This is a great post from Ali Luke. It’s an incredibly well written piece on how truly difficult it is to be a fiction writer. This isn’t a straight up “here are tips” kind of article, but you will definitely find some note worthy passages in here!
So I am officially tired of fighting my software. I will go back and film these typed sections but I am tired of making you guys wait. Here it is!
Today we are going to be talking about what to do after you have completed your first draft.
A huge mistake that a lot of self published authors make is that they publish after they’ve completed the first draft of their book. That’s a no no. Because self published novels have the stigma of being poorly edited and formated, we have a responsibility to our readers and ourselves to put even more effort into polishing our work before it’s released.
When you first decide to enter the self publishing world, it can be kind of overwhelming. Perhaps you don’t know anyone that self publishes so you’re left to navigate the world all on your own. I mean, where do you go to get to know people and make connections? Where do you go to find unbiased opinions of your book before it’s released? And most importantly, where do you go to publish?
Let’s start with that last question. Almost everyone in the self publishing community go through Amazon to publish. Their Kindle Direct Publishing set up is incredibly easy to use. It’s so popular that there is actually a forum site set up for the authors that are active with publishing to go and share ideas, plots, covers, and all sorts of stuff. I will warn you by saying that there are a lot of trolls and rude people on there, but I think that’s kind of with any forum website. If you plan on visiting that forum, just be warned.
Another big site pretty common is Absolute Write. This is another fantastic forum site for selfpublishing and I think it’s a little more active than the Kindle Publishing Forum. A lot of authors use Absolute Write to hash out story ideas, discuss frustrations, share expirences and branch out. This along with SFWA (also known as Writer Beware) is a great resource for any would be or expirenced self publishing author.
I also bring up the forum sites because they are a great place to not only network, but to find beta readers, editors, cover artists, and more to help you refine your novel. Pretty sweet, right?
When you’ve completed your first draft, you inevitably will have to find people to read your book, and that’s where Beta Readers come in.
Beta Readers are important because they should be your right hand people. They’re the people you rely on to read your book before anyone else to help you make sure that it’s good and point out any flaws. Once you’ve written two or three novels, you get a little more expirence with who you enjoy working with and who you know will give you honest feed back. I suggest you take a look at my recent Vlog where I talk about scam beta readers, plus take a look at my blog posts Reviews Truths and Extortion and Self-pub Authors Beware! There are Scammers Afoot. I’m very outspoken about self published authors getting scammed, and I want to make sure I can help you start out on the right foot. If you’re worried about getting scammed, then talk to your friends and relatives, those you trust to be honest with you, to see who would be willing to read your book. Of course, I will be doing a more in depth video with the section, talking about the main types of scammers that you might come across, so please look out for that.
Now, you do want to ensure that you can trust your Betas. If you recruit someone you don’t know, you run the risk of having your work stolen, or even having it spoiled before it’s released. After having spoken with a lawyer, I was told that it is definitely a good idea to shell out a couple hundred dollars for a standard non disclosure/ non compete agreement to protect your work. I’ve been told that that idea is stupid and narcissistic, but let me ask you this. Is it better to shell out $300 for an NDA/NCA or spend thousands taking someone to court because they stole your work? Let me spell this out for some of the comments I know I’ll get for this. It does not mean that you are preventing someone for honestly reviewing your book. Once a book is released, the non disclosure part of that contract goes out the window because the work has been disclosed to the public. You protecting yourself from plagiarism and spoilers by having a lawyer write up a contract like that. But of course, if you don’t think your work is good enough to protect, why are you trying to publish in the first place?
I hope this part wasn’t too rambly, but I think I made a good bit of sense. If you have any questions, please be sure to leave a comment. Once I have my editing stuff back in working order, I will do a Q&A video. If you think I missed something, please be sure to let me know. Hope you guys enjoy it.
