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Kobo: The Heavyweight Challenger?

Big news in the world of self-publishing. Interesting article and links to all relevant information.

Kobo: The Heavyweight Challenger?.

Update

Kobo has now released WritingLife from beta and is available for use now.

Are You Indie or Self-pubbed?

AKA – Why I hate self-publishers

Indie or self-pubbed: two sides of the same coin

I am going to be brave and outrageous and make a distinction that I doubt has been made before; the difference between an indie author and a self-published author. In addition, why I hate the latter.

The impact and effect of the digital revolution is far-reaching and the publishing industry is no exception. Companies such as Amazon, Smashwords and Barnes & Noble; making it easy for the 1000′s of rejected authors to finally see their work in print. (Albeit electronic print)

Anyone with any interest in non-traditional publishing has likely heard of authors such as Joe Konrath or Amanda Hocking; what about these folks? Barbara Freethy, Gemma Halliday or John Locke. These authors have all sold more than a million copies of their books. The success of these hard-working authors would not have been possible if not for the ebook publishing revolution.

The down side to this is the putrid avalanche of rubbish which is flooding the market, also as a direct result of e-publishing. You know the type of thing I’m talking about. Books that have covers slapped together using some dodgy (not meant to be used this way) program. Books that are seemingly immune to spellcheck. Books where the laws of physics, nature and grammar have been defied and abandoned.  Books where the formatting is a mangled jumble of font styles and sizes. (Here’s a tip, your writing is supposed to be creative, not the fonts you use.) Books, that let’s face it, should never have seen the light of day. These are the types of books I categorise as “self-published”. The creators (I refuse to acknowledge them as authors) of these books should be shot.

Self-publishers beware! Indies are gunning for you.

Indie authors on the other hand, focus on their craft; improving their writing and storytelling. Indie authors realise it’s their job to write a good story, but they will need help to produce a good book. They seek assistance and advice for editing, formatting and cover design. They consult colleagues and beta readers to identify strengths and weaknesses in their writing. All with the sole purpose of producing the best damn book they possible can.  Indies know and accept, that doing it yourself is not the easy route. They understand how incredibly hard it is to get noticed and achieve even moderate success.

Can you spot the difference?

Now you might be asking yourself what has prompted this hostility towards the brainless and talentless self-published writer.

Aside from the obvious obstacles and challenges faced by an author, these self-pubbers and their ramshackle offerings are having a devastating effect on perception towards non-traditional publishing and it’s authors.  Countless book reviewers will no longer accept any type of self-published work. They are tired of having to sort the wheat from the chaff, only to occasionally find something worth reading.  (The importance of book reviews will have to wait for another day.)

In an industry where the big boys already have a major advantage, as far as customer perception is concerned, we need to be nothing short of perfect if we want to sway readers. The incompetence and ineptitude of self-publishers guarantees that indies will, for the foreseeable future, continue to be viewed as pariahs of the publishing world.

Indie authors UNITE! Death to the self-publishers. Say goodbye to childish book covers, farewell to spelling and grammar errors. Let the revolution move forward. Together we can change the face of publishing. We can give readers fantastic stories at great prices AND keep control of our work.

So ask yourself – are you an indie?

Book Reviews

Any author worth their salt knows that book reviews can make or break you.

But how do you get reviews, favourable or otherwise?

Remember when you were young, trying to get your first job. At every job interview you were lucky enough to get you would be asked, “What experience do you have?”  How do you get experience when no-one will give you a job in the first place? Book reviews are like that, particularly for self-pubbed indies.

Now before we go any futher, I want to make it clear this is not about ‘bashing’ book reviewers.

However, too many book reviewers refuse to even consider self-pubbed work.  Why? We don’t have any ‘experience’, we are unknown. We are likely to remain unknown unless a few more of the hoighty-toighties step down from their ivory towers and give us a chance.

The overabundance of poorly written, non-edited, badly presented work of indies doesn’t help either.  Once again the majority are pigeon-holed and stereotyped because of a minority.

