Home » Editing, Self-Publishing, The Business of Writing » Author Overhead, Pt. 1

Author Overhead, Pt. 1

10 March 2017

From the Draft2Digital blog:

One of the burdens shouldered by indie authors is the overhead of the business. With a traditional publishing contract, some of that overhead is mitigated. The author isn’t asked to pay directly for cover design, layout, or distribution—though ultimately the cost of these services is factored into the royalty deal between the author and the publisher.

Having those expenses covered up front can be one advantage of going traditional. But as an independent author, all those expenses and more may fall on your shoulders alone. In this two-part series, we’ll look at some of the expenses and overhead you’ll take on for your indie author business, and those you should avoid.

First, The Unavoidable

Death. Taxes. Overhead for your author career. There are some things you just can’t avoid.

Author overhead can be a bit tricky, though, when it comes to the ‘unavoidable.’ Because for the most part, there really are no barriers to entry in this business. Anyone with access to a public library’s internet connection can write and publish for free. Whether that book becomes a success, however, comes down to pure luck unless there is an investment on the part of the author.

A good rule of thumb when it comes to a successful author business is to accept that there will always be a cost to pay. You may pay that in dollars, as we’re discussing here. Or you may pay it in time—whether that means taking the time to do all the work yourself, or enduring the time it takes for your book to reach an audience without any investment on your part. One way or another, Overhead takes her due.

In that sense, it’s easier to just think of any money you spend as a shortcut for time. If you can pay for services to be rendered, you’ll save both the time to do the work yourself and the time spent waiting for readers to look past the flaws of your book and give it a chance. Overhead may be unavoidable, but it doesn’t have to be a burden.

. . . .

It’s true, you can edit your work yourself. Particularly if you are skilled at copyediting—finding typos, grammar gaffs, and logical omissions in writing. If you are meticulous enough, you can certainly find and fix any errors that appear in your work.

That’s good news for many authors, who pride themselves on being savvy perfectionists. But the truth is even the keenest editing eyes among us have trouble objectively reviewing their own work.

Editing your own book can save you a few hundred dollars, but what it doesn’t save you is time. The fact is, when you edit your own work you spend more time reading and rereading and re-rereading. It can slow down the release of your book by weeks or even months. This is due to a bit of hardwiring in the human brain.

Humans are wired to look for shortcuts. Think of stereotypes: If I say ‘doctor’ or ‘nurse,’ there’s a very good chance you pictured a man first and a woman second. Never mind the fact that in our much more enlightened age women can be doctors and men can be nurses. There’s a pre-wired pattern (learned from years of cognitive bias) that makes you fall back on a stereotype in the absence of any other evidence. The stereotype is a shortcut for you brain, so that it doesn’t have to work as hard to create a mental image.

. . . .

The way this impacts our editing is simple: We wrote what we wrote, and we know what we meant.

When we’re reading our own work again (and again, and again) we’re often seeing our intention rather than the actual words on the page. This is how you can read the same sentence a dozen times and never realize you left out a “the” or even a noun or a verb. You have a built-in expectation of those words being there—your brain is biased to expect them so the sentence will make logical sense. As you read, your brain fires up its shortcut and inserts the missing words into the flow, even though they do not appear on the page.

Link to the rest at Draft2Digital and thanks to Alexis for the tip.

Editing, Self-Publishing, The Business of Writing

41 Comments to “Author Overhead, Pt. 1”

  1. Ah, another ‘you can’t do it alone — you need trad-pub’ piece.

    I don’t know (maybe someone here can tell me) which is harder and more expensive; finding/paying for an editor/artist and formatting it for ebooks and print, or fighting through all the rejections to find first an agent (there goes 15%) and then a publisher (there goes any rights and control over what they will now do to/with your story well past the end of your life).

    • The latter, hands down.

    • >Ah, another ‘you can’t do it alone — you need trad-pub’ piece.

