Posts Tagged ‘ on publishing ’

So You Want To Be A Writer…

…or an Author, to be more exact. First of all I’d like to point out that this is not a Writing 101 article. If you want to know how to write a great book, there are thousands of blogs and books out there that will give you the basics on the craft. So what is this post about? For most of my life, I’ve been drawn to the world of publishing and I’ve taken out (far too much) time to learn as much as I can about how to get published, something I assumed that everyone who was interested in being published would also do. But in the last few weeks, this theory has been proven to be flawed as I was twice invited to speak to a few writers about what I have learnt from my foray into the publishing world. I wasn’t surprised to find that people are more focused on writing their books rather than learning about what to do next, how to get noticed, who to send your work to, etc. But I was still stunned that a lot of things I took as common knowledge were unknown. So I put together a really quick rundown of what I said to the people I met last week and I hope this helps others out there. It’s mostly basic stuff but as I like to say, every little helps.
Traditional publishers
A traditional publisher is any publisher who will accept your work, have it edited (including providing a cover design), then market and distribute it to vendors. In an ideal world, we’d all get published via this route as you will have a professional team to work with you and guide you through the entire process, most importantly an editor and a publicist. The process shouldn’t cost you a penny as traditional publishers usually pay you an advance for your work, which they hope to recoup when your books sells. They are spending their money so chances are that they will put some energy into marketing your work. The flip side of this is that publishers are much pickier these days as hard copy book buying continues to dwindle. They are not necessarily looking for the best work any longer, they are looking for what will sell fast and in bulk quantities – autobiographies by “celebrities”, novels by established authors, novels by “celebrities”, fad fiction (tales about vampires and werewolves for example). Obviously this is a generalisation and there are still publishers who will rather have fantastic work than books that will fly off the shelves (although I imagine they’d hope for both). Books have about three months shelf life when sent to retailers so if your book doesn’t sell quickly, chances are the retailers won’t ask for more – or worse, they return them to the publishers. No publisher wants to bear that cost.
How do you approach a traditional publisher? These days, most big publishing houses will not accept unsolicited manuscripts so you’d have to find an agent. This is probably as difficult as finding a publisher so take time to consider who you want to send your work to and how many attempts you’re willing to put yourself through. I’d highly recommend the “Writers’ and Artists’ Year Book” for more information on how to contact both publishers and agents.
Vanity publishers
Don’t use these! I can’t say this enough. DO NOT USE THESE. Unless, of course, you don’t want to make any money off your writing and you just want copies of your book for your family and friends. Once you pay someone to provide you with all the services a traditional publisher would, there is no point expecting them to market your work. Continue reading

The Great Conspiracy of The Flashy Cover

We’ve all done it before – browsing the aisles of a bookstore as you wait for your flight to be announced, scrolling through pages on Amazon looking for the perfect book to upload to your Kindle before your train commute, or (shock of all shocks) walking into Foyles to explore the wonders that publishers have deemed worthy to provide for our perusal. Most people will tell you that an author’s name or a blurb drive their purchase of books but let’s be honest, put a pretty picture on any old crap and you might be able to sell it to a king. When dropped in a sea of literary works, most of us usually walk towards (or hover over) a book because the cover attracts our attention. Then we notice the title and the author’s name (whichever is in larger font) before we even check what the book is about.

Why am I going on about this? I recently completed the first draft of my YA novella, Aversion, and was faced with the task of creating a cover for it. When it comes to marketing related tasks, I prefer this exercise to synopsis or blurb writing so I tend to spend more time on this than I should  (although I’ve heard this doesn’t necessarily translate to the end product). I like book covers with block colours and few images on, like those I’ve included above. No pretty lasses in frocks floating about on my covers, thank you very much. Yes, those types of covers are eye catching and most people think that’s what young adult novel covers should look like but they don’t really have anything to do with my stories. It’s bad enough that people mistake some of my work for romance just because of the young adult genre (okay, this only happens with The Other Slipper but people, why can’t YA adventure exist without romance?).

Anyway, in my lengthy research on book covers, I came across this blog post which restored my hope in simple covers. It shows some iconic but simple book covers from the 20th century which support my notion that over glossed, fluffy covers are not necessarily the only way to go. Unfortunately I don’t think any of the titles are in the YA range (unless we class Lord of the Flies as YA) so maybe I still need to rethink my strategy. And maybe I need to step into the 21st century. Maybe…

I’ve previously uploaded my attempts at being a cover designer on here so I decided to put up the current fruits of my labour. Do people have any opinions? The covers are pretty much the same concept with slight variations (the three I’ve narrowed my efforts down to are at the top of this post). I’ve included the current blurb to give a feel of the story but all of these are subject to change before the end of year release of the novella. Let me know what you think.

Aversion – Book One of “The Mentalist Series”

For Gemma Green’s first time, things should have been straightforward. Find your subject, hold their gaze and push a thought into their head to save them from future disaster – Aversion complete. A pretty simple process given that the subject was to have no recollection of the experience. But Russ doesn’t seem to want to forget. In fact the more she tries to avoid him, the more he pushes to get to know her. Gemma knows she has a problem but is she facing the side effects of a failed Aversion or has the school’s tennis champ really fallen for her?