked up by traditional house editors. It's already happened and it will happen with more frequency as authors pursue their careers in the self-publishing arena. I can tell you that if I ran a publishing house, I'd hire my own agents as acquiring editor and cut out the middle man/woman and split the difference with the author and the house.

    Like it or not, that's the trend and it's not going to change. The world is a different place and that's just the way it is. I'm not going to lie; I'd love to get picked up by an agent and have my work repped. But, that's not going to happen for me anytime soon and I'll be damned if I'm going to let the traditional literary market get in the way of seeing my work in print and available to anyone who might want to read it and pay for it to boot.

    That's my two cents, two bits, two dinars and my opinion.
    Your post sounds a bit defensive. And as someone who has gone both the traditional and the POD route, I have to say your vision is nice but naive.

    POD is a technology, one that traditional publishers may use a lot someday. It may well be the wave of the future, but if it is, the traditional filters currently in place (agents, editors, publishing houses) will continue to wade through the dreck and provide some type of quality guarantee.

    Most (I'd venture around 99%) of the non-traditional POD stuff will be the piece-of-crap, vanity-published book that Joe Blow just had to see in print because his ego demanded it. It won't sell more than a handful of copies, most of which will be bought by unsuspecting and/or sympathetic family members and friends. That's because the writing is subpar, the distribution and marketing are almost non-existent, and the reading public is already wary of anything that hasn't gone through the above mentioned filters because they've been burned before.

    If that handful of sold copies is all Joe Blow wants, that's great. Everybody is happy. But if Joe thinks vanity POD publishing is going to be a road to fame and riches, or even respect as a writer for that matter, he is mistaken.

    Beth


    As Annelise Ryan:
    WORKING STIFF, SCARED STIFF,
    FROZEN STIFF, LUCKY STIFF, and (coming in 2014) BOARD STIFF

    As Allyson K. Abbott:
    MURDER ON THE ROCKS (Available 8/6/13)

    As Beth Amos:
    COLD WHITE FURY
    EYES OF NIGHT
    SECOND SIGHT
    NICK OF TIME
    FACE OF DEATH

    www.mattiewinston.com
    www.bethamos.com

  8. #58
    practical experience, FTW
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    Most (I'd venture around 99%) of the non-traditional POD stuff will be the piece-of-crap, vanity-published book that Joe Blow just had to see in print because his ego demanded it. It won't sell more than a handful of copies, most of which will be bought by unsuspecting and/or sympathetic family members and friends. That's because the writing is subpar, the distribution and marketing are almost non-existent, and the reading public is already wary of anything that hasn't gone through the above mentioned filters because they've been burned before.

    Time will tell and you are entitled to your opinions as I am entitled to mine. As a dreck writer, I await my comeuppance.
    Mods, please remove me from the AW member rolls please.

  9. #59
    On the rocks cwfgal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snook View Post
    Time will tell and you are entitled to your opinions as I am entitled to mine. As a dreck writer, I await my comeuppance.
    Snook,

    I'm not saying you or any other vanity POD writers are dreck writers. POD does not automatically = dreck. I don't think I'm a dreck writer and I went the vanity POD route with one of my books. The sales were abysmal despite my having a traditional publishing track record behind me to validate the quality. The POD book did eventually get picked up by an agent and is now under contract, along with two more books, with Kensington. It will be released in August. But the agent I found didn't know squat about the POD version of my book. I got an agent because I pulled the book off the POD market and started querying again, the old-fashioned way. Had I not done that, I'm certain the book would still be languishing in POD hell.

    My point is that the Joe Blows of the world combined with the lack of distribution for vanity PODs dooms pretty much all vanity PODs to very minimal sales, no matter how well written they are. And those that are well written are far outnumbered by the dreck these days. Sadly, the dreck has tainted the entire field and I don't know that that can be reversed.

    Beth


    As Annelise Ryan:
    WORKING STIFF, SCARED STIFF,
    FROZEN STIFF, LUCKY STIFF, and (coming in 2014) BOARD STIFF

    As Allyson K. Abbott:
    MURDER ON THE ROCKS (Available 8/6/13)

    As Beth Amos:
    COLD WHITE FURY
    EYES OF NIGHT
    SECOND SIGHT
    NICK OF TIME
    FACE OF DEATH

    www.mattiewinston.com
    www.bethamos.com

  10. #60
    practical experience, FTW
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    Circlexranch, i just approved my Createspace proof and did a sample order to see what the costs were. Here goes;

    Each copy was $4.49, I ordered 10 copies = $44.90, shipping was $8.00 for economy shipping (week or better), $10.90 for UPS (average three days from time of order so far), Total including shipping is $52.90 economy or $55.80 for UPS
    Mods, please remove me from the AW member rolls please.

