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What Are Six Steps to Writing?

The Riddle Report 04 20 2021

This blog is written to help new authors or those contemplating the idea of writing a book.

If you are thinking about whether to write a book or not, don’t be afraid to step out. While there are thousands of writers out there, there is no one quite like you. And we need to see your work.

What follows are six steps to help you get started. These are not in-depth, and they are not all that difficult. But I believe that you should take them to heart.

#1 – The Concept

The Basics of the Story

A story has to start somewhere and that is usually in the mind of the author. Perhaps it is a childhood memory, college years, military service, or simply a job. All of these are potential sources of plots.

You may only know a ‘what if?’ concept or perhaps a specific event in your own life that has triggered an idea for a story. While I am primarily talking about a fictional story, you could also want to write a nonfiction account of your experience.

#2 – The Research

Beginning Research

I call it Beginning Research because research is something you will need to do a lot of throughout your writing. But here you are performing some basic research to get you off on the right foot.

Some of the research you will do is as follows:

  • What is the uniqueness of the subject?
  • Has someone else already written on the subject?
  • What genres will it be in?
  • Is it fictional or nonfiction?

You get the idea. These are areas that you should consider, and you will probably come up with other areas. And none of the above will probably ever get in your book. But they will help you formulate your ideas.

Other areas of research may cover location of the story (i.e., Florida, Maine, etc.), type of industry in area, manner of speech and dress in the area, and so forth. The answers to these questions will have a direct impact upon your story.

In short, research is a valuable tool that you can use to help you throughout writing your book and, indeed, throughout your writing career.

#3 – First Draft

Your initial Work

New authors often fall in love with their first drafts because they poured their hearts into it. But you should always consider the first draft as a rough draft not meant for publication. No matter how much effort you put in this first draft it is going to require work.

I have never met an author who wrote a first draft and successfully published it. Someone out there may claim they have done so, but I can almost guarantee you that the draft is full of errors.

#4 – Review and Edit

Edit or not?

Some writers don’t edit until they have finished the first draft, others like to edit every page. Neither approach is wrong. But I would suggest that making use of your built-in grammar checker can be a help. But it is critical to remember that the grammar checker does not know whether you are writing an academic paper, which requires very stringent grammar, or a novel, which is not that stringent.

The other thing to remember about grammar programs is that they know the rules, but those rules are aimed at the academic level. Plus, the program does not know you are writing a novel, does not know your plot, does not know the education level of your characters, and so forth. So, use the grammar checker as a tool and interpret its concerns accordingly.

That said, I recommend that you strike a balance between constant editing and waiting until the end. Edit is necessary, but too much of a good thing can disrupt your flow of thoughts. In this first draft your story’s development is the most important thing going on. And when you finish your first draft you will find it necessary to go back over the entire book and check out your spelling, grammar, and other issues that may pop up. You find these issues by reading your draft. It is called reviewing.

What you are doing for each draft is reviewing and editing. And it may take several drafts before your book is ready to be published.

#5 – Get Help

Professional Help

After you have finished the first draft and done your review & edit, you can then write your next draft. But after you third or fourth or fifth draft you may realize that you need help.

The temptation is too do it all by yourself. And the hard truth is that even your very best authors don’t publish error free books. I know, I’ve read some of the best and still found errors. Sometimes minor and sometimes major. When you are talking about thousands of words, the likelihood of errors increases even when you use professional help.

But you don’t necessarily need professional help. Consider relatives or friends. But make sure they understand that you need honest reviews. It is not helpful if they tell you what they think you want to hear. What you need are another pair of eyes.

Even so, if you are on a tight budget, you may not be able to do that because if someone helps you out like that you should do something for them. If you are on a tight budget you may have to do it yourself, in which case, I would suggest that you take a breather after finishing a draft and do something else. Then go back and reread your story. You might consider reading with a view for spelling errors, such as ‘their’ instead of ‘there’. Then, reread the story and look at the grammar.

But if you go the do-it-yourself-approach, remember that you are the author and know what you think you wrote. Your mind might trick your eyes into seeing the words that you thought you wrote instead of the words you really wrote.

More about this issue on the other side of this break. TR-WritingServices.com brings you this blog post or podcast to help you be your absolute best as a writer.

The problems associated with self-editing are why there are professional editors out there. We exist to help you prepare your book for publishing. We read your book thoroughly looking for errors in grammar, spelling, etc. Then we work with you to improve the story.

