A good short post by Josephine Corcoran, a published poet, on getting poems published, https://josephinecorcoran.org/2022/11/20/on-getting-poems-published/.
A good short post by Josephine Corcoran, a published poet, on getting poems published, https://josephinecorcoran.org/2022/11/20/on-getting-poems-published/.
I have been asked by a number of people (including my mum!) whether I make any money from my writing. Yesterday evening, whilst out for a drink with friends, I had the same question addressed to me and answered (so far as my memory serves), in the following manner:
“Very few writers make much money, and its particularly difficult for poets to derive an income from their poetry, as that particular art form is rather a niche market.
Whilst I self-publish on Amazon (which has no costs associated with it), I do pay an editor/proof reader to check for typographical and other errors. Also, whilst there is no obligation on me to purchase author copies, I always do buy paperbacks of my books (albeit at an author discount) to distribute to family, close friends, my local library etc.
I could more easily recoup the cost of the above where it not for the fact that I have been in the habit of giving away copies to strangers, in future I shall become a veritable Scrooge in such matters. Actually, I think that this is unlikely, (me becoming a Scrooge I mean!).
Whilst poets can cover their costs, and even turn a profit, it is extremely difficult for them to do so”.
In light of my conversation with friends yesterday evening, I did a little digging with the help of Mr Google and came across this article, https://www.shmoop.com/careers/poet/salary.html, which does, in essence chime with what I told my 2 friends last night.
I would, as ever be interested in receiving comments from my readers.
If you have published a collection of poetry, the Poetry Library (based at London’s Southbank Centre) will consider stocking your work (including books from small presses and self-published titles).
The Poetry Library’s website states:
• The library contains 200,000 items and is growing all the time
• We acquire two copies of each book and audio title, one for reference and one for loan
• We aim to stock all poetry titles published in the UK with a representation of work from other countries including work in parallel text and English translation
• An exhibition space featuring works by artists engaging with the Library’s collection, text and poetry in general, and projects and events at Southbank Centre
• The librarians meet once a month to consider self-published and small press items for the collection and will always respond to those who submitted something for consideration”.
To find out more about the Poetry Library or to contact them please visit, http://www.poetrylibrary.org.uk/about/.
Yesterday evening, I met up with an old friend (who is also an author) for dinner. Inevitably the conversation touched upon writing and I asked whether my friend had provided print copies of his novel to the British Library and the 5 other libraries as stipulated under Legal Deposit legislation. He was unaware of Legal Deposit as (I believe) are quite a few other authors. I therefore thought it would be helpful to furnish the below information pertaining to Legal Deposit.
In the below extract, the British Library refer to the duty on publishers to furnish copies of publications to the designated libraries. In the case of most (perhaps all) self-published authors (including both my friend and I) this duty does, in practice devolve on us as authors who utilise Print on Demand or (POD) technology.
Introduction to legal deposit
Legal deposit has existed in English law since 1662. It helps to ensure that the nation’s published output (and thereby its intellectual record and future
published heritage) is collected systematically, to preserve the material for the use of future generations and to make it available for readers within
the designated legal deposit libraries.
By law, a copy of every UK print publication must be given to the British Library by its publishers, and to five other major libraries that request it.
This system is called legal deposit and has been a part of English law since 1662.
From 6 April 2013, legal deposit also covers material published digitally and online, so that the Legal Deposit Libraries can provide a national archive
of the UK’s non-print published material, such as websites, blogs, e-journals and CD-ROMs.
The Legal Deposit Libraries are:
list of 6 items
• the British Library,
• the National Library of Scotland,
• the National Library of Wales,
• the Bodleian Libraries, Oxford,
• the University Library, Cambridge, and
• the Library of Trinity College, Dublin.
The legal deposit system also has benefits for authors and publishers:
list of 5 items
• Deposited publications are made available to users of the deposit libraries on their premises, are preserved for the benefit of future generations, and
become part of the nation’s heritage.
• Publications are recorded in the online catalogues, and become an essential research resource for generations to come.
