Thursday, October 1, 2015

Authors, Please Beware of the Leeches

Being an independent author or self-publisher (whichever term you use) is a entrepreneurial adventure really. There are quite a few things to learn how to do. Let's make a list.

1) Writing a short story or novella or novel. I recommend Steven King's book "On Writing" mainly because he has sold millions of books. You can pick it up at Amazon or your local library. James Patterson has a training course out called the Master Class. I'm not a fan of Patterson's books because I have never read anything by him. But he has sold millions of books so his course which is only $90 may be worth checking out. My advice is don't buy books or training courses from anyone who hasn't sold over a million books.

2) Get your masterpiece edited by a professional editor. I used Elance now known as Upwork.com for hiring a professional editor. You describe the job and the editors bid on it. Many of them will edit a sample of 3,000 words.

3) Get a great cover designed. I used 99Designs to design covers for my novel. With 99Designs graphic designers from all over the world compete to be your cover designer. I had people at my Facebook page vote to choose their favorite cover. I simply chose the cover with the most votes.

4) Get your eBook formatted properly for publication at Amazon.com and Smashwords.com. Amazon because it is the biggest distributor of self-published books and Smashwords because they will get your eBook or short story into iBooks, Barnes & Noble and a lot of other smaller distributors. If you are doing a print book, you will need to get it formatted properly for Createspace. I used Quantum Formatting Service for the print version of my novel.

5) Lastly, and most importantly, you have to market your book. Marketing, marketing, marketing. And then more marketing. One of the best ways to market is to write more books and stories. Once you have about ten properties out people will not be able to ignore you if you are a good writer. This blog publishes free advice on marketing. Bottom line is you have to contact and communicate with individuals and groups of people to market your book. A good free resource is Mark Coker's free eBook "Smashwords Book Marketing Guide." Also, Joanna Penn is a self-published author who actually has been successful at self-publishing so I recommend her book entitled, "How To Market A Book."

It is my belief that the above links are the most professional and inexpensive way to do self-publishing and to become an independent author. Don't do editing for yourself. That is the single biggest mistake a self-publisher can make. I would say it is okay to make your own cover if it is just for a short story. But if it is for a novel or a collection of short stories hire professionals for the cover.

Formatting is easy to learn. Amazon and Smashwords have help or tutorials on formatting for eBooks. But if you are putting out a print book as well you should get a pro to help you. A pro will know how to work with Createspace's template.

Above is the most inexpensive and professional way to publish your book. The above will cost you under $1,000. Hopefully, you want a professionally produced product.

Now for my warnings.

First warning: If you decide not to take the above advice, you're on your own and you will not be able to say, "No one told me. I didn't know any better."

Second warning: Self-publishing today is like the California gold rush of 1849. The independent authors are not the ones making the gold. Very few independent authors are getting rich. The reason is simple. They either aren't very good writers or they can't market their work. If they can't write well enough they should study Stephen King or James Patterson and continue to write stories and books and continue to publish. Someone who wants to be a real independent author continues to write and publish.

On the other hand, a person who thinks only of money and riches sells training and books on how to be a successful independent author. They are called leeches. The people who got rich in the gold rush were the people who sold the shovels and pans and pick axes. The miners did not get rich. The leeches got rich off the miners.

The self-publishing industry is loaded with leeches. Stay away from the leeches. You can watch their free webinars, listen to their podcasts, and give them your email and receive their spam but don't buy anything from them. Don't waste your money. If they were selling millions of their own books they wouldn't be trying to sell you a course on how to write, market or sell your book.

Ask yourself this: If they know how to make you into a bestselling author, how come they haven't sold millions of books themselves?

Enough said.

There is a lot of free and helpful information out there if you look. Google it. These leeches Googled it and now they are selling it back to suckers. Don't be a sucker. Write, write, and write some more. Persevere. Market, market and market some more.

If you persevere then sooner or later you will be a bestselling author. That is if you follow my one rule. Remember what it is from past articles? DON'T BE BORING.


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