      That’s not what I read there. It’s more about how indies are having to do the job of trad pub themselves, and what the job entails. Many, many people publish books with no idea at all what’s involved, how much work there is to it, and how much money they may need to spend to do it right. Then they’re on the forums asking why their book isn’t selling.

      I believe there is sweat equity, monetary investment, or some level of both involved. It can be done by yourself with little to no money involved, but it’s going to be exponentially more difficult if there’s no money at all to be had (not everyone has lattes to give up, or stuff to sell, or the ability to take on another job, or whatever is the latest elitist meme).

      And there’s a huge learning curve, even if one has money to put into it. There’s not much point in buying covers, or hiring editors, or whatever, if you don’t have the basic knowledge on what works. You’ll likely spend the money for nothing, and still have to pay out more.

  2. Draft2Digital is an indie author service, so I don’t think they are pushing tradpub. To me, it reads more like they are pushing editing/art/marketing services for indie authors. Maybe through their affiliates?
    Although I WISH good editing cost only a “few hundred dollars.” Good PROOFREADING for a 100K novel costs a lot more than that.

  3. Listening to your work with text to voice helps with distinguishing what your brain assumes is there or meant to write and what’s actually there.

    • That’s a great tip because it eliminates the human error.

      I know an author who changes the font of the m.s., prints it out, and then reads the entire thing aloud. Lots of cool ideas out there. 🙂

      • I move my manuscripts to my kindle with the ‘Send to Kindle’ add-on, and I find reading it in the totally different format pops a lot of errors out of the text.

      • I switch the text formatting to split columns on a landscape layout, and always find something new. Changing it up from a full page of text really makes a difference in what I see on the page.

    • Text-to-speech proofreading works really well for me. The typos/repeated words/skipped words leap out.

    • Another trick to text-to-voice (if your app or machine has the capability) is to use a different accent. I noticed I pay closer attention to a British accent than I do an American one.

  4. “The fact is, when you edit your own work you spend more time reading and rereading and re-rereading.”

    Yes, and that’s a GOOD thing, because you will keep thinking of and adding tiny improvements, new ideas or better ways of saying something. And you will really notice the slightly boring bits, because they are the bits you’re reluctant to read more than once, and you can deal with them before they bore your readers.

  5. and you can also ask your first readers for reports of any errors they find and quickly correct your ebook.
    one author I follow is doing that in a thread on good reads for her latest book.

    yes it would be great if you caught everything before putting it out, but I certainly dont look down on her for doing this.

    I do think this kind of process is only appropriate for proof reading, not for some other editing tasks.

    • This is one of the truly great things about ebooks and also print on demand: you can catch typos or even rewrite portions of your books whenever you want, and forever. Try doing that with a book that has a several thousand copy print run after the publisher has screwed up the formatting.

      We all try to be perfect right out of the gate…but then it turns out that we are all human 🙂

      • All the more reason for everyone, trad or indie published, to have a clear system for the reporting of typos and other errors. I’d much rather tell the author about them and give her a chance to make corrections than write a review that complains about small errors. When there’s a website with a “contact” link I use it but often this is not the case.

  6. Yay! My lousy memory is a skill! By the time I get to the end of a book I’ve forgotten all but the gist of the beginning.

    But it’s still smart to pay a proofreader and/or copyeditor for those final steps. Anything that someone else can do as well as you if not better… hire them.

  7. See, the thing is, I actually enjoy the business part (COO in my prior life) — I get a bang out of being able to do anything I want in my business setup (none of those pesky employees yet).

    I long ago decided there were very few elements of the indie process that were in principle off-limits to me. Really, just one: I am never going to be able to draw, nor design as well as a pro (I’ve worked with many creatives for website design). Even for covers, though, I do lots of the cover elements myself (branding, authorname, blurb) on top of a cover artist’s background.

    Everything else, and I mean everything, is hands-on. Even if I become wildly successful someday and need to focus primarily on producing more product and hire support, I want to know exactly what needs to be done, so that I can properly direct a third party or hire in doing it.

