Ron’s Lit Tip Slow Down the Writing

Featured

09 24 2020

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

Have you rushed your story?

Perhaps you had a story bursting to be told. You sat down and started writing. You wrote and wrote. It seemed to flow from your brain to your fingers. Your imagination was on fire! And you continued to write.

Finally, it was done, and you felt ready to be published. Perhaps you asked a friend to proofread it, not for mistakes but accolades. Or perhaps you decided to read it through anticipating another surge of pleasure. Alas, that’s not how it went.

Instead your friend tried to be gentle, but she had to point out the errors, lots of errors. Over a hundred errors! Or your own reading revealed the multitude of errors. In either case you are flabbergasted, shocked beyond belief!

On top of all that your masterpiece looked disorganized, and just plain crummy.

Devastated you pick up the typed manuscript and rip it to shreds before dumping the remains into your wastebasket.

What went wrong?

You’ve made 3 Key Mistakes

1 – You rushed it! There is nothing wrong with working hard on your story, but the truth is there is preparation before you start writing. If you start writing first, just remember that chances are you will have extra work later on.

The better approach is to start asking questions about the story you want to write. Basically, they are the Who, What, When, and Where questions with a How included. Some writers do that first, some while they write, but in either case it needs to be done. Some experts suggest breaking the process into time schedules. Whatever works for you. I don’t have a time schedule like that. Years of writing have developed habits that involve both the writing and the necessary research and editing.

2- First Draft. This is where the 2nd mistake takes place. You’ve finished the book or thought you had done so, and you seek to get it published. But the truth is this is your first draft and first drafts are rarely ready to be published. You need to review, edit, and repeat. Some writers hold off until the end before reviewing and editing. I often do it more frequently, perhaps every chapter and with a final review and edit at the conclusion.

This seems time-consuming, but for me it breaks the process up and sometimes leads to a reevaluation of the entire story. Whether fiction or non-fiction you will need to have some kind of review and edit.

3 – You Quit. This is the third and worst mistake. It stems from the first two mistakes where you rushed it and got discouraged by the results. Instead of quitting you want to respond with more energy and determination to finish the story. Take a look at the first draft and identify the good parts, the fixable parts, and the wastebasket parts. Wastebasket parts are those parts that don’t have a place in your book.

When I wrote the nonfiction book Trump an Outsider’s View, I realized from the start I had to go slow. I was going to be covering a lot of material and needed to get it right the first time. So, I was forced from the beginning to do diligent research. As mentioned above, I performed the review and edit tasks as I was writing the story. So, the completed draft was not just my first draft, but my second and third drafts. But I still needed to review it.

It was hard work, under time pressure because it needed to be published before the election, and frustrating. But I believed in the project and pressed on so that by October 1st the book was already out and being marketed.

Tip: Slow down, edit, and never quit.

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. #Writingservices

Ron’s Lit Tip 09 10 20

Featured

Today’s Issue: Proofing

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

What is Proofing?

Google says, “a pre-publication version of your work. The purpose of a proof is so that you can check through everything before your work goes live.”

In other words, it is your last review and edit before publishing. This is a very critical step because some publishers will charge you if you want to make changes after publishing. If you use Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) that is not a problem. More on that later.

I recommend the following steps for proofing:

  • Proof Copy
  • Cover to Cover
  • Chapter by Chapter
  • Upload
  • Publish
  • Get Published Book
  • Read

Proof Copy

With KDP you pay for the printing costs and shipping. That means it will probably cost lest than $10. The print copy is very important because it’ll look different than what’s on screen.

Cover to Cover

This is recommended so you read the book thoroughly. You will be checking the front cover, title page, copyright, dedication, Table of Contents, Body (actual story), About the Author, Other Books by Author, and back cover, plus other pages. Some experts suggest reading the book from the back to the front, so you don’t let the story distract you.

Upload

I make periodic uploads to KDP and preview on screen. That way I see the appearance of the book with all changes. May not be necessary, but it gives me a feel for how the corrections are going.

Publish

Once you’ve finished editing and if you don’t need to reedit or ask a third party to proof the book, then it is time to publish your work. If you have followed all these steps then your work should be ready for the world.

Get Published Book

Once you are published get at least one copy for yourself. If you are using KDP you can publish your work, discover a mistake then pause the book, edit, and republish. Or you can leave the book live, edit, and republish.

If it is a major rewrite, then you might want to indicate a  new version or re-title. Some publishers may not allow this without a fee.

