The five stages to getting published

It seems that everywhere we go online nowadays, we’re continually confronted by articles shouting about ‘20 things you didn’t know about that…’ or ‘the 10 best things for doing this…’ or ‘the 5 top articles that contain useless lists…’

And so, in celebration of this internet phenomenon (no I didn’t spell that right at the first attempt), I am going to write my very own post that has a list. Mine is the five stages you need to get through before your book is published (that’s in the traditional way, not self-pubbing, in which case the list stops after number 4).

Oh, and I’m going in reverse order because it’s more dramatic that way.

Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 16.10.03At Stage Five, we have the most obvious (and some would argue the most easy) of all the stages: writing the book. That’s right folks, without actually writing the book, not much else can happen. We are the sole masters of our destiny here, which doesn’t really happen again during the process, so enjoy this bit. Continue reading

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Ready to surrender… but an agent’s rejection stalled the white flag

So I’m at that joyous point of the querying process where the rejections are rolling in thick and fast. Now, I’m tough enough to accept rejection, but the hard part here is that, without exception, every email from an uninterested agent comes across as – and most probably is – a generic response with my name merely pasted to the top (although I did get one “Dear Author” email too. Nice). And even though us novice writers are told to expect rejection, it does knock your confidence a little when it’s relentless. Hence, these rejections and their detached nature began to make me feel a little despondent.

As a consequence of this (and the fact that I’m slowly running out of agency options) I was about ready to give up on a traditional publishing deal and head down the self-pub route instead (or just head down the pub). Whilst self publishing was always a plan B for me, it was still a prospect I’d hoped to avoid… and it was knocking the wind out of my follow-up novel too.

However, in the space of just a single email, my faith in my book was restored. Continue reading

What’s in a title? (Apart from words, that is)

We all know that covers sell books. But what about titles? How important is it that we get the right title? A title that invokes the spirit of the story; a title that describes the story; a title that grabs the readers’ attention?

To highlight the impact of a good title, I’m going to recall a story that happened to me recently. But it doesn’t involve books; it involves music.

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 17.57.20 Continue reading

Pinning up a cover design

So then. Pintrest. What do you make of it?

I had always figured Pinterest was a little bit girly and just a faster and more efficient way for our female better halves to embark on some window shopping and compile lists of the many things they want, that we can never afford to buy them.

And I was right.

However.

I have just discovered a brilliant way that we as writers can use Pinterest… Well, actually, it was my wife’s idea, and when I say we as writers, I actually mean we writers who self publish and have to design a cover.

Continue reading

Agents berated because they don’t like Kurt Vonnegut? Pah!

I don’t know if you’ve heard the story of Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions being submitted to 100 agents and ignored by 99 of them; but if you haven’t, it goes something like this:

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 10.37.03Frustrated at the lack of attention that his manuscript for Swap got from mainstream literary agents and publishing houses, Sam Moffie disguised one of his favorite novels first chapter – Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut – into a manuscript that Moffie called The Perfect Martini, and sent it to the top 100 literary agents in America. Ninety-nine out of 100 passed on the work – a feat that Moffie has used to highlight how difficult it is to get literary fiction featuring satire, humor and conventional culture getting kicked in the tush published. (wikipedia)

Amazing, eh?

Naturally, my initial reaction was one of shock. I mean if an author like Kurt Vonnegut (Slaughterhouse 5, Cat’s Cradle) can’t even get past the query stage, then what hope is there for me and others like me?

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10 Reasons Why You Should Know How To Format Ebooks

I’m enjoying a little sun, sangria and paella at the moment, but I just read this and had to reblog it.

It contains some really good tips and essential information for self-publishers on ebook formatting.

Thanks to Writers In The Storm for the original.

Writers In The Storm Blog

By Kait Nolan, @kaitnolan

I’ve been around since the fairly early days of self publishing. My first ebook went live in early 2010. Since then, the market has exploded and a thousand things have changed. Something that’s true this month may not be true the next.

But two things have remained more or less constant:

  1. Ebook formatting, while it has evolved, is still essentially as it was when I started.
  2. People keep perpetuating the myth that it’s hard.

If you happen to have seen me around since the early days, chances are you heard me railing against the latter. I have bullied (insulted?) more than one author into taking the plunge and educating themselves. I’m here today to tell you why you should, too, even if you opt to hire someone.

1. It is not hard.

Y’all, it’s really not. Formatting ebooks can be many things—a gigantic pain in the…

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All this negativity, it’s just so… negative

So, to begin with, my apologies for not posting for a while. I’ve been working solely of the first edit of my book, which (unsurprisingly) required a lot of work. But it’s finally back in the editor’s hands now, looking a lot more lean and muscular than before.

Hence, I now have time to connect with all my followers in the blogosphere (hi, you two).

And, in true-to-form fashion, I’m going to start with a rant… well, a little moan, at least.

While I may not have been writing my own blog posts recently, I have been reading a few. And in the time it’s taken to edit my book, I’ve began to question whether this is even a worthwhile experience due to a host of negative articles on why certain forms of publishing are worse than others. Ironic, eh?

Continue reading