Tag Archives: editing your writing

Quick Guide to eBook Publishing with Amazon KDP – Part 1

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One of my local writers’ groups asked if I’d give them a quick run through of the process of publishing an eBook using Amazon KDP, and I thought it made sense to share this on the blog too for anyone who has never tried publishing an eBook before, but would like to give it a go. I’ve broken down the whole process into five stages, so I’ll publish each as a separate part in a short series. Part 1 is a biggie:

Write Your eBook!

The beauty of eBooks is that they don’t have to be a specific length. A standard traditionally published novel might be around 80,000-120,000 words, a romance novel might tend to sit around the 50,000-55,000 word mark. These are accepted norms for physical books where publishers need to consider costs of paper and printing, how the book will look on the shelf, the thickness of the spine for printing the title and author name, and so forth. With an eBook, you are not bound by the constraints of traditional publishing, so if your magnum opus turns out to be 300,000 words long, that’s absolutely fine – in fact, there is some evidence to suggest readers prefer longer eBooks. Conversely, you can publish a stand-alone short story as an eBook if you so desire (and many people do) – though you’d be advised to make it clear in your blurb and in your pricing strategy that it’s a short story so readers don’t feel short-changed and leave you poor reviews.

Whatever the length of your book, the most important thing is to do your very best to make your manuscript error-free. This is incredibly difficult. It’s not unheard of to spot typos in traditionally published books produced by publishing companies with professional editors and proofreaders, so as a lone self-publisher you need to pay particular attention to this aspect of the publication process. You can pay for professional help with your edits and proofing, but this can be very expensive (you need to consider if this is justifiable – how many copies of your eBook will you have to sell to cover the cost? Is this realistic?). If you decide not to go down the professional route, you need an alternative strategy.

To start with, you need to check and re-check your manuscript yourself. This is usually most effective if you leave a period of time between the end of the writing process and your read through. It also helps to read aloud (amazing what you notice when you do this). And you may find it helpful to read the text in different formats – if you usually read on your laptop screen, try printing out a hard copy, or emailing the manuscript to your e-reader and checking through it in different fonts. Next, if you have access to a writing group, or some like-minded friends, you can ask them if they will act as beta readers for you. Ask them to read through the manuscript, looking out for typos, as well as clunky sentence structure and anything else which seems odd, doesn’t follow, or is inconsistent. Once you get their feedback, make all the final amendments, then leave it for a while before your final read through.

Then stop. It’s incredibly nerve-wracking self-publishing an eBook, but you have to let your book-baby go sometime. We writers are terrible for tinkering, and there will never be a time when you are completely happy with your manuscript. But you have to draw the line somewhere otherwise the project will never be finished. In any case, another great thing about the eBook is that even if you spot an error after you’ve published it (or more likely, one of your readers does), you can always correct and re-upload the text at any time.

So, I hope that was a helpful start in the self-publishing process – catch up with Part 2 of the series next week.

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In NANO revision, no-one can hear you scream…

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So, it’s like this: I completed my 50,000 word draft for NANOWRIMO back in November.  I told myself I would put it aside for the whole of December (which was just as well given the whole Christmas thing…) and in the new year, with the perspective which comes with distance, I’d pick it up again, and start work in earnest knocking it into shape.  Well, we’re now two days into the new year, and have I joyously re-read my draft? Have I fixed the holes in the plot?  Eradicated the contradictions?  Er….what do you think?

Partly this is my usual procrastination.  There’s no better housewife than a writer with revisions to do.  I can find all manner of other jobs which absolutely need to be done before I can even think about sitting down with such a big project as a whole novel.  I’ve written my piece for one of the writers’ groups.  I’ve subbed a story to one of the women’s mags.  I’ve even taken down the Christmas decorations.  But I’ve not touched the novel.

I wish it were just laziness – the awful thought of having to come up with solutions to the problems I know currently exist with the book.  But it’s more than that – it’s fear.  The whole joy of NANO is the liberation in putting your inner editor to one side and simply getting on with the writing.  But now I have to invite the inner editor back.  And I’m scared that when I start reading, she’s going to hate the whole thing.

Tomorrow.  Tomorrow, I’ll make a start.  Maybe.  Unless I can find some ironing to do… 😉

A helpful tool for writers…

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I suppose the purists might think this was cheating, but I guess most writers could do with a little extra assistance every now and again, so I pass on these details for anyone interested.

As an experienced writer, you know that too many adverbs can weaken your prose, that you should avoid clichés, and that you should watch out for repetition – but knowing all this doesn’t always make it easy to spot these kinds of things in your own work.  Enter “EditMinion” the online robotic copy editor! Simply cut and paste a chunk of your text into the EditMinion page, press “edit” – and, hey presto, all your writing flaws are highlighted – in a range of jolly colours.

Of course, it won’t sort all your writing difficulties overnight, but it’s a handy gadget to check for sloppiness creeping into your work – and it only takes a minute or two.  If you fancy giving it a try, go to http://editminion.com/