For writers: on the web this week - 14 February 2015


How Much Does It Cost to Self-Publish a Book? 4 Authors Share Their Numbers
Dana Sitar
"Are authors really managing to release quality books without paying for professional editing, design, marketing and other services? Or are you going to have to dig into your savings and fork over thousands of dollars to make sure you publish a great book? / To assuage these common concerns, we spoke with several [Dana Sitar, C. Hope Clark, Catherine Ryan Howard and Joanna Penn] top self-published authors about what they spent to release one of their books. They’ve shared real numbers, as well as why they chose to invest in certain services, to help you decide how best to allocate your investment during every stage of self-publishing.


4 Reasons Why Your Novel's Dialogue Sounds Awkward Or Stilted
Roz Morris
"What makes dialogue sound awkward, unnatural or ‘wrong’? / In the manuscripts I see, there are four main reasons."

Always Wanted To Write A Book? Here’s How To Make The Time To Do It
Rhoda Baxter on A Woman's Wisdom blog
Amusing but informative article on squeezing those few extra minutes a day you need for writing. "Are you one of those people who would love to write a book, but never got around to doing it? Do you say ‘I’d love to write a book one day, but I don’t have the time’?  I work four days a week and I have two small children. If I can find the time to write novels, so can you."

PLS Clear
Publishers Licensing Society (UK)
A tool for writers. "PLSclear is a fast and reliable way of ensuring you do not infringe the legal rights of content owners". It's worth checking this out now, so you know where to go if you will be quoting other works and want to make sure you are not infringeing copyright.


What is cli-fi? And why I write it
Guardian Children's Books
"Sarah Holding on a book genre you may not have heard of before. Not sci-fi but cli-fi: fiction that explores the consequences of climate change – and possibilities to rewrite the future."

Meet the author

Meet The Author: Roz Morris
Jane Davis
Roz Morris is a self-published author, ghost writer, writing coach, editor and mentor. Here she talks to Jane Davis about her writing life.

Social media

What My Blog Did For My Book
Lorna Sixsmith at Write On Track
Some excellent tips in this. "I’m often asked if a blog is necessary for a business. Surely it is sufficient to have a website and a facebook page or a website and a good twitter account? There are numerous reasons why I consider a blog to be essential for a business and for a website. I’m going to share some of those reasons with you and use my other business (my book) as an example to show you exactly what my blog does for my book sales."

8 Things Every Blogging Writer Should Know
Chris Higgins for Writer's Digest
Tips from a seasoned blogger

8 Ways Authors Can Use Goodreads to Promote Their Book
Thomas Umstattd on Author Media
"Goodreads is a social network specifically for authors and readers. It has over 20 million members and is one of the most visited websites in the world. Why is Goodreads so popular? Because it helps people find the next book they want to read."

How To Set Up A Goodreads Author Page
Julie Stock
About to be published for the first time, Julie takes you through the steps she used to set up a Goodreads author page.

How To Pin Pinterest Boards / Pinterest Accounts
Lorna Sixsmith at Write On Track
I didn't know you could do this! "Pinning from website pages or blog posts is easy enough – as long as the page / post contains an image. However, what if you find a fantastic Pinterest board or even an entire Pinterest account and you want to favourite it so you can check it again or collate similar accountst? Have you ever wanted to add an entire Pinterest board or an entire Pinterest account as a pin?"

Over to You – Comment and Share!

  • Lorna says:

    Interesting articles – what did you think of the one re cost. I was surprised at how little each of them got away with spending, I know some bartering went on.
    I know writers complain sometimes about their low returns but I think we have to pay a fair price for editing and cover design etc.

    15 Feb 2015 15:46:10

  • Clare says:

    Hi, Lorna
    I will have a blog post on this sometime! There are ways of cutting costs, but my feeling is that once you are asking people for money for your product, you become a business and therefore have to be professional about it. To my mind this means an editor, a proofreader and a cover designer. Formatting can be done by the author, but if they get into difficulties, then they should pay someone to do it.
    Obviously some people can design their own great covers (e.g. Belinda Pollard), and can do a good job on their own editing (e.g. Terry Tyler), and they can get other people to help out or swap skills with. But the majority of people need professional help, and that means paying for it.
    If they were doing a hobby instead of writing, they would probably be paying out for that – most hobbies require some expenditure – so the money they would have spent on that could go towards costs. And most books take quite a while to reach publication standard, so even if the writer saved a fiver a week (not much more than the cost of a pint), by the time it came to buying in expertise, they would have an amount built up to pay for it.
    Some service providers offer payment plans.
    And there are things the writer can do to cut down on costs (beta readers, bartering, whatever). But there’s no getting away from the fact that some money is going to have to be paid out IF the writer wants to be professional about their work.
    I KNOW many writers don't have much money to spend, so they should start planning for the expenditure well in advance. To get a quality product, it will be worth it!
    *Climbs off hobby horse.*

    15 Feb 2015 21:42:17

  • Lorna says:

    Yes, I’m not sure that they were the best examples as they all seemed to use bartering to some extent but that’s not possible for many. Fair enough to have one that didn’t spend much but I don’t think that’s realistic for many. I know I’ve touched on what I spent but maybe I should revisit it and spell it all out in a post.
    To write the best book possible requires services from experts and even though I look back and cringe at some of my mistakes, I’m conscious it was a fairly good job considering I didn’t seek much expertise and just got on with it. I think every self publishing author owes it to himself or herself to get the best job possible and as you say, every business requires investment. It’s a business and no one would start a business without some investment.
    Climbs off hobby horse too ;)
    Unfortunately, for many of us, it can be hard to make money from our books so it is seen as a hobby rather than a business.

    16 Feb 2015 17:18:04

  • Clare says:

    That would be an interesting post, Lorna, if you are willing to share.
    I know it is hard to make money from books, but I think that if an author is asking for money for the book they have a duty to make it as good as possible. If a chocolate manufacturer decided to leave out the sugar from their product because they couldn’t afford it, but still charged for the bar, I think the customer would have something to say about it.
    But it is a tough one, all right.

    16 Feb 2015 20:51:17

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