Monday, December 17, 2018

What You Need to Know About Self-Publishing and Publishing

Once your book has been completed the next step is which road you want to take to publish it.  There are two roads that are available, the traditional publishing route requires an agent, and a publishing house willing to take on publishing your book.  The self-publishing route, requires most of the work to be done by yourself.

These days the book market is full of both traditionally published and self-published authors.  The avenue you decide to go down is in your own hands.  But here's some pointers to get you started.

What are the Main Distinctions Between Traditional and Self-Publishing?

Traditional Publishing

  • Your intellectual property rights are bought by a publishing house such as Penguin, Random House, Macmillan etc.
  • A literary agent is required to arrange the sale of your books rights.
  • The publishing house will use their own contacts to make sure your book is sold in as many bookstores as possible.
  • Usually your book will be made in print.
  • You have a better chance of being reviewed by newspapers and magazines.
  • You'll get an advance before your book is published.
  • If your book earns more than your advance you may receive royalties for the extra books sold.
  • You have no rights over your book because it belongs to the book publisher.

  • The book rights belong to you.
  • You'll never receive an advance in self-publishing.
  • Most of your sales will come from your ebooks.
  • Your books won't be sold in physical bookstores, worldwide.
  • You're not likely to be reviewed by a newspaper or magazine.
  • The responsibility of book creation, production and marketing rests on your shoulders.

What is Traditional Publishing?

Authors are offered a contract by a traditional publishing house, they then take your book and sell it through various booksellers and retailers.  Essentially they buy the rights to publish your book and in turn pay you the royalties from each sale of your book. 

  1. Nonfiction writers are required to submit a book proposal, along with sample chapters, and a synopsis of each chapter.
  2. Fiction writers are expected to send in an entire manuscript.
  3. You hand over your book rights to the publishing house.
  4. Your publisher will give you an advance and then sell your book.

What is Self-Publishing?

There are various ways to self-publish your book these include: print-on-demand, vanity, subsidy, and self-publishing.

(POD) Print-on-demand - Anyone willing to pay is published.  POD uses up-to-date printing technology to produce books at a cost effective price.  Books are published as individual orders come in.  This means the printer can adjust to the book's supply to meet the reader's demand.  You make money from the royalties sold.

Extra costs such as editing, proofreading and marketing are payed for at an additional cost to the writer.  This way of publishing cuts back on space and any unsold copies.

Vanity publisher - Available for anyone willing to pay for their book to be published.  Your books is bound and printed, and you receive all the royalties from books sold.

Subsidy publisher - Not unlike vanity publishing, the subsidy publisher contributes towards the editing, distribution, marketing and warehousing.  The publisher owns the book until they are sold and the author starts making royalties.

Self-publishing - The author must produce, market, store, and distribute.

So What's the Difference?

There is no expense to the author with traditional publishing that is all handed by the chosen company.

With self-publishing depending upon the publishing platform you choose, you pay all of the expenses.  The biggest advantage with self-publishing is that you're in the driving seat and you have full control over your book.

Who Makes More Money, the Traditionally Published Author or Self-Published Author?

If you take Amazon as an example, the self-published author sells $100 worth of books.  Amazon pays them $70, with no deductions, paid monthly.

The traditionally published author sells $100 of books, Amazon keeps it's $30 share.  The publisher receives $75 passes the 25% * $70 = $17.50 to the author's agent.

Author's agent keeps 15% contractual amount and passes the rest of the balance, which is 85% * $17.50 = $14.88 to the author.

The author only makes $14.88 from $100 of sales.

Would Your Book Ever be Published By a Traditional Book Publisher?

Literary agents receive about 2,000 book submissions a year, of those submissions only about 2 or 3 authors are chosen.

Even if you do get taken on by a literary agent, your book may be passed onto a even smaller publisher with zero funds to spend on your book, or marketing. 

What to do next

Both avenues require work, traditional publishing requires time to have your book picked up by a publishing house. Self-publishing puts the ball in your court, and leaves the entire process in your own hands.

In the end its your decision!

This post contains affiliate links.  This means if you purchase through these links you are supporting 1976write and we thank you for that.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Quick Guide: How to Write, Publish and Sell a Book

Where Do I Start?

A question a lot of would-be-authors ask everyday, even sitting down and thinking of a subject or  writing a work of fiction can be terrifying to many people.

The Good News You Can Start Writing Your Book Today

There's no catch to writing a book, anyone with the presence of mind can write a book.  There's nothing financially binding about writing a book.  These days even publishing your book is taken care of , leaving you with very little to worry about.

Do I Need to be Good at English Language to Write a Book?

