Women, Submissions and Self-Publishing

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For six years Kelli Russell Agodon worked as a co-editor and chief for a literary magazine.  In her piece for Medium, SUBMIT LIKE A MAN published May 2015, she writes about what she learned during that time, and what she knows about how men and women submit their work from consideration.

If I had to make one general statement about what I most learned at the press as an editor, the big revelation was that men and women submit their work differently.

More here – While aware of the generalisations being made, Agodon cannot ignore the overall trends between men and women.  When a rejection letter is sent to a man with the following, ‘We would like to see more of your work,’ a man will tend to actually send more of their work. She puts it done to

When the same rejection letter is sent to a women, she will generally wait 3 to 6 months before resubmitting, if at all.  She puts it done to

She puts it done to the classic problem of women over thinking things, reading too much into the words, not wanting to seem pushy or being happy to settle for an ‘almost.’

I am guilty of this too.  If I am really honest with myself, it is my fear of utter rejection that drove me towards self publishing my work instead of subjecting it to the ridicule of rejection I was certain it would have recieved.

This is stupid I know, as rejection letters are vital to improvement as a writer, self reflection and challening ourselves to work harder and go beyond what we thought.

It seems I am not the only one.

I a survey published by the GUARDIAN in March 2015, it seems self-publishing allows women the chance to circumnavigate their fear of rejections and break the book industry’s glass ceiling.  The number of women selling best sellers through self-publishing is almost twice that of men.

“More and more female writers are seeing success in self-publishing,” said Monique Duarte, chief executive of FicShelf, which released the results to mark International Women’s Day on Sunday 8 March. “It’s a level playing field.”

While men are still dominating traditional publishing it is the ladies who seem to be making self-publishing work for them.

While mainstream publisher are known for playing it safe, it is the self-publishing market that is allowing female writers to step out of these preconceived norms and break the template of what women should be writing about.

AMANDA HOCKING has made millions selling her novels online through self Publishing.

Why Do I Only Get Queries From Dudes?

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So, I review books.

My details are on a number of different websites, including this one, outlining how indie authors and writers can get in contact with me about reviewing their work.  Authors send me queries, which include details of their novels, and they ask me if I would be interested in reviewing their work.  I say yes to as many reviews as I can.

I receive one or two requests each day.  Many of these I turn down due to time restrictions or a disinterest in the blurb of the book.  But I read every request, consider it and respond.  I have a REVIEW POLICY that helps me choose the books I will consider for review.

I decided that I would always give preference to Indie Australian Female writers as that is my community, and you need to support your own.  The only thing is, they never write to me – Ever.  Since I started receiving queries for book reviews I have only ever been contacted by male writers. Continue reading

How to Get A Book Review

There is one very simple way of getting your book reviewed.  It is so obvious that lots of people actually overlook it, searching for more complicated and intricate ways of sneaking a book review from an unlikely suspect.  Ask.

The first three book reviews I received for my book arrived in my email because I had asked for them.

Unless you are a major author with the backing of a big publisher, you are probably going to struggle to get a review in mainstream media.  this also means that the people who are going to be reviewing you book will be doing it for free in their spare time.

So be kind, and gentle and give your reviewer sometime.

The best way to try and get a book review is to ask for one.  There are many people who read you book who would not think to give the book a review online.  So ask them, perhaps at the end of the book if you feel so bold. Continue reading

EWF15 – Inside the Publishing House

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On the 29th of May 2015, I went inside a publishing house, metaphorically speaking.  As part of the EMERGING WRITERS’ FESTIVAL, I was able to attend a Publishing Masterclass with one of Australia’s largest and most successful publishing houses, HACHETTE AUSTRALIA.  Here’s what I learnt, straight from the Hachette’s mouth.

Submitting Your work

When submitting your manuscript to a publisher, be clear, direct and slightly business like.  You need to convey an awareness of what you’re selling.  ‘This is the book, this is the type of book it is and this is the hook.  That’s all we need to know.’

