Book Writers Beware

January 12, 2016 in Articles, eBook publishing, Writing & Publishing

Book Writers Should Beware Publishers and Literary Agencies Seeking New Writers

Book writing

Courtesy of

Why? Because, if you are planning to write and publish a book, they may have a cunning plan to empty your wallet. And before the writs arrive, I must draw a line between traditional publishers and agencies who occasionally take on new writers, take the risk of publishing on their own shoulders, and never seek funds from writers . . . and those who do! Professional publishers and agencies are inundated with manuscripts and rarely solicit for manuscripts. They have more in their in-trays than they can handle as it is.

The moment a publisher or agent suggests you bear any of the costs associated with bringing your book to market, step aside, and reflect: ‘Am I interested in self publishing my book? (for that’s precisely what you would be involved in) and, if the answer is yes, are these people offering me the most economical route so to do? Invariably the answer will be – not on your life!

Contact a professional book editing service and let them outline the options open to you for self publishing your book. There are many, and nowadays the costs have fallen dramatically which means book writers can self publish at a very reasonable cost and have no need to pay the exorbitant prices some of these organisations try and elicit.

The Route to Publishing a Book

The traditional publishing route, with or without a literary agent, is the prudent route all writers should pursue initially, unless their objective has at all times been one that excludes any possibility or wish to see the book as a commercial product. ‘My Twenty Years of Bad Hands’, a graphic account of skulduggery at a local Bridge club is not going to woo them at Random House, but ‘Revelations of an International Hooker’ may well raise eyebrows, and offers to meet, soon!

Publishers and literary agents who advertise for new writers may only have one thing in mind: to take you to the stage where you start spending money, and they start making it. And their approach is simple. They pay little if any regard to the intrinsic merit of the work you submit. It will always be viewed favourably. They will like it. They will praise it. They often get quite enthusiastic! Goodness me. It could be even better, if you tidied it up a bit and, would you believe, they know just who can help, at a price.

As a writer, your role is to produce the draft of a book that’s ‘as good it gets’: properly structured, well written, beautifully punctuated, and laid out in format acceptable to submission editors. That done, and assuming you have had a market in your mind for this offering from an early date, you now need to show it to the trade, explaining, in a short letter, who you are, what you are offering, and why you think they might like it. You should also prepare a synopsis – a businesslike document that will enable the reader to see at a glance or two whether your book has possible appeal.

Seek a Helping Hand

But the above work is easier said than done. Personally, I find most writers are so close to their own work that they have great difficulty in making this initial approach. My advice. Take advice. Seek a disinterested opinion from experienced book editors. They will save you time and money, and mark your card as to what works and what doesn’t in your material. Then you can make whatever adjustments to your book and submission material they suggest, knowing that you have then given your book its best chance of making an impact with publishers, and even getting a deal from them. Good luck.

This is an article by Jonathan Veale who is the author of the popular novel The Carcassonne Affair and the very useful How to Write a Book or Novel, an insiders guide to getting published from a man who has been there and done it.

Self Publishing Books – Good or Bad?

November 4, 2015 in Articles, eBook publishing

Best Publishing Routes For New Book Writers

Early in the writing process, new writers should think carefully about the likely publishing options open to them for their book. We all nurture dreams of becoming bestsellers and earning a fortune; our prudent friends smile, wish us all the best, and think to themselves, keep dreaming! To write and publish a book you need to be businesslike, from the word go.

eBook Publishing and IssuesWe are all entitled to be optimists, and if your book is aimed at a well-defined and large enough readership, then I think you owe it to yourself to offer it to real publishers and literary agents first before taking the publishing risk on your own shoulders. If the manuscript of your book offers fresh insights on a topic, has been professionally edited by a book editing service, and is submitted correctly to those who market such work, then at least you have a ticket in the lottery. And don’t try just one publisher; submit to at least half a dozen at the same time. It will take months, it may not produce a deal, but at least you will have given your book a decent chance of a commercial send-off. In the meantime there is always the eBook route, an option that can be used to kick-start the process and demonstrate the potential of your written work.

