Author Topic: In Over My Head?!?!?!  (Read 2107 times)  

Offline Ambran

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In Over My Head?!?!?!
« on: January 07, 2018, 04:09:58 PM »
I've learned so much from reading these forums. I just want to thank everybody for your posts and your experience. There are a lot of you that I follow. I've had to search for things that have been mention like ads, apps, software and etc. It is like walking into a whole different world.

I came into this very naive which I still am. I just want to write! The ideas are non-stop, they have been for decades. Almost a week ago I just stopped writing.

I thought I would look into, 'what to do after you're done with your book.' Everything I have been seeing has been scaring the [crap] out of me! Thousands upon thousands for editing, cover design, proofreading, ads and etc.

It is hard to fathom spending that much on services just to get your book out there. I'm a stay-at-home mom, I'm not rich or poor. I know a lot of people probably think of it more as an investment but I just can't take away that from my family. I know there are no guarantees-I am willing to invest some.

So I do have several questions I know there has to be a few of you that went cheaply into this. A little background on what I'm doing first: I'm writing in the Romantic Thriller suspense categories. I have already started on a series of five books, I'm still on the first one. I have an idea of a stand alone that is really enticing for me to start working on. I believe I can do the cover myself it is not in a fantasy genre. Lots of experience with picture editing, so that's a plus.

If anyone is willing to answer these that would be great, this is pretty much based on when you were starting out:

1. What is your process after you are finished your with your book, including prices, if possible.

2. Do you prefer to work with KU or would you rather post to multiple platforms. I have noticed that a lot of you that are doing good using KU.

3. Your choice in editors, price?

4. Proofreaders?

5. Advertising?

I probably have more questions I just can't think of them now. My kids go back to school on Tuesday, I just really want to get back into my zone again and start writing. This is never happened before, ever! Something freaked me out this much to make me stop totally.

Thx again!!!!

Offline Shawn Inmon

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Re: In Over My Head?!?!?!
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2018, 04:27:50 PM »

1. What is your process after you are finished your with your book, including prices, if possible.

I have my cover in place before I begin writing the book, typically. I usually spend around $125 on my covers. After I finish my first draft, it goes to my alpha reader. I take their comments and do a quick polish. Then it goes of to my beta readers (I have about a dozen.) Likewise, I take their comments, do a polish, and send it to my editor. Initially, I spent between $1,000 and $1,500 on editing, but that was when I needed a lot of developmental editing. Now, I skip the developmental, and pay about $300 for a line edit. Once I get it back from my line editor, it goes off to my proofreaders, who do that for me for almost nothing. I format my books myself, using Draft 2 Digital. Total cost these days: around $500.

2. Do you prefer to work with KU or would you rather post to multiple platforms. I have noticed that a lot of you that are doing good using KU.

I'm all-in on KU.

3. Your choice in editors, price?

I loved my first editor, but eventually just couldn't justify his prices. I've found an excellent editor on Upwork. You have to be careful, but you can find good editors there. As I said, I typically spend around $300 now.

4. Proofreaders?

I pay them two signed copies of each book and mention them in the Acknowledgements.

5. Advertising?

This changes with time. Right now, it's AMS ads, Facebook ads, and I'm looking at doing Bookbub CPC ads this year, but I haven't started them. I typically do one price/freebie promo per month and use newsletters like ENT, Robin Reads, Book Barbarian, etc.


Shawn Inmon | Website | Facebook

Offline MClayton

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Re: In Over My Head?!?!?!
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2018, 04:29:05 PM »
Ambran, I write for a (free) blog whose entire purpose for years now has been to help newbie writers not get taken advantage of while learning to navigate the landscape of self-publishing. Mods, if this crosses a line, please delete and smack me upside the head, but this question is exactly why so many of us donate so much time to trying to help: https://www.indiesunlimited.com/2017/12/29/everything-you-need-to-self-publish/

Edit to add:  Hi, Shawn!  :D Shawn writes for the same blog, and donates a whole bunch of time to answering questions like these.  :)
« Last Edit: January 07, 2018, 04:33:17 PM by MClayton »

Offline Jessie G. Talbot

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Re: In Over My Head?!?!?!
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2018, 04:31:42 PM »
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

Don't be overwhelmed! Just finish your book and deal with the next steps when it's time. As for your questions: everyone will have different answers but here's what I'd do if I were you.

1: Finish your book. If you need inspiration and good advice on story structure and how to speed up your typing I recommend buying Take off Your Pants by Libbie Hawker and 2k to 10k by Rachel Aaron. They're short, inspirational, and hugely sensible and helpful.
2: Take your book to Goodreads and offer it up to be beta read. It's free and you'll get some good feedback.
3: Learn how to format it yourself.
4: Buy an inexpensive, genre-specific, premade cover.

Again, just relax. This is supposed to be fun, right?

Jessie G. Talbot | Website | Twitter | Newsletter

Offline Mark Gardner

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Re: In Over My Head?!?!?!
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2018, 05:15:38 PM »
I'm a cheapskate, so I do a lot on the cheap. While nothing will replace a professional editor, your first edition should have many rounds of beta reads. Many editors will offer to edit your first chapter for free so you can guage their skills. If you get back a chapter that's bleeding red, then you need more rounds of beta reads. A critique group will get you Somme solid editing in exchange for editing their manuscripts. I'm not a fan of KU, but many authors do well using it.

Offline Ambran

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Re: In Over My Head?!?!?!
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2018, 05:40:15 PM »
Thank you soon much Shawn, Melinda, Jessie & Mark!

Shawn-I really like those prices. I have looked at Upwork before, and I will definitely consider them!

Melinda-I am going to check out your blog later tonight when everyone watches (Hubby & Boys) TV. Kudos to you & Shawn!