It doesn't matter how bad your grammar or spelling may be, you're in good company. You'd be joined by the likes of Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, Ernest Hemingway, the list goes on.

How to Get Started

Living in the digital age affords us with a lot of easy and free platforms to use, to get our writing off the ground. Companies such as Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing provide a ready-made platform with software to process, and bring your books to life. There's no need to look for a publishing house, you can send your manuscript straight to print without worrying about where to get the financial help to do so.

There's no magic wand to ensure your book is going to be a bestseller, that's all in your own hands.
If you're the kind of writer that's only in it for the fame and wealth, I would pack up now.  It takes time and patience to get your name far and wide, in order to sell books.

Once you've written your book you have to spend time promoting your book, and building an audience.  Otherwise all of  your hard work is for nothing.

What You Need to Know Before You Publish Your eBook

Before you publish your book you need to know about the services on offer and a little bit about the history of self-publishing.

The services below will publish and distribute your book files, but require you to do all of the required preparation:

Draft2Digital - Cost $0. Distribution to everyone else.
Amazon KDP - Cost $0. eBook distribution in Amazon.
IngramSpark - Cost $49. Distribution everywhere but Amazon.
BookBaby - Cost eBook conversion and distribution $199.


A Brief History of Publishing

In the old days of publishing, you needed a substantial amount to invest with a publishing house before you could be published.

By the late 90's this all changed with the arrival of POD (print-on-demand) allowing books to be printed one at a time. Many companies offered low-cost self-publishing to all. Offering low costs, because the only expense incurred was that of book creation. These companies included; iUniverse; Xlibris and Author House. 

Publishing Developments Since 2007

With the rise of eBooks, traditional publishing has been transformed. US book sales comprise of 30-35% of eBook sales. Online retailers such as Amazon sell 60% of US book sales (both print and digital). You can sell your book to the world without any need of a third party.

POD (print-on-demand) publishers are no longer relevant to your self-publishing success.

In today's online retail distribution you get the same retail distribution as you would with a traditional publishing house, through the above mentioned services. Most of which is free. Every copy sold, the retailer takes a cut, the same applies to a distributor, they take their cut to.

Important Questions to Ask Before You Start Publishing

  1. How will you reach your readers online?
  2. Is your book illustrated?
  3. Is colour required? 
  4. Do your readers  prefer digital or print?

Understanding E-Publishing Services

The most important thing to understand about e-publishing retailers is that they're not publishers. They take no responsibility for your work quality, or any rights to your work. Here are three aspects of major services:

  • No technical expertise required - You're given free automated tools to convert and upload your files, along with free tutorials and guides to make sure your files are formatted properly.
  • Non-exclusive and at-will - You have the option to edit or remove your files at any time. Allowing you to change the cover, price and description. You can use other services to sell through on your own website.
  • No upfront fee - It's rare to pay an upfront fee. With a distributor such a BookBaby you earn 100% net and pay $199 for conversion and retail distribution.
Again by using these services you don't forfeit any rights to your work.

Two Essential Groups of E-Publishing Services

Most e-publishing services fall into one of these categories:
  1. Single Channel Distribution - These services which are also distributors will distribute your work through one channel or device. Offering no assistance in preparing your files, accepting a wide range of file types. Some examples: KDP and Nook Press.
  2. Multiple Channel Distribution - These services act as a middleman and push your work out to multiple distributors and retailers. You deal with only one service, most well-known of these are Draft2Digital, BookBaby and Smashwords.
Marketing Yourself as an Author
Why You Need an Author Platform

Not everyone likes the idea of personal branding, that's understandable. Especially if you don't like talking about yourself or achievements. Branding doesn't have to be daunting or scary, after all you're showcasing your own stories and expertise. Strengthening your author brand is a key element to your success in today's marketplace. Once you've built it, it's yours to keep and no one can take that away from you.

Why You Need to Invest in Your Brand

You can see the contrast between time spent building a brand, and an author that hasn't bothered to invest in the necessary resources to develop their own personal online presence. Think of it like this, your brand is like your business card, and along with your book(s), your brand will build credibility, and open doors to future projects. If you're in it for the long haul, you need to commit to a branding strategy as soon as your first book is published.

Why You Need to Stand Out From the Crowd

Time and energy is required to market your brand, in order for you to stand from the crowd. Remember you have total control over your brand and how you want people to perceive you online.  You are your biggest competition, you don't need to worry about your rivals, channel your energy into building your brand instead. Ask yourself, does your brand reflect who you are?

Take Charge of Your Own Branding With Social Media

You can use social media as your very own billboard.  Proactively maintaining, building and protecting your brand name in the public eye.  Focus your effort into becoming an expert in your chosen industry. Set yourself goals, solve other peoples problems.

