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Self-publishing FAQs

June 29, 2017 7 comments

I get these same questions so often that I decided to turn this into a blog post:

  1.  I have a manuscript. How do I self-publish it?Before you self-publish this:
    * If you have writer friends, get them to beta-read your manuscript.
    * Get your manuscript edited.
    * Get your manuscript proofread.

    Then:
    * Commission an cover for ebook (print/paper book cover will be separate).
    * Get the book formatted for ebook (and print/paper book, when you’re ready for it).
    * Create an account on Amazon and upload formatted ebook file.
    * Set a price and make it ready for sale with a click

  2. Do I publish as an ebook, or a print book?* Start off with the ebook.
    * Get it formatted as an ebook.
    * Upload to various vendors like – Amazon.com, Smashwords.com, pronoun.com etc. You cannot upload to many international vendors (like Apple) directly.
    * When you’ve learned more about the process, learn how to upload the files for print/paper books.
  3. How do I pick an editor?Ask around. If you’ve read a book you liked, check the acknowledgment section. The author will often thank the editor.

    Talk to multiple people. Ask for sample edits. Maybe the first three chapters, to see if the editor and you are on the same page.

  4. How much does it cost to have a book edited?Prices vary widely, but between Rs. 20,000 – Rs. 25,000 for every 100,000 words.
  5. How much does Amazon charge to sell my book?There is no charge for you to upload your book and sell it. The royalties they share with you will depend on the price you set for the book.
  6. What is ‘genre’?Each book needs classification in order to find a category to sell it under. Some examples of genres are: Romance / Horror / Thriller.
  7. Give me the formula to make my book a bestseller.No one can give you that, not even traditional publishers. If they could, they would ensure that every book of theirs was a best seller.
  8. Can you suggest a ‘banner for publishing’?I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. Self-publishing is when you, the author, create an account on Amazon, Apple etc, and upload your own book. You set the price, and you collect the royalties. If you give control of this to someone else, they will be the ones controlling this.

    At various self-publishing workshops I conducted, I heard horror stories of stolen copyrights, and stolen royalties.

    Do the research. Spend the time learning about what you’re getting into before taking the next step.

  9. I have a ‘package deal’ from a prestigious company. They are asking for money. Or: they want to share the printing costs.Money should flow from the publisher to the author, and not the other way around. Anything else, you need to be careful.

    Lot of reputable traditional publishers are trying to cash in on the self-publishing phenomenon. They’ve tied up with not-so-reputable vanity publishers. Since the vanity publisher often approaches the new author under the banner of the traditional publisher, understandably, authors are confused.

    A good rule of thumb: if they are asking for money to publish you, be careful. Traditional publishers do not need money from you – they already have your work.

  10. Can I get help with self-publishing?Lots of “publishers” will be desperate to sell you their services. Don’t buy packages because you don’t know the quality of editors, cover designers, book formatters etc. Join writers’ groups. Ask questions. Learn everything you can, before jumping in.
  11. What about ISBNs?Ebooks don’t require ISBNs. When you upload your book to Amazon, for example, they will assign their own proprietary ID for your book.

    When you do a print book, the vendor (like CreateSpace, pothi.com etc) will assign you an ISBN. If you want your own, apply from the government of India, though I have not bothered to do this.

  12. How do I get my royalties?When you upload a book, you set the price. If your book is priced between $2.99-$4.99 you can keep 70% of your sale. Otherwise 35%. No other charges. If your bank account is linked to Amazon, your royalties will get deposited there.
  13. I’ve self-published my book. Can I submit it later to publishers for traditional publishing? What happens to the ebook then?

    Unless you have cracked the Amazon/NY Times bestseller list, no, you can’t. Unless you can get creative and generate demand for your book, there will be a limited number of buyers for your book. Once you exhaust those, no publisher will be interested.

    In the extremely unlikely event that a trade publisher offers you a contract after you’ve self-published, what will happen to your ebook / printbook / audiobook etc. rights will depend completely on how much clout you have. You might be able to negotiate to keep certain rights though, honestly, I don’t see that happening because trade publishing contracts have gotten extremely restrictive. They are claiming rights to everything, and in perpetuity.

 

50 Shades of #FanFiction

December 16, 2015 7 comments

When Christine Nolfi, bestselling author and awesome sauce, suggested I write fan fiction for the Lei Crime Series (#LeiCrimeKW), my first reaction was – but I don’t do 50 Shades of Gray! ☺ (If you’re not aware, the latter started off as fan fiction.)

Once I got past my knee-jerk reaction, I bought Blood Orchids, the first book in Toby Neal’s amazing series. To help with my research, Toby generously offered me free copies of the rest of the series – both ebooks and audio. Toby’s books are meticulously plotted police procedurals, so it was no hardship to read/hear them. I was hooked!

I needed a character to build a story around, so I chose Wayne Texeira. He’s fresh out of prison and ready to get on with his life. He just has a little problem with anger management. Something about this rough around the edges, yet honorable, man appealed to me. I decided to give him something to look forward to – a love interest who is also a very capable woman (no wishy-washiness for me).

I also decided to throw Texeira bang in the middle of suspicious deaths (because, really, what’s a murder mystery without bodies?) – and Valley Isle Secrets (link and cover coming soon!) was born. Toby Neal and her band of Lei Crime Kindle World writers (me, included) are doing a joint book launch for multiple books in this series.