In fact, if we are doing the editing, we do so with your story in mind. And not only your story, but your writing style. It is unique to you and we believe it should be preserved. So, we edit and proof the book, then we make sure you are happy with the results. Only when you are happy, and it meets the requirements of KDP is the book published.

And you haven’t spent a fortune to have it done.

Now back to the article.

#6 – Getting Published

Kindle Direct Publishing

At TR Writing Services we use KDP because they:

  • Allow the author to have total control except for a few technical issues
  • Allow you to determine your royalties, which range from 35% to 70%
  • Pay directly to an account you indicate
  • Provide you a large potential readership
  • and much more.

There are self-publishing companies out there that you should learn about. Don’t be confused by the term self-publishing. It does not mean that you have control over the publishing process. They do. And if you want them to edit your book, you may be giving up any control you have there as well.

But there are publishing criteria that you need to check out. One is the book cover.

It is important that after all the work you have put in to the book that your cover be good. And you have some options.

  • KDP gallery, which provides templates and pictures
  • Professional designers who will design a book cover for you

The KDP gallery should not be ignored. They have a small amount of pictures that may fit your need. I wish they would expand that gallery. However, they also have preset templates for book covers which allows you to upload your own pictures, such as designed for you or you purchased off the internet. Some designers will design the back cover for you but unless these people are KDP certified it could prove difficult. So, take the time and find out if they have worked with KDP, because KDP has criteria that must be met.

Professional designers offer their services at varying prices. Just because someone offers their services at a high cost does not mean that their services are better than anyone else’s. Check out their work.

Here’s thought. Why not make use of istock, pexels, pixabay, or others. Then upload to KDP the picture you bought or downloaded. Then let KDP do the rest.

I’ve done it. They also let you upload of bio picture of yourself along with a short biography and a description of the book. Then they let you know if you need to do more work on any of those items. When done, you have a quality book cover.

There you have it. Six basic steps to help you get started. There are several more items we didn’t discuss, such as ISBN, color vs. B&W, and more. But KDP will work with you on that as will just about any publisher that exists.

Find out the difference between Traditional Publishing, Self-Publishing, and Indie Publishing. I’ve written about this subject in the past. And remember this, Indie Publishing means you have more responsibility, better royalties, and, of course, more work to do. Why not be an Indie?

If you are listening to this podcast, it has been brought to you by T&R Independent Bookstore. We want to be your local bookstore and we are located on the internet at tr-writingservices.com. Drop in and check us out.

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TR Bookstore Opening Soon

The Riddle Report 04 9 2021

In my last blog I talked about brick and mortar bookstores and the fact that brick and mortar stores, bookstores in particular, are making a comeback. While that is true, Teresa and I are excited to announce that we are opening an internet store where book lovers can purchase our books at a discounted price.

While it is true that we’ve had a catalog allowing customers to purchase their book through links in our catalog, we thought our customers deserved better. Thus, we made the decision to offer our books, which are growing in number, to our customers at discounted prices and right on our website.

We have a grand opening tentatively scheduled for May 3, 2021, but TR Bookstore is ready now. There may be some tweaks needed here or there which is why we are going for a “soft” opening right now.

I thought it would be nice to let you in on our journey. I do not have affiliate accounts with any of the products I will discuss nor am I reimbursed or paid for my comments. I will tell the story in Steps.

Step #1 – PayPal

I mention this first because we have had a PayPal account for several years. While there are other vendors out similar to PayPal, we prefer PayPal. You need a method for your customers to pay for your products. One of the things I like about PayPal is that customers do not have to have a PayPal account. If they have one, then great.

But if they don’t have an PayPal account, they can still purchase their book(s) using their credit card. We accept most major credit cards.

Step #2 – Hosting Website

We currently use WordPress and we are very happy with it. Previously I have used Godaddy. And, yes, there are many good website hosts out there. Get one of them.

With WordPress I upgraded to Business. To have a storefront you must have either the Business Plan or the eCommerce Plan. We chose Business because it provides what we need and costs less than the eCommerce Plan.

Step #3 – WooCommerce

This is a plugin for WordPress that really makes a difference. It gives the look and feel of a bookstore. I have only recently installed it and started working with it, and I can tell you I am very pleased!

The fact that it is “free” is always a blessing. Along with that it is a powerful program that works well  in the Storefront Theme.