Build Your Market Value as a Writer Online

Both your book and brand can be the portal to other entrepreneurial pursuits such as revenue streams, services, and courses. Broaden your horizons and take advantage of your brand.  Tell your audience who you are through your brand to enable them to make an informed buying decision. In the long run all of the effort, time and money spent will  start paying off. You'll see your books starting to sell.

Selling Your Books

Pricing Your Book

Pricing your books can be quite a challenge when you first start publishing.  The difficulty lies in whether you should go cheap and cheerful or head for a more substanstial royalty.  Here are some important points to ponder when you price your eBook:

  • Most new eBook authors and independent novelists start their price point at $2.99. If you're too cheap it can end of  devaluing the work you've put in.
  • Creating an platform to sell your books from gives you an advantage, and also helps build a readership for your books.
  • If you decide to sell your eBooks at $2.99 you earn 70% commission on all sales from Amazon Kindle Direct Pubishing.  Anything lower than that and the commission falls to a measly 35%. Which is why so many authors switch their prices around between 99 cents and $2.99, maximising on profit.

This post contains affiliate links. This means if you purchase through these links you are supporting 1976write and we thank you for that.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

20 Writing Do's and Don'ts

I've been writing for a long time and still have a thirst for new tips and ways to improve my writing.

Here are 20 writing do's and don'ts every writer should know:

1.  Put thought into your punctuation, notably the use of commas and periods.  Your thoughts flow through the use of these two punctuation marks, put in them in the wrong place, and they can make your text confusing, even when the words are clear.

2.  Always create and edit separately, because they're two different processes, which use different parts of the brain.  Doing both at once will confuse you.  Leave the job of editing til last.

3.  Write regularly, daily if possible and for around 30 minutes.  You'll discover ideas flow more freely, and words and language will become more familiar.

4.  Learn all of the good rules of writing.  Then learn how to break them.

5.  Get into the habit of reading a book, and become a good reader.

6.  Don't rely on your spell-checker.  You're the best spell-checker.

7.  Learn to accept criticism, pursue it at every given opportunity.  If someone gives you a harsh comment don't be offended, and get all upset, thank the reader for taking the time to offer it.

8.  Use a thesaurus and make the best of your vocabulary.

9.  Don't use unnecessary words in a sentence, use unnecessary sentences in a paragraph.  You wouldn't see unnecessary lines in a drawing would you?

10.  Routinely write 500 words and give yourself a deadline, then repeat it again and again.

11.  Write simply in language that your audience understands with the most relevant words.

12.  Get inspiration from the Greats, learn from the best authors and writer's in history and model yourself on their writing style.

13.  If you end up writing a lengthy article, don't worry about it, as long as it gets your message across. Try making your point with fewer words, even better.

14.  Write frequently, always completing your work using a sensible writing schedule.

15.  Model your sentences and paragraphs off another writer's, then imitate the correct structure with your own content.

16.  Stay away from long sentences.

17.  Write spontaneously!

18.  If you're writing fiction, having a plot will help coordinate your thoughts, and add consistency to the text.

19.  Refine your style by editing your older articles and blog posts.

20.  Just Write.

This post contains affiliate links.  This means if you purchase through these links you are supporting 1976write and we thank you for that.

Monday, December 10, 2018

4 Great Reasons to Use Fotor for Blogging

Fotor is an online photo editing suite, using up-to-date technology to give you full control of all of your image creation and editing needs.  Fotor has an easy-to-use dashboard that enables you to access an assortment of graphics, not only for your blog but also your social media and so much more... Your imagination is the only thing that limits you to what you can do with Fotor.

Why You Need to Add Images to Your Blog Posts
  1. They make your blog posts visually appealing.
  2. You can gain extra traffic through image search engine.
  3. You get more social media shares.
  4. The image increases the length of your blog post.
  5. People will remember what you've written by the main blog post image you've created.
Even though writing is the most part of any blog, every good blog post has a mix of both plain text, images and other media.

Here are 4 great reasons to use Fotor for your blog:

1. Use Fotor to Create Thousands of Different Designs 

Fotor Designs
You can create:
  • Pinterest Posts
  • Facebook Covers
  • Instagram Posts
  • Blog Titles
  • Logos
  • Email Headers
  • Wallpapers
The list goes on and on ....

2. Easy-to Use Dashboard

Fotor Dashboard

  • Templates Galore
  • Stickers
  • Text
  • Background
  • Cloud

You can create amazing images from Fotor's own templates or create your own.  Even if you have very little experience in image creation, you'll soon pick up tips on how to create your own blog brand through your images.