    So I look upon these early years as an indie (started in 2012) as my training for when I get large enough to make a real business out of it and have the welcome problem of needing to hire help.

  8. costs
    a chair
    a desk
    a laptop
    all tax deductible
    a pen
    a printer
    all tax deductible

    cover, DIY
    readers, smart friends
    proofers, smart friends
    the beer and ‘za are tax deductible

    type into pdf or ms word
    check formatting
    a couple hours to learn, then upload in 20 mins max for kobo, sony, itunes, kindle, b and n online

    20 mins for each completed book.

    I dont see the stress and ah strain and oh so hard.
    Like anything else, you can train that pony to the saddle
    with diligence, study and kindness.

    Now, if only horses were tax deductible for formatting ebooks.

  9. Does anyone here use LaTeX to format for Createspace?

  10. Read the book out of order, that really helps catch typos!

    I have gone paragraph by paragraph backward through an entire manuscript.

    Still things get missed. The most stubborn typo was one that was missed by me (when I wrote it), THREE editors over the years, a bunch of beta readers, and lots of readers.

    It happens.

    • I feel for you, Veronica. Same thing happened to me on my first book.

      If a reader catches something and send me a nice note about it, I always find a way to reward the reader.

      • I actually hired a reader (who was also an editor) after she wrote a nice note about a typo. She was the one that finally caught the aforementioned stubborn typo!

  11. 1. It’s good that Anonymous didn’t use his real name, since his comment (“Ah, another ‘you can’t do it alone — you need trad-pub’ piece”) shows that he didn’t read the piece, which did NOT advocate going trad-pub.

    2. The writer had good points that more self-publishers should take to heart. His best, I think, was that nearly all self-publishers are incompetent as cover designers. If you look through entries at the monthly cover design contest at The Book Designer, you’ll see this is true.

    Most submissions are by writers who designed their own covers–and it shows. Joel Friedlander offers gentle criticism of some of those covers; others he lets pass without comment, probably because they’re so bad that the writer/designer wouldn’t understand any criticism anyway.

    Almost without exception, when I look at covers designed by a writer who praises his own covers, I find the covers to be lacking in basic artistry and arrangement. Font selection and type placement are almost always poor.

    These people crow that they’ve saved a few hundred dollars by not using professional designers, but they don’t factor in that their amateurish covers depress sales. The cost of a top-flight cover can be covered by the sale of fewer than 200 extra copies. Homegrown covers could drive away easily ten times that number of sales. They’re a false economy.

    • That may be true, but for someone who’s just starting out in the indie world, hiring a cover artist can be overwhelming, even assuming your budget isn’t $0. First, you have to make sure that your cover artist is reputable, and actually worthwhile, as well as affordable. There are plenty of horror stories out there of authors who pay $$, $$$, or even $$$$ for a cover and either receive something that looks slopped together, or worse, gets nothing at all. The artist takes the money and runs, or just keeps delaying, offering excuses for their tardiness and promises that they’ll have it to you “just as soon as I’ve dealt with this emergency.”

      And then you’ve got the issue of rights. Unless the artist is truly naive about such things (in which case, they probably aren’t going to get you a great cover unless they’ve got enormous native talent, in which you’re doing them a disservice by taking advantage of their naivete), you’re not just going to be buying “the cover.” You’re going to be buying a set of limited rights to use it, and you need to consider how those limitations will affect your use of it, and particularly your bookkeeping to make sure you don’t violate those terms.

      If there’s a royalty, or you’ve only bought the right to x number of copies sold, you have to keep track of those things. I’ve seen several situations go very sour because the author had Life happen, let the bookkeeping slide while they dealt with it, and then found all those backed-up numbers too overwhelming to deal with, so they had no idea what they owed, or whether they’d used up the number of copies they were allowed. Pretty soon the suspicions began to arise, followed by accusations of malfeasance.