Getting Rejected

There are a number of reasons why a publisher will say no to a manuscript.  Firstly the manuscript might actually be very bad or nowhere near publication.  Alternatively, it might have potential, but the publisher is already working on a similar manuscript.  The manuscript might be in direct competition with a writer the publisher has already signed.  It might also have a lot of potential, but the publisher simply does not have time to get the work ready for publication. Continue reading

Publishers and Literary Gatekeepers

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What are Literary Gatekeepers?

In the writing world, I am sure you have heard the comment that publishers are the literary world’s gatekeepers.  Gatekeepers control passage through a certain gate.  This gate may be literal or metaphorical.  In literature, gatekeepers are the people who decide who and what gets published when.

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FIGURE A

Let’s take this metaphor further.  To be a gatekeeper, one must have a gate.  And for this gate to be successful in it’s function, it must be firmly attached to a wall or fence.  The gatekeeper remains at their post until a person wishes to pass through this gate.  The gatekeeper is in charge of deciding wether said applicant meets the necessary criteria to access the other side of the wall/fence.  See Figure A * Continue reading

Susie Mander, An Interview

Susie Mander, Bird of Chaos, Harpies Curse

 

australian authors, young authors, female writer, female writer australian, Susie ManderMeet Susie Mander, a Sydney based writer who from her earliest memories has been writing and telling stories as she walked round and round a huge date palm in her back yard.  In just one year this incredible lady has released her first novel and given birth to her first child.

She wrote her first novel (seven pages long) somewhere around the age of ten and by the time she started high school she had already accumulated a pile of rejection letters from publishers.  But it was not a direct path to the release of her first novel.

With a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master’s of Teaching, Susie Mander has found herself in a number of different careers, Teaching English, designing a mobile phone app and getting involved in running a tech start up, before finally realising that writing was the only thing that was going to make her truly happy.

 After being released on the 10th of August, just under fifty days before her daughter was born, Bird of Chaos; Book one in the Harpies Curse, has already been downloaded hundreds of times.

As Mander gets to work on Book Two, Manuscrapped caught up with this new mother and Emerging Writer to find out which was harder; giving birth or publishing a book? Continue reading

Before You Name Your Book – Read This

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NAMING THE BOOK – Before you name your book…

Think about what you want to call your book and then Google it.  

Check how many books have the same name.

Type your potential book name into Amazon and talk to your friends about the title.

If there are already a number of books (or 21 books on the first page of Amazon) called ‘Hope’ then consider calling your book something else.  It is hard enough to sell an original novel with an original title.  Don’t make it hard to find online.  You will be making your life very difficult if you are going to use a title that is already in use.  You will be at the bottom of the search results on Amazon, and you will rank on page 5 of Google search results.  The URL for that book title will probably be taken.  The back link profile online for that title will be directed to other peoples books.  The website domain name of that name will be taken.

Your readers will be confused and you may end up selling a whole lot of someone else’s work.

Also – Dont make your title incredibly difficult to spell or remember.  Word of mouth is a very powerful marketing tool for novels.  If the title of your novel is hard to pronounce, hard to spell or difficult to remember, people will be less inclined to tell their friends about it.

My mother always tells me the book she is reading.  My friends and I discuss what we are reading when we chat.  If you want to call your book ‘We are one.‘  Don’t spell it …. ‘Oui R won‘.

Things that are hard to find – Are hard to find.

Quick tip – Don’t use the word LavenderLove or Time – they are taken.