Ethical Book Publishers and Literary Agents

How to Avoid the Sharks Lurking in the Publishing Shallows

Real publishers and literary agents, the kind who pay you rather than the reverse, are elusive fish, hard to catch. On the other hand their dangerous relatives, the vanity bandits, dress up in the same clothes, but can be landed without even putting a hook on your line. Just dangle your fishing rod over the water and they’ll leap out, with mouths wide open. Never in their lives will they have been so moved by such tasty bait. Your book is a masterpiece; you are indeed a budding Shakespeare. You are also about to be taken on an expensive self-publishing ride that will empty your wallet, one stage at a time, until there’s nothing left.

Self publishing books, as a paperback or ebook, is nowadays possible for the technically-minded, and not expensive to achieve, but still demands that the book’s contents are ‘as good as it gets’. In other words, the writing itself remains the important task; then follows the editing. Only after the creative work has editorially been ‘put through the wringer’ should formatters be invited to work their magic.

Book editors can mark your card as you prepare your original manuscript, then take extracts of your writing and show you how to self-edit. At the submission stage they can tweak your submission material to potential publishers so that you avoid making the mistakes novices exhibit when attempting to sell their own work. And once you have offered traditional publishers ‘the chance of a lifetime’ to have you as an author, and if they somehow fail to recognise your brilliance, you can self-publish a professional book in weeks, at surprisingly reasonable prices. Don’t be fooled by publishing packages offered by vanity bandits. The majority of these are worthless, using seductive waffle, aimed at taking your money, leaving you with all the risk, and boxes of books to sell on your own. Professional editors help you bring your book to market efficiently and ensure it has the best chance of becoming the bestseller it no doubt deserves.

Self Publishing – A Route for the Brave

October 26, 2015 in Articles, eBook publishing

Sometime the only way to get a book published is to go the self publishing route. These are the 3 steps to getting published.

Self Publishing A Book

self publishingThose who embark upon the self-publication route have two things in common: a belief in themselves and a wish to see their book in print. So far, so good. But other writers nurse dreams of great wealth and forthcoming bestsellers. They may be disappointed.

I like the idea of DIY publishing. There are many beautifully crafted books in print that deserved to be published but would never represent a commercially sound risk, from a mainstream book publisher’s standpoint. Nowadays, computers have transformed the publishing process, and when linked to dedicated machinery, can print single copies of a book in a matter of seconds. This is called Print on Demand. Authors are right to consider the merits of bringing their own work to market – once traditional publishing routes have been exhausted.

The Three Steps to Market

Step one of the self publishing process involves the creative process. A quality product in terms of content, writing skills and presentation has to be completed. No matter which publishing route you take, this step has to be accomplished professionally first. There are no short cuts. You first have to write something.

Step two is concerned with pitching or submitting a book manuscript to traditional publishers. This is a business task, not a literary one, that defeats most novice writers. Publishers receive piles of manuscripts daily; if your book proposal is poor, or long-winded, or both – your draft will be buried instantly. Seek advice to help you complete this task effectively.

Step three is concerned with the options for self-publication, once steps one and two above have been taken. You then need to seek out writers who have organised the entire publishing process themselves and take their counsel. For this you need stamina, ability, patience, selling skills, and a secondary source of finance to live off, ‘just in case’ sales don’t match expectations. And, of course, it helps if you have a well-written book, on a popular subject, with a readily identifiable market to aim at.

Getting the DIY Merits of Self Publishing Assessed

Look for a book editing service that, when asked to assess the DIY merits of a particular piece of work, either as a proposed project (relatively easy) or as a completed work (more difficult), discusses the specific skills the writer will need to see the book through its publishing stages. Few writers relish tackling each and every facet of publishing; most prefer to identify those they can handle and those they cannot. A book editing service can recommend writing services that will help them with particular aspects of production.

