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Monday, December 23, 2013

What's Worth Breaking the Bank?

As an independent author, it's tough to pay for everything and still make money. You never want to feel like your job isn't worth it. Writing for most of us, maybe just me, is enjoyable and I love doing it but it's hard to figure out what's worth paying for and what we can skip out on.

Most expensive cost that's worth it: Editing. Trust me, it's tough. Editing of your manuscript takes a lot of time and money. Plus, who should you use and what makes an editor good. Then what kind of editing do you want. These are all decisions we have to make.

The main thing is to find an editor that works for you. I've hired and worked with editors that I didn't really click with and that was a huge mistake on my part. But now I have an editor that I really connect with and it's helped me immensely.

Editing is something you definitely should break the bank for. People will NOT read something that is poorly edited. Your work may be awesome but if there are errors, it looks amateur. So definitely go with hiring a professional.

If you can't do it, hire someone: Formatting. I hate reading something that has weird page breaks or too small graphics, or a font that isn't really compatible. So if you can't format it properly, hire someone. 

Again, the important things are chapter breaks...images...bolding, italicizing, underlining...font. I'm sure there's more but those are the things that really irk me when done wrong. So hire someone. 

Depending on your style and organization skills: Program. I use scrivener to write in. I like the way that it's set up and I enjoy writing in it. I did have to pay for the program to use it. But ever since I've gotten it, it's really helped me. I wouldn't write in word or pages or anywhere else again. 

I also had a membership to Autocrit but I let it run out because I found that I didn't use it as much. Programs that promise to help with grammar or your writing, typically aren't as good as an editor. So skip out on these and hire the editor if you're deciding between the two. 

Having a social presence is crucial: Website expenses. Having a website is awesome. My website, through weebly, started as a free site just to see if it was worth it. Then I upgraded it to so that people knew what the site was for.

I had to pay (either one year, two years or more) for the domain name. It wasn't cheap but it wasn't crazy expensive either. Just a week or two ago, I upgraded my site again to have a store and better features. Now that I've updated, I get 200 views per day on average and that's not including my blog which is linked to it.

These are all freebies that really help promote your book...

Reviewing. Reviews are easily the best thing to get the word out there about your work. People will review your work for free. There are many different places to get emails, like Indie Reviewers and The Review Yellow Pages. All you have to do is provide a free copy and they'll do it. 

The biggest tip for getting reviewers is to make sure the site reviews your genre. Also make a good query page to get reviewers. Don't just send out the same thing to everyone. Really check out their site and make sure it's a good fit with your book. I wouldn't send The Thousand Year Curse to someone who hates fantasy novels. Individualize your queries. 

Ps. About half of the people you email will probably end up doing it. Due to scheduling or something else. 

Goodreads Giveaways. I highly recommend getting your book on good reads. Not only is it a great marketing tool but it really helps with sales and getting your book into groups and to reviewers. It's a lot easier to post reviews on here versus amazon so that's good.

Giveaways make the people who enter add it to their TBR list. It also shows up in their feed when they enter so all of their friends will see it. The only expense is if you're donating a hard copy. You'll have to buy that before you send it. But trust me, it's worth it. 

Social Media. Make your presence known. Get a facebook author page or book page. Get a twitter. Get a google+. Start a blog. All of these things are free. However, make sure they're separate from your private pages. 

There's no reason you shouldn't publish your book because you think you don't have enough money. Trust me. I am a student in college and pay for all of my own costs. I work full time at close to minimum wage. And I don't get donations from my website or ask anyone to donate. I don't think that's right, to be honest.

I was kind of offended when I received an email a few weeks ago from someone. They were asking people they knew for donations so they could publish their book. I think it was just for the cover or editing or marketing costs.

Anyway, I don't even personally know the person. So when I received the email, I was quite taken aback. I think that's a ballsy move, especially for a new author. I would never even think to ask my readers to help pay for the product they'll have to pay for down the road when it's finished. 

Am I being crazy here? Weigh in with me and tell me your perspective on it! I really am curious what would drive someone to ask for donations to get their book published. 

So, tell me...what do you guys do to keep your costs down? Is there a strategy to saving money when publishing your book? Give me all your secrets!


  1. When I first published I was living in Zimbabwe - no access to PayPal - and everyone from editors to cover designers use PayPal. Eventually I had to learn to do it all myself without spending a cent. Proofing and editing yourself is really a difficult thing to do though. I would never have dreamed of asking anyone to fund me, and unless it was a very special case, I wouldn't fund anyone else. It's hard work but totally doable for free.

    1. That's the thing. I completely agree when you say it's hard work but doable for free. My thinking is, if I put in all this hard work and money, why should someone else think they'll get funded. It's almost not fair.

  2. If I wasn't willing to save up for self-publishing, I would look into traditional publishing--the main trade-off, in my point of view, between the two is income structure and investment. Asking people to give me money without being able to show them proof of my ability to turn an idea into a story? Good ideas are easy. Execution is hard. I personally wouldn't invest in a Kickstarter for an unknown author, and I tend to structure my financial plans based on my own financial habits, so I would have a hard time doing a Kickstarter for myself, as it would seem counter-intuitive to me. But, some of the Kickstarters use the program as much for publicity as anything else, and someone who's invested is more likely to buy the book, so I can see why an author would choose to use the program.

    1. I get that someone who invests is more likely to buy it but really, how many people would invest? I can't see an entire book to be funded solely on donations. I don't know. If I'm working hard and paying for self publishing, it almost doesn't seem fair.


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