Wednesday, September 3, 2014

IWSG- Wednesday! Indie Choices

Happy September!

It's that time again when writers around the blogosphere come together to share hopes and fears. Click on the pic above to get to HQ at Alex J. Cavanaugh's blog and feel free to join us on the first Wednesday of every month.

Let's talk about choices. Writers have SO many choices nowadays that it can be overwhelming. Should we go traditional or indie? Submit to a small press on our own or find an agent? Go with our original plan for a story or change it like our critique partner suggested?

Part of maturing as a writer is understanding all of our choices and making the one that is best for each of us. Each project has its own path, and knowing the value and risks behind each choice will save us a giant headache in the end.

If we do decide to go indie and self-publish, we have even more choices ahead of us. We are in control of everything from covers to editing to formatting. Sometimes it's scary out there because we want quality work without breaking the bank, and unfortunately in the world of freelance, not everyone is as qualified as they make themselves out to be.

For instance, I paid for a proofreader with Butterman (Time) Travel, Inc.--one that has a great rep in the indie world. Her turn around time was awesome, but what I didn't realize is that she has a team of proofreaders and the person who proofed mine was someone who worked for her, not the editor herself. That in and of itself is no big deal, but the team member who proofed mine did not do an impressive job. I found many typos later AFTER I'd published the story, which made me have to re-upload and that is not good for rankings.

Point being, take the time to know EXACTLY what you're getting into. Ask for referrals, look for testimonials and even email the person to get recommendations. Ask around.

Getting started in the indie world is expensive. I won't sugar coat it. And quality work is an absolute must or we don't get respect as an authentic author.

If you ever have questions or concerns on your own choices in the indie world, feel free to email me anytime and I'll give you my best advice... not that I'm an expert by any means, but if I can save you money or a headache waiting to happen, I most certainly will.

Don't feel like you're bothering a fellow author when it comes to making wise choices. It's always better to ask someone you trust than to make a huge and costly mistake. Most authors in the indie world (and trad) are more than willing to share experiences and advice.

We should feel confident in our choices.

Many of you know my indie covers are made by Jaycee DeLorenzo at Sweet-N-Spicy Designs. She's awesome to work with and I highly recommend her. She also did my website for me and I love it.

I recently had the pleasure of working with Brinda Berry for my ebook formatting, and she is just a gem. Efficient and excellent quality of work. She's an author too, but she's also just started her own ebook formatting side company, and I highly recommend her.

If you're in the market for a formatter, definitely check her out. I was so happy with her work that I decided to ask her a few questions and share them with you today so you can learn more about her service. No joke, she is wicked-fast with turn around times.

Brinda Berry at Sweet Biscuit Publishing

PK: Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

Brinda: I’m a New Adult and Young Adult author with several releases out this year. My recent release is Chasing Luck, a New Adult romantic suspense novel. I spend my days working in higher education administration and my nights making up stories.

   PK: .   Are you self-published? Trad-pubbed? Hybrid? Tell us why you chose the path or paths you have.

Brinda: My first young adult novels were published by a small press. I self-pubbed this year, because I felt that it was the best fit for my novel. I’ve learned a lot over the years and could make an informed leap into self-publishing.

PK:   You format all your own ebooks, as well as some others (like mine,) what made you decide to start your own side biz?

Brinda: I have a degree in Learning Systems Technology and love messing around with software. It’s very satisfying to be able to tweak things in my own ebooks. I like the control and cost-savings. Also, it’s nice to be able to format ARCs and even make last-minute corrections (if necessary).
I like helping other authors at an affordable cost.

   PK: What program do you use for formatting, and how long, on average, does it take to format a standard sized novel of 50K-90K words?

Brinda: I own a software program called Vellum. The length of the novel really doesn’t matter.  A 50K novel could possibly take longer than a 90K. The program intuitively recognizes many of the formatted elements. Occasionally I’ll have to do a manual check for correct scene breaks and other things.  This increases the length of time it takes me to generate the files. Also, I may have to ask the author for things they forgot to send to me in the manuscript file.