Look for a company that accepts no commission from such agencies; aspiring authors should know that the price they negotiate is a commercial one that will represent excellent value.

No matter what book you have in mind, they should ensure you know, in advance, precisely what your budget should be. As written elsewhere, there are bandits at large who do nothing else but play on the dreams and vanity of aspiring authors. Their charms are worth avoiding; you deserve better.

Style and Editing

Bad book editors don’t take prisoners. They delight in executions. They have a job to do. Writers have no idea how brutal their first exchange with such a beast is likely to be. Like ‘Compassionate Conservatism’, surely an unfortunate juxtaposition of terms, even considerate editors can make or break a timid writer in seconds. A top editor will never do this and overstep the mark; mediocre ones frequently do.

Where’s all this leading? To the heart of most writers’ concern: ‘won’t my writing style’s individuality be high-jacked by even the finest of book editors?’ The answer is – certainly not. No two writers express themselves in an identical way. Their mannerisms are acquired in childhood, and only a psychiatrist with a perverse mind and literary talent would have the slimmest of chances of altering the essential voice of an individual.

Top editors never attempt to go against the grain of their writers. What they can do is point out where lazy or inappropriate writing habits obscure reason or reduce the impact of the topic they are intent on expressing. Writers should be communicators; if they have habits that reduce this ability then few readers will have the patience to stay with them and will never get to know the person behind the writing.

Beginners often exhibit timidity in expressing views. It’s as though they don’t wish to offend because they are still new to their trade. An apprentice carpenter on the other hand, when first handling a plane to skim off wood, is more likely to take too much off than too little. But at least he makes an impression on the wood and learns by his mistakes. Writers should do the same. Go for it; seize the day; make cock-ups, offend the world; stuff the censor – if you don’t, who will?

If you are planning to write a book, and get published, the sooner you have a book editor to discuss things with the better. Make sure you are put in touch with a sympathetic professional who will guide you through the whole process – and save time and money.

Writers Coping With Rejection, Do You Know How?

August 3, 2015 in Articles, eBook publishing

Coping with Rejection

It’s an early lesson for most. As children, the playground can be anything but a play area: she loves me – she loves me not; join my team – you must be joking; come off it, fatty – snails run faster.

Coping with rejectionRejection slips from publishers are something else. This time, not only are you being rejected, but so is your creation, your labour of love over months and possibly years. And there’s no comeback – the rejection is final, unexplained and standardised.

I used to think publishers were heartless, until I became one. Within hours I understood why they choose not to correspond with aspiring authors. Life’s too short. There is no kind way of explaining to a mother that her baby is ugly – or badly dressed; neither can the shortcomings of a sloppy manuscript be tackled in a sentence or two without goosing the sensitivities of writers beyond their endurance. So many writers are coping with rejection because they are given no other choice.

How to Avoid the Rejection Slip

But I offer a ray of hope. Most manuscripts are rejected for reasons that will astound you. They fall at hurdles that have everything to do with what editors recognise as alarm signals and storm warnings and little to do with the essence of the piece of writing. Put simply, imagine a row of a dozen tick boxes representing the criteria editors weigh when viewing submitted work, then note that the first nine need to be ticked before the writing itself is assessed.

Independent manuscript appraisals coupled with some coaching to help you both write a book and the covering material that publishers require and are essential for aspiring writers. They will ensure you leap-frog most competitors in the submissions stakes. Only then will the writing itself have to fight its own battle on your behalf. Because it is only then that the writing will have gained access to a detailed assessment and passed through the filter that is designed to distinguish between those that have a half chance of delivering what the publishers want and those that don’t.

If your writing merits publication, give it a fine start in life. Submit it first to a panel of publishers and writers, to people that understand the intricacies of the filter and what it takes to pass noiselessly through to the real appraisal. You will save time and money on pointless submissions and increase your chances of acceptance, and of seeing your work in print. Even if that means further work and a bit more polish on your part.

