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TBD
by TBD

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Kindle Edition published 2016-01-12
Bestseller ranking: 757432

Product Description
With the odd disappearance of her parents, Gussie Gibson has lived her entire life with her granny on a peaceful pecan orchard, owned by the meanest man in all of Georgia—Mr. J.P. Combs. Granny teaches Gussie many valuable life lessons as a black woman growing up in the still-segregated south. Mr. Combs is an evil underhanded banker who takes liberties beyond his privilege. When Granny dies, Combs informs Gussie she owes him back rent—but he wants much more than money for payment—and more than Gussie can live with.
After defending herself against his sexual advances, Gussie flees to escape certain vigilante justice when she meets a charming, handsome stranger, Sam Johnson, who is just returning from World War II.
Gussie and Sam’s friendship is short-lived when Mr. Combs hunts her down and drags her back to Green Ridge, driven by his craving for revenge and a grudge too deep to comprehend. Gussie fights to return to Sam and his lo...

Author Topic: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free  (Read 19675 times)  

Offline MonkeyScribe

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #75 on: October 12, 2017, 06:05:15 AM »

Except I can't get on a plane, or ride in a car for any distance or be around crowds lol .. I CAN sit at home and try to do something for myself though, rather then waiting around for nothing or begging for a hand out. As I said, I love to write, if it helps then it helps, if it doesn't then at least I go out doing something I love and with the satisfaction of knowing I didn't give up because someone told me I could do better elsewhere when they can still walk and see and breathe on their own, having no idea what its like to lose those things...

You're right, I don't know what it's like to lose those things. What I have done is make a living at writing, and so I'm trying to address how to do that. If I were in your situation (assuming you can sit stretches at the computer), I would teach myself print and ebook formatting to a professional level. That's easier than learning how to edit your own work or do professional covers (at least for me). Then I would have that part of things covered and could freelance to other writers to pay for the cover and advertising.

Offline C. Rysalis

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #76 on: October 12, 2017, 06:12:44 AM »
MonkishScribe gives good advice. I also proofread / edit for another author on the side - in German, which is my first language and a bit of a market niche around these parts  8)

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Offline Pandorra

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #77 on: October 12, 2017, 06:17:31 AM »
You're right, I don't know what it's like to lose those things. What I have done is make a living at writing, and so I'm trying to address how to do that. If I were in your situation (assuming you can sit stretches at the computer), I would teach myself print and ebook formatting to a professional level. That's easier than learning how to edit your own work or do professional covers (at least for me). Then I would have that part of things covered and could freelance to other writers to pay for the cover and advertising.


Unfortunately, sitting is my only option at the moment..so I tend to get a lot done in a day.  ::)

I have been dusting off my MBA (from 20 yrs ago so we'll see) and learning what I can as I go.. its definitely something I will try once I get a handle on everything.. but I would still need/want the experience of trying it on my own books before assuring others I could do theirs.. at least with any confidence
:D


Edit to add: I got lucky with my covers, a friend of mine who works with graphics has offered to do mine for free so its the editing/advertising that will hit hardest and I still haven't figured out the best place to put the investment there for the best results for when I can afford it. One mth behind me I still know a lot more than I did..
« Last Edit: October 12, 2017, 06:24:05 AM by Pandorra »
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Offline GeneDoucette

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #78 on: October 12, 2017, 06:25:27 AM »
1. What are the numbers? Without them, "best-selling" is only relative to other books in your catalog. How do they compare to the people earning a professional living?
2. Would numbers have been even better with professional editing? No way to know, but I'm confident they wouldn't have been worse.
3. There will always be outliers. In general, the more professional the writing, cover, editing, etc., the better the results. Doing a survey on KB, I'm convinced that paying for professional services tracks very closely with sales and income.

1: It's sold over 50,000 copies and cleared six figures by itself in 2017.

2: This is utterly irrelevant to the point being made. I'm never said it was bad advice to get editing, I was challenging the argument that it's 100% necessary. You've also managed to cut off the caveat at the end of my overall point, which is that I use a copy editor now that i can afford one.

