Writers, Bloggers and Translators


(Catharine Higginson) #1

For Writers, Bloggers and Translators whether you write for a living or pleasure!


(Norman Clark) #2

Roger, well done - so its in the lap of the Gods or something like that! I have been experimenting a bit with this system and it has occurred to me that it is not a bad promotional route as well. Possibly a bit more valid for me with large pucture books, where I can offer 'sampler' ones. We will see how it pans out.

I am also going to see if I can put my MBA Training Courses (Powerpoint) on DVD through them, as that also could be of interest. Currently I have just put these out as 'booklets' a 10-part series. I did suggest this as an alternative to CreateSpace, and without taking any credit for the idea (or being given any!) it is interesting to see it has recently appeared as an option. I also still feel offering books on CD is not as dead as some might suggest. Another alternative.

The beauty of this is that the no upfront cost enables a lot of trial and error. Kindle kicked open the door and now is the time to just see how the other things can work out.

I note I have overworked the word 'interest' but it seems to fit!

Happy Christmas and loads of Sales in 2015! That goes for all of us here!


(Roger Bruton) #3

Norman - Thanks again for your help! My little tome is on Amazon and has (so far) sold a few copies. My copies arrived (from Charleston SC!!) yesterday and I'm very pleased with the result. The whole process was amazingly easy.


(Norman Clark) #4

Roger - good luck with it!


(Roger Bruton) #5

Norman - thanks for the information about CreateSpace. For better or worse my little paperback is now "out there". Just off to the Ferarri shop now. :-)


(Brian Milne) #6

Norman. Are you still there? Could you give me the link to the site that said you got a gift please. I would like to pass it on to James so that people can be protected from this kind of nonsense in future.


(Brian Milne) #7

The difference is, Norman, you are an experienced writer - me too I guess - writing before some of the people aspiring to write were born or thought of. We know the ropes. I am pro-peer reviewing and specialised editing, but share your abhorrence of the subs who do not have a clue but then pontificate and change content themselves.

Explain the gift for filling out a questionnaire, this is not an SFN thing so somebody seems to be throwing in a very naughty cookie or the likes.


(Norman Clark) #8

My reply just got hijacked by a site saying SFN were about to give mea gift for filling out a questionnaire!

To tired to do it all again, but if one claims to be a writer of the printed page then we will all be judged by others and typos are always stupid, but they happen. But if I can't make my point without the input of a non-involved Editor (or more like sub-editor) then I am not much of a writer am I, and will be judged accordingly.

I am constantly reminded of the description of a camel as being a horse designed by a committee and its not too hard to see how the same could be said about a book written or re-written by Editors.


(Brian Milne) #9

Norman, it would have been worse if you had, for instance, written 'Hysterical Drama'!

The one problem with manuscript to publication is that it lacks the editing done by a conventional publisher. Not that they are perfect but the control is there and where there is not enough clarity the editors will ask questions and guide us through. I have just submitted a sample chapter and instantly had 'hot flushes' as I spotted words missing that make sentences incomprehensible whereas I have used the spell check to make sure that is good.

I find that some of the e-books I download are grammatically so awful that I lose interest very quickly, simply because they are hard to read and follow. It is sometimes quite surprising how easily something badly written makes what the author want too say come out completely wrong, but the reader cannot second guess that. We cannot impartially edit and proofread our own work, especially not the massive tomes you and I generate, so there are downers attached.

Your whole point about price and author income is 200% right and very important. Anybody who writes intending to make money should think again. One in so many thousand even scrape a living together, then only a minority of them make anything worth calling income. Like you and I, we should all realise that we are documenting something specific, making it available to those who are interested or need it but champagne and caviare remain in our wildest dreams.

Anyway, must go. The gold plated Rolls-Royce is waiting.


(Norman Clark) #10

see that! Did it again in one line! I should go back to bed and start the day anew later!


(Norman Clark) #11

Typos again - apologies, barin works faster than the fingers these days.


(Norman Clark) #12

Roger one of the things about CreateSpace is it dies provide a rather sharp 'heads-up' or reality check on the anciliary costs of producing and distributing a book, as primarily with a printed book they build in all the margins necessary before producing the basic price. You then add your own profit (required) to that figure.