Jessie-My Husband says the same thing, just finish! Don't worry or stress over it, deal with it when it needs to be dealt with. I actually have 2k to 10k I just need to read it. A's far as formatting covers & etc. Everything technical I am not as worried about. My degree is focused in Engineering with computers. It has been years though!  ;D

Mark-A critique group is a good idea. Hopefully my first chapter will not bleed, maybe just have a couple of scratches!

Offline MClayton

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Re: In Over My Head?!?!?!
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2018, 05:47:32 PM »
I wish I could take credit for the blog, Ambran, but it's not mine. I just contribute, because I believe in the cause. :-) Best of luck to you.

Offline northstar

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Re: In Over My Head?!?!?!
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2018, 05:58:35 PM »
Covers - premade, $50 or under

Editing/proofreading - Quid pro quo (and aware I'm lucky I could arrange that).

I go wide. I might have gone KU if I was writing in a genre I think has a lot of readership in KU, but mine doesn't, so it isn't worth it. Being a non-US author, I like to have my books available to non-Kindle users in other countries as well.

Advertising - outside of free options, I haven't gotten into paid advertising yet. There's a LOT to read on Facebook ads, AMS ads etc, and I want to learn enough before I decide what to attempt for future books and series.

Overall, I don't spend a lot on my books because I haven't seen a big enough return (and I know that getting into marketing/ads could change that). I do the formatting for print and digital myself because I enjoy it. Covers I've done my own before, but do premades now because I just don't have the skills. I look for premade sales to help offset that cost.

Offline Carol (was Dara)

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Re: In Over My Head?!?!?!
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2018, 06:17:23 PM »
Don't despair. I'm a stay at home mom myself and when I started out in 2011 I kept to a very low budget. I created my own covers by manipulating stock photos (already had experience in cover design). I hired someone to give a proofread (later had the books re-edited more thoroughly when I could afford it). Paid for a formatter, since I didn't know how to format on my own. In my first year, I spent something like $200 per each novella I released. I did very little advertising. I only made around $5k dollars my first couple years indie publishing (sold 30k copies but priced too low). That's okay, because I was experimenting part time and learning.

Around 2013(ish) I moved into the right place at the right time. From that point on, I began making around $100k per year and upped my budget to spending $1k(ish) dollars per book. I'd still say I spend under $10k per year on ads, although some expenses are genre dependent. My genre requires higher priced covers than romance but allows lower ad spend.

Long story short: there's a place for any budget in indie publishing. Most of us start out fairly small and scale up as we can afford it or as we see signs that a project has more potential if given more push.

1. What is your process after you are finished your with your book, including prices, if possible.

2. Do you prefer to work with KU or would you rather post to multiple platforms. I have noticed that a lot of you that are doing good using KU.

3. Your choice in editors, price?

4. Proofreaders?

5. Advertising?

I probably have more questions I just can't think of them now. My kids go back to school on Tuesday, I just really want to get back into my zone again and start writing. This is never happened before, ever! Something freaked me out this much to make me stop totally.

Thx again!!!!

When I finish a book, it goes to a proofreader, then a formatter, then releases, usually with some ads stacked around the release date. Total cost, including ads is $1,200(ish). That's if I'm launching a new series. Cost is slightly less if I'm just releasing into an existing series, because I don't advertise those releases, other than sharing with my newsletter.

My favorite editing service is this: http://victoryediting.com/
My favorite formatter this: https://www.polgarusstudio.com/

Ads: There are around a half dozen advertisers I use on a regular basis these days: Bookbub (when I can get them), Book Barbarian, Robin Reads, Ereader News Today, BookSends, Fussy Librarian. There's another dozen or so advertisers I sometimes stack together to fill gaps between bigger ads. But I rely more and more these days on my own mailing list. I also play with AMS or FB ads, though not with any great success, so I keep my spend low in that area. I'd happily spend more but haven't found other advertising that was effective for me.

On the KU question, most of my books are in KU but some are wide. I'm indecisive like that.  ;)

Anyway, good luck to you. Although lots of us indies found success pre-2015 I still see new writers breaking in every day, so don't get discouraged or feel like it's too late or like you must have a certain budget to begin. Scrape together what you can afford to spare in order to give yourself the best start, learn to do for yourself any work you can't afford to hire out, and jump on in. :)
« Last Edit: January 07, 2018, 06:23:21 PM by Carol (was Dara) »

Offline Ambran

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Re: In Over My Head?!?!?!
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2018, 08:00:45 PM »
I wish I could take credit for the blog, Ambran, but it's not mine. I just contribute, because I believe in the cause. :-) Best of luck to you.

I have been reading the blog for a little while now, This is Gold for new writers! My thanks to all of the authors and the owner!

Covers - premade, $50 or under

Editing/proofreading - Quid pro quo (and aware I'm lucky I could arrange that).

I go wide. I might have gone KU if I was writing in a genre I think has a lot of readership in KU, but mine doesn't, so it isn't worth it. Being a non-US author, I like to have my books available to non-Kindle users in other countries as well.

Advertising - outside of free options, I haven't gotten into paid advertising yet. There's a LOT to read on Facebook ads, AMS ads etc, and I want to learn enough before I decide what to attempt for future books and series.

Overall, I don't spend a lot on my books because I haven't seen a big enough return (and I know that getting into marketing/ads could change that). I do the formatting for print and digital myself because I enjoy it. Covers I've done my own before, but do premades now because I just don't have the skills. I look for premade sales to help offset that cost.

Do you edit someone's and they edit yours? Not using KU means you can also place your books on other platforms also, like Kobo, B & N-etc. I am loving the free advertising! Where do you find your premades at? I am 90% sure I want to do mine, but others might need help with that!