3: And now you're essentially saying 'anyway it doesn't matter, because you're an outlier.' This also begs the point I was making.

Offline evdarcy

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #79 on: October 12, 2017, 06:28:47 AM »
The point stands.  There have been people who have started out with nothing. Done it all themselves for a while and THEN been able to start spending money on projects. 

Me: I started with the funds to do things the 'right' way.
I paid for a website, I had my books professionally edited (Annie was a dream to work with!), paid a LOT for covers, and all the things that I am constantly seeing on here that we need to do in order to be successful etc, but I still got it wrong. I might only have two books out, so I wasn't expecting MILLIONS or even thousands, I thought I might earn hundreds, but... I didn't. I got it wrong, I used up all my initial funds and have no more to do this with my next batch of books.

I have learnt my lesson:  Just because you do the right things, doesn't mean success. Now I have to spend time learning things such a design work as I have to do my own covers. I've never found a pre-made that's right for my book, and certainly none that would work for the series as a whole. 
Basically I HAVE to do things as cheaply as possible because I have to make this next set of writing more successful than my first. Every penny I have from writing is taken straight up with other things to do with writing; research, newsletters, website costs, etc.

I admit, I am lucky that I did do *some* things professionally at first.  I have my own website still with dedicated domain name (although I redesigned that three or four times to get it right still - probably cost me in visitors initially), I bought software to write with that does help me keep my thoughts in order, and Vellum to format my work (although this was much later after I discovered pay as you go Mac servers).

However, I think that when you start out, if you don't have anything, but this is your passion and this is what you want to do forevermore, then start out with what you can. BUT ensure you listen to people (check their credentials at first!), if someone tells you the cover has problems, go away and look at what those problems are. Compare it. Research the hell out of things. Practice more and more covers.

I went from this: 

To this: 

Both designed by my. Both for the same story. Both worlds apart.

I find university graduates with relevant degrees working other jobs that want to earn on the side or add something to their CV for proofreading (I will go back to Annie as soon as I can afford her again for proper editing!), and I am going to sink what little money I *do* have for advertising when the next series is ready for it.

You *can* do things on a shoe string and get it right. You *can* do things perceived the 'correct' way and get it wrong (like me). You can also do the reverse of each.

I cannot wait until the day where I am earning my full living from writing. When I can hire people to do jobs for me that just allow me to focus on the writing side of things. But today is not that day.

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Offline MonkeyScribe

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #80 on: October 12, 2017, 06:31:32 AM »
1: It's sold over 50,000 copies and cleared six figures by itself in 2017.

2: This is utterly irrelevant to the point being made. I'm never said it was bad advice to get editing, I was challenging the argument that it's 100% necessary. You've also managed to cut off the caveat at the end of my overall point, which is that I use a copy editor now that i can afford one.

3: And now you're essentially saying 'anyway it doesn't matter, because you're an outlier.' This also begs the point I was making.

Congratulations on the success. My points are more to be taken in general. The only problem I have with your specific comments is that there will be a lot of newbies who use them to justify wishful thinking about how to make a living. I want to focus on best practices. That's the part of this we can control and leads to success at a far higher rate than a more amateur/hobbyist approach.

To be fair, you did add a caveat.

Offline GeneDoucette

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #81 on: October 12, 2017, 06:31:49 AM »
This wasn't your first book, was it? The thread title explicitly aims the advice at new authors. Who probably aren't experienced enough to do those things by themselves (in my humble opinion, anyway).

It was my first self-published novel, yes. I had four books with a publisher at the time. I don't see how this alters the point I was making.

Offline GeneDoucette

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #82 on: October 12, 2017, 06:38:35 AM »
Congratulations on the success. My points are more to be taken in general. The only problem I have with your specific comments is that there will be a lot of newbies who use them to justify wishful thinking about how to make a living. I want to focus on best practices. That's the part of this we can control and leads to success at a far higher rate than a more amateur/hobbyist approach.

To be fair, you did add a caveat.

