Clare will be delighted to speak to your book club, writers' circle, convention or literary
gathering on topics such as writing and independent publishing.
At present there is no charge except for any significant expenses incurred.
Independently Publishing on Kindle
I published independently because Irish publishers were not interested
in publishing an unknown author. I did meet professional and
friendly publishers in Wolfhound Press in Dublin some years ago, who
sent my Young Adult work out to readers of the appropriate age and
returned their comments to me - very helpful. The work was not accepted
because the publishers were moving in a different direction.
The only way forward was self publishing; this is how I got started.
I had been reviewing books for years. I started reviewing books online
and was invited to review on Fresh Fiction, a site based in Texas; they
send me e-books. I had a short romance written, intended for an e-book,
when an SF story took over my life and I spent a year researching,
writing and revising it.
My SF book only uses a couple of brand names. I am not prone to using them
generally. I deliberately use the name 'Duchy
Originals lemon shortbread', to demonstrate that the people who have
these at home are well-off and respectable English people, and
moreover, that organic farm products and the Duchy of Cornwall are
still being well-regarded in the future. I make it plain that this is a
type of shortbread, for those who are not familiar with the product. At a
further point a country estate is shown being managed in an organic manner.
I dislike reading books which are littered with brand names. They often seem to serve no more purpose than a shopping list. Remember that different countries and cultures have different names for things which you think are obvious. For instance in Ireland we don't have Spackle, Popsicles, Wendys and a multitude of other American product names, while soda is something we Irish add to bread. People can look these up if they wish, but do you really like interrupting your reading time to type product names into a search engine to learn if the hero just ate or drank or chewed gum or wiped his hands? (Example: 'John popped an Advil.') The vast majority of readers will not bother with searching for translations, they will simply put down the book. If we actually think about product names and why we are using them, books should read effortlessly and either current or invented names should help the story, not clutter it.
Many young writers who want to self-publish have been watching visual media,
reading graphic novels and watching internet material of various
sorts... so they have a less than ideal grasp of spelling and grammar.
I started doing things like beginning a story at a point of tension instead of with a descriptive lead-in. Finishing the story when I had made my point. I might eliminate a character or just their lines. Articles had to be the bare facts and no opinion. By the end of this process I could have removed a third of the original length and created a much tighter, better written piece.
Some persons submitting to the same newsletter would send a rambling few pages' worth of words and the editor had to edit them down for space. As you may imagine some of those writers took umbrage at having their beautiful prose butchered, as they saw it. So an editor might have to send the edited item back to them before printing to check they would not complain.
A journalism tip is to encapsulate your article in twenty words as the first sentence under the headline. See how often you'll find this done in news items. You do not need to go anywhere to learn about editing, but you do need to know what to learn and you need to practise. If you start with the tips above, you can get a long way.
This term is used to describe how the writer explains matters to the reader.
In some cases a narrator explains, but it's often better to let the
about or demonstrate matters that the reader needs to
understand. However, in real life people do not go around explaining
how their job works to people who already know this; which is why many
stories introduce a newcomer who has to be shown the ropes.
Science fiction does run into this problem because people in the future
or on a spaceship know about their lives but the reader does
not. This can produce famous lines beginning with "As you
I am an independent publisher so my advice, learned from my experience, is to forget the lure
of your book on the shelf in every shop. Now go and write the next book.
A series will sell better than standalones. However try to ensure that each book in your series
can be read as a standalone by a new reader. Readers don't always pick up the first book first.
Each book should carry a backlist and an ad for some of those books, because this is your best
chance to reach people who will buy more of your work.
When you have a few books out you can drop the price of the first one, to lure readers in to
the series, and give readers a free book now and then to start them off on your series. This
is something that traditional publishers will not do for you. Some e-books are priced at six
dollars on Amazon and compete with thousands of e-books priced at two or three dollars. But
if the trad publisher drops the price of the e-book it will wipe out the sales of the paper
version of the book, so they don't do that.
I accept books for review which interest me. If you write about zombies, serial killers and
flesh-eating bugs, or golf, I won't accept. This is the main
distinction I make - not whether a book has been self-published or trad
published. I review at present about 50% of each kind of publishing.
I'm an Amazon UK Top 500 reviewer and about 1,200 on Amazon.com - these ratings are decided by the reading public, not by publishers. They find a review helpful or not. However, I'm not that worried about ratings. I have to be unbiased in my review, and if I do not like a book I will explain why and say the kind of person it might suit.
I make not a penny from writing reviews. I'm in fact losing money because this is time I could be using to write my own material. I do this because I love reading, and to help other writers and readers.
I suggest you look at reviews on Amazon or Goodreads of books similar to the kind of material you are writing. Then click on that reviewer's details. Some will have a contact e-dress on the profile page or you can send a Goodreads in-mail - if so, you could ask politely if they would have time to review your book. Publicists do this, so why can't you? I know it can be hard to be brave enough when it is your own work, but all they can say is no. Be careful that your mail doesn't come across as spam. If you're lucky they'll accept. You'll be in a queue, get used to it and do not keep asking when the review will appear.
Try sending your book (paper or e-book) to sites which actually want to help authors, like Fresh Fiction.com where I send reviews. FF does not charge for placing your book on the site and does not charge for a review if a reviewer decides to accept the book. Self-pub is more than welcome. As an option you can take out an ad.
If you are willing to pay, and you are certain your book is top-notch in grammar, proofreading and so on, you could use Net Galley which has a mostly American base. This is best value if you have a series coming out as one review will get people interested in the other books. Librarians, class teachers, bloggers and industry people all use NG to find books, which they then have to review. If your grammar is poor, they will mention the fact.
Have a good time and great luck!
Should I advertise my book on Amazon?
Read Clare's experience with Amazon book advertising on Medium.
How do you deal with writer’s block?