Article, publishing, Rachel Rueben

Important Resources For Authors Part 2: Going To School

 

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Last week, I discussed the closing of Predators & Editors and the possible alternatives authors can use when investigating a potential publisher or service provider.  Today, I’m going to list sources that can help indie authors educate themselves on the publishing business.  After all it’s much harder to take advantage of an educated author and that’s what most scammers fear.

Authors are notorious for drawing back the curtain on the publishing industry by talking about their experiences with editors, posting their contracts, and even revealing their monthly income.  This rips the veil of secrecy that kept the publishing industry mysterious while keeping authors broke.  Oh sorry, I meant starving for their art.

Anyway, let’s get started…

News About The Industry

Did you know that All Romance Books and Ellora’s Cave went under in 2016?  You would’ve if you had been keeping tabs on the industry.  Listed below are just some of the blogs/newsletters dedicated to the publishing industry.

Podcasts

These podcasts are recorded by actual indie authors and they often give writing, promoting as well as marketing tips.

 

Authors & Industry Professionals You Can Learn A Lot From

You know they say that experience is the best teacher and if you want to learn from someone who is in the business then look no further then these websites.

  • Kristine Kathryn Rusch If you want to learn the business aspects of publishing
  • Jane Friedman If you want to learn publishing hacks as well as marketing tips
  • The Book Designer Discusses marketing, creativity, as well as interviews publishing professionals.
  • Penny Sansevieri, A Marketing Expert Great place to learn book promotion and general marketing.
  • Kathryn Goldman Offers tips on legal issues that plague authors.
  • Your Writer Platform Discusses various aspects of self-publishing.
  • BookBub Partners Mainly they discuss their platform but they also share tips on book launches, marketing and self-publishing hacks.

 

This is just a small list of all the wonderful blogs and podcasts that indie authors can glean from.  As self-publishing becomes more and more the norm, authors are going to have to make decisions about the direction of their careers.  Some of these blogs and podcasts can help at least point you in the right direction.  The author community is a very supportive place as you can see, we do watch each other’s back.  Though losing Predators & Editors was a big blow to indie authors, it didn’t break anyone’s determination to keep on keeping on.  This is the greatest thing about the author community, and I’m proud to be part of it and you should too.

If you have any suggestions for newbie authors whether it be a podcast, blog or book, let us know in the comment section.

Article, publishing, Rachel Rueben

Important Resources For Authors

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Not long ago, the author community lost a precious resource when the Preditors & Editors website went dormant last year.  For those of you not familiar with P&E, it was a site that listed and graded publishers as well as publishing services.  They helped countless authors such as myself make important decisions and avoid scams.

They are currently looking for a new caretaker who will have the monumental responsibility of updating the website as well as all the information on it.  For those of you actually thinking about taking on the challenge, be warned P&E comes with the burden of constant threat of lawsuits as well as harassment from the mentally disturbed.  It’s no surprise that no one is rushing to pick up the torch but I know eventually someone will because it’s too important to let die.

Instead of going on about how lousey this is, I’m going to give you alternative resources that will help you avoid scammers as well as help educate you about this business.

Finding Out About Scams & Unethical Practices

Predators & Editors did not exist in a vacuum, there are two sites that I am aware of that are dedicate solely to educating authors about the sharks in the publishing waters.

However don’t stop here, there are several other ways to discover if your publisher is on the up and up.

Investigating The Quality Of Your Publisher

The golden rule for any author looking to secure the services of a publisher is to go to Google and type in the company name with the words; “scam”, “complaints”, or “reviews” and if nothing pops up, that’s a good sign however, you still have more investigating to do.

You would think the one place to look is the Better Business Bureau because it’s considered a trustworthy organization that rates businesses.  However, the vanity publisher Author Solutions, has an A+ rating even though there have been numerous complaints over the years as well as a class action lawsuit in 2013.  So a good rating with the BBB doesn’t carry much weight these days especially, after various media outlets reported that businesses were paying for good ratings.  Just a warning, if you’re going to use the BBB as a source of information, make sure it’s not your only source.

Other Sites That Grade Businesses:

As with most review sites things can be manipulated but if you’re seeing the same complaints over and over again by different people then you may want to take heed.

  • Yelp
  • Google Reviews (First make sure that you’re logged into your Google+ account and just go to Google Maps and enter the name of the company you’re investigating. You should see an address as well as a rating.

Find The Office Water Cooler

You shouldn’t just stop at what customers are saying, if things are really bad at a company like they were at Tate Publishing and Author Solutions, then their employees are talking.  Fortunately for us, there are sites that allow employees to rate the companies they work at.  This can be a Godsend for those who are on the lookout for things like upselling, shoddy production or terrible customer service.

Sites That Let Employees Rate Their Employers

  • GlassDoor
  • CareerBliss (Be sure to use the drop down and choose “reviews” before searching the company’s name.)

Professional Associations

If you’re not into doing all the leg work then you might want to join a professional organization that will do it for you.  Many places like ALLi (The Alliance for Independent Authors) and IBPA (Independent Book Publishers Association) offer recommendations for services such as editors, formatters, as well as designers.

