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joseph van nydeck
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Publishing

Starving the Beast

Where to begin?

This is probably the most frequently asked question by any budding novelist. I think it perhaps extends beyond the art of writing, but for the sake of brevity I will just be focusing on the budding novelist. This question is also perhaps the biggest destroyer of dreams. The destroyer feeds on the lack of clarity and focus. If you cannot solve to starve the beast, it will consume your dreams.

I mean to starve the beast. It's to this purpose I am writing this post. I have benefited from others' blog posts regarding the transformation of the publishing industry and I hope to assist others in return, and keep the beast at bay.

It's been my experience that people are highly intelligent or brilliant, as my British friends would say. The human spirit is strong and full of creativity. I believe that the vast majority of individuals want to be adventurous and creative, whether it's through writing or some other medium. However, they fear individuality. They fear leading and as such most resort to following. It's the current state of the world. The novelist that strikes out in a new direction that garners only a small following will unfortunately most times yield to social pressures and retreat within reverting to their socially accepted routine. In the twenty-first century, the thirst for social acceptance has now surpassed the thirst for expression and innovation.

It's my intention to illuminate the way, as much as I possibly can. I will aim to detail the path in which I was able to bring my ideas and stories into the world in a well thought out and organized manner. A well-formulated plan and exceptional execution will never be socially unacceptable. Organization is absolutely essential in all facets of today's world of nanometers and terabytes.

And organization in the nanometers and terabytes, the potential to control your own Indie publishing company is as easy as pie. The global connectivity of retailers and consumers across international borders and cultures is reaching an epic scale. All you need now is, content.

The content I have chosen was to come in the form of writing and therefore would mean I had to learn from scratch everything there is about the publishing industry. I have listed out a roadmap below and hope that it will, if not guide you directly to your destination, at least help you navigate time consuming potholes and the beast.

The world has changed and continues to change at a breakneck pace. The twenty-first century technologies have empowered novelists now, more than any other time in history, save the invention of the printing press.


Indie Publishing Roadmap

Where to begin?

You need a faithful companion. You need a companion that looks up at you with big saucer eyes, and all the patience in the world when you hit a dry spot as you begin to have one-way conversations to pass the time. Proceed.

Inspiration

You must have a neigh uncontrollable passion of the topic you want to write about, or it will, like the beast, consume you. Even then you will become hooked on writing the next one and the next. Find your passion. Proceed.

Reading

Don't make my mistake. The first thing you should do before you put your pen to paper, or begin clacking away on your keyboard is read two books: Sol Stein—Stein on Writing, and Stephen King—On Writing. Unfortunately, I only read these after my manuscript was into its second edit. I was, however, able to revise a few things for the better, but what I would have given to have read these books prior to writing my first draft. My editor would also probably have been much happier had I done so as well, but she did a great job and I thank her. Proceed.

Writing

Write a ten-page synopsis of your thoughts. Write character profiles of the main characters in your book. Now, go write an outline. Some people don't like writing by outlines, but I have tried both ways and it was the outline that helped me to complete my first novel. Although, I did stray from it from time to time, having the structure there if I needed to fall back kept my mind moving forward on the storyline.

Allow the story to flow, but don't sit idle. You need a story! Please don't just sit in front of a screen and hope the story comes to you in a flash of brilliance. If you are sitting there and nothing is flowing, revert to the research of your story, NOT the business. Read about exotic things, go to the opera, listen to some drum n' bass, listen to some Tchaikovsky, travel out of state, travel international, study historical maps, watch documentaries, play video games, go hiking, go racing, do something that peaks your senses and passions. Then return to the keyboard and let it flow. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Proceed.

Business

The story comes first. Once you have completed the story and passed it to a friend to read through, prior to editing, delve into the fabulous ever-changing world of Indie publishing.

Begin to scour the Internet for any and all blogs regarding the Indie publishing industry, and the publishing industry as a whole. Look through websites and blogs of authors you personally enjoy. After I scoured the Internet I landed on goodreads.com and the community posts helped me in more ways than you can imagine. It helped me to not only verify certain aspects of the business and the direction it was trending, but also helped me to identify potential production partner candidates. This is where I found both my editor, and cover designer, which later linked me to my French translator. I feel this network and community is the go to spot for any newbie to publishing. Speaking about newbie to publishing the most important blog of all is by a man called J.A. Konrath. A Newbie's Guide to Publishing confirmed all the questions I had formulated, and guided me through the ones I had not even considered. Visit it. Read it. Learn from it.

