Working with IngramSpark

(This article was originally published as part of the August 2017 RWNZ Newsletter.)

Many self-published and indie-published writers are connected with Amazon’s CreateSpace and KDP. They aren’t bad options, but they aren’t the only options either. When I started down the road of setting up my own publishing house, I seriously looked into what CreateSpace and KDP had to offer. It was then that I quickly realised that CreateSpace and KDP had some major drawbacks for myself living all the way on the other side of the world.

Enter IngramSpark.

Before I delve in the specific reasons of why I chose to print my books, and distribute the printed and eBook versions through IngramSpark, I better explain what makes IngramSpark different to CreateSpace and KDP.Read More

Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: If you don’t want a blog, then don’t have one.

There are many out there who believe that they should have a blog because they are a writer seeking to be published. When used correctly, blogging can be a wonderful marketing tool; however, readers don’t want to read something on a blog that you halfheartedly put together. You should never blog just because others told you that you should. The only thing that will achieve is a sense of resentment and failure when you don’t meet your blogging objective. If you are blogging because you feel you need to as a writer, then you should really do some homework. There are plenty of successful writers out there who don’t have blogs, and there are plenty of nameless writers who have been blogging for years and still haven’t gotten anywhere.

Don’t blog because you think you have to; blog because you want to.
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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: There is no such thing as a perfect website.

Get used to the idea now. Just like your writing, not everyone is going to be happy with your website. There will always be those who find something to nit-pick about. If you try to create the perfect website, you’ll go insane. Accept it and move on.

That being said, do get another set of eyes to look at your website before you unleash it to the world. You may have chosen colors or fonts that you adore, but other might find the combination obtrusive and jarring. Some elements might disappear into the background, making them hard to read. You won’t know the truth about your chosen website design until you get feedback from others that you trust.
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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: ALL writers seeking publication need a website.

Reality check: ALL writers seeking publication, traditionally or self-published, need a website.

A website will be the first port of call for any potential reader. They  will go to your website to get the latest information about your various projects, both old and new. Yes, your social media will likely have information about the latest happenings. However, any older material will quickly be buried. Everything else that you do should point back to your website and the one, central hub where readers can get the most up-to-date information about your work.
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You Need to Register Your Copyright

Every so often, I come across some blog post or a Facebook group message, or something, where a writer is asking about copyright certificates and the like. Amazon is becoming more insistent on obtaining those copyright certificates, and rightly so.

Too many times, I have encountered some horror story where some honest writer has had their precious work taken down from the Amazon sites because some BLEEP has chosen to claim that they own the copyright. If this happens to you, it falls on you to prove the other person is wrong.

To complicate matters, far too many writers choose not to register their copyright with a copyright authority because of the cost. However, these are the writers that run the risk of finding themselves being the victim of some copyright scam.

All writers want to protect their writing as much as possible, and for the most part, people are honest. It’s the shady ones that you need to worry about. Here is where taking a few simple steps can save you.

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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: Play nice, kiddy-winks.

As writers seeking publication, either traditional or self-publication road, how we behave on public forums does play on our marketability. Let’s face it, published writers are public figures, maybe not as famous as some big-name movie star, but our fans still want to know more about us. If we behave badly on social media, that could be very bad for our careers. And don’t think that if you did something years ago that it’ll be buried forever. The ugly-nasty has a bad habit of turning up when you least expect it. Always play nice on social media.
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The Rush-The-Process Dish

Over a year ago, I jokingly reported about some of the flavours of the Rush-The-Process dish. I’m talking about those scenarios where writers are in such a hurry to submit their work for publications that they skip vital steps in the editing or publication process.

In that post, I spoke about the ones who only have family and friends looking at their work, not other writers or editors. I spoke about the ones who take editorial reports and stick to the most basic of rewrites. Then there are those who submit to agents and publishers unfinished works, only to go into full panic mode when they get the request for fulls. And my personal favourite: upload to Amazon without editing at all, because they supposedly can’t afford it.

But there are some other flavours to this Rush-The-Process dish that also requires some attention.

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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: Don’t be cheap with your book cover.

It may sound like obvious advice, but you will be surprised at how many choose not to listen to it. If you are self-publishing, you need to be prepared to put money into your book cover. The cover will be the first thing that people see. Hence, it needs to be eye-catching, but in a good way. If your book cover looks cheap, people will instantly assume that you didn’t take the time to edit your writing before publishing. However, if you have a professional looking cover, then they might actually stop long enough to look at the blurb. There are many graphic designers out there who produce beautiful covers for a reasonable price. Ask other writers as to who they recommend.
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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: Writing is like art — filled with subjective opinions.

It’s often difficult to remember that writing is actually just another form of art. There is a reason it’s called creative writing. What one person loves, another will hate.  The writers that try to please everyone will drive themselves crazy in the attempt. But this subjectivity goes for the professionals in the industry too. Just because an agent/publisher has turned down your beloved manuscript doesn’t necessarily mean that there is anything wrong with your manuscript. It just means that they weren’t as passionate about it as you are and hence didn’t feel that they could best represent that story. One should always remember this in any dealings about your manuscript. At the end of the day, there is only one person that you need to make 100% happy with what you have written: yourself. Your name is attached to that story. Make it a story that you’re proud of.
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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: Have a marketing strategy for your book.

Whether you are self-publishing or traditionally publishing, you need a marketing strategy for your book. It’s not good enough to just post your book on Amazon and expect people to buy it. The “build it and they will come” philosophy only works for Kevin Costner. The exact strategy that you use will depend on your personality and goals. There is only one wrong answer: doing nothing.

By the way, marketing begins before your book is published and continues long afterward.
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