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text 2015-08-04 21:01
Letter From the Author
Interest - Kevin Gaughen

Update: The author did have a professional editor.


Hi, Jessica!


You know what? You're right. I should get rid of that stupid letter.


As a first-time novelist, I was worried that the book might be full of mistakes. After going cross-eyed from working on the book for 12 months straight, I started to feel that I was too close to the material to spot errors. I figured putting that note in there would divert people's critiquing energies into sending me helpful emails instead of roasting the book in reviews. I hadn't considered that the note itself might be putting people off. 


Would you be so kind as to have that follower of your blog send me a message with her address? I'll send her a print copy. :)


Thanks for your insight! I'm new to this and I really appreciate the help.



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text 2015-08-04 06:13
Reading progress update: I've read 50 out of 308 pages.
Interest - Kevin Gaughen

Update: This is a polished book. The author did have an editor.  Book gets way better.


Okay, now I am seeing problems. This author really needs to redeem himself, and soon, or this book is DNF.


Eventually Len figured it out: you weren't supposed to do anything during shikantaza, because doing itself was the problem. The brain was always doing stuff.


The beginning was great, then it started to read like a middle grade novel. I have noticed a couple of instances where he used a word that would have been better off with an alternative choice. Like the use of stuff in the above excerpt.

The author sent out 200 hundred physical copies of this in a Goodreads giveaway. (This was another book from my drunken night on the internet.) I now am maybe thinking that some of the opinions that some of you posted in my comments section of my last post were correct. Why would he have 200 hundred copies printed out, then pay for postage on an unpolished book? That is very costly.


I do so love the cover art by Benjamin Ee. If this author doesn't pull something out of his ass soon, at least I will have nice decorative piece.

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text 2013-08-28 06:39
Self-publishing vs traditional publishing

The blogosphere is full of articles about self-publishing versus traditional publishing. And I love how self-publishing has shaken up the (very) cobwebby industry, so here are my two cents worth:
Firstly, let me quickly explain what I mean by traditional publishing. Traditional publishing is done by either a large publishing house (think Penguin, Pearson, Pan Macmillan, etc.) or a smaller independent publisher (like Wordsmack). These publishers pay authors a royalty. The royalty percentage differs from publisher to publisher, but most pay 10%-15% although this is changing with the advent of epublishing. There are also vanity publishers who publish your books for a fee – this is a completely different form of publishing that is not being discussed here.
So, what exactly does a publisher do for you? 
Firstly, you get a brutally honest answer about whether your story is worth publishing or saving. Fear of rejection, I guess, is why a lot of people self-publish … I had a long conversation with an author who said that all authors should self-publish because publishers take too big a cut.  A few weeks later, I see she has found a publisher …
Secondly, if your book is accepted, you have a company who backs you, who believes in you and who wants to make you the best writer you can be.  A lot of very big publishers might not cultivate young talent, but there are small publishers, like us, whose goal in life is to develop new authors and a writing community in Africa. That, and winning the lottery, the European lottery.
Thirdly, and this is the most important, there are all the costs that the publisher carries: editing, proofreading, cover design, typesetting, illustrations/photos, marketing, etc. You don’t pay for anything and if you do, you are with a vanity publisher. Therefore, publishers have a vested interest, they want your book to sell and sell well. If your book doesn’t sell, the publisher makes a loss.
This article on one of my favourite websites explains it quite well: http://io9.com/the-7-most-common-misconceptions-about-science-fiction-1189361443
So, marketing, how hard can it be? There seems to be a lot of self-published authors who do really well. Every day there is at least one author who comes out and says how well they’ve done, how easy it was, what worked for them and tells everyone that they should do it too. However, I am sure that for every successful author, there are at least ten who aren’t successful. This could also be because their writing sucks, but often that has nothing to do with it. Some people are born self-marketers. They write blogs, are extremely active on social media, have time in the evenings to punt their books and they have connections. Most authors aren’t like this though – they love to write in their little corners at night after a long day of work, but they don’t have time or the energy for all the rest.


Source: wordsmacked.blogspot.com/2013/08/self-publishing-vs-traditional.html
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text 2013-08-23 05:34
Slushpile or something else?

You've put your heart and soul into a book. You've followed the submission guidelines. What happens now? 

In South Africa, it gets added to a slush pile. This is because we don't have an agent model - in other countries you send it to an agent and it gets added to their slush pile - a completely different process ensues, but eventually the same applies from step 1 onwards.
In South Africa, if you're lucky, you send it to a small enough publishing house that still reads all its manuscripts. Your manuscript then goes through the following process: 
It gets rejected. 
OR You get some notes from the publisher, which include some suggestions, ideas and questions that you can follow, or not, and resubmit. If you resubmit and the publisher likes it enough, you can go to the next step, if not, do not pass GO. 
OR The publisher wants to publish it right away. This then follows the following process: 
1. You sign a letter of intent giving the publisher the sole option to publish the book. 
2. The book gets sent to a professional editor who does two things: 

  •  A developmental edit: this includes suggestions for anything from major changes to minor tweaks. This process can take weeks or months depending on the level of changes that have to be made. It includes an ongoing dialogue between you and the editor to make your story as good as possible. 
  • A copy edit: when the editor is happy with the manuscript, they do, basically, a very thorough proofread where they change whatever they think will make the reading of the story even better. 
3. The publisher converts the manuscript into the correct format - for print: they get  typesetters to typeset it in inDesign, for ebooks, they put it in whichever formats they want to publish it in (Kindle, Kobo, Nook, iBooks Author etc). 
4. Proofreading: the book gets proofread by a professional proofreader and checked by the author. 
5. The publisher collates these changes. 
6. The changes get applied to the electronic manuscript by a typesetter. 
The last three steps can be repeated until the publisher is happy with the final manuscript. How many times this is done depends on the length, the complexity and state of the book at this stage. 
7. The publisher signs off the book. 
8. It gets published. 
This process excludes: cover design, any other design elements inside the book and the marketing drive.
Good luck with the writing!
Source: wordsmacked.blogspot.com/2013/08/what-happens-when-you-send-your-book-to.html
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