Don't despair. I'm a stay at home mom myself and when I started out in 2011 I kept to a very low budget. I created my own covers by manipulating stock photos (already had experience in cover design). I hired someone to give a proofread (later had the books re-edited more thoroughly when I could afford it). Paid for a formatter, since I didn't know how to format on my own. In my first year, I spent something like $200 per each novella I released. I did very little advertising. I only made around $5k dollars my first couple years indie publishing (sold 30k copies but priced too low). That's okay, because I was experimenting part time and learning.

Around 2013(ish) I moved into the right place at the right time. From that point on, I began making around $100k per year and upped my budget to spending $1k(ish) dollars per book. I'd still say I spend under $10k per year on ads, although some expenses are genre dependent. My genre requires higher priced covers than romance but allows lower ad spend.

Long story short: there's a place for any budget in indie publishing. Most of us start out fairly small and scale up as we can afford it or as we see signs that a project has more potential if given more push.

When I finish a book, it goes to a proofreader, then a formatter, then releases, usually with some ads stacked around the release date. Total cost, including ads is $1,200(ish). That's if I'm launching a new series. Cost is slightly less if I'm just releasing into an existing series, because I don't advertise those releases, other than sharing with my newsletter.

My favorite editing service is this: http://victoryediting.com/
My favorite formatter this: https://www.polgarusstudio.com/

Ads: There are around a half dozen advertisers I use on a regular basis these days: Bookbub (when I can get them), Book Barbarian, Robin Reads, Ereader News Today, BookSends, Fussy Librarian. There's another dozen or so advertisers I sometimes stack together to fill gaps between bigger ads. But I rely more and more these days on my own mailing list. I also play with AMS or FB ads, though not with any great success, so I keep my spend low in that area. I'd happily spend more but haven't found other advertising that was effective for me.

On the KU question, most of my books are in KU but some are wide. I'm indecisive like that.  ;)

Anyway, good luck to you. Although lots of us indies found success pre-2015 I still see new writers breaking in every day, so don't get discouraged or feel like it's too late or like you must have a certain budget to begin. Scrape together what you can afford to spare in order to give yourself the best start, learn to do for yourself any work you can't afford to hire out, and jump on in. :)

If possible I would really like to keep my whole budget under $500 for the first book. I want to release 5 in a series. Hopefully when I start back on Tues. I will keep going until I finish at least 3 or 4.

It does make since to invest more when you are earning a good amount. You are doing great now, that's awesome!

Again, thank you everyone for your valuable feedback.

Online kw3000

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Re: In Over My Head?!?!?!
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2018, 08:08:38 PM »
Don't despair. I'm a stay at home mom myself and when I started out in 2011 I kept to a very low budget. I created my own covers by manipulating stock photos (already had experience in cover design). I hired someone to give a proofread (later had the books re-edited more thoroughly when I could afford it). Paid for a formatter, since I didn't know how to format on my own. In my first year, I spent something like $200 per each novella I released. I did very little advertising. I only made around $5k dollars my first couple years indie publishing (sold 30k copies but priced too low). That's okay, because I was experimenting part time and learning.

Around 2013(ish) I moved into the right place at the right time. From that point on, I began making around $100k per year and upped my budget to spending $1k(ish) dollars per book. I'd still say I spend under $10k per year on ads, although some expenses are genre dependent. My genre requires higher priced covers than romance but allows lower ad spend.

Long story short: there's a place for any budget in indie publishing. Most of us start out fairly small and scale up as we can afford it or as we see signs that a project has more potential if given more push.

When I finish a book, it goes to a proofreader, then a formatter, then releases, usually with some ads stacked around the release date. Total cost, including ads is $1,200(ish). That's if I'm launching a new series. Cost is slightly less if I'm just releasing into an existing series, because I don't advertise those releases, other than sharing with my newsletter.

My favorite editing service is this: http://victoryediting.com/
My favorite formatter this: https://www.polgarusstudio.com/

Ads: There are around a half dozen advertisers I use on a regular basis these days: Bookbub (when I can get them), Book Barbarian, Robin Reads, Ereader News Today, BookSends, Fussy Librarian. There's another dozen or so advertisers I sometimes stack together to fill gaps between bigger ads. But I rely more and more these days on my own mailing list. I also play with AMS or FB ads, though not with any great success, so I keep my spend low in that area. I'd happily spend more but haven't found other advertising that was effective for me.

On the KU question, most of my books are in KU but some are wide. I'm indecisive like that.  ;)

Anyway, good luck to you. Although lots of us indies found success pre-2015 I still see new writers breaking in every day, so don't get discouraged or feel like it's too late or like you must have a certain budget to begin. Scrape together what you can afford to spare in order to give yourself the best start, learn to do for yourself any work you can't afford to hire out, and jump on in. :)

This was encouraging to read, thank you for sharing all of that.   8)

Ken Ward

Offline Carol (was Dara)

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Re: In Over My Head?!?!?!
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2018, 08:47:28 PM »
If possible I would really like to keep my whole budget under $500 for the first book. I want to release 5 in a series. Hopefully when I start back on Tues. I will keep going until I finish at least 3 or 4.

I think $500 is a perfectly realistic budget for what you're describing. If you shop around a bit you should be able to find the services you need at that price. As others mentioned upthread, you can get some pretty good premade covers in the $50 range and can use a free formatter (some use Draft2Digital for this) to save a bit more. That leaves you a respectable amount for proofreading and maybe for some ads when the time comes. Good luck!

This was encouraging to read, thank you for sharing all of that.   8)

You're very welcome. Glad to help.

Offline DrewMcGunn

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Re: In Over My Head?!?!?!
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2018, 08:55:31 PM »
...

