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writing a book
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arvo



Joined: 04 Dec 2006
Posts: 3321
Location: Somerset
PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 12 10:12 pm    Post subject:  Reply with quote    

I had a go of WeBook for a while and that was good fun. I found a group of folk on there prepared to do lots of looking and editing of each others stuff (however on there was also *lots* of sub-grim faux vampire rubbish written by angst ridden 15 year olds). The folk I got on with have moved on and I was writing so slowly that I think I lost other folks momentum on there (stuff got in the way as it does).

I may go back and have another punt to see if I can find another group of willing 'I'll have a read of yours if you have a read of mine' kind of editing buddies. It does help.

I'm finally 37k in to something that I hope will wind up 120k.

Gawd I write slowly.

OtleyLad



Joined: 13 Jan 2007
Posts: 2737
Location: Otley, West Yorkshire
PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 12 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Having had a lucky break I wrote this.
I was surprise how little interference there was from the publishers in the whole process. It was very much, you write it and we'll sell it. But they already had an established series of dog-friendly walking guides.

The down side:

Puny advance that barely covered my petrol costs to/from the walks.
(The advance comes off the royalties too, don't forget).

Tiny (between 7.5-10%) commission that is on the publishers (often discounted) selling price, not the cover price.
Commission arrives 1 year later - my book was first published July 2011-I have not had a penny yet and won't until this July.

The up side:
I have a book in print!
I have even seen it on shelves in bookstores.
Friends are impressed.

So for me financially it has been a loss-maker. Maybe over time as it becomes a classic it may add a little luxury to my retirement.

It has however encouraged me to write more - and I am now writing a four-part historical novel. But I am going to self-publish it via amazon. As a programmer/web-designer the production of an E-book from a word document is not a challenge. Someone at the publishers actually advised me to do this - saying it was a better bet than going through them!

Advantages of E-books:

70% commision
You don't wait years to get it.
You can promote it yourself - for example build a website, send articles to magazines, etc.
You could save the early income and get it printed too.

Iím 2/3 through the first book and hope to finish it in the next couple of months. Look out world!

toggle



Joined: 30 Dec 2006
Posts: 11622
Location: truro
PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 12 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Barefoot Andrew wrote:
Get yourself a copy of the Writers' and Artists' Yearbook - Amazon link.
A.


Pilgrim1975 posting.

As a writer of several years experience I can safely say tht the Yearbook is really useful, pretty much an essential purchase in my humble opinion.

I'd also recommend www.firstwriter.com which is well worth looking at. I have a life membership of Firstwriter and it's a vast database of competitions, agents, places to copywrite your work, editors, consultants, publishers and so on. Basically, it's a one stop shop for whatever you might need to get started as a writer. They don't supply the necessary writing ability, though, or write for you when you'd rather have a nice cup of teainstead. But, as a famous writer once said:

'The first rule of writing is to apply the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair.'

OtleyLad



Joined: 13 Jan 2007
Posts: 2737
Location: Otley, West Yorkshire
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 12 4:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I just got my first ebook onto amazon. I started the story July 2011 and have been writing pretty much full time except for a 3 month break (to earn some money building a website). So it's no small task (or maybe i'm a slow writer).
The book ended up about 125k words.

I showed it to my partner (the book, that is) who did some good proofreading. We did argue though when her proof reading turned into re-writing the story (at one stage she said my writing was sh*te).

Thought about showing it to friends/family but then would I believe what they said about it? Personally I'd hate to tell someone their work was rubbish or even mediocre, so I didn't want to put people on the spot.

Thought about finding a publisher/agent but decided it would be too time consuming/expensive. As it grew, printing it out was just far too wasteful of paper/ink. I reckon it would have cost £30 to print and post it to each publisher.

The dog walking book gets me 7.5% of the price the publisher sells it - 10% if they discount it. As they discount at 50% to distributors I'd be lucky to get 30p per book. Apparently 7.5% is standard even for established authors. Another thing is that royalties are sent 6 months after each 6 month period. So you don't see a penny for over a year. If something takes you a year to write, you won't see 1p until the following year.

So ebooks via amazon gets you 70%. You set the price and they pay royalties after 60 days - and then a month at a time.
Of course amazon put it on their website but don't promote it - and as there are 1,412,295 ebooks on there (that was this morning) you have to do something 'offline' to get your work noticed.

Ebook formatting is free (lots of free software you can download) but there's a lot of conflicting advice out there too about how to do it. As a programmer/web designer I'm familiar with html etc so I could eventually get my head around it. Also I used photoshop to produce the images (cover, chapter headings).

If you are not a programmer/web designer then its a very steep learning curve. To produce a book that functions well (table of contents, etc) and is well laid out takes time and skill. There are a lot of ebooks out there that are just functionaly crap and ugly - seriously undermining the credibility of the contents.

Here's what I did to produce it:

Wrote it in Word
Converted to html (exported as a filtered web page).
Spent weeks tidying it all up (using a notepad type text editor).
Put it through Mobipocket Creator (free software) to convert the html to kindle format.
Tested it on my kindle
Spent a couple more weeks formatting and getting rid off spelling/grammatical errors.

The Amazon KDP forum is friendly enough but I didn't find it helpful - each person seems to be an expert and tells you: 'don't do it that way, do it this way' without solving your problem. I was sent down several blind alleys, downloading different software, learning it and getting stuck.

Would I do it again?
You bet - subject to actually earning something from the first book (or else my partner will finally kick me out).

gleefulgoat



Joined: 14 Feb 2013
Posts: 17

PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 13 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I agree with everyone else....Write your book first (i am now on my second one)....make sure your happy with it, the chapters are in the right place, spelling, make sure you have a decent margin both sides on your pages (the book needs this to be put together).