• Most of the books and new serial titles are listed in the British National Bibliography (BNB), which is used by librarians and the book trade for stock
selection. The BNB is available in a variety of
• Publishers have at times approached the deposit libraries for copies of their own publications which they no longer have but which have been preserved
through legal deposit.
• Legal deposit supports a cycle of knowledge, whereby deposited works provide inspiration and source material for new books that will eventually achieve
(Taken from http://www.bl.uk/aboutus/legaldeposit/introduction/)
Thank you to Yecheilyah Ysrayl for the below guest post:
Can we be real?
Self-Publishing has opened the door for writers to finally make their dreams come true. Dreams that were hindered by way of jobs that got in the way of writing, Traditional Publishing rejections, children that parents needed to raise first, a school that needed to be finished first and a slew of other reasons that has stopped the passionate writer from producing a book.
Not only all of this but finances also play a part.
Self-Publishing has allowed people who have always wanted to write books an easy way to do so. With the industry changing and demanding more in the way of excellence and professionalism for the Indie Author (stigmas are fading and authors can no longer afford to produce mediocre work), it is no secret that financial strain is what stops many writers from either finishing a book or publishing it.
With advice after advice on how we should invest in our careers, many authors feel that they simply cannot afford to do so and produce something professional at the same time.
For instance, I recently came across professional website building at $800. We know how important it is for authors to have professionally designed websites but let’s be real, who can afford to pay that much for a website unless they are already established enough to afford it?
Unless you were given a loan, grant, or someone blessed you with the money, $800 is as much as some people pay for rent and simply not the kind of money many Indie Authors can afford to invest in one website. A website that may not even bring them a return.
So, what does an author do? What is the broke author’s secret weapon to successfully and professionally producing books? TIME.
The secret weapon is time. What you can’t afford in money you make up in time.
Although you may not get paid for hours put in the same way you would your hourly job (wouldn’t that be nice!) you will see a difference in the kind of material you put out.
How many hours a day do you spend working toward your books? By “working on” I mean either writing, blogging, promoting, networking, social media (real social media work not lollygagging), research, online classes, webinars, video tutorials, email list building, reading, email marketing, etc. So, how many hours?
On a good day, I spend anywhere between 8 – 12 hours on my work. I am a writer full time and have spent many nights in the office putting in the time long before my wonderful husband gets home from a job that actually pays him for hours put in.
The thing is, a return on time for an author is reflected in his work. Authors who put little to no work in their books (rushing to get them out) is bound to produce mediocrity. On the other hand, authors who invest time not only in the books they write but also in other aspects of the business (blogging, promoting) is bound to receive a much better turnout.
Let’s take a look:
30 Day List Building Challenge – After investing 30 days in a List Building Challenge I increased my list of email list subscribers by 40%. This took me passed my 100-subscriber mark (the first 100 subscribers are the hardest to get!)
Free Webinars— I can’t afford to pay for a writer’s conference. I know, I know, they are valuable but that’s not a realistic goal for me financially right now. I am not that cheap. I would love to invest that kind of money into my education. I would also love to take a publishing course at a University. Again, this just isn’t the reality for me right now. Instead, I take free webinars.
You know, those emails you get about a free webinar on some aspect of publishing that we skip through? STOP IT! I didn’t mean to yell, it’s just, they are soooo helpful!
I learn a lot from free webinars. Just last week I took a Leadpages Interactive Training and the week before that a training on building the Author Media Kit. The result is pages of notes and a head filled with ideas I can use to make my media kit better and ideas I can implement into my email list to help nurture it. (Growing a list is only half the battle. Now you gotta be sure people are interested enough to stick around)
In fact, the idea for this article came while listening to a webinar. They were offering something at the end that I could not afford, that is when I thought about time. I can now take this idea, turn it into an article and Guest Post on someone’s blog. That’s increased exposure for me, my blog, and my content and it only costs me two hours.
Guest Blog Posts / Author Interviews – Speaking of guest posting, we may as well go here next.