Step #4 – Appearance

Don’t feel obligated to follow the same steps I took, but I choose to have Step #4 be appearance. I started working on the appearance as soon as I could. And I have tweaked several times and maybe I will do more in the near future. The more I learn the better the appearance gets.

Step #5 – Add Products

I expected this to take days, maybe weeks. But the Add Products (WooCommerce) aspect has been very easy. You can assign your product ID (default is ISBN) according to your needs or desires. You can determine currency, retail price, sale price, inventory, and more

Step #6 – Product Pictures

At the moment I have continued to use the product pictures that I have also used in the catalog. I may choose to update the pictures to a more unified look and feel. That will be looked into for sure.

Step #7 – Cart

I have chosen to use the default Cart which is tied to my PayPal account. It is plain and simple which is what I want. More important, it is quick and easy for customers, and that is very important.

Step #8 – Testing

Technically, the store is operational right now. Customers can access and use the site. However, it is always as good idea to test the site. So, we are doing a “soft” opening which allows us to test the site and make any improvements necessary. If customers use us during this time they become part of the testing, but we are hoping that everyone will be happy and experience “zero” problems.

Step #9 – Grand Opening

The Grand Opening is scheduled for May 3, 2021. By that time all “bugs” should have been found and removed. It is also possible that at least one more book will be added to our inventory. We are starting out small, but intend to continue adding more of our own books to the bookstore.

It is also possible that other authors’ books might be sold sometime in the future, but these are unlikely to be discounted. There are a lot of decisions that we will have to make, but we anticipate are own published works will continue to grow.

Step #10 – Directions

I like to say that we are located on Internet Hwy at tr-writingservices.com. When people come there they will find our bookstore and our writing services where we edit, proof, and publish the book within.

I am seriously thinking of providing directions right on the site as a separate page.

Perhaps you want to build your own publishing business or bookstore. If so, I hope this blog gave you some encouragement and some constructive ideas.

Get free Guide to Writing at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

Subscribe to Author Alerts (click and submit signup form)

For information about us (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”) contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com and get our Free Brochure which tells you about our services.

AUTHOR’S PAGE: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? Want to review our books? Contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. Such as, ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ Be sure to indicate your email address and your name.

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He is also an author of Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. To reply to any blog you can comment on a blog and/or send an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. His Facebook page is at RFrederickRiddlesWorld and his Parler page is authorriddle.

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Are Brick & Mortar Bookstores Dying?

The Riddle Report 04 2 2021

It has been evident for a long time that brick and mortar bookstores were declining and the culprit has been the Internet. However, despite media coverage suggesting that bookstores were dying, a resurgence started several years ago. Covid-19, also known as the Chinese Virus (it started in China), has had a crushing impact on almost all industries. But the bookstore industry seems to be coping and is ready to continue its comeback.

News Item #1 Overview

There is a long history of bookstores dating back hundreds of years. They were the primary, and sometimes only, venue for selling and buying books. When I started my writing career in 2003, bookstores were still the primary place to sell your books. And it was in bookstores that I conducted book signings.

At that time, it was getting more difficult primarily because the superstores dominated and could be picky about the books.

Sometime after that the brick & mortar stores began declining as the internet was growing and people found they could shop from home. Thus, began a deep decline that saw chains that once dominated going out of business. Borders, one of the largest superstore chains, eventually closed its doors. But others continued.

News Item #2 Decline

As mentioned above bookstores, and we are talking primarily of brick & mortar bookstores, went into decline. Here is Port Charlotte, Florida I understand that there were bookstores, including at least one Christian bookstore.

Shortly after arriving here in 2008 we discovered that the Christian store was gone, and the only general bookstore was Books-a-Million. That hasn’t changed much. A Christian bookstore did open up and operate for several years, but it too went out of business. Books-a-Million is still here.

Why?

Part of the reason is that the new Christian Bookstore only had a minimal presence on the internet. Basically, a single page providing directions and when open. I also suspect that the manager of the store underestimated the competition that the internet was bringing. I talked to him and he was quite confident, yet his confidence seemed to me to ignore or not be aware of the purchasing power, not to mention low overhead, of internet stores.

