Tag Archive | E-book

Comparing Colours

crucial11  There has been with the publication of my novel. The paperback copy of the book arrived last week. I was thrilled to finally see my novel in a tangible form. The book looked great and had a nice feel to it but… I thought the version of the front cover I had approved was the one to the right. On it you can clearly read the words a novel etc. However on the front of the paperback the colour was rather darker and the word a was invisible. It seems I agreed to this some time ago before the final cover spread was prepared for printing.

I was sure the version I had accepted was this one but if you look back to my post called Cover Spread you can see, just, the difference. I just could not let it stay with such a bad mistake. Fortunately as I have opted for print on demand it can be corrected and the final version will have all the words visible if partly obscured.

The mistake shows two problems, one is trying to compare colours on the computer. Even if you print a copy, as I did, there can be differences in the depth of colour because of the different printer and ink levels. The other is the ability we all have to read a sentence or even a paragraph when part of the letters are concealed. I have learnt a lesson that one needs to be extra careful when agreeing to any part of the process that turns a manuscript into a book.

First Quote

White horse in field

White horse in field (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have just received a quote from the publishing company for copy editing, preparing for printing as a paperback, proof reading, cover design, formatting as an e-book, distribution and marketing. The total cost is about £4000.

I would have five hundred copies of the paperback, which is the minimum number for having access to the distribution network the publishers use. I know there are cheaper ways of getting the book published-this is the de-luxe version, but they do a lot of the work and hopefully prevent the mistakes that mainstream publishers point to when they criticise self publishing. The question for me is how much faith do I have in my book to spend so much money on launching it? Still not sure, but it’s still cheaper than the mythical horse- the one I don’t have, can’t ride, don’t pay livery charges for etc.  Anyway I’m off to see another company who offer the same sort of service at the end of the week.

The London Book Fair

I have spent the last two days in The Authors Room at the London Book Fair listening to presentations from the various companies who offer services to authors who wish to self-publish. These included Matador who provide a

Author room

Author room (Photo credit: Rrrrred)

complete suite of services, the various e-book platforms Kobo and Kindle. Also a number of authors who have done both traditional publishing and also self-publishing. They provided a lot to think about, with the various options available. They emphasised the importance of marketing, including the design of the cover. It has to be something that looks good the size of a postage book, as well as on the book, because that’s what appears on Amazon. Get it done by a professional if possible. Similarly if you can get a professional edit, certainly a copy edit/proof read (although I’m not sure what the difference is, except that one happen before the book is in galley form and the other after). I’ll come back to this when I’ve had more time to think about it, but it did confirm for me my decision to take the self publishing route. Thank you to Authoright for organising this event.

To self publish

That is the question? I have spent the last week researching the various companies who offer self-publishing. Some of them are the offspring of mainstream publishers, which is an interesting development. One has been trying a very hard sell, constant telephone calls to try and persuade me to take up a package with them. Others are more laid back, and simply give the details of the services they offer and then leave you to make your own mind up. Barristers Wig
Of course like any writer I would love to have some publisher say they wanted to buy my book, but if I self publish does that mean my book is not worth any space on someone’s bookshelf or Kindle. There is a lot of snobbery about self publishing, that only books published by the big publishing houses are properly edited and marketed and therefore are ‘proper’ books. When I look at the diet of books in the bookshops I do wonder if that is correct, there is a mixture of chefs and celebrities everywhere.  Some very good books get little or no marketing when they are published. I can think of two books I have read recently that I had trouble finding in a large branch of Waterstones.
It seems to me that one of  the advantages of publishing ones own book is the time factor. Even of you get an agent it may take time for them to sell the book to a publisher and then the publisher will take some months to actually put your book into the shops.

Then there is question of the amount you can expect to earn from selling the book. I don’t know what writers earn, but not everyone is going to be a best seller and earn millions. Only three years ago we were told that the average earning for a writer were £6000. So stick to the day job seemed to be the message.

The problem is the cost of self publishing to the same standard as the publishing houses, my research reveals it could be around £5000, which I is rather a lot. That would include editing, copy editing, cover design, printing usually a limited number of copies, preparing an e-book and marketing. Still most people can’t afford that amount.

The first stage of self publishing is getting the book professionally edited and I have taken that course today. The first step on what I hope will lead to me having a copy of the book, Crucial Evidence, in my hands in due course.

Winchester Writing Conference

Three days at the Winchester Writing Conference has left me too exhausted to put fingers to keys. I went to workshops, lectures and had the opportunity of discussing my novel Crucial Evidence with a number of literary agents and authors. I know the publishing industry is struggling with Amazon and the supermarkets cutting the price of books and now the rise and rise of the e-book, but their response seems to me to be inadequate. In order to cut costs they us literary agents as gate-keepers, assuming that they as publishers and agents have the same agenda. During my career at the English Bar, I soon learnt that my clerk, the man who took 10% of my earnings, did not have identical objectives to me. I think the same applies to literary agents. They all say they are looking for some amazing talent, but in fact they want someone who will sell books so they stick to the familiar.  I have no doubt that someone will say that it is sour grapes because none of the agents I spoke to wanted to represent me and my novel, but I find that strange when one of the authors whose class I attended described my writing as brilliant, another as marketable and a consultant editor of a major publishing house wanted to read the complete transcript. I wasn’t the only writer with a similar experience. One of the men in the class on ‘Writing a Page Turner’ read out to the class the beginning of his SciFi/Comedy book, which had us all doubled up laughing. The agents he saw told him they found his work incredibly funny, but they didn’t want his book because they wouldn’t know where to place it. Which all suggests thet anything new, different or original will struggle to get published. I think self-publishing is the way forward. Has anyone else had similar experiences