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  1. #1
    Creator of Worlds sullivan_riyria's Avatar
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    Questions and Answers on Self-publishing

    I'm being taped for a lecture next week and as such a series of questions/answers were created. I posted it out on reddit for people and thought some here might find it interesting as well.

    Here it is.

  2. #2
    Greymane Wilson Geiger's Avatar
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    Awesome, thanks Michael. Will be checking that out.

  3. #3
    Registered User JimF's Avatar
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    Great stuff, thanks for posting.

  4. #4
    LaerCarroll.com
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    Thanks Michael.

    I want to emphasize this.

    Publishing successfully either traditionally or self has the same requirements.
    • Write well.
    • Write a lot - one-shot successes are very rare.
    • Create an obviously quality package, inside and out.
    • Price it right.
    • Get others to try it.

    The last three have received a lot of attention in several recent threads. The first two bear expansion.

    What is "writing well" depends on the audience. Those expecting (1) stylistic fireworks may not appreciate (2) a smoothly understated style which sucks readers into the virtual world of a story. And vice versa.

    "Writing a lot" goes back to the definition of writers: we write. We don't talk about what we plan to write, or want to write, or ought to write. We write. Our lives are devoted to it.

    The two are related. Excellence in any art or skill takes practice. Every time we write improves us - as long as we try to write well. Every story and every book I write is a tiny bit better than the last.

    (A lot of contributors to this forum write carelessly and so lose an opportunity to become better writers. You would do better to take at least a few extra seconds before you blurt out some poorly digested and poorly crafted thoughts.)

    Again, thanks for the post and the link to it.

  5. #5
    It could be worse. ~tmso Moderator N. E. White's Avatar
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    Wow - good stuff, Michael. Thanks for posting!

  6. #6
    Very informative, indeed.

  7. #7
    Creator of Worlds sullivan_riyria's Avatar
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    Glad you guys enjoyed it. Feel free to ask questions of your own if there is something I left out.

  8. #8
    LaerCarroll.com
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    Another point in your commentary deserves emphasis, I think.

    Self-publishing has been around literally forever, since the beginning of the printed press, in fact. But the last few years - as Michael pointed out - it has changed a lot. Michael gives several reasons in his first post at the link, so I'll not reprise them.

    Instead (being a sci-fi guy and an engineer who does this professionally) I want to mention a few changes already happening which will evolve even more in the next few years.

    Self-pub - oh, heck, I'll just abbreviate it SP or spub - will become even easier. There's already at least one site (affiliated with B&N) where kids barely into middle school can do SP. True, the canned formats are simple, the things you can do simple and thus restricting, but kids (and me, as an experiment) can create both ebooks and POD books. The one I ordered had only three pages (because I was just playing and lazy to boot) and a nice brightly colored slick cover that would not look out of place on any book shelf.

    Not only will the tools become easier to use, but so will the professional services offered to SP authors. And they will become cheaper and of higher quality - and of dismally lower quality as the usual sharpers and scammers try to get in the act. CUE: more Editor and Preditor type organizations.

    Which brings us to the whole quality issue. Most self-published efforts are of low quality, both in style and in substance. And the average quality will become even lower as more people take advantage of SP. BUT...

    But a number of things.

    The ways for readers to filter out the crap will become better. The ways to find good stuff will also become better. Expect dozens or hundreds of Goodreads and similar efforts. Expect more good critics and national publications to become involved. Expect more awards groups to accept SP works and award them prizes.

    Also, expect SP authors to become better. In several ways. One is a simple learning curve - IF (a big IF) we try to write better, each time we write we will be better through practice. Another is that a culture of SP will grow as SP authors get together electronically and through conventions. We will share insights and techniques and argue about tools to help us write better (which can also straight-jacket us when misused).

    Whick brings us to: Expect more and better tools to help us write, beginners and experienced alike.

    I routinely use spell check to help me find typos. I am experienced user, so I know its limitations (to, too, and two are all correct).

    I also have a really sophisticated grammar checker (a research effort not available to the public) which I used to use. But I abandoned it after a while. For one, it FOUND TOO MANY ERRORS. Real errors. But ones I deliberately had committed for very good stylistic reasons. A really good grammar checker has to be a good balance between trivial and picky - and it has to adapt to the individual user. Expect better grammar and style tools in the future. Not to replace the subtle mind and heart of the author, but to cut down on the mechanical aspects of writing - and to help us learn to become better at the mechanical stuff such as matching the numbers of verb and noun pairs (We do / She does).

    Enough for now. My YA heroine has a burning quandary to resolve. Kite ho!

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