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Author Topic: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free  (Read 19641 times)  

Online Marian

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #25 on: October 11, 2017, 01:48:27 PM »
Yes. Most definitely get a professional.

So, if I were telling someone to how to publish for next to nothing I would still say proofreading was the most important thing to spend your money on.

Covers less so (though I am not belittling their importance), especially if you have an artistic eye (which I don't btw). Go on to YouTube and Derek Murphy has some great videos on how to make really nice covers for $1.
Professional proofreading is vital. Our eyes skim over our own mistakes.

It can take some hunting, but you can find reasonable cover designers. You want your book to be as professional as possible.

Offline Annie B

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #26 on: October 11, 2017, 02:05:39 PM »
I think it depends on what your goals are.  If you are producing a book that you hope and expect readers to pay you money for, and you want to be a professional about it... you are going to need to pay for some things such as editing and cover art, at the minimum.

Would you open a restaurant and ask people to eat off the ground out of their hands because you can't afford dishes yet? I would hope not, right? And if you did, you probably wouldn't expect anyone to actually eat your food, so hopefully you wouldn't be surprised when nobody wanted to come to your place for dinner...

Publishing is a business. If you want people to pay you for your work, ie this is not a hobby to you, you cannot treat it like a hobby. I mean, you can... but you will reap hobby rewards. The start-up costs for doing this are super low compared to almost any other business out there. You can get going and do a good job for a couple hundred bucks (a proofreader and a nice pre-made cover, for example).

It's okay to publish as a hobby, btw. Not everyone wants or needs to make money or have a lot of readers. But if that is your goal and you are expecting readers to pay you with their time and hard-earned money... please please don't make them eat off the floor. Nobody wants to do that and you will be severely disappointed with your results.

Also... keep in mind what might have worked in 2010 won't fly now. There are a ton of good writers taking the time and money to fund their projects to a professional level that meets or exceeds trad publishing standards. If you want to compete with that, you have to present the best, most professionally created book you can.

Offline Monique

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #27 on: October 11, 2017, 02:07:41 PM »
I think it depends on what your goals are.  If you are producing a book that you hope and expect readers to pay you money for, and you want to be a professional about it... you are going to need to pay for some things such as editing and cover art, at the minimum.

Would you open a restaurant and ask people to eat off the ground out of their hands because you can't afford dishes yet? I would hope not, right? And if you did, you probably wouldn't expect anyone to actually eat your food, so hopefully you wouldn't be surprised when nobody wanted to come to your place for dinner...

Publishing is a business. If you want people to pay you for your work, ie this is not a hobby to you, you cannot treat it like a hobby. I mean, you can... but you will reap hobby rewards. The start-up costs for doing this are super low compared to almost any other business out there. You can get going and do a good job for a couple hundred bucks (a proofreader and a nice pre-made cover, for example).

It's okay to publish as a hobby, btw. Not everyone wants or needs to make money or have a lot of readers. But if that is your goal and you are expecting readers to pay you with their time and hard-earned money... please please don't make them eat off the floor. Nobody wants to do that and you will be severely disappointed with your results.

Also... keep in mind what might have worked in 2010 won't fly now. There are a ton of good writers taking the time and money to fund their projects to a professional level that meets or exceeds trad publishing standards. If you want to compete with that, you have to present the best, most professionally created book you can.

This. All of this.

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Offline evdarcy

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #28 on: October 11, 2017, 02:10:41 PM »
I got stung on my covers originally -- at least looking back now that's how I feel now.  I was so over the moon at the time! If anyone offered me those covers now for the price I originally paid I'd tell them to do one. 