      Alternatively, you may find it easier to just buy time-limited rights to the cover — pay the money, mark the calendar to remind you when they expire, and you have no other numbers to keep track of. But it means you assume all the risk — if the sales don’t happen, the rights still expire on the same day as if the book is selling like crazy. And if the expiration date hits right while you’re in the middle of dealing with a life emergency and you’re not where you can renegotiate rights or find a new cover, you need to get that book unpublished, stat. Let that slide, and you’re violating the terms of the rights you’ve bought. Every. Single. Day.

      It becomes even more complicated if you’re using that cover image to produce promotional items (t-shirts, mugs, mousepads, etc.), as opposed to simple promotion (fliers, postcards, advertisements, etc). Using the cover in regular advertising materials is pretty much presupposed, and generally doesn’t require a separate element in your contract, but promotional items that have an inherent usefulness beyond their ability to advertise your product may require a separate consideration.

      At least with hiring editors (structural, continuity, copy-) and proofreaders, you’re buying a simple product. Not so with buying a cover, because it’s an intellectual property, not a service.

      • Almost none of what you write is accurate.

        Go to The Book Designer. Look at the monthly cover contest. Examine several months’ worth of entries. You’ll find two or three cover designers nabbing most of the top awards and plaudits. Use their services.

        These are reputable people who have been producing top-notch covers for years. Their websites make it clear that there is much back-and-forth with the author so that nothing looks “slopped together.” These people work on tight schedules, sometimes down to the day. They don’t leave their clients in limbo. They’re still in business because they handle the business part well.

        Each of these firms gives the author complete rights to the cover. There are no restrictions and no time limits. Once you pay, the cover is yours, to do with as you please. These designers extract no royalties, just flat one-time fees that are clearly indicated up front. There is no limit placed on the number of copies sold.

        (For them, the more copies you sell, the better: it’s free advertising, since there is a requirement that you mention the cover designer on your credits page.)

        These services, as described above, are for stock, royalty-free images. There is no further fee for the first 500,000 books sold. (These are the terms for the designer I most frequently use.) It’s not likely that many people reading this thread will sell 500,000 copies of any book. If they do, then they won’t quibble about a supplemental licensing fee.

        The problems you list are non-problems, if an author goes with a designer such as the ones I describe. If he goes with someone recommended by his cousin Vinnie, then you may have a point. Otherwise, what you’ve written is overwrought.

  12. I don’t think one-size-fits all advice works for self-publishing.

    I broke down and paid for a professional cover for my epic sci-fi novel, but mostly because I was also springing for a professional audio book narrator. So it was kind of in for a penny, in for a pound.

    On the other hand, I designed my own cover for my short book of cartoons, and I’m very happy with it and it gets plenty of downloads.

    It really depends so much on what a writer can afford and what kind of book they are publishing. If you’re a rich investment banker and you wrote a fast paced thriller, sure, it can’t hurt to pay for professional services. But if you’re a minimum wage barista, and you’ve written a 200,000 word experimental novel about a minimum wage barista, you should probably save your money.

    Those writers who are cranking out genre books regularly, and who understand how to market and make money on Amazon probably know whether or not they need professional services. But I suspect the average writer just testing the waters of self-publishing is not likely to make their money back hiring cover creators and editors. It might make more sense to save their money and spend it on their third or fourth self published book.

    • As I wrote above, the cost of a cover design can be covered by the sale of relatively few books.

      To take but one example, BookFly Design (one of the best out there) charges $549 for an ebook cover. Let’s say your ebook is priced at Amazon at $3.99. Your per-copy royalty is $2.79. That means you need to sell 197 additional copies to pay for the cover.

      If you don’t think a top-notch cover, as compared to a do-it-yourself cover, will sell that many more copies, then what you’re saying is that you don’t think your book will sell well regardless. In that case, perhaps you shouldn’t be writing books, at least not if you’re doing so to generate an income. (If writing is just a hobby, then low sales–or no sales–won’t matter to you.)

