Advice for Authors
GERALDINE EVANS’S ADVICE FOR WRITERS
EBOOKS: SHOULD I OR SHOULDN’T I? You can do no better than read Joe Konrath’s blog: A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing www.jakonrath.blogspot.com
There is also a book of the same name available that is a collection of Joe’s blog posts over several years. Joe Konrath is an extremely successful American author. He is an epublishing evangelist. If I hadn’t read his blog regularly, I don’t know if I would ever have found the nerve to self-publish my backlist. But I did and I am very pleased with the results. However, you may want different things from your writing career. Just remember that, if you sign up with a traditional publisher they are likely to want the erights, too, which, in essence, means you are likely to wave goodbye to your rights forever.
If you’re having trouble formatting your novel for kindle, I have written a set of instructions on here. Here’s the link: http://geraldineevansbooks.wordpress.com/category/eformatting/
Or, if you prefer to pay me a few shekels for my effort and my updated version:
How to eFormat Your Novel For Amazon’s Kindle: A Short But Comprehensive A-Z Guide: Amazon Every Country Link: http://bookShow.me/B00DLJYP9O
SUBSCRIBE TO WRITERS’ MAGAZINES
WRITERS’ NEWS WRITING MAGAZINE Competitions, subscriptions, information on prizes, advice, markets, etc.
Subscriptions, back issues and reader offers
Tel Subscriptions: 01778 392 482
THE INTERNET HAS MANY WEB-BASED WRITERS’ MAGAZINES, READERS’ GROUPS AND SO ON. JUST TYPE ‘WRITER’S GROUPS’ INTO THE ADDRESS BAR.
MAKE USE OF PROFESSIONAL CRITICISM SERVICES. They’re not cheap, but then, neither, in terms of emotion, frustration or money, is endless rejection. The following has a good reputation and advertises in Writers’ News (as do a number of others). Writers’ News itself also offers one-to-one writing tuition from professional writers.
THE LITERARY CONSULTANCY
Also get the latest edition of the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook (UK) or Writers’ Market (US) http://www.writersmarket.com/. They come out every year and are available at most good bookshops and online. You will find a host of advice within their pages. You should also be able to check them out at your local library.
ROMANCE/HISTORICAL NOVELISTS SHOULD CONSIDER JOINING THE ROMANTIC NOVELISTS’ ASSOCIATION AS A PROBATIONARY MEMBER. They provide a free manuscript assessment for unpublished authors under their new writers’ scheme. The yearly membership fee of £120 also includes this assessment on a first come, first served basis. Website: http://www.romanticnovelistsassociation.org/
CRIME WRITERS SHOULD CONSIDER JOINING MYSTERY PEOPLE / THE CRIME WRITERS’ ASSOCIATION / MYSTERY WRITERS OF AMERICA (all are eligible to join these organisations. But lots of countries also have their own organisations. Try googling).
MYSTERY PEOPLE This is a group for readers and writers of crime novels. You don’t have to be a woman to join. They produce a monthly e-zine with news, articles, interviews and reviews. They also meet up at various events to chew the fat. The aim of Mystery People is the general promotion of crime fiction. They are particularly anxious to help new authors find an audience, but they also value and support established authors.
If you are an author with a book just published or to be published and would like support and help to arrange events to promote your book, please contact Lizzie Hayes at Mystery People.
The subscription charge of £25 is to support this service and cover the publicity to advertise events, i.e. printing and postage.
Currently, membership costs £25 a year. Website: http://www.mysterypeople.co.uk/
THE CRIME WRITERS’ ASSOCIATION (www.thecwa.co.uk) The CWA now offer a manuscript assessment service for a fee. Check out their website.
IF YOU’RE INTERESTED IN WRITING HISTORICAL NOVELS, JOIN THE HISTORICAL NOVEL SOCIETY: www.historicalnovelsociety.org A literary society devoted to promoting the enjoyment of historical fiction. Although based in the USA and the UK, they welcome members (readers and writers) from all round the world. Through their print magazines, conferences, website, social media and members, they help bring the excitement of historical novels to the widest audience.
COPING WITH REJECTION – LISTENING TO THAT SMALL VOICE We’ve all been there. I had a book a year rejected for almost six years. On one well-remembered occasion, I received the rejection letter on Christmas Eve. What a fun Christmas that was! Finally, my sixth novel, a romance, entitled Land of Dreams, was published.
But romance writing wasn’t really my métier as the little voice inside had been telling me for several years; unfortunately, I ignored that wise little voice. I wouldn’t advise you to do the same. Learn from my experience; that’s what this Advice Page is for. Because when I paid attention to what that little voice was saying, it was telling me to try my hand at crime novels. I listened (finally!) and wrote Dead Before Morning, the first novel in my now fifteen-strong humorous Rafferty & Llewellyn police procedural series. On only its second outing, the manuscript escaped from Macmillan’s slush pile and was published. They also sold it on to St Martin’s Press (hb) and Worldwide (pb), in the States. Kith and Kill, my fifteenth in my Rafferty & Llewellyn series, is now out and is available as a paperback and ebook.
TAKE A BREAK FROM THE DEMANDS OF NOVEL WRITING – TRY SOMETHING SHORTER If you’ve been attempting a big undertaking like writing a novel, give yourself an occasional break and try something shorter and factual. I’ve had both novels and short, non-fiction published, and it was the shorter stuff that kept me going through all the rejections my novels received.