I've spent about 9 months playing and tinkering with designs on my new series of books (I used to do photography so I know my way around the basics in Photoshop) and I think I've vastly improved.  (see blog post here as I have no idea how to add images + they're big!)

http://www.evdarcy.com/journal-1/2017/10/11/cover-art


ETA:  I did this because I'm still new in publishing (read as 'An Unknown) and thus don't have the funds to compete with the big guys, so I needed to learn markets, covers, genres etc, and by doing my own covers I have learnt these things which is invaluable as a new(ish) author.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2017, 02:30:03 PM by evdarcy »

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Offline she-la-ti-da

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #29 on: October 11, 2017, 02:25:19 PM »
While I think many authors can publish for little to no outlay, I don't think the majority of people coming into this can. I worry that they see stuff like this and think that plopping any old junk up will lead them to enough sales to improve it all later. I don't see that happening. Maybe even four or five years ago, but the competition is so fierce now that not putting up the best product you can is only going to hurt you.

I know what it's like to literally not have a single penny to put into publishing. I started out with nothing, and I've heard it all. Need editors, need world class cover designer, need thousands for ads, on and on. And it would add up to about $5K, if I did everything people said I had to do. And I'd never get anything published, because I didn't even have five dollars, much less five thousand. Even five hundred was like some kind of miracle in the making. I had nothing to sell to make any money, couldn't get a job, couldn't borrow or put something on a credit card.

So I did the best I could. I'm not perfect, and I know I never will be. But I'm okay with editing my own work. I've spent time learning how to use graphics programs, and I think my covers are at least as good as some of those put out by trad pub houses. I didn't have money, but I had loads of time and the will to try to do something.

If someone doesn't have money, they shouldn't give up on their dream of publishing, but they need to understand that some picture from Google with Comic Sans, or Papyrus randomly stuck over it won't do. Their not even high school D- grammar won't cut it. Their three word blurbs won't fly. If they're willing to put in the time and work, and look around for ways to get stuff done, then they might have what it takes to bootstrap their way in.

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Online Lorri Moulton

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #30 on: October 11, 2017, 02:40:35 PM »
I make my covers from Amazon stock photos or my own...except for my paranormal cover.  The same person just made a new fairytale cover for me and I am so happy with it!

You can get by with doing a lot on your own.  Sometimes, we have no choice.  Other times, we just need to keep writing and hope that we can upgrade as we go.

ETA:  My new cover! 
« Last Edit: October 11, 2017, 02:44:07 PM by Lorri Moulton »

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Offline MonkeyScribe

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #31 on: October 11, 2017, 02:44:11 PM »
Know your goals. If your goal is to be a professional writer and earn a living at this business, then act like a professional. With professional cover, professional editing, etc.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2017, 05:39:29 PM by MonkishScribe »

Offline Gentleman Zombie

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #32 on: October 11, 2017, 03:51:54 PM »

My computer died. I'm currently publishing with nothing more than my  $50 tablet. The nice thing about tablets are all the apps. There are free photo manipulation apps that will apply filters and graphics. With pixabay and pixlr, I can create a free cover in a few minutes. With Ginger Page I can edit on the go.

The crazy part?

I'm having the best sales month ever and its pure profit! A total investment of zero dollars. Don't let being strapped for cash stop you.

Online Lorri Moulton

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #33 on: October 11, 2017, 04:09:36 PM »

My computer died. I'm currently publishing with nothing more than my  $50 tablet. The nice thing about tablets are all the apps. There are free photo manipulation apps that will apply filters and graphics. With pixabay and pixlr, I can create a free cover in a few minutes. With Ginger Page I can edit on the go.

The crazy part?

I'm having the best sales month ever and its pure profit! A total investment of zero dollars. Don't let being strapped for cash stop you.

Well done, Gentleman Z

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Offline jaehaerys

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #34 on: October 11, 2017, 04:24:40 PM »
There are some authors out there who can put out a professional product doing everything themselves. You won't know if you are one of those authors without some trial and error.


Odds are you're not one of those authors and you need to pay professionals to put out a professional product, but there's nothing wrong with trying your hand at every aspect of the process and seeing where that gets you with readers. Sometimes (maybe all the time) learning the hard way is the best way.


Offline Anma Natsu

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #35 on: October 11, 2017, 04:32:34 PM »
Draft 2 Digital isn't free. They format for free and after they take 15% of the net royalties.

