blogging ...

3. Aug, 2019

The publishing industry has authors in a bind. It is extremely hard to get into the big five publishing houses as an unknown, and the smaller ones range anywhere from experimental to vanity press. Then there are the known entities - those of Amazon, Lulu, Ingramspark and Smashwords for your printed books; ebooks are a whole different kettle of fish.

I was with two small publishing houses there for a while, but the constrictions of a contract can be exactly that ... constricting. So when I was free of all that is legal and binding I decided to go it alone, taking to the path of indie publishing like a duck to water. First I tried Createspace; easy enough to use - but at the time they were only working out of America. Then Createspace was made defunct, Amazon then moved into Australia and a lot more rules and regs were put into place with it. I decided to opt out.

I had in the meantime I had found Lulu - a nice easy site to use. Files are easy to upload, their printed product is of good quality, royalties are paid every month, but the downside is ... they are pretty pricey.

I had noticed lately that a lot of people were pointing a finger the way of Ingramspark. I decided to take a look. Everything seemed fine, pricing was good, people seemed happy, so I made my move. What a mistake that was. Not only have I paid to be registered on this site but for free they threw in a mental breakdown. The site is a nightmare to negotiate, help is hard to get ... as for uploading a cover file - one week later, three tries and now they're closed for the weekend. So I have no idea what's happened with the last file ... apart from nothing. Now I have to wait ... again!

Will I be happy with the finished product? That remains to be seen for if they knock back my cover file for a third time I think I will be asking for my money back. Will I be recommending Ingramspark? Probably not - unless you have money to burn. I know I will not be using them again.

Is this the first time this has been said? I know the the answer to that one, and it's no. Too late I found a couple of reviews that reflect my own. The stated the same thing, so I guess they got the option with the mental breakdown as well.

At the end of the day the choice is always yours, but I'd be thinking long and hard before you travel this road. Give yourself time to work your way through all the obstacles and maybe - if you can afford the extra expense on top of the money you have to fork out for everything else - hire yourself a cover artist. It will make your live a lot easier than trying to do it on your own. Ingramspark will provide a template but unless you're a right clever clogs, or there is some way of using it that I am not aware of ... it's as useless as tits on a bull.

Anyway ... that aside ... congratulations on reaching the publishing stage of your wirting and I wish you good luck with your book.

4. Jan, 2019

And here we are, already well into the first week of January 2019. The Christmas season always goes so fast, but the important thing is ... did you enjoy it? Did you make any great memories. Or did you make plans or resolutions?

All in all, what does it matter today? Today is a new day in the new year, which will hopefully offer everyone new opportunities and adventures. With that I will say that I wish everyone a very happy and prosperous 2019. 

23. Dec, 2018

Here we are just two days before Chrismas 2018. Time seems to go by so fast these days that it's hard to keep up with one's self and as 2019 nears many of us make plans, resolutions and promises.

As an author I set goals that might see me publishing a book during the span of these 365 days, but this year it did not happen. But that's okay as if I'd pushed myself I might have been tempted to offer you infereror work. While that is never a writer's intention, a typo or two ... or maybe a bit of a fumbled sentence might surface. The important thing is that we present the best story - one to keep you enthralled and entertained. And that takes time.

But ... what end have I set myself for 2019?

Firstly, I'm hoping to finish and publish 'The Healing'. If that's all I do I will be happy. Yet ... secondly, I look to finishing and publishing the third book in the Merlin's School series, entitled The Grail and Back Again alsoThis book has been put on hold for some time now and it needs to get out there with its friends. Thirdly, I will be entering a different world with my first illustrated book. It will be a world of enchantment and magic - one that I hope to have a lot of fun with. I will keep my followers updated on this.

So ... there you have it. 

Thank you to all those who have entered my literary world this year - and perhaps the one before. I hope you all have enjoyed reading what I had on offer and will stay with me in the future. I wish you a merry Christmas and a jolly new year for 2019. Let is be prosperous, peaceful and pleasant.

Cheers ... Margaret R Blake.

P.S. What have you planned for next year? Would love to hear from you.

19. Nov, 2018

Times are tough for everyone, but they become even tougher when one needs to haggle and try to justify why something is priced the way it is when trying to sell it. From a personal point of view, I try to sell my books – as does every writer/author- yet I am aware that most people think that I charge way too much for them. The perspective buyer sees the paperback version – and sometimes the ebook online - and they shake their head … 'I’m not paying that much; it’s way too expensive.’ Sadly, what folk tend to forget - or are not aware of - is that most authors sometimes spend years writing a book. That amounts to a lot of headaches, research, rewrites just while at the computer trying to get the words in order, and they don’t get paid for the trauma of it … not for one minute … let alone trying to cope with the rest of the world.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there.

