Friday, February 21, 2014

February meeting of Tooele Writers: self publishing and more!

Some of the features of self-publishing were discussed at the Tooele Writer’s meeting Thursday evening, as well as the chapter blog, membership to the League of Utah Writers, upcoming meetings and other miscellaneous items.

“The writing world has changed,” chapter president Laura Bastian said.

Bastian said when she started attending Tooele Writers there was a negative stigma associated with self-publishing, and that stigma seems to have faded over the past five years.

Here are some of the highlights from the meeting:

Thursday’s information on self-publishing focused on making sure books are really ready before they’re published. Several people attested to the importance of paying for professional edits, book covers and, when necessary, other publishing skills like book formatting.

Laura Bastian introduced attendees to Susan Kaye Quinn, author of Indie Author Survival Guide.  One of the topics discussed in the book and at the meeting was how self-publishers price books, including using $0.99 and free books as loss-leaders.

Nicole Grane, author of the Immortal Wounds series and the Pinehurst series said she places the first book in a genre or series for free, but only when she has other books in the series ready to sell. This strategy has worked very well for her, allowing her to make definite progress toward her financial goals.

She also said it’s important for authors to provide both digital and hard copies of their books.

Her other advice: “Pay someone to edit your book,” she said. “After they’re done, read it again.”
Nicole shared her notes on self-publishing with Create Space and e-book formats. These notes will be posted here on the blog sometime this week.

Some of the differences between self-publishing and traditional publishing were discussed. Traditional publishing takes care of things like book covers and formatting, while self-publishing allows authors to 
change their book covers if they need to and otherwise maintain control of their final products.

Robert Ott, author of Belle, said he joint published. He pays for some of the services but as the book sells, he splits income equally with his publisher.

“I have final say on what happens with the book,” he said.

The basic idea from this discussion was authors should think things through before they publish a book.

“If you self-publish, do it smart,” Bastian said. “Do it right. If you decide to go with a traditional publisher, make sure you know what you’ve got in your contract.”

Tooele Writers is a chapter of the League of Utah Writers. While anyone is welcome to attend Tooele Writers meetings, attendees are encouraged to join League of Utah Writers as well.

Yearly membership costs $25. Benefits include discounts on League of Utah Writers conferences, help paying for guest speakers, and a subscription to The Quill, the League of Utah Writer’s quarterly magazine, which includes ‘chapter chatter’ sections where authors can announce upcoming book launches and other news.

Tooele Writer members also reported receiving valuable feedback on writings entered into League of Utah Writers writing contests.

The most recent information for Tooele Writers is available at the Tooele Writer’s group page on Facebook.  Contact Laura Bastian at if you’d like an invitation to join the group.

Meanwhile, starting in February, the blog will be updated at least once a month with highlights from the monthly meetings. There may be additional blog posts addressing writing-related topics. Links to the blog posts will be posted on the Facebook group.

Tooele Writers meets every third Thursday at 6:30 PM at the Tooele City Library. Meetings for the next three months are currently planned as follows:

March—Features of Scrivener and YWriter…including a drawing for a free copy of Scrivener software!
April—Cooperatives (trading skills like formatting, editing, and book cover creation)
May—Creating critique groups and finding beta readers

Future meetings may incorporate an author meet-and-greet night and information on taxes for writers.


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