News Item #3 Comeback

We currently have two bookstores in Punta Gorda, Florida, which is right across the Peace River. Both are Independent and have an online presence that compliments the physical store. In addition, I know Copperfish makes use of emails, virtual events, and Zoom to list just a few innovations. And I believe all Indie Bookstores have similar methods of outreach.

The comeback of bookstores in general and Indie’s in particular began in 2016 or shortly after. That was the year that Family Christian went bankrupt and disappeared. But the vaunted age of eBooks didn’t happen quite the way anticipated. Yes, eBooks sell well, but they did not replace print books which still sell well.

And the bookstores, particularly Indie bookstores that included Church bookstores, learned to survive and thrive!

News Item #4 In The Year 2021

The year is still young, but bookstores are doing well. Indie bookstores have invested time, money, and energy in coping with the restrictions from the Chinese Virus. As a result, they are ready to continue the comeback. Locally, I have seen at least one bookstore expand its virtual offerings while moving to a new brick & mortar storefront.

Scanning the internet for information on bookstores I found optimism. And that speaks well of the industry.

News Item #4s What About the Internet

The internet is well and doing fine. Just as there are millions of people wanting to hold a book in their hand before buying, there are also millions of people willing to buy a book from the comfort of their homes. The internet and brick & mortar bookstores can coexist and, in some cases, have a foot in both segments.

Here at T&R Independent Bookstore and Services, we are looking forward to opening are own bookstore, TR Bookstore. It will be exclusively on the internet and, at least in the beginning, sell only our books. This will allow our books to be sold both at Amazon and at our bookstore, where they will be discounted.

So, in conclusion, I believe it is way too early to mourn the bookstores whether brick & mortar or internet. And neither should we mourn the eBook or the Print book. Both are doing fine!

So, if you are looking for a fine book to read go to your local bookstore or your internet bookstore (which when you think about it are also local).

Get free Guide to Writing at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

Subscribe to Author Alerts (click and submit signup form)

For information about us (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”) contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com and get our Free Brochure which tells you about our services.

AUTHOR’S PAGE: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? Want to review our books? Contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. Such as, ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ Be sure to indicate your email address and your name.

==========

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He is also an author of Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. To reply to any blog you can comment on a blog and/or send an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. His Facebook page is at RFrederickRiddlesWorld and his Parler page is authorriddle.

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Announcing New Novel

World War III picture

The Riddle Report 01 11 2021

Today I am announcing the publication of my newest novel, World War III. This novel is the prequel to Christland.

As many of you know I built my career on writing historical fiction, novels that were based on historical events recorded in the Bible. These have been my primary interest and will continue to be so. However, in the last couple of years I have delved into speculative fiction with my first series Christland.

With this publication the series will include World War III, Death Ship to the Stars, Pauline: A New Home, Task Force Hunter, Black Death, Rise of I.S.I.S., and Battle at Proxima Centauri. It is a series that carves out its own niche within the Sci-Fi or Speculative Fiction genre.

It is also a series I am proud of and have been encouraged by. That being said, I felt that the buildup to the Death Ship to the Stars needed greater exploration. Therefore, I set about writing what is called World War III.

World War III introduces many of the characters that are found in Death Ship to the Stars. You get to know them before those tragic events. One particular character you meet is Don Michaels, one of the heroes of Death Ship to the Stars. You get a deeper understanding of him and of the men and women around him.

But the biggest thing is you get to view World War III, which turns out to be one of the shortest world wars in history or is the shortest. In any case, you get to read and experience the war itself, but also the events leading up to it and following it.

Then there is General Abner Smith. This is a man who is both a brilliant general and a monstrous person. His hatred for all things Christian and Jewish comes through loud and clear at the expense of innocent people!

The writing of this novel allowed me the freedom to explore the world of speculative fiction in greater depth while adding to and, hopefully, expanding the experience of the Christland series. As a result of the new novel, I am rewriting portions of Death Ship to the Stars. This revised version should be coming out soon.

The eBook is in Pre-Order now and the Print book should be available this week. Here is the data:

Title: World War III

Publisher: T&R Independent Books

Author: R. Frederick Riddle

Pages: 357

ASIN: B08SLK6P83

ISBN-13: 9798571715317

Print Retail: $13.99

eBook Retail: $2.99 (in pre-order now)

Get free Guide to Writing at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

Subscribe to Author Alerts (click and submit signup form)

For information about us (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”) contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com and get our Free Brochure which tells you about our services.