Time spent writing articles has resulted in over twenty articles that I’ve posted on someone else’s blog, author interviews, guest blog features, and a radio show appearance. This is free publicity for me and my content and all I had to spend was time.
Time drafting the email of inquiry (your emails should always be professional even when you are seeking to guest post on someone’s blog), writing the articles, and time answering the questions.
My radio show feature with Annette Rochel Aben only took 30 minutes as a matter of fact. It will forever be part of my author portfolio and it only costs me 30 minutes of my time.
Images / Promotional Ads – A few hours a day using Canva and PosterMyWall allows me to create my own professional images and Ads.
A few hours a day and you can never tell if I hired a professional or not. Using free mock-up templates from places like covervault allows me to create images for my books in Photoshop.
Just a $10/mo investment and I can purchase the cheapest package in photoshop CC to get this done.
Before I even had that, I used a free 3D image creator for creating 3D images of my books. It only costs me my time.
Book Cover Design – I have a Book Cover Design dream. My Book Cover Design Dream is to purchase a professional custom Book Cover from one of my favorite book cover designers. Thing is, he’s too expensive for me right now so I can’t support him like I’d want to just yet. I do however have time (time means you can support others too! Though I can’t afford him, I know others can. I follow him on social media and always like and share his work).
With the time I had on hand, I was able to research cheap custom book cover designers. The cover to The Aftermath, my first novel costs me less than $200. The cover of Book Three in The Stella Trilogy (The Road to Freedom – Joseph’s Story) costs less than $100. For the second book in The Stella Trilogy (Beyond the Colored Line) I paid less than $30. It just cost me the price of the stock photo (Winter Woman).
The rest I did from a free MS Word template offered by Derrick Murphy.
But, we’re talking about the broke author so let’s take it all the way back.
My first poetry book cover cost $0.
I published with Lulu and used one of the templates they already had. You can do the same with Createspace. Sure, there are some hideous ones out there but we’re talking about investing time. If you’re not lazy and cheap with your time, then you can produce a nice cover from one of the free cover design templates or whichever POD you’re using whether that is Createspace, Lulu, or Lightening Source (IngramSpark), or whatever you use to publish your paperbacks.
Premades – If you’re looking for something more professional than a free one (or couldn’t find one you liked), you still don’t have to spend a lot of money. If you don’t have the money for a custom designed cover, you can purchase a pre-made.
Premade book covers are pre-designed book covers by professional graphic designers and sold at a lower cost than a custom made. The only drawback is that designers sometimes use the same stock photos across premade sites.
However, with a little time, this can be overcome by choosing a unique look. They are out there, you just need the time to find them. Don’t just pick the first pre-made you see that looks nice. Think about whether or not it speaks to what your book is about. (And don’t choose a pre-made cover that uses a stock photo you’ve seen lots of times.)
Websites – Hours a day spent building a website using Squarespace, WIX, Website.com or any less expensive option can result in a decent author website for those who don’t have the money to purchase an expensive one. If you don’t have money at all, you can create a website here on WordPress for free.
It will only cost you time.
Editing – Editing is expensive for the broke author. The thing is, editing should be expensive. I review books for free and it takes a lot of time. I can only imagine having to make corrections too.
However, there are different kinds of editing and not all of them are expensive. If you are willing to put off the release of your book a while, you can get your manuscript Beta-read first. Your Beta’s can help you with the overall story so you know if something is confusing or if there are major plot holes. Then, you can pay a copyeditor to help with those grammatical mistakes.
Over time you will need to invest in an editor but we’re talking baby steps. If in the beginning, you don’t have the funds, you can still have your work looked at by someone more knowledgeable than you.
There are tons of services out there to help those low on finances, you just have to take the time to look. You may also need to put off the release of your book. This means you can’t rush through it just to get something out there. You will have to take your time.
Offline Events – What if you want to run a book signing or offline event? Surely, you need money to do this.