PK:   You’re EXTREMELY efficient. I know because you’ve turned my work around for me within a twelve hour period. Is this something you’ve had to become proficient at or do you have some secret sauce for making it happen? Did you take a class or self-taught?

Brinda: Secret sauce.  Just kidding! Like I said, my background is in technology. Before I got my MSE degree in technology, I worked for an IT company.  I catch on pretty quickly to the shortcuts and best practices in using software.
Writing a novel in a word processing app is one thing, but there’s nothing quite like seeing it as a book. I’m no longer bound to paper (pun intended), so I’m just as thrilled as the author to see it magically transform into an ebook. 

 PK  Many authors are learning to format on their own nowadays, what are some of benefits of having someone like you format their work instead?

Brinda: If you can format your own (without pulling your hair out), then you should. I love the idea of authors controlling everything about their own books. On the other hand, not everyone has the time and patience for that. Also, I hear about authors who have trouble with a specific vendor not taking the formatted file. I haven’t had trouble with the files I create.
  PK:  Indie authors do have choices when it comes to hiring freelancers, as there are quite a few out there. I’ve been thrilled with your work. Tell us why an indie author should consider you over someone else.   

Brinda: I’m so glad you’ve been happy with your files! I guess the biggest advantages would be my turnaround time and the professional look to your formatted file. Also, I can easily generate files for you with specific store links for your other books. 

Thanks, Brinda! Great info. Again, her work is amazing and super fast. If you have any questions for her, feel free to ask in the comments and we'll get them answered. And next time you need something formatted, keep Brinda in mind. 

Thanks so much to Brinda for taking the time to share this info with us. I really love how authors can come together to help each other, which is what this community is all about. 

Again, feel free to email me anytime if you ever need a question answered. I may not know the answer but I'll know how to find out. 

Oh by the way ..... 

Looks what's officially out:

Book 2 is here! AMAZON

Add it to GoodReads.

There's also a giveaway happening for the next few days so be sure to enter HERE  at the bottom of the page for some groovy Doctor Who pocket watch necklaces and a Butterman swag pack. 

How do you feel about the choices we have as writers? Do you like making them on your own, or do you prefer to have guidance? Any tips you'd like to share for making good choices? Please share ...


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Congratulations!! Will go download today.
You are very professional when it comes to your work. (So is Brinda.) And it really shows - one would never know your book wasn't traditionally published.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Excellent advice, Pk. I wondered myself about all the freelancers out there and how you could choose one that is really qualified. I'm not publishing indie now, but I do wonder if I might try it (again) someday for the books I've written that don't fit B&N's shelving plan. Because if B&N doesn't know where to shelve it, publishers won't buy it.

(The first time I published indie, in 2007, it was before the rise of the Kindle and ebook and self-upload. I foolishly went through iUniverse. Eeek.)

Brinda said...

PK--Thanks for the interview! I can't wait to read your book. Make sure to let me know if I can host you and your book on my blog. :)

Huntress said...

Congrats on the release of Induction Day!!

I had two excellent betas who read Wilder Mage. But I figured I should hire an editor also. Just to be sure.

I paid for her service and she did a fair job, but only on the first third of the ms. Then she dribbled through the rest of it.

It took my most fantabulous (yes, it's a word. Because I say so) at Musa Publishing to *really* find the mistakes. Can't praise Angela Kelley enough for her editing talent.

Miranda Hardy said...

Congrats PK on your release. Great advice, and I may check Brinda out because I have difficult with smashwords on my picture books.

Carrie-Anne said...

Congratulations on your release!

I do all my own formatting, and am really proud of how perfectly I nailed it after that quick, steep learning curve. I'm hoping I do just as good of a formatting job with Pages, though it helps that much of my formatting was already done in Word 2004 before I got a new computer. While transferring some more files over from the old computer, I fixed some formatting in Word while I was still there.

