Tempted to Self Publish?
I’m becoming an expert on mistakes.
Today is going to be a busy day, but before I leave again, I’m going to write a five minute blurb to ALL authors or would be authors that are considering self-publishing a book. I have now read quite a few of these undertakings and there are universal pitfalls that will eventually destroy this potential avenue for writers, (in my ever-so-humble opinion)
1. Once the story is written, let it gel for a few weeks before you try to edit or rewrite. The longer the better. The words must lose their familiarity to the author before you can see the strengths and weaknesses.
2. Analyze the plot, characters, diction, and structure, finding as many FAULTS as you can. Then correct them.. You may love a certain part, or character etc, but if the writing is stronger without them, or with their character being more acutely defined, you must do it. If you can’t be harsh with your own story, find someone who can and tell them that is what you want. No pain, no gain. Never suppose that self-publishing is the easier way. It’s quite the opposite because you have fewer professionals helping produce something wonderful.
3. The most common mistake made by very intelligent people is redundancy. Give the reader credit for getting it the first time. If it wasn’t CLEAR the first time, rewrite so it is clear.
4. Rule of thumb: (meaning my left thumb which is half an inch shorter than the right thumb and some people say looks like a toe, but I digress.) My left thumb made up this rule: rewriting should take twice as long as the original creating, be ten times harder and one tenth as enjoyable. Rewriting is why a manuscript is called a “creative WORK”
4. No matter how literate you think you are, get at least three qualified editors to read/correct/make suggestions on your manuscript. I have read several books/manuscripts written by Ph.D.s where there were grammatical errors, misspellings, triteness, obscurity and wearisome redundancy. Just because you’re the smartest person in the room doesn’t mean you can spell. (Take it from ever-so-humble me!)
5. Run a global search for all the forms of the word “there, their and they’re” and make sure they are properly used. Try to identify every homonym you can and double check the spelling. “alter and altar, lose and loose, wench and winch.” If you’re stumped, one of my sons, who shall remain anonymous but whose (or is it who’s?) name starts with a ‘D’ and ends with ‘aniel’ managed to pick the wrong homonym in every instance as he wrote home from Mongolia for two years. He’s the one who’s (or is it whose?) going to BYU on scholarship.
6. Offer your book at the lowest possible price. Self publishing is already a disadvantage and overpricing is a double whammy. The reality of self-publishing is that YOU will be marketing it directly. Use the charts at Createspace to figure a dollar a copy after you pay 40% to a bookstore, plus the cost of production, plus the cost of shipping. You’ll see that already it’s (or is that its) getting expensive.
I wish you the best of luck and the will to work for success in your self-publishing venture!