1. What is your process after you are finished your with your book, including prices, if possible.

2. Do you prefer to work with KU or would you rather post to multiple platforms. I have noticed that a lot of you that are doing good using KU.

3. Your choice in editors, price?

4. Proofreaders?

5. Advertising?


I'm still new and have gone through through a lot of the same sense of being overwhelmed.
1) I found an editor here on the Kboards forum that I've been very pleased with. I spend around $300 for 70,000 words for a very thorough editing process. I also found a cover designer on Kboards who customizes the covers you seen in my signature line. I paid $100 for each of the cover.
2) KU has been very good to me, so far.  If you're like me and you don't have a detailed launch plan, KU was an easy choice. SSF is popular in KU, perhaps not as popular as romance but it's still being good.
3) Fading Street, see#1
4) I was fortunate to post my chapters on a closed alt history forum, where I had quite a few readers provide feedback. If something within the story wasn't internally consistent, I got called on it, and was able to fix it during the rewrite.
5) I've been using AMS since my first book's release and have been very pleased with the results.  But as folks will tell you, YMMV.

Drew McGunn

Offline anniejocoby

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Re: In Over My Head?!?!?!
« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2018, 09:18:41 PM »
It's pretty easy to get by on the cheap if you try. There are two things that you should probably try to invest in, if you can.

1) Photoshop. I got mine from Godswill Online Software for like $25. It's usually around $100 though. If you have no design skills, and have never used a photo manipulation site, don't despair. I didn't have any experience, either, aside from doing super easy photo manipulation through Pic Monkey. But I know enough now to do a decent cover. I'll admit, it took many hours of trial and error, but, now that I know the basics, it's pretty easy to do a professional-looking cover for next to nothing. It was important to me that I learn this program, because I spent thousands and thousands on my romance covers - I changed them all about a million times, so it cost me a mint over the years. I personally have fun designing my own covers, too, and I love having the flexibility of changing them as often as I like.

2) Vellum. If you have a Mac, you must.get.Vellum. It's a super, super, super easy formatter, and it makes your books look so professional. I think that it's around $250 for unlimited books.

Beyond that, I've invested in Scrivener (why didn't I get that program earlier????). It's only around $50.  It makes my writing go so much faster, because I'm not forever looking for the names of minor characters and their eye color and all that. For each character in your book, you can make a little index card thingy that explains who everybody is, what they're like, what they look like, etc. I've also invested in Dragon Dictation. The reason why I've done that is simple - after writing almost 40 full-length novels, I'm starting to get a serious case of RSI (Repetitive Stress Injury). Dragon isn't perfect, by any means - on a Mac, it' touchy, it crashes all the time, it keeps "losing" the microphone, and it misses and misinterprets lots of words, but it's better than the internal microphone by an order of magnitude.

As for advertising, I don't really know. I hear that some people do very well with AMS - I haven't tried it, yet, because it seems too intimidating. Facebook, I guess, used to be good, but that one also seems hard to get right. Facebook is a money pit if you don't know what you're doing, which I don't. BookBub is getting harder and harder to get into, and the rest of the ad sites don't do all that well, at least not well enough to make a difference. So far, I have just avoided marketing and advertising for my new series. That's not to say that you can't make AMS and Facebook work, but there's a sharp learning curve, one that I just haven't wanted to master.

Two dollars! Two dollars! I want my two dollars!!!
Annie Jocoby | ]Badge[/url] | Annie Jocoby website

Offline northstar

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Re: In Over My Head?!?!?!
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2018, 10:25:16 PM »
rockingbookcovers.com
goonwrite.com
selfpubbookcovers.com
thebookcoverdesigner.com
paperandsage.com
premade-bookcovers.com

Just a few I've found with covers I like.

Offline solo

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Re: In Over My Head?!?!?!
« Reply #15 on: January 08, 2018, 12:13:05 AM »
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

Don't be overwhelmed! Just finish your book and deal with the next steps when it's time. As for your questions: everyone will have different answers but here's what I'd do if I were you.

1: Finish your book. If you need inspiration and good advice on story structure and how to speed up your typing I recommend buying Take off Your Pants by Libbie Hawker and 2k to 10k by Rachel Aaron. They're short, inspirational, and hugely sensible and helpful.
2: Take your book to Goodreads and offer it up to be beta read. It's free and you'll get some good feedback.
3: Learn how to format it yourself.
4: Buy an inexpensive, genre-specific, premade cover.

Again, just relax. This is supposed to be fun, right?

This.  :D
Seriously, you worry too much about the technical side of publishing. Finish your story first. A newbie myself, I find the technical aspect intimidating. But as a friend said - no story, no manuscript. No manuscript, no book. No book? What are you worrying about? Have fun. We are all bound to make mistakes along the way.

Offline Ambran

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Re: In Over My Head?!?!?!
« Reply #16 on: January 08, 2018, 02:00:55 AM »
I'm still new and have gone through through a lot of the same sense of being overwhelmed.
1) I found an editor here on the Kboards forum that I've been very pleased with. I spend around $300 for 70,000 words for a very thorough editing process. I also found a cover designer on Kboards who customizes the covers you seen in my signature line. I paid $100 for each of the cover.
2) KU has been very good to me, so far.  If you're like me and you don't have a detailed launch plan, KU was an easy choice. SSF is popular in KU, perhaps not as popular as romance but it's still being good.
3) Fading Street, see#1
4) I was fortunate to post my chapters on a closed alt history forum, where I had quite a few readers provide feedback. If something within the story wasn't internally consistent, I got called on it, and was able to fix it during the rewrite.
5) I've been using AMS since my first book's release and have been very pleased with the results.  But as folks will tell you, YMMV.

Thank you for your feedback! I am following Fading Street-I love his prices

It's pretty easy to get by on the cheap if you try. There are two things that you should probably try to invest in, if you can.