Read

Sit down, relax, and read it as though it was someone else’s book. If you don’t find any errors, then put it on your bookshelf. If you’re like me, you’ll eventually pick it up and read again. And you might think of new or additional scenes to add. And you can, because you are not only the author, but the publisher as well.

Conclusion

Every writer has their own ideas, but the above should help you get a strong start on your writing career.

Tip: Take Time and Thoroughly Proof Your Book

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. #Writingservices

Ron’s Tip of the Day DIY Grammar

Featured

Today’s Issue: DIY Grammar

Welcome to Ron’s Tip of the Day. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays I will share a tip with you. Today I am looking at DIY Grammar.

Experts tell us that an author should never do their own editing; to leave it to the professionals. And they have a lot of good reasons for saying that, chief among them is this: you, the author, know what you meant when you wrote the book. Your mind expects to see the words and meaning that you meant to put down; the professional does not. The professional looks at your work with an independent eye and more easily spots poor grammar, etc.

But you and I know we will do our own editing!

 The reason is pocketbook easy to understand. Professionals cost money! So, unless we can afford it, we are going to Do It Yourself (DIY).

Being a DIY editor requires time, effort, and honesty. It is that last part that is hard. We get married to phrases, descriptions, etc. and don’t want to change. It is hard, but sometimes necessary to divorce from them.

Some Tips to Help You.

  • Use Word’s ABC Word checker which checks for spelling, grammar, and more.
  • Don’t rely totally on it though. Sometimes it will want to make corrections that are bizarre! For example, a character may be speaking or thinking in poor grammar. In a novel that is perfectly OK, if it is part of the character’s personality or education.
  • Review your book more than once. You could, for example, use one reading to check for general errors, another reading for proper wording, checking sentences, and more.
  • Consider having a relative or friend review your book for plot, character development, grammar, and more.
  • Before publishing get a printed copy (Proof) and review it again.

Final Tip

After you’re done there will probably still be errors. But that is true with professionals also, though they may deny it. Even Classics have errors.

Tip of the Day: DIY requires time, effort, and honesty. But it’s worth it!

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.

Ron’s Tip of the Day Rewrites

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

What are Rewrites?

Rewrites is simply a term meaning taking a previously written book and rewriting it. Your writing skills grow with you. What skills you had when you wrote your first book should have grown considerably since then. Perhaps it is time to take that book and rewrite it.

What Does That Involve?

At least the following: Reread the book, mark the misspellings, the grammatical mistakes, and even such things as the paging. Then go back to the beginning and start rewriting the book chapter by chapter, page by page.

That Sounds Hard?”

It might be. But you will be looking at the book with fresh eyes. Your imagination will come into play causing you to redo scenes and maybe add new scenes. Or remove scenes altogether.

I learned the value of this from one of my favorite writers, Jerry Jenkins. I have learned since then that rewriting can recharge my imagination and make my newest version better than the original.

 I have been doing this for the past few weeks and the entire process has been energizing. It is equivalent to seeing your first book being written and published. I have now entered the final stages of the rewrite and when ready I will let you know about it.

Tip of the Day: Consider reworking your previous novels.

For information on TR Writing Services (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”)  contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. Our Free booklet tells you about our services. And we are upfront on our prices (all are low).

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.

Ron’s Tip of the Day Writing a Series Pt 1

Welcome to Ron’s Tip of the Day. Throughout the week I will share a tip with you. This is an experiment in microblogging. Let me know how I’m doing. Today I am looking at Writing a Series Pt 1.

Should I Write a Series?

New writers are often advised to write a series. The argument is you have a better marketing opportunity. If a reader likes one, he/she will  likely buy the others. Is it true?

Yes. But there are other issues to be dealt with. Does the writer’s book have series potential? I know of people who want to write a story about theirs or someone else’s life and that’s all. A good writer could turn that book into a series, but first does that person really want to put out the effort. Only the writer can answer that.

Aside from marketing what advantages are there?

To answer that let me point to my books. Of all my books I’ve written, only one has not been turned into a series and that was Dead Eye Will. Why didn’t I make it into a series? Primarily I wasn’t interested. But I have considered rewriting the story and then turning it into a series, but at the moment I have other stories demanding attention.

But a series has advantages, such as:

  • I, the writer, can connect my thoughts from one book to another
  • There is continuity for the reader
  • Research is still there, but not nearly as much
  • Author has already laid out the location, time period, and customs
  • It makes writing easier

In Part 2 we will explore this further.

For information on TR Writing Services (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”)  contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. Our Free booklet tells you about our services. And we are upfront on our prices (all are low).

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.

