This is a guest post by Dee Mason, a writer at money.co.uk.
In some respects, it is not that difficult to get published these days. Platforms such as Google Blogger offer multiple opportunities for newbie writers and seasoned professionals to let their writing voice get heard. Ordinarily, when a novelist has a book to publish, he or she hires a literary agent. That agent then peddles the book around to various publishers in the hope of hitting the jackpot. This does still happen, of course, but it is not always the only way to get your story out there.
Amazon offers various self-publishing options — each at a cost — for anyone who has a book they want to sell. Amazon’s options are based on the Kindle e-book reader and other creative measures to design your own paperback book. The downside of these options is that Amazon does take a sizeable chunk of the profits and it would mean you having to selling thousands of books to break even.
You can self-publish your own work in paperback form with ‘print on demand’ (or POD) publishing, with LuLu.com being one of the more renowned services. This does cost quite a bit of money, and there is no guarantee that you will sell your entire stock. If you do choose the self-publishing route, find a book printer who will offer you the best options. Most of them will offer a sliding scale, whereby you purchase 100 books at a certain cost, but 200 would work out cheaper. Do plenty research before you commit to one particular printer. As much as it’s a great feeling to have your name on the front of a book, going down this route to make it a reality can be a real blow to your credit card.
Web Logs, or Blogs, as they are better known by, are a great way of getting yourself out there and noticed. Having your own blog gives you the opportunity to voice your thoughts, share your opinions and exhibit excerpts from your novel or poetry collection. You can add a synopsis or a whole chapter and then offer it for sale, either by e-book or printed version. Again, caution here. Unless you get a substantial order for printed copies, it might be better to stick to e-book methods, such as .txt files or .pdf files. These are the most common kinds of file that are viewable on most e-readers, but do your research.
Your blog can also be a way to make money. Offering links to other writer’s pages can help you network. A web-ring is like a mini network, where one link leads to another appropriate site, linking back to yours. If you find that other writers’ want to network with your blog you can then offer adverts and banner space at a small cost. Also, offering banner space to promote products or services might bring in some cash. This won’t rake in millions of dollars, but it will give you enough to maintain your site or hire a designer to get it noticed. Having a link to PayPal is also a good option. If you self-publish using your blog site, you will need to offer people a way to pay you securely and for that, Pay Pal is the best option.
One way to increase the size of your portfolio and your experience as a writer is to do freelance work. This can be found on various sites by doing a simple search using Bing or Google. Join a freelance site and get as much advice and experience as you can. Not all professional journalists went to school to get a journalistic degree. Some people just begin at the bottom and work up.
They say that everyone has enough life experience to create a book. This is true of most things, and a word of good advice is to always write about what you know. You don’t have to be a complete specialist in a subject, but so long as you have a healthy interest and are willing to do your research, you will find that writing about any subject becomes easier.
Articles for blog and DIY sites are a good way to get yourself published as a newbie. Always use the spell check and follow the site’s instructions on how they prefer their articles to be written. There are such writing methods as ‘active voice’ and ‘passive voice’. If I am telling you to do something in instruction form, my active voice will offer you a step-by-step guide, which will help you complete a specific task. My words will be active and instructive, like telling you to ‘press’ ‘push’ ‘turn’ ‘screw’ ‘hammer’, and so on.
Tips and Advice
If I am writing a story or novel, it is usually written in the third person, passive voice, unless dialog is required. The main bulk of the story is to convey a series of images, emotions and situations to the reader, to keep them engaged throughout the whole story. Test your story on friends and family, but do not take everything they say as gospel. Friends and family will love and support you, but they may not want to hurt your feelings by being over critical. This is where other writer’s come in handy. They can offer an unbiased critic to quality assure
your work and offer you positive and constructive feedback.