      If you think your book’s maximum sales would be 500 copies no matter what, then it’s likely that no cover, no matter how fine, would generate enough extra sales to cover the cost of professional design.

      On the other hand, if you think that your book could generate several thousand copies in sales, and if you recognize that a well-done cover could mean double the sales of a lousy cover, you do yourself a disservice if you don’t use a professional designer.

      • That’s all car salesmen talk. “Don’t you deserve to be driving a quality vehicle that projects success so others know you are someone important?” “If you consider how many miles you’ll be driving, it will cost less that one cents a mile to get the leather heated seats…”

        Let’s talk reality. 197 sales at $3.99 is more than the vast majority of writers will ever make on their self-published books. Most will be lucky to see 100 sales at .99 cents. Many will see zero sales.

        Will a better cover help sales? Probably. But having a better cover is simply not enough. There are some terrific covers out there on books with virtually no sales. (Sometimes good books with no sales.) There are some author designed covers that work fine.

        There are roughly three basic categories of self-published indy authored books:

        1. Novels that don’t sell. These might not sell for a variety of reasons, including bad covers. But they also might not sell because they don’t fit in any genre, don’t have subject matter that appeals to a broad audience, might be badly written, badly edited, bad blurbs, the writer doesn’t make any effort to market, writer doesn’t know how to market, bad blurbs, bad timing etc. A better cover might have helped a little bit in these situations, but it is still very likely it would pay for itself.

        2. Novels that sell because they are viral or the authors are viral. This category would include some of the biggest hits like The Martian and Fifty Shades of Grey. These are works that built an audience first through forums and on blogs and had buyers before they even came out on Amazon. While they both ended up with professional covers, it was after they were already established successes. Hugh Howey’s early work also took off with covers he made himself (some of which he admits sucked). He still designs some of his own covers. This category also includes some writers who establish niches with goofy or offbeat books, some marketed simply as permafree or for .99 which are unlikely to be helped by slick professional covers. (A lot of cartoon meme books fall in that category and sell in part because the covers are offbeat looking. My MacToons falls into that category.)

        3. Novels that sell well because because the author is smart about business and marketing. These are books that smartly target genres, with authors who understand how to market in the first 30 days of Amazon, that have mailing lists of readers to support early sales, understand how to use paid ads, etc. Yes, books by these kinds of indy writers undoubtedly benefit by having very professional looking covers, and most often, the covers are professionally designed. But even in those cases some of the authors design their own covers or use stock templates.

        (Note: you can be a good or bad writer and fall into any of those categories. Maybe you’re a terrific writer but you just can’t market yourself and you never sell. Sometimes a writer who isn’t so good goes viral because they tap into something in popular culture, and sometimes a marginal writer can get great sales with slick marketing.)

        The vast majority of indy writers are simply not going to ever get into category three, either because they can’t or don’t want to spend the time to get there, or they simply don’t have the combination of skills to make it there. Most are going to fall into category one. Covers are only one of the problems they might have, and might not even be the biggest problem. The lucky ones will rise to category two, and covers won’t play a huge role either way.

        Not all professional covers help sales. Otherwise, you would have cover designers lining up to agree to fix covers of books for free in exchange for a cut of future profits. (You have just such a market in audiobooks, where there are narrators who will work for free to narrate popular ebooks for a cut of the profits. They do this, even though it is a lot more work than designing a cover, because there is a very good chance of serious income. But, yes, they are picky about the books they will agree to narrate.)

        The other problem is, once you made a decision to pay for a professional cover, how much do you pay? There are stock covers you can get for as little as $50. Others will charge much more. Should a new writer pay $50 or $500? Is there a clear financial payback from paying more? Would the difference be better spent in advertising? Does a writer take a chance by wasting $50 on a cover, only to then try to get sales with a $500 cover, and then find they don’t have sales on either? Should they then spend $1000 chasing after sales? Also, not every cover designer is great. Some people have spend good money on professional covers that don’t look so good and don’t sell books.