Yep, I understand your concern. I would counter with the point that the people who are afraid to get into self-publishing because of the purported out-of-pocket costs, or worse, the people who have the money to start off and spend it on things they don't need to spend it on, are easy prey for those who would take advantage.

I learned from three years of working with content editors that I don't need a content editor. Copy editors are always helpful for typo spotting, but I also learned that my manuscripts are pretty clean. I already knew this about myself going in, so instead I invested in the one thing I knew I couldn't do: a cover. A better piece of advice may be to know where and what the costs are for each step of this process, and figure out what you can survive without.

Offline Shelley K

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #83 on: October 12, 2017, 10:07:22 AM »
There have been people who have started out with nothing. Done it all themselves for a while and THEN been able to start spending money on projects. 

Truth. Many people who've done well started out doing everything on their own. Bear in mind many of those who made their covers and self-edited did so when KDP was new, there wasn't much indie competition, and you could get away with covers you can't today. But typically the ones who will tell you to get pro help for covers and editing (proofreading at a bare minimum) are often the ones who did start out that way who know it's going to be easier for people to succeed, faster for them to succeed, if they start out a step ahead with a pro cover and someone with word skills looking over their prose.

Starting out bare bones is a valid path. Many of us have trudged it. But it's almost always going to be the harder, longer one. The "get pro help from the start" advice is designed to shorten that path and clear some rocks out of the way, not shame people who have to or want to do it all themselves. Just saying. :)

I've made a living writing fiction for quite a while now. I self-edit extensively, and when I hire new eyes it's for proofreading. I have a friend who combs through most of my stuff and does a better editing job than anyone I've paid to do the same. If I found an editor I thought was worth the money (the majority are not), I'd still send it to my friend, and I'd pay the editor, too. I suspect I'll find that person someday, if I keep looking. I pay cover designers, happily. Take my damn money and make me something beautiful and professional, please.

If I couldn't do that, I'd find a friend with an eye for my genre and design and get them to help me make something not horrible or pick out an inexpensive pre-made somewhere that didn't look almost as bad as something I could make myself. Unfortunately, a lot of writers do not have an eye for design. There's a lot of Dunning-Kruger going on in every writing space where writers can show off the cover they just made. I see it here a lot, for instance. The majority of homemade covers range from terrible to merely not that good to wtf genre even is this?

Do the best you (general you) can. Get the best you can afford, within reason. Don't spend your grocery or rent money on stuff--don't spend money you can't afford to lose unless you enjoy risk and ramen. And never be afraid to let people who might know a little more than you have a look and offer suggestions, even if you're sure you don't need any help. You may reject every one, but you'll still benefit over time from considering someone else's perspective.

Offline Martitalbott

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #84 on: October 12, 2017, 10:12:02 AM »
All anyone can do with your bank account details is pay money in. Anyone who wants to do that, is welcome.

You have forgotten editing and proof reading. Strange as it may seem, there are vast numbers of educated adults who have no idea what to do with a full stop (period) or a comma and cannot spell if their lives depend on it. That is the one thing that cannot be got round, if you are so handicapped.

I didn't forget editing and proofreading. Those are not free and shouldn't be. I just hate seeing new authors being sucked into spending giant amounts of money before they know if they have a book that people will buy.
Another thread recently asked if $50 a month was a good price to have someone do their AMS ads. No, setting them up and monitoring them is free. No one can guarantee an above average ROI. A $500.00 cover doesn't mean a book will sell if it's not well written or edited. That's just common sense. I like to think I have some common sense occasionally.

When I started publishing in 2010, I was looking at living on less than $1000 a month, in low income housing and going to food banks to survive. I did everything free because I had to. In that time, I've seen dozens of ways people prey on vulnerable authors. Makes me mad. I've seen people offer to set up accounts and upload books to Amazon - for a fee. (seriously?)