Ron’s Tuesday’s Tip: Limited Distribution

Welcome to Ron’s Tuesday’s Tip. Every Tuesday I will share a tip with you. This week I am talking about Limited Distribution.

The Topic

Recently I received a question from a visitor to my website. The lady in question desired to write her memoir and only have limited distribution. Now this may sound odd, but it is not that odd. In fact, my first client that I helped wasn’t interested in marketing her book. She was however open to letting others buy it if they so desired and that’s how she was set up.

But my point is that not everybody who has a story to write is interested in selling a lot of books. In the case of this lady it was to publish a memoir. She didn’t go into great detail, but I gathered that she wanted only a certain number of copies to give out to friends and relatives.

And that is perfectly understandable and okay!

So What Did I Tell Her?

Since she contacted us, I gave the answer in relation to our services. Other services may not have the ability to meet her needs, we do. So I communicated that to her.

So, what is My Answer?

First, she wanted to know if it was possible to only print a few copies for herself. The answer to that is ‘Yes’.

Here’s copy of my entire answer:

Thank you for your question which I will attempt to answer.

There is a way for you to do this.

The book could go through the entire process of creation, editing, proofing, and publishing. Once published, you could buy author’s copies for yourself which you can give away or sell (no royalties). After you get your copies, then you unpublish the book. I’ve never seen this happen before, but I see no reason why you can’t do it. The great thing about Kindle (the platform we use) is that you can republish later if you so desire.

If you follow the above procedure, then you would have to republish to buy additional copies. Then unpublish again. This would be advantageous if later you wanted to revise or update your book.

I would be delighted to discuss this in greater detail. Send an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com and refer to your memoir or interest in TR Writing Services. Remind me that we’ve already been in contact.

Now, let me go through this in greater detail.

The Process

In my message I mentioned creation, editing, proofing, and then publishing.

Creation is the first draft. The author is always the author in our system. So even as we go through the editing process the author, in most cases, has final say.

Editing is the process whereby we at TR Writing Services read the book looking for errors, such as: spelling, grammar, Clarity, and Conciseness. We have tools to help us do that, but the tools are based on technical issues. Our goal is always to produce a book that is an expression of the author’s will, style, etc.

There are times when these technical issues are paramount, but we believe that the author has his/her own goals in mind. So, while there may be an issue that needs to be addressed, the author may want to leave it as is.

An example of this would be grammar. Perhaps the grammar is relative to where the author grew up or where the scene is taking place or the education of the character speaking. These do not necessarily have to be grammatically correct. However, if there is such an overriding situation, you want to be consistent.

Once Published

At the time of publishing the author can get author’s copies. These are normally available for printing costs. So, once the book is published you should buy as many author’s copies as you desire. Then after the book has gone live, simply unpublish.

These author’s copies can be given away or sold. Just remember there are no royalties.

Post Ordering

Not really addressed in the letter other than you can republish and unpublish your book. This enables you to order new books (up to 999 per order) if the book is ‘live’. Once the order is completed you can unpublish.

Republishing

Republishing is easy. You go to your KDP Bookshelf where all your books will be shown. Go to the book in question where you will see an ellipsis (to the right). Click on that and click on Republish. (The ellipsis also enables you to perform other functions.)

Revising and Updating Book

With most publishers you must resubmit a book (and possibly pay) to update the book and have it republished. But KDP is your personal printing service, if you will.

Let’s say you use our service and publish the book. Later you want to update, do you need to go through us? NO! You can if you want to. And I would recommend it if the update is significant or perhaps you need to publish under a new title. But as a rule, you can do it yourself.

At this time, you would have your own KDP account which would allow you to update and republish your book as often as you want. I have used this ability to correct and to add material to my books.

Technically, you don’t have to unpublish the current book until the newly updated version is ready to go. This is awesome!

Discussing

There are many details in publishing a book. Since we want our authors to succeed, we want to know more about them and their book. That way we can serve them much better. It also gives the authors a chance to learn more about us. It is a win-win for everyone.

For information on TR Writing Services (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”)  contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. We have a Free booklet telling you about our services. And we are upfront on our prices (all are low).

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

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One), Pauline A New Home (Book Two), Task Force Hunter (Book Three), Black Death (Book Four), Rise of I.C.E.S. (Book Five),  or Battle at Proxima Centauri. I value your reviews.

If you would like to review any of these 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 the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical and Speculative Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. 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.

Ron’s Tuesday Tip : Oh no! I Goofed!

Welcome to Ron’s Tuesday’s Tip. Every Tuesday I will share a tip with you. This week is about: Oh no! I Goofed!

Has this happened to you?