How do you, as a hard-working self-pubbed indie author gain some respect? You keep writing, keep honing your craft, keep submitting your work for review. If you think there is an easy way around this, you would be dead wrong and should probably quit while you’re behind.

There is absolutely no reason at all why you should listen to me. I am practically unknown an as author, certainly not a bestseller, and worse still I’m one of those dreaded ‘indies’ writers.

But why you should listen to me, and what I can tell you, as a human being with life and business management experience…nothing in this world worth achieving comes without hard work.

Forget the headlines stories of “record sales”, “bestseller in a day” etc. Sure it happens, but the likelihood of it happening to you is slim to none.

A “rolling stone gathers no moss”, but it sure does gather some momentum and that’s what you want. Yeah it’s hard work, sure it’s demoralising and frustrating, but you wanted to be an author!

 

 

I’ve Got An Idea

Sometimes the idea for a story or book will hit you like lightning, completely out of the blue. At other times it takes a lot of hard work and focus to pull the idea together. In any case, once you have that idea it is a long road to publishing the finished product.

With the digital revolution transforming the way in which books are delivered, a new breed of authors has entered the equation. They are called ‘indies’; writers who go it alone, without the demands, restraint or support of a publishing house.

Many writers, after slaving away for years at their craft, with no success in gaining a publishing contract, opt for the self-publishing route. Finally achieving what they knew all along, their work is good and readers love it. Others use it as a platform to launch their career. While some who choose self-publishing, see it as an ‘easy’ route. Considering self-publishing the easy route is foolish, naïve at best.

Self-published authors are finding it difficult to gain broad acceptance of their work. Many critics and reviewers wrongly believe “if an author isn’t good enough for a publishing house then they simply aren’t good enough.” This is snobbish elitism. However, while many authors pay careful attention to all things necessary, there are some who don’t and this fuels criticism of indie authors in general.

Like most things, self-publishing has its pros and cons. On the upside; as the author you retain full control of image and content, keep full rights to distribution and keep all royalties. The down side is, you are totally and completely responsible for the very same things.

Editing, cover design, where to publish, how to publish, promotion and marketing all need to be considered, planned and executed. A great ‘idea’ when presented as a book full of typos or grammatical errors will not endear you to readers. Does the cover look like the finger-painting of a two-year old? Will it be available as an ebook, paperback or both? How do you get your work into the hands of readers? Then there is the dreaded and evil promotion of your work. Let’s face it, there is no point in doing all the hard work and preparation of your masterpiece if no one ever reads or buys it.

I am not an expert so I’m not going to lecture you on how to do everything the ‘right’ way. What I will tell you is, enter the world of self-publishing with your eyes wide open. Don’t expect it to be easy, and do expect it to be a lot of hard work. Use your well-developed research skills to seek out the experts, learn from their success and their mistakes.

Novelist Ditches Publisher

Friend and fellow author Andrea Dean Van Scoyoc brought this to my attention, and I thought it was worth sharing with you all.

First appeared http://www.guardian.co.uk/ 15th September, 2011.

Novelist Polly Courtney has dropped her publisher HarperCollins for giving her books “condescending and fluffy” covers aimed at the chick lit market.

Courtney self-published Golden Handcuffs, a fictional exposé of life in the City, in 2006 after quitting her job as an investment banker, following it up in 2008 with Poles Apart, about an ambitious Polish graduate who moves to London. Their success helped land her a three-book deal with HarperCollins imprint Avon, but at the launch of the third book, It’s A Man’s World, she announced that she would not be working with the publisher again.

Instead, she is planning to return to the world of self-publishing.

“My writing has been shoehorned into a place that’s not right for it,” she said this morning. “It is commercial fiction, it is not literary, but the real issue I have is that it has been completely defined as women’s fiction … Yes it is page turning, no it’s not War and Peace. But it shouldn’t be portrayed as chick lit.”

Read the full article here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/sep/15/novelist-ditches-publisher-book-launch

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