Technology has made it effortlessly easy to get your book to market and under readers' noses. Whilst there are plenty of helpful articles and tutorials across the web, many first-time authors still find some aspects of the writing, editing and publishing processes bewildering.
I've held the hands of hundreds of writers - typically at first draft stage, though many authors approach me from the moment their idea takes seed in their imaginations.
I've answered some of the more common questions I receive below; however, if there's something I've not covered that you'd like help with, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll get straight back to you.
Is my book safe from copyright or plagiarism?
I’ll send you a non-disclosure agreement before I even look at your work, if desired. Though either offence couldn’t be further from my ethics, I want you to feel reassured that your work is safe with me. I understand what a big step it is to ask for help – your book is your baby!
How important is it to have a critique or to edit my book?
Given how many titles are already on sale (more than 180 million), and the hurdles self-publishing authors face to get readers to take a chance on their book (because there’s an already-plentiful supply of fantastic books from household names), I’d say it’s imperative; these are the books your work will be competing against.
As far as editing goes, a poor quality book reflects on the credibility of the author. Because it’s extremely difficult, if possible at all, to be truly objective about your own work, it’s hard to see what could prove off-putting to your reader. The most prolific and committed self-publishing authors currently carving out a career in the industry wouldn’t dream of putting a book out there that hasn’t, at the very least, been edited and proof-read. The investment you place into your book at this point should be reaped back, as you’ll have a better product that will appeal to more buyers.
I’m not sure I can afford your fees – what advice would you give in this respect?
I understand that some authors have tight budgets. I believe my prices are fair, competitive and reflect the value I bring. Like many other kinds of tuition, you’re effectively accessing a short-cut to improved knowledge and skills. I’ve spent more than twenty years learning my trade, and can help you avoid pitfalls and to apply the right knowledge in a fraction of that time. You get what you pay for – my intervention will make your book a better read and better product overall, which will lead to better sales.
For those who are genuinely unable to invest in their skills and author platform, I sometimes hold workshops and group coaching sessions/courses throughout the Yorkshire area; these are low-priced, sometimes even free. All upcoming events are displayed on the Events page, though I may not have any planned during busy periods.
What should I charge for my book?
Good question, but it depends on many things, not least the prices of other books in your genre, as well as its length, its production costs, and where it’s being sold.
How many books will I sell?
More with my help and intervention, because you’ll have a fantastic book to offer and a good plan with regards its promotion, but I really can’t say. Sales are largely linked to the author’s efforts when it comes to promoting the title. If there was a proven formula towards achieving sales, every book would be a best-seller. There are many variants to consider, though I will help you to understand and strategically plan the marketing of your book.
Is it easy to self-publish?
From a process point of view, it’s very easy. Gaining respect and prominence as a self-published author is much more difficult in a flooded literary marketplace. That’s why I exist, to help you achieve visibility and a growing readership.
Should I get a literary agent?
It depends what you want from your book and writing career. To some, this is an important step towards securing a publishing deal. To others, they prefer to carve out their own future and reap all the rewards. I can’t answer this for you, though I can help you come to a decision that best suits you and your circumstances.
I’m not good with criticism; are we a good match?
Firstly, I don’t critique (or have any personal opinion of) the author – just their book. If you’re only looking for someone to say how fabulous your book is, you may indeed be disappointed. That’s not to say I’ll pull it apart; I’ll give you a balanced report and show you what works well within your manuscript whilst bringing elements that could do with more work to your attention.
I won’t come at your book with a ‘how good is this?’ approach – I consider how appropriate your book is for its market, and where it could be bettered, which is clearer to me than you, i.e. the one producing the work. No writer should ever put their first draft on sale. Even legendary authors spend months – years, even – in the conceptual, editing and re-writing stages. If you’re inclined to see feedback as criticism and not direction, which is how it’s meant, then criticism is what you’ll see.
What makes you qualified to give such feedback?
I’ve spent the last two decades helping authors find their feet in this already-populated, cut-throat industry. There’s often a huge gulf between the readability and engagement of a story before it comes under my radar, and how it reads when it’s ready to publish. I’ve plenty of satisfied clients you can talk to, if this helps.