27 August 2015

Writing group alternatives

The other day I received a message on Facebook from a writer who lives in rural England and wants to improve her craft. She asked if I know of any online writing groups she can join. I don't know of any specific online critique groups looking for new members, but I do have several ideas for how she (and you!) might find sources of feedback, community, support, and/or encouragement. Here's what I told her:

1) Bookworks is an interesting site that offers a variety of services, including the ability to post 2,000-word excerpts of your WIP for peer review. I don't have personal experience with that feature, so I don't know about the quality of the feedback or how many people are engaged in it, but it might be worth checking out. There is a membership fee for some of the site's features, but the Work-in-Progress feature is part of the free Core membership plan.

2) The ROW80 community is active and supportive. Most people only use it to post updates on their writing goals, but I have seen people post - and get comments on - short excerpts from their WIPs. This community is more about encouragement than critique, so the feedback might not be as constructive as you need. That said, this is another free option and a great way to connect with other writers and get some support for remaining accountable to your goals.

18 August 2015

5 reasons to self-publish

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
In my 28 July post, "5 reasons NOT to self-publish," I mentioned that I'm a proponent of self-publishing despite the arguments against it. Today I'd like to expand on that a little bit and offer five reasons you might want to self-publish.

One of the most popular arguments against self-publishing is that the market is already glutted with books, and we need to have some kind of quality assurance so that readers can be reasonably confident that the books available to them are of good quality. We need, they say, gatekeepers (i.e. publishers) who have taste in literature, know what's already out there so there aren't too many similar books, and can assure us that the books we're buying are worth reading both in terms of content and style.

I myself am often overwhelmed by how many worthwhile books there are out there - far more than I'll ever be able to read in a lifetime - and while I agree that there are a lot of self-published books whose quality is not so great, it is also my experience that there are plenty of traditionally published books that aren't so great - even some that have made the bestsellers lists. What's more, I have read some phenomenal self-published books (e.g. Andrea K. 's Touchstone Trilogy, Ruthanne Reid's The Sundered, and Ember Casey's His Wicked Games), which is proof that self-published does not need to equate to poor quality, nor does traditionally published always mean high-quality.

05 August 2015

Call for Submissions: Indie Ebook Marketing

Every Monday on Facebook and Twitter I post a few selected calls for submissions, usually from literary magazines or contests. But today I'm announcing my very own call for submissions. Que emoción!

The gist: I'm inviting authors who have self-published at least one ebook to submit a proposal for a 500- to 600-word blog post about their ebook marketing experience. I will choose up to 10 submissions to pursue, and the contributors will be paid upon delivery of a satisfactory post.

Please read all of the information carefully before submitting. Submissions that don't meet the criteria and/or follow the guidelines will be automatically disqualified. Yes, for realsies.

Project description

Over the next 6-12 months I'll be publishing a series of blog posts here on Sione Aeschliman, LLC that are geared toward writers who are considering self-publishing an ebook for the first time. (Examples of posts in this series: "7 Tips for Self-Publishing an Ebook, Part 1"; "Part 2"; and "5 Reasons NOT to Self-Publish.") This content will remain free on my site indefinitely, but I also intend to compile it into an inexpensive ebook for those who want easily navigable, offline access to the information. While I'll be writing most of the content for this project, I do want to invite other contributors to talk about their experiences, especially in regards to areas into which I have not yet delved extensively, such as ebook marketing. This is where you come in.

28 July 2015

5 reasons NOT to self-publish

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Followers of this blog will know that, despite the myriad arguments against self-publishing (the two most common being that there are too many books out there already and that the quality of the majority of self-published books is sub-par), I am a great proponent of it (more on that in next week's post, "5 Reasons to Self-Publish").

But self-publishing is not the right path for everyone, and I believe that an emerging author should consider both options before deciding which route to take.

Here are five reasons NOT to self-publish.

1. You lack the resources to give the indie author route a proper go.
Time/energy
Becoming a successful indie author is like having two full-time jobs: there's the full-time job of writing, and then there's the full-time job of finding and engaging with your audience in order to sell your books.

14 July 2015

7 Tips for Self-Publishing an Ebook, Part 2

Image courtesy of renjith krishnan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Last week I shared my first three tips for self-publishing an ebook:
1. Start working with a cover designer early-ish
2. Ask your cover designer for a JPEG, not a TIFF or PNG file
3. Publish with both Smashwords and Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)

Today's post contains four more tips to help you have a smooth ebook publishing process (and avoid learning the hard way).

4. Format for Smashwords first.
You've finished the book, which is to say you have a finished manuscript that has gone through several rounds of editing and revision and has been copy edited. You are 99.9% sure you will not be making any further changes to the content of the manuscript. Does this describe you? Yes? Okay. Then you are ready, young Jedi. It's time to format your manuscript as an ebook.