Category Archives: Business of Writing

Updates on Platforms and Formats

A winter landscape with the post title "Updates on Platforms and Formats" superimposed on the top.

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

I thought I’d give an update on how things are going for various formats and platforms.

Wattpad

Wattpad is one of my favorite places to upload.  The community there is very supportive and encouraging.  If you’re one of those writers who feels as if you’re writing into a black hole, you might want to check it out. Continue reading Updates on Platforms and Formats

5 Things About Being a Writer

A woman's hand is holding a pen as she writes on a notebook on a writing table. The post title, "5 Things About Being a Writer" is superimposed on the top.

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

The writing life can be a wonderfully rewarding one.  But there can be headaches along the way.

Here are five things I’ve learned about being a writer: some of them apply solely to self-publishing and some to both traditional and self-publishing.

There is always something else to consider with self-publishing. 

This might be expanding your formats (print, audio, translation, digital, hardcover).  This might be expanding your distribution (to aggregators like Draft2Digital and Smashwords, to the library market through Overdrive via PublishDrive or Street Lib, to international markets through PublishDrive or Street Lib), or it might mean expanding your social media presence by exploring Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. Continue reading 5 Things About Being a Writer

Self-Publishing a Series that Started in Trad-Pub

Man sitting at table, working on laptop and writing in notebook is in the background and the post title, "Self publishing a series that started as trad-pub" is superimposed on the top.

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

From time to time I’ll read about authors whose series were dropped by their publisher for one reason or another (this may be happening more frequently now as times are tight at publishing companies).  Some of them will get their character rights back and continue these series and some will decide to start others.

I’ve continued the two series that I could get rights back on.  One had only one traditionally-published book (book one of the Myrtle Clover series) and one had five trade-published books in the series (one through five of the Southern Quilting mysteries).

Although I’ve run into challenges along the way, I’ve never regretted taking either series to traditional publishing.

For one thing, traditional publishing had given me something of a springboard.  At the time both series were started, physical bookstores were more important for a book’s visibility.   I started out with a fairly strong readership to build on and readers who asked for more books in both series.

It’s also much easier to continue a series than it is to create one from scratch.  Most of the work is already done for you in terms of worldbuilding and character creation.

The only real negatives I encountered were my inability to have the first book in the series as a perma-free (which I countered by making another book in the series perma-free…my books don’t need to be read in order), and the inability to include the books in a bundle/box set (which I countered by simply skipping the books I didn’t have rights to…you could choose to create prequels and a bundle for those, instead).

I read an article mystery writer Joanna Campbell Slan wrote with some interest:  “Never Give Up on Getting Back Your Rights.”  In it, she quotes a veteran writer as having told her that she was only making money for the trad-publishers by self-publishing the rest of her series.  To me, I used them as much as they used me.  In Joanna’s case, her persistence in getting her rights reverted paid off.

Joanna goes on to talk about continuing the process of requesting rights:

If you’re in the same situation as I was, don’t give up. Your fans will stick with you. Your publisher might not be willing to give up your rights today, but there’s always tomorrow. Keep asking. Ask politely. Ask repeatedly. Stay in touch with your readers. Make a plan, and stick to it.

I agree with her advice.  I’ve been rejected sometimes, but sometimes I’ve gotten partial rights back.  If you need help understanding the terms of your original contract, there’s a   PDF available from Authors Alliance (and Berkeley Law).

I write more on how I wrote to request rights reversion in this post from last August.

Have you continued a discontinued trad-pubbed series?  What challenges have you encountered?

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Finding Silver Linings in Goodreads Giveaway Changes, and 3 Alternatives

by David Wogahn, @wogahn

It seems like indie authors are under siege. First Pronoun, the free eBook distribution service, closed. Then Goodreads announced their free paperback giveaway promotion tool will no longer be free (as of tomorrow, January 9).

I know how upset some authors are about the latter change. But I imagine there are other groups of authors and publishers who see a silver lining.

  1. Producing a quality paperback is more expensive than publishing in eBook format. For those self-publishers who publish in eBook format only, and who want to get in front of the largest audience of avid readers in the world, a high bar has now been lowered.
  2. One of the arguments in favor of KDP Select is being able to give your Kindle eBook away for free, ostensibly to help encourage reviews and build your audience. The new Goodreads program has no such requirement, only that your book is available on the KDP publishing platform.
  1. The program seems to have lost its effectiveness for some people. As shared with The Verge by Lesley Conner of Apex Publications, “We aren’t going to spend the small marketing budget we have on a service that we’ve already noticed isn’t that effective.”

A couple of years ago I read about one self-publisher’s giveaway strategy in the Independent Book Publishers Association Independent magazine: offer one book and do this continuously, well after the release date. Goodreads would give an offer like this the same marketing push as a Giveaway for a new release offering multiple copies.

Could this be a contributor to the ineffectiveness cited by Apex Publications and many others? I think so and I doubt it was Goodreads’ intention that the program be used this way.

2 reasons why I am not concerned

Continue reading Finding Silver Linings in Goodreads Giveaway Changes, and 3 Alternatives

Editing Published Books

Coffee and cookies on table with book in the background and the post's title, "Editing Published Books" superimposed on the front.

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

One of my favorite things about self-publishing is the ability to go back into a published book and make changes.

There have been, unfortunately, a few things that I would like to correct in some of my published Penguin books. Naturally, I don’t have the ability to make those because they’re not in my KDP dashboard.

But with my self-published books, I’ve made quite a few changes to the text.

One reason I might go back in is what you’d expect…correcting typos or small formatting issues. Continue reading Editing Published Books