You wrote your book; got it edited, proofed, and published. Then you discovered a glaring error.

Or how about this?

After publishing your book you received a critical email or letter that pointed out supposed errors and offered new facts that would have been good for your book.

I have had both happen to me. The first instance was with a self-publisher house. The book had been given the once over and only needed me to approve the Print Ready proof. I had forty-eight hours to review the copy and approve it.

Forty-eight hours sounds like a lot of time. But when you subtract sleep time, mealtime, and eight hours of work, you don’t have much left. I had to rush through the book and failed to see the printer’s error they had committed. It was a simple error. I had used a separator between scenes which they removed. I was so focused on words and spelling that I failed to see the missing separator. I approved it and the book was published.

Afterwards I discovered the error. But it was too late! To correct the error would require republishing the book and it would have cost me perhaps as much as it cost for the first book.

What a bummer!

The second instance took place after my wife and I co-founded T&R Independent Books. We had become Indie Publishers, which meant we were responsible for all aspects of publishing and marketing. We could farm work out, but we were responsible.

The book was published by us using CreateSpace (now KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing)). Later I received a letter from a reader who critiqued the book. He pointed out some supposed errors (which were not real errors) plus gave me additional facts. I checked them out and found that they would have been valuable inside the book.

What did I do?

In the first instance I did nothing until after establishing T&R Independent Books. One of the first things we did is set about buying back the rights to my previous books from the original publishers. Some books I was able to buy the rights, other books I was unable to do so. In these latter cases, I simply rewrote the book and assigned a new title. This is what happened to the book in the first instance.

In the second instance the book had been published by us. So I went back to Kindle and republished the book. This time it had the same title, same cover, but corrections and additions were made.

The Power of Indie

These two instances point out the power of being an Indie Publisher. I was able to rewrite the first book and correct the second book. I unpublished the second book, corrected it and republished, but I discovered I could have corrected it and republished without unpublishing in the first place. You might wonder what this cost me. Hold onto your seats: it cost absolutely nothing!

That’s right. Nothing. Instead of hundreds of dollars I spent nothing except time. That is the power of being an Indie Publisher.

Tip of the Day : Become an Indie Publisher. It’s easy and it’s worth your while.

For information on TR Writing Services (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”)  contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. We have a Free booklet telling you about our services. And we are upfront on our prices (all are low).

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

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One), Pauline A New Home (Book Two), Task Force Hunter (Book Three), Black Death (Book Four), Rise of I.C.E.S. (Book Five),  or Battle at Proxima Centauri (Book Six). I value your reviews.

If you would like to review any of these 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 the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical and Speculative Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. 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.

Ron’s Tuesday’s Tip: Choosing a Publisher

Welcome to Ron’s Tuesday’s Tip. Every Tuesday I will share a tip with you. This week is about: Choosing a Publisher.

The following is based on the Guide to Writing book. In that book I wrote about Self-Publishing, Traditional, and Indie Publishing. My primary focus today is on Indie focusing, but I will also cover the other types, so you get a more complete picture.

Traditional Publishing

Unless you are an established author it is very difficult to get with a traditional publisher. That is because the houses are well established, have a reputation, and, probably, don’t want to take a risk on an unproven novice.

Even so, it is not impossible.

Many of these Traditional Publishing Houses will not even consider a manuscript unless the author is represented by an agent. This is good because when dealing with them you need to have the expertise and knowledge of the agent on your side.

It is also important to remember that some traditional publishers specialize in genre. Some only want established authors. Some may temporarily suspend new acquisitions because they already have a boatload.

But there are some traditional publishers looking for new authors. If you write Christian fiction you may be interested in Christian Publishers. Do an Internet search for ‘Christian Publishers’ and you should find extensive lists, but I have included a few in a list further down in this blog.

Additionally, you can access a list of publishers at http://www.everywritersresource. This is a list of publishers taking submissions.

If you are willing to take a chance on publishers that accept unsolicited manuscripts (and may not require an agent), try this list.

Finally, if you are looking for a traditional publisher that accepts new authors try Karen Fox.

Tip: Traditional Publishers are well established, have a reputation, and, probably, don’t want to take a risk on an unproven novice.              
Tip #2: There are lists of publishers taking submissions, accepting new authors, and Christian publishers.              

Never having been published by a Traditional Publisher, I can’t give you a personal example. But you can access their websites and discover their guidelines, list of clients (authors), and success stories.

Traditional Publishing has a long success story. They aren’t going away soon. If you feel that you have written a quality story that will sell and you are willing to wait, then traditional publishing may be for you.

