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Expenses to Expect when You are Self-Publishing Your Novel

Posted in Publishing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 15, 2017 by Dawn Ross

Writing a novel is not easy. But if you’ve done it and you think it’s a worthwhile read, you have a new difficult task ahead of you – getting it published.

There are many ways to get your novel published. They are the traditional way, self-publishing, and numerous ways in between. This article is about the newest and easiest way to get published—self-publishing.

Although self-publishing is the easiest way to get published, it is the most difficult for getting your name out there because you also have to self-market. And although it is often relatively free to self-publish, if you truly want your work to get read and possibly even popular, you will need to be prepared for certain expenses.

  1. Writing Supplies – This is an expense you will have whether you self-publish or go the traditional route. Writing supplies can include a computer, software, notebooks, notecards, pencils, etc. Costs may vary depending on your wants and needs.
  2. Beta Readers – Beta readers are the most basic type of reviewers. They are your friends, family, or other informal readers. They can help you find plot holes and minor errors. They can tell you which characters, scenes, chapters, and other things they like most or dislike the most. Keep in mind that these types of reviewers are not likely to provide a professional opinion and some of their feedback may even be wrong. Also, their opinions may be biased. Family and friends will probably do this for free, but if you want more objective reviewers you may want to offer an incentive to people who are not friends or family. I’ve paid between $50 and $100 per beta reader.

    I found some decent beta readers on Simbi.com. On Simbi, I exchanged services rather than paid them. They read and critiqued my book and, in exchange, I offered to do some art work for them. If you can provide a special skill, maybe accounting, dieting coach, or pet training advice, for example, you can offer your skills in return for beta readers. Keep in mind that some of the people you solicit will not follow-through. But at least all you’ve lost is time.

  1. Content Editing Service – Unless you’ve already had training as a writer, a content editor is a must. They not only provide an objective review, they also provide a more detailed review. They can tell you exactly what you’re doing right as well as exactly what you’re doing wrong. They will understand more about whether your book will capture a reader’s interest and keep their interest. They will be able to find plot holes better. The will tell you how to build your characters better, your scenes, and so many other things.

    I can’t stress the importance of this enough. When I wrote the first draft of my sci-fi, I knew and beta readers knew it wasn’t as good as it could be. But we weren’t knowledgeable enough to know what could be done to fix it. My content editor saved me. I think my book is ten times better now than it was originally, thanks to her feedback. Her services cost me about $500. And just so I can have a second opinion on the rewrite, I’ve hired another content editor for about the same cost.

    One thing about a content editor, they will be bluntly honest about your book. It will be very difficult to hear. You will want to get defensive about their opinions. But don’t. Listen. Listen to everything they say. Write it down. Then take a step back and think about it for a week or two. If you can learn not to take their advice personally, you will become a much better writer.

  1. Line Editing Service – A line editor will look for grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes. Nothing is more irritating than reading a self-published book and finding dozens and dozens of errors. Hiring a line editor is very important for self-publishers. I’ve recently paid about $500, but the person was in my writer’s group and was doing a favor. I believe the service can cost much more.
  2. Art – You will need a book cover for your book. And unless you are an artist, you will need to pay someone else to do it for you. Although I am an artist, my specialty is not in sci-fi art so I’ve paid an artist to do my book cover. It cost me about $100 this time but I’ve seen sci-fi artists charge as much as $500 or more. I’ve also found art on photo sites. These look deceptively cheap so be sure to read their guidelines. Most photo sites require you to pay $100 or more if you plan on using the photo or art as a book cover.
  3. Publishing – Although it is possible to get your book published for free on some sites, such as Create Space or through Amazon’s e-book publishing service, other places may charge you. Keep in mind that you get what you pay for. So while Amazon and Create Space is free, your only exposure for selling your book is on Amazon’s website. Plus, some writers believe the Create Space publishing format is not all that great. Other publishing sites can charge $50 or more to set up your book so that it can be available for print on demand. And they may also charge you for an ISBN, which is something all books will need before you can sell them. An ISBN can cost about $100 or so, I believe.
  4. Marketing – Since you are self-publishing, you really need to do a lot of work in order to market your book. There are so many ways to market and so marketing costs may vary. Here are just a few marketing ideas:

