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Writing and Publishing

Assisted Publishing

To self-publish—or indie-publish—you do it yourself. You don’t go through someone else.

To pay someone else is called assisted publishing or subsidy publishing. Some are good, some are not, and some are rip-offs. I’ve heard of rates from several hundred dollars to over ten thousand. And that’s a lot of money to pay for something you can do yourself.

I don’t have any experience using assisted publishing or subsidy publishing, because it’s not the right option for me. If you go that route, check references, ask a lot of questions, and treat it like a business decision—because it is.

Now, regarding my statement that for self-publishing/indie-publishing you do it all yourself, that’s an oversimplification. In truth, you will hire experts to handle various aspects for you. In essence, you’re acting like a general contractor on a building project.

For example, I hire editors, cover designers, and marketing people. I coordinate their work to move toward a finished project: a published book. It’s very much a business process.

Whichever publishing option you pick, I wish you the best.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of PublishingGet your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

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Writing and Publishing

Book Publishing Options

Writers often wonder if they should I indie publish their book or publish with a traditional publisher. I understand the question, and without sounding like a jerk, let me rephrase this question about publishing options.

The question should be: Should I self-publish it or pursue a traditional publisher?

Traditional Publishing

I reworded it because we have no control over whether a traditional publisher will want to publish our book. What we do have control over is pursuing a traditional publishing deal.

I wouldn’t recommend you try to find a traditional publisher. That left self-publishing sometimes called indie publishing.

Indie Publishing

For indie publishing I recommend the book Successful Self-Publishing by Joanna Penn. Do everything she says, and you’ll be ahead of most people. Expect indie-publishing to cost about $1,000 to $2,000 per book, but it can go much higher. This is mostly for professional cover and editing.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of PublishingGet your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

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Writing and Publishing

Tips for Ghostwriting Books

I’ve ghostwritten a couple of books and enjoyed doing so. The payment is almost always a fixed rate, paid in installments. The first payment is required to start the work, and the final payment is due when the writer submits the finished product to the author. (The person who hires you is the author—you are the writer).

The number of installments for ghostwriting books is up to you and the author. Two, three, or four are common, but my last book was in ten installments (per the author’s suggestion). Also, try to frontload the installments so that you receive more money in the beginning. That way if things don’t work out, the author changes their mind, or they stop paying, then you have received most of your compensation.

Don’t write on spec or have it contingent on them getting a book deal. Also, avoid a 100 percent revenue share based on books sold. Though you could negotiate a base fee plus a revenue share unless the author has a large platform and can sell books, assume there will never be any significant revenue for them to share with you. So make your base fee large enough to make the project worthwhile.

Two related items: When it comes to ghostwriting books, always have a contract that states your fee, the installment amounts and dates, and details of what is and isn’t included. A basic “work-for-hire” agreement should work. (Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice.)

The other item is to be aware that you are selling your words and cannot claim them as your own or reuse them for another purpose. (Though a nice author may share the byline with you or acknowledge you were the writer.)

I hope this helps, and I wish you the best.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of PublishingGet your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

Categories
Writing and Publishing

Third-Person Omniscient Point of View

Third-person omniscient is out of favor. Do you wonder why?

While we could attribute it to a trend, the best explanation I have is that we’re so conditioned to watching TV and movies, which limit us to the camera’s vantage (third-person limited, if you will), that as readers we expect books to do the same thing.

When I began writing back in the dark ages, I preferred the omniscient voice because third-person limited seemed, well, too limiting. Third-person omniscient was also easier to write because it didn’t restrict me to one point-of-view per scene.

However, those days are gone, and few books published today use omniscient point-of-view. I once heard a podcast recording with Jerry Jenkins, and he said third-person omniscient was “archaic.” That convinced me.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of PublishingGet your copy today.

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Writing and Publishing

Citing Sources for Quotes in Books

Each chapter in my friend’s book starts with a quotation. Most of the quotes came from internet sites. She wonders if she needs to include a page citing sources where she obtained each quote. Here’s what I said to her.

For Traditionally Published Books

For traditionally published books, your publisher will have its own requirements for you to follow. And each publisher likely has a different approach. In addition, they also have a legal team that will help keep you and them out of legal trouble.

In general, they will want you to attribute your source. I’ve even heard of one publisher who insisted on a signed release for each quotation. This is burdensome and a good reason to not use quotations.

For Indie Published Books

If you are indie-publishing your book, my opinion (not legal advice) is to cite all your sources. In my books, I try to avoid using any quotes, in any way, from any source. That’s the surest way to avoid getting sued for plagiarism.

However, in your case, this gets messy because the website where you found the quote may have copied it from someone else—that is, they stole it from the original author. Then you perpetuate their plagiarism—and their crime.

Final Thoughts about Citing Sources

If you can remove the quote and put the concept in your own words, that might be your best approach.

I am not a lawyer, so this is not legal advice about citing sources. It’s just my opinion. For a great resource on this subject—as well as other important legal considerations for writers—check out Helen Sedwick’s excellent book Self-Publisher’s Legal Handbook.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of PublishingGet your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.