Indie Publishing: Here to Stay

By Jennifer Hallmark

Wow. We’ve had so many good posts this month concerning Indie publishing that I dislike seeing it come to an end.  In case you missed any, here’s a quick review…

Betty Thomason Owens started our month on July 3rd by discussing her own road to Indie publication with her fantasy novels: A Month of Indie Publishing.

On July 7th and July 11th, Susan Neal shared not only how she Indie published her book but how she took it to a number one Amazon ranking: Make Your Dream Come True and Self Publish Your Book, and How to Obtain an Amazon Best-Selling Ranking.

July 10th rolled around and Gail Johnson pointed us to some good ideas while Trekking the Indie Route.

On July 14th, Tammy trail asked an important question, “Is There Room for Indie Publishing?

Harriet Michael “Declared Her Independence” on July 17th with her Indie publishing journey.

On July 21st, I interviewed Hallee Bridgeman, an “Indie Author Extraordinaire”, who shared how she sold over half a million books.

Sherrie Giddens wrote a guest post titled “Take the Steps to Self-Publish Your Books” on July 24th of how she Indie published her books.

And Betty Boyd ended our month with an interview with blogger, author, and life coach Nancy Colasurdo and her Indie published memoir.

As you read each of these articles, I believe you’ll understand why Indie publishing is here to stay. The reasons behind the decision may vary but each person seemed happy with the results.

Next month, we’re taking a totally different road and discussing favorite books of the Bible. Don’t miss it!

Click to tweet: Indie publishing is here to stay. #IndiePub #amwriting

Writing Prompt: Bob stood facing Lil, hands on his hips. “Why would anyone want to read your memoir? And who’ll publish it?”

Lil snorted. “Haven’t you ever heard the word Indie?”

 

 

Take the Steps to Self-publish Your Book

By Sherrie Giddens

Over the last several years, many of the walls between authors and self-publishing have come down. As a result, it is easier than ever for a determined writer to become a published author. However, knowing exactly how to go about the process of self-publishing can be an overwhelming task. I can remember the first book that I self-published. I followed the path paved by those who went before me and took some of the stress out of the process. I would like to share that path with you today.

Once you have written your manuscript, the real work begins. It is time to go back over your work and edit, edit, and edit again. Once you have completed your editing, it is important to turn the manuscript over to someone who can do a more thorough job of editing. They will look for spelling and grammar issues, sentences that do not flow easily, and holes in the plot and story line. This is an important step and should not be skipped, if you intend on having a professional piece of work to publish.

After your manuscript has been edited, you’ll need to consider where you want your work to appear. Many choose to publish their eBooks through Amazon on KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). Doing so will require preparing your document. You can find information on document preparation, by following this link to the information page. There are no fees associated with uploading your document to KDP and the process is not a difficult one, when you follow the guidelines provided.

You might also consider the publication of your document as a paperback. Amazon owns Createspace, a company that many self-publishers use to create their paperbacks. If you choose to use Createspace as your self-publishing solution you will be given a few options.

  • They will provide you with a free ISBN or you can purchase one through them.
  • If you are having difficulty with your document, you can pay for their services, which include editing and formatting.
  • You will need to download a template for your manuscript. Templates are designed to work with the various book size options. They are easy to use and make the process less time consuming
  • Createspace also offers a free cover creator.
  • Unless you choose to use their services such as editing, there are no fees for creating a paperback through Createspace.
  • You will be given the option of ordering a proof copy of your book. There is a small fee for this service, typically less than $10. I highly recommend ordering a proof copy. Once it arrives, check it over, you will be able to make any changes needed before you publish your book.

It is important for your eBook and paperback to share the same cover image. Whether you choose to have someone create your paperback book cover, or you use the free cover creator offered by Createspace, once your book is ready, Createspace will provide a cover that can be used for your eBook as well. Download the provided eBook cover and save it to your computer. Then you may upload it to the KDP edition of the book. This will provide a uniform look for both the eBook and the paperback. Here are some of my covers:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As with every program, there can be some glitches. Createspace is no exception. You will be given the option of allowing them to upload your eBook to KDP. This option can lead to issues with extra numbers and letters showing up throughout your document. I would recommend taking the time to upload the document yourself. Doing so will also give you more control over the process.

