You’ve been thinking about creating a memoir or family history book. But you may feel a like you’d be setting off on a bit of an uncharted course. Creating a book may seem like an overwhelming task. Understanding the six steps every book goes through on its way to print will give you a roadmap which will make successfully seeing your book through to publication much less daunting.
What will you leave behind after a lifetime of genealogical research? It’s a question that a lot of people ask themselves as they accumulate more and more information about their ancestors. It often leads people to think about ways to pass on their growing knowledge of the family history. There are many methods including creating a databases, creating a family archive, maintaining a family history blog, or a Facebook page. But creating a family history book remains the option of choice for a large number of people.
Getting books from the desk of writers to the hands of readers has always been a three step process: • Writing • Creating the book: editing, laying out the interior, designing the cover, and printing • Distributing, Promoting and Marketing Traditionally, writers have been involved in only one of those phases. Creating the book, distribution, promotion and marketing were responsibilities turned over to the traditional publisher. Beyond finding an agent and signing a contract with the publisher, the author didn’t have to worry about the business aspects of the book trade. Self-publishing changes that. A self-publishing author is an independent publisher who is responsible for all three stages of the process. A successful indie author must become a project manager who understands each step of the process and makes sure that the requirements of each are carried out well. Let’s look at what that means.
You should self-publish your book! We said so in our first post of this year, Publishing a Book in 2013? Self-Publish It! But we think you should do it knowing what your will be getting into. What are your options and why should you choose self-publishing? In our last post we explored The Advantages and Disadvantages of Traditional Publishing. Today, we’ll do the same thing with self-publishing. Then, on Tuesday in the final post of the series, we’ll discuss the best ways to take advantage of the opportunities and avoid the pitfalls self-publishing presents for authors.
Planning on publishing a book in 2013? In our initial post of 2013 we advised you to “Self-publish it!” In this post and the two that will follow this we’ll look at the reasons you should do that. Today we will analyze Advantages, Disadvantages and Recent Changes in Traditional Publishing and what those things might mean for authors. Our next post will do the same thing for self-publishing. The third post in the series will look at the emergence of a new role for the self-publishing author. So, let’s get started.
Want to publish a book in 2013? Do it yourself! The world of book publishing has changed dramatically since 2000 when Stephen King made his internet novella, The Plant, available on his website for $1 per download. ...So, as we begin 2013, best-selling author Guy Kawasaki, in his book APE: How to Publish a Book, advises, “The advantages of self-publishing far outweigh the disadvantages for most authors.”
A lot of people think creative nonfiction is an oxymoron. If you are writing a memoir, a family history, reporting on current events or historical ones, you are writing about things that have already happened. Your job is to recount the facts of those events as they happened. You are a reporter. Where’s the creativity in that? It’s in the way you choose to deal with the facts. Think of the way a young child recounts what happened. He presents a list of “This happened…” then “That happened…” statements as if the meaning of the events should then be self-evident. But meaning is really seldom self-evident. It is the role of the writer to turn the accounting of what happened into a narrative which captures the dramatic nature of the past and attempts to interpret its meaning.
Holiday gatherings are often a time for family historians to gather and share treasured photographs. Unfortunately some of the photos come without identification of the people pictured. So you might have gotten a picture of great-great-great-grandfather or somebody to whom you have no relationship at all. How do you figure out which? Here are some suggestions.
The brouhaha over Amazon book reviews continues. Today the New York Times ran a front page story Giving Mom’s Book Five Stars? Amazon May Cull Your Review. In the latest chapter of the controversy over the validity of reviews which appear on Amazon The Times reports: After several well-publicized cases involving writers buying or manipulating their reviews, Amazon is cracking down. Writers say thousands of reviews have been deleted from the shopping site in recent months. Amazon has not said how many reviews it has killed, nor has it offered any public explanation. So its sweeping but hazy purge has generated an uproar about what it means to review in an era when everyone is an author and everyone is a reviewer. ...What do you think about the controversy? Post a comment.
Well written dialogue in a book does not duplicate the way people really talk. It simulates how a real conversation might sound, but it doesn’t try to recreate one. Have you run across the advice that the way to learn to write dialogue is to listen carefully to people’s random conversations and then to incorporate the elements of what you hear into your dialogue? That’s a good idea because it will help you to reproduce the way speech sounds. Novelist Elmore Leonard, who writes some of the most crisp, witty dialogue around, said, ““I'm very much aware in the writing of dialogue, or even in the narrative too, of a rhythm. There has to be a rhythm with it … Interviewers have said, you like jazz, don’t you? Because we can hear it in your writing. And I thought that was a compliment.” Listening to people talk can help you to get a feel for their rhythms. But don’t try to reproduce the way they actually talk. Real conversation contains a number of things that will kill the dialogue in a book.
I love newspapers, especially the Sunday editions, because you never know what interesting idea or insight you might come across. This weekend San Francisco Chronicle film critic Mick La Salle responded to a reader’s question in an exchange in Sunday Chron: Q: Why are so many movies so long these days? A: Very few movies need to be longer than two hours. Directors should make movies, not take hostages. There’s an important lesson for writers in La Salle’s comment. Most first drafts have a lot in them that doesn’t need to be there.
The conventional route to a book deal is being challenged by a new path into print with a traditional publisher. It’s easy to dismiss Amanda Hocking’s $2 million contract with St. Martin’s Press and E.L. James’ seven-figure deal with Vintage Books as outliers. A closer look will indicate that they are simply the largest and best-known examples of important changes in world of publishing...There’s a new reality. While finding an agent who can successfully place your book with a traditional house is growing increasingly difficult, publishing houses are looking to successful self-published books as a new source of titles.
How can you tell the difference between a Saturday night B-movie on the SiFi Channel and a Hollywood blockbuster like Ridley Scott’s Prometheus? Simple. Production values. The blockbuster has the budget and the special effects wizards to create a world that appears real and plausible. We are drawn into it. The B-movie creates a world that might have provoked us to say, “Man, that’s fakey!” when we were kids at a matinee. It distances us from whatever merit the script might have. Keep that in mind when it comes time to self-publish your book.
How do you grab your reader’s attention with the first chapter and hold onto it all the way through your book? Thriller writer Lee Child offered a method in the New York Times Sunday Review this week with an article titled A Simple Way to Create Suspense. “As novelists, we should ask or imply a question at the beginning of the story, and then we should delay the answer,” said Child. Let’s look at two of my favorite classic movies to see how it works.
In 2011 Guy Kawasaki wrote the best-selling book Enchantment. A large technology company wanted to buy five hundred copies of the ebook version, but the book’s publisher, Penguin, was not able to fulfill the order. So Kawasaki decided to become a self-publishing author with his next book, What the Plus? about Google+. In the process of doing that he learned that for a newbie “…self-publishing is a mystifying, frustrating, and inefficient task.” So he partnered with app developer Shawn Welch who could fill in some technical expertise. Together the two acquired a lot of knowledge of how to navigate this new publishing universe and wrote about it in APE: How to Publish a Book, which they also self-published. Kawasaki’s goal for the book is simple. “I want to create the Chicago Style Manual of Self-Publishing,” he says.