Category Archives: Business of Writing

Back Up Your Work

Aerial view of hands typing on a keyboard with a white mouse in the upper right. Superimposed on the photo is the post title, "Back Up Your Work."

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

Every so often, I run a variation of the same post.  It’s a public service announcement to back up your work.

I have heard so many horror stories from writers about lost work that I truly believe their stories account for the white hairs I have cropping up.

The most harrowing tale is from long ago.  Hemingway lost months of work because his wife, who was bringing the stories (and, sadly, also the carbon copies) to him in Switzerland. She left the overnight bag unattended to get water before the train pulled out. When she returned, the bag, and his work, were gone.  More about this episode here on the Hemingway Project site (including a recorded interview with his wife, Hadley, on the subject). Continue reading Back Up Your Work

Help Handling Requests

A messy desk and computer are in the background and the post title, 'Help Handling Requests' is superimposed on the top.

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

I was reading through my Feedly RSS feeds (I work and curate links about a month behind in the feed reader) and I came across a post by writer Steven Pressfield. It was one of those articles where I scheduled a share, but then saved the post to read more closely again later.  It was called “Clueless Asks” and as soon as I read the title, I knew what it was going to be about. Because I get a lot of these asks, myself. In the post, Steven Pressfield explains that time ‘is the single most valuable commodity you own.’

Funnily enough, I was on another blog and they mentioned a post from industry expert Jane Friedman (and I’m laughing as I write ‘industry expert’ because that’s something she addressed in her post, as well). She wrote in response to “Clueless Asks” a post titled “If You’re Successful, People Ask for Help. But Who Deserves It?” She writes: “Today, even before I open my email, my blood pressure spikes thinking of all the requests, problems, and complaints I’m likely to find.” It’s a great post and mentions how she’s compromised in some instances to respect her time while still responding to requests.

These are different from opportunities.  I’m good at saying no to speaking at far-flung events where I will have to spend money for gasoline or a plane ticket and a hotel without getting compensation.  These other requests are, as Jane Friedman and Steven Pressfield put it, ‘asks.’  And they’re from people I don’t know.

I’m adding on to their excellent posts because I know writers (and several of them are regulars here) who are in the same boat.  They want to help people who ask them for help. They’re overwhelmed with emails and requests. What can they do?

Just a  quick note that this article is not directed at my readers or online friends who reach out.  I never mind emailing and reaching out to either of those groups because they know me…either through my books/characters, my blog, etc.  This is more how I handle asks from people I’ve never heard of who reach out.

Continue reading Help Handling Requests

Tips for Less-Expensive Self-Publishing

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

I read a lot of posts that assume that writers have unlimited funds for book production. But many writers who self-publish books are having to fit the process into a budget.

First off, you’ll usually save money (not time, but money) if you contract out for everything you need instead of going through a self-publishing service.

My main costs in book production are covers and editing.  And I think most writers would agree that those are the two most important things.  Both things can vary dramatically in cost. But both things are vital to the success and sales of our book.

Cover: If you have a very small project (short story, etc.) you could consider going somewhere like fiverr to get your cover. Look at a lot of different profiles and read the reviews to compare designers. There are also sites like Covervault where you can get free designs. Continue reading Tips for Less-Expensive Self-Publishing

Expanding into Hardcover

Hardcover books on shelves in the background, open hardcover books on table in foreground, and the post title 'expanding into hardcover' is superimposed on the front.

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig,o9

I’ve recently been interested in expanding my books into every format that I can.  Who knows how someone might want to read my books? I’m in digital, print (paperback), and audio. I’ve made my books accessible to an international audience and now the Myrtle books are being translated into Spanish (more on that in a later post).

But I’d never really thought about hardcover. It seemed like a very expensive option to buy. I know that, aside from gifts for family, I haven’t bought a hardcover book in ages.

As part of my expansion into other formats and to other markets, however, I realized that my books (through PublishDrive) are doing very well on the OverDrive platform.  That’s a major distributor of digital materials to libraries. (More on OverDrive in this post.)

If my books were doing that well at libraries, I figured that it would make sense to have them also available in hardcover. Perhaps an acquisition librarian would note that my digital books were circulating to readers and decide to purchase a hardcover for the stacks.

Things to consider: 

If you’re on Ingram, you’ll need to have ISBNs for your books (not the free ones from CreateSpace or Smashwords…which actually show CS and SW as the publisher). And, even if you have your own ISBNs, because this is a different format, you’ll need new ISBNs for the books for this particular format. I’m buying ISBNs from Bowker in bulk. Continue reading Expanding into Hardcover

Expanding into Audio

Young woman, wearing headphones and looking down at her phone,sits on her floor. Superimposed is the post title, 'Expanding into Audio'

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

When I was a traditionally-published author, I remember my frustration that I didn’t hold any audiobook rights.

My publisher held them, but never exploited them. And I regularly had readers asking if they could listen to my books.

When ACX first opened to independent authors, I jumped at the chance to have my self-published novels in audio format. The main thing that I was worried about was the cost. I was delighted to discover that I could choose an option where my only cost was to have my cover adapted into a square for audio. That’s the royalty-share option (more on that, below). Continue reading Expanding into Audio