See the whole article on Self Publishing Click Here –

Self Publishing 101

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emerging writers, emerging writers festival, meghan brewster, Ebooks, ebooks online, book, gift ideas, buy books online, download ebook, how to publish a book, self publishing, how to publish an ebook, self publishing ebooks, australian authors, young authors, female writer, female writer australian,ATTITUDES TOWARDS DOING IT YOUR SELF HAVE CHANGED

When writers talk about self publishing, they are no longer discussing the biggest mistake of their career.  Self publishing is no longer a dirty word.  Attitudes towards self publishing have changed and so have the available technologies that make it happen.  Success stories in self publishing have helped to de-marginalise the self publishing industry and give creative control back to the writers.

emerging writers, emerging writers festival, meghan brewster, Ebooks, ebooks online, book, gift ideas, buy books online, download ebook, how to publish a book, self publishing, how to publish an ebook, self publishing ebooks, australian authors, young authors, female writer, female writer australian,  Writers now have a plethora of information, resources, technologies, software programs and e commerce plugins to make the process easy and professional.  Just Googling ‘Self Publishing’ will bring up over 40 million results.  That’s enough information to bury you for the rest of your life.

The following article is a collection of what I have learnt, information from various festival panels, tips from other writers, information from fellow bloggers, a lot of research and a secret chat with an SEO expert. 

So if you are interested in Self Publishing –  Go fourth & publish!

WHY SELF PUBLISH?

What you need to ask yourself before you begin, is why you want to self publish.  No really, why?

Knowing why you want to self publish will get you through the difficult times.  Self publishing is a long and difficult process, and while it can be incredibly rewarding, establishing your intentions early one will help you nagivate this huge industry.

When Guy Kawaski, from Author Publisher Entrepreneur was interviewed about why people self publish, he had this to say.  ‘If you’re writing a book simply as a means to an end – to get rich, or to get the word out about your expertise, or to attract more consulting or coaching business – forget it.  Stop what you’re doing right now.  If you’re thinking just about what you can get out of it, you’re probably writing a “crappy” book (Guy’s word), and your “crap” will be forever immortalized in black and white.  Something you definitely don’t want. (2)

how to publish a book, self publishing, how to publish an ebook, self publishing ebooks, Karen Andrews from Misc Mum was in the process of sending her children’s fiction to publishers when she decided to self publish instead.  ‘Bugger it, I’ll do it!’  She had a feeling it would work and took the risk.  She admits it was a big risk, deciding to use her personal savings to fund the project.  ‘The whole process took about a month,’ she says,   ‘Employing an illustrator, getting a professional logo and learning about the business. She ‘took a risk and it paid off.’ (1)

IT TAKES A COMMUNITY TO RAISE A WRITER

Andrews told the audience at The Emerging Writers Festival, Melbourne, that deciding to self publish was scary.  ‘It is a daunting spot to be in when you are deciding what to do, but you have to back yourself.’

When Andrews added that, ‘the best advice I can give you is to not do it all your self,’ the other panelists nodded in agreement.  Getting professional help is the difference between people connecting with your work and it looking like a big piece of crap.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PROFESSIONALISM AND COMMERCIALISM

Putting your best work forward does not mean you need to sell out.

When you are self publishing, seek the advice and services of professionals through every step of the way.

Self Publishing does not mean ‘Free Publishing.’

When Torre DeRoche decided to self publish, she set about educating herself.  What she learnt very early on was that she really needed to build an audience first.   She was told that publishers weren’t publishing memoirs ‘at the moment’ decided to do it herself.

DeRoche learnt all she could about self publishing, seeking professionals to edit and review her work.  As a professional designer she was able to do a lot of the graphic work herself.  DeRoche told the crowd at the Emerging Writers Festival that she spent a lot of time making her book into a product that she was proud of.  She focused on the art work, book design, packaging and overall image of the book.  

She als0 learnt how to build a community online.  DeRoche started her own blog The Fearful Adventurer and got very involve in social media.  She spoke about her book on Facebook and Twittteas @fearfulgirl – ‘I was obsessed.’ (3)

For more information on Building an Audience online Check out Self Publishing 202 – Marketing.

Screen shot 2014-06-12 at 12.06.13 PM

WRITE THE DAM BOOK!