3. Save Your Work Easily

Work Folder Fotor

Your work can be saved into your own folder to be used at a later date.  You can also use Fotor to publish your work to the public.

Public Portfolio Fotor

4. Basic Features on Fotor

Fotor Template Example

Here are the easy-to-use features included on fotor:


  • Template Creation
  • Sticker
  • Text
  • Background

  • Basic
  • Effect
  • Frames
  • Sticker
  • Text


  • Classic Collage
  • Artistic Collage
  • Funky Collage
  • Photo Stiching
Why You Need Fotor for Your Blog

Fotor is currently used by over 200 million people, and is one of the best graphic design and photo editing suites online today.

I recently signed up for a yearly subscription, which costs $3.33 per month, you can get a coffee for that price these days:)

This gives you all of the perks and designs you need, to cater for all of your blogging and writing needs, including book covers. 

Please share this post with other bloggers to tell them what they may be missing:)

This post contains affiliate links.  This means if you purchase through these links you are supporting 1976write and we thank you for that.

Friday, December 07, 2018

10 Curious Workplaces of Famous Writers

Writers great and small have found creativity and solace in many weird and wonderful places over the years.  Many literary geniuses have gone beyond the humble desk and chair to create their ideal writing spots, instead opting for a bathtub or hike in the wilderness.  I present you with 10 of the most curious workplaces of famous writers.

1. MI5 Officer John le Carré spent many hours writing on his long train rides from Buckinghamshire to London, composing his debut novel Call for the Dead.

2. Oliver Twist creator Charles Dickens had his desk and all its contents shipped to his vacation home.

3. The seat of a Model T Ford was the perfect writing place for Gertrude Stein.  Shopping excursions around Paris with her partner Alice B. Toklas were particularly productive for this writer.

4. The shade of a tree was good enough for D.H. Lawrence, resting on pine trees in New Mexico to the Black Forest in Germany.  Considering his proclivity, Lawrence noted, "The trees are like living company".

5. While renovating her mansion Agatha Christie instructed her architect "I want a big bath, and I need a ledge because I like to eat apples".  Composing her plots in her Victorian tub nibbling on an apple.

6. Edith Wharton wrote her manuscripts in bed, resting in between her covers with her dog next to her, and an ink pot by one arm.  A pile of papers would appear, which would be later retrieved by her maid for the secretary to type.

7. A clean white desk, a typewriter and a small window in a private place, was enough for George Bernard Shaw.

8. Wallace Stevens would walk 2.5 miles to the Hartford Accident and Indemnity Co., composing poetry between his doorstep and the office door.

9. A small publishing company was started by Virginia Woolf and her husband Leonard in 1917.  Despite this new enterprise Woolf continued to write.  Walking down to the basement every morning, passing the printing press and into a storage room where she would sit, pen in hand, in her cosy old armchair to write.

10. Dame Edith Sitwell would start her day's writing lying in a coffin.

This post contains affiliate links.  This means if you purchase through these links you are supporting 1976write and we thank you for that.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

6 Best Self-Publishing Courses Online for Writers

Why You Should Take a Self-Publishing Course

Self-publishing can seem like a pretty daunting task when you're just starting out.  But it doesn't have to be that way. 

The internet is full of courses you can take to help set you on the right path, and help you understand the lay of the land when it comes to self-publishing.  All courses featured in this blog post are up-to-date and mirror the best practices in the self-publishing industry today.

No course is ever going to be perfect, but their is sure to be a course to suit your own particular need as a writer.

Check out the list of 6 best courses for writers, assembled to help you excel in the literary landscape.

1. Self-Publishing for the Entrepreneur

Book coach Jennie Nash breaks down process of producing a book to benefit your business, provide you with knowledge and information, and show you how to become an expert in your chosen field.

2.  Sell Your First 1000 Books

Tim Grahl founder of Out:think, teaches you how to develop a strategic outreach plan to engage your current audience, and introduce yourself to the right communities.  Giving you helpful tips on how to develop a reliable email list, use your content to drive sales, as well as negotiate with publishers.

3. Book Marketing: Craft a Killer Plan! Learn 21 Fun, Effective Ways to Promote Your Book or eBook

Laura Pepper Wu, founder of award-winning book studio 30 Day Books, is a self-published author of several Amazon best-sellers for both fiction and non-fiction.  This course is designed for all writers who want to craft a clear plan of attack to promote their books, and give their books the best chance of succeeding in an ever increasing self-publishing market.