Once the eBook and the paperback have been completed and uploaded, they will automatically be listed for sale at Amazon. Amazon tries to link both editions within a week or so, but it doesn’t always happen in the way that it should. By creating your author page, through Author Central, you will be able to initiate this process on your own.

I know this information can seem a little overwhelming. I thought so until I took the plunge and began preparing my document. Step by step, while following the guidelines, the feeling of being overwhelmed was replaced with a feeling of relief and accomplishment. Take a deep breath and dive in.

There is much more to discuss when it comes to self-publishing, but with the basics that have been offered in this article, you are well on your way to living your dream. My wish is that you find self-publishing to be a fulfilling part of your writing career.


Sherrie Giddens is the author of several titles for women and their families. Her latest book is designed to help lesser known authors fill their schedules with book signings and events.

You can find Book Signings and Events for the Lesser Known Author at Amazon.

3 Questions Wednesday with Sarah Rowan

sarah rowanToday’s 3 Questions Wednesday guest is author Sarah Rowan.

Welcome to the Writing Prompts blog, Sarah. Let’s start out with your reading interests.

Which author would you never get tired of, and why?

Sarah:   The author I would never get tired of reading would be Ravi Zacharias. He is a Christian Apologetic. He preaches and teaches people how to defend their Biblical Worldview in today’s culture. I have seen him speak 7 times in person and read countless of his books. His books are deep so you can always learn more each time you read them.  I love his writings because they make you think.

I love authors that make me think. Second question:

Who is your favorite fictional villain?

Sarah: I’m not sure if I have a favorite fictional villain, but the one that I remember most when I was young that gave me nightmares and made me scared to go to sleep was Freddy Krueger! The movies scared me to death, yet I remember waiting for the next one to come out so  Freddy could scare me to death again!  This fictional villain still scares me and I’m pretty sure I couldn’t sit through a movie now with him in it!

Scary. I couldn’t sit through one of those movies either. Now, about yourself. 

What project are you currently working on?

Sarah:   I am currently working on Unspeakable Joy:  Devotions for the Slumbering Believer.  This will be my second book. I am naturally drawn to write devotionals. They are little life lessons from the Lord that relate to the real world. Writing my devotionals helps put some of my emotions and perspectives in their proper place. They help me keep God as my central focus.

Sounds like a great book. 🙂

Thanks for dropping by, Sarah. If you’d like a chance to win a paperback copy of Sarah’s first book, Authentic Happiness: Devotions for the Slumbering Believer, please leave a comment below.

sarah rowan bookAuthentic Happiness: Devotions for the Slumbering Believer

Could you be a slumbering believer in Christ and not even know it? Is it possible that you are physically awake but sleepwalking spiritually? Do you have the deep and growing Christian life God intended, or are you sleeping through it? The Lord tells believers to wake up several times in the Scriptures. What makes believers go to sleep in the first place? Once awake, how can believers stay awake? Authentic Happiness is a collection of personal journals of one slumbering believer’s journey of awakening. While the answers to some of these questions were less than desirable to hear, the truth that was revealed changed a life forever. Every believer should ask these same questions and seek the answers for themselves. This devotional encourages all believers to look at their own Christian lives a little closer to see how awake they really are in Christ. It may surprise you.

Sarah Rowan is a Speech Therapist by profession. She works in an inpatient rehab facility in Albany, GA. She started writing personal journals about 3 years ago, sending them out to friends and family. From there she was encouraged to join her journals together in a book. Those journals  became her first book titled Authentic Happiness  Devotionals for the Slumbering Believer. She enjoys teaching youth in her church, along with reading and writing.

Find Sarah at  www.sarahrowan.com and Facebook. Her email is srowanslp@yahoo.com.

The Golden Age for Small Publishers

Bbooksy Jennifer Hallmark

For my post this month, I want to take a different spin on modern literature. Let’s look at some of the people creating modern literature. Not the authors, but the publishers. Specifically, small publishers and presses.

For writers and publishers, these are the best of times and the worst of times. The advent of electronic books has opened new doors for self-publishing and small press publishers alike. Publishing companies that deal almost exclusively in digital format are a different way for a writer to see their work come to light.