AUTHOR’S PAGE: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? Want to review our books? Contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. Such as, ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ Be sure to indicate your email address and your name.

==========

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He is also an author of Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. To reply to any blog you can comment on a blog and/or send an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. His Facebook page is at RFrederickRiddlesWorld and his Parler page is authorriddle.

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5 Proactive Actions for Authors in 2021

The Riddle Report 01 06 2021

Today I am writing about the pursuit of your writing career. The title is Be Proactive.

What do you mean?

One definition of proactive is: Acting in advance to deal with an expected change or difficulty. 2021 lies ahead of you. There are a lot of unknowns right now.

Take the election of the President. No matter the outcome of today’s voting, it is unlikely we will know who the next President is until the Supreme Court gets involved. There is a lot of evidence of voter fraud, certainly a great deal of mistrust of election results, and the abuse of power by state governors and their administrations.

That’s just one area of uncertainty. Connected to those issues you also have the economy, international relations, Covid-19, and so on. In other words, you, and all the rest of us, don’t know what 2021 will be like.

That being the case, I think we authors need to be proactively engaged. This blog contains 5 Proactive Actions for Authors in 2021.

  1. Budgeting

This involves looking back and forward. How did your writing budget work out last year. This would be a great time to analyze your success. While I am speaking of money, success has many faces.

You may not have made much money, but did you position yourself for success. In a moment we will talk about goals but positioning yourself involves financial investment for sure yet there is much more involved.

For instance, are you ready to write a new novel? I published some novels last year, but I have also laid the groundwork or have already started writing other novels. What about you.

If you been writing for any length of time you may have gotten to that stage where you can work on more than one novel at a time. If that is the case, it is a good thing. If you haven’t started working on the next novel, this would be a good time to start.

How about publishing and marketing? Now’s the time to start on them.

  • Goals

We hear about setting goals all the time and the reason is that goal setting can be very effective. Set short-term, intermediate term, and long-term goals.

For example, in locally marketing our TR Writing Services I began last year putting shoe leather to my marketing efforts. I began visiting local strip malls and getting out business cards and flyers to let people know about our products. I plan on continuing and expanding these efforts in 2021.

As for novels, I have three novels I am working on right now. All three were begun in 2020 and now being enhanced. In some cases, the novels may have major rewriting involved. Don’t know yet, but it is a possibility.

  • Writing

I just mentioned my plans for writing in the Goals segment. But being proactive requires more than just establishing goals. It involves actually doing some writing. Keep writing!

If you don’t have a plan for writing your books, develop one. It doesn’t have to be hard and fast, set in stone. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend that.

A better idea, specially if you are writing multiple books, is to work on one project and then switch to another. This will help keep your mind alert.

Plan ahead, maybe even schedule your books, but nothing set in stone.

  • Publishing

Publishing is a very important area. Have you decided to become an Indie Publisher? Whether you are traditional, self-publishing, or indie publishing, you need to start working on that now.

If traditional you need to have an agent who can find the right publisher for you. If you are going Self-Publishing you need the money so you can pay upfront (remember, it could be $800 or more). If Indie, it may not be money, but it could be getting all your pawns in order.

Whatever you plan on doing in 2021, now is the time to think about it and put your plans in action.

  • Marketing

Marketing is the final step. It involves advertising, selling, and record keeping. You may be one of those persons who can just do it and don’t need a calendar or some other reminder. Me, I need reminding.

And we all need good record keeping. I am not going to go into any detail on that because we all have different needs and expectations. But now is the time to get started!

Here at TR Writing Services, we stand ready to help you. Our motto is “We edit, proof, and publish the book within you.”  As for marketing, we can advise you and provide certain tools, such as your own dedicated book page that you can use to begin marketing. This page is free and designed to help your prospective reader to find and buy your book.

For more information see below.

Get free Guide to Writing at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

Subscribe to Author Alerts (click and submit signup form)

For information about us (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”) contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com and get our Free Brochure which tells you about our services.

AUTHOR’S PAGE: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? Want to review our books? Contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. Such as, ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ Be sure to indicate your email address and your name.

==========

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He is also an author of Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. To reply to any blog you can comment on a blog and/or send an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. His Facebook page is at RFrederickRiddlesWorld and his Parler page is authorriddle.