4. Introduction to Self-Publishing for Beginners

Artist, designer and teacher Cookie Redding shows you how you can self-publish your own book, zine or photobook using  She'll take you through the process from start to finish, in just a few simple steps.  Giving you the power to publish the way you want to.

5. Self-Publishing Mastery

Writer and entrepreneur Patrick Doucette shows you how to create valuable content, along with a compelling book cover and description.  Describing each step in detail, giving you the tools and resources to build your successful self-publishing business.  Taking your writing career to the next level.

6. Publishing for Writers I

Thomas Bell, writer, publishing consultant, and web developer, guides you through the world of publishing.  Thomas will take you through the publishing process, and arm you with the right information to successfully bring your book to your readers.

This post contains affiliate links.  This means if you purchase through these links you are supporting 1976write and we thank you for that.

Monday, December 03, 2018

13 Curious Facts About Writing

Did you know that when you write you use all four lobes of the brain?

Writing may not be everyone's forte, but these facts may help you change the way you look at writing forever:

1. Here's a weird fact, an ambigram is a word that can be viewed or deciphered from different direction's, perspective's and orientation's.

2. A crutch word is used to give the speaker more time to think or reiterate a statement.  They usually don't add any real meaning to a statement.  A perfect example of this is "actually".

3. Our etymological capabilities are so good that new words are created every two hours.

4. 'I' is the most frequently used word.

5. Another strange fact is the 'ghost word'.  These are words that are published in the dictionary but rarely used.

6. The longest word in the English language is 'pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis'.  Medically known as silicosis, referring to a lung disease.

7. A sentence containing every letter of the alphabet is a pangram.  Eg. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

8. 'I am' is the simplest sentence in the English language.

9. A regular ball point pen can give you a straight five mile line.  The humble pencil can go seven times further at thirty five miles.

10. The fastest typist ever recorded was Barbara Blackburn who typed 150 wpm for 50 minutes.

11. Novelist and playwright Agatha Christie had dysgraphia, a learning disability that affected her written expression.  It certainly never stopped her selling 2 billion books worldwide.

12. 'Writer's Block' or 'colygraphia', the inability to bring about fresh ideas.

13. Mogigraphia a disorder caused by cramps and muscle spasms in the hands and forearm, usually when writing (performing fine motor tasks).

This post contains affiliate links.  This means if you purchase through these links you are supporting 1976write and we thank you for that.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Dealing with Criticism as a Writer

(Updated Friday 30th November 2018).

Writing is a process that is both intimate and solitary.  Receiving any kind of feedback can be extremely stressful.  It doesn't matter the size of the project you've written, receiving any negative comments can feel painful and cut right through to your core.

In the long term both good and bad comments are a process all writer's need to go through in order to become writers.  Dealing with that criticism is what I want to touch on today.

Here are 4 steps to get you started dealing with criticism:

1. Change Your Mindset

Don't look at negative reactions as a reflection on you, see it as an opportunity to make your writing better. It's not easy articulating your thoughts in such a way that it will help other writer's.

Any kind of criticism hurts, but its up to you to decide whether or not its relevant to the work you're doing.

2. Words Can Hurt, Stay Strong

All natural responses are okay, this includes anger, frustration and guilt.  Don't let any of those emotions guide your response. Instead take a deep breath, collect your thoughts.  Have a walk, call family or friends, anything that can distract you in that moment.  This will help you give a measured response.

3. Analyse Your Source

Don't take your feedback to heart because people are people at the end of the day, and everyone makes mistakes. The more time you spend writing, the better you'll become.  You'll slowly realise that your editing, proofreading and writing skills are improving as you go on.

4. Analyse the Points You've Been Told

After you've cooled down, go through the points that have been made against your writing.

Ask yourself, are you being to clumsy with your topic? Is there a problem with your story, prose or characters? Is your writing haphazard?

At first glance it may look like everything is okay, but when you start to digging the problem's may slowly begin to show, and require changes to be made.

5. Remove Yourself from Your Writing

Your writing isn't an extension of you, so when criticism is thrown in your direction it should never be taken personally.

Give yourself and your work some distance, in order to assess any criticism that comes your way.

6. Have More than One Writing Job on the Go

If you invest all of your time and energy into one blog post/article at a time, and don't like the result, you always have another one to work on even when one is a nonstarter.

In other words, don't put your eggs in one basket.

7. Have Confidence in Your Writing

If you want to be a great writer, you need to have confidence to put your thoughts into action.

8. Seek Clarification

Once you understand the feedback, reply to the comments that have been made.  Send an email if its freelancing work you may have done, or talk it over on the phone.

This post contains affiliate links.  This means if you purchase through these links you are supporting 1976write and we thank you for that.