It comes as a shock to many to see how pricey a book can become. The main problem/advantage of Print On Demand (POD) is the flexibility and chance to produce sample books, and in answer to another question earlier you DON'T have to publish if you don't want to - it is an option to be paid for.

But the downside is that POD is like an advanced photocopier and the work is based on "one-offs' whichis a lot more costly than setting up a full print run. So people need to consider that fact.

I have found that it is not a bad idea to get a print-run price (and don't forget delivery!*) on say 1,000 copies then work out the plus 33% for all retailers, and if you want book wholesalers then another 15% add-on BEFORE the retailer margin is established. Then sales costs? plus maybe up to 20% to then be added, and that's modest.

By this stage you will have discovered that a printed book will cost plus 100% on top of the printed price, and the small matter of your own profit then appears. Then you must factor in how that profit will be taxed as part of your overall income.

None of this guarantees any sort of success. Failure rates are very, very high, and with a print run can prove disastrous.

So POD is a realistic option, that means you can compare a printed book structure as above, with the figure produced by CreateSpace, and you will find it is not so very different at RRP level.

Which naturally brings us to Kindle and why it has been so successful. Quite simply ALL the production costs are removed as there is no physical book involved. With companies like CreateSpace and Lulu (the two companies I use) they now offer the full distribution and creation of Kindle books from YOUR manuscript. CreateSpace do not require you to buy a sample boo even, whereas Lulu. For my books I need a sample as it is not possible to get a real feel for them otherwise. Kindle at this time doesn't really suit the massive tomes I produce usually in excess of 600 pages A4, an full colour, but I am examining the possibilities of smaller breakdowns.

Text books are perfect for Kindle, so your novels are easy to get 'out there'. Think carefully about whwere you want them to appear. Think of Kindle as a big (massive!) library. Where would you go in your library to find your type of book? Romance, Hstorical Drama, Police, Psychological? etc. That's how to position yours on Kindle using 'Key Words'.

They also suggest prices no higher than $US9.99 max - and don't forget they also take 35-40% from the selling price. Hey they're not a charity! Seriously people should try to think volume over time, at very low prices, say max of $US3.99, and take $US1 - 1.50 as Royalty. If you have a runaway success terrific, if you don't rmember it has cost you precisely NOTHING to get the book published online with the world's biggest bookseller.

Fianlly (again?) note that you can go direct to eBook with all the POD publishers without having to go through the process of creating a print book for conversion. The end-logic speaks for itself doesn't it? Get a few printed books to swank about, and then go Kindle to try and make some money.


(Roger Bruton) #13

Thanks Glyn Pope for that. Hours of fun! :-) It's quite a learning curve, regarding the format, but I think I am getting the hang of it.

Thanks Norman Clark for all the info. I too, use Open Office, and it is very easy to get a presentable PDF file from the original document. If I could get a good result from using a PDF file I would, rather than converting it to EPUB - this seems to add a further level of complication and format problems. I have already been looking at CreateSpace and this seems to be the way forward for me.


(Norman Clark) #14

Sorry for the typos, but I don't see an 'edit' button here? 'alazon' is of course 'Amazon'


(Norman Clark) #15

Having refused to be bullied into buying the xpensive Word programme when I got my laptop, I opted for OpenOffice which works excellently. Their 'Text' area is the same as 'Doc' and although I have only converted to ePub once it worked fine.

However I have heard of others having problems and I note that alazon (owners of ePub) now offer conversions from PDF files as a matter of course, as do almost all the self-publishers now, so I wouldn't get distressed about it.

PDF Creators can be found Free all over the web, and Adobe is expensive, however for text documents at least there are three options under the 'Save as' scroll-down menu ' Save as PDF' is the easiest.

BUT remember unless you have Adobe few offer any editing facility to the files, so be absolutely sure your files is correct - spelling etc. as otherwise you will need to correct the original manuscript and produce a new file each time.

NB This is where the Vanity Publishers make their money incidentally - charging for each and every correction. These people are the 'Authors Wanted' mob - avoid like the plague!

With CreateSpace at least, and possibly others, you can see an online proof for correcting before finalising.

