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Self Published Books

A place to debate issues or to rant about what's on your mind. In addition to discussions about historical fiction, books, the publishing industry, and history, discussions about current political, social, and religious issues and other topics are allowed, so those who are easily offended by certain topics may want to avoid such threads. Members are expected to keep the discussions friendly and polite and to avoid personal attacks on other members. The moderators reserve the right to shut down a thread without warning if they believe it necessary.
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boswellbaxter
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Post by boswellbaxter » Sun June 20th, 2010, 4:47 pm

[quote=""Misfit""]Typos and lack of editing are a big issue with me as well.

The other problem is how to promote yourself without overkill (which has become so bad at the Ammy HF boards I rarely go there anymore). I think HFO's own boswellbaxter did an excellent job of this with the first edition of The Traitor's Wife. Perhaps we can get her over here and let the rest of you know how she did it?[/quote]

Thanks, Misfit! My main means of promoting The Traitor's Wife was through my website--I put a lot of factual information there about Edward II and the Despensers in hopes that people doing searches would find my website and then be attracted to the book. I also made use of Amazon's Search Inside the Book and list features (I made it clear when I did the lists that I was the author of one of the books featured there so readers wouldn't feel that I was trying to trick them). Having a blog also helped me make connections with other people interested in the time period.

While I find that some self-published authors do go over the top in self-promotion (we've had a couple of them get booted off HFO for that very reason), there are also many who do nothing to promote their own books--not even building a rudimentary website or providing an excerpt for readers to sample. That baffles me--why go to the trouble of self-publishing to just let the book languish?

Finding a place between no self-promotion at all and self-promotion that's so obnoxious that it alienates potential readers seems to be difficult for many authors (and not just self-published ones--there was a traditionally published author at the histfict Yahoo group who was posting almost weekly about herself until the moderator finally got fed up).
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Celia Hayes
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Post by Celia Hayes » Sun June 20th, 2010, 4:52 pm

My own books are in the library system; The Adelsverein Trilogy was reviewed at Midwest Book Reviews - which is specifically tailored for libraries. They have rather exacting submission requirements for the books which they review - but they are open to POD and teensy press publications - you just have to be careful to meet theirs and other major review sites requirements. One of the requirements which used to play against POD books was that they must be submitted for review before official publication, say six months before the release date. POD authors were so eager to get their book out there that they would forget this. So it's not impossible - not easy, but easier than it used to be!
I have done a series of library talks and book-club meetings at local libraries which have my books; one of my advantages is that the Trilogy touches on local history, so that brings in the history enthusiasts, and the descendants of the people what I wrote about.
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Misfit
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Post by Misfit » Sun June 20th, 2010, 5:11 pm

list features (I made it clear when I did the lists that I was the author of one of the books featured there so readers wouldn't feel that I was trying to trick them).
I've seen your lists, they are well done and very clear you are the author. Lol, I can think of one particular author who did a few of these just to put his books on it, but with a very anonymous Amazon profile. That would be the author who tagged just about everything on Amazon with his books.

Interesting point about Midwest Book Reviews Celia, but I have to chuckle. I've read a few of *their* reviews and they are a bit on the bizarre side at times and I suspect they're pumped out pretty quickly (the comments on their Ammy reviews can be hysterical at times). Interestingly, if you google Midwest BR's and Harriet Klausner you'll find she's one of theirs.
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Michy
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Post by Michy » Sun June 20th, 2010, 8:08 pm

[quote=""Misfit""] I am hesistant to buy a book by a new to me author (and trust me, that is not just limited to self-published authors). If I love them, I can always purchase later.[/quote]

I think I have learned this lesson. This past year I purchased several books by new-to-me authors and none of them -- NONE -- were keepers (some I didn't even finish). All that money down the drain!!! :( My only consolation is that they will be donated to my local library branch, so at least someone will benefit from the money I spent.....