1) Photoshop. I got mine from Godswill Online Software for like $25. It's usually around $100 though. If you have no design skills, and have never used a photo manipulation site, don't despair. I didn't have any experience, either, aside from doing super easy photo manipulation through Pic Monkey. But I know enough now to do a decent cover. I'll admit, it took many hours of trial and error, but, now that I know the basics, it's pretty easy to do a professional-looking cover for next to nothing. It was important to me that I learn this program, because I spent thousands and thousands on my romance covers - I changed them all about a million times, so it cost me a mint over the years. I personally have fun designing my own covers, too, and I love having the flexibility of changing them as often as I like.

2) Vellum. If you have a Mac, you must.get.Vellum. It's a super, super, super easy formatter, and it makes your books look so professional. I think that it's around $250 for unlimited books.

Beyond that, I've invested in Scrivener (why didn't I get that program earlier????). It's only around $50.  It makes my writing go so much faster, because I'm not forever looking for the names of minor characters and their eye color and all that. For each character in your book, you can make a little index card thingy that explains who everybody is, what they're like, what they look like, etc. I've also invested in Dragon Dictation. The reason why I've done that is simple - after writing almost 40 full-length novels, I'm starting to get a serious case of RSI (Repetitive Stress Injury). Dragon isn't perfect, by any means - on a Mac, it' touchy, it crashes all the time, it keeps "losing" the microphone, and it misses and misinterprets lots of words, but it's better than the internal microphone by an order of magnitude.

As for advertising, I don't really know. I hear that some people do very well with AMS - I haven't tried it, yet, because it seems too intimidating. Facebook, I guess, used to be good, but that one also seems hard to get right. Facebook is a money pit if you don't know what you're doing, which I don't. BookBub is getting harder and harder to get into, and the rest of the ad sites don't do all that well, at least not well enough to make a difference. So far, I have just avoided marketing and advertising for my new series. That's not to say that you can't make AMS and Facebook work, but there's a sharp learning curve, one that I just haven't wanted to master.

I love your covers and I always change my mind! Over and over again  ;D I do have a lot technical experience so that should come in handy with formatting and covers, but no Mac I am on Chrome os. I do have my windows desktop I will probably use for editing-if I can still it back from my kids.  ;)
I would love to get Dragon one day. Scrivener does not work with voice sadly. From a lot of the posts it seems like most do not like FB ads.

rockingbookcovers.com
goonwrite.com
selfpubbookcovers.com
thebookcoverdesigner.com
paperandsage.com
premade-bookcovers.com

Just a few I've found with covers I like.

Thank You! This is perfect in case I do not like doing my own!

This.  :D
Seriously, you worry too much about the technical side of publishing. Finish your story first. A newbie myself, I find the technical aspect intimidating. But as a friend said - no story, no manuscript. No manuscript, no book. No book? What are you worrying about? Have fun. We are all bound to make mistakes along the way.

The metaphor about the elephant from Jessie was so funny!
Hubby asked me tonight: Is your book done? Umm no. Then why are we talking about this!


Thank you everyone I feel a ton better. I read some of the blog posted here tonight, good stuff. I also finished outlining. Ready to get back at it!

Offline she-la-ti-da

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Re: In Over My Head?!?!?!
« Reply #17 on: January 08, 2018, 03:05:11 AM »
First thing to do is take a deep breath. Now, focus on getting the writing part down. Frankly, I see far too many people who have no idea how putting a book together works, they just want to jump in and start promoting whatever they've written. Cart goes after the horse! Study books on the craft, if you haven't already. Your library should have several, and probably access to more. Don't worry about the parts dealing with trad pub, just the craft bits. Make sure you have a good, basic grasp of how English works, so that you can form sentences with proper spelling, grammar and punctuation. All this will help reduce editing costs.

While you're working on getting your first few books completed, save any disposable income you have for editing, covers, proofreading, formatting, whatever you can't do yourself (and you can probably do the formatting, it's pretty basic for a regular novel). Learn about what ads are effective (it can change by the time you have a book ready to publish, so best to just keep up with trends while you work), and put some money aside if possible. You don't have to save a ton at once, just build the kitty.

I know this is really exciting, and if you're like many of us you really, really want to get this show on the road, but you'll save yourself time, money and heartache to slow it down a bit and get yourself ready to become a selling writer. Everyone makes mistakes, but we don't have to make all of them. It probably won't even take you that long. Good luck!
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Offline A Fading Street

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Re: In Over My Head?!?!?!
« Reply #18 on: January 08, 2018, 03:55:35 AM »
Having been mentioned a couple of times I thought I would just drop in. If it would help, and in the interests of you avoiding a nervous breakdown :) I would be very happy just to cast on eye over two or three chapters for you, not with the intention of doing an edit on them but just to offer an opinion and maybe a couple of tips here and there but more importantly some encouragement where it's due. This writing game can be a lonely business as most of us know so getting a bit of validation from time to time can't hurt.
Let me know if that is something you feel would be useful either through a Personal message or direct to publishing@fadingstreet.com
Cheers
Graham
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Offline Mark Gardner

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Re: In Over My Head?!?!?!
« Reply #19 on: January 08, 2018, 04:40:04 AM »
You should learn to format yourself, but if you need it, I'll format your paperback and ebooks, and you can pay what you can afford.

If possible I would really like to keep my whole budget under $500 for the first book.

Offline WDR

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Re: In Over My Head?!?!?!
« Reply #20 on: January 08, 2018, 09:30:50 AM »
Write! Write because you love writing and you want to give those stories a more concrete form than just daydreams in your head!

Forget all the complexities and nuances of publishing a book! Focus on writing. Focus on creating a completed, first-draft manuscript. All that publishing crap can wait until later.