  11. #61
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by cwfgal View Post
    My point is that the Joe Blows of the world combined with the lack of distribution for vanity PODs dooms pretty much all vanity PODs to very minimal sales, no matter how well written they are. And those that are well written are far outnumbered by the dreck these days. Sadly, the dreck has tainted the entire field and I don't know that that can be reversed.

    Beth
    I have to agree with you. Though I was actually reading a trade paperback the other day (Berkley was the publisher) and was horrified when I discovered formatting errors and huge, glaring plot errors - not to mention unrealistic character reactions. The book had all the signatures of a self published POD title.

    I was actually shocked it was put out by a large publishing house -- even with all those alleged "filters" in place.

    It's seeing stuff like that, that makes you wonder if there really is quality control, or if that quality control is merely an illusion.

  12. #62
    On location Hillgate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adrianna View Post
    I have to agree with you. Though I was actually reading a trade paperback the other day (Berkley was the publisher) and was horrified when I discovered formatting errors and huge, glaring plot errors - not to mention unrealistic character reactions. The book had all the signatures of a self published POD title.

    I was actually shocked it was put out by a large publishing house -- even with all those alleged "filters" in place.

    It's seeing stuff like that, that makes you wonder if there really is quality control, or if that quality control is merely an illusion.
    I cannot look at any more vanity books without feeling ill. They are generally dreadful, which means that any good ones, as you say above, get lost in the heaving mass of shite.
    Beer and skittles

  13. #63
    practical experience, FTW
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    And here come the trolls, nothing will change. Later folks, I'm outta here.
    Mods, please remove me from the AW member rolls please.

  14. #64
    practical experience, FTW Nandi's Avatar
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    Hey, folks! This is a self-publishing thread! Snook has graciously shared his journey with the rest of us, and I think it's a real shame that the road he has chosen has been so demonized. We have had some hearty and spirited conversations here about self-publishing, and he has been willing to engage in dialogue with others about selecting that route. Why could not the same courtesy have been extended to him?

    Snook, if you are reading this, good luck to you!

  15. #65
    On the rocks cwfgal's Avatar
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    I don't see any trolls here. I see a discussion of the very real problems with vanity POD publishing. Don't play ostrich, Snook. Offer up some solutions and ideas on how to change things.

    How can those problems be fixed, assuming they can be? Presumably someone who uses vanity POD publishing wants to have their book discovered, bought, read, liked. What needs to happen for that to occur?

    Can the perception of poor quality in vanity POD books be changed?
    Is there some mechanism that can be put in place for discovering, recognizing, and highlighting the few gems that are hiding in the heap? (There was one for a while...PODdy Mouth, but she has retired.) Is there a way outside of traditional publishing to filter these works so readers have some level of assurance that the work meets a minimum quality level? Not that anything is guaranteed since tastes vary so widely and even the traditional sector lets a few messes escape, as someone pointed out.

    And another big issue...distribution and marketing. How can a writer who uses vanity POD publishing get their books in front of potential readers who might buy them? Or noticed by agents and traditional publishers? Right now most of these books are promoted/advertised on a couple of internet sites that are either blogs no one will know how to, or have any reason to find, or on huge sites like Amazon where they become one very small cog in a machine that has millions of them. How can a vanity POD author make their book stand out from the crowd?

    When I vanity published my book using POD and electronic downloads, I managed to get it highlighted by PODdy Mouth, made it to the finals in the EPPIEs, and had several very nice online reviews. The difference these things made in my sales? None. The agents who noticed and inquired about the work as a result of these things? None.

    So what are the solutions? I gave vanity POD publishing my best shot and I'm at a loss to come up with any answers. I'm not sure there are any.

    I do think nonfiction stands a better chance of getting noticed than fiction, assuming the nonfiction work is about very hot, popular, or controversial topic.

    Anyone else have any thoughts or ideas?

