A NEW YEAR FOR SELF PUBLISHING

Make 2013 Your Year for Writing SuccessCoiled Green Snake

Many writers I know have had a prolific year of writing. Some of them even had fun with National Novel Writing Month, the NaNoWriMo-complete the first draft of a novel in a month method to get a jump-start on your next project. NaNoWriMo occurs each year during the month of November. Energized by camaraderie and focused work, the method brings enthusiasm and a completed draft in just 30 days. This format works to set a fire under some writers and provides the nudge to complete multiple edits and wordsmithing in preparation for publication.

If you have a manuscript honed and ready for publication but have been rejected by traditional agents and publishers, consider some sound alternatives. In a Washington Post technology article by Cecilia Kang on December 27th, she reported an increase from 16% to 23 % in the number of Americans who now read e-books. In a study released by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, the number of adults who read books in print decreased by 5%. With many types of e-readers coming on the market, the Pew research also found one in four e-books is now being read from a tablet and not an e-reader like Kindle or Nook.

The shift to e-readers is stimulated in part by the public move to an e-based lifestyle. When you can carry hundreds of books on a tiny device that fits in a pocket, why would you cling to hard-bound books? Many schools have adopted programs to put tablets into the hands of the young, even preschoolers. High school and college classes are being taught online. Most libraries now offer e-books.

But as a writer, there is more to it than convenience. Instead of struggling through the maze of traditional publishing and then waiting for two years to find your book in print, you can easily learn the formatting and upload your manuscript within a week and add a print-on-demand option in a day. Plus, instead of getting a royalty check for 15% (or less) of the cover price every six months, you can earn up to 85% of the cover price and, via e-banking, with monthly deposits right into your account! There is a learning curve to formatting and uploading but help is available. Becoming e-savvy is worth the effort and part of the new writing life.

Our Authors of the Flathead group has a number of successful writers within both traditional and self/e-publications. One member just had a book published and has another in a different genre scheduled for release in June 2013. He found success where most do not. We applaud him!

But after many others here experienced years of disappointment, languishing in the hands of agents, helplessly waiting for their help to penetrate the walls of traditional publishing— the writers bailed out and self-e-published. Others didn’t even seek agent representation, they proceeded directly to self-publication. A number of local authors’ books have become best sellers in their genres. One of them even had her book optioned for a movie. Success is in your hands.

In the past, self-publishing in bound copy left you poor with an automobile trunk filled with expensive books to peddle on your trip to ignominity. In fact, if you self-published it was a death knell, making it extremely unlikely a traditional publisher would ever consider representing your work.

E-publishing has changed all that and because of its popularity, the NY Times currently lists best selling e-books and for the first time reviewed a self-published book (which they do not actively track). Publishers Weekly now publishes PW Select on a quarterly basis. This supplement covers the self-publishing industry and not only features author interviews and book announcements; they feature reviews of self-published books, too.

Kindle (e-books) and Create Space (print-on-demand) paperbacks became successful methods for many. Smashwords is a great option because of the wider exposure and library catalog listings.

Self-published e-books have become over-night successes and are being picked up by publishers. Some agents say they peruse e-books for selections they might be interested in representing to publishers. It is a boon to an author to have the support and exposure provided by a large publishing company because the down side of self-publishing is self-marketing.

Marketing is a learned skill which takes ongoing time and effort. There are many sources of information available as e-books and in webinars. While most authors I know would much rather write than market, they have come to the conclusion that to be a professional writer and sell your books, you need to have them visible and available. To do this, you must develop a web presence: a blog, website, Facebook, LinkedIn and others. Offer to talk at book clubs, develop a list of book club discussion questions. Have a few quick descriptions ready to summarize and talk to anyone about your book. Search out venues to provide presentations.

In the Chinese lunar calendar, 2013 is the Year of the Snake. If you were born under the sign of the snake, (1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989), this may be your year!  “The snake would be most content as a teacher, philosopher, writer, psychiatrist and a fortune teller. —Rich in wisdom and charm, you are romantic and deep thinking and your intuition guides you strongly. –Keep your sense of humor about life.” From: www.chinatoday.com

Good Luck in 2013.snake eyes

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About bettykuffel

Author and retired medical doctor with broad interests in writing, flying, photography and outdoor life. She is a monthly health columnist in Montana Woman Magazine and has three nonfiction Indie published books available on Amazon. Writing projects include: multiple books of fiction including a biological thriller, medical thriller series, a romantic intrigue and a mystery set in 1960 co-authored with her sister Bev. Dr. Kuffel lives in MT with husband Tom and dog Valkyrie.
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