For a fee, people will do anything and everything for an author. Of course, they don't guarantee success. If they were successful, we'd all hear about it. I just want authors to know it doesn't have to be expensive or a nightmare to publish a book.
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Offline evdarcy

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #85 on: October 12, 2017, 10:39:10 AM »
Do the best you (general you) can. Get the best you can afford, within reason. Don't spend your grocery or rent money on stuff--don't spend money you can't afford to lose unless you enjoy risk and ramen. And never be afraid to let people who might know a little more than you have a look and offer suggestions, even if you're sure you don't need any help. You may reject every one, but you'll still benefit over time from considering someone else's perspective.

This completely!

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Offline Lorri Moulton

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #86 on: October 12, 2017, 10:56:22 AM »
I hate to say this (being one of those new authors and all ;) ) but even the best authors here didn't get where they are without hitting a few snags and having to climb the ladder like everyone else. It's easy to give advice from the top, which is really and truly appreciated from those at the bottom, but hitting new authors where it hurts just because they don't do everything perfectly isn't helping anyone.

I appreciate constructive criticism, I really do. But telling/deciding for someone what they should or shouldn't do for a living, based on your own experiences or not, is not exactly constructive. So why is it even a question here?

That's the wonderful thing about indie publishing.  Anyone can do it!  There are no trad publishers "allowing" us to enter the market.  We are here!  Whether we make a lot of money, become famous or just enjoy sharing our writing...we can publish from anywhere.  We can publish from our home!  Truly amazing.  :D

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Offline MonkeyScribe

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #87 on: October 12, 2017, 11:12:54 AM »
That's the wonderful thing about indie publishing.  Anyone can do it!  There are no trad publishers "allowing" us to enter the market.  We are here!  Whether we make a lot of money, become famous or just enjoy sharing our writing...we can publish from anywhere.  We can publish from our home!  Truly amazing.  :D

1. Can you?
A: Yes.
2. Should you?
A: Depends on if it's a hobby or a serious attempt to make a living. If it's a hobby, then yes. If it's a serious attempt to make a living, best practices involve investing money in covers, editing, and advertising. Much like running any other small business, you need to have some money invested to give yourself a good chance to succeed.

Offline evdarcy

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #88 on: October 12, 2017, 11:32:15 AM »
Depends on if it's a hobby or a serious attempt to make a living. If it's a hobby, then yes. If it's a serious attempt to make a living, best practices involve investing money in covers, editing, and advertising. Much like running any other small business, you need to have some money invested to give yourself a good chance to succeed.

Yes, so you keep saying.  But some people get around it.  You said earlier if you want to take longer... You know, sometimes it's not about WANT it's about NEED. 

And you know what, some of us need baby steps.  It's the simple. Some of us need to fall on our arses and pick our selves up to learn the ropes.  Some of us need to fail in order to succeed.

Kudos to those who have made it from the earlier days. But I also bet you were all told it's a pipe dream, or a nice hobby, or whatever, and yet you worked through it, pushed it, and emerged victorious. While you ARE right (if that's what you're all desperate to hear) that doing it professionally (meaning throwing money at things) is the way to go, some cannot.

I agree with something someone said earlier.  You do it with what you have.
Some of the most successful business people I've heard off started off at the bottom; stockroom boy, high school drop out, cheap market stall owner.  Some of them lost everything and rebuilt. Some did that more than once! 

Do it with what you have, and then when you have more, do it better!

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Offline Lorri Moulton

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #89 on: October 12, 2017, 11:53:26 AM »
1. Can you?
A: Yes.
2. Should you?
A: Depends on if it's a hobby or a serious attempt to make a living. If it's a hobby, then yes. If it's a serious attempt to make a living, best practices involve investing money in covers, editing, and advertising. Much like running any other small business, you need to have some money invested to give yourself a good chance to succeed.

I appreciate that you're trying to help.  I really do. 

Yes, success may be easier with more money, but it's not necessary

It may take longer doing things yourself, but there is also more control over the final product.  And not everyone is coming into this with zero background in business. 

There are a variety of reasons to start slowly in any business and learn the basics, specific to that industry.  Even with more money, wise investing is always good business.

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Offline MonkeyScribe

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #90 on: October 12, 2017, 12:02:07 PM »
I appreciate that you're trying to help.  I really do. 