Once you have a ready-to-go manuscript---or two or three---then you can take a deep breath and look at the publishing process.
  • Edit
  • Proof read
  • If mistakes found, fix and return to #1
  • Upload your manuscript in DOCX format to Amazon and they can format the ebook for you automagically.

As well noted above, there are people who can help you with every step along the way. And yes, there will be a price for each given function. This is the cost of doing business. If you find someone willing to negotiate the price with you for their services, try and reward them later down the line and hiring them again when you can better afford to pay them a better rate. If someone just waves it off and says they just wanted to help, then pay it forward and help another new writer in the future when you are more experienced yourself.

Trust me, we all know what it is like going through it for the first time. Self-Publishing can be overwhelming when you first look at it. Publishing is an industry that is many centuries old and constantly evolving. Interestingly, while commercial publishers developed a competitive business model over the centuries, the new generation of independent writers have discovered that a cooperative model works best for all of us. Independents have replaced the divide and conquer approach to book sales with "Let me give you a hand up."

The more good authors there are writing, the more good books there will be in the market.
The more good books there are in the market, the more readers will want to read.
The more readers want to read, the greater demand there will be for good books.
The greater demand for good books, the more openings there will be for more authors.
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Offline Ambran

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Re: In Over My Head?!?!?!
« Reply #21 on: January 08, 2018, 01:32:47 PM »
First thing to do is take a deep breath. Now, focus on getting the writing part down. Frankly, I see far too many people who have no idea how putting a book together works, they just want to jump in and start promoting whatever they've written. Cart goes after the horse! Study books on the craft, if you haven't already. Your library should have several, and probably access to more. Don't worry about the parts dealing with trad pub, just the craft bits. Make sure you have a good, basic grasp of how English works, so that you can form sentences with proper spelling, grammar and punctuation. All this will help reduce editing costs.

While you're working on getting your first few books completed, save any disposable income you have for editing, covers, proofreading, formatting, whatever you can't do yourself (and you can probably do the formatting, it's pretty basic for a regular novel). Learn about what ads are effective (it can change by the time you have a book ready to publish, so best to just keep up with trends while you work), and put some money aside if possible. You don't have to save a ton at once, just build the kitty.

I know this is really exciting, and if you're like many of us you really, really want to get this show on the road, but you'll save yourself time, money and heartache to slow it down a bit and get yourself ready to become a selling writer. Everyone makes mistakes, but we don't have to make all of them. It probably won't even take you that long. Good luck!

I am on my 6th Kindle. Started when they first came out. Best invention ever. I've read thousands mainly in the romantic thriller/suspense genre. I will read anything as long as the author grabs me. I have finished writing books, but I just end up trashing them-making sure no one else could ever read them. Prob. just needed a good editor or 3! I have a lot of 'how to write' books-some of them are really bad, some great. My most ultimate goal as of now is to finish the first book in the series I am writing. After I would like to have all 5 of them done before I start publishing. A's an avid reader it drives me crazy when the next title in the series is not available for months.

Having been mentioned a couple of times I thought I would just drop in. If it would help, and in the interests of you avoiding a nervous breakdown :) I would be very happy just to cast on eye over two or three chapters for you, not with the intention of doing an edit on them but just to offer an opinion and maybe a couple of tips here and there but more importantly some encouragement where it's due. This writing game can be a lonely business as most of us know so getting a bit of validation from time to time can't hurt.
Let me know if that is something you feel would be useful either through a Personal message or direct to publishing@fadingstreet.com
Cheers
Graham

Thank you Graham, Gotta be honest I am nervous of anyone looking at it before I am done. Not because of problems w/ plot or opinions & etc. I know I definitely have those. I am just afraid I won't finish, which is my #1 goal right now! Thank you again for your offer. When I do finish I will be sending you a message for sure.

You should learn to format yourself, but if you need it, I'll format your paperback and ebooks, and you can pay what you can afford.


Thank you Mark, If I cannot figure it out I will get a hold of you!

Write! Write because you love writing and you want to give those stories a more concrete form than just daydreams in your head!

Forget all the complexities and nuances of publishing a book! Focus on writing. Focus on creating a completed, first-draft manuscript. All that publishing crap can wait until later.

Once you have a ready-to-go manuscript---or two or three---then you can take a deep breath and look at the publishing process.
  • Edit
  • Proof read
  • If mistakes found, fix and return to #1
  • Upload your manuscript in DOCX format to Amazon and they can format the ebook for you automagically.

As well noted above, there are people who can help you with every step along the way. And yes, there will be a price for each given function. This is the cost of doing business. If you find someone willing to negotiate the price with you for their services, try and reward them later down the line and hiring them again when you can better afford to pay them a better rate. If someone just waves it off and says they just wanted to help, then pay it forward and help another new writer in the future when you are more experienced yourself.

Trust me, we all know what it is like going through it for the first time. Self-Publishing can be overwhelming when you first look at it. Publishing is an industry that is many centuries old and constantly evolving. Interestingly, while commercial publishers developed a competitive business model over the centuries, the new generation of independent writers have discovered that a cooperative model works best for all of us. Independents have replaced the divide and conquer approach to book sales with "Let me give you a hand up."

The more good authors there are writing, the more good books there will be in the market.
The more good books there are in the market, the more readers will want to read.
The more readers want to read, the greater demand there will be for good books.
The greater demand for good books, the more openings there will be for more authors.


You wrote this so beautifully with good information, thank you very much for that!

Offline SA_Soule

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Re: In Over My Head?!?!?!
« Reply #22 on: January 08, 2018, 01:53:04 PM »
To add to the other advice, I know editing is expensive, but some editors will work out payment plans. However, to save you money, I suggest learning to self-edit a lot of the draft yourself. This doesn't mean your work won't still have any issues or plot holes, but it will be a lot more polished.

