THE END! Now what?


THE END! Now what?

Natalie Bright

We had a great discussion at WordsmithSix meeting about the next step, after you’ve edited and polished your manuscript. You are ready to publish: now what? Several of our members have finished, or are in the home stretch with their manuscripts, and have a very big decision: a) shop their book with agents and editors and pursue a traditional publishing deal, or b) become an Indie Author. We try to keep it real here at Wordsmith Six, so here’s your reality check:

Today’s publishing environment is exhilarating and exhausting. It basically boils down to the following issues, assuming you have a polished and edited book ready for publication.

A. Traditional Publishing

1. Author receives 10% royalty from sales (+/- depending on deal).

2. Author pays 15% from their share to a literary agent, who negotiates the deal.

3. Publication date: years (some smaller presses move faster)

$. Advance: possible, but not guaranteed

6. Sign on the dotted line and give up ALL rights to your novel, characters, cover design, content. You are out of the process, which is a huge relief and appealing to some authors. Go write the next book.

7. Big name publisher assists with promotion (minimal for first-time authors, but invaluable if you are at best seller status). Authors maintain website and social media.

8. Publication Date: Years from now.

9. Validation from a traditional publishing house and the writing community (this is exciting because we all have big dreams).

B. Indie Author

1. Author receives 70% cut of sales (+/- depending on venue)

2. Author learns how, or pays out-of-pocket for professional editor, formatting, cover design, promotion. Most indie authors agree, the work is 50% writing and 50% business owner. You maintain complete control.

3. Go wide as in world wide eBooks and/or Print. You identify the target markets and you design promotion that best connects with your readers.

3.Publication Date: within weeks from this very minute. You decide launch date.

4. Validation from family and local community. Your cousin doesn’t care if the publisher is Me Writer, LLC or Random House, they just want to buy a copy of your book. The local book club is excited to hear your talk.

Have I left anything off of the list that might be significant to newbie authors based on your experience?

This past Saturday, I went to the Texas High Plains Writers workshop by Indie Author Bethany Claire[bethanyclaire.com who has propelled herself and her Scottish time-travel series to best-selling status. She has become successful on her own terms, to the point that she was able to hire her mother as her assistant. They are developing an online class to help other indie authors who are serious about elevating their writing to the next level and who want to build a successful business.

After Saturday’s workshop, I feel better about a recent decision regarding my own work. At the end of last year, I turned down an offer from a small press. For the standard 10% royalty and no advance, I would have signed away an entire page and one-half listing of rights for my inspirational book. Sure, this deal might have propelled it in the market place, but I had to submit a marketing plan as well. Why do publishers want rights they never intend to exploit? That’s not to say traditional publishing deals are something I’d never consider. It depends on the book. For this one, I said no thanks.

Remove your author big-dreams cap for a moment and look at things through clear, sensible eyes. This is business. YOUR business. What process will be optimal for the book in hand, and for your continued success? You have three choices: traditionally published; an Indie AuthorPrenuer all the way; or a ‘hybrid’, which is an author who has published books through both options. It’s all good.

Keep writing, be excellent, and more importantly, get your work out there so I can read it!

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Happy New Year


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Happy New Year

By Nandy Ekle

A new year, but the same goals: lose more weight, exercise my body, organize the house, cook more meals/eat out less, and write more words.

Yes. Write more words. I want to write more words. However, the year started off with lots of activities, lots of overtime at my day job, but not much energy to get it all in. And on top of that, I still have one more Christmas present to finish, several more to wrap, and a quick trip to deliver these gifts to those we haven’t celebrated with yet.

So write more words. I wonder if Stephen King says that every New Year? Write more words. How many words are enough? At this point, if I could just write SOME words that have nothing to do with my day job, I would be ver happy with even that small goal.

So, please accept this as confirmation the annual resolution of WRITE ORE WORDS has been set for this new year.

Let me know your goals for this year in the comments below.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

TWEETS AND HASHTAGS


TWEETS AND HASHTAGS

By Natalie Bright

Twitter is the birthplace of the hashtag. Jack Dorsey (@jack) sent the first tweet on March 21, 2006:

“just setting up my twttr”

Dorsey and his business associates were searching for a way to text on their cell phones, and the word “Twitter” defined exactly what they hoped to achieve.

