Category Archives: Publishing

Four Ways to Stay Informed About Book Publishing

Four Ways to Stay Informed About Book Publishing

In the world of book publishing, if we blink, something’s apt to change. Every day there seems to be a new option, a different twist, or better pricing. The best solution for a particular situation soon yields to an even better answer—often within months or even weeks.

Publishing books becomes an art of aiming at a moving target, a goal that ebbs and flows at the pace of a changing tide. New vendors emerge and existing players develop innovations to target a different niche.

How’s a person to keep up?

1. Join Industry Associations

Groups of like-minded individuals offer the means to stay abreast of changing conditions. Members share news and ideas with each other. It’s an easy way to be informed, although merely joining a group isn’t enough; participation is required.

2. Read Blogs

Find and follow blogs, podcasts, and v-blogs of thought leaders and news aggregators. They’re plenty to choose from; pick ones with a voice you like and a perspective you respect. Ironically, reading books about publishing is not the answer; things change too quickly. Even e-books risk being out of date by the time they reach us.

3. Network

Connect with others. The goal is to listen and to share. Benefits abound when giving, even more so than when receiving.

4. Ask Questions

Requesting advice in a respectful way usually results in new information to consider. People enjoy it when we seek them out and usually offer their opinions to sincere questions. We honor them when we listen to what they say.

As a writer, the key is to always be in a learning mode. Don’t become complacent. Click To Tweet

The key is to always be in a learning mode; don’t become complacent, thinking you’ve figured out all the answers. Never disregard a vendor or idea as not viable. In a moment it could become the exact solution we seek.

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!

Three Possible Problems with Self-Published Books

Self-published Book Problems

Self-Published Book Problems: 3 common mistakes to fix

Self-published books carry a stigma of poor quality: weak writing, shoddy editing, second-rate production, and a product that often screams “amateur.” Unfortunately, this perception stems from the growing evidence provided by many self-published works. Though not all self-published books are substandard, too many are.

Here are thee examples self-published book problems from some of my recent reads:

1. A Lack of Editing

This printed book had a nice cover and looked professional. It unveiled a pleasing storyline and contained no errors (at least that I noticed). What it needed, however, was a thorough copy-edit, as there were continuity issues, implausible events, and an impossible timeline.

Also, the author tied up every loose end to produce a fairytale conclusion for most every character. Despite much promise, the journey was unsatisfying.

2. The Rough Draft

This novella-length e-book had a decent title and acceptable cover. The storyline was intriguing—and those were the good points. It had significant issues with flow and continuity, but worse yet, I felt I was reading a first draft.

To its credit, the book had a killer surprise ending I never saw coming and delighted me immensely. But, unless someone options this for a movie (which could happen), I see no value to this book—either commercial or literary.

3. Missing Substance

A third book had none of these shortcomings. Well written, it benefited from careful editing and proofreading. The author had an enjoyable voice and wonderful concept.

What this book needed, however, was more substance and the removal of some idealistic recommendations that surely no one would follow. Though the majority of the book had value, the impractical parts threatened to overshadow the rest.

Your self-published book must avoid these three problems. Click To Tweet

This isn’t to imply all self-published books are bad. There are good self-published books out there, which don’t suffer from these self-published book problems. They contain no consequential flaws and are enjoyable or valuable to read.

Unfortunately, in my experience, good self-published books are not as common as they could and should be.

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!

Consider the Future of Book Publishing

Consider the Future of Book Publishing

What do the days ahead hold for those of us who publish books?  What is the future of book publishing?

Given the rapid changes the industry is undergoing, we anticipate a different tomorrow, but just how much different will it be? Will today’s roles even exist in a decade or two?

Predicting the future or even anticipating what might lie ahead in the years to come is a difficult task. Although the details are unclear, three general outcomes remain assured:

Consumers of Content

Barring a cataclysmic apocalypse with survivors reduced to a subsistence life, there will always be people who will desire and consume content. Generically called art, entertainment, or education, this content could take many forms, including print, audio, video, multimedia, or interactive, but regardless of the formats, consumers will want content.

