Topic: Publishing a Book (NSR)

Yes, I broke out (NSR)

So I'm currently on a sabbatical from work, and I've wanted to do some writing with the time I have.  And while I have a ton of ideas, I'm just not currently capable of getting word to page.  I've started project after project, and it doesn't matter.  I get a few pages in, and then I get burned out.

And while this is frustrating, I have a semi-solution.  Years ago, I wrote two full-length novels.  One is a dumb murder mystery, and one is still my favorite-all-time idea of mine about a boy with supernatural powers.  So I was thinking of going back and editing that book and maybe self-publishing it. 

Herein lies the rub:

- I write very stream of consciousness, and these things aren't edited.  I'm happy to get back in and edit one/both of them - it's been long enough that it'd be like I was editing someone else's work.  But is this something I should still pay to get done? 

- I'm not looking to make any money on this, not looking to become a full-time writer.  If these things happen, that's awesome.  But I spent a lot of time on these back in the day, and it'd be cool if someone somewhere decided to read it and thought it was cool.    Is self-publishing it worth it even with these meager aspirations? 

- I think Informant is the only one one on here who's self-published, but if you've done it, what are the pros and cons of doing it that way?  What advice would you have if I decided to go that route?

Basically, in general, what are any thoughts you have at all about publishing a book? smile

Re: Publishing a Book (NSR)

Slider_Quinn21 wrote:

Basically, in general, what are any thoughts you have at all about publishing a book? smile

My opinion: until I get feedback from you regarding SLIDERS REBORN: "Revolution" (5), my advice to you will be limited in the extreme.

Oh, fine. I'd say that what you seem to be looking for is manuscript critiques. This woman is pretty good -- -- although you may want to do your own research. The main problem with editors -- any editor, really -- is that you need to find an editor who will (a) understand the story you want to tell and (b) help you tell it effectively and meaningfully. Unfortunately, the industry and the Internet is filled with editors who instead find fault with your material because it is (a) not the material they themselves would produce and (b) not done in the style they themselves would use.

A good editor is able to set aside the majority of their preferences and prejudices and examine the art the artist is trying to produce instead of the art the editor wishes the artist would produce. A good editor examines target audience, readability and comprehensibility within that audience and for every criticism raised, they offer a specific, actionable solution.

I admit that my own experience with editors have been someone troubled. Some have provided vague, theoretical advice that is impossible to apply in any concrete way. Some provide advice that consists largely of seeking to replace my story with their story. Some protest that my material does not voice their personal views and opinions with the perspective that any work that doesn't reinforce their beliefs is inherently deficient.

Some editors have provided specific, clear thoughts on how to make plots, exposition, dialogue and scenes clearer, simpler, more effective and more impactful. Some have provided suggestions on how to reorganize material in order to prevent confusion and achieve immersion in the content. Some have simply provided content to be integrated into the story. And some have read 10 pages and declared that all 350 should be rewritten. So, when dealing with opinions coming from people who are not necessarily skilled in editing, one has to pick and choose but with a clear set of criteria as to what advice is helpful and what advice is not.

There is also a heavy responsibility on the writer to be clear in communicating what it is they want to achieve, because if they can't explain that they want to do a comic book version of SLIDERS that recognizes every aspect of the series including the TV episodes, the comics, the trading cards, the fanfic and the unused pitches and scripts, one cannot fault the editor for looking at a plot outline of incomprehensible continuity references and empty action setpieces and advising the route of a clean reboot with no continuity at all. I trust you understand.

Re: Publishing a Book (NSR)

Of course I think it is worth doing. Why have a mostly finished story and not do anything with it?

There is no one way to get it done though. Traditional publishers use editors to shape the story into something that is not only well written, but which hits all of the company's targets for whatever specific reasons. With independent publishing, you aren't beholden to them.

Do you need an "editor"? I've seen it go both ways. Professionals are great at finding issues, spelling errors, etc. But they cost a lot of money, and different types of editing can cost more (story critique and spelling/grammar aren't always covered by the same fee).

If you don't have a lot of money to put into it, finding some really good beta readers can be a great help. Friends and family can be good at pointing out spelling/grammar problems and giving overall feedback. But you have to be careful with who you're asking. Too many friends or family members will want to be nice and not hurt your feelings. Their help can be useful too, but you really need some people who will tell you flat out when they don't like something or when a sentence is worded in a weird way. With the right people helping you, you don't necessarily need to pay an editor and you can save your money for promoting the work or getting nice cover art.

But be careful becuse those who work for free have other things to do. You need to give them a lot of time to get things done.

Also, make sure that they review your book! Reviews, both good and bad, make a huge difference. You want as many as possible, but they are hard to get. Once you have ten or more reviews, a whole new level of promoting options opens up. But those first reviews are the hardest to get.

Re: Publishing a Book (NSR)

There's a lot to parse from your post, but to answer your main question: Yes, self publishing is a viable route.

I've published one novel and a handful of short stories on Amazon and other platforms. I can offer three words of advice:

1. Don't cheap out on editing. You need to have your novel professionally edited. This is NOT optional.
2. Commission a good cover. Everyone will judge your book by it and it needs to be up to snuff.
3. Even if this is a hobby and you're not looking to make a go of it, don't use that as an excuse to cut corners. Be smart, remember that money always flows TOWARD the author, and ask around if you're not sure.

Happy to talk further about this and answer any other questions. Hit me up here or on Twitter: @aaroncrocco.

Webmaster of the old-school Sliders fan page at Geocities/TimesSquare/1473 ( copy here: … quare/1473)

Re: Publishing a Book (NSR)

Okay, I'll bite: where's a good resource for professional editors, and what's a fair rate for them to charge for their services? Did your novel recoup your expenses?

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Re: Publishing a Book (NSR)

1. Don't cheap out on editing. You need to have your novel professionally edited. This is NOT optional.

I agree that editing is important. Making your book readable is absolutely essential. However, I disagree that you have no choice but to spend a ton of money getting that done.

How you get there isn't as important as where you end up. Saying that an author can't make great books without spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on editors is like saying that musicians can't make great music without paying someone to polish  their recordings. Yes, that help can be useful. But plenty of people are perfectly capable of producing great work using their own methods.