The Business of Writing

Simon Whaley's Resource For Writers

Tag: Self-Publishing

Smile for the Camera!

If you’ve read my Business of Writing column in Writing Magazine (and I hope you have), you’ll know that from time to time I chat to other writers to gather their thoughts and expertise on a subject. Right from the start of the column (and for those of you who are counting, I’m just putting the finishing touches to the 52nd article), the editor asked me to obtain head-and-shoulder photos of the writers from whom I obtained quotes. (Perhaps he wanted to check that I wasn’t just making up the quotes, or the people 😝.)

Anyway, at times, that has been an interesting exercise. While some authors, who’ve had the benefit of being traditionally published and the luxury of having an official author photo taken, have supplied not only a relatively decent photo, but also one of a high enough quality for reproduction purposes in a magazine, others have been a little more challenging.

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London Calling!

The London Book Fair is the trade show for publishers, agents and booksellers. Now in its 47th year, anyone in the book business anywhere around the world finds themselves heading for London in April. During the three-day event at London’s Olympia, held this year between 10th and 12th April, over 25,000 people connected with the publishing industry will pass through its doors. The question is: should you be going? Is there a business-case for writers making the trip?

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PLR

This year, 22,108 writers are receiving a PLR payment next month. I’m one of them.

I always find PLR statements fascinating documents because, although it’s just a snapshot from a handful of libraries across the UK, they reveal interesting information about which of your books were most popular.

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The Professional Costs of Publishing

 If you’re toying with the idea of self-publishing a book, then I would encourage you to read Andrew Franklin’s blog post on the Society of Author’s website.

Andrew Franklin is the joint founder of Profile Books. Therefore, he understands the costs involved when it comes to publishing a book. In his blog post (which was also an article in the Society of Author’s Journal published back in the autumn) he candidly talks money. A lot of money. Particularly when you think that as a publisher he’s capable of exploiting economies of scale, something that self-published authors can’t necessarily access.

While he admits that the costs of publishing one book varies from book to book, he mentions some general figures:

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Vlad the Self-Published

Last week’s post (What To Do With My Business After I’m Dead) looked at a book that fellow Writing Magazine columnist Tarja Moles has published. This week, another fellow Writing Magazine columnist, Lorraine Mace, explains why she’s bitten the bullet and self-published her children’ novel, even though it was something she swore she’d never do.

Vlad the Inhaler was the first book I wrote,” Lorraine explains, “and so it has always had a special place in my heart. In 2007 I was taken on by one of the UK’s top children’s agents. She loved Vlad and was certain she could find a home for him in one of the big five. We came close, but it wasn’t to be.”

“In 2012 Vlad was picked up by a US publisher and looked set to do very well. I wrote the second in the trilogy and that was also published by the same company but it wasn’t a marriage made in heaven. I was able to take back my rights just over a year ago and, sadly, believed that was the end of Vlad’s publishing lifespan.”

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What To Do With My Business After I’m Dead

Nobody likes to think about dying, but have you considered what might happen to your writing business after you’re dead? Don’t forget, everything you write is protected by copyright for another 70 years after your demise. That’s 70 years when others could make use of your intellectual property rights.

But would they know that? Where would they go to look for information about your writing business? I keep all of my information in a database in my computer … which is password protected. Which is no use to anyone when I’m dead.

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Have You Got It Covered?

 Covers. They are hugely important but, generally-speaking, not where a writer’s skills lie. Yes, we often know what we like, but that doesn’t mean to say we have the right ideas. Nor does it mean we shouldn’t think about them.

If you write a book that is traditionally published, then your contract will usually contain a clause stating that you will be consulted on the cover. That does not mean you will have the final say. Far from it. It just means that the publisher might approach you and say, “Here are three ideas, which do you prefer: A, B or C?” You might reply that you love B, detest A and are indifferent with C. Your publisher will probably go with A. But it doesn’t matter because you were consulted. They have met their contractual obligations.

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Hybrid Authors

Last Saturday I was assisting with a workshop on self-publishing run by Wrekin Writers, as part of the Wellington Festival, and the topic of Hybrid Authors was briefly discussed. So I thought I’d take the opportunity of posting my recent Writing Magazine feature where I chatted to two writers about being a hybrid author.

HYBRID AUTHORS

Traditionally-published or self-published? Simon Whaley chats to two writers with a foot in both camps.

A few years ago, a writer’s life was binary: either you sought a traditional publishing contract for your book, or you self-published it. Traditionally-published authors liked someone else picking up the costs of editing, proofreading, jacket design and production (in return for a reduced royalty rate), while independent authors were proud that they were in complete control of the whole process, despite having to finance it, in return for a higher royalty rate. 

However, the business of writing is changing. No longer is it necessary to be one or the other. Some writers are choosing the hybrid route: having a mixture of traditionally-published and self-published projects. Why be pigeon-holed into one, or the other, when you can have your cake and eat it?

Leah Mercer (https://www.leahmercer.com/books), whose latest novel The Man I Thought You Were, published by Amazon imprint Lake Union Publishing, believes being a hybrid author offers many benefits. ‘Hybrid authors really have the best of both worlds,’ she explains. ‘By self-publishing, they have the freedom to publish what they want at a price they choose, and they can plug the gaps that often occur when publishing with major houses.’

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Adapt & Change

It’s been a busy week in the writing world on two different fronts: one which fiction writers may already be aware of, and another that probably won’t have registered with writers using Windows computers.

The first event concerned Woman’s Weekly magazine, whose staff issued an email, out of the blue, last week to advise that following a restructure at Time Inc (owners of the Woman’s Weekly brand), the entire fiction team was moving on.

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Products

Two weeks ago I mentioned that the follow up to my short story collection (Ten Teatime Tales) was in production, now that some of the stories I wanted to include in it are now out of their exclusivity period. Well, I’m pleased to say that Ten Teatime Tales 2 (it took me months to come up with that title) is now available. (Just in time for all of those new electronic reading devices that will be unwrapped in a couple of weeks time.)
As writers, we tend not to think of our scribblings as products. But if you’re hoping to generate an income from your creativity it’s important to think about the different formats you can exploit in your work.

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What’s Mine Is Mine

41i3axnkn9l-_sx311_bo1204203200_Sometimes, it’s not until you build up a body of work that you really appreciate what you have created. And that’s when the consequences of being a little slap dash with the rights you grant others in your work becomes apparent.

When you’re starting out, it’s easy to be swayed into granting more rights in a piece of your work than you’d like. You know you really ought not give a publisher copyright in your article, but they are going to publish it (which is what you really want) and, let’s face it, who is going to turn Ten Alternative Uses Of A Nose-Hair Clipper into a movie?

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Publishing Dilemmas

file-17-11-2016-16-07-01Last week I was approached by two different writers, each with their own publishing dilemma. I hope they found my comments useful, but what the queries demonstrated was that when it comes to publishing your book you need to be clear what your dream is. Only then can you decide what is right for you.

The first writer had made the decision to self-publish her novel, having spent many years writing it and then even more time trying to interest a traditional publisher. She’d come to accept that to get what she wanted – a print book she could encourage retailers to take – that self-publishing, or independent publishing, was the way forward for her. It would cost her money, but it was what she wanted.

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