Write a business plan. If you want to keep everything on track, search out sample business plans on the web and fit your idea into one of the samples. It may seem tedious in the beginning, but you will be relieved in the end. The best way to keep the beast at bay is, organization. As I was now determined to self-publish and knew that I traveled often, I was set on finding ways that I could build my own publishing company and operate it from anywhere in the world.

I broke my business plan down into three major categories and went from there: pre-production, production, and post-production. Proceed.

The pre-production phase consisted of a number of things. I got a lawyer, one that was versed in articles of incorporation and intellectual property rights (IP). It's not too expensive and can help you steer clear of any issues going forward. I incorporated. I received an EIN number for the Limited Liability Company (LLC) from the IRS. I got an accountant. I opened a business checking account for the Limited Liability Company. I bought my domain name www.josephvannydeck.com as well as my main character's name www.johnnydekker.com through www.GoDaddy.com. They will try to up sale you almost every time you call, but I have had nothing but good experiences. I looked into logo design, www.crowdspring.com. I looked into copyrighting, which is put forward in a very organized way at www.copyright.gov. I looked into ISBN numbers www.myidentifiers.com. I bought in bulk, and saved money. I needed more money. I found articles on the crowd funding trend. I started an account at www.kickstarter.com. I put together a project. I achieved my target in 30 days. I went to www.goodreads.com and scoured the group discussions by topic and found an awesome editor and a recommendation of a cover art designer www.kitfosterdesign.com. I reached out. I moved forward. I need an interior designer to format the eBook and print, Konrath's blog proved worthy www.52novels.com. I contacted them, Amy answered, provided a quote we moved forward. I found a website designer www.xuni.com, again Konrath's recommendation, and I wholeheartedly agree, Maddee has over 200 novelists and is dedicated to perfection. I went through her website and was impressed. I contacted her, but it was too early. I needed to finish my book. I had just received the manuscript back from my preliminary reader, my father. I went through and made some minor revisions. I sent the first draft to my editor. I returned to starving the beast. Proceed.

The production phase began as the first draft being devoured by my editor. I scoured the Internet and blogosphere for reviews of best publishing platforms. I decided on amazon.com's kindle platform, they are making moves to empower the novelist across a number of different mediums. I would control the content, timing and 70% royalties via kindle direct publishing. I opened an account on Amazon, KDP, ACX and goodreads.com, newly acquired by Amazon. I moved from eBooks to print books, Lulu.com, LightningSource.com, or CreateSpace.com, in the end, www.lightningsource.com seemed to have the best quality and traditional reach (bookstores, libraries, etc.), though not the most friendly website. Still, if you want POD and traditional distribution for your first novel, this is the right choice.

I returned to the kickstarter project. I needed an artist to design the posters. I returned to my cover designer, he resolved my issues, done. I needed bookmarks to fulfill my rewards to my kickstarters. I reached out again to maddee, she was more than happy. I began consultation with maddee on the website and bookmarks. The second draft was done. I read it. Revised a few things and sent it back to my editor. I moved forward. I located a proofreading team that would work with Amy at 52novels once the second draft was completed. I provided Amy with the draft for a quote. I thought it very reasonable, done. I received the second draft from my editor. I passed it to my beta readers. I received further encouragement. I passed it along with only minor revisions to the interior design team at 52novels. It's winter. Snow is still falling. I reach out to Maddee, the website was complete. We launched the website. It's waiting for my first blog post. Proceed.

The post-productionand marketing phase is the most exciting because your project is completeand your first novel is in your hands. Now, how do I get it into hands of others? I go back to KDP. I sign up for KDP select. I send the link to all my kickstarters. I post the links on my facebook page. I create my goodreads author page. I send the links to my networkers. This is key. I have networkers on each continent. I initiate the butterfly effect. The beast is at bay and nowhere in sight. I begin my second novel. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Proceed.

Good luck!


Helpful links:

www.xuni.com
www.52novels.com
www.carolinekaisereditor.com
www.penultimateword.com
www.kitfosterdesign.com
www.copyright.gov
www.myidentifiers.com/manage_isbns
www.goodreads.com
www.kdp.amazon.com
www1.lightningsource.com
www.acx.com
www.crowdspring.com
www.kickstarter.com