Q&A

Have a question to ask me about writing, publishing, parenting or whatever? Have some advice of your own to share? Just want to say hi? Post it here! I’ll answer at least once a day, if not more often. And thank-you for stopping by! ~ JC

6 Responses to “Q&A”

  1. Hi! Although I’ve been writing for years now, I am new to the actual world of publishing. I was wondering (since you have books of your own published) if you could give me advice/pointers with publishing and how to go about doing it. It would be a great help to me!

    ~ Sandra

  2. Hi Sandra! Well, I certainly have a lot of publishing experience I would be more than willing to share with you, though everyone has different experiences as a whole. That said, I hope I can help!

    For self-publishing, which is an entirely other world than its traditional counterpart and constantly changing, I’d suggest you look through my “Self-Publishing Adventure” blogs (http://morganmarshallworlds.wordpress.com/tag/self-publishing/). Not because I’m trying to be lazy (OK maybe a little 😉 but because those tell the story so much better than I can right here.

    As for traditional publishing, there is so much to it that I’m not even sure where to start. Where are you in your writing career? I know you said you have been writing for years (me too; yay writing), but do you have a finished manuscript? Query letter? Query package? That might help me to start at a place that will actually help you rather than making you wade through a bunch of stuff you already know. 🙂

    • Well I have currently a finished manuscript and query letter written. I was more or less wondering how expensive self-publishing is compared to traditional (let them take care of it) publishing. Will I gain more from self-publishing or the other way? I want my story to be well-known and make profit from it, but I don’t really know the best way to go about doing this. Also, would the manuscript and query letter be the only things to bring when going to a publishing company? Thank you so much for your help with this!

      • Not a problem at all. I’m glad to help.

        The price of self-publishing is extremely low these days compered to even a few years ago. With print on demand, you can literally publish a book for the price of a proof (which costs around $15 average for a traditional novel paperback). There are many good POD publishers you can go to, though some, like Smashwords.com, only publish e-books. I’m going through CreateSpace myself, as it is Amazon’s POD publisher and gives you direct access to Amazon listings and your own bookstore that you can link to your website and personalize so that it matches your website as well. Plus, for a little fee ($39), they also place your book on library and school listings and the like. It’s very worth it!

        That said, and as I can see you are well aware of, self-publishing forces the writer to do their own marketing, which for some (like me for example), is not their forte’ to say the least. Of course even traditional publishers expect a writer to build a platform of sorts before they will sign them, and agents, too, often like to look up a writer online to see what presence they have already built before requesting a partial or a full. What that all adds up to is, no matter what, you’ll have to sell yourself before anyone will buy/sell for you.

        I am self-publishing as a part of my platform, in order to get my name out there more and more. Along with that, a blog (which I see you have started), a Facebook fan page (business, not personal), and, unfortunately, a Twitter account (I’m not a fan of fads so this one took some convincing for me to do… though it HAS resulted in more than a few great connections already), are all very good ideas to get yourself known. And post every single day. Every day.

        A really wonderful way to both get your name out and help your community is to offer writer visits to your local schools. This only works if you have a book published, but self-publishing is perfectly acceptable for that. You go read a few chapters of your book to a classroom or maybe a whole assembly of kids, they get bookmarks of your website and characters, the school gets a nice literacy day to celebrate, and you’ll probably gain a few fans as well! Since my chapters all end in cliffhangers, this works perfectly for me… I can’t read the whole book to them, after all. 😉

        Conferences are also wonderful, though many writers, including myself, have a difficult time attending them due to financial constraints (we are, after all “starving” artists… for a while anyway). That is where joining a writers’ group comes in very handy. I am a member of SCBWI (scbwi.org), though there are others. However, SCBWI is international, which is very nice, and membership looks good in a query!

        Speaking of queries, along with a query letter, you should have ready to send a full synopsis (no longer than two pages that outlines the entire story), a short synopsis (usually no more than one paragraph), plenty of SASE’s (if you’re querying snail mail style), a cover letter, and your full, polished manuscript. Make sure it’s as polished as you can make it. Have others read it and give you pointers (not family and friends… they’ll be nice and biased and that’ll do you zero good in making your manuscript better), edit it as many times as you feel comfortable with (don’t overdo it, however; that can ruin a good manuscript as well). In the end, just make sure you’re ready.

        I hope I helped a little. Feel free to ask any other questions you may have. I gladly use what I have learned to help others not make the same mistakes I did. 🙂

  3. Thanks so much for the help! I’ve learned quite a bit already. For now I think I’ll polish my manuscript up as nice as possible and get started on my own website (I think that will generate some popularity). If I have any more questions about publishing, I’ll be sure to ask you about it. Thanks again! You’ve been so helpful! 🙂

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