Posts Tagged Hilary Custance Green

Blurb Poll – The Results

Many thanks to all of you who took the time to vote and/or comment on the possible blurbs for my novel.

The poll winner, taking 50% of the votes, was the second blurb, ‘Single incidents shape our lives’. But Hilary Custance Green wisely pointed out that the shout-line was a little preachy. She suggested ‘The  Butterfly Effect’ instead, which I think is much better too.

In second place was the final blurb, ‘Opposites attract’. This attracted 42% of the votes, including Anne Harvey who beta-read an early version of the manuscript – does that give her opinion more weight?

Last was, ‘Nature or nurture’ which gained only 8% of the vote. But one of supporters of this one was Julia Thorley, who used to write blurbs for non-fiction titles in her role as an editor – so perhaps it shouldn’t be ruled out completely?

Which blurb will I go with?
My personal favourite is the blurb that topped the poll, especially with its new ‘Butterfly Effect’ shout-line. I’m pleased it won. When I did this voting exercise with the three members of my immediate family, none of them chose it. That made me think I may be out of tune with what attracts readers, hence the reason I did the poll.

I have learnt that opinions on blurbs are very subjective. No blurb will attract every reader, so going with the poll majority may be the best thing to do.

Thanks again to everyone who voted and here’s the winner again:

The Butterfly Effect
A stupid mistake ended Ian’s marriage. Now he’s trying to put it right.
Sandra got pregnant as a teenager. Now she’s fighting to make a good life for her daughter.
Maxine made an important decision behind her boyfriend’s back. His reaction devastates all their lives…
Bedsit Three is a tale of mystery and romance. It won the inaugural Ian Govan Award and was shortlisted for both the Silverwood-Kobo-Berforts Open Day Competition and the Writing Magazine/McCrit Competition.

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CreateSpace Tips from Anne Harvey

Anne HarveyA couple of weeks ago Hilary Custance Green impressed us with her totally independent self-publishing journey. Today Anne Harvey has kindly agreed to share her CreateSpace experience with us.

Anne is the author of A Suitable Young Man.

It’s a nostalgic tale of friendship, family, love, loyalty and loss, set in a Lancashire mill town in the 1950s. One dark December night, Kathy Armstrong is rescued from two thugs by Nick Roberts, whom she’d known as a schoolgirl. But Nick is a Teddy boy, hell-bent on having a good time in the pubs and dance halls of the era. Shortly after, she meets accountant John Talbot at a party and is captivated by his middle-class charm. To the background of the new rock and roll, a mounting crisis over the Suez Canal, family and personal crises, Kathy struggles with a wayward attraction to Nick and her incubating love for John. But which one is ‘The Suitable Young Man?’

I read A Suitable Young Man during its beta phase and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Now, how did Anne get on with CreateSpace?

I published my debut novel ‘A Suitable Young Man’ on Amazon Kindle at the beginning of December but always knew that I wanted to bring it out as a paperback as well. Having only a limited budget, I chose to go with Amazon’s CreateSpace facility.

It looked a pretty scary project to undertake. Then, I learned of a book, ‘Format Your Print Book’ by Tim C Taylor, which promised to guide me through the process. I would recommend purchasing the paperback version for easy referral. The book proved invaluable but even though this was a second edition, certain things had changed which I needed to work my way through.

Although there is a Createspace template available, I didn’t like it because there seemed to be too many spaces between paragraphs which would have amounted to extra pages. Instead, I chose to format the book myself following Tim Taylor’s guidelines. It wasn’t easy but I took it a step at a time. The main thing to remember is to use section breaks instead of page breaks and first line indentation instead of tabs. Fortunately, there is a previewer so that you can check your work at all times. (Tip here: when formatting make use of the ‘print preview’ facility in Windows so that you can see how it’s going to look as a book.) Berni Stevens, who had designed my cover for the ebook, had had experience of formatting a full cover (including spine and back cover) and was a big help, eventually providing me with a print-ready pdf copy to upload.

Once everything is uploaded to your satisfaction, it has to be submitted for review (to ensure that it doesn’t contravene any of their regulations). This usually takes 24 hours after which you are emailed to say you can go ahead and order a proof copy. There’s a drawback here in that the proof copy has to come from the US. While waiting for that, I completed all the pricing and distribution details on my ‘dashboard.’ When working out a sale price, I took into consideration the cost price of author copies plus shipping from the States and added a profit margin onto that. Incidentally, cost of author copies and shipping costs are clearly given and simple to follow.