Today I want to introduce several small publishers that I know and let you hear what they’re saying. Say hello to Tracy Ruckman at Write Integrity Press, Nicola Martinez at Pelican Book Group, and Jessica Snell at Kalos Press.

Welcome!

Tell us a little about the history of your publishing company.

Tracy/Write Integrity Press: We’ve actually grown to three companies. Pix-N-Pens opened for submissions in 2011, seeking manuscripts for the Christian market. Then a few months later, we decided we needed an imprint that published clean, wholesome stories that didn’t necessarily have a Christian message so we opened Write Integrity Press. Just this month (July, as I write this), we’ve published our 50th book, so we’re excited about that.

We’ve recently reorganized a bit, and now, PNP will focus on publishing nonfiction books and children’s books, while WIP will focus on novels. Our third company is our subsidy press, TMP Books, which launched earlier this year.

Nicola/Pelican Book Group: Our Pelican Book Group division “took off” in 2009 with the purchase of the White Rose Publishing imprint. White Rose is exclusively Christian romance. Since that time, we’ve added three more imprints. Harbourlight Books, which is Christian fiction in all adult sub-genres besides romance; Watershed Books, which is young adult; and most recently, Pure Amore. Pure Amore is a new adult romance line and the first imprint ever to promote sexual abstinence before marriage. Our primary ministry is to publish quality fiction that reflects the salvation and love offered by Jesus Christ. Our titles adhere to mainline Christianity, but are enjoyed by Christians and non-Christians, alike.

Jessica/Kalos Press:  Kalos Press is an imprint of Doulos Resources, a ministry which works to provide needful things for the church. Kalos Press was founded in 2011 out of a desire to see books with a high degree of literary excellence in genres and on subjects of interest to Christian believers.

Are you considered a traditional publisher and do you offer advances?

Tracy/Write Integrity Press: Write Integrity Press and Pix-N-Pens Publishing are traditional publishers – we seek manuscripts but are selective about what we publish. We do not pay advances, but we do offer royalties at a higher percentage rate than most traditional publishing companies.

TMP Books is our subsidy press. We offer the same quality we put into our traditional press, but there is no selection process. We offer affordable rates for authors who may have a niche market or for those who want to self-publish but don’t have the necessary skills to make it happen.

Nicola/Pelican Book Group: Pelican Book Group is a traditional publisher. We pay competitive royalties, we don’t charge the author for publishing, and we do offer advances on occasion, but not always.

Jessica/Kalos Press: We are a traditional publisher, in that we pay the author and the author does NOT pay us, but since we’re also a micro-press, we don’t offer advances at this time. Our authors are paid via royalties.

How do you go about marketing your author’s books?

Tracy/Write Integrity Press: We’ve established an in-house marketing team for our book authors to cross-promote one another. We’re always thinking outside the box for ways to market and promote, always with a goal to reach new markets and new readers.

Nicola/Pelican Book Group: We use some traditional methods of advertising and marketing, such as placing ads in magazines. We also have a very active social media presence and do online promotions such as banner ads and site sponsorships, and we currently employ a publicist who handles relationships with the media. That said, we do also expect authors to be actively engaged in marketing.

Jessica/Kalos Press: In addition to building good relationships with brick-and-mortar bookstores (such as our friends over at Hearts & Minds Books), we work to find our authors interview opportunities on podcasts, magazines, & blogs, to procure excellent endorsements, and we happily support our authors in planning book signings. We also encourage our authors to take advantage of opportunities to offer excerpts from their books in order to generate interest in their topic (such as this feature by our author Nancy Nordenson in Comment).

Are you currently accepting submissions? If so, what are you looking for?

Write Integrity Press: Yes, we are currently accepting submissions. Please check our websites for guidelines. We prefer series over standalone books. We’re open to a variety of genres – fiction and nonfiction – but we do not publish horror, erotica, porn, werewolf or vampire stories. We haven’t yet built a market for sci-fi/spec fiction, so we usually refer those elsewhere.

The best tip I can give writers about our companies – we publish clean, wholesome books with great stories and memorable characters. We consider our authors family and work to provide them with the best experience possible.

