Why Are You Writing?
When we look at our aims, our ambitions, as authors, what do we see? Are we honest with ourselves, or do we drift in blissful dreams of semi-delusion? In honesty, most of us will only ever write either just for ourselves, or maybe for a small circle of friends and followers. It’s a sad fact of life. If we’re really lucky, and offer a free ebook, we may enjoy the feeling of our ebook being downloaded by others. Unfortunately, most of these downloaders won’t ever actually read the ebook, and those that do probably won’t provide any feedback. Worse, I’ve heard of some submitting cruel, viciously scathing reviews even when they haven’t read the ebook! The internet can be a very nasty place at times. If you attach a price, watch how few copies are bought – that will give you some insight into the often splendid number of downloads of free offerings.
Does all this mean that we should stop writing, or at least stop offering our work to others? The answer to that depends on why you’re writing. If you’re looking at it only as a potential means of making money, then I’d say don’t bother! If, on the other hand, you are driven to write, then does it matter whether others ever read your work? It’s a bit like decorating. Do you decorate your home to impress visitors, or because it pleases you? I have been writing for many years, and most of my production in that time will never make it beyond the manuscript stage. Indeed, much of it has been lost. Yet I have no regrets at having made the effort to respond to that force which drives me to write! In fact, I have a certain quiet pride of how much I’ve written, and I look back with pleasure at some passages which were particularly effective. So, with the writing-bug driving you, then the answer has to be that you never stop writing. It’s part of your nature and there’s no true need for validation of an intrinsic character trait.
Assuming that you are going to carry on writing, but believe that ebooks alone aren’t the only option you want to try,then read on…
Yesterday, 6th April, I happened upon a post on my Facebook Newsfeed. It made reference to something that intrigued me. The subject was simply referred to as FeedARead, without a link. A quick Google search yielded a result and I pursued the link. I discovered that FeedARead is a ‘print on demand’ (POD) service, allowing authors an opportunity to upload their manuscript and turn it into a genuine paperback edition! They offer sales through their website alone, or through many major bookstores. And the cost? None, zero, zilch! Now, if that isn’t interesting, I don’t know what is. The royalties may not seem particularly big, but then you’re now dealing with much higher production costs. If it gets you the opportunity to get even one book out there, and hopefully noticed, then a relatively low financial return is worth it. The package is made even more attractive in that you don’t have to buy an ISBN first.
Consequent to this find, I have started the process of putting one of my novelettes through the system. Important note here: download and use the Word templates that they provide free! They offer two sizes of paperback, depending on the size of your book. The templates allow you to create a properly formatted manuscript for the book size you have chosen. Just make such amendments as you need to, to the pre-filled parts (the title page and the ‘rights’ page) and then copy your manuscript into the template. The website offers excellent guidance on making your manuscript right for publication. One note, if you use OpenOffice or one of its derivatives, such as Libre Office, then save the manuscript in Word DOC format, close the file and reopen it, recheck how the chapters look, and only then use the DOC file. I discovered, after uploading the DOC file, that subtle differences existed between the ODT and DOC files. There’s a cover designer on the website, including some very nice cover templates for free. You can, of course, use your own cover images. Note that you can’t complete the cover design for submission until you have completed the full content approval stage.. Content approval involves you waiting for a PDF proof of your manuscript to be sent to you. This has to be checked and accepted. One reason for this is so that the system knows how wide the spine of your paperback will be. There’d be no point designing a cover with a spine that was too big! I am currently awaiting the PDF proof. When I’m able to progress further, I’ll update you on how it goes.
I’m kind of excited about this new venture.