The Author Water Cooler

Want to know about someone’s personal experiences with a service or publisher from an actual author?  Then look no further than the following sites:

These are just some of the places that indie authors should check out if they want to investigate a publisher or service.  Next time, I’ll be discussing resources for authors who want to educate themselves about indie publishing as well as publishing matters in general so stay tuned.

 

Article, books, JD Holiday, publishing, Writing Process

Putting a book cover together by JD Holiday

9780981861425-PerfecColor wTextPicBack MatterFOR bLOG]_bakTo put a bookcover together you need to make a template or get one from your

print company. This is a mock-up of the one I got from my printer. The cover must extend to the

outer lines of the template in order for the book to have the trim line which gives the book its

nice neat final look. In other words, the whole area of the template must have the book’s cover color in it, back and front. The area right inside the outer line is called the Bleed area which is cut off at the second line in on the template all the way around the bookcover. That will be the actual book size when it is done.

The front of the book is on your right hand side and the back cover is on the left side.

The spine is the middle area between the back and front covers. The spine size is based on the number of pages and the paper size of the book and that is calulated by the printer.

The red lines (a 1/2 inch from the trim line) on both the covers is the area you must keep all text and graphics in.

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Next I painted the front cover and top part of the back cover in Corel Painter Essentials

Then I brought the cover into Indesign CS 3 to work.

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I used Indesign CS 3 to create my book and cover, though I do most of the artwork in art/graphic software.

This is a example of a text frame which using the Text Tool you put in the template and do your typing.

You use the Selection Tool to resize the Text frame when needed by grabbing any of the small squares around the frame and dragging it. You can also copy and paste your text from your word processor into the text frames.

For graphics you would go to File> Place find your picture on your computer (tif) and click Open.

The Selection Tool in Indesign will become loaded and you just click the place in your template or frame that you want the picture or graphic to go.

I rotated the cover to the left and typed in the spine text.

Adding all the items needed  I created the book’s cover!

Amanda Thrasher, Article, author, books, Cereal Authors, Fiction, Life, Literary, Musings, publishing, Ramblings, review, Sharing, Social media, Uncategorized, writer's life

A Time To Write

I wear dual hats, writer, author, and publisher. It’s not always easy, but I’ve learned and continue to acquire new knowledge in this ever-changing industry of publishing. When I write, I can’t wear my ‘work’ hat, it ruins creativity. And when I work, I can’t write. It’s not unusual for hundreds of manuscripts to end up in my inbox. If I choose to send them out for review, that will be the deciding factor if we take them on. I see a lot of pieces, and we have talented award-winning authors on our label, but I can honestly say few pieces are written as beautifully as 50 HOURS by Loree Lough, and that is the truth.

50 HOURS

FRANCO ALLESSI is a broken, lonely man who wants nothing more than to outrun the ghosts of his past. For years, he tries to numb the pain of his wife’s death with cheap beer and whiskey. When he’s convicted of drunk driving, the judge revokes his license for six months and orders him to serve fifty hours of community service. Franco chooses Savannah Falls Hospice for his community service, for no reason other than it’s walking distance from his dilapidated house trailer.

On his first day on the job, he meets AUBREY BREWER, a woman whose time on earth is quickly ticking to a stop. Their unusual connection teaches powerful, life-changing lessons about friendship, acceptance, and the importance of appreciating that precious treasure called life.

Now, the endorsements (we have too many to list) for this book speak for themselves; I get it, it deserves every one of them. Catherine Lanigan, Author of Romancing the Stone, The Jewel of the Nile, and over forty-five novels and non-fiction, said, “I defy anyone to start the beautifully written 50 Hours and to put it down or to go on with their own lives as they had before reading about the remarkable, emotional and insightful relationship between dying Aubrey and the lost Franco. As a recent widow myself, the strength, humor and respect between the main characters shot close to home, but delivered so much hope and love that even as I march forward to tomorrow, my perspective has altered—all to the positive. In her last days in this life, Aubrey finally lives out the dreams she’s been too browbeaten by her mother and ex-husband to accomplish. She can only do this with help from Franco, who risks imprisonment to see her wish come true. Emerson said, “To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, this is to have succeeded.” Aubrey and Franco succeeded. Believe me when I say, THIS IS THE KIND OF BOOK THAT WINS PULITZER PRIZES. “

The main character, Aubrey, is ill, that silent killer, cancer. Cancer destroys or touches too many families in the world, let alone our country. My mom died of cancer, too young, but once diagnosed she didn’t last long. When I read the book 50 HOURS it was inevitable, I was reminded of what she went through and what we went through as a family. But I’ve always wondered what she was thinking, secretly, when she wasn’t trying to put our minds at ease.

Aubrey, a character of strength, hope, determination and sharp wit, dares you to take her journey with her and see and feel what she’s feeling through her eyes. But not in an emotional roller-coaster draining sort of way. She is the perfect definition of courage. Fearless at times, vulnerable at others, but always positive and selfless. She helps Franco, the recovering alcoholic serving time in the form of community service, who inadvertently helps her. Together, they’re the perfect team. Knowing what I know, about cancer, having experienced it with my family, it was touching to read it through Aubrey’s point of view. To take her walk with her, the walk. Knowing the diagnosis and how Aubrey really felt at times, was insightful. I think my mom, like many sufferers, think of those around them most. I was able to ‘see and feel’ things through Aubrey’s eyes.