Then look for your publisher....decide if you want a publisher or want to do it yourself....
I used Lulu.com. it gets the book out on Amazon....but someone like Waterstones will use their own....But none of this matters if the book isnt written

Sally Too



Joined: 14 Sep 2006
Posts: 2511
Location: N.Ireland
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 13 9:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Linky to your book GG? What type of book have you written?

Gervase



Joined: 17 Nov 2004
Posts: 8655

PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 13 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

vegplot wrote:
An excellent piece of software which can help with layout and organsiation is Scrivener - it's designed for the task.

Wholeheartedly agree with Scrivener; it's a superb piece of software that makes writing much easier, and has the added advantage that at the end you can compile a manuscript and format it as an ebook for Kindle, iTunes or any reader/distributor and have the finished product on your desktop in minutes, ready to upload. It can also import from almost any format - doc, docx, pdf, rtf, html etc - and has a very intuitive 'notes' section where you can store your research.
It seems to be becoming the software of choice for a lot of writers now, both in fiction and non-fiction, and is certainly hard to beat for features or ease of use. It's also a lot cheaper than Word!

Sally Too



Joined: 14 Sep 2006
Posts: 2511
Location: N.Ireland
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 13 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Is the material all stored on your own computer - or is it backed up to a secure area online?

I wonder with all the enforced rest I've had to take if I might pick up the metaphorical pen again......

gleefulgoat



Joined: 14 Feb 2013
Posts: 17

PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 13 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Sally too wrote:
Linky to your book GG? What type of book have you written?


It's called "a Diary Of The First Years Smallholding - Warts an All!"

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Diary-The-First-Years-Smallholding/dp/1471696952/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1361297289&sr=8-1

And its basically that....a diary of how we coped as first time small holders, it should have been called "how not to run a small holding"

I wrote a diary most days, of the antics of chasing goats, falling over in pig...er...poop, the fun with chickens, and also the hard ship we had when my husband lost his job and we were snowed in for 3 months....the people who have read it said its very funny...wasn't really the intention hahaha but i am glad it made them laugh.... its a little crude in the making, but its my first one and i am now on the second one

It's okay that its a little crude in the making though 300 people like it so far, and I enjoy making it, and if it gives someone a laugh at my expense well its good, thats what matters.

So give your writing a go... read it and proof read it as much as you want or feel happy....THEN look for publisher

toggle



Joined: 30 Dec 2006
Posts: 11622
Location: truro
PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 13 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

toggle wrote:


'The first rule of writing is to apply the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair.'


i prefer this:


ust because Mr or Ms Bottom is paying a trip to Chair Town it does not always follow that productive work is being done. If you give yourself the whole day to write, you will spend the whole day writing and, in the process, drive yourself bat shit crazy.


alongside a recomendation of not trying to write for more than 2 hours or work on something that is research based for more than 6 hours in a day.

toggle



Joined: 30 Dec 2006
Posts: 11622
Location: truro
PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 13 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Gervase wrote:
vegplot wrote:
An excellent piece of software which can help with layout and organsiation is Scrivener - it's designed for the task.

Wholeheartedly agree with Scrivener; it's a superb piece of software that makes writing much easier, and has the added advantage that at the end you can compile a manuscript and format it as an ebook for Kindle, iTunes or any reader/distributor and have the finished product on your desktop in minutes, ready to upload. It can also import from almost any format - doc, docx, pdf, rtf, html etc - and has a very intuitive 'notes' section where you can store your research.
It seems to be becoming the software of choice for a lot of writers now, both in fiction and non-fiction, and is certainly hard to beat for features or ease of use. It's also a lot cheaper than Word!


i'm using scriviner as a combi writing tool and database for my thesis. the ability to write chunks of text and throw them about without risking deleting them, or throw them into the 'junk' file to rewrite for later or turn into an article for soemthing else. and i can link text to pdf files, so i can easily check my quotes and confirm my intrepretation when i go bak for rewrites.

combine it with somethinbg like a dropbox account, throw the save files into the dropbox.

only thing for me is the lack of formatting, like the arsey thing with footnotes or lack of endnote integration, i'll have to export into word to do that. but it's better than anyhting else i've played with. Might try playing with latex at some point. but it looked a bit scary and i think it's more than i actually need.

Pilgrim1975



Joined: 30 Jan 2012
Posts: 149
Location: Here And There
PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 13 7:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

toggle wrote:
Might try playing with latex at some point.


Kinky.

marigold



Joined: 02 Sep 2005
Posts: 12457
Location: West Sussex
PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 13 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I'm another Scrivener fan .

Chez



Joined: 13 Aug 2006
Posts: 35864
Location: The Hive of the Uberbee, Quantock Hills, Somerset
PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 13 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I can't imagine how I missed this thread the first time round. Off to look at Scrivener now.

Selkie



Joined: 03 May 2013
Posts: 7
Location: Highlands
PostPosted: Sat May 04, 13 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I'm thinking of writing a book if that counts.
My husband is always telling me to write. Trouble is there are lots of books out there saying much the same thing. I have been teaching swimming for many years and many local council lessons are done very badly. I stopped working for councils after one decided that controlled epilepsy was a reason to send me to 4 doctors in a year (last doctor said he had no idea why I was there.), for the last 10 years I've taught swimming privately and trained other teachers.

My husband complains that there are many kids that would benefit from a private instructor but cant afford it - hence the book idea. I rekon I could write a book now that would help parents teach like a swimming teacher, get round sticky issues and most importantly have fun teaching their child to swim....and possibly save money on lessons.

I do wonder how some of the books out there on 'teach your child to swim' got published...

I guess I'm asking everyone here who are parents if you think its a good idea. Waterproof pages essential!

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