    -When selling on Amazon, Smashwords, or other online book-selling websites, make sure you use good keywords and that your book description, or synopsis, is very appealing for would-be readers.
    -You can pay for online ads on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media sites.
    -You can run your own blog and website, which may cost you in hosting services. If you have your own blog or website, you may need to spend a lot of time optimizing these sites so that they can be found ahead of other writers’ blogs and websites. Be careful about companies who say they can do this for you. They will charge you, but their practices do not always live up to their promises.
    -You can promote your book at book stores, which means you need to pay for a supply of books to keep on hand. Independently owned book stores may agree for you to do a book signing at their store.
    -Depending on your genre, you can pay for a booth at comicons, expo-shows, or local events. I have a friend who is rather successful at selling his books at comicons. But the booths are very expensive. Over time, he’s learned to supplement his book sale income with sales on t-shirts, art, mugs, and other things which have pictures of his book cover art on them.
    -You can try to find people to review your book and post their opinions on their own blog or website. This can backfire, though, if they give you a bad review. Some people will ask for small compensation for their time. Be careful with this because a paid review can come across as biased.

These are the expenses I’ve encountered in self-publishing so far. There could be others. I’ve heard of some people paying the self-publishing sites for additional services. This could be helpful for you, especially if you don’t know how to do something yourself. And despite your expenses, there is no guarantee that you’ll make the money back. Selling books is hard work. But at least you will have the good feeling of finally getting your novel published.

A Wonderful Book Review of The Third Dragon!!!

Posted in Book 1 - The Third Dragon, Reviews, The Dukarian Legacy - Fantasy Novels with tags , , , , , , , on October 13, 2012 by Dawn Ross

The Third Dragon

Ariesgrl Book Reviews has done a review on my fantasy novel, The Third Dragon. Check it out HERE. She says, “Excellent storytelling and an intriguing plot will capture the attention of readers everywhere.” and “If you enjoy young-adult, fantasy-fiction books, then you will want to mark this book as a must-read.” Ariesgrl has also added the book review to Goodreads HERE.

The Third Dragon is available on Amazon as both a paperback and Kindle edition. It is book one of The Dukarian Legacy series. If you like this first book, you can also read the sequel, The Raven’s Fire. I am still editing the third book, The Dragon and the Lion. I hope to have it out in the Kindle version by the beginning of 2013.

By the way, I have a couple of unsolicited book reviews on Amazon too. I’m so happy to see that people are enjoying my story.

Thanks, Ariesgrl!

Dawn Ross

Self-Publishing Your Book on Amazon & CreateSpace

Posted in Publishing with tags , , , , , on September 1, 2012 by Dawn Ross

Writing a book is a very difficult task. The better you want your book to be, the more difficult it is to write. Getting your book published used to be just as difficult, but not anymore. Amazon makes self-publishing your book as an ebook very easy. CreateSpace, which can be accessed through Amazon, makes publishing your book as a paperback just as easy.

Formatting Your Ebook
This was the most difficult part for me. It is not as easy as downloading your word document. Your files have to be in a certain format. For the ebook, you don’t want to use tabs. You want to use indents. Centering should be set up in styles rather than paragraph. Don’t justify your paragraphs. Don’t use page breaks, page numbers, headings, or footnotes. There are a few other things to consider as well. The best way to figure out how to format for an ebook is to go through this step-by-step process from Smashwords. Download free instructions on Smashwords by clicking HERE. Incidentally, you can also sell your ebook on Smashwords.

