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Tag Archives: Indie Publishing

P is for Publishing Unexpectedly

If  you are blogging, you are publishing. On a regular basis you are putting content out there for the world to find (or not) and read or peruse. You are both writer and publisher. That’s how our books started out as well. My husband and I finished our first novels, sought agents, pitched, and found out our books were not marketable enough for the investment of a big traditional publisher. So we became the publishers ourselves.

Publishing other people’s’ work was not part of the plan. Rather, our stated mission is to encourage others to write and take the road we have. Get your stuff out there! As a reader and bibliophile, thinking of finished stories languishing in a box, on a drive or floating inaccessible on a cloud creates a strange ache in my chest. With millions upon millions of readers, some of them are waiting for you story, your book, your voice to reach them.

Irene’s manuscript was actually the first that came to me while I was wearing my publisher hat. I published an anthology for my youth writers group as a charitable project called Living WaterWorks. One of my students told me her grandmother’s best friend wrote a book. Would I take a look at it? Well, of course. How could I say no to one of my mentees?

If you’ve been reading the A to Z excerpts, you have glimpsed a small part of what drove me to publish, to take on someone else’s works and bring their story to you. It was unexpected, this must-do urge that came over me when reading Irene’s memoirs. I could not let myself be just one of a handful that got to read her amazing World War 2 childhood, the way she hid as a boy for 3 years traveling East Germany and sneaking across the border to provide for her family, how her nursing career came to be and operated under Soviet communism, how she narrowly escaped to freedom.

Publishing Unexpectedly.  Now Irene has readers, though not nearly enough IMO. Such testimony should be heard far and wide, spoken of beside other non-fiction must-reads of the era.

Do you have questions for Irene or me about the times? Others who’ve read her books certainly have. Are you or someone you know sitting on a book? Get it out there!

Coming next….Q is for Questions from Readers

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Kristin King finds more questions every time she reads Irene’s books. Her biggest question though is will she get to see Irene again, do a book signing together, eat another Applebee’s special. Holland is a long way from Maryland, but she sincerely hopes so.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2016 in Memoirs & History

 

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Can You Make a Living Self-Publishing?

Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 7.24.03 PMWhile I enjoy hearing amazing self-publishing success stories like Hugh Howey’s “Wool” and Amanda Hocking’s “Trylle” or even moderate successes like the book “Warm Bodies” which was made into a movie before most people knew it was a book, I like to think there are more folks making a go of fiction writing careers than industry publications indicate.

Awhile back “they” claimed that 80% of self-published authors make less than $1000 a year, which is quite discouraging to start-ups. So I’ve put together a few bits from around the web rejecting that dismal claim. Take heart! If you plan to make a career of writing, think long term. There are few one book wonders in the world today. Write on!

The leader of the WANA writing group (i.e. we are not alone) wrote a blog rejecting the 1K a year claim and adding how to’s for success saying:

Anyone who has studied the industry knows that one book alone isn’t going to cut it. Professional authors, those that treat their writing as a career, focus on building a backlist. If we have 3-6 books out, it doesn’t take much income from each to break $1000….

While 80% of respondents with 1-3 books for sale make $10K or less, that figure drops quickly with additional books. About 50% of respondents make more than $10K when they have 4-7 self-published books available, and 20% make more than $50K. At 12-20 books available, over 50% of respondents are making 50K or more, and 30% are over $100K.

Beverley Kendall’s report is a gold mine for those on either path. Her results show what works for maximizing income, but many of the tips are also no-cost ways we can reach more readers:

  • Write a series
  • Make a series-related short story, novella, or the first novel free
  • Include excerpts of other stories, especially at the back of the freebie
  • Price novel-length books in the $2.99-$4.99 sweet spot
  • Build a backlist of quality stories
  • Don’t expect success overnight—think in years

See the rest of this eye-opening post on making a living as an author at Kristen Lamb’s Blog “Show Me the Money” here.

Meanwhile, The Passive Voice had to shut down the comments to his most popular post ever: Indie Authors Quitting Their Day Jobs post received so many comments the wordpress theme would no longer operate properly. Need a bit of encouragement? Peruse the “Comments” on this topic here.

If you happen to like statistics and numbers fascinate you, check out Dana Beth Weinberg’s series of posts using Bowker’s ISBN database to analyse the rise of self-published books vs. traditionally published titles and differences between authors who do one or the other and both (hybrid publishing).

As interesting as these various sites and perspectives are the biggest item on your to-do list if you want to write is Do It. Do it now. Do a little every day. Then I’d say, Finish something. Finish it BEFORE you show it to anybody (even your spouse or mother).

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Kristin King is an author, publisher and new US expat living in the Netherlands. Her top sellers are “Unsinkable Vampire” and “Cain’s Coven,” and her latest novel in the Begotten Bloods Series is Death Taint.

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2014 in Indie Business

 

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I is for Indie Publishing

Old cover using pre-fab cover creator vs. new cover with personal branding

Old cover using pre-fab cover creator vs. new cover with personal branding

You can do indie publishing, but should you?

There’s no clean-cut answer. As much as I think indie publishing is probably the better route financially, I tend to think everyone should make the effort and go through the process of querying agents, attending a conference to meet editors and to throw around your elevator pitch. Just remember publishing is a business.

You may have a brilliant book that no agent thinks they can sell in the current climate. You sell the manuscript to the agent, the agent sells it to an editor, the editor sells it to their team who eventually sell it to the marketing folks. There are lots of stages for your book to get shut down, and every one of them has to do with money. One tidbit I learned from the Editors’ Panel at conference was that even after all this selling, hundreds of books fail every year and don’t earn their author advance (which in many contracts mean you owe that money back).

On the other hand, for very little risk you can publish your work indie style which is not the same as publishing with a vanity press. What is a vanity press? It’s a one stop shop that does covers, editing, formatting, claims to do marketing and distribution, etc. and usually for an exorbitant fee. You are paying them (usually anywhere between $500 and several thousand) to produce your book. You only get a limited number of copies and probably don’t own the files to ever take elsewhere. Beware!

Here’s the short of what we (i.e. my husband and I) did as indie authors. Paid too much for manuscript copies (appx. $30 each) only to discover we could order from Createspace for less than $10. We learned from the smashwords.com  guide (here) all the ends and outs of properly organizing the file for digital release. We used Createspace cover creator at first (free), graduated to better images, and are still shopping for the software that fits us the best. Discovered an amazing copy editor for less than $100. Started with free ISBN’s from Smashwords or Createspace. I hired an inexpensive graphic designer to do my novel covers, and even with that additional cost the most we’ve paid to publish a single title (digital and paperback) was $220.

That said, what can be done inexpensively does not mean it can be done easily or over night. Dean Wesley Smith says:

Indie (self) publishing can be done. Just as running a marathon can be done.

It’s not easy, but it is a ton of fun.

– See more at: http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/?p=12290#sthash.csmbuAWM.dpuf

Where should you start if you’ve decided to go indie? I would recommend Dean Wesley Smith’s Think Like A Publisher linked here. Once you indie (self) publish, you have a business and need to run it as such.

The good news is that your story, as could only be told by you, will be in the hands of readers for years to come.

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Kristin King is an author and publisher. Her imprint Three Kings Publishing can be found here. Three Kings is a Mom & Pop publisher of Christian writers (not necessarily Christian books).

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2014 in Indie Business

 

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