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Self-Publishing vs Indie Publishing

The Riddle Report 01 02 2021

A new year has started, and you are dissatisfied with your writing career. Perhaps you are making money writing for someone else, but publishing books has not really happened for you. You wrote a book that you think is the all-American novel, but you can’t get it published.

You’ve tried the traditional press and they won’t look at your novel unless you have an agent. So, you went out and submitted your books to agents, most of whom turned their collective noses down on your book. And those interested were either in the wrong genre or too expensive.

What to do When Traditional Publishing Doesn’t Work.

There are several options, but we are only going to look at two: Self-Publishing and Indie Publishing.

Self-Publishing.

Self-Publishing has been around for a while. The name suggests that by using their service you are self-publishing your book. That you are in control.

This is not accurate. You, the author, are actually paying a publisher to publish your book and the publisher gets the benefits. Here’s a quick look at the advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages:

  1. No agent required, although some suggest you should get one.
  2. Time from signing contract to actual publication usually only a few months.
  3. Virtually able to have book published.
  4. Author owns ISBN.
  5. Royalty paid.

Disadvantages:

  1. Publisher still in charge.
  2. Author gets low royalties, usually a formula that starts out at 8% or something similar.
  3. Marketing tools available with a price.

On the face of it self-publishing looks good for the author. And for some it probably is good. But if you want to have control of your book from creation to marketing, then there are problems. In the list of Disadvantages, I listed “Publisher still in charge” as the first disadvantage. Why? Because if the publisher is in charge of your book then you aren’t. It’s as simple as that.

Try this simple quiz:

  • If I use their editing services, do I still have final say?
    • Most self-publishing companies offer their authors their editing services. In some cases. they may charge for it.
    • When I published my first book, I used a self-publishing company, but I chose to do my own editing. Why? Because I did not want them to make any corrections unless I agreed to it and I wasn’t convinced that they would do that.
  • How long do I have to review a Proof before returning it for correction or publication?
    • In self-publishing the publisher makes the rules. When I was with a self-publisher, I was given 72 hours to proof the book. Sounds like a lot of time, but you are proofing to find any and all mistakes. For example, I found errors that were repeated throughout the book. I found some and noted them, but not all. So, some errors remained in the published version.
  • Can I pull the book, edit it, and republish after I have already published it?
    • Yes, if you are willing to pay for another book. Generally speaking, once your book is published, it is done.
  •  If so, how much does it cost?
    • This varies but I would estimate between $400 and $800 for one book.
  • How much help do I get marketing the book?
    • I didn’t get much. They did have a variety of tools I could purchase. But actual help, no.
  • What do the marketing tools cost?
    • That varies from publisher to publisher. In my opinion, too much.

Although the answers to the above questions are not ideal, self-publishing is still better than traditional publishing in that you do have more control than before and the book gets published faster.

INDIE Publishing

In 2014 my wife, Teresa, and I went out to lunch at a small McDonalds located in Murdock, part of greater Port Charlotte, and made a very important decision. As we sat there and discussed my writing career and the possibility of hers, although at that time she hadn’t started writing her first novel yet, we decided to establish our own publishing company called T&R Independent Books. The T was for Teresa and the R for Ronald.

Let’s look at the Why form our own publishing company.

Up to that time I had been publishing using what is commonly called self-publishing companies to publish my books. But as I studied these companies I discovered:

  • They controlled the content
  • They controlled the cover
  • They determined the royalties
  • I still had to do the marketing

In other words, while I had more freedom and control that I’d have with a traditional publisher I still didn’t really have control of anything. By going independent and truly publishing by myself, I would:

  • Have control over the content
  • Have control over the cover
  • Determine the royalties
  • Still do the marketing

Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t consider myself a control freak. Rather, I believe that if the author is going to invest his or herself into writing a book, any book, then they deserve to benefit from it.

Case in point. With traditional and self-publishing companies the average author’s royalties are scaled. It varied from publisher to publisher but in general it might go like this: 8% of retail for the first 2,500; 15% for the next 5,000; 25% thereafter. Now the numbers I just used may not be accurate (I did it from memory), but the concept is true.

But by doing my own publishing I can receive 35% or 70% right from the start! That is a major difference.

What about the content?

With traditional publishers you generally have to first go through an agent who then tries to find a publisher. The agent has certain criteria which may involve you changing the content. But just finding an agent can be long and frustrating. Then the agent gets to tell you whether the book is good enough for publishing based on their expertise.