Formatting Your Paperback
Creating the document for your paperback is much easier. Most of the things you don’t want to do in the ebook format can be done in the paperback format. The most difficult part I had was the page numbers. You don’t put page numbers or headings on the ebook version, but you definitely want them on the paperback version. You want page 1 to start on the first page where your story starts so you have to set up your word document to start counting page one on page 7, for example. You can also have headings where the left pages show the author’s name and the right pages show the book title. Or the left page says the book title and the right page says the chapter name. The tricky part is getting all the left pages to say one thing and all the right pages to say another. Your page numbers can be centered in the footing. Play around with your book until it looks like what you want it to look like. Then download it onto CreateSpace.

CreateSpace
CreateSpace takes you through the download process. It also lets you preview how each page of your book will look. Flip through each page to make sure it looks right. If it doesn’t, fix it in word and download it again.

Book Covers
Ebooks and CreateSpace also have different formats for the book covers. When you go through the process of creating your ebook or paperback, be sure to look carefully at the instructions for the proper size and format. Ebook covers are smaller in size while paperbacks require a larger size with a higher dpi. This is because an ebook is viewed on a smaller digital screen which generally requires a dpi no higher than 72. A paperback book is larger and the dpi should be at least 300. Don’t forget, on your paperback version you will want to make sure there is room for the ISBN and barcode.

Traditional Publishing v. Self-Publishing
Before, publishing your book required soliciting an agent. One could solicit hundreds of literary agents and possibly never finding one, or risk finding one that took advantage of rather than helped a new author. If you are lucky enough to find a good literary agent, you have to wait for the agent to solicit a willing publisher. This could take several months, or even years. Or your agent might never find a willing publisher. Self-publishing guarantees your book will be published. But it doesn’t guarantee your book will sell. The benefit of having a literary agent and a publisher publish your book is they do all the marketing and distribution. Once you get a publisher, you just sit back and wait. With self-publishing, you have to do all the marketing yourself. This can take a lot of time and money, and a possibility of little return.

Whether you self-publish or choose the traditional method is a personal choice. For me, I tried the traditional method but found it exceedingly difficult to get my foot in the door and unfortunately found a bad literary agent. Instead of trying the traditional method again, I chose self-publishing because it was more important to me to get my book published than it was to make money and have wider distribution.

Why I Missed Saturday’s Post

Posted in Book 2 - The Raven's Fire, Miscellaneous, The Dukarian Legacy - Fantasy Novels with tags , , , , , , , on May 14, 2012 by Dawn Ross

Sorry I missed Saturday’s post. My mother is in the hospital so I have not been home for the past few days. It all started with her emergency visit to the hospital for her heart. But upon scanning her heart, the doctors noticed a few black spots on her lungs. We later found out that the “spots” were actually tumors taking up at least half her lung. The tumors are also in her lymph nodes and possibly elsewhere in her body. When they did a biopsy to see if the tumor was benign or malignant, her heart started causing problems again and she went into cardiac arrest. This happened four times before they were able to stabilize her. Her heart was being stabilized with a pacemaker and she had to have a breathing tube to assist in her breathing. The doctors were not sure if they would be able to revive her if she went into cardiac arrest again. And they were not sure if the cardiac episodes had caused brain damage.

But when they took the breathing tube out the next day and eased her off the sedatives, my mother was mostly herself. She was tired and sore, but she was alert and had no idea of the close call she had just had. It was a miracle!

Unfortunately, the biopsy confirmed lung cancer. The good news is that it is single-cell and treatable. The bad news is that the cancer is possibly very wide-spread. She is getting an MRI today to confirm. Until we know how wide-spread it is, we will not know her chances. We are also unsure about her heart. The heart doctor said that her heart is strong so he has no idea why she went into cardiac arrest. Was it the cancer, the drugs, or something else? The heart doctor did remove the pacemaker so my mom could get a full-body MRI and she did fine. But I, for one, would like him to put it back in until he is certain as to what caused the heart issue to begin with.