I am helping. Not everyone, or even most of the people here. But there are lurkers here who are reading and trying to think of this seriously like a business, and I imagine some of them are connecting with what I'm saying.

I am not saying that it's impossible to bootstrap, I'm saying that indie best practices involve investing in this like you would any other small business. Your best chance of success is professional covers, professional editors, and paying for marketing. Can one possibly bootstrap? Yes, but that is a less successful path on average.

Offline This_Way_Down

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #91 on: October 12, 2017, 12:18:45 PM »
I appreciate that you're trying to help.  I really do. 

Yes, success may be easier with more money, but it's not necessary

It may take longer doing things yourself, but there is also more control over the final product.  And not everyone is coming into this with zero background in business. 

There are a variety of reasons to start slowly in any business and learn the basics, specific to that industry.  Even with more money, wise investing is always good business.
It is easier with more money. The more the better. But even without more, you need some. You simply can't do everything yourself. Editing, for example. Self-editing is just another draft. Editors get paid for a reason. Proof reading. Sure you can get your buddy to do it for free....but...well....do I really need to explain why that's a bad idea? Not having the money for production does not change reality. For every 1 writer making a living who says I'm wrong, I'll show you 100 who says I'm right. And MonkeyScribe is right too. :)

Offline MonkeyScribe

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #92 on: October 12, 2017, 12:31:34 PM »
For every 1 writer making a living who says I'm wrong, I'll show you 100 who says I'm right. And MonkeyScribe is right too. :)

MonkeyScribe is paid in bananas. Generally 70%, but sometimes 35% during a special promotion.

Offline JulianneQJohnson

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #93 on: October 12, 2017, 12:38:51 PM »
1. Can you?
A: Yes.
2. Should you?
A: Depends on if it's a hobby or a serious attempt to make a living. If it's a hobby, then yes. If it's a serious attempt to make a living, best practices involve investing money in covers, editing, and advertising. Much like running any other small business, you need to have some money invested to give yourself a good chance to succeed.

I will have to disagree.  Simply because one has to start from nothing and work to where they can spend money on their product does not make them any less serious.  It does not make them "hobbyists." It makes them folks who know the road to earning a living is going to be a long road uphill, complete with potholes and detours.  A writer doesn't have to have all the best practices money upfront to avoid being called a hobbyist.  A writer has to write and do the best they can with what they have.  Maybe it used to be easier, but it can still be done because writers are still doing it.

An artist doesn't have to make sure they can book an art gallery before they try to sell a painting.  They just have to work harder than the guy who already has his gallery show.

So, to all you out there starting out with nothing.  Yes, editing and covers are important, but don't let anything stop you.  Never give up, never surrender!

JQJ- who is not a hobbyist.
             

Offline Martitalbott

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #94 on: October 12, 2017, 12:48:17 PM »
So here's an example of a cover anyone could make, and this book is currently #5 on the bestseller list. Oh sure, I know this is a top selling author, but if he paid a lot for this cover, I'd be worried about him.  http://a.co/h0lIVkT
 
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Offline Lorri Moulton

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #95 on: October 12, 2017, 12:50:16 PM »
I will have to disagree.  Simply because one has to start from nothing and work to where they can spend money on their product does not make them any less serious.  It does not make them "hobbyists." It makes them folks who know the road to earning a living is going to be a long road uphill, complete with potholes and detours.  A writer doesn't have to have all the best practices money upfront to avoid being called a hobbyist.  A writer has to write and do the best they can with what they have.  Maybe it used to be easier, but it can still be done because writers are still doing it.

An artist doesn't have to make sure they can book an art gallery before they try to sell a painting.  They just have to work harder than the guy who already has his gallery show.

So, to all you out there starting out with nothing.  Yes, editing and covers are important, but don't let anything stop you.  Never give up, never surrender!

JQJ- who is not a hobbyist.

Julianne, I wish we had a like button! :)

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Offline Usedtoposthere

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #96 on: October 12, 2017, 01:00:30 PM »
So here's an example of a cover anyone could make, and this book is currently #5 on the bestseller list. Oh sure, I know this is a top selling author, but if he paid a lot for this cover, I'd be worried about him.  http://a.co/h0lIVkT
 
That cover follows genre conventions for thrillers and works with its title. It is selling the author and his branded look, and telling you what is different about this book at a glance (tropical location, signaled by colors and design).