Someone else commented on the fact that big publishing houses tend to focus on their popular authors only. From a strictly business standpoint I can understand that, since such authors are less risky. However, I have seen creativity suffer even from those superstar writers in these situations. Because they get a contract and then they start cranking out a book every year or so and the quality goes down, down, down. I would much rather wait with bated breath two or three years for my favorite authors to come out with something new, and have it be really good and worth the wait, than have them start cranking out something every year that is only mediocre (or worse).
Last edited by Michy on Sun June 20th, 2010, 8:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Sonia
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Self promotion, new authors

Post by Sonia » Sun June 20th, 2010, 9:35 pm

About the self promoting.. some authors overdo it. They go on websites like goodreads, befriend 2000 people and then talk about NOTHING but their book. NOTHING else. I had one author befriend me and I got so sick of seeing "The Book Title this,, The book title that.." on every single update page that I took him off my list. Self promotion is fine, but talk about other things too, take an interest in what else your readers are reading.

I love trying new authors.. I feel debuts are the very best. I'm saddened that publishers focus more on their established writers. They could be missing something wonderful out there. BUT I don't like paying 18 bucks for a new author's book. NO WAY. I personally think new authors should stick to paperback only until people get an idea of what they are about..

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Divia
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Post by Divia » Sun June 20th, 2010, 9:53 pm

I've been toying with the idea of gettin The Saint and the Fasting Girl, but its self published. And its 25 bucks. hmmm.
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Margaret
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Post by Margaret » Mon June 21st, 2010, 1:17 am

I recently did one of my quickie "brief critiques" of The Saint and the Fasting Girl on my self-pub round-up page at HistoricalNovels.info. That and 4 other self-pubs had been languishing in a pile by my desk for something like a year, so I made time to get them done. My policy on self-pubs has been that I will only read the whole book if it hooks me and I want to read farther, in which case it gets a full review, and I only read as far as I need to in order to assess it for readers. (My current policy is not to read them at all, except in very unusual cases.) With not much extra time on my hands lately, the other ones got about 7 pages apiece from me, but I stuck with The Saint and the Fasting Girl for 33 pages before I decided the author was talented and the novel had a pretty good storyline, but it needed more editing to be a really polished, professional job. It can be a bit repetitious at times (though not drastically so). Since I didn't read farther, I can't vouch for the quality of the novel past 33 pages - but it was clear to me that those 33 pages, at least, were far above the usual run of self-published novels. So readers with an interest in the subject matter may find it worthwhile.
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Divia
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Post by Divia » Mon June 21st, 2010, 1:50 am

Thanks for the review. I looked at the book again and it was 29.00 but I still can't do it.
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Margaret
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Interest in HF: I can't answer this in 100 characters. Sorry.
Favourite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
Preferred HF: Literary novels. Late medieval and Renaissance.
Location: Catskill, New York, USA
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Post by Margaret » Mon June 21st, 2010, 1:56 am

For a soft-cover? That's a lot of money! This is one reason why self-pubbed books don't find a lot of buyers. Aside from the risk of buying something that isn't enjoyable to read, they usually cost more than other books that are comparable in length and cover style. SFG may have to come from overseas, as well.
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings (probably well over 5000 by now, but I haven't re-counted lately) and over 700 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

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andrewoberg
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Post by andrewoberg » Mon June 21st, 2010, 6:59 am

I agree that typos and editing are major potential problems, and really it is entirely up to the author to handle those issues. I went through about five edits with my book, and had a couple of English teachers check it as well (work perk for me). With my comic, that went through probably a similar number of edits, though those were done jointly with the artist. But I know exactly how you feel, I see errors of those sorts all the time in books published by major houses and it is indeed irritating.

As for an $18 book--you must be buying tomes! :D My rule of thumb is, if you can't read a little before buying, then it probably isn't worth reading. I absolutely think every writer everywhere should let people get a feel for the writing before they choose whether or not to buy the whole book.
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