The most important process in the whole process is to actually write the dam book.  This is very crucial.  Write it!  Make sure you have something that you believe in and that you are proud of; it will make marketing and advertising your self published work a lot easier.

NAME THE DAM BOOK

Think about what you want to call your book, then Google it.  Check if there are other books with the same name.  You might be surprised.  Type your potential book name into Amazon and talk to your friends about the draft title.

If there are already a number of books (or 21 books on the first page of Amazon) called ‘Hope’ then consider calling your book something else.  It is hard enough to sell an original novel with an original title.  You will be making your life very difficult if you are going to use a title that is taken.  You will be at the bottom of the search results on Amazon and you will rank on page 5 of Google search results.  The website Domain name for that book title will probably be taken.  The back link profile online for that title will be directed to other peoples books.

You may confuse any potential readers send them off to by someone else’s work by mistake.

Also – Dont make your title difficult to spell, remember or pronounce.  Word of mouth marketing for novels is very important.  My mother always tells me about the books she reads and my friends and I discuss what we are reading when we chat.  If I dont feel comfortable with the pronunciation then I tend to mumble it.  If you want to call your book ‘We are one.‘  Don’t spell it …. ‘Oui R won‘.  Things that are hard to find – Are hard to find.

Quick tip – Don’t use the word Lavender, Love or Time – they are taken.

EDITING

No matter how good you are at proofreading and editing, never edit your own work.  Editing your own work defeats the whole purpose.  Find someone that you trust, who is good at their job and get them to edit your book.  Once they have finished, pay them.

If you are struggling to justisfy paying an editor, think of it this way, an editor is not an outgoing cost but a business investment.  You need an editor for your self publishing business to survive.  An editor will not only make your work better than it was, it will help you to shift  into the mindset of a professional writer.

With my latest book, I went all out. I hired two copy editors to go through the basics on spelling and grammar. Then I hired Command Z Editing, run by Nils Parker, to help me structurally edit, i.e. do the job that editors used to do (example: Maxwell Perkins in the 1930s) but have been sorely lacking in the past 20 years from traditional publishers. Nils has previously edited bestsellers from Tucker Max, Kamal Ravikant, Ryan Holiday, and a dozen writers, as well as written screenplays, books, etc.

I am not saying “hire Nils” by the way. I’m just saying this is who I used (and paid). Nils and I went back and forth on more than 15 different rewrites for my book. The difference between the original version and the final version is like the difference between chicken shit and chicken salad.'(4)  James Altucher 

Where do you find an editor?

Editors are everywhere, you just need to ask the right people.  Editors are online, editors are using Linked In, editors are members of Facebook groups and editors go to Writers Centres.  There are a lot of editors working as freelancers on websites such as Freelancer and Odesk.  Editors also sometimes hang out at the Institute of Professional Editors.  They can be found on websites such as the Society of Editors. Editors are on Facebook and Twitter, they go to writing festivals and present at the Emerging Editors panel. Editors are not cheeky, they are not hiding from you, you just haven’t started looking yet.  Some editors can charge up to $10 000 to edit your work, though most of them will charge a lot less.  It is a matter of whether you believe in your work enough to find the money to spend on it.

Google Editor and see what comes up.

PRICING YOUR BOOK

How do you price your work?  This is a very difficult question.  How do you price creativity?

Darrell Pitt always wanted to be a writer.  He sold his first self published book an hour after is was posted – for 99 cents.  Pitt is an advocate for selling a lot of stories for less, and is his own success story.

The issue with having a low cost novel is that people may perceive it as a low cost publication.  It all depends on who your audience is.  It would make sense to have a lower priced book if you want to catch the attention of Young Adult readers.

When you are publishing your own work, you are receiving all of the profits.  When you are in charge of your product you can set the price.  If you are still not sure what to charge, Publishers Weekly have an online article that may help guide you through the pricing delema How to Price a Self Published Ebook?