Nicola/Pelican Book Group: We are always accepting submissions for all sub-genres of Christian fiction. Our guidelines and the form for submission are on our web site. http://pelink.us/write4pbg

Jessica/Kalos Press:  We are accepting submissions! Devotional literature, memoirs, Christian reflection, and non-fiction essays are genres we love. We are also open to biography. We are looking to expand soon into literary fiction and poetry.

At Kalos Press, we look to publish work that is beautiful in both form and in function. As our FAQ says: “There is a fine line between provocative and profound. The best books are both. We look for manuscripts that ask the hard questions and seek to answer them through the lens of faith. We resist simplistic ‘inspirational’ literature, but we also tend to resist projects that seem provocative merely for the sake of being provocative. Our audience consists of readers who are culturally diverse, but theologically conservative (sometimes a difficult balancing act!). We look for projects that also achieve this balance.”

As General Editor at Kalos Press, I can confirm that I am especially excited about receiving proposals for literary fiction (particularly novels) that fit this description!

Thanks, ladies, for dropping by! Check out more about each publisher below…

Write Integrity Press specializes in books that provide clean, wholesome entertainment.TulipHeadersmall

Pelican Book Group‘s primary ministry is to publish quality fiction that reflects the salvation and love offered by Jesus Christ. Our titles adhere to mainline Christianity, but are enjoyed by Christians and non-Christians, alike.
Pelican_but_small

Kalos Press was established to give a voice to literary fiction, biography, memoir, essays, devotional writing, poetry, and Christian Reflection, of excellent quality, outside of the mainstream Christian publishing industry.

We believe that good writing is beautiful in form and in function, and is capable of being an instrument of transformation. It is our hope and ambition that every title produced by Kalos Press will live up to this belief.

Kalos logo - small (print)

 

 Writing Prompt: Editors are important people to writers. Take the picture below and write what first comes to mind.
editor

Tech Talk with Kimberly Rae

Sick-Tired-3-cover

Today’s Tech Talk addresses the issue of self-publishing. Have you considered self-publishing, but freeze up in total terror before taking the first step? Kimberly Rae might have an answer for you.

Kimberly, I’m so glad you’re here to help our readers find out more about self-publishing. First, please share three things about yourself with our readers.

Kimberly:

(1)   I’ve been to twenty countries–got to see Mt. Everest, raft the Nile River, and eat cow brains!

(2)   My first romantic suspense series on international human trafficking led to a human trafficking training ministry.

(3)   I had to leave the mission field due to Addison’s Disease.

Wow! You’ve definitely lived an interesting life. Why did you decide to pursue a career in the field of publishing?

Kimberly: I’ve been writing since childhood. When I was 10, my parents gave me a kid’s typewriter for Christmas. I used to pluck away writing my own little Nancy Drew stories. Then I’d tape them all together. I’ve been writing ever since, but never thought that’s what I’d be doing “for real.” I am so blessed!Deb Norton Angels Cover2cropped

After my husband and I learned enough to produce my own series of books, authors we knew started asking us for help. Some of them had spent thousands on subsidy publishing that had left them without much say in their cover artwork, book pricing, marketing etc. We praised Amazon’s Print-On-Demand option but many of them did not want to have to do the formatting and design themselves. That’s how we got started creating books for other authors and we’ve been doing it ever since.

I wouldn’t know myself where to start. So tell me, why do people find it so hard to professionally self-publish?

Kimberly: I think people are hindered from self-publishing for several reasons:

  1. The old stigma that self-publishing means your book isn’t good enough for traditional publishing. Fortunately, that stigma is changing drastically thanks to Print-On-Demand publishing and the huge popularity of e-books.
  2. The cost. Self-publishing used to mean spending several thousand dollars–money most authors would not be able to recover with sales. Now, thanks to Print-On-Demand, authors are able to create paperbacks and e-books with little cost.
  3. The design. Most authors are not artists as well, and a book cover that screams “homemade” is a big deterrent.
  4. The learning curve. To produce a book yourself means learning about formatting for the paperback, creating a cover, and HTML coding for the e-book. A lot of authors don’t want to spend that much time doing something that’s not writing.

