To continue this weeks Where’s The Love? series going, today is publishing.
Publishing is a tough game. I’m only just starting, but I don’t think it matters how many times you play, it’s always difficult.
Exiled is rocking the reviews right now. Readers are seriously loving something I created. Can you believe it? Believe it! Do it for me okay, because I’m not sure I’m quite there yet. I’m still stuck in “I published a book? Holy crap!” mode.
I don’t have any experience with traditional publishing, with the exception of loads of research, blog readings, and failed query attempts. Many, failed query attempts. BUT, having self-published, I do have some great things to say about the process.
First, it’s a lot of work, but it’s not that difficult.
Once you’re publication ready, it’s just a matter of research. Do your homework and you’ll be just fine.
Formatting is the first big step. If you publish through Smashwords, they have a wicked awesome style guide that looks overwhelming at first, but once you get into it you realize it’s just a lot of little things. Take care of that, and everything is ready to go for their site. The entire reformatting took me 2 1/2 – 3 hours. The Meatgrinder isn’t nearly as bad as you’ll read, and the process is really fast. So fast it actually caught me off guard.
I did the Smashword formatting first, because I feared it the most. Once I was done though, I was Kindle ready too. Just for experimentation sake, I uploaded my Smashword formatted book into the MobiPocket Creator, and it looked GREAT! There were a few small changes I had to make, but that was it.
Next, upload to Amazon KDP. Once you do, you wait 24 – 72 hours, and you’re books officially for sale. Quick, painless, and rewarding.
The most important thing about publishing is no matter what, you’re not alone. It feels that way a lot of the time, I know. But if you haven’t got it through your head yet from reading my posts – JOIN TWITTER. The community there is indispensable, seriously.
If, and this is a big IF, you really can’t figure it out, or you just don’t like it, there are other ways to join great communities of writers.
Nathan Bransford’s blog, which I learned more than I can tell you from, has forums full of amazing people! They’ll help you with writing your query, and even help with first page and chapter critiques. You can find people willing to exchange manuscripts for critique. It’s incredible. It’s a writers heaven.
Agent Query Connect is one I’ve heard a lot of people enjoy. I tried it briefly, but couldn’t really connect with the community there. It’s definitely something you can check out, but if it doesn’t work out for you, move onto something else.
Blogs. Follow blogs. A lot, and not just literary agents, not just editors or publishers. Follow other writers. Now, I warned about this in previous posts, but don’t just take everyone’s advice and apply it to your work. There are a lot of writers out there that “know everything there is about writing” and they’ll tell you “all the facts in the world you need to know” and if you “follow their methods, its a sure fire way to be a famous writer!” Okay, that was ALL sarcasm, just so you know.
Here’s the thing: Everyone has advice to give. They all know what works and they’re all right. It works for them maybe, but maybe not for you. I say follow other writers blogs to connect with other writers. Don’t just do it to find a critique partner, or a community, you need to find the right community. 6 writers who chat online isn’t the right community. 6 writers who chat online, get to know each other AND get along is a community. Make sure you learn a bit about who you’re getting involved with. It’s like dating. You have to feel out the other person and make sure they’re a good fit. Okay, that sounds totally inappropriate, but you know what I mean. (Okay, if you don’t know what I mean, don’t physically feel out your date…unless they want you to, and then…never mind, just make sure you get to know them before you jump into bed with them, that’s what I’m saying…wait…Ugh! I can’t think of any other metaphors. DISCLAIMER: I’m not telling you to touch, or sleep with anyone!) The same goes if and when you hire an editor. Don’t take the cheapest, or the most experienced. Take the one that is a best fit for you!
This whole post hasn’t really been about publishing at all, it’s been about writers. Community. But when it comes to publishing, THAT’S where the love is. It isn’t in the sales rank. It isn’t in the “how many books you’ve sold today,” it’s in the people.
I can’t speak for the traditionally published writers, but I can speak for the indies I’ve met. They. Are. Amazing. No doubt about it, some of the best, most supportive people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. I don’t just talk writing with them, I talk about everything. Each person I connect with has something different to offer me, and I have something different to offer them. If we really connect, we move forward and get to know each other better. Support each other, offer critiques and/or advice. If we don’t, we move on, support each other, and we stay friendly along the way.
When it comes to publishing (and this is strictly my opinion, just as everything on this blog is) the best thing you can do is not enter it alone. Writing a book, finding an editor, publishing a novel, choosing traditional over self-publishing, none of this needs to be done by yourself. Now that the Internet is here, there is no excuse.
We’re here, we’re there, and we’re awesome.