This is an article from Jonathan Veale author of How to Write a Book or Novel

Three Ways To Lose Money Writing And Publishing A Book

December 14, 2014 in Articles, eBook publishing

Writing and publishing a book

Image courtesy of

Writing a Book

Shocking fact: for those thinking of  writing and publishing a book, it’s never been easier, or cheaper. Word-processors have removed the tedium, printers have moved from molten lead to instant computerised copy, and even publishers (now ruled by accountants) can be by-passed, thanks to the Internet. All you have to do is write the book.

And more shocks: you can do it. Don’t believe those who say it requires years of effort, a degree in English Literature, and hours of bought-in expertise from professionals. A commercial novel of 80,000 words may strike you as daunting before you’ve even written the title down, but at the rate of a thousand words a day – little more than snail’s pace even for a two-finger typist – you are ‘round the world in eighty days’. And take it from me, once you are well into your book, on a good day, you will find the words flowing like there’s no tomorrow as your muse becomes excited by your progress.

Publishing a Book, The Pitfalls and Ways to Lose Money

Now for the bad news. What I’ve summarised above has been written with my optimist’s hat on – a well-worn item that will outlive me, I hope. I don’t have a pessimist’s hat, but through my work offering book editing and publishing advice, I am appalled at the number of individuals and companies who regard the aspiring writer as juicy game to be corralled, groomed, flattered, . . . and then mercilessly bled dry of every penny they own. We writers are often romantics who think the best of people. And when praise is lavished on our work – work that we ourselves are too involved with to be objective about – we tend to weep with relief. And pay, and pay, and pay.

An example: it happened quite a while ago now. A client of mine won first prize in a popular competition for new authors’ work. I’d edited the book. Very little to do; the guy could write. The book is now in print, self-published, and successful (paying its way). Always keen to boast about success indirectly, much subtler than trumpet blowing for oneself, I contacted a London book editing service who claim to help aspiring writers and introduce likely candidates to literary agents and publishers. The owner thanked me profusely for thinking of them. I introduced my author. Four days later they emailed my client offering a range of services, the cheapest of which was more than enough for him to print another 250 copies of his book.

A professional book editor, literary agent or publisher can spot in minutes whether a writer’s work has promise. Within an hour they can spot major failings or indications of commercial appeal.

Trap One. Don’t be fooled by organisations who seek hundreds of pounds from you to evaluate your work. Such evaluations are invariably bloated exercises designed to baffle and bemuse, and relieve you of money. If you need this much help you would be better advised to invest in a writing school course. Good ones can teach you a lot, at competitive rates . . . and advance your writing prospects. Asking a book editor to teach you to write is folly, and expensive.

Trap Two. Beware of any literary agent who either charges you directly or suggests that have your work edited by any specific agency. Reputable literary agents don’t charge, even to read your work.

Trap Three. Avoid all dealings with companies who promote their services offering to help you get published. The majority are bandits; the few who offer a genuine service are branded by the majority and your book will be shunned by the trade. Self-publishing is a prudent course for some writers, but remember, if traditional publishers don’t regard your work as commercially viable they are telling you something: if they can’t work out how to make it pay by attracting enough buyers, you’re highly unlikely to do better alone. Having said that, with the right professional advice, it is possible to order a limited number of copies of your book, at a modest cost, if you are introduced to the right people. You will retain all rights to your work, and reap the net income on all sales.

My advice: contact a few book editing services and ask them how much they charge to help new writers. Professional ones, with ethical standards, will ask for samples of your writing and in many cases undertake some preliminary work at their own expense. If they like what they see, they will then quote, by the hour or page to edit your draft.  General advice and expertise on publishing should not be expensive, if charged for at all.

Book Publishing Resources

This is a guest article from Jonathan Veale writer and author of How to Write a Book or Novel – An Insider’s Guide to Getting Published

If you enjoyed this article you are sure to enjoy the detailed information that Jonathan shares in his book which you can purchase using the link above.

Get Adobe Flash player