Don’t pull the publishing trigger

by Mistina Picciano on October 1, 2014

Kamira/BigStock.com
Kamira/BigStock.com

My very awesome mother-in-law just sent me an email with the following offer from Blurb: they’re partnering with NaNoWriMo to make it easy for those intrepid souls who cross the 50K mark by November 30 to publish and sell the fruits of their labors. They’re calling it the Coffee & Quill Society, and you can sign up here.

I support any and all incentives to get butts in seats and to inspire creation of the written word. But the last thing we need is to encourage people to publish (and sell?!) whatever rough draft they cranked out after a 30-day writing sprint. [click to continue…]

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Everyone writes — but should they?

by Mistina Picciano on September 15, 2014

Petro Feketa/BigStock.com

The following is a guest post from copywriting legend and bestselling author Bob Bly, reprinted from his Direct Response Letter series.

My colleague Michael Stelzner recently did a podcast with a woman, AH, who wrote a forthcoming book called “Everyone Writes.”

AH is right: everyone writes. But I have always wondered whether everyone should write. And I have come to believe that they should not.

Reason: In the good old days, just because you wrote something didn’t mean it would be published. In fact, likely, it would not.

To get published, you had to convince a publishing house to buy your book — or a newspaper or magazine editor to print your article or your letter-to-the-editor … and most people were not able to do this easily. So what got published was vetted by professionals — and the quality reflected that editorial guidance.

But today, in the digital era, anything that anyone writes can be and often is instantly published to the Internet where theoretically millions of people can read it — and at least a few people, if only just your Facebook friends or Twitter followers, almost certainly will.
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‘People don’t naturally choose the ugly thing’

September 12, 2014
Karen Roach/BigStock.com
Karen Roach/BigStock.com

I do not profess any skill in graphic design, and I will never be foolish enough to design my own book cover. But I very much appreciate beautiful design. And John McWade of Before & After is a genius.

Today’s blog post from B&A magazine talked about early iPhone 6 photos that appeared on a tech site last Saturday, before Apple’s Tuesday rollout. The accompanying headline and caption proclaimed, “APPLE’S ANNOUNCEMENT RUINED.”

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Author Interview: Travis Heermann – ‘Hire a Real Editor’

September 8, 2014
Travis Heermann
Travis Heermann

Travis Heermann is author of the Ronin Trilogy, The Wild Boys, and Rogues of the Black Fury. He has also published short fiction pieces in anthologies and magazines such as Weird Tales, Historical Lovecraft, and Shivers VII.

After going the traditional route for the first novel in your Ronin trilogy, why did you ultimately decide to self-publish the second book?

Soon after Heart of the Ronin was released as a library edition hardcover, the publisher, Gale-Cengage’s Five Star imprint, announced that they were discontinuing their science fiction/fantasy line. Over the next couple of years, I wrote the second volume, Sword of the Ronin, without ever having any idea how it would be published. I’d had a negative stigma against self-publishing for a long time, so it never seriously occurred to me  to do that. It took a series of negative experiences with small press publishers, coupled with the sheer number of readers begging me for the second book and the massive shifts in the publishing industry for me to venture into the indie world myself. The good news is that it worked splendidly, and I’m now delighted with that decision.

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Publishing in Public #2: FirstEditing.com

June 30, 2014
Flynt/BigStock.com
Flynt/BigStock.com

In my quest to help others produce high-quality books, I’m exploring the various options available to whip a manuscript into publication-ready condition. Conveniently, I already have a couple of completed novel drafts – stories with a beginning, middle and end – that I can put through the publishing process. Note: While I am planning to self-publish this particular manuscript, many of the steps (especially in these early stages) also apply to prepping a novel for agents in pursuit of a traditional publishing contract.

During the recent Book Expo America in New York, I met representatives from many of the large self-publishing companies. BookBaby, in particular, impressed me with their guide The End. Now What?! 6 Steps to Take Your Manuscript to Marketplace in 6 Weeks. These folks are quite candid about the fact that a successful book depends on the quality of the story and the writing, which typically requires the assistance of objective readers and a top-notch editor. (In fact, five of the six weeks in the guide cover the rewriting and editing process.) To this end, the company has partnered with FirstEditing.com.

I dusted off my first manuscript and went through the online quote process with FirstEditing.com. This draft is just over 50,000 words, and I described the project as a “Fiction Book – First-time Author,” which, I assume, would be priced higher than editing services for a veteran. The website provided an instant price quote, and I received my editing sample less than three hours later.

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