Make use of the lists provided here and study them. You just might strike it rich!

But don’t forget, some of these publishers will require you have an agent. So if your heart is fixed on one of the top publishing houses, get yourself an agent!

Self-Publishing

Self-Publishing has in many respects come into its own with resulting improvements in quality and acceptance. One of the criticisms of Self-Publishers is they rarely reject a manuscript. While this is true, some do reject if the manuscript is deemed of poor quality.

You rarely get rejected if you are willing to pay the fee (usually $400-$800, or more). They are willing to publish but you should still practice thorough editing before submitting the work.

This is an alphabetical listing of some of the better known houses:

  • America Star *
  • AuthorHouse ***
  • Bookbaby
  • DiggyPOD
  • iUniverse***
  • Lightning Source
  • Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)
  • LuLu
  • Outskirts Press
  • Smashwords**
  • Tate Publishing
  • Trafford Publishing***
  • Xilbris
  • Zulon Press****

* Between self-publishing and traditional. Recently opted out of publishing and is only interested in marketing.

** Publishes eBooks only. It is free.

*** Owned by Author Solutions.

**** Christian Self-Publishing.

When I started writing I made use of AuthorHouse and America Star. In both cases I was pleased with their work. In fact, any of the houses mentioned above probably provide excellent quality and service.

Tip: Self-Publishing has been around for a while now with resulting improvements in quality and acceptance.                
Tip #2: Self-Publishers rarely reject a manuscript.              
Tip #3: There are many self-publishers out there.                

It would be wise to remember that self-publishing can be expensive. Here are some of the costs you may have to deal with:

  • Professional editing and proofing can cost from $1500 to $2,000
  • Professional cover design ranges from $300 to $400
  • Book conversion and layout ranges from free to $100

That’s not including the ISBN (free to $125), Distribution (percentage of sales), and marketing (skies the limit).

As mentioned earlier, I have used two of the houses listed. Their cover quality was very good (very important to me) as was the overall print quality.

Since I was on a budget, I did my own marketing. America Star provided me a little more help although AuthorHouse may have caught up since I last published with them.

If you are choosing between Traditional and Self-Publishing, Self-Publishing is the better in my opinion. That said, there is yet a better way.

Indie Publishing

These days the author has more responsibility than ever before and more opportunities!

In days gone by the author wrote a novel, submitted it to a publisher, and once accepted, relaxed. But that is no longer true!

There are all kinds of publishers out there. But here I want to present you with a different perspective. I mentioned that there is a better way than self-publishing. You are about to see what I was talking about.

First a brief history. I published my first novel in 2003. Since then I have written a number of books. The first four books were all published by self-publishers. But in 2013 I discovered Smashwords.com and published my first eBook. (My other books are also in the eBook format, but the publisher did this because I paid for it.)

This discovery has changed my life and now I am about to reveal to you what I believe is a better way to publish.

That better way is simply: You are the publisher! Or Indie Publisher!

At the time there was almost no information on the subject but today there’s considerable. It is called Indie Publishing which tells you right off the bat that as a publisher you are independent. This is an important distinction.

Indie Publishing is the author taking ultimate charge of all elements of writing. Basically, it means selecting a printer or publisher to print our books. And there are publishers out there willing to be our printer and even our marketer.

The one I am most familiar with is Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). CreateSpace whom I was with merged with KDP so now all my print books are with KDP. Plus, I have eBooks with KDP and a few with Smashwords.

I will discuss KDP more in the example. I have also located at least one other printer called Best Value Copy. They are an online printing service that provides quality work at reasonable prices. However, I have not used them or any other publishing platform because KDP has proven to me that they are very capable and affordable.

In looking for a quality printer you can try your own neighborhood. For example, there is a Staples store not far from us that gives business discounts to authors using their printing services. That suggests the possibility that other office supply stores may offer the same services.

But assuming the role of publisher is more than just getting a printer. You literally take on the responsibilities of a publisher. You may have to seek your own ISBN, copyright, and other important items.

In our case, we listed ourselves with the State of Florida with a DBA (Doing Business As) name of T&R Independent Books. Because we use KDP we are able to use their ISBNs which are free, although they also sell other ISBNs for a modest price. Copyrights are free.

It is both exciting and scary. But the rewards can be awesome. For example, a self-publisher may give us anywhere from 8% to 40% royalty depending on volume of books sold. But as our own publisher the percentage jumps up to 60% and more (before costs and taxes) from the first book sold.

In addition to that, we have virtual control over every aspect. It is true that with Kindle Direct some control lies with them, but it is also true that such controls are limited.