When complete, the writer may then spend time chasing after a traditional publisher, with letters, phone calls and entreaties, though, if they choose to self-publish, it is slightly less time-consuming. However, one still has to find a site that suits them.

In between waiting for replies from publishers (anywhere between 3 months and 1 year) or researching publishing sites there is the editing, - a must for any self-respecting writer. This is the most expensive step in the process of getting a book out there. The cost of this can be anywhere from AU$200 to AU$2,000-00, depending on the length/type of book/novel/tome … not an amount easily found with day to day living expenses.

Once edited the book needs to be formatted – this is about getting the pages in order, along with the checking of headers, page numbers, titles and chapter sequences.

Then after a good proof read – or three - you sign off … fingers crossed that everything is as it should be.

A cover is now needed, to keep everything together. The cost of a good cover designer ranges from AU$300-00 upwards - unless you’re in the know – or you’re clever enough to design covers.

After … there is printing. If you still have anything left in your bank account you can approach a local printer, but I have found most charge an arm and a leg, even with files that are ready to go. With that in mind you have two options left (if you have not been picked up by a publishing house) and that is to buy in small amounts from places like Amazon or Lulu (I use these examples as they are what I am familiar with) It costs an arm and a leg, especially with postage and handling added to the final amount. But … if you can mortgage the house or raise a substantial loan you can get mass printing done in China. HINT – don’t forget to ask if the quote includes shipping.

Now the author has books. Depending on the size and type the pricing can range from X to Y. This is calculated by adding the sum of the money spent altogether, along with the P and H costs – please remember here that the writer’s time is not considered in this factor. Divide the cost by the number of books on hand, add a dollar or two and there you have it … price per unit. We’re good to go.

But we’re not finished as now there is the business side of things to get your head around. You need to sell these books. You need to market – or get to market - either with online entities or through marketing businesses … again, more money. But if you’re broke by now then sadly, you’re on your own.

Fingers crossed here, with all your Facebook posts and Tweets on your progress over the years you have people who are still interested enough to part with their cash, because by now you have done your dash with giving away the books as gifts to your family and friends. Mind you, there is a saving grace if you could afford to get ebook formatting as well. You can then widen your platform (author talk for your shop) and get your books into a few other places like apple, iTunes, Scrb, mobi or kobo …    but at a profit of AU$ 33c per unit (if you’re lucky) you’ve got to sell a lot of books. At least if you sell face to face at a market, you’ll get the whole profit amount of $1 to $2 to yourself. That’s if punters are not scared away by the fact that you’re sitting all by your lonesome with a pile of books and a money tin … along with a look of sheer desperation on your face.

26. Oct, 2018

Last night I decided to get online and see what was new since I had signed off six hours ago. There was nothing much on TV and I didn’t want to read or go to bed. I scrolled as one does, eventually coming across a post from a book group – with 14,000 members - that grabbed my interest. It spoke about the lack of interaction and comments within this particular group. The topic caught my attention as it is something that has been slowly nagging at me and had me wondering why I even bother being a member of book groups online as they are all the same.

My introduction to book groups began when I first became published with my number one novel in my Merlin’s School series – The Ring of Curses. My publisher of the time advised that it was a great way to establish sales. So, I created my first Facebook page and spammed away until I realized it wasn’t doing the job. I then decided to have a giveaway. Sadly, there was not one response … nobody wanted a free book either. It puzzled me until a Facebook friend suggested to join book groups. Being a newbie at all this online stuff it took me a while, but I eventually found and joined several groups and started with my promo posts and giveaways again. But still no go.

Now I was really stumped until I cottoned on that everybody was just posting and running. They didn’t give a toss about your book, my book or anyone else’s book … it was all about them. When did the world become such a selfish place? Or was it about competition?

In the mean time I had chatted with a wonderful online friend and we were both in agreeance that we needed help … not between ourselves as we both supported each other’s work … but within the writing community. A group was then created where we would work with an indie author store on our websites and share, share share, creating a larger marketing platform, and most of all, give each other a helping hand. It seemed like a good idea.

Well, so far, there has been no response to that either, which to me, proves that most authors are paranoid about competition, lazy, complacent or … they are so self-centred that they really just don’t care. I find that sad.

So back to the post I read last night. At the end of it all only two people actually had something to say about the truth of it … that groups have no interaction as intended, no conversation, as intended and no cross-promos as intended. And remember … this is out of 14,000 members.

In conclusion I will ask … where does one go from here? Do we give up trying or do we keep plugging away? There is a third option as well, of giving the people a serving of the truth on an ungilded plate and hope that they wake up to themselves … just like the admin did in the book group. Well done!