Publishing 101- Workshop Held at the Clayton County Library- Part 1

I love my community library. Sherry Turner, the head librarian, goes out of her way to keep the event room of the library packed with classes of all kinds to encourage community development.

For the third year, I was able to attend a writing seminar that focused on Publishing 101. The speaker, Cora Lockheart, a very talented author, spoke to a room full of inquisitive attendees about her journey into self-publishing. Cora’s book, The Inheritance of Being, was published this year. She had a wealth of information to share.

One of the first things she pointed out is that self-publishing, as popular as it has become over the last few years, is nothing new. She shared an encouraging handout detailing some now famous authors and well-known books that were self-published.

Here are a few:
Famous Self-Published Books:
Ulysses
The Adventures of Peter Rabbit
The Bridges of Madison County
Famous Authors Who Self-Published:
Deepak Chopra
Zane Grey
Mark Twain
Bernard Shaw
Virginia Wolff
E.E. Cummings
Edgar Allen Poe
Rudyard Kipling
Henry David Thoreau
Benjamin Franklin
Walt Whitman
Beatrix Potter
Here is one that will probably shock you:
Famous Author’s Rejected by Publishers:
Kathryn Stockett- The Help– 60 times
George Orwell- Animal Farm
Joseph Heller- Catch -22 -22 times
Alex Haley- Before Roots- 200 rejections
John Grisham- A Time to Kill– 15 publishers and 30 agents (bet they’re still kicking themselves!)
Dr. Seuss- 24 times
Steven King
J.K. Rowling
And many, many more!
What does that mean for new writers, or those about to embark on the daunting query process?
It means you have options. But, like anything you want in life, not matter what you decide, there is work.
Some tips she shared were:
·         Covers are important! Make sure you use the right type of setting in order for your cover to come across online (if selling as an eBook), and printed (if doing print on demand) books. PDF Creator shows how your book will look on Kindle. CreateSpace also offers an app for self-publishing converted books to allow you to see your book cover in various e-Reader formats.

  While eBooks are great, not everyone owns or wants to read a book on Kindle. Think about your target audience.  Older readers may prefer the feel of a book in their hands, while younger ones enjoy the use of technology. Let your reader decide which option they prefer.  CreateSpace on Amazon allows you to make your book available as a POD option without costing you a thing. Research your options!

·         The biggest stigma about self-published books is that they are not edited.Overcome this stigma by having it professionally edited. If it is not in your budget, find reads (family, friends, teachers, professors, etc.) who may have an editorial background. Even readers who do not have a literary background can find mistakes/errors that you may not notice. (Think about it, not all readers who critique books have an English degree). Prepare yourself for the feedback and be willing to make changes. Repeat the process until your work is the best it can be. Take heart: even the major publishing houses miss errors in books every now and then!

·         While places like CreateSpace offer ISBN numbers, use of them may limit the online sites where you can sell your book. Consider purchasing your own ISBN number. If you own it, you can sell your book anywhere. Also know that if you use a CreateSpace ISBN, their name will be printed on the cover of your book as the publisher. Research your options!

·         If self-publishing is not for you and you decide to use a vanity publisher, RESEARCH! Their goal is not to put out quality work. They make money by charging you, the author, to publish your work. As long as they are paid, they will publish anything you want. Make sure the publisher you choose works to make sure your book is the best it can be. Make them care about you by staying in constant communication with them throughout the process. 

·         Use your network for editing, graphics, and assistance with marketing. Friends and family with experience in these areas may be willing to assist you to reach your goal.
Cora chose self-publishing. She researched her options  and created her own company, Paramour Press, and published her book. Next, she shared a few tips on self-publishing she learned from David Carnov in an article, Self-Publishing a Book: 25 things you need to know. Here are a few highlights. (For the sake of space, some of the tips have been condensed. Visit the link to read the full article.)
·         Digital, not print, is your best bet. A text-based book (no graphics, illustrations, or photos) sold as an e-book is easier to produce than a hard copy. It also sells for less, making it easier to move than a hard copy. You can always upgrade later.

·         Buy your own ISBN—and create your own publishing house. Even if you go with one of the subsidy presses for convenience’s sake, there’s no reason to have Lulu, CreastSpace, IUnivers, AuthorHouse, or whomever listed as your publisher.

·         Create a unique title. Your book should be easy to find in a search on Amazon and Google.

·         Self-publishing is a contact sport. The biggest mistake people make when it comes to self-publishing is that they expect to just put out a book and have it magically sell. They might even hire a publicist and expect something to happen. It’s just not so. You have to be a relentless self-promoter.

·         If you’re selling online, make the most out of your Amazon page. *Tip* Make sure your book is put into five browsing categories (it only allows five). It helps to categorize your book to readers and will make your book look better if it’s a bestseller in those categories.

The Inheritance of Being, by Cora Lockheart
Sometimes Lux Madigan takes things that don’t belong to her, and this is the reason she believes her twin sister, Nix, fled the Cape Perpetua Asylum where they were institutionalized over thirty years before. Approaching sixty with a degenerative heart condition and a damaged memory, Lux roams Cape Perpetua desperately searching for Nix in the faces of twins that inhabit the city. Legend has it that the city was cursed when the ship, the Twin Sisters, smashed against its rocky shore in the mid-Twentieth Century. It’s a curse that has always been attributed to Una Madigan, the twins’ mother, because of the connection she claimed to have with the dead. With the help of a recently-widowed journalist, Victoria Belmont, the atrocities of the Eugenics Board are exposed and long-buried secrets are unearthed, making it clear that the curse lies more within the foundation of existence.

Find Cora at these locations:


Website    Email    Goodreads    Facebook    Amazon    Barnes and Noble    Powells Books

Come back for part two when I introduce fabulous local authors, their books, and where they can be found!

MJ

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