Their formatting is free and unconditional.  You can use the files anywhere, including retailers, even if you do not use them as a distributor.  So the point the OP was making about them being free for formatting is correct. :)

Offline Pandorra

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #36 on: October 11, 2017, 04:34:59 PM »
Ha! I was to scared to ask Lorri how bad my editing was..  :D but that was my only option for book 1 :(
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Offline Annie B

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #37 on: October 11, 2017, 04:55:36 PM »

My computer died. I'm currently publishing with nothing more than my  $50 tablet. The nice thing about tablets are all the apps. There are free photo manipulation apps that will apply filters and graphics. With pixabay and pixlr, I can create a free cover in a few minutes. With Ginger Page I can edit on the go.

The crazy part?

I'm having the best sales month ever and its pure profit! A total investment of zero dollars. Don't let being strapped for cash stop you.

What does best sales month mean though? Someone starting out reading advice like this might thing "yeah, they are rolling in it without paying for anything!" when the reality might be you made 10 bucks this month. That's why I always caution people to really look at the advice being given and the results of those employing it. If they are not the results that would make you happy, that advice is probably not for you.

Nobody has to give hard numbers, btw. But I do think it is useful to keep in mind that when hard numbers are not present, the meaning of "doing well" or other phrases people use could be all over the place. Someone could say doing X doubled their sales, but if that took their sales from 1 a year to 2 a year... that's information that you might want to know before you drop everything and do X...

And this is why it is so important to know what your own goals are and what will satisfy you. Again... no harm doing this as a hobby, but recognize that if you are doing it as a hobby that is what you are and people doing it professionally are in a different category from you and will have very different goals and different results and will need to employ different methods.

Offline Gentleman Zombie

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #38 on: October 11, 2017, 05:27:04 PM »
I made roughly $1000 in three weeks Annie! I'm quite happy with that considering I started with nothing. If I listened to naysayers, I wouldn't have that!!!! If things keep going well, it will be 2k for October.

Its much more important to listen to that internal voice inside and be your own cheerleader. If someone wants to jump in, I say do it. There's no "bad book" police waiting to punish you.

« Last Edit: October 11, 2017, 05:32:10 PM by Gentleman Zombie »

Offline Jeff Tanyard

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #39 on: October 11, 2017, 05:30:30 PM »

My computer died. I'm currently publishing with nothing more than my  $50 tablet. The nice thing about tablets are all the apps. There are free photo manipulation apps that will apply filters and graphics. With pixabay and pixlr, I can create a free cover in a few minutes. With Ginger Page I can edit on the go.

The crazy part?

I'm having the best sales month ever and its pure profit! A total investment of zero dollars. Don't let being strapped for cash stop you.

That's awesome.  Congratulations.   :)
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Offline MonkeyScribe

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #40 on: October 11, 2017, 05:40:55 PM »
Its much more important to listen to that internal voice inside and be your own cheerleader. If someone wants to jump in, I say do it. There's no "bad book" police waiting to punish you.

The one star brigade is always ready to march into battle.

Offline Kal241

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #41 on: October 11, 2017, 05:46:34 PM »
The one star brigade is always ready to march into battle.

Those people will one-star anything for any reason they feel like. Including, but not limited to, "I don't like sci-fi/fantasy/history/erotica/romance/whatever your book's genre is." Being afraid of the one-star brigade seems pointless when they are known members of the cannot-be-pleased crowd.

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Offline MonkeyScribe

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #42 on: October 11, 2017, 06:07:51 PM »
Those people will one-star anything for any reason they feel like. Including, but not limited to, "I don't like sci-fi/fantasy/history/erotica/romance/whatever your book's genre is." Being afraid of the one-star brigade seems pointless when they are known members of the cannot-be-pleased crowd.

However, sometimes they one star because the book seems amateurish in writing and presentation.

Offline MattHaggis

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #43 on: October 11, 2017, 06:13:25 PM »
There's no "bad book" police waiting to punish you.
They are called readers and reviewers, and sales numbers.