    Beth


    As Annelise Ryan:
    WORKING STIFF, SCARED STIFF,
    FROZEN STIFF, LUCKY STIFF, and (coming in 2014) BOARD STIFF

    As Allyson K. Abbott:
    MURDER ON THE ROCKS (Available 8/6/13)

    As Beth Amos:
    COLD WHITE FURY
    EYES OF NIGHT
    SECOND SIGHT
    NICK OF TIME
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  16. #66
    On the rocks cwfgal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nandi View Post
    Hey, folks! This is a self-publishing thread! Snook has graciously shared his journey with the rest of us, and I think it's a real shame that the road he has chosen has been so demonized. We have had some hearty and spirited conversations here about self-publishing, and he has been willing to engage in dialogue with others about selecting that route. Why could not the same courtesy have been extended to him?

    Snook, if you are reading this, good luck to you!
    I believe courtesy was extended to him. And the discussions have been lively, spirited, and friendly. But apparently views that differ from Snook's make him too uncomfortable so he has chosen to leave and label the dissenters as trolls. Unfortunate, but that is his choice.

    The road he (and I, at one time) chose has not been demonized, it's been discussed and analyzed, and some very real problems associated with it have been pointed out. Isn't that the purpose of a thread such as this one? Or is it just a place to pat each other on the back and say, "Good luck," without discussion of the hurdles involved?

    Beth


    As Annelise Ryan:
    WORKING STIFF, SCARED STIFF,
    FROZEN STIFF, LUCKY STIFF, and (coming in 2014) BOARD STIFF

    As Allyson K. Abbott:
    MURDER ON THE ROCKS (Available 8/6/13)

    As Beth Amos:
    COLD WHITE FURY
    EYES OF NIGHT
    SECOND SIGHT
    NICK OF TIME
    FACE OF DEATH

    www.mattiewinston.com
    www.bethamos.com

  17. #67
    practical experience, FTW Nandi's Avatar
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    I cannot look at any more vanity books without feeling ill. They are generally dreadful, which means that any good ones, as you say above, get lost in the heaving mass of shite.
    This is respectful?

    Or is it just a place to pat each other on the back and say, "Good luck," without discussion of the hurdles involved?
    No, of course not. I was offering a friendly fare-thee-well to someone who had been hurt. Someone who had been hanging out here at AW for a good long while, and would be missed.

  18. #68
    On the rocks cwfgal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nandi View Post
    This is respectful?
    It's an opinion, one shared by many, myself included and I was one of those in the heaving mass of shite. It's not a personal attack on anyone; it's a commentary about vanity POD books in general, which is what this whole discussion is about. That's how many readers feel about vanity POD books and that's a problem for the authors of those books.

    Seriously, if you spend any time reading a random sampling of vanity POD books it is frightful. It makes you not want to waste any more time or money by taking a chance on another one.

    If Snook wants to run from that fact rather than discuss it, that's his perogative. But to say that other posters here were discourteous to him and demonized his choices because they expressed their opinion about vanity POD books is unfair.

    Since I also used the vanity POD route, I suppose I should feel attacked and offended by these opinions and facts, too. I don't. First of all, they aren't opinions about my work, they are opinions about the overall quality of such works. I know my book was well written. But I also know that most of the other vanity POD books out there aren't. And as a result, my book was tainted simply because of the method of publishing I chose.

    If you want to survive in this field...and I mean writing in general, not just POD publishing...you need to have a thick skin, a realistic attitude, and be willing to deal with these kinds of issues head-on.

    Beth


    As Annelise Ryan:
    WORKING STIFF, SCARED STIFF,
    FROZEN STIFF, LUCKY STIFF, and (coming in 2014) BOARD STIFF

    As Allyson K. Abbott:
    MURDER ON THE ROCKS (Available 8/6/13)

    As Beth Amos:
    COLD WHITE FURY
    EYES OF NIGHT
    SECOND SIGHT
    NICK OF TIME
    FACE OF DEATH

    www.mattiewinston.com
    www.bethamos.com

  19. #69
    Resident Curmudgeon Requiescat In Pace ResearchGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cwfgal View Post
    . . . commentary about vanity POD books in general . . .
    IMHO, the word "vanity" in connection with publishing implies that the author has been persuaded that his or her book has been published in a competitive, commercial fashion when that is not the case -- that is, that the author's vanity has been exploited in order to deceive.

    As I see it (and this is a subject to which I have paid a good deal of attention), if the author has made a specific, informed choice, then it is not what is understood as "vanity publishing," but rather a business choice.

    And indeed, an informed author can have a good book and make that choice (to use a subsidy publisher, for example, or to self-publish). Maybe even a very good book. I have seen that too often to believe otherwise.