In establishing our own publishing business, we also took on the marketing of the books.  We are now be able to use the marketing tools that we used to buy from the publisher. Now we will have the authority to market the books as we see fit without incurring exorbitant costs.

Tip: As a publisher you pay the ISBN, the copyright, and other legal fees.                  
Tip #2: Indie Publishers can get gross royalties of 60% or more. Even after taxes the profit is excellent.                  

I promised to discuss Kindle Direct Publishing and here we go.

When my wife first expressed the desire to start writing her own novels it fitted right in with the idea of T&R Independent Books. So, we immediately began researching what the costs would be to publish.

We searched the internet for both local and online printers. Eventually we settled on KDP because of three primary factors:

  1. We would retain ownership of all rights.
  2. Costs were reasonable.
  3. KDP would provide us worldwide marketing (distribution).

(At this time, we were dealing with CreateSpace but in 2018 they merged with KDP. KDP is virtually the same as CreateSpace and both owned by Amazon.)

These are career changing factors. Although we have and will do our own marketing, being in the KDP loop will expand our marketing a thousand times over!

While their imprint will be on our books, there will be no question of the identity of the real publisher which is T&R Independent Books.

In establishing T&R Independent Books we also took over what was formerly known as RFrederickRiddle’s Bookstore. But instead of marketing our books from our own website (an excellent marketing option) we closed down the store and opted to direct all potential buyers to Amazon and Kindle. We still have control over the marketing, including the tracking of sales but the customer has the familiarity of buying on Amazon. Plus KDP has powerful tracking tools!

KDP enables us to exercise several marketing options, some being free. Does this guarantee sales? Of course not. But it does give us maximum control and flexibility.

When we started out in 2014 Indie Publishing was rather new and unknown, at least to us. But now becoming your own publisher is no longer a new idea. It has the potential to change the publishing landscape in years to come.

Not only the publishing landscape, but your future. You should seriously consider this avenue. I can almost guarantee you that your book will be published sooner than traditionally, and it will cost you dramatically less. Quality is another story as it will be up to you to either do the editing or hire a professional.

Getting published doesn’t guarantee sales. But once again being an Indie Marketer involves great responsibility and great rewards. Being an In Marketer has great potential!

A note about TR Writing Services

Our costs to you are very low compared to the averages stated above. We provide editing, proofing, and publishing services under affordable plans. In addition we give each client who publishes through us their own webpage. This webpage includes the author’s picture, brief biography, book cover, and book description with links to their Amazon page. You can use this page for your own marketing efforts!

These links give you the opportunity to work on your next book rather than being over-burdened with collecting payments and shipping of the books, which also means you don’t have to maintain a stockpile of books in your living room.

For information on TR Writing Services (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”)  contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. We have a Free booklet telling you about our services. And we are upfront on our prices (all are low).

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

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One), Pauline A New Home (Book Two), Task Force Hunter (Book Three), Black Death (Book Four), or Rise of I.C.E.S. (Book Five), I value your reviews.

If you would like to review any of these 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 the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical and Speculative Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. 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.

Ron’s Tuesday’s Tip: Successful Writing is not a Hobby

Welcome to Ron’s Tuesday’s Tip. Every Tuesday I will share a tip with you. This week is about: Successful Writing is not a Hobby.

Being an author is both a journey and an adventure. Plus, it is always a challenge.

When reviewing your taxes the IRS views your business as a hobby if it doesn’t make a profit within 3 years. That strict rule should be regarded as simply wrong!

Writing is a business whether you profit or not. I’m going to look at 3 very important attributes of a successful writer. These are Writing is a Journey, Writing is an Adventure, and Writing is a Challenge.

Writing is a Journey.

When I first started writing I was a teenager. Nobody in my family or elsewhere knew of my secret desire to be a writer. I was afraid they would mock me. But that is when my journey began.

I knew nothing about writing other than I wanted to write books, novels in particular. My first step in my journey actually took place as a child. I liked to daydream and I had a good imagination. I would adopt characters from television and I would become that character, then I would fight the bad guys. I was a hero both on Earth and in outer space. But transitioning to a teenager I started writing my stories. The problem was that to continue as a hero, I had to write First Person. But that made me uncomfortable, so I changed to Third Person. This was the second step of my journey. This was an important step that has influence me ever since.

Over the years my writing was interrupted by service in the Navy, but I resumed after I got out. It was as a young man that I came across an ad for the Famous Writers School. I applied and was accepted (the school accepted just about anyone). I then paid for the course which I believe was a three-year course. I’ve sense learned that there was much dishonesty on the school’s part and that their fee was excessive. But I didn’t know that and started taking the course.

