Thursday, May 19, 2011

For/From Indie Authors: Maurice Alvarez & Ande Li



Advice:
In terms of advice for aspiring authors, I will talk about the things I got hung up on while getting my first book out there.
Sometimes the things you think will be the easiest turn out to be the most time-consuming or the most embarrassing
  • Spell checking – You’ve been over your manuscript countless times, as have beta readers, etc.  You’re sure you’ve caught all your typos.  Forget all that.  As soon as you’re ready to create your ePub/MOBI/etc., fire up the spell checker and go over it once again.  This has the additional bonus of catching if you accidentally reverted to a prior revision.  You may chuckle, but I’ve seen it happen.  And it’s terribly embarrassing when you realize that the edition you’ve had on sale for a week is the wrong one or has even a few typos in it
  • Cover – As indie authors, we have to wear a lot of hats, first the author hat, then the publisher hat, then the marketer hat. And somewhere in there, we need a cover designed.  Considering how important a cover is (I can’t count how many times I’ve impulse-purchased a book because of its cover), it’s not a task you want to skimp on.  If you have the time to devote to it AND you’re good at illustration and layout, go for it.  There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing your own image on your own book out on a retail site.  But let’s face it, that’s a lot of hats to wear.  If you can afford it, contract someone to do it for you.  Also Google for royalty-free images.  There are a lot of great photos are there that can be used as-is or only need some slight tweaking to get to where you’d like them to be.
  • A note on ISBN – This is a quote from my blog, but I’m including a link to the site that gave me the answers I was looking for.  It finally spelled out precisely what having an ISBN means and helped me decide whether or not to get one.


I never imagined that the decision on whether or not to purchase ISBNs would be so difficult.  Mostly it has been due to a lack of clear pros/cons on owning your own.  Second has been the cost.  If they were cheaper (and I understand that they have come down in price quite a bit in the last few years), it would be simple.  But compared to the POD and vanity press offers of free, $10, etc. ISBNs, it’s difficult to justify spending so much on some numbers that don’t get the average indie author a whole lot.  Except, perhaps, for that rare occurrence where the author catches a lucky break and their work takes off.  But that’s like playing the lottery, I think; thousands of people play each week, and you might not even have a winner on a given week.

Based on this, it may sound like I’m leaning toward not buying any… yet the opposite is true.  I have this strong–though perhaps ridiculous–urge to own at least the printed version of my book in its entirety.  In the realm of traditional publishing, that’s not even possible, but indie publishing makes it so.  In the grand scheme of things, does it matter?  Not a whit to anyone but me.  But in the end, I will be able to hold that book in my hand and say it is 99.9% my work from cover to cover.  And even if I never recover the cost of the ISBNs, that’ll be a pretty satisfying thing to say.


Links:
The Trouble With Thieves by Maurice X. Alvarez & Ande Li

A science fiction/fantasy adventure about an alien thief scouring the universe for adventure, two human girls seeking to escape the constraints of their environments and one human genius looking for a means to greatness.  When their paths cross, they all get more than they bargained for.
Available on Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Smashwords

Author interview – I am interviewed by author David H. Burton

AlvarezLi.com – Our author website with our bios and some free short stores available for online reading


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