Writer's Corner

Here in the Writer's Corner, you will find some helpful information about writing books and self-publishing. There are many obvious reasons why you should write a book and equally as many not so obvious. Stephen King phrases it nicely in his book, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft: “Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It's about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.”
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1. Ebook or print book?
The quick and simple answer is "both". A key advantage to publishing an eBook is that it only takes a few minutes on your computer to make your eBook available for sale online. And readers can have your book on their device in a matter of seconds! The sooner they download your book, the sooner they can read it and tell others how great it is. Print books, on the other hand are making a bit of a comeback. Some people simply prefer the feel of a print book in their hands, and the idea that it's a physical reminder of their enjoyment of the story. Plus, a print book is nice to be able to give to people, as a gift or as a way of spreading the word.


2. The importance of editing
First, it's important to note the difference between proofreading and editing. Proofreading, at its most basic level (or the first pass), involves a review of the visual elements of your book, and makes adjustments to such things as the layout, formatting and typesetting. The next level (or second pass) is to review and correct the most obvious errors in the text, such as; spelling, grammar, punctuation, and other language mistakes. Editing, on the other hand, delves much deeper into your writing, and will improve the overall quality of your publication. An editor will address several concerns when reviewing your work, such as the following: have you used the most suitable language to express your ideas? have you chosen the appropriate voice (active vs passive)? have you used too many unnecessary and frivolous words? and are there any inconsistencies throughout the text? Editing at this level will help you create more impact with your story. At minimum, we highly recommend that you ask at least one or two people to proofread your book. Fresh eyes will catch things that you haven't noticed.


3. Protecting your intellectual property
Copyright prevents others from using your work without your permission. In the UK it isn't necessary to register with any official office, it is an automatic right. You are automatically protected when you create an original literary work. In general, the copyright will be in effect until 70 years after your death. You can license, sell, or transfer your copyright, and you may become the legal owner of a copyright through inheritance. If you feel that someone has infringed upon your copyright, you are responsible for making a claim and defending your rights.


4. Pricing your work
The first thing you need to do is evaluate your goals for your book. What's more important to you, readers or profit? What is your book worth (i.e. compare it to similar books in the same genre)? Where will you sell your book? As an independent author you likely want to get your book out to as many people as possible, so you'll probably want to price it at the low end of the scale, to make it appealing to price-sensitive buyers. More readers are willing to take a chance on an unknown author if the price is low. Consider using the strategy of charm pricing, which is based on the theory that certain prices have a psychological impact, for example pricing your book at £2.98, instead of £2.50 or £3.00. The great thing about eBooks is that you can experiment, and change your book's price at any time. Regardless of whether you're selling an eBook or print book, do your research!


5. Marketing your book
You probably thought writing your book was an arduous process. In reality, marketing will surely be the toughest part of your job as an independent author. You will need to determine your target audience and figure out what is the best way to reach them. There is a wealth of information online, and thousands of books have been written on this subject. A few key points would be: utilize social media tools, give free copies to your friends and have them spread the word, approach independent bookshops, and attend book fairs to sell your book or just to network with people. Give away copies of your book in exchange for a review. Start a blog or website for yourself. Approach local libraries and book clubs, even your local community newspaper. Make a marketing kit for yourself, including a copy of your book, and send to the bigger, traditional Publishing Houses. Many famous authors started out with a self-published book, most notably E.L. James (Fifty Shades of Grey), she published the first book in the series as an eBook and print-on-demand. Ultimately, as an independent author, you need to sell yourself when you sell your book. Believe in your work, believe in yourself, and don't give up. Most important, don't stop writing!


6. Book reviews matter
Just like with any product, one sale of your book will lead to another sale, and so on, and so on. The more your book is read and reviewed, the more curious other readers will become. Also, the more mentions your book gets online, the more relevant it becomes when potential readers perform a search. It's important to bear in mind that many people will ignore a book that has few or no reviews. How do you get them? Ask for reviews on your website, ask for them in your online blurb about the book, and even at the end of the book. Post it to groups or pages on social media, which offer to give reviews. Don't worry if they're not all positive, or as positive as you would like. It's the quantity of reviews that will help your book get noticed more often. So, don't be afraid to ask for reviews!