You don't have to take the advice of the major selling authors here. Of course you don't. You can continue on and hope for some kind of magical lucky break. But they didn't get where they are by magic and fairy dust. If I'm an aspiring football player and I have the opportunity to ask an NFL player for his advice and feedback, or I could ask another guy playing college ball with me, I'd pay more attention to what the NFL player said. He's made it where I want to go.

Offline evdarcy

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #97 on: October 12, 2017, 01:10:53 PM »
You don't have to take the advice of the major selling authors here. Of course you don't. You can continue on and hope for some kind of magical lucky break. But they didn't get where they are by magic and fairy dust.
Not one of us has rubbished any of the advice given, and when we are in that position of stepping up, we will. This is what we're not getting. Some of us just don't have the money, RJ, so we're doing what we can. we offer this advice to those in the same boat. Not a single post I've read has said do it this way forever.

Surely the NFL player wouldn't tell a kid that he has to spend x money on his foot wear, or y money om his choice of hydration liquids. No, he'd say, hey kid you work hard and when you've put in the effort you'll get to be like me.

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Offline Usedtoposthere

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #98 on: October 12, 2017, 01:19:01 PM »
Not one of us has rubbished any of the advice given, and when we are in that position of stepping up, we will. This is what we're not getting. Some of us just don't have the money, RJ, so we're doing what we can. we offer this advice to those in the same boat. Not a single post I've read has said do it this way forever.

Surely the NFL player wouldn't tell a kid that he has to spend x money on his foot wear, or y money om his choice of hydration liquids. No, he'd say, hey kid you work hard and when you've put in the effort you'll get to be like me.
But you see, you have a thread where you're saying you aren't selling the way you want, wondering if that's because you're not writing to market. You want to sell. It's crowded out there. You have to have a grabby title and a cover and blurb that work with it. You don't if you don't care about selling. If you care about selling, you do. My covers cost me 99 dollars. People here are saying you don't have to do this to sell, but you do. You simply do. You have to have a professional LOOKING product.

People have different strengths. Mine is in editing because it used to be my job. That's an area I can spend less on. I was a copy writer also, so I can do a strong blurb.  But my graphics skills are garbage. Almost everyone I see making their own covers is about in my boat, except a few people who DO have real graphics skills. The problem is that many people can't evaluate that realistically. Witness the post about Nelson DeMille's cover. It's an area most of us just haven't developed enough to judge it well.

A football player has his equipment supplied. I am not using that as an exact example. I'm saying, people who have succeeded in a field have probably figured things out along the way. They may know what it takes. It's not a bad idea to listen. But hey, Book 24 isn't finishing itself. Back to work.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2017, 01:26:37 PM by Usedtoposthere »

Offline MonkeyScribe

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Re: New authors - almost everything you need, you can do free
« Reply #99 on: October 12, 2017, 01:21:00 PM »
I will have to disagree.  Simply because one has to start from nothing and work to where they can spend money on their product does not make them any less serious.  It does not make them "hobbyists."

You can be serious about a hobby, but it implies that you're not doing it as a primary source of money. If you are doing it as a primary source of money, even making that attempt, then professional presentation is important.

Note that this says nothing about the quality of the book itself. I can buy some seriously yummy baked goods at my seasonal open air market. The entry costs for that are pretty low. The people there don't typically make a living, but have other jobs.

When someone decides she wants to make a living from her baked goods, this generally involves putting in money for a professional level bakery, for branding, for a store front, etc. If she doesn't do that, but keeps selling at the farmers market for some fun money, it doesn't mean that the pies and brownies are unpalatable, but it does limit her ability to make a living.

My advice here is for people who want to make a living. If you want to do this as a serious business, you have to treat it seriously. If you don't, then your financial situation is likely to remain at the hobbyist level. Your pies books can still be of high quality.