In any case, I did well in the course and was getting more confident. Then in 1974 I was laid off from work. I ended up dropping out and after resuming work I never reapplied. But my journey continued. Whether my grades were honest or not, I believed them to be and I pressed forward. This was my third step.

In 1973 I’d asked Jesus to forgive me my sins and come into my heart. Over time this proved not only life changing, but much of the trash (sin) in my life was not only forgiven but purged from my life. This was my fourth step in my journey as a writer, but more importantly it was an eternal step in my life. The influence of this new life would become far greater than a mere step!

 From 1973 to 2001 I pressed forward trying to write. After dropping out of the Famous Writers School I continued trying to write without any guidance. Time after time I would start writing. Sometimes I managed to write several chapters, but inevitably I would run into a wall. That would stop me cold!

Writing is an Adventure.

My journey continues to this day, but becoming a Christian turned it into an adventure. At first, I tried writing poems. I had one notable success with that in that in won my future wife’s heart. But writing poems was not my desire and I eventually stopped.

I then took up computer programming. I taught myself how to write Visual Basic programming and was able to write short programs for work and for myself. But as the computer programming got progressively more complicated and expensive. Being self-trained I couldn’t make the transition to the more complicated codes coming on scene. Thus, ended my brief career as a computer programmer. That had been an adventure, but I was soon to begin what I consider the adventure of a lifetime!

In 2001 I had been a Christian for 28 years. By this time I developed a morning devotions routine that included morning prayer and Bible study. One morning I was reading the Book of Genesis and the story of Noah and the Ark. Unlike the myth of Gilgamesh which was written after the fall of the Tower of Babel, the Bible story is a firsthand account probably written by Shem, the son of Noah, about 100 years or more before Gilgamesh . While often treated as a myth it is not.

As I read the account it suddenly came to me that here is a skeletal account of the events. God wasn’t interested in entertaining us but  explain history in such a way as to point to the coming of Jesus. But I, being interested in writing a novel and a lover of history, realized that here was a plot filled with characters and that I had the opportunity to clothe the facts with fictionalized skin to bring the people and events alive! It changed my writing career.

The next phase of my adventure involved research. Outside of the Bible there is no evidence telling us how people lived before the Flood. But both the Bible and secular history tells us a lot about after the Flood.

Using the Bible as the primary source of information (it’s the only reliable source) I began digging. It didn’t take long to realize that evolutionary theory has so corrupted our understanding of history that secular history varies, is often contradictory, and confusing. But when I focused on the 100 to 300 years after the Flood, I began noticing facts, such as the fact that a highly developed civilization existed shortly after the Flood. How do you explain that?

Doing the research proved to be hard, tiring, and eventually rewarding. It was an adventure. Researching for your story is not always so rewarding, but it is always necessary.

Writing is a Challenge.

The story of my researching the pre-Flood and post-Flood history could easily be placed here. Research is a challenge. But my focus here is on getting published.

In 2003 I submitted my first novel to AuthorHouse. As I recall it cost me about $400. AuthorHouse belongs in the category of a self-publisher. As I have blogged in the past there are three distinct types of publishers; Traditional, Self, and Indie.

At the time I was unaware of Indie publishing (I believe it came along later). The term Self-publishers suggests that you the author have control. You don’t. What it means is you pay upfront for the publishing of your book. Basically, that is the ‘self’ part. They control almost all of the power levers. Fortunately, I did know this and opted out of their Editing resource. I used quotations from the King James Version and feared they would opt for the unreliable newer versions. Aside from that I had very little control over the publishing process. Still my first novel got published and I was able to celebrate my becoming an author!

In the summer of 2014 my wife, Teresa, and I founded T&R Independent Books and we became Indie Publishers! This was the beginning of a new adventure and a lot of new challenges. Since then I’ve republished all of my previous books and published newer books. Soon we hope to start publishing Teresa’s books (under the name Tess).

Now, we are embarking on another venture under the T&R Independent Books business. This year we have opened our new service called TR Writing Services. I have discussed this in my last Tuesday Tip: Indie Publishing. In short, we guide any writer who wants our service through the various steps of getting published. This involves editing spelling and grammar, proofing, setting up their account with KDP, and getting the book published.

We are also thinking about providing their own web page on our website. It would include their photo, bio, book cover, and description with a link to their Amazon page. This would provide them a first step in their marketing.

What is a Successful Writer?

There are many answers to that question. The most common one is that a successful writer is one who makes money. The IRS would certainly agree with that idea, but is that really what success is all about?

