Why Traditionally Publish A Book When I Can Do It Myself?
There are a quite a few pros to publishing with a publisher. First, you have the resources of your publisher to help you market and sell books. That by itself is potentially HUGE, pending on the publisher you sign on with.
Other Pros include:
*Editing services provided by your publisher. I strongly recommend all authors to edit their books to their fullest, either themselves or others, before submitting anything to a publisher. But, a new pair of eyes on a story is always helpful.
*Book Descriptions or Blurbs. One thing that I struggle with the most on my own is crafting intriguing book descriptions for my self-published novels. My titles published through my publisher, Cosby Media Productions, have better, more enticing book descriptions than anything I can craft myself.
*Book Covers. Publishers, pending on your contract of course, have their own resources for creating book covers.
*Formatting. Publishers, here again pending on your contract, take care of the formatting.
There are more Pros, but for me personally, the above are the biggest influences as to why I sought a publisher for “The United, The Realm of the Light Book 1.”
What are the CONS to going with a Traditional Publisher?
Like with the pros, there are quite a few different cons to singing with a traditional publisher, and different authors lists of pros and cons will vary. Here are just a few of my biggest cons.
*Setting Pricing. DISCLAIMER: I have not had this problem with CMP, but a former publisher. I discussed pricing of ebooks with one publisher who desired The United, my only published title at the time, to be priced at something like $15.99 AS AN EBOOK! I don’t know about you, but as for me, I would never buy an ebook at $16, no matter the author.
*You may not like the cover the Publisher gives your book. It happens. Some publishers I have heard of will talk with you about it and change the cover, others, not so much. On this count, I have been lucky. My CMP covers are the best.
*Release Date. DISCLAIMER: THE FOLLOWING STORY IS A COMBINATION OF THREE DIFFERENT AUTHOR FRIENDS WHO TALKED WITH ME ABOUT BOOK RELEASE WHOAS. I WAS NOT ONE OF THE AUTHORS ILLUSTRATED HERE, MY PUBLISHER HAS GIVEN THE MOST SUPPORT OF ANY ON BOOK RELEASES AND COVER RELEASES. My friend, let’s call him Jim, had book 3 of a series that I absolutely loved coming out with a small publisher. Jim was told the book would be released on Jan 1st. (No, not really New Year’s Day, I am using it for this example to illustrate what happened). But his publisher never gave Jim a pre-release link, nor a look at the cover, so he could do a cover reveal or promote pre-release sales. Searching for something else on Amazon the week before Christmas, Jim stumbled upon his Book 3, published and available for sale (not PRE-SALE mind you, but released for sale). That accidental find was the first time Jim saw his new cover, and he had to save the cover from Amazon because his publisher never released that to him personally. Moral of the story: research your publisher before you sign anything. If possible, talk with some other authors who are published with the prospective publishing firm.
*I’m tired of getting rejection letters from Publishers and Agents. On this point, some publishing firms, the BEST publishing firms among them, only accept manuscripts through literary agents. Some don’t. That does not make it a bad publisher. One publisher I would like to sign on with, and who sent me a rejection note on two separate occasions for The United, The Realm of the Light Book 1, was Shadow Mountain. They accept non-solicited manuscripts, and are a very good publisher that has seen success in marketing and selling of fantasy books, Brandon Mull’s best selling series, Fablehaven, is one of theirs. But it can be discouraging for a new author to get so many rejection notes, especially when you have faith in your book and you have the ability to self-publish.
*I want full control over every step of the publishing process. I have heard this, or if not this phrase specifically, something similar to it from many, many, many self-published authors. They want full control over pricing, marketing, promotional sales, book cover, book descriptions, etc.
Not all books are meant for every publisher. Some books will do better if self-published. Others will do better with a small press, others with a large press. Every book has its own journey, its own ideal home. I recommend you think about what you want to accomplish with the release of your current WIP (Work In Progress) before deciding how to go about publishing it.
So this is a topic that is near and dear to my heart, and brings a tear to my eye every time I think of it.
I love my Author Friends. I am so grateful to them for all their help and support.
I have not had to spend a single penny to publish any of my self-published works.
I have bartered services with friends for editing, teasers, book covers, and formatting. I will be the first to admit that the editing on my self-published titles are not the best. But, I will equally be the first to say my covers are as eye catching as anyone else’s.