Last point. Remember that pagination ie numbering pages, doesn't mean anything on PDF files for ebooks! All pages become continuous as if it were a toilet roll unrolling. Yes you can go back and forwards to the shown page number, but it doesn't always tie in with any printed indices. In other words P54 of your manuscript will not appear as such on a contious roll, it could be P49 or somthing like that. It will be close but not exact.

ePub is not good for pictures as they end up all over the place even split. Use CreateSpace in this area and from a PDF file only. They are the experts, and they don't charge for it. Not sure about others like Blurb and Lulu, as I have got into the habit now of preparing my own files.

Oh two small points (learned from my own errors) I often work in two-pages so I can see how they interface with each other on pictures. Remember to always return to single-page format before creating a PDF file as it will try to put two pages into one usually by taking the middle area of the manuscript only.

Pictures MUST be a minimum (standard) of 300 psi. Most files get put together on a computer at 150 psi and they can be awful. This will mainly affect covers for most people (again note covers should always be separate PDF files and not within the text document, they are processed differently.


(Glyn Pope) #16

Doc to epub conversion. Calibre is superb. Been using it for years.

See http://calibre-ebook.com

and download!


(Roger Bruton) #17

Can anyone give me a recommendation/thoughts about DOC to EPUB conversion?


(Brian Milne) #18

I write supposedly 'scholarly' works in the human rights field, specialising in the human right of children. That is a niche, very specialised and for very limited lists. What writing does, like yourself Norman, is generate other work. New book makes me 'flavour of the month' so I get work on the back of it. Plus we have our closest shot at immortality on the shelves of copyright libraries until doomsday ;-)


(Norman Clark) #19

It depends on what you are doing precisely Brian. As I mentioned Saatchi sponsored my first book which immediately became required reading for their staff in 'developing markets'. They paid for the whole production - and didn't even ask for a credit! The staff books were the quid pro qu, but it also made the rounds and was instrumental in me getting contracts elsewhere in Eastern Europe and Vietnam -not to mention the Business Schools kudos. These were the indirect but still financial benefits of a sponsor.

My second book was then another Sponsorship by a big business operation out of Australia - granted friends of friends, who DID want a cover credit, which showed they were serious players - and so the ripples widen.

There is nothing like helping a reputation along than being 'published'. In many educational fields as Brian would know better than me, it is also required.

Writing novels is somewhat different of course but I do suggest people read the Kindle notes as although sometimes depressing as in content and length, it is still a good place to start, and youy still can see your book, as you can always buy hard copies for yourself at Author's price, so a lot of satisfactions can be gained.


(Brian Milne) #20

Mainly true what Norman is saying. The exception being that people like myself actually do write 'unique' books but for quite small, targeted readership. Self-publishing and on line versions are no good since libraries, the handful of copyright collections in particular, need one or two copies on paper then universities, specialist training colleges and institutions, NGOs and other international organisations and relatively few individuals, a few hundred at most, over the first three years is all. Usually electronic versions appear around six months after paper with these books. There is no money to be made really, in fact the hourly rate for work must work out in centimes rather than Euros!

However, here is the point, the battle with publishers is much the same. There are no hard rules in publishing except their ones, never try imposing your own. Norman is right, I have a publishing name in my field, not as often as the author but more often as editor of collections or contributor to edited books. They know though, so it helps immensely. Even then, unless somebody earns real money they must jump through hoops to be published. He or she who sells well early in writing career can either stick with the same publisher who will take new titles easily or work their way up to ones with bigger markets and marketing, thus sell more and earn more, particularly from them. Sales commission is miserable so never be mislead by the handful of successful authors who become millionaires, they are one off in so many tens of thousands worldwide. In fact, selling on rights for international translation, sales and then the actual return per copy is what makes millions, not a home market.

Norman is right about sponsors, there is an alternative which is what happens in my case, peer reviewing. The publisher gives a couple of chapters to some people in my field who scrutinise it. They allow for the fact that they sometimes, perhaps often, go to rivals or even 'enemies' who would slap down anything anybody else writes. It is done anonymously, but they all too often recognise style so it is never as anonymous as assumed. Publishers are cautious with sponsors and peer reviews because they often come loaded with bias in favour to try to push publication. Therefore, whichever route you find yourself going down, look for objectivity from sponsors and should you be asked to provide names of possible peer reviewers do not give people who are obviously only 'friends', your mother or third cousin. Get caught out and you are back to negotiating with publishers which is time consuming and frustrating.

Apart from that, not age but a great deal to say Norman, however trying not to make each answer impossibly long. That, my friend, is wisdom!