That, in my opinion, is a short-sighted idea. Rather than money being the determinant factor why not the reading pleasure your book(s) bring to people who read your books?

A hobby suggests something you do in your spare time and maybe only a couple of hours a week. But a serious writer does far more than that!

No, I believe a successful writer is an author who works the craft of writing virtually every day. He/she invests time, energy, and money into their craft. And they write compelling stories. Money is a desirable byproduct or outcome, not the sole determinant of success.

For information on TR Writing Services (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”)  contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. We have a Free booklet telling you about our services. And we are upfront on our prices (all are low).

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

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One), Pauline A New Home (Book Two), Task Force Hunter (Book Three), Black Death (Book Four), or Rise of I.C.E.S. (Book Five), I value your reviews.

If you would like to review any of these 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 the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical and Speculative Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. 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.

Ron’s Tuesday Tip: Consistent Characters

Welcome to Ron’s Tuesday Tips. Every Tuesday I share writing tips with you. Usually it is about writing, publishing, or marketing. Occasionally it is on other matters. This week it is about:Consistent Characters.

Years ago, when I was getting reviews for a novel I’d written one young man decided he wanted to review it. He indicated he was a Christian and interested in Christian fiction. I sent him a copy of the book and he later wrote a negative review. As a general rule, a writer should never challenge a reviewer. And I didn’t, but I sure wanted to do so!

Why? Because it was negative?

No, because of the following.

This young man didn’t really read the book. Instead he skipped his way partway through it and then never finished the book. Yet, he took it upon himself to write a negative review after first admitting he never read it through.

What caused the negative report?

Before answering that let me tell you about the book. It was a novel based on Biblical events in the Book of Genesis. Many of the characters had the same name. For example, there was Enoch and Enoch. The first Enoch was a son of Cain; the second Enoch was a prophet who walked with God and was translated. There were other same-named people.

Because the reviewer skipped through the story he arrived at sections where for example it talked of Enoch walking with God while earlier had shown Cain’s son Enoch badly. He assumed it was the same person when in fact they were two different persons.

As a commonsense rule it is good to avoid characters having the same name, but when dealing with historical figures that is not always possible. I did my best to clarify who was who but I never imagined a reviewer, let alone a reader, skipping through the book.

Sometime later this person wanted to review another of my books. I had to reject him and I told him why. He apologized, but I didn’t trust him to do an honest review.

So, what’s the point?

The point is that this reviewer perceived inconsistencies in the characters of my story. And his complaint would have been correct if it was one character and not two characters. The personalities of the two Enoch’s were completely different!

A greater point is that if you are writing a novel, always try to keep your characters separate and unique. They are allowed to change, but the reader needs to observe the change, especially if the character’s nature changes from bad to good, or good to bad!

Sudden changes are like thunderbolts. They jar the reader. Now if that’s your intent they go with it. Most likely it wasn’t your intent.

How do I avoid clashes?

It’s not that hard. If you have two or more characters with the same name you can always change the name of one or the other. If they are historical, then you need to provide some kind of characteristic that identifies one of them. For example, one could stutter. When dealing with historical figures your liberty isn’t as strong as with fictional. But you can still differentiate using clothing, speech, habits, or some other unique characteristic to separate one character from the other. The differences can be multiple or just one.

But Characters are not the only places for consistency.

For instance, let’s say that your story surrounds a person who lives in a tent. It suddenly changes to a home and later on in the story changes back to a tent. All without explanation. This is another jolt to your reader’s experience.

How about conversation? If you are not careful it is possible to have the wrong person saying the wrong things. This, by the way, is a strong argument for edits by you or someone else. Conversational inconsistencies are also harder to pick up. I doubt that any software can pick up verbal inconsistencies. This requires actual reading of the text.

How bad can inconsistencies be?

I related above about a negative review simply because a careless reviewer thought there were inconsistencies. That negative review didn’t really hurt me, but it could have. If the inconsistencies were real just think of the impact that man’s review would have had. And it is possible that those people who followed him may have reacted by not buying my book.

In conclusion.

Do your edits! Whether you personally edit or hire a professional editor, editing must be done! That’s the only way you can illuminate potential problems that can turn readers away.

For information on TR Writing Services contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. We have a Free booklet telling you about our services. And we are upfront on our prices (all are low).

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

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One), Pauline A New Home (Book Two), Task Force Hunter (Book Three), Black Death (Book Four), or Rise of I.C.E.S. (Book Five), I value your reviews.

If you would like to review any of these 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 the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical and Speculative Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. 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.