Offline Annie B

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #44 on: October 11, 2017, 06:13:39 PM »
I made roughly $1000 in three weeks Annie! I'm quite happy with that considering I started with nothing. If I listened to naysayers, I wouldn't have that!!!! If things keep going well, it will be 2k for October.

Its much more important to listen to that internal voice inside and be your own cheerleader. If someone wants to jump in, I say do it. There's no "bad book" police waiting to punish you.



That's pretty good for a single title with no outlay for editing, cover art, or advertising. What genre are you writing?

Offline Patty Jansen

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #45 on: October 11, 2017, 07:07:54 PM »
I am a huge fan of bootstrapping.

I hate it when I see beginning writers fork out hundreds or thousands when they haven't yet learned the ropes and don't yet understand what sort of investment is needed. I've seen people pay $3000 for covers that were great art, but absolutely unsuitable as book covers. I've seen people spends hundreds on proofreading and formatting for a book that had major structural issues and serious beginnerisms in writing style that were a serious impediment to sales.

There is nothing wrong with bootstrapping while you see if you actually like this self-publishing lark or whether a project has legs.

But, here is a big but, I strongly believe that you should reinvest a percentage of sales into improving the presentation of your product and advertising (in that order).

If and when you decide to get serious, get serious services.

Offline Benjamin Douglas

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #46 on: October 11, 2017, 08:06:03 PM »

My computer died. I'm currently publishing with nothing more than my  $50 tablet. The nice thing about tablets are all the apps. There are free photo manipulation apps that will apply filters and graphics. With pixabay and pixlr, I can create a free cover in a few minutes. With Ginger Page I can edit on the go.

The crazy part?

I'm having the best sales month ever and its pure profit! A total investment of zero dollars. Don't let being strapped for cash stop you.

I can't love this enough. Well done, sir!

I am a huge fan of bootstrapping.

I hate it when I see beginning writers fork out hundreds or thousands when they haven't yet learned the ropes and don't yet understand what sort of investment is needed. I've seen people pay $3000 for covers that were great art, but absolutely unsuitable as book covers. I've seen people spends hundreds on proofreading and formatting for a book that had major structural issues and serious beginnerisms in writing style that were a serious impediment to sales.

There is nothing wrong with bootstrapping while you see if you actually like this self-publishing lark or whether a project has legs.

But, here is a big but, I strongly believe that you should reinvest a percentage of sales into improving the presentation of your product and advertising (in that order).

If and when you decide to get serious, get serious services.

Yes. Much more elegantly put than my previous soap-boxing. But, you know... I didn't hire an editor for the post ;)

Offline alawston

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #47 on: October 12, 2017, 12:08:09 AM »
Ouch! - I mean about sales drying up.
My first cover art was a horse on a blue background. I still love that cover.

I know... luckily I had other books out by that point in any case. The sales eventually recovered, after heavy promotion, but have never improved on those reached by the original botchjob cover. And there's a part of me that's quite proud of that, to be honest.


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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #48 on: October 12, 2017, 01:07:34 AM »
What you do and don't pay for depends on your background and skills.

Do what you can reasonably do, and do well, for yourself to save money. But, most certainly pay for the things you can't do well.

This.

I wouldn't recommend using free images for anything as there is no telling what you might miss in the small print. A lot of free images have restrictions on commercial use. But, any stock photo site will have graphic art which might fit your cover beautifully. In fact, one of the more well known cover designers does exactly this, with no changes, just the text.


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Offline Pandorra

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #49 on: October 12, 2017, 01:13:20 AM »
This.

I wouldn't recommend using free images for anything as there is no telling what you might miss in the small print. A lot of free images have restrictions on commercial use. But, any stock photo site will have graphic art which might fit your cover beautifully. In fact, one of the more well known cover designers does exactly this, with no changes, just the text.


I can't cite it so I won't post it.. lol
« Last Edit: October 12, 2017, 01:18:37 AM by Pandorra »
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