One thing I have done on my own every time is create my own book descriptions. That is one failing I will own. I am working on improving my copyrighting, but it is still not that great.
But, my community helps me with that, too. I draw on the strength and prowess and support of my fellow authors almost daily.
This is my FREE introductory course to BETA Reading by JQM.
Before I begin, let me honest with you. I am no expert on editing. My degree is in Anthropology with an Archaeology Emphasis and dual minors in Russian and Geology. I only went to the mandatory English classes in high school and college, and that was many years ago.
What I have learned about BETA READING I have taught myself or have been told by authors with more experience. So here is my informal opinion on BETA reading.
What Is BETA Reading?
Well, that is a good question. Is Beta Reading content editing? Is it proof reading? Is it simply reading a book before it is published?
Well, BETA reading is when you have a book ready to send to your publisher or self publish. But it is not quite ready for publication. When you want a second opinion on the story.
So you ask a trusted friend or friends to look over your manuscript for a much needed second opinion.
What Do You Do Expect From BETA Readers?
You have such fantastic questions. Usually when I receive a manuscript from a friend, the author has expressed to me whatever concerns they have about the story, any specific items or details they want me to look for within the text.
On the other hand, when I send out a request for BETA readers, I am almost always looking for the same thing every time. To make sure that the ideas in my head translated well on paper. I do not always succeed, and my BETA readers help me figure out where I messed up, and we talk through ways to fix my literary blunders.
Is BETA Reading And Content Editing The Same?
No. Content editing is a little bit LOTS more intense. Content editing, as a friend of mine once explained, helps you restructure a lost story. It is very time consuming, and often very expensive.
However, BETA reading is reading a manuscript and commenting your thoughts, suggestions for improvement, etc.
What Do You Do When You BETA Read?
Your questions keep getting better and better. I love literature! I love to discuss literature. And I love helping my friends write better stories.
So to help my friends improve their writing prowess, I offer to BETA read stories. Usually on barter or just as favor.
I use either Google Docs or Word Documents, pending on what the author has to send me. I have no preference.
So, for example’s sake. Let’s my good friend in the Realm of Rai, Amanda Adams, Creature of Rai, Member of the Unicorn Clan asked me to BETA read her newest essay titled, ‘Why Unicorns Are Best.’
Amanda’s BETA reading request would look something like: “Hey JQM. I know your super busy right now, but can you look over my new essay?”
My initial reply would be: “Sure. You need help with anything specific?”
Amanda: “No. I just need a mortal’s perspective. Any feedback you can give me would be great. Here is the link to the essay on Google Drive. LINK-X-Y-Z. Thanks.”
Next time I am on my PC and have time to work on a writing project, I click on the link, and open the document. I only read the document through once. And as I read it, I use the comment feature to share my thoughts.
When I BETA read I try to never change the initial text. I only select either what I am commenting upon or would like to see edited, and make the changes in a comment box.
What Types of Comments Do I Make?
I make 3 main comments.
First, I share my initial unfiltered thoughts as a reader. That is my most common type of comment. Why do I this? To give the author a chance to see the types of initial responses potential readers will have. A fellow author did this for me on a previous BETA read exchange, about two years ago, and I liked her thoughts as a readers so much that I have been doing it ever since.
Second, I point any places where I think the author can improve the flow and content of the story.
Third, and the very least, I point out any grammatical errors.
I am not a professional editor. I am simply a Fantasy Author who enjoys to BETA read for my friends. Nothing I said above is fact, it is simply my honest opinion that I am sharing to help out novice authors who are unfamiliar with the BETA reading process.
If you have any specific questions about BETA reading, you can find me on Messenger, Facebook, my blog, or email at email@example.com
I hope you are all finding the best ways to employ your time. For those of you who are unwell, my prayers are with you. For those of you who are stuck at home for the time being, it is a great time to get better acquainted with my Rai Saga, I suggest you start with either Welcome to the Realm of Rai or The United, The Realm of the Light Book 1. Why is it a great time to get acquainted with my novels? Glad you asked.
I recently submitted Perfectly Evil, The Realm of the Light Book 3 and Shades of Mortality, The Realm of the Light Book 4, to my publisher, and we are hoping for a dual release later this year.
Why am I tell you this?
