Today, I’m at the University of Western Australia, sitting on a panel with Claire Boston, Shona Husk and Nikki Logan, to talk about the changing landscape of publishing.
As part of the discussion, we are handing out a worksheet with some useful links, but I have come across a few more which attendees (and other writers interested in this) might find useful, so I have the original links plus the new ones in this post for easy access. I have also included some links to websites of service providers for authors wanting to look into self-publishing. Please note: I have NOT used all these services, I am listing them to give authors a place to start, and everyone needs to do their own research and comparison to work out if these services are right for them.
Places to do research on the professionalism and reputation of any publishing business or agent you are considering dealing with:
Writer Beware (sponsored by Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association, but supported by a number of other reputable writing associations)
Absolute Write Water Cooler – This is a must-visit place if you want to find out more about a particular agent / publisher / service provider.
Business articles on contracts and how publishing works:
The Business by Kristine Kathryn Rusch – the information on contracts on this blog is particularly invaluable.
Zombie Publishing Memes: Article on comparing self-publishing to legacy deals and how to compare apples with apples
The Passive Voice: A Lawyer’s Thoughts on Authors, Self-publishing and Traditional Publishing
Places where you can create print on demand books:
Ingram Spark (cost associated with this service, although it isn’t very high)
To use both these print on demand services, you need to have a good cover, which will cost money (around $250 US for a good designer). You can do the layout yourself, using the templates provided, or pay a layout service $50 or so to do it for you.
Claire Boston also included some links she thought were useful to the worksheet:
Checking agents and editors:
Preditor and editor
Finding an agent:
Information on the writing business, in particular self-publishing:
So You Want To Be A Writer with Valerie Khoo & Alison Tate
The Author Biz with Stephen Campbell
The Author Marketing Podcast with Jim Kukral
The Creative Penn with Joanna Penn
These are links which were only available after the worksheet was put together, mostly because the information only came out in February 2016.
Author Earnings Report Feb 2016: This is a report put out by hybrid author Hugh Howey and a technical expert who goes under the name of Data Guy (much like The Stig of Top Gear fame). They use a spider and various algorithms to parse Amazon.com’s website to pull real numbers and figures out for analysis. Their methodology is openly explained, and in all cases they allow anyone access to the raw data they use to come up with their results, which they give in downloadable .xls files at the bottom of each report.
Disruption and Innovation in the Australian Book Industry: This report by Macquarie University contains feedback from most Australian publishers about their strategies for coping in the new digital landscape. It is worth reading for information on each publisher alone, giving how many books they publish a year, their imprints and what genres they publish. (Here is the general link to the report’s parent page on Macquarie University website, which contains other reports about the publishing industry.)
SELF PUB SERVICES
Covers are extremely important when it comes to selling books. When you are taking the self-publication route, you have far more control over the look of your cover than you would going the traditional publication route. However, if you aren’t a graphic designer yourself, I highly recommend either buying a premade cover or hiring a cover designer to create your cover for you, and to listen to their advice about what makes a good cover. The golden rule is to evoke the feel of the book, not to try and recreate a scene from the book. And also remember, in the new digital age, most covers have to look great in thumbnail, as that’s how they are displayed online, so simple, clean lines that can easily be seen work very well.
Premade covers are usually cheaper than custom designs, and there is a huge choice. I have listed some sites below, but this is not an endorsement, just a place to start. WARNING: Looking through covers can be addictive 🙂
Book Cover Machine
The Book Cover Designer
The Cover Collection
Ebook Indie Covers
Go On, Write
Premade covers are also available on Canva. Big name authors like Hugh Howey have used canva covers in the past, and I personally think they look amazing. Each cover costs $1 each, and all you have to do is add the title, author name, and any tagline you require to the cover that suits you. You have to sign up for a free canva account, and you will be very glad you did, as you can design social media graphics, banners and many other graphical elements authors need to promote their work, either for free, if you use your own images, or for $1 a piece. Canva is a West Australian success story, as it was founded by a UWA graphic design lecturer, who went into business with two other partners, and now, canva is in my opinion the most useful, and easy-to-use, graphics tool in the world. If you don’t want to have to go through a steep learning curve to create amazing graphics, this is for you. It is as easy as drag and drop.
A more expensive option, but when you want something very specific, this is the way to go. Again, I have not used all these services, so please do your research. There are literally thousands of cover designers out there, and a simple internet search should yield you plenty of options:
Bespoke Book Covers
EJR Digital Art
JD Smith Design
This is a must-have component of self-publishing.
You can either do-it-yourself, by buying the software you need, like Vellum if you have a Mac (this is the programme I use and I highly recommend it) or if you have a PC-based system, Jutoh.
If that’s a step too far for you, there are plenty of companies who can take care of formatting your ebooks for you:
Ebook Formatting Fairies
Again, please do your research, and weigh up your options before you decide where to spend your money. And good luck!
(photo credit: reading 2 via photopin (license))