But, really, what’s a book launch without readers? So I’d like this chance to invite you to join our Facebook party on Dec 28, 2015.

Thank you, Christine Nolfi, for suggesting #LeiCrimeKW to me. And thank you Toby Neal for inviting me to be a part of your writing world and, of course, for writing this fabulous series!

Guest Post: How I Became a #Bestseller in horror on #Amazon India

December 8, 2015 9 comments

When I published my debut book via Amazon, something incredible happened. Within a week of its release, it shot to the #1 slot of Amazon India’s New Horror Releases. When Rasana Atreya ma’am approached me to write about what I did to achieve such a stupendous feat, my first reaction was to say that I did nothing. But then I paused and thought about it. I figured I must have done something right because even today, it continues to show up within the top ten new releases of the list. And so I agreed.

And then I sat back and thought about it. What did I do? The simple one-word answer would be ‘marketing’. But that does not even begin to cover everything I did. It required hours upon hours of working on a plan and approaching people and shouting about my book from the rooftops- figuratively. The thing is, I am a very shy person, almost reclusive, so for me to step out of my comfort zone and sell my product was not easy. But I had to grit my teeth and do it.

One marketing gimmick that worked favorably for me was a series of posters that I designed for my important characters. While the book has an ensemble cast, I chose six of the most important characters and made individual posters, and gave a brief four-line blurb to each of them. These posters managed to garner quite a bit of curiosity.

Another important aspect that I worked hard on was the blurb of the book. I read somewhere that writing the blurb is tougher than writing the story itself and I could not agree more. A blurb is essentially a 100-150 word summary of your book that is not only interesting, but is also crisp and has to hook the audience. Simple enough right? I was about ready to tear my hair trying to get the perfect one, but trust me when I say this, it is worth all the effort and more.

The other thing that worked to my benefit was the cover. Although I provided the basic idea, I had the cover professionally designed. It did cost me quite a bit but it definitely managed to build the intrigue. But the most important thing to remember, is that the content is king. Marketing, blurb and cover may make the audience pick up the book but it is the content that will move them to write the review.

Finally, before closing, I’ll share one little secret, if you can guarantee the sale of a minimum of five books on the day of the release, it will give you a boost that you can then bank on to carry it forward. From there on, it requires steady and continuous effort to maintain our sales. As of now, I am approaching bloggers and trying to reach to a wider reader base through them.

So go on, choose your audience and pitch your book to the best of your ability and then, let the chips fall where they may.

Blurb

ISeeYouEbookLiam’s life has become a waking nightmare. He’s plagued by constant headaches and is hounded by inexplicable events bordering on the insane. He is convinced that his vindictive ex, Lily, despite her vehement denials, is the one sending him disturbing packages. The only bright spot in a life gone berserk is Aliana, the woman Liam has loved ever since he saw her in a parking lot. But a shocking revelation about her leaves him questioning everything he knows.  As Liam plunges deeper into the twin abysses of unbridled love and unexplained insanity, he has to do all it takes to stop his life from spiraling out of control.

 

About The Author

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Aindrila first penned a short story, of a princess defending a fortress, as an 11 year old. Glad that it was out of her system, she threw that piece of paper away.

 But over the years, her imagination kept tormenting her with story ideas, until she decided that it was time to finally let them out.

She now writes full time, mostly horror-fantasies, filled with complex and anguished souls, fighting monsters within and without.

She is fascinated by Indian and Greek mythology, animes, high fantasy novels, and paleontology, all of which have found their way into her stories as subtle tweaks to the backdrop. 

‘I See You’ is her first published story.

Links to Buy: Amazon.com / Amazon.in / Pothi.com 

 

 

Online Chat with Bestselling Authors on #Goodreads

November 12, 2014 Leave a comment

On Saturday, November 15th join ALLi award-winning authors and powerhouses of Indie publishing – J.F. (Joanna) Penn, Bette Lee Crosby, Orna Ross, Patricia Sands, Christine Nolfi, Jessica Bell, Linda Gillard, Rasana Atreya and Joni Rodgers for a discussion of the heroines we love, unlikely heroines, and stereotypes of women in fiction. We’re giving away paperbacks in a variety of genres: suspense novels sure to keep you on the edge of your seat, contemporary literature to warm your heart and literary gems from authors across the globe.

Don’t forget to join the party and feel free to invite your book loving friends!

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/2054092-alli-goodreads-event

Theme of Chat: Strong Heroines, Unlikely Heroines, and Stereotypes of Women in Fiction

Trivia relating to one of my novels: I was going to call my novel Half A Girlfriend. Then Chetan Bhagat (India’s biggest selling author) announced he was going to call his novel Half Girlfriend (without the A). It didn’t help at all that both our protagonists were called Madhav. I wanted to go ahead with my original name anyway till wiser counsel prevailed, and my novel ended up as 28 Years A Bachelor. My other works are Tell A Thousand Lies (novel) and The Temple Is Not My Father (novella). These books are currently available on Amazon, Smashwords and Kobo.

If you’d like to join the Goodreads chat but are unsure of what to ask me, here are a few quotes to get you started.