        I’m not against professional covers. I think that most professional cover designers are worth what they ask. The best ones will get a ton of work, because if their covers are great and sell books, writers will flock to them.

        But there shouldn’t be any need to hype potential clients with “you’ll pay for this with just 100 sales” talk. 100 sales is a lot for a writer starting out. No one is helped by promoting unrealistic expectations among new indy writers. This appeal to the ego with “if you really believe in your book your should be willing to spend money” sounds kind of slimy. A new writer probably needs to start their career giving away ebooks or charging only .99 cents until they build an audience. If they charge $3.99 to try to pay for a $549 cover, they may end up shooting themselves in the foot at the moment they have a chance to go viral. Writers who can easily afford professional covers know who they are don’t have to be hyped into it. Writers who can’t really afford it, should not be making these decisions based on the assumption covers will quickly pay for themselves.

        Self-publishing can both be a hobby and something one hopes to profit from. But you don’t make profits if you waste a lot of money on expenses without proof that sales will follow.

        As I said before, there’s no one size fits all for self-publishers. But someone just starting out should be very cautious about spending money until they really understand all the complex factors to why some books sell and others don’t. Cover art is very important, but are many more factors in play a big part too.

        • The “it will pay for itself in xxx quick sales” may or not be true but few can actually know it in advance. However, since nobody writes a book expecting it won’t sell it is a common line used by Vanity Presses.

          That is not an argument an honest service provider should be using.

        • I agree with most of what you have written, but I’d like to see verification of your claim that most writers won’t even sell 100 copies at $0.99.

          Granted, many people write exactly one book (often autobiographical and dull) that not even their closest friends honestly want to read, and the book doesn’t sell at all. Then it’s out of their system.

          But I was referring to writers who have more than one book in them (or think they do), who actually have a story to tell or a non-fiction point to make, and who have at least modest facility in composition. Those people sell fewer than 100 copies, even though many of them write book after book?

          I suppose there must be some such gluttons for punishment, but, if a writer can’t sell more than 100 copies–either because of bad writing, bad editing, bad design, bad marketing, or bad luck–and doesn’t know how to resolve the problem, then he shouldn’t be wasting his time, IF he is writing in hopes of earning at least a partial living.

          (As I said in an earlier comment, if he just wants to write and doesn’t care whether anyone reads what he writes, fine. That’s a different case.)

          If the average writer doesn’t sell more than 100 copies at $0.99 sense, then he makes at most $35.00 from his efforts, at Amazon’s royalty rates. This is for hundreds of hours of work. I don’t think such numbers represent the average writer.

          I don’t have figures available, but my recollection (I don’t remember where I read it: Author Earnings?) is that most people who consider themselves at least semi-professional writers earn in the low five figures: not enough to live on, but a decent supplement to a regular wage. Such people need to pay attention to such things as covers (and, yes, marketing and the rest) because a tweak here or there can result in a substantial change to the bottom line.

          • I have not been compiling data, but having read blogs and comments on this subject for over five years, I’ve heard endless stories from writers who put up books and then have zero sales. The common expression is “crickets.” This includes writers who complain they spent a lot of money on covers and editing and ended up with very few sales or no sales (other than from free days). If you’re seriously interested in some case stories, you could go to Kboards and post asking people to share examples. Or just simply scan writer forums for all the writers asking advice on how to get sales because they don’t have any.

            In terms of hard data, a quick check of Author’s Earnings indicates in 2016 there were less than 10,000 indy writers earning over $10,000 a year. Amazon has over six million books. I suspect that 10,000 is a very, very small percentage of the writers who are self-publishing. (And probably includes some writers writing under two names.)


