Friday, September 16, 2011

Meet the Incredible Hope Collier!

 I'm so exited to have Hope Collier on the blog today. Her novel, The Willows: Haven just made its debut this past week and is doing very well. Be sure to check it out on Goodreads.

 Here's the trailer:

Hope has written a wonderful article on the many publishing options out there. Please join me in welcoming Hope, and be sure to comment for the chance to win an ebook! 

So You Wrote a Novel: Now What?
First of all, congratulations! That’s an enormous accomplishment, and you should be proud. More often than not, people grow excited about starting the novel but less excited about finishing it. You’re already one step ahead. Virtual cupcakes all around!

Now you might ask: What’s next? The answer depends on just how far into the I-finished-my-novel process you are. Have you gone back through, searching for unnecessary adverbs, passive sentence structure, misspellings, typos, grammatical errors, plot holes, consistency, and flow?

If not, save this page, edit your work, and then come back. We’ll be here, I promise
If you’ve gone through to the best of your ability, now is the time to find some beta readers and critique partners. And, just to be clear, a beta reader is a person that reads your manuscript with the intent of giving a general opinion on the subject matter, flow, is it interesting, etc. A critique partner typically goes through and edits the work with comments concerning plot holes, typos, grammar issues, and such--it’s a much more involved process. You must have both. Trust me on this one. The biggest mistake a writer can make is thinking they can do this on their own. I speak from experience here, guys. Get Help!

Now that you have a super clean and shiny MS, it’s time to decide what exactly you’d like to do with it. There are three options here: 1) the traditional route, 2) the self-pub route, and 3) the indie route.
I’ll give you a brief rundown on each, but most of my knowledge falls under indie, so my focus will be in that area.

Traditional: This involves the tedious process of writing a query letter and potentially a synopsis in the hopes of securing a literary agent. The agent then attempts to sell your novel to a publishing house. It’s typically a long and trying process which you are most capable of if you don’t give up. The average amount of rejection letters in simply trying to land an agent looms in the hundreds. However, if this is your dream, go for it! Don’t let anyone discourage you!Another traditional route is that of smaller presses, such as mine. Soul Fire Press and others offer a more personal approach to the publishing process, catering to each author as an individual. In my experience so far, as well as the opinions of other authors who fall into this category, I have only good things to say. While your book may not be the major chains such as Wal-Mart or Target, you WILL get a lot of exposure with the right team!

Self-Published: This involves an outsourced company such as iUniverse, Createspace or Lulu. It basically comes down to you submitting a manuscript. The company offers a variety of services at this point: editing, cover design, marketing, etc. They publish your book under their brand and take a share of the profits.

Independent Publishing: This involves the writer dealing with every aspect of the process.

1) You become the publisher: This means you start a small business, under a publishing name. This process varies by state, oftentimes where your company name isn’t your given name.

2) You hire people to edit your work: You seek out a reputable, freelance editor(s) who will clean your MS till it’s perfect. Sadly, I’m not much help here either. I lucked out in that fact that one of my closest friends is a sensational editor. I do, however, have a list of qualified and reasonably priced individuals who provide a myriad of editorial services.

3) You hire a cover designer: There’s more to it than finding a picture and making it work. You have to find a designer who shares your vision. I am super picky when it comes to this part. I don’t care what you’ve always heard growing up. You can absolutely judge a book by its cover! A bad cover screams of bad work, 99% of the time. The #1 thing people have commented on for Haven so far is the cover. I love it for so many reasons, not the least of which, its ability to entice. Not to mention, it fits my story.
But before hiring a cover designer, see samples of their work, compare rates to other designers, and be certain their design style is similar to yours! A person who specializes in mystery/horror isn’t going to share your love of contemporary YA.

4) You find the right print company: There are many companies that offer Print-On-Demand books. Research each carefully. I recommend Lightning Source personally.
5) You are the marketing team: You’re the one who spends hour upon hour marketing your work without being overbearing though not a pushover either. Book trailers and blogs are two ways of inciting interest and spreading the word about what you’re doing. No book will sell without good marketing. Study those who have done well and try to implement a similar method. Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads are great places to meet everyone from critique partners to book bloggers to editors. Take advantage of them. You’ll walk away with lifelong friends who are just as passionate about writing as you are and want to see you succeed. A dedicated friend is a great marketer. Just please, don’t use people to get ahead. It won’t work, and it’s enormously off-putting.

With everything, ask other Indie’s what they liked or didn’t like about their choices. Seek out recommendations from authors you trust. And always compare rates and services!

You each should make your own decisions as to what you hope to accomplish, seek out all the right info, and make an informed choice. Above all else, never stop writing!