Hosting a Book Signing is free at places like Libraries but your books are not.
Crowdfunding is a great way to raise money that you do not have, even if it means to purchase bulk copies of your book.
I did not have the money to host a book signing in Atlanta last year. The library wasn’t charging but I still needed money for books and promotional products. Instead of giving up, I set up a GoFundMe account to help pay for what I needed. I did have to invest time in setting it up and promoting it but that’s all it costs me.
We can go on and on. You can even discover editing services that are cheaper than most if you are willing to look for it.
The point here is time. If you are willing to invest time into your work, then not having the money is not a reason not to publish a book. Baby steps are key.
Should you invest finances in your writing? Of course, you should but that doesn’t have to mean right now. You don’t have the money right now. What you do have is what you woke up with this morning: Time.
Sometimes, all you need is the internet and books! There are tons of free webinars, blogs, and how-to books out there to assist in your education of the Industry. What are they? Where are they? That’s for you to find! It only costs you your time, the most valuable commodity out there and the broke author’s secret weapon.
Yecheilyah Ysrayl is the Historical Fiction author of Young Adult Black American Literature and Poetry. The author of nine books she attended Chicago State University, Robert Morris College, and Everest College. Yecheilyah is currently working on her next book series “The Nora White Story”. Book One is due for release July 15, 2017.
Yecheilyah will also be in attendance at The Tampa Indie Author Book Convention in Tampa Florida. Yecheilyah is a Blogger and Book Reviewer.
Originally from Chicago, IL, she now resides in Shreveport, LA with her husband where she writes full time. She is currently working on her memoir and BREATHE: Letters of Inspiration to Keep You Inspired, Motivated, and Writing.
I recently came across the following comment regarding the difficulties experienced by authors in getting published, (http://www.derekhaines.ch/justpublishing/i-need-a-publisher-no-you-dont/comment-page-1/#comment-1607). The commenter’s argument is neatly encapsulated by the following quote,
“Here’s the truth: 99.99% self publish because a traditional publisher rejected their manuscripts.
Why? Because they’re BAD!”
The above is a sweeping assertion. How can the commenter possibly know why so many authors find it difficult to get published via established (traditional) publishing companies? Where is the evidence to bolster his case? The plain truth is that he produces no facts in support of this highly contentious statement.
Established big name publishers will, on the whole publish what they believe will sell. What sells does not always correlate with what constitutes good writing. Of course there are many excellent works published by traditional publishers. However alongside the excellent exists what to my mind at least constitutes pap. The same applies to self-published authors – there is much good work out there which co-exists alongside the pap. I don’t believe that anyone can say, hand on heart that all that eminates from the traditional publishing stable is sweet scented hay while that coming from self-published authors is coated in horse dung. The sweet smelling hay and the manure are present in both stables and its nonsense to contend otherwise.
As a self-published author I do, of course have an axt to grind in that I believe my own work is far from being “bad”. I have also read many other self-published authors and poets who’s writing is far from being “bad”. I chose to self-publish due to wanting control over my own work. However I have a close friend in the off-line (real) world who expended countless hours in firing off letters to literary agents and publishers. He got nowhere. Hence he decided to self-publish using Createspace. It may be said that friendship clouds my judgement, however, having read a considerable portion of his manuscript I can assure my readers that it is far from being “bad”. It is, in my opinion extremely well written.
I have nothing whatsoever against traditional publishing. What I object to is lazy arguments not supported by evidence to the effect that the vast majority of material emanating from the self-publishing sector is bad, while traditional publishing overwhelmingly produces works of outstanding merit.
(Please Note; this post is in response to the comment linked to above. I agree with the post on which the commenter is commenting, it is the comment (not the post) with which I take issue).
I am fortunate to live within 10-15 minutes walking distance of Upper Norwood’s Joint Library, the oldest and, I believe the only independent institution of it’s kind, (http://uppernorwoodlibrary.org/).