Producers of Content

As long as an audience exists, content producers will be in demand. Writers will supply content: writing, creating, inventing, and envisioning. In a way, writers will become artists, producing art for their patrons. Their art may take many forms, beyond merely the writing out of their words.

Facilitators of Content

Idealism suggests that future content producers will directly connect with content consumers. While this may happen in limited situations, middlemen will facilitate the transaction in many cases and facilitate the creation in most instances. The transaction facilitators will mass-produce and distribute the content.

Therefore content facilitators will provide today’s agents, editors, graphic designers, and publicists with tomorrow’s work, aiding tomorrow’s writers with their content.

The future of book publishing will be much different, but as long as we can adapt, there will always be opportunities for today’s writers, editors, designers, agents, and publishers. Click To Tweet

The future of book publishing will be much different. However, as long as we can adapt, there will always be opportunities for today’s writers, editors, designers, agents, and publishers. The future is indeed bright—for those willing to see it.

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!

Check Out the Legal Handbook for Authors

Self-Published Author and Business Attorney Writes Self-Publisher’s Legal Handbook

Self Publisher’s Legal Handbook by Helen SedwickHelen Sedwick, a self-published author and business attorney, shares vital legal information for all writers whether self-published, traditionally published, or not-yet-published. Billed as “the step-by-step guide to protecting your copyright, avoiding scams and lawsuits, [and] maximizing tax deductions” Legal Handbook answers questions that most authors struggle with and corrects common misinformation.

Though the Self Publisher’s Legal Handbook is most helpful to authors who want to self-publish, it is a primer for writers in the earlier stages of their careers and offers practical advice to traditionally published authors as well. Each of the book’s eleven chapters shares critical counsel, moving a writer through the process of publishing a book. But don’t wait until you have a book ready to publish before you read this one. If you do you will miss essential recommendations that are relevant as you write and even as you prepare to write. Skipping these steps, or delaying them, will only put your work in jeopardy and slow down your progress.The Self Publisher’s Legal Handbook is an investment in your future as a writer. Click To Tweet

Among the many indispensable insights included in the Legal Handbook are how to properly deal with images in your blog and book, what copyright means and how to protect your rights, book contract gotchas, avoiding defamation claims, handling taxes, avoiding publishing scams, social media pitfalls, and setting up your business. Yes, if we take our writing seriously or plan to self-publish our book, we need to treat writing as a business. This isn’t to constrain us but to free us from legal worries, tax issues, and lopsided publishing contracts.

Reading the Self Publisher’s Legal Handbook is an investment in your future, your future as a writer. Don’t put it off.

What legal concerns do you have about writing and publishing? What worries do you have about self-publishing? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!

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Becoming a Hybrid Author: A Case Study of Author Robin Mellom

Becoming a Hybrid Author: A Case Study of Author Robin MellomFellow writer and cyber-friend Robin Mellom just self-published her new book, Perfect Timing. I first heard about Robin through Writer’s Digest when they highlighted her as a debut novelist for her book, Ditched, a YA (young adult) romantic comedy. Although intrigued, I figured I was too old to read YA, but soon the compelling storyline wooed me back. Eventually I bought Ditched and read it; then I read it again; then I looked for more of Robin’s work.

Alas, she had no more YA titles. Though she did have a middle-grade series, Classroom, I said I wouldn’t read them. Junior High wasn’t a good time for me, and I didn’t want to go back. So I waited for her next YA book – and I waited. Finally, desperate for more of her witty humor, I relented and dove into the first three books in her Classroom series. I’m glad I did!

Her next YA book was written, but her publisher wasn’t interested (shortsighted on their part) and her agent couldn’t find anyone else who would bite (a bad move on their part). She considered self-publishing, and I encouraged her to go for it. It must be many other people did, too, because the next thing I knew, she self-published Perfect Timing as a Kindle e-book. I devoured it in two days. In case it’s not clear, I’m a fan of Robin’s and am even on her mailing list.