You stand far more chance of getting shorter pieces like articles published than you do with a first novel (as long as you study the market, write to subject matter and word length, having first applied for writers’ guidelines from whichever magazine you’re targeting).
And when you succeed in getting an article published it will boost your confidence as a writer and give you something to put on your writer’s CV.
PERSEVERE During my writing career, I had not one, but two six-year-long periods between publishers (the writer’s equivalent of an actor’s ‘resting’ periods, only ours seem to go on a lot longer.).
I gritted my teeth and endured all the rejections, which meant I was still in there plugging away when the faint hearts had given up.
My second period of writing famine ended when I signed up with a new agent, who placed Absolute Poison, my fifth Rafferty & Llewellyn and Up in Flames, my first Casey & Catt. She also got me two two-book deals for the next four Rafferty novels (Dying for You, Bad Blood, Love Lies Bleeding and Blood on the Bones). In addition, she placed my first historical novel, Reluctant Queen, with Robert Hale. This one , originally written under the name Geraldine Hartnett, was published in 2004. It tells the story of Henry VIII’s little sister, Mary Rose Tudor (I’ve now brought it out in new paperback and ebook editions under my Evans name).
Altogether, I have now had twenty-one novels published (seventeen crime, one contemporary woman/suspense, one historical and two romances) as well as independently publishing several short non-fiction books. on various subjects (some under pen names). I have other books in the pipeline.
That’s the reward for perseverance. Worth it, I think you’ll agree.
DON’T ISOLATE YOURSELF This one is tricky, I know. When you have a full-time job as I did for many years and maybe a family to care for as well, the temptation is to spend all the spare time you can snatch huddled over your keyboard.
A little effort will make you friends in the writing world; you’ll get some valuable feedback on your work and could make some useful contacts.
For your first manuscript, don’t be totally reliant on your own and your family’s judgement. If you can afford it, go for independent ms assessment. Not cheap, I know, but it’s worth every penny. I think using a professional reader to criticise my work made all the difference in getting my first crime novel published.
Join a writers’ circle. You’ll find a list of these on the net and in the Writers’ Handbook / Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook (available at any good bookshop/public library). You should be able to find a writers’ group reasonably close to your home. If not, why not start one yourself?
And don’t forget – subscribe to Writers’ News and Writing Magazine. They have masses of helpful advice and information. They also have a book club with a wide variety of books on sale that are of interest to writers.
The internet also has masses of other writing sites. You are not alone.
Geraldine Evans’s Novels
Suspense The Egg Factory
Biographical Historical Fiction Reluctant Queen: the Story of Mary Rose Tudor, The Defiant Little Sister of Infamous English King, Henry VIII
Rafferty & Llewellyn mystery series
Kith & Kill #15
Deadly Reunion #14
Death Dance #13
All The Lonely People #12
Death Dues #11
A Thrust To The Vitals #10
Blood On The Bones #9
Love Lies Bleeding #8
Bad Blood #7
Dying For You #6
Absolute Poison #5
The Hanging Tree #4
Death Line #3
Down Among The Dead Men #2
Dead Before Morning #1
Casey & Catt Mystery Series
A Killing Karma #2
Up in Flames #1
Land Of Dreams
The Wishing Fountain
Also a variety of published articles on different topics, including Writing, New Age and Historical Biography.
That’s what perseverance can achieve. So get to your keyboards! If all else fails, you can self-publish your own ebook via Kindle and/or Smashwords. Both are free. This is something I can recommend. Because after having eighteen novels traditionally published, I switched to self-publishing late in 2010. Since getting my rights back and epublishing my backlist and some new books, I now earn enough to write full-time.
You can also publish a print version of your book using amazon’s Createspace: www.createspace.com
You can do the same at the following sites (though Lightning Source is rather expensive. But they do get your print books into Ingrams for bookstores, so worth it for that alone).
SMASHWORDS produces a free Style Guide telling you how to format your e-book. I would strongly advise you to read and implement its contents. They also have a list of reasonably-priced cover designers. Smashwords distributes its e-books to Barnes and Noble’s Nook, Kobo, iBookstore, Diesel, etc. You’ll find the link above.
DRAFT2DIGITAL (www.draft2digital.com) is another distributor like Smashwords, although, unlike Smashwords, they don’t also have a shop on site to purchase books. But I’ve switched most of my books over to them from Smashwords as they do an excellent conversion of your novel from a Word document into mobi (Amazon), epub (everyone else) and pdf (for print publication).
AMAZON provides free apps so that readers with different e-readers can read amazon e-books. They also have free books on their sites that you can download. Just go to their site for your own country.
Between Amazon, Smashwords and D2D, you can pretty well cover most e-reading avenues. Smashwords and D2D also distribute books to subscription sites like scribd and Smashwords provides books to Overdrive for library distribution.
And if you check this blog http://ebookbargainsuk.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/300-global-ebook-outlets-its-as-easy-as-one-two-free/
you’ll find even more outlets for your work that I didn’t know about.
There are also numerous books available on amazon to help you format for e-publishing (some of them even better than mine! See above).
Take a look at my pages on Amazon and Smashwords to see the finished article.
Diesel ebookstore: http://bit.ly/VavHaB