Even self-publishers exert control. For example, say you are writing a book and you quote from the King James Version Bible. It is possible they will substitute a different version whether you agree or not. They may also reject passages they don’t like. In other words, just because you are pleased with your results they might not be and can act accordingly.

Another thing involved is the ability to correct. No matter how or to what extent you have had your book previewed and edited, there is always the chance of errors. Moreover, the publisher may have printing errors. I ran into this with my books. I was sent a ‘Proof’ copy and given about three days to review, find errors, make corrections, and return (electronically, of course). (For more on this see above in section about Self-Publishing.)

But by publishing the book myself I am able to take my time and do a more thorough job of previewing and editing. And, if there are still errors in the published version, I can correct the errors and republish at no cost to myself!

What about the Cover?

I have discussed Cover Creator in previous blogs, but Kindle’s Cover Creator and Photo Gallery provide free pictures or frames in which I can upload my own pictures. Moreover, if I am willing to hire someone to do a professional picture including the bar code, I can do that. Just have to meet KDP’s criteria.

And one last thing: Writing a book can be and is stressful; so is marketing. Having greater control over the publishing removes a lot of stress; and having greater control over price and royalties is far more rewarding.

The result is that you can approach marketing with far less stress than before.

Have you considered Indie Publishing?

More and more authors are discovering the value of the Indie approach. Yes, it requires more work on your part, but it’s worth it. Go to our website and check out our videos, all free, that give you a head start on building your own writing and publishing business.

Get free Guide to Writing at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

Subscribe to Author Alerts (click and submit signup form)

For information about us (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”) contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com and get our Free Brochure which tells you about our services.

AUTHOR’S PAGE: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? Want to review our books? Contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. Such as, ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ Be sure to indicate your email address and your name.

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R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He is also an author of Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. To reply to any blog you can comment on a blog and/or send an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. His Facebook page is at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

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Ron’s Lit Tip 09 02 20

Today’s Issue: Author Alerts

Welcome to Ron’s Lit Tip. Every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I will share a tip with you.

Do you enjoy these blogs?

Would you like more?

Well, I’ve decided to start a newsletter called Author Alerts. At the start I plan on it being a monthly issue, no start date yet. But I have placed a signup (popup) on our website. A visitor to the site sees the popup and, if interested, fills it out and submits. And just like that they are registered.

This is just another way of marketing products and services. Here at T&R Independent Books we have products (books) and services (TR Writing Services). So, it would seem to be an ideal way of marketing. However, our popup is strictly for TR Writing Services.

Marketing products and services is one of the keys to success and it seems to vary from person to person on whether something works. I’ve never used popups before which means this is a new adventure for me.

What am I Using for Email Campaigns

I have learned some things from the sources I use. I have had at least two sources recommend MailerLite for my email campaigns. Another good one is Mail Chimp, but once you get past the free service it gets pricey. So, I chose MailerLite.

My logic is simple. This is an experiment for me, which means I want the best service for the lowest price. If MailerLite is successful I would undoubtedly stick with them for the paid versions. But if I went with Mail Chimp, I would need to swap over to MailerLite once I exceeded Mail Chimps maximum subscriber limits for the free version. Mail Chimp allows up to 2,000 subscribers whereas MailerLite allows up to 1,000 subscribers.

That means when I reach 1,000 subscribers I would need to move to the Paid version. But I am of the persuasion that by that time the email campaign would pay for itself. I have used Mail Chimp in the past but not for long. If my memory serves me right, I found it too hard to navigate and to produce the kind of letters I wanted. In any case, I never did much with it.

What will the Newsletter be like?

For starters, it will be a monthly newsletter. It will be dedicated to writing, publishing, and some marketing. Although I expect the newsletter to grow and expand in its offerings, it will start off with subjects like Tips and Resources, plus other features.

One thing I will also do is gift the PDF version of my book Perished: The World That Was.  It is priced at $9.99, which isn’t a bad price in itself. But Free is always better. It’s a great book and a fine deal.

Tip: Consider using an email service to bolster your reach and your sales.

Get free Guide to Writing at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

For information about us (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”)  contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com and get our Free Brochure which tells you about our services.

AUTHOR’S PAGE: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? Want to review our books? Contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. Such as, ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ Be sure to indicate your email address and your name.

 – – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He is also an author of Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. To reply to any blog you can comment on a blog and/or send an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. His Facebook page is at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. #Writingservices

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Ron’s Tip of the Day Control

Welcome to Ron’s Tip of the Day. Today I am looking at Control.

I recently blogged on Being an Indie and the tip was ‘Being Indie gives you control’. Today I will look at Control.

What Do I Mean by Control?

When I started writing I made certain decisions. My first novel was based on the Bible. Although my book was fiction, it was important that it was based on reliable history. I therefore wanted it based on the King James Bible since that has stood the test of time and is considered by knowledgeable Bible experts to be the only Bible for English speaking people. Yes, there are other versions, but these have serious historical, reliability, and accuracy issues.

Control in this case meant I wanted the ability to insist on the Bible I quoted from.

It also means that I would be able to design the book interior as I wanted. But I quickly found out that the publisher had greater control that I did. Same thing for book covers. These are important elements affect an author’s success and the publishers had control over that.

I Thought Self-Publishing Meant You Have Control

Me too. But you don’t. They have the final say. You can’t change your mind and go with someone else, because you paid $400 – $800 or more for the package and you paid it upfront. But as an Indie you can go with KDP or someone similar and pay only for the things you want. If you use their tools you might not spend any money!

Tip of the Day: The more control you have, the better; and you save money.

You can get our free Guide to Writing by contacting us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. Plus we will send you our Free Brochure which tells you about our services.

Let’s do it!

VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews for R. Frederick Riddle and Tess Riddle books. I value your reviews.

If you would like to review our books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or Epub).

 – – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. In addition, he is best known for Christian Historical and Speculative Fiction. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

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Ron’s Tip of the Day Being an Indie

Welcome to Ron’s Tip of the Day. Today I am looking at Being an Indie.

I have blogged in the past on being an Indie Author and an Indie Publisher. But I’ve never blogged, to my knowledge, about just being an Indie.

What is an Indie?

For starters Indie is short for Independent. Basically, that is a person who has chosen to write and publish their books apart from traditional or even so-called self-publishing venues. It is a person who is going the DIY (Do It Yourself) route.

What is an Indie Author?

This is a person who takes the responsibility of writing, editing, and proofing. It doesn’t necessarily mean that person does each of these things. They either do them or hire someone to do them, but they are in control of all it.

What is an Indie Publisher?

This is a person who takes personal control of everything required for a professional looking book. He/she controls the printing of the book, the book cover, and all preparation. Again, it does not mean that this person personally does each of these things. They may hire it out, but ultimately, they are in control.

What is an Indie Marketer?

Once again, we have a person taking personal control. In this case, it is taking control of marketing the book. This may involve personal work and/or hired work.

Tip of the Day: Being Indie gives you control.

You can get our free Guide to Writing by contacting us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. Plus we will send you our Free Brochure which tells you about our services.

Let’s do it!

VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews for R. Frederick Riddle and Tess Riddle books. I value your reviews.

If you would like to review our books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or Epub).

 – – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. In addition, he is best known for Christian Historical and Speculative Fiction. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

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Ron’s Tip of the Day Type of Business

Welcome to Ron’s Tip of the Day. Today I am looking at Type of Business.

In my last blog I referred to the naming of your business. Today I want to discuss what I believe is the best type of business for writers.

If you watch my video series Its Your Business you will learn about Types of Business. There are Corporations, Limited Liability Corporation, Partnership, and Doing Business As (DBA). I favor the DBA because it costs less, easier to establish, and requires less reporting.

Its primary problem is lack of protection.

Essentially, a DBA is simply a name recognized by the government as you (individual) doing business under that name.  It allows you to concentrate more on the writing and less on trying to meet a lot of government red tape.

If you must have a corporate structure, then an LLC is best. You have maximum protection while enjoying the benefits of being incorporated. But if you don’t have a convoluted business I believe the DBA is the best.

Because a DBA is a recognized entity it allows you to set up a Business bank account, conduct business, enact contracts, and most other business activities. All of that with minimal costs!

Tip of the Day: Take a deep look at a DBA.

You can get our free Guide to Writing by contacting us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. Plus we will send you our Free Brochure which tells you about our services.

Let’s do it!

VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews for R. Frederick Riddle and Tess Riddle books. I value your reviews.

If you would like to review our books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or Epub).

 – – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. In addition, he is best known for Christian Historical and Speculative Fiction. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.