I highly recommend that you read these helpful books to take your writing skills to the next level:

How to Write Dazzling Dialogue by James Scott Bell: https://www.amazon.com/How-Write-Dazzling-Dialogue-Manuscript/dp/0910355142

Take Your Pants Off by Libbie Hawker http://www.amazon.com/Take-Off-Your-Pants-Outline-ebook/dp/B00UKC0GHA

10 Step Self-Publishing BOOT CAMP: The Survival Guide For Launching Your First Novel (GREAT book no matter what genre you write or if you're already published). Link: https://www.amazon.com/Step-Self-Publishing-BOOT-CAMP-Launching-ebook/dp/B06ZZM1PY5

5 Steps to Self-Publishing FOR LOVE OR MONEY: Build a Career as a Self-Published Author: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00XIQ1Z7A

Revising Your Novel: First Draft to Finished Draft: A step-by-step guide to a better novel: https://www.amazon.com/Revising-Your-Novel-step-step-ebook/dp/B01L465U1W

You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One): https://www.amazon.com/You-Writer-Start-Acting-Like-ebook/dp/B007YJEIAS

Read every book on Chris Fox's "Write Faster, Write Smarter" series: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B071Z9PMCL

The Writers Guide to Character Emotion: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IQDW81W

Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View: http://amzn.to/1gdSFBD

Mastering Showing vs Telling in Your Fiction by Marcy Kennedy  http://amzn.to/1u8mjUL

The Emotion Thesaurus http://www.amazon.com/Emotion-Thesaurus-Writers-Character-Expression/dp/1475004958

Outlining Your Novel by K. M. Weiland: http://www.amazon.com/Outlining-Your-Novel-Map-Success/dp/0978924622

And I do disagree about buying a cheap premade book cover because that is a vital part of marketing your work, so spend money on that!

Wishing you much success.  ;D
~S
« Last Edit: January 08, 2018, 01:54:56 PM by SA_Soule »

Offline Ambran

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Re: In Over My Head?!?!?!
« Reply #23 on: January 08, 2018, 03:24:06 PM »
To add to the other advice, I know editing is expensive, but some editors will work out payment plans. However, to save you money, I suggest learning to self-edit a lot of the draft yourself. This doesn't mean your work won't still have any issues or plot holes, but it will be a lot more polished.

I highly recommend that you read these helpful books to take your writing skills to the next level:

How to Write Dazzling Dialogue by James Scott Bell: https://www.amazon.com/How-Write-Dazzling-Dialogue-Manuscript/dp/0910355142

Take Your Pants Off by Libbie Hawker http://www.amazon.com/Take-Off-Your-Pants-Outline-ebook/dp/B00UKC0GHA

10 Step Self-Publishing BOOT CAMP: The Survival Guide For Launching Your First Novel (GREAT book no matter what genre you write or if you're already published). Link: https://www.amazon.com/Step-Self-Publishing-BOOT-CAMP-Launching-ebook/dp/B06ZZM1PY5

5 Steps to Self-Publishing FOR LOVE OR MONEY: Build a Career as a Self-Published Author: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00XIQ1Z7A

Revising Your Novel: First Draft to Finished Draft: A step-by-step guide to a better novel: https://www.amazon.com/Revising-Your-Novel-step-step-ebook/dp/B01L465U1W

You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One): https://www.amazon.com/You-Writer-Start-Acting-Like-ebook/dp/B007YJEIAS

Read every book on Chris Fox's "Write Faster, Write Smarter" series: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B071Z9PMCL

The Writers Guide to Character Emotion: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IQDW81W

Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View: http://amzn.to/1gdSFBD

Mastering Showing vs Telling in Your Fiction by Marcy Kennedy  http://amzn.to/1u8mjUL

The Emotion Thesaurus http://www.amazon.com/Emotion-Thesaurus-Writers-Character-Expression/dp/1475004958

Outlining Your Novel by K. M. Weiland: http://www.amazon.com/Outlining-Your-Novel-Map-Success/dp/0978924622

And I do disagree about buying a cheap premade book cover because that is a vital part of marketing your work, so spend money on that!

Wishing you much success.  ;D
~S

Thank you there are so many helpful links on here. I have a few of these but it looks like I need to read several more of them.

I'm going to be reading a lot tonight which is fine. I would rather know exactly what I'm doing then going back and having to fix everything. Thank you.

Offline Andres

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Re: In Over My Head?!?!?!
« Reply #24 on: February 08, 2018, 08:07:05 PM »
It's pretty easy to get by on the cheap if you try. There are two things that you should probably try to invest in, if you can.

1) Photoshop. I got mine from Godswill Online Software for like $25. It's usually around $100 though. If you have no design skills, and have never used a photo manipulation site, don't despair. I didn't have any experience, either, aside from doing super easy photo manipulation through Pic Monkey. But I know enough now to do a decent cover. I'll admit, it took many hours of trial and error, but, now that I know the basics, it's pretty easy to do a professional-looking cover for next to nothing. It was important to me that I learn this program, because I spent thousands and thousands on my romance covers - I changed them all about a million times, so it cost me a mint over the years. I personally have fun designing my own covers, too, and I love having the flexibility of changing them as often as I like.

2) Vellum. If you have a Mac, you must.get.Vellum. It's a super, super, super easy formatter, and it makes your books look so professional. I think that it's around $250 for unlimited books.