Twitter has since evolved into an invaluable social media tool for communication and information sharing. The hashtag, pound sign (#) followed by short subject links, has become a way to organize that information.

Today Twitter boasts 200 million users with 140 million daily tweets. It’s an active social media gathering place.

For writers, you can include your tweet as part of the community or group conversation by using hashtags. Your tweet will the become a part of the online chat and is now a searchable link.

For example, tag you might tag posts with:

#writinglife

#kidlit (the genre you write)

#readromance (to link to readers or your genre)

#books

#mystery

#crimefiction

For researchers, discover and follow specific subjects, and find information you need by searching hashtags specific to your needs or genre.

I see a lot of hashtags with broad appeal that are popular and trending, but why not boost your tweets on a local level? Within your city, state, or a tri-state area, you can connect with new fans of your work by using specific hashtags. Spark a conversation, or perhaps build relationships that can turn into a business venture down the line. Do this by using hashtags for local public places, the city names, or topics specific to your book.

To learn more about which hashtags are currently trending and are the most popular, go the hashtags.org and where they also offer analytics for your business.

One of the consistently popular hasgtags on the list: #DWTS and yes, I am a fan. I enjoy watching Dancing with the Stars and reading everybody’s tweets during commercial breaks.

Social media doesn’t have to be stressful. It can be fun work and a great way to build your writing platform.

Tweet me @natNKB – what are some of your favorite hashtags?

Too Busy to Write


Too Busy to Write

By Natalie Bright

Some days cause us to wonder why we even think that writing is a necessary part of our lives. Sometimes those days turn into weeks, and those weeks turn into months…and well, you understand.

Finally, we get back to the business of writing and the creative process seems so foreign. It’s like we’ll have to start over and relearn the basics.

Here’s a few writing exercises to get you back in the muse groove:

Write the inner thoughts from your main characters. Start with their life growing up, description of their parents, most afraid, most embarrassing–all from first person POV. Dig deep and really get inside your character’s head.

If you’re stuck on your book, write a short story, a magazine article, a nonfiction book, a story about your grandfather, childhood memories. Just write.

Make lists. I love making lists. Since I write westerns, I made a list of word substitutions for the word “horse” . Make a list of spicey words. Instead of the word jump, what other word would make that descriptive phrase better? Make an alphaetical list of your character names with a brief discription, like red hair, green eyes, trimmed mustache.

Prepare a timeline of your novel, scene by scene.

So there you go. Hope you have a productive week!

 

Let Me Show You Something


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Let Me Show You Something

I have something to show you. Come closer, a little closer. Good Now get comfortable. It may sound strange, but you have to close your eyes to see this. Ready? All right, let’s begin.

In order for you to see the things I want you to see and hear the sounds I want you to hear, I am going to draw and paint with my words. Here goes. I’ll use lots of colors and sounds. Do you feel the wind on your face? Can you smell the new air yet? Yes, that’s it. Do you hear the sounds I hear? Yes, yes, that’s it. Okay, open your eyes.

You are now in this world I have created. I meant for this particular world to be beautiful and full of color and scents and sounds. I believe there are some birds in that tree—bright reds and blues in the branches that vibrate with green. And the color of the dirt, have you ever seen it so black? It could almost be velvet. And look at the sun—you see, in my world you can look directly at the sun and never suffer—and how beautiful it is.

And the smells! Did you know the green could smell so green? And up there are some wild flowers growing all over the hillside with the sweetest perfume in this world.

Can you hear the birds sing while the children play in the park? What? You overlooked the park? Well come with me and I’ll show you. It’s up the hill, just a ways. The children are playing on the swings and the slide and the merry-go-round. They’re smiling and laughing; oh, they have such musical laughter! They all get along and run and play together. The jungle-gym over in that corner is covered with kids climbing, hanging by their knees, and just sitting soaking up the sun.

Did you notice their parents and nannies? I think we’ll call them the “watchers.” The mothers and some dads, some nannies, some teenagers doing their homework are all over to the side of the park next to the sandbox. They visit and talk, each one lovingly mentioning the name of their child over and over again.

Do you like the world I have made here? This is why I write.

Nandy Ekle