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Secrets to Getting Published

My public library had a great talk about getting published. They got a good crowd of aspiring writers who want to write fiction, non-fiction, children’s books and poetry. The talk was led by an editor and a writer, who does both self-publishing and publishing through an established publisher.

I don’t think I should share all the secrets as their handout was copyrighted, but I’ll share some facts and tips:

  1. Know why you want to get published. Have a clear vision of what you consider success to be. (Getting published, wining an award, getting good reviews or what?)
  2. More non-fiction books are written by first time writers.
  3. Most self-published books sell less than 100 copies, and most of those copies are bought by the author. Ugh. ;-(
  4. Learn to “eat rejection for breakfast.” So develop a thick skin and remember that major writers often got dozens or hundreds of rejection letters.
  5. Adequately test your idea by seeing how people, not just loved ones, think about your idea.
  6. If you do self-publish get your books into different sorts of shops. In a book shop your books is one of many, but in a florist or hospital shop there’s only a handful of other books.
  7. The average new writer spends $3000-$5000 of their own money on preparing their books. Both speakers stressed that you should hire a professional editor. Someone who’s an English teacher or reads and edits professionally is required not just a pal.The cheapskate in me balks at spending so much money, but I’m mulling this over. I do have people whom I trust as good writers and grammarians read my work as a favor, but should I be paying someone? What do you think, readers?
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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. chava61
    Feb 10, 2017 @ 05:16:09

    My friend Eric Roth who self publishes his books indicated that each one costs him $5000 to do.

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  2. onereasonableperson
    Feb 10, 2017 @ 10:58:04

    “Most self-published books sell less than 100 copies, and most of those copies are bought by the author.”

    Let me amend that statement, please:

    “Most self-published authors who have little to no idea what they’re doing sell less than 100 copies.”

    There. I can live with that statement.

    Those authors who build a mailing list, write in a genre that sells well, have a good cover that conveys that genre, and composes a good book description tend to sell a whole lot more than a 100 copies, especially when one takes into account KU reads.

    “If you do self-publish get your books into different sorts of shops. In a book shop your books is one of many, but in a florist or hospital shop there’s only a handful of other books.”

    I don’t hear from many indies who make significant profit from these kinds of tactics. I read plenty from indies who make a lot of money selling ebooks.

    “The average new writer spends $3000-$5000 of their own money on preparing their books.”

    That’s way, way too much. I spent $1500 on my first book. Subsequent books are in the $600 to $1000 range.

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  3. The Coastal Crone
    Feb 10, 2017 @ 14:21:14

    Thanks for sharing your tips. I would probably hire someone who edits books professionally.

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