In search of ways to get my book, “Dalliance: A Collection of Poetry and Prose” into the hands of more readers I visited the library to ascertain whether they would add it to their shelves. To my delight a librarian confirmed the library would be pleased to accept my book. Its wonderful to know that “Dalliance” is available for the residents of Noorwood to enjoy.
The following article contains useful advice on getting a self published book into a library, (http://www.wikihow.com/Get-a-Self-Published-Book-into-Libraries). The article mentions the importance of specifying that you wish your book to be added to the library’s stock rather than sold. This is good advice and I asked the librarian to add “Dalliance” to the library’s shelves rather than selling it.
My experience diverged from the advice contained in the article in the following manner. The article refers to many libraries requiring more than one copy of a book. I offered the Upper Norwood Joint Library 2 copies of “Dalliance”. However the librarian politely advised me that it is their policy to only accept 1 copy of a book.
On my next visit to the city of my birth, Liverpool I will make a point of popping into Liverpool’s central library and donating a copy of my work.
A post arguing that authors who self-publish should forget print on Demand. According to the writer, the quality of Createspace books is poor (he goes so far as to say that this does, perhaps mean that if authors still wish to use POD they might consider the much maligned “vanity” publishing model. For the post please see, http://www.derekhaines.ch/justpublishing/where-self-publishers-will-continue-to-lose-out/.
I would be interested in hearing the views of anyone who has published with Createspace or anyone who has read a book produced by them regarding the contention of the article.
Press the magic button labelled publish in the Amazon Kindle store or other self-publishing outlet of your choice. People will purchase your book and the reviews will come flooding in, won’t they? Well unless you are incredibly fortunate the answer is no they won’t. Even if your book receives a steady stream of downloads only a small number of readers (if any) will take the time to pen a review. This is the case, in my experience even when readers enjoyed your book. To take a case in point, two friends downloaded my story, Samantha, (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Samantha-K-Morris-ebook/dp/B00BL3CNHI). Both told me how much they enjoyed reading my book and indicated they would review it without any prompting from me. Neither have done so and not wishing to nag friends I haven’t pursued the matter. So, in the case of Samantha 2 people who derived pleasure from it haven’t left a review which does, I believe prove my point regarding the difficulty of obtaining reviews which, if positive will help in selling your book. So how can the author obtain reviews?
I have obtained several reviews by offering my books free via KDP Select, (https://kdp.amazon.com/select), an Amazon programme which allows authors to promote their work free or at a reduced price for upto 5 days in any 90 day period provided the books in question are exclusive to Amazon. A number of those who downloaded my titles left reviews which shows that KDP Select can help in promoting your writing.
Another way in which to promote your books is via your own blog. Mentioning that you are running a free promotion on Amazon or other platform can encourage your followers and visitors to download and, hopefully review your books. A word of caution. Don’t fill your site with posts promoting your books as this will turn many people off. Write about topics other than your books. be generous in supporting other authors via guest posting opportunities and your site is more likely to thrive and attract followers some of whom will read and review your books.
Contacting book bloggers can also result in reviews. Read their review policy (if they have one) prior to getting in touch. If you write romantic fiction and a book blogger only reviews the crime genre there is no point in contacting the blogger (it being a waste of their time and yours).
The overwhelming majority of book bloggers will review your book free which is, in my view as it should be. Most authors would never dream of paying for a review. However, for the small number of writers who might be tempted to do so, they should consider this. If you pay for a review then the perception will exist (assuming it is positive and you are found to have paid) that the review is not honest (I.E. you paid for a good review). While there may be sites who write unbiased reviews in exchange for cash mud sticks and even if the review is 100 percent honest your reputation will be tarnished. People will question all your reviews irrespective of whether they where given freely or otherwise.
In conclusion relying on Amazon to generate reviews is the most uncertain method of gaining them. The use of your own blog or other social media to promote your books coupled with contacting book bloggers asking that they please write an honest review of your work, is the best method.
Finally a huge thank you to all of my readers who have taken the time to write a review or who have promised to do so. I very much appreciate you taking the time to read and review my books.