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The Ten Commandments of Choosing the Right Book Title [Guest Post]

The following is a guest post by Dara Beevas.

I decided when I first began writing my book that the title would be From Passion to Print: An Insider’s View into Self-Publishing. I didn’t think it was too bad. I loved the word “passion” and I was bent on incorporating it.

Why? I can’t say exactly why, but I was fixated on the word. I couldn’t let it go.

However, very close to the finish line I had this gnawing feeling that my title was just okay. I heard my gut say I could do better. So I did what most nervous writers do: I asked the peanut gallery.

Everyone including Amy, my fellow Wise, Ink partner confirmed my fears. The verdict: My instincts were right. I needed a more exciting title.

They agreed that my chosen tile was perfectly fine and that I wasn’t doing my content an injustice. BUT…they agreed that a better title alternative lay waiting to be discovered.

So the journey began.

One day in my office with Amy and another colleague, we tossed ideas around for what seemed like hours. After title ideas like Publish for Profit (cheesy) and 101 Tips for the Indie Author (boring) didn’t make the cut, we went back to the drawing board.Continue Reading

7 Been-There-Done-That Tips on Formatting, Taxes, Amazon, Reviews and More [Guest Post]

Duolit’s note: Like Cara dished last week, surprises abound when travelling the self-pub road. While we know that everyone’s experience will differ, Yasmin Selena Butt (a rockin’ friend to Duolit) offered to dish the dirt on the potholes she encountered while publishing her debut, Gunshot Glitter. Nothing like being forewarned, right?

As Yasmin told us, “if I was going to pass on anything, this is what I’d whisper in your ear…”

1) Formatting an eBook

Do not think of your eBook as a paperback!

I spent countless hours re-formatting the text – only to find, when I formatted for Amazon Kindle, it was better to wipe it all. Why? Because it is easier and safer to format a ‘clean’ document, than one that’s potentially embedded with a load of hidden or inappropriate formatting.

However, do refer to your master version (or a print copy) so you know where all your appropriate formatting should be added back in. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open your novel.
  2. Hit ‘Select All’ (or the equivalent, if not in MSWord) and ‘Copy’
  3. Open Notepad (or your equivalent) and ‘Paste’
  4. You will see your novel stripped down to just basic text. Don’t panic — this is perfect, trust me. ‘Select all’ and ‘Copy’ again.
  5. Open a new document in MSWord (or your equivalent) and ‘Paste’.
  6. Save it under a NEW filename. Remember, your Master is SAFE – you have it as back up.
  7. Now you have a brand new, unformatted completely clean version of your novel. Hurrah!
  8. Let the real formatting fun begin.  Note: if you are publishing direct to the Amazon Kindle Store, you can also upload your final copy as a .doc file. It really can be that simple.

For more formatting advice, visit Jo Harris’s website and the Smashwords style guide.Continue Reading

The Surprises of Self-Publishing: How to Roll with it and Still Kick Booty

The following is a guest post by Cara Alwill Leyba.

To say self-publishing feels a bit like the Wild West would be an understatement. After the gut-wrenching, obsessive decision to independently publish your work (should I just wait? What if I find an agent that can sell this? Am I ruining my career?), the real work begins.

I thought I had it all planned out. I had dates. I had launch parties lined up. I had blog tours scheduled. I was extremely neurotic organized.

And then Amazon published my book a month early.Continue Reading

Self-Publishing vs. Playing the Lottery: Embrace the Business Mindset (Instead of the Gambler’s)

The following is a guest post by Tracy Atkins.

The odds of winning $10,000 in the Powerball Lottery: 1 in 648,975.

The odds of successfully producing a top-100 selling book: 1 in 3,282.

The perceived odds of success are a big draw for many self publishers.

It seems like a no brainer and a gamble worth taking to create and release a novel to achieve fame and fortune. Like playing the lottery, some authors simply attempt to get rich quick, by rapidly writing and pushing out a book and then hope for the money to roll in.

In some ways, it is no different from stopping by a convenience store and buying a $2 lotto ticket. It is not, however, a strategy for real-world success and profit.

Taking a long-odds gamble rarely pays off, especially in publishing. Although it is easy to write a novel and release it upon the world for little to no outlay in cash or effort, the outcome you should expect isn’t the same as if you bought that Powerball ticket.

Yes, luck does play a part in both gambling and self-publishing, but luck must be tempered with reason.Continue Reading

5 Vital Self-Publishing Skills Learned from Working in Non-Profits [Guest Post]

The following is a guest post by Dana Sitar.

For most of us, writing and self-publishing are not our first steps into the professional world.

You’ve probably got educational and work histories littered with all kinds of ways to pay the bills, get a leg up, contribute to the world, and learn a little more about yourself. Adding publisher to that roster can be quite a jump.

What if your work as a self-publisher were more connected to the work you did before writing? I think it can be, no matter what that work was. By paying attention to the lessons you can learn at your “day job”, you can build a unique set of skills to apply to your writing and publishing work.

Before writing professionally, I worked and volunteered with non-profit organizations for three years. Here are some of the lessons I learned from that particular industry, and how they apply to my work as a writer now:

1. How to talk about money

For the introverted writer, this task is difficult on so many levels! Working for non-profits, I learned the importance of understanding the value of a service and knowing how to talk about it. I had to argue the need for funds before a council, prove the usefulness of my organization’s services, and explain how the money in a proposed budget would support those services.Continue Reading