 

ADMINISTRATION

Once you have written your book, edited it and think you have it ready to publish, you are still only halfway there.  What comes next is a whole lot of boring administration.  If something happens to your books, it is your responsibility, even if it’s not your fault.  As a self published writer you are a self employed small business owner.  Who is going to print it?  Are you just going to have an Ebook?  Where are you going to keep your stock?  Andrews spoke of receiving her first print run of books and then realising she needed somewhere to store them all.  Do you have space in your garage for all your printed books?

How are you going to monitor online sales?

How are you going to keep track of your stock?

Where are you going to keep your stock?

Are you going to get insurance for your work?

Who is going to distribute the work?

How are people going to know the book exists? 

TOP BORING ADMIN TIPS

  • Remember that once you begin to self publish you are officially a small business owner.
  • Learn about small business and get control of you taxes.
  • Know you responsibilities as a self publisher and be informed.
MISTAKES

Darrell Pitt’s advice, ‘You can’t break the internet.  If the cover is not working, change it.  If you find a typo or spelling mistake in your finished book, upload a better version.  You can keep updating and improving your work for as long as you like.  It is yours.  So don’t be scared to get it wrong the first time.  You can have a few go’s at it.’

…And don’t worry about connecting with everyone

Think about how many people are on the internet right now.  Don’t get carried away trying to connect with everyone online, you don’t need them all.  Just focus your attention on getting your book into the 1% of people online who are really going to get something out of your work.  Aim to get your book into 1% of the internet readership, you will have just found yourself about 50 000 000 readers.

RESOURCES 

Jenny Blake is an amazing lady with a strong mind for organisation.  She has kindly shared her 15 tab Book Marketing Master Spread Sheet online.  It is a great resource for getting your head around marketing your book.

Euan Mitchell has writen a number of non fiction books about self publishing including ‘Self Publishing Made Simple and Your Book Publishing Options.

Ja Konrath has sold more than 3 million books in over twenty countries.  He is a prolific self publisher and online writer.  He has a great blog about writing, A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing.

The science fiction writer Dean Wesley Smith blogs at ‘The Writings and Opinions of Dean Wesley Smith.

 

 

If you enjoyed this article there is more!  

Click here for Self Publishing 201 

And here for Self Publishing 202 – Marketing.

 

 

(1) Karen Andrews appeared on a DIY self publishing panel at the Emerging Writers Festival 2014.

(2) Considering Self publishing – Don’t bother unless… By Kathy Caprino, Forbes –

(3) Torre DeRoche appeared on a DIY self publishing panel at the Emerging Writers Festival 2014.

(4) James Altucher from The Altucher Confidential has published many articles on Self Publishing

 

Dear Emerging Writer; A love letter.

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Dear Emerging Writer,

I have seen the future and it looks beautiful.

In the future we, the Emerging Writers will invade and overrun one of the oldest buildings in Melbourne; we will lay on the floor, among the stiff dark faces of history with our devices plugged in, drawing power from old establishments to fuel new creative endevours online – The Yarra Room

In the future we will no longer desire to be ‘out‘ or ‘finished‘; to be ‘Emerged’.  In the future we will have come to accept and understand that every writer is emerging, no matter where they are in their career.  ‘To emerge’ is to embrace the forward momentum.  We will associate Emerging as a means of describing our growth and even the most publicly recognizable writers of our time will consider themselves still emerging – The 5×5 Rules

RT by Hannah Kent @MyfanwyMcDonald: When has an emerging writer emerged? Maybe all writers are always emerging. Perhaps the goal is 2 keep emerging, rather than 2 emerge #ewf14

In the future, we will have stepped past our dark attitudes towards the publishing gatekeepers.  We are no longer worried about whether our names are on the list.  We are not concerned about issues of access to the main party, for we are throwing our own bash at the end of the lane-way and every one is welcome – Ice Breaker Drinks.