Emma Adams said...

Congratulations on your release! Thank you for the interview, too - as I'll almost certainly be self-publishing in the future, I'll be sure to bookmark this!

M.R. R. said...

Spell check and proofreaders are your friends for sure. But hey, mistakes happen sometimes. Congrats on getting your book out there.

Norma Beishir said...

It's out...and it's wonderful!

Elephant's Child said...

Congratulations - and thank you to all the authors who get their work published to feed my bookaholic self.

Juneta Key said...

Thank you for all the great information and links. I have marked for future reference. Congrats on you book. I grabbed a copy. I really like all your book covers, so your designer is doing a great job. Best of Luck

Juneta at Writer's Gambit

Andrew Leon said...

It's like trying to unravel the center of a golf ball. Assuming they still make them the way they did when I was a kid.
hmm... They probably don't.

shelly said...

So many choices for sure.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations again on your book!! You are always very generous with sharing your knowledge . . . thanks for sharing Brinda with us today :-)

Cathrina Constantine said...

Congratulations, PK!! And thanks for the insightful post!!

William Kendall said...

Thanks for introducing us to Brinda! And congratulations on the book!

mshatch said...

Great info and interview. I'll be writing Brinda's name down for future reference. Thanks :)

Michelle Wallace said...

Congrats on the release PK!
There are sooooo many choices... how do we know that we're making the correct ones...?
Thanks for highlighting Brinda and her services. She sounds very efficient!

Natalie Aguirre said...

So true about choices. And to do self-publishing right I agree that you have to spend some money to make your book look professional.

Karen Walker said...

Heading to Amazon to download - loved your first book, Pk. Thanks for this today. I am in the process of making these decisions now as I finish final revisions. Very helpful.

Chrys Fey said...

Congratulations on your release! I'll be reading Induction Day very soon. :) And thank you for the great recommendations!

cleemckenzie said...

You've given everyone some super advice here today. And I loved that you had Brinda here.

Got my lovely NY Times reprint of the Titanic disaster. What a memorable week that was. I'll be thanking you again on my blog Friday,

E.J. Wesley said...

Huge fan of Brinda and her work. :) She has been at this a long time and is a total pro.

You know I feel you on the 'making good choices' front. :-/

Fifi Islaih said...

This is exciting and awesome! Congrats on the book release! I need to catch up on my reading!

Jay Noel said...

Love your covers, so I will check out her website.

Brinda is just an awesome person. Without a doubt.

Melissa Sugar said...

Thanks for the informative post. I've been researching freelance editors for a developmental & copy edit & have been shocked at the number of people offering their expensive services who don't seem to have the necessary qualifications. The one I really wanted to retain is not accepting new clients. Just my luck. I finally get close to the time when I will need an independent editor and my number one pick is off the market. I'm still searching. I'm really sorry for the experience you had and that just sucks that you didn't get the actual editor you purported to hire.

I'm eager to read your book. I'm slowly easing my way back into blogging after along hiatus and I feel like I will never catch up and reconnect with all the people I used to be in contact with. It will just take time and effort like everything else and I'm ready to put forth the the effort.

You really are on fire. I couldn't believe how quickly you respond to my tweet. I need to take lessons from you. I enjoyed the interview with Brinda. It's refreshing to hear form authors who have been down both roads.

I will visit again soon.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Congrats on your release! The covers look gorgeous and it's good to hear from an experienced formatter. My hubs has helped with mine, but so far we've just gone with plain Jane kind of formatting . . .

Jennifer Ruth Jackson said...

I'm constantly fretting over the "next step" for just about anything I do. Right now, it means more appointments/tests but I can't bring myself to send my chapbook manuscripts out, either.

Congratulations on your release! Are you doing a virtual party on Facebook or Twitter?

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