Beyond that, I've invested in Scrivener (why didn't I get that program earlier????). It's only around $50.  It makes my writing go so much faster, because I'm not forever looking for the names of minor characters and their eye color and all that. For each character in your book, you can make a little index card thingy that explains who everybody is, what they're like, what they look like, etc. I've also invested in Dragon Dictation. The reason why I've done that is simple - after writing almost 40 full-length novels, I'm starting to get a serious case of RSI (Repetitive Stress Injury). Dragon isn't perfect, by any means - on a Mac, it' touchy, it crashes all the time, it keeps "losing" the microphone, and it misses and misinterprets lots of words, but it's better than the internal microphone by an order of magnitude.

As for advertising, I don't really know. I hear that some people do very well with AMS - I haven't tried it, yet, because it seems too intimidating. Facebook, I guess, used to be good, but that one also seems hard to get right. Facebook is a money pit if you don't know what you're doing, which I don't. BookBub is getting harder and harder to get into, and the rest of the ad sites don't do all that well, at least not well enough to make a difference. So far, I have just avoided marketing and advertising for my new series. That's not to say that you can't make AMS and Facebook work, but there's a sharp learning curve, one that I just haven't wanted to master.

Annie,
I bought Scrivener and now thinking of buying Dragon. How do both programs work together? When you dictate into Dragon, then you upload the file into Scrivener?

Andres Pelenur | facebook | twitter

Offline geronl

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Re: In Over My Head?!?!?!
« Reply #25 on: February 08, 2018, 09:33:10 PM »
If it's just a hobby you can do it for nothing. It depends on how much you want to put into it.

Floyd Looney

Offline Norman Steele Taylor

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Re: In Over My Head?!?!?!
« Reply #26 on: February 09, 2018, 12:21:36 AM »
If you start a blog, promo is dirt cheap.

In fact, it can be free.

How?  Share snippets on facebook and other social media platforms

Use these to build an author brand and create a following


Offline IreneP

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Re: In Over My Head?!?!?!
« Reply #27 on: February 09, 2018, 10:28:20 AM »


If anyone is willing to answer these that would be great, this is pretty much based on when you were starting out:

1. What is your process after you are finished your with your book, including prices, if possible.

2. Do you prefer to work with KU or would you rather post to multiple platforms. I have noticed that a lot of you that are doing good using KU.

3. Your choice in editors, price?

4. Proofreaders?

5. Advertising?


First, I started out with a publisher. Even with a small publisher they will take care of the editing and cover for you, so you don't have those expenses. It also gives you a place to learn and an idea how your work will be received without any financial risks - so keep in mind you can start by querying and move on to self-publishing later.  Unless you are picked up by a major publisher and/or someone very committed to your work, you are still going to have to do at least some of your own promo.

1.) Early on I had way more beta readers than I do now.  Betas are free and good ones can be an invaluable first step in the editing process. Now I have a co-writer and an editor and fewer rounds of critique groups and betas. For my full-length self-pubbed books I budget around $2k to get the book through the first month of publication. So this includes editing, cover, promo, etc. I do my own formatting. I consider that a mid-range price. You can do it for less. You can also spend way more. Editing and promo are the biggest chunks. My covers have run between $100-$250. Please keep in mind that I have enough books out now to have at least some idea what they will sell. When you don't know that, budgeting is riskier. Don't take out a second mortgage (especially on a first book). Save up, do trade-outs, whatever you have to do to make the book "affordable" for you. If you can earn out the first month, that is excellent. Some of my books have done so, but I budget on the expectation that they might not earn out for 1-2 years so keep that in mind when you are assessing financial risk.

2) I prefer wide. I know some authors are killing it in KU, but I've had better success wide and I like taking a teeny tiny little stand against the 'zon's monopoly.

3) For our series, we use Linda Ingmanson. She has a very affordable 3 pass process which includes a separate proofreader as the final step. Be aware she will ask for a writing sample before she takes you and will quote on a sliding scale. Depending on how clean she thinks the writing is, per-word price will vary. I'm a big fan of the three passes starting with dev.

4) see #3

5) Promo varies widely. For a release, I've budgeted a minimum of $200 (except for some of the shorts). The limit is the moon here. I wouldn't go overboard on a first book unless you have #2 already in the pipe and on pre-order. I do believe in promoting every book starting with the first. There is no sense releasing something no one will ever see. My big promos are usually releases or a book bub if I can get it. I run consistent, small, ongoing ads also. Very little budget monthly. If you are willing to learn facebook ads etc, you can spend considerably more every month.

Did you say if you've finished a book? If so, congratulations! Most people never get that far. It is a major first step and you should celebrate.

If not - keep writing. I know it all sounds scary, but if you take it step-by-step it is not so daunting.

Good luck!



Offline Scarlett_R

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Re: In Over My Head?!?!?!
« Reply #28 on: February 09, 2018, 03:23:37 PM »
SO much good advice here! I'm not going to repeat it because I'm sure you're overwhelmed with it all already.

My only 2c is this: Take it one step at a time. That's all you can do. Figure out what your next stage is and move forward from there. Have a goal in your mind but don't think about it too hard, because the process of publishing is definitely a lot to take in. But look at all of the awesome authors here doing it. It's totally doable and you have so much support and guidance here.

Break it down into mini steps and keep asking questions. You got this.

Offline C. Gockel

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Re: In Over My Head?!?!?!
« Reply #29 on: February 09, 2018, 04:27:07 PM »
If you're looking to publish your first book, I would say FIND SOME BETA READERS.

Do it before anything else. Gets some friends to read it, consider joining Critique Circle or something like that too. Do you write fanfiction? Have you become friends with your fans? Reach out to them.

Most first novels need a lot of work, get that done first.

FWIW: I started dirt cheap and bought things like covers as I could afford them, but if you have a little money, you can start out with a beautiful premade. Later, you can rebrand your entire series if it starts to make money. You can rebrand. You don't have to get everything right the first time. Good luck.


I write books about Change, Chaos, and Loki
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