We understand that we need to act in a creative and decisive manner if we are to ensure the next generation of writers do not laugh at our inability change – DIY HARDS; Self Publishing.  ‘This is the best time ever to be a writer – with so much information accessible on the internet.  Self publishing is no longer a dirty word.’  Darrell Pitt.

We no longer need to worry if our glass is half empty or half full, because the drinks are cheap and there is another Emerging Writer at the bar buying us all another round – Interstate Mates.

In the future we are brave enough to lay down the challenge to the government to defund us, for we know that we will survive.  In the future we understand our place within the least dependent and most unstoppable art form – Emerging Q and A.

We willingly divulge our fears and vulnerabilities in an effort to dispel myths of publishing, fame, success and the struggle to get there – The Control Room.

In the future we are our own best boss.  We understand that we are going to work with ourselves for a very long time and we have started to treat ourselves as we would our favourite employee.  When nothing is working we are willing to acknowledge that sometimes, it’s just a bad day at work and we take ourselves out for lunch.

In the future we file our tax returns as writers, under the appropriate tax exemptions available to those in the arts.  We stock our offices with the things we need and remember to ask for a tax invoice – Benjamin Law.  We understand that it is our responsibility to be aware of what we are eligible for.  We research scholarships, grants, funding and prizes.  We fill out grant applications to the criteria – Felix Nobis.

In the future, distance is no boundary and communities of writers are formed and maintained through the technologies available to us – Real Live Writers Group – Live Skype.  Traveling the world no longer effects the work dynamics of a writers group.  The future of Emerging Writers involves sharing contacts, names, experience and support; it includes editing each others work and making sure our writing colleges are always putting their best face forward.

We have realised the limitations upon the internet and the governing seach bodies we use to navigate it.  We have learnt to use these limitations to our advantage and we we no longer post images to our websites without alternative keyword texts – General SEO. We have stopped being cryptic or poetic with our article headings and our blogs have started to rank within the subjects that we specialise.

We use Twitter for good.  We use twitter to cultivate a community of respect; to share information that may have been lost to others, to equalise access to information and maintain new friendships.  In the future we are a community of writers who close ranks on trolling, bullying, unkindness and judgment.

In the future we practice empathy and echo that message across social media  – #ewf14.

In the future, we as writers set the standard among our friends and families to be the first to purchase our friends books.  Friends buy each others work from the place where they hope to one day see themselves Krissy Kneen.  We turn up and fill the room when a fellow Emerging Writer is launching a new work – Hologram & Seizure launch.  We connect with other Emerging Writers on a local level – 5 x 5. 

We have returned to the idea of a book as a piece of art – weather it is printed or digital – and we take the time to ensure our work has the best cover design and artwork.  We consider not just the image but the single frame narrative that our cover represents – KYD.  We appreciate the book as an object and consider its weight, form, size and paper stock when producing it  Look of the Book. 

We as writers no long attempt to do everything ourselves – Emerging Editors.  We understanding that our expertise lies with writing and we implore to help of others when we need it, especially when it comes to editing our work.  We respect the role of editors in the development of our work and no longer ask them to give us their best work for free – Book Editing and Building a Career.

We have learnt that we need to keep showing up, no matter what happened yesterday.

In the future that I saw, Emerging Writers sat on the stage and the panelists and ambassadors where the ones tweeting our funny quotes – You are Here.  It was the interns that were asking the questions and the Un-Emerging Writers who were answering them.

Where did I see this future?

At the Emerging Writers Festival, Melbourne 2014.  It is our turn now.  It is your turn to take over, stand up and be counted.  The question that remained for all of us to answer was this….

‘What are you going to do now?’ Sam Twyford Moore, Festival Director.

Kindest Regards

Meghan Brewster

I had the very good fortune of being a part of the Emerging Writers Festival for 2014, including the National Writers Conference in Melbourne.  It was a great honour to be a part of it and I would like to thank everyone involved in putting on such a great festival.