    As for POD (print on demand), that is a method, and increasingly an accepted one, albeit one with unavoidable limits. It has its uses and, despite the limits, some advantages.

    The key is to know the options and their pros and cons, and of course to write as professionally as possible.

    My views, for whatever they are worth.

    --Ken
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  20. #70
    Writing Space Pirate sadron's Avatar
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    I have question or two, is self-publishing shame? Do you get known after self-publishing?
    Is it good to start use things like Lulu.com if big publishers doesn't publish your story?
    Fantasy Story ~ under work
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  21. #71
    Resident Curmudgeon Requiescat In Pace ResearchGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sadron View Post
    I have question or two, is self-publishing shame? Do you get known after self-publishing?
    Is it good to start use things like Lulu.com if big publishers doesn't publish your story?
    Those are complicated questions. But first off, there is no shame in self-publishing, but there are many potential pitfalls. I know too many people who have published their own books well (in some cases to high professional standards) to think it cannot be done well. But there are many examples of poor self-publishing.

    Let me recommend that you read my booklet The Pursuit of Publishing. Free, no gimmicks, and mercifully concise at 15k words.

    One essential point: do NOT undertake self-publishing unless you want to, and are prepared to, run a business. Publishing is a business, whether it is your own or others' work you are publishing. (But it is simpler if you do not have to deal with other authors, manage royalties, and other complications.) But see The Pursuit of Publishing, (You can also buy a printed copy from Lulu, but the free pdf has the same content.)

    --Ken
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    [/FONT][URL="http://www.amazon.com/Theres-Street-Colorful-Origins-Sparks/dp/1937123073/"][FONT=Franklin Gothic Medium][I]There's No Lake on Lake Street![/I] by James D. Umbach[/FONT][/URL]
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  22. #72
    Writing Space Pirate sadron's Avatar
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    Oh, thanks. I shall read it.
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  23. #73
    On the rocks cwfgal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sadron View Post
    I have question or two, is self-publishing shame? Do you get known after self-publishing?
    Is it good to start use things like Lulu.com if big publishers doesn't publish your story?
    I don't think it's shame but there is a stigma attached, unfortunately. That stigma arose because of impatient people with a need to stroke their ego, and companies like PublishAmerica. And how you self-publish, and what you expect to get from it, will determine the answers to your other questions. You can start a business where you procure, edit, manufacture (usually by using a book producer) market and distribute books, either your own or others or a combination of the two. It will require a serious business plan, some investment money, and a lot of other costs.

    Most people use self-publishing to create copies of their own book so that others can read it. If your work is nonfiction, it might stand a chance of getting noticed and going places if the topic is a hot one. If the work is fiction, odds are no one is going to find it or know about it other than those you tell. Sales will most likely be a dozen copies or so, maybe 100 if you know a lot of people. And if that's your goal, it's a great way to go. But don't forgo getting the work edited by someone with the knowledge to do it right and the distance from you to do it well. You're putting out a product with your name on it. Make it the best it can be.

    A lot of the time, people are so anxious to see their work in print and be able to tell others, "I have a published book," that they produce the work before it's ready. The end result is a book filled with typos, spelling and grammar errors, and plot holes you can drive a semi through.

    Beth


    As Annelise Ryan:
    WORKING STIFF, SCARED STIFF,
    FROZEN STIFF, LUCKY STIFF, and (coming in 2014) BOARD STIFF

    As Allyson K. Abbott:
    MURDER ON THE ROCKS (Available 8/6/13)

    As Beth Amos:
    COLD WHITE FURY
    EYES OF NIGHT
    SECOND SIGHT
    NICK OF TIME
    FACE OF DEATH

    www.mattiewinston.com
    www.bethamos.com

  24. #74
    Writing Space Pirate sadron's Avatar
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    Oh I see. I have to think about it. So it cost even I do it through Lulu.com or similar?
    Maybe it's not my thing.
    Fantasy Story ~ under work
    Space Opera Story
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    "It is by sitting down to write every morning that one becomes a writer. Those who do not do this remain amateurs." - GERALD BRENAN


  25. #75
    Terri Coop has been known to write circlexranch's Avatar
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    Snook! Don't leave! Thank you for you answer to my question on shipping. That was invaluable to me and helped me make my decision regarding CreateSpace.
    Terri Coop

    The Blog Coop (keeps them safe and from wandering around)

    "Why I Fear Clowns" A journey along the CCC (creepy clown continum).

    "Readin, Rittin, & Rhetoric" is my own take on writing and staying sane in the game of life.

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