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Writing and Publishing

E-Book Formatting

Though I could hire someone to format my e-books, I format my own. For me, it’s a question of control.

With more people self-publishing and many doing their own formatting, readers no longer expect one ideal format. Even traditional publishers aren’t consistent in how they format their e-books. The key is to make sure the formatting doesn’t get in the way of the reader’s experience.

I use the free e-book formatting tool on draft2digital.com. I output a Mobi file and test it using Kindle Previewer. If it’s good, I upload it to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). Else, I continue to tweak it until I’m satisfied with the results. Draft2Digital also provides an epub file, which all other platforms use. In addition to Amazon (KDP), I also consider publishing with Draft2Digital, Kobo, Ingram Sparks, and Publish Drive.

There are also other free resources and inexpensive tools to format books. And for those who don’t want to mess with e-book formatting, there are many people who will do it for you. Check out Reedsy and Fiverr, I’ve used both for publishing-related services and had positive experiences. Another option is BookBaby, though I’ve not used them. In all cases, the price and quality vary, so proceed with care.

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

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.

Categories
Writing and Publishing

Writing about Your Health Issue

Many writers want to write a book about their health scare that almost killed them. But will publishers be interested in that book?

These stories are very personal for the writer, very real and raw. Unfortunately, it isn’t unique, and publishers want unique books. (Unless a writer has a big platform that will move books. Then publishers won’t care so much about the topic, because the size of the platform will overcome it.)

Publishers interested in your topic already have one or more books on the subject, and taking on another one could hurt the sales of the books they already have, so they’ll pass.

And publishers who haven’t published a book on your topic haven’t done so because they’re not interested in the subject.

The only likely scenario is a publisher who has published a book on your topic, but it’s dated and not selling well anymore. Then they may look to replace it with a new book—providing the author has a platform to move books and an agent to represent them.

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

Writing Investment

For years I made the mistake of not investing in learning the craft of writing. Though I certainly put in the time, for years I was reluctant to spend money. But taking the cheap way out merely held me back.

Here are some investments I’m now making to become a better writer:

  • Study magazines about writing and publishing
  • Read books and blogs about writing and publishing
  • Listen to podcasts about writing and publishing
  • Attend writing conferences
  • Hire editors: developmental editors, copy editing, and proofreading
  • Join online classes about specific writing-related topics
  • Take part in online writing communities
  • Hire mentors and teachers

Of course, none of these things would help if I weren’t regularly applying them every day by writing. This is a long list, but don’t let it overwhelm you. Pick one item to invest in and add more over time.

Note that not everything costs money but merely time. Reading blogs and listening to podcasts is a free option to learn about writing and publishing.

Bonus tip: The one mistake I almost made but didn’t was quitting my day job to write full time. This was about eight years before I was ready. Yikes!

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

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.