I always say that you know a good actor by how much they make you hate their character (when they’re playing a baddie) and I feel the same goes for books. If the author can make you truly hate the antagonist, then they’re a good writer. I don’t typically like sharing Wikihow pages for something like this, but it’s still pretty awesome
On March 31st, 2013, I posted an entry entitled “Reviews, Truths and Extortion” talking about a first time author getting a message from a reader claiming that the book in question with practically unreadable due to typos and grammatical errors. The reader said that if the author would pay her, the reader would edit the book and rate the book 5 stars. At the time, that was something that was completely new to me. I had never heard anyone attempt to do something like that before. Of course, that same reader picked up my book and after my post, gave it a bad review. Now, I’m not saying that Celine is completely flawless, because I know it’s not. However, the timing of that review put a pin in my stance. I am hearing more and more about this as I grow and talk to more people within our self publishing community, and it’s a real problem. So I decided to make this post for those of you that have had this issue and aren’t sure how to address it, or are on the look out for this type of scam.
1. Know your beta readers
The reader in question had been a beta reader for both Celine and the other book. She was very nice about asking to receive a copy, and we expected honest feed back. There is a problem in the self publishing community when it comes to authors publishing work that could use a couple more looks, and we’re all aware of it. However, neither of us knew the reader. She had been a friend of a friend and typically was very ethical with her reviews. We saw no problem letting her look at our work. Then… that happened.
So, if you’re in the market for beta readers, do some checking around. Heck, if they’ve been unethical at all, there will be a blog post somewhere about it. Keep in mind that I’m not talking about doing any kind of background searches or anything major. That would be crazy. Just a simple search and if you don’t find anything in the first two pages, I would say you’re good to go. I know that this may be too much work, so don’t take this as gospel. I just mean that if this is a real concern of yours, you have the power to educate yourself.
2. Respectfully decline
If you do receive any kind of message, be it from a beta reader, or just a reader that picked up your book from Amazon, B&N, etc. there is no reason to be rude. Getting into a fight with someone over the fact they want money from you for a good review makes you no better than they are. Just keep your chin up, keep that smile on your face, and say “no thank you.” It may be the only time you get a message like that, so why let it get you down? If they continue to message you, just report spam and move on. It really is that simple.
3. Don’t worry about it
Something that a lot of self published authors do is worry too much about the negative reviews. If the reader retaliates with a bad review, just keep in mind that there are people that like your book and didn’t have the problems that the reader claimed to have. And even if they did, they still liked it and that’s a good thing. Worrying about scammers taking that kind of action will drive you up a wall, and you don’t need that.
I know that this was pretty simple, but I had to share it because scammers are out there in forces and you have to be able to keep your head through it. Good luck, you beautiful blogophiles and graphophiles!
Now that I got the cover section out of the way, down to the harder part of self publishing. Editing is never fun and it is never easy. To be completely honest with you, I am having to re-release Celine because what I thought were completely edited chapters fell very short. It’s embarrassing to have those kind of problems with your first book and I want to help others so that they don’t have that problem. So, are you ready?
Good! Let’s get started.
Don’t get me wrong, you should always go over your own writing. You never know if you’ll want to change something or what have you, but it is always important to have multiple sets of eyes going back behind you to make sure that your work works. I will advise, however, that you should not ever have someone edit your work that will not be completely honest with you about it. So you can’t get butt hurt when you get your first draft back covered in yellow highlighter or red pen (depending on if you have virtual or print copies that people are editing.) I can’t begin to tell you how many self published books I pick up that have problems. I won’t get too far into that but let me just say this: Don’t make excuses. If your book has a lot of errors in it, own up to it. Don’t hide behind some weak facade in hopes that people will go easy on because that will just make it worse. Set the expectation with yourself that you will always maintain a professional mindset when it comes to releasing your finalized novel. Yes, implementing edits takes a lot of time and then you will have to hand the book to your editor(s) again, but the more work you put in to the final product, the prouder you will be at the end of the day.
I’ll go over beta readers and how to handle bad reviews in the next part but for now, since this is a pretty straight forward piece of advice, I will leave it here. Please feel free to comment with any of your own advice or ideas! Everything is greatly appreciated. Thank you!
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