Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Self-Publishing-Part 2

Research Permissions and Obtain Them

Not all that says free is free. An author can't see a neat photo online and decide to use it. You have to get permission. There is heavy research involved to find out what you can use free and what you can't. My book cover and my book trailer are excellent examples. A free photo has limited use. So even using a free photo website, be prepared to spend money.

If the photo is going in a YouTube trailer, you have to review the various contracts regarding the photo's use. There are standard contracts, extended use contracts, and multi-user contracts. The globe and gold bars photo I use in the trailer costs more than the others, because I use it on the book cover, my business cards, and bookmarks, as well.

You can't assume music can be used without permission. I use Mahler's 1st Symphony in my trailer. Mahler's been dead for a century, surely he won't mind. Ah, not the case. Production companies have copyrights. Performing artists have copyrights. You have to submit your intent to use their work and receive permission. All totaled, I paid right at one-hundred dollars to clear all of the copyright agreements. And I have peace of mind. I did the right thing.

When you self-publish, you have the responsibility for everything. You can't point the finger and say, "The publisher missed the word 'form.' The word should have been 'from.'" Sorry, not the publisher's fault. The buck starts and stops with you.

To view the YouTube Trailer for Room 1515 click on the following link:

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Advice for Authors Considering Self-Publishing Part 1

Part 1: Count the cost!

When I decided to go the self-publishing route, I made a list of every possible expense item. Then I researched my options, concentrating on the cost of each. Ask my wife, I'm a cheapskate. Should I pay for a line-by-line edit? Do I try to format and publish without help or use an AuthorHouse or iUniverse? What marketing tools will I need? Will there be extras required such as business cards and bookmarks? And what about the expense of purchasing my books for book signings?

I found so many program offerings. I can't possibly discuss them all. Suffice to say, the cost ranged from literally zero to over $10,000. I'm not technically savvy, however I do want to market. So zero was out. $10,000--not even to bet Mitt Romney. Nope, I decided on seeing if I could do wide-distribution, both eBook and paperback, for a thousand dollars or under.

Obviously, the more you can do for yourself, the less you have to spend. I chose a package from Book Country, a division of Penguin. You will see more New York publishers buying or creating printing companies to grab a share of the Self-Publishing market. So far I'm please with my choice. The cost to-date is worth the return.

A huge decision for me was the line-by-line edit. On a thousand dollar budget for an 81,000 word novel, a line-by-line edit was far too expensive. But I had some resources to my advantage. A dear friend who is a grammar specialist and avid reader helped me. A text-to- speech program that read my novel to me identified errors, and my patience, editing over and over, factored in. The book is as solid grammatically as I can make it.

I'll be writing Part II in a few days

Be sure to click on the link to Room1515 YouTube Trailer in the left hand column if this blog. The link will take you to the video. I made the video on Windows Movie Maker.

Only 8 days until Room 1515 is available for sale.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Isn't a Workman Worth His Wage?

With my first novel coming out, I'm paying more attention to posts from other authors. Help me out here. I see a number of free book offerings being pitched, as well as the minimum 99 cents. This could be my age showing, but when anything is reduced to the absolute minimum, I think poor quality. Yet, I know this isn't the case, particularly when I see books I've read and enjoyed being discounted to the ridiculous.

I can understand Amazon Kindle offering some classics free to entice readers to use their product, but I believe craftsmen and women should be rewarded for the excellence of their work. Enlighten me.   

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Shameless Marketing!

It's time for shameless marketing. Room 1515 comes out February 23. It will be available on Amazon, Apple, Kindle, Nook, and Sony, and at Barnes & Noble. The trailer I'm developing will go on YouTube with links to Facebook etc, as soon as I get feedback from you. Several people gave helpful suggestions on my first attempt. As a result, I made significant changes. Let me know if you like them. Watching the trailer will only take 70 seconds.

I understand your time is valuable. I know we get sick of the endless stream of pitches our fellow authors shower on us. Not that I'm against shameless marketing. Obviously, we all have to do this. I don't mind taking five minutes to help someone out. But some requests like the one that follows are frivolous.

        Could you go on Vanity Novelspot and write a quick thumbs up for my book, Detective Morgan: the Cop that Cures the Common Cold. (Minimum review 200 words)

This type of request is doubly disturbing when its being sent to a 600 author group. To really do this you have to read their book. Duh? Then you'd have to write a 200 word review. Now, I'd gladly do this for people whose book I've already read. In fact, I do this now without being asked. However, our time is valuable.

Thanks for taking your time to help me out. To watch the trailer on full screen, click the box on the lower right corner.

Monday, February 6, 2012

How not to be Terrified the First Time You're Published.

When I was 24, I would have drank a six pack before reading any reviews of my novel. Thank God I'm past that stage in my life. I'm told the Japanese have a Casper the Ghost type bag they use in businesses. They go into a private room and pin the name of the person they're mad at on the bag. Then they beat the stuffing out of it. I may use that approach. Of course I'm going to get rave reviews, or maybe not.

An author could become paranoid starting out. Will people like my work? Will anyone but my good friends even buy the novel? Will I try to hunt down the b%@#*'s who pan my thriller? Come on now, everyone has those thoughts. So I ask for your prayers as I embark on my journey. Yes, I tell myself. I write because I have to, and I'd write if no one read my novels. Time will tell.

But you say, "Bill, you didn't tell us the formula for not being terrified." True. I don't have one.   

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Room 1515 Coming in Three Weeks

Room 1515 is at the printers. Book Country, a Division of Penguin, walked me through the process. I designed the book cover, edited the text, picked the formatting, and set the pricing. Now I need your expert eyes to evaluate my book trailer. I've uploaded it for your review and added a questionnaire for you to rate the trailer. I was able to load the video, but not the audio. It's Mahler.