Stolen Woman front coverSelf-publishing seems to be changing daily. What makes a self-published book attract attention to the viewer?

Kimberly: A great cover. People say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but we all do. If I’m looking at books on Amazon, I will click off a cover that looks homemade before even considering the book. If the cover is sloppy, people assume the writing will be as well.

What makes a cover look great? I wrote a whole article on that once. You can check it out here:

http://kimberlyraewriting.blogspot.com/2013/05/how-to-not-look-self-published.html

That is so true. I won’t purchase a book by someone I don’t know if the cover is unattractive.What are the advantages of hiring someone to help, compared to do-it-yourself templates or services?

Kimberly: Do-it-yourself templates can often end up looking like you did them yourself. Again, for an author who doesn’t want to put a lot of time and effort into learning to be a designer, hiring someone is a great way to get your book out on the market and let you continue to focus on your writing.

Another advantage of hiring someone is the personal attention to you and your book, as opposed to, say, using a POD company that already has hundreds of clients in their system.

We writers do need our time to write. What other computer or book services do you provide for your clients?

We have a full sheet of options where authors can choose services such as:Katherine Ann Following Amy Cover

Making their Createspace and Kindle accounts.

Creating a paperback with Print-On-Demand.

Creating an e-book with Kindle.

Creating a cover using their ideas, one they can be proud of.

Library of Congress number

Etc.

Our author’s books are their own. They never have to get permission from us to use anything about their book to market or promote or even use in other books. I have friends who can’t use their own cover image without red tape and I feel that is wrong. It’s your book. It should belong to you.

We also walk our authors through the process of how to use the accounts, order books, do free days on Kindle, etc. Our publishing program is very small and we like it that way. That’s why we don’t have a website and work only through personal requests or referrals. Our authors get our personal attention and we like making books they are proud to present to the world.

I love the fact that you give the authors personal attention! Anything else you’d like to say regarding your field?

Kimberly: Whether you want to do it yourself of hire someone, I would definitely recommend Print-On-Demand over subsidy publishing. With POD, you get to make the choices about your cover, your interior, and your pricing. If you want to make changes down the road, you can for free (with subsidy, you often have to order hundreds of books up front, and if you find a typo, you’re stuck with it). Also, you have the freedom to market with the Kindle free day option, and you can use your cover art anywhere without copyright issues. I’ve been very happy with Amazon’s Createspace and Kindle programs and highly recommend them to other authors.

Happy book making!

Thanks for dropping by, Kimberly! If you’d like Kimberly to help you publish your book, she is offering a 10% discount to any author who mentions hearing about them through the Writing Prompts blog.

Author of 20 books, Kimberly Rae has been published over 300 times and has work in 5 languages. Her series of suspense novels on international human trafficking and missions (Stolen Woman, Stolen Child, Stolen Future), all self-published, are all Amazon bestsellers. She also has a series of non-fiction books on living joyfully despite chronic illness. Rae lives at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains with her husband and two young children. Find out more or contact Kimberly at www.kimberlyrae.com.

I Am Beautiful Cover new design 4 2014 (1)

2015 Price Chart

How NARROW WAY DESIGN can get your book into your hands for less:

Interior Book Formatting:
This is putting your manuscript into the correct format to make a book with Createspace: 215.00 
Book Cover:
Depending on your preference and budget, here are the cover options:
1. Cover fully created, but using your photos and design–this is if you have the idea and pictures, but we make a full cover using them 325.00
2. Cover from scratch–this is if you have nothing and we work with you to create a cover you can be proud of. 435.00
Kindle:
Formatting and uploading your book for a Kindle e-book  185.00

OTHER STARTUP COSTS:
Interior Photos:
If you have photos to go inside your book, cost is $2 per photo for paperback.
$1 per photo for Kindle book

Createspace Account:
You can create your own account, or we can, including your Amazon book’s page info, keywords, and category. (You will need to put in your desired payment info, but we’ll walk you through that.)
$50.00

KDP Account for Kindle:
Again, you can do this through your personal Amazon account, or we can create your KDP account either using your current Amazon signup information, or a separate account using new signup info.
$25.00

Library of Congress number for your book:

Not necessary but looks more credible and is useful if you want to market your book to libraries. $35.00