She also apparently got the rights back for Ditched, because she just self-published an updated version, retitled as Perfect Kiss,  complete with a new cover. I bought and am reading that, too. I’m interested in seeing how it differs from the original version.

However, with these two self-published works, Robin has not made the switch to pure indie author. Instead she is doing what many authors are now doing. She has become a hybrid author, self-publishing some books, while going the traditional publishing route on others. From a traditional publisher, her fourth middle-grade book, The Classroom: When Nature Calls, Hang Up! is due out in June, and I hear a children’s picture book is in the works. So she’s breaking from another long-held publishing tradition, too, proving an author can successfully write for multiple audiences.

As authors in the ever-changing book publishing world, we need to not fixate on one way to publish our work. We must consider all our options and do what makes the most sense for our careers and our audience – just like Robin.

Check out Robin Mellom’s books:

Ditched
The Classroom (The Epic Documentary of a Not-Yet-Epic Kid)
The Classroom: Student Council Smackdown!
The Classroom Trick Out My School!
The Classroom: When Nature Calls, Hang Up!
Perfect Timing (originally known as Busted)
Perfect Kiss (formerly Ditched)

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!

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What Will Book Publishing Look Like in 2015?

I’m bullish about publishing books. Yes, the industry is changing rapidly, but change means opportunity. Though I don’t feel qualified to predict what book publishing will look like in the future, or even next year, I do know one place to look.

The December 2014 issue of Book Business tapped industry experts to contemplate the future of book publishing. While some items discussed were broad, philosophical strategic visions, others were more practical.

The cover story, “The Big Ideas Shaping Book Publishing,” featured ten experts who weighed in on various topics. I most appreciated Caleb Mason’s submission, “Bringing Instincts Back to Acquisitions,” which should be welcome news to every frustrated writer.

Equally insightful is the interview with Rick Joyce, titled “Battling the Homogenization of Books.” Among other topics, he discussed digital media, data collection, pursuing niche audiences (a personal favorite), selecting the right social media platform, and book discovery.

If you want to get a glimpse of what the future may look like or want to help shape your own book publishing strategies, check out the December 2014 issue of Book Business.

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!

The Ultimate Self-Publishing Guide

There are many good (and some not so good) resources that cover self-publishing. Some of these are in the form of books, others as podcasts, and more as blog posts, all from industry insiders.The Ultimate Self-Publishing Guide

By far the best one I’ve seen is the book APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch. As the APE acronym implies, the book contains three parts. The middle section, P for Publisher, covers self-publishing, giving a thorough explanation of all aspects.

While the coverage stops short of being comprehensive—an all-inclusive manual would be both unwieldy and immediately out-of-date—it offers the best self-publishing resource available. Guy and Shawn share detailed information on the options available to self-publishers, based on research that would be too time-consuming for most people to amass.

APE is an essential guide for the beginner and intermediate level of self-publishers. Even the experienced self-publisher is sure to pick up some new ideas and pointers. Though I wouldn’t advise anyone to skip the author section, for those with a publication-ready book, the publisher section may be the place to start.

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!

Going APE Over Guy Kawasaki

I don’t normally mention books I haven’t read, but after hearing a podcast with the iconic Guy Kawasaki about his new book, I’ll make an exception. Guy’s latest contribution to society is APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur – How to Publish a Book. Can you see why I’m mentioning it?

APE is an acronym for Author, Publisher, and Entrepreneur, representing the three steps or phases in self-publishing a book. Each step is progressively harder, with the writing phase being the easiest and the entrepreneur needing to focus on the business side of the product, including promotion.

According to Amazon, APE, first released on January 7, 2013, has already undergone an update, with version 1.2 available since March 5.

Not only is APE on my reading wish list, it’s also at the top.

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!