I am even more glad you asked. As a writer, I have a super power. I surround myself with authors who are more talented than I. These author friends have helped me perfect both Shades of Mortality and Perfectly Evil by volunteering to BETA read my books. As they read, they left me valuable comments about flow, content, and yes, grammatical errors. As i engaged them in discussions about my stories, they helped me craft a better story than my original drafts.
That is the power of BETA reading for fellow authors.
And you know what else? The more often I BETA read for my friends, the better I get at not only catching mistakes and issues with flow and plot holes in their writing, but my own writing improves.
So the next time a friend of yours asks if you have time to BETA read for them, and you actually do have the time, I highly recommend you do it. Not only will you be helping your friend perfect their story, you will be helping yourself improve your writing prowess.
Thursday this week I will chat a little more about BETA reading, and what i look for when I BETA read for a friend.
I can think of few words that have to power to strike as much fear and dread into the hearts of several of my author friends than Marketing, Promotions, and Editing.
But I don’t get it myself. I have never had a problem with editing. Actually, to me, self-editing is my favorite part of the writing process. What I can’t stand is creating original content to a story. The way I write, I do not have an outline for the story beyond what ideas I have floating in my heads, and the dreams I have had about the individual story. So I create my story, then I go back and edit the whole thing so the end make sense from the beginning.
There are many different types of editing.
There is copy editing which means to “edit (text to be printed) by checking its consistency and accuracy.”
Proofreading, or simply put Grammar Checking and Spell Checking.
Content editing, which is basically a huge overhaul of a story to make sure it is consistent with the series and world-building. Making sure your characters are consistent, making sure your story flows well, etc. I personally have never used a content editor, mainly because I cannot afford such a service at present, but I would like to just to learn how to content edit my own work in the future, and how I can be a better content editor when I offer to BETA read for a fellow author.
My personal favorite is BETA Reading. That is basically sending your pre-publication story to a trusted friend or fellow author. The BETA reader looks over your story for anything that may be amiss. A plot hole here, bad grammar there, someone saying or doing something out of character without the anomaly being described. When I BETA read a story, I have three main types of comments. 1st, and least common, is proofreading comments. 2nd, and second most common, anything I see amiss that disrupts the flow of a story. And 3rd, and most common comment I make is my immediate response to a story as a reader.
I know I am not speaking in the most technical of terms. And I am aware that there exists other forms of editing that I did not highlight. But for me as an author, the four described types of editing are the most common I use.
I am not be the best resource for editing knowledge, but I have a few friends who I will gladly recommend to you. If you require such services.
This month we have been talking about promotions and marketing.
A WORD ABOUT MY SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE AND MY ROLE IN THE RAI SAGA
As my followers are well aware, I often to Character Take-Overs. In other words I post and share on my social media platforms from the points of view of my friends from the Realm of Rai. Yes, I say friends, not characters. If I call Amanda Adams, Creature of Rai, Member of the Unicorn Clan a “character” she will not stop telling me how wrong I am. In the case of the Rai Saga, I am less of an author and more of a biographer.
Some friends, like Kestrel, Creature of Rai, Member of the Birds of Prey Clan, are extremely helpful. During our interviews, Kestrel provides in giving me an unbiased point of view of what actually occurred in mortality on the Realm of the Light. The Realm of the Light is a realm of mortality that has now entered its End of Days.
Whereas some of my other friends, such as Vultyramous Hunter, Creature of Rai, Member of the Volkrog Clan (what is a volkrog, you ask? Check out my blog, https://jqmserv.wordpress.com/the-sykar-series/ for more information) is very stubborn and very difficult to get a straight answer from.
But I digress, but not really. My friend, Naservin Mastrov, or as he is better known, Master Serv, Creature of Rai, Member of the Volkrog Clan, takes a great deal of pleasure in doing recording himself on YouTube reading excerpts from my books, and books of friends.
HOW I USE MY CHARACTERS TO SHARE THE WORKS OF FRIENDS
The following is the post the I will be sharing on my personal blog. I share the text here as an example of how I, and my friends in Rai, cross-promote. Now I am not saying everyone should do this exactly. I’m not even saying I am good at promotions. What I am saying is I have a lot of fun doing cross-promotions. I highly recommend that we all look at how we promote. See what we can do to help out fellow authors.
As a bit of fun cross-promotion for the Burning Embers Spring 2020 HOP, I have invited Naservin Mastrov “Master Serv” to do a handful of excerpts. Check them out!