It is undeniable that authors often bond with their characters while creating them; after all, it takes time and energy to develop fictional beings that a mass audience can relate to in the novels. When they tackle subjects that affect millions of people daily, be it illness, death, addiction, poverty, etc., it’s not unusual for authors to conduct extensive research to ensure the accuracy of the details that they write. Back stories, depth, facts, characteristics, and ultimately the feelings that bounce of the paper and touch people, emotions, must be believable. However, it is shocking when life unexpectantly imitates art. I was stunned, but can’t even begin to imagine what Loree must have felt, when I found out that the she, the author, was diagnosed with the illness that her character had while writing the novel.

The research that she was conducting to develop her character, Loree was suddenly applying to herself. Aubrey, the character terminally ill, and now the author, Loree Lough, found themselves in the same position. Healthy when commissioned to write; diagnosed while half-way through the novel. She was living out Aubrey’s nightmare. Surely it was impossible to divide the two emotionally at times. How did that happen and why? I can’t even begin to fathom it.

Multiple Myeloma, incurable bone/marrow cancer. I can barely say the words, and I couldn’t even begin to imagine completing the novel as beautifully as she did, knowing what all she had endured. Talk about a time to write. How did she do it?! A time to write. Writing from within; seamlessly, and beautifully as one with Aubrey at times.

It is no wonder that Aubrey leaps off the pages and into your heart. Loree’s heart and soul can be found in between the lines. This novel will touch people not just because of the terminal illness, but because of the life-lessons that Aubrey teaches Franco and Franco inadvertently teaches Aubrey. Inspiring hope in the midst of despair, reminding us of what is truly important in life. I honestly believe that this novel was meant to be written and meant to be written by Loree and shared. The screenplay had been stashed for years. Pulled out. Re-filed. Why now?

Loree Lough’s 50 HOURS is a poignant story that reminds us how precious life is, especially if our world has been turned upside down by cancer. But don’t be fooled: This novel will leave readers feeling hopeful, no matter how hard the dreaded disease has hit them. ~Jack Watts, award-winning author of 16 books, including “The Moon” series and Creating Trump Nation.

Loree has graciously discussed her treatments, some experimental, some traditional, and is willing to visit openly about her diagnosis, treatment, and the development of Aubrey (character), and this novel. She can be contacted via social media, her website or right here: contact@progressiverisingphoenix.com

A portion of Loree’s royalties from her 100’s of best-selling novels, go toward cancer research and other charitable organizations.

 

Amanda M. Thrasher

50 HOURS 

Loree Lough

 

author, books, publishing, Rachel Rueben, Social media

Why Authors Must Learn Social Media: The New Reality

Why Authors Must Learn Social Media

Lately it is becoming more and more common place for agents and publishers to assess an author’s platform.  That means they are looking for authors who can reach the readers they are targeting.  In fact at the Digital Book World Conference & Expo in 2017, representatives from Hachette and Perseus admitted they are checking out author platforms and social media engagement then reporting those findings at their acquisitions meetings.  This shouldn’t be a surprise, literary agents have admitted to doing this for years.  Like it or not, publishers are using social media as a measuring stick so wouldn’t be nice if we could impress or at least pass the inspection?

While doing research for my upcoming book Social Media Hacks for Authors, I came across several resources that can help authors who struggle with social media.   Many of these resources are available for free directly from the social media sites themselves.  I understand that many authors can’t afford the more expensive social media courses so I went on a mission to find the help we all need for free or at the very least, real cheap.

Below I list several resources and no, I’m not affiliated with any of the services or products mentioned.

Direct From The Horse’s Mouth

Did you know that Facebook has its own set of video tutorials that cover everything from advertising to analytics?  Twitter also has a Skillshare video featuring their marketing manager Sandra Vega and it’s all 100% free.  Below are listed the top 7 social media sites in the English speaking world.

General Social Media Courses

If you want to go further in your education there are several websites that will help you with your social media marketing.  The course topics range anywhere from content creation to targeted marketing.  Some of these are free while others have both free and paid options.

Tip:  Take advantage of the free material and later, if you feel like taking a more targeted course like Mark Dawson’s Advertising for Authors then go for it.

In Closing

Don’t be discouraged if you’re not an overnight sensation because building a following takes time nonetheless, you do have to start.  Gone are the days where social media was optional, today’s authors are expected to have an online presence no matter if they choose to go the traditional route or not.  Yes, this is more work but it is also a good thing because whether we choose to go traditional or not, our audience will follow us, not our publisher.  It’s this connection to your audience that is the key to a long-term career and isn’t that what we all want?

 

Bio: Rachel Rueben is author of YA, supernatural as well as romance books.  Her work can be found her on the Cereal Authors blog as well as Wattpad.  She is also a blogger at Writing By The Seat Of My Pants where she discusses self-publishing and rarely refers to herself in the third person.  😉