I published “The Raven’s Fire” just before this all happened but didn’t have a chance to tell you about it. “The Raven’s Fire” is a sequel to “The Third Dragon“. It is available on Amazon in the Kindle version only at this time. If you don’t have Kindle, you can download Amazon’s Kindle for PC for free.

Depending on how things go with my mom, you may not see a new post this next Saturday. Please keep her in your prayers.

More Miscellaneous Chatter from Dawn Ross

Posted in About the Author with tags , , , on February 25, 2012 by Dawn Ross

Well, it has been a busy week so I’m sorry I don’t have an organized post for you this Saturday. Instead, I am just going to tell you a bit on how things have been going.

Taxes
Why has my week been busy? One of the main reasons is because I have been getting my taxes done. Because my online retail business is structured under a corporation and because there are so many different aspects of the business, I do have a professional tax service do my taxes. But it is still my job to organize and submit everything. Then, of course, there are blanks which the preparer points out and needs more information on. This year, he told me that I have to start doing payroll. Even though I am the only owner of the corporation stocks and the only employee, I have to pay myself. Sounds simple? It is not. Setting up payroll includes more federal paperwork and requires tax reporting and social security withholdings. I suppose I could try to figure it out myself, but business is picking up so I would prefer to focus on customer service and improving my websites than spending time trying to figure out all the crazy federal laws and reportings. So, I am hiring someone to do it for me. If anyone ever tells you that running a website is easy, they are lying or they don’t know what they are talking about. There are a lot of costs involved and a lot of projects that need to be done in order to get a website on the first page of Google, Yahoo!, and other search engines. Even after running websites for nearly six years, I still have projects I need to do. It is a never-ending job. Sometimes it makes me money, and sometimes it doesn’t.

Medical
I also had a medical procedure done mid-week. Don’t worry, it was nothing bad. It was elective but nothing like plastic surgery or anything. Hopefully in a few months I will be able to give you more information. For now, my lips are sealed!

Sitemaps
Of the many projects I have been doing to make my retail websites better is to build sitemaps. I thought it would be easy. It was not. I’ve finally finished them for my www.PetAutoSafety.com website but not the others. What is a sitemap? It is not something I can easily explain so you may want to just Google it instead. I will tell you that there is more than one kind. There is an xml, html, and rss sitemap. I need one of each and creating each has its own set of procedures for setting up. Once they are set up, I have to submit them to Google and other search engines. I’m still not done.

The Third Dragon
I am proud to say that I finally finished getting a paperback version of my book on Amazon. You can find it at http://www.amazon.com/Third-Dragon-Book-Dukarian-Legacy/dp/1469974428/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1330199368&sr=8-1. However, it is still not showing up in searches. You have to direct link to it in order to find it. I went back and forth with Createspace.com a bit, and have now sent an email to Amazon.com. Hopefully I will find out what the deal is soon.

The Raven’s Fire
I am supposed to be editing book two, but obviously with taxes and doctors I have not been doing it. I should have spent my time in bed rest editing my book. Instead, I watched TV. I will tell you about that in a moment. I dread the editing process. I find that even though I know how my story will go, I get caught up in it and forget to look for editing opportunities. Thank goodness for professional editors.

Heroes
Our local video store is going out of business so they are selling all their videos. I found a bunch of great ones I wanted including the TV series for Heroes. I watched the first three seasons but missed out on the fourth season. So, you guessed it, while I was getting bed rest this week I watched the full fourth season of Heroes. And I loved it! I am envious of all the twists and turns and little plots which my stories seem to lack. And I love all the characters. Even the most antagonistic character, Sylar, is a fantastic character. I’m not sure I felt he should have been redeemed. I wished Mohinder had been more involved in the story. They never showed whether he got back with his girl. Also, what ever happened to NIki’s son Micah? I don’t remember if something happened to him in season two or three. Perhaps I should buy seasons one through three as well.

Well, that is all I have for now. I will try to have a more organized post next Saturday. Have a good week!  🙂