            Certainly, someone earning over $10,000 a year should consider themselves to be semi-professional. But I’m also sure any writer who is making over $10,000 a year already understands what to do about covers. Odds are most do hire professional designers or at least have some good design skills themselves.

            But assuming the hypothetical new writer who “has more than one book in them” and at least a “modest facility in composition,” presuming they aren’t wealthy, they are probably better off keeping expenses on their first few books as low as possible while they experiment and learn marketing. That might mean designing their own covers, or using cheap stock templets, or getting a talented friend to do something for free.

            They will then feel better about giving books away for free and building an audience. Whatever they make in sales will be profit. Then they will be better able to know how to wisely spend their money on future books. If, as you imply, a $529 cover is all that is needed to start making a bunch of $3.99 sales, they won’t hurt themselves by having waited until they have their third or fourth book and have a little back catalogue. They can then upgrade the old covers if they find themselves with lots of sales. (And, who knows, they might actually make some money on their first books, having it be pure profit and then be able to invest in artwork without worrying.)

            Most professional golfers have expensive golf clubs. That doesn’t mean that spending a lot of money on golf clubs is going to make you a professional player.

            Anyone going into self-publishing simply to make money is likely to fail. The reason to go into self-publishing is because you enjoy writing. Many, many (like myself) would self-publish regardless of sales, just to have the satisfaction of seeing their work published. (And yes, sharing with friends, etc.) Hugh Howey has said the same, many times, that he would write and publish even if he had no sales. It’s not an issue of being a glutton for punishment, it’s an issue of enjoying expressing yourself. But doing it because you love writing, doesn’t mean you don’t hope to make money. But hoping to make money, also means being smart about expenses. Throwing money at self-publishing doesn’t guarantee success. More often it leads to burnout and discouragement.

            I think it’s wrong to try to frame this as a question of “professional” writers vs. “hobbyists” or “good writers” vs. “bad writers.” A bad writer probably needs good covers even more than a good writer, and perhaps a hobbyist is going to get more enjoyment out of paying for an expensive professional cover than someone more business minded. The bigger issue would simply be how much money a writer has to spare or to risk. If you’re rich, sure, blow some money on a great cover. Why not? But don’t dip into your rainy day bank account because you’re sure you’ll make a profit later.

        • tl;dr – It all boils down to luck. You can write the best book in the world with a dynamite cover and blurb, but it can disappear. You can write a cruddy book with a ho-hum cover and it goes viral. I’m sure we can all think of a few of these.

          And what makes a good cover? Some of the covers I’ve seen recently held up as “exciting” and “compelling” I find incredibly ugly, looking like some lame relic from the 1940s or ’50s.. When I see these covers, I go right past the book.

        • Self-publishing can both be a hobby and something one hopes to profit from.

          Celebrate the hobby, and let the professionals tell each other Dan Brown and JK Rowling are bad writers.

  13. Al the Great and Powerful

    “It’s true, you can edit your work yourself. Particularly if you are skilled at copyediting—finding typos, grammar gaffs, and logical omissions in writing. If you are meticulous enough, you can certainly find and fix any errors that appear in your work.”

    Apparently the author was insufficiently meticulous.

    noun: gaff; plural noun: gaffs
    1. a stick with a hook, or a barbed spear, for landing large fish.
    2. Sailing – a spar to which the head of a fore-and-aft sail is bent.

    verb: gaff; 3rd person present: gaffs; past tense: gaffed; past participle: gaffed; gerund or present participle: gaffing

    1. seize or impale with a gaff.


    1: a social or diplomatic blunder committed an embarrassing gaffe when he mispronounced her name

    2: a noticeable mistake


  14. I was lucky; I forged some relationships with wonderful proofreaders, editors, and cover artists relatively early in my small press career. These are some of the same people with whom I contract now for my indie editing and covers. I like my covers; I don’t tend to follow trends but simply go with designs my artist suggests that appeal to me.

    I may never make serious money. I love what I’m doing too much to quit.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.