So, I’ve ordered my proof copy which should be with me some time in January. On receipt of that, I will need to check carefully through, make sure there are no typos or glaring formatting errors. Then, I will be ordering author copies which will take another few weeks to arrive. Because of this, it will be impossible to arrange a book launch in advance, which is a drawback. In the meantime, it will be available as POD for single copies for anyone who wants to purchase it through Amazon UK, no waiting time involved. I hope my experience helps anyone else thinking of trying Createspace.A Suitable Young Man by Anne Harvey

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Self-Publishing Tips from Hilary Custance Green

Hilary Custance Green is the author of Border Line, recently published in both paperback and e-book format.Border Line by Hilary Custance Green

I was lucky enough to read the opening chapters of the novel last year when Hilary was still working on it. The idea behind the book is intriguing:

‘Grace, racked with guilt, is searching online for ways to die and she finds Daniel. Like a pied piper he leads her and nine other people on a trek across Slovenia. For twenty-one days they share stories and secrets, play games, surprise themselves with laughter… and make their final decision.’

I will definitely be downloading Border Line to my Kindle because I want to know what that final decision is.

Hilary self-published the paperback version of Border Line, doing all the work herself and not using CreateSpace. She’s very kindly put together some pointers to help anyone else thinking of doing the same:

Last December (2013), I found myself at a Christmas party explaining that yes, I had written a third novel and also a non-fiction book on POWs in the Far East, and no, neither had been published yet. The truth is I had been looking for an agent for both the novel and the non-fiction book for several years. I had had nibbles, but no bites. I resolved that no further Christmases would pass without a publication.

There are multiple self-publishing routes, mine was total DIY. This is a possible, but not necessarily a wise thing to do. I took the name Threadgold Press in 2008, for my second novel, and floated, rather liked flotsam, through the self-publishing process. Things have changed since then. Today, unless you are writing about food outlets in a three mile radius, or walking on your local hills, you are going to need both print and eBook. The simplified basics for print are:

• Give yourself a name and apply to Nielsen books to buy ISBNs.

Hilary Custance Green

Hilary Custance Green

• Allocate one ISBN to your print book and another to your eBook.
• Choose a printer and get estimates. A litho print run (min 300) is expensive up front, but cheaper per copy then Print on Demand (POD).
• Think of a publication date (ideally 9 months plus ahead), subtract the months that are bad for publishing books, add 2 months for things to go wrong (they will), and register with Nielsen book data. You will need blurb, price (when dreaming up the Recommended Retail Price (RRP) don’t forget the cost of postage), BIC code (category of book) etc ready.
• Set the text. I bought a soft version of Adobe InDesign and taught myself.
• Create cover – actually don’t – spend the money on professional design.
• Edit. Once again, professional is best. Failing that, find your most educated friends and bribe them to read with a red pen in their hands. Anything they have to read twice, or makes them gag, yawn or feel uncomfortable, needs your attention – listen and believe.
• Proof read. That means read it yourself and correct, print out a copy, hand it to a friend, make corrections, print again and find a new victim, and so on many times. Again, better still, pay someone.
• Send MS to printers, renegotiate number of pages, correct e-proofs etc
• Join Amazon Advantage – a nightmare and they take 60% discount, so you sell at a loss, but if you don’t join them, Amazon take many weeks to deliver your books.
• Create an Advance Information Sheet (AIS), with all the basic book data.
• Create a Press Release, an up-to-date website, cook up a launch party, find somewhere to sign copies on the publication date.

Finally, you are legally obliged to deposit a copy of any new publication with the British Library within one month of the publication day.

Remember, if you choose this route, writing will stall for some months. Almost every action, depends on information that is not yet ready. You become a designer, proofreader, editor, marketing manager, salesperson, IT consultant, office girl, driver… BUT you end up with a physical copy of your book for minimum outlay.

Hilary – I’m in awe of what you’ve achieved! It sounds like a phenomenal learning curve but what a feeling of achievement when you hold that physical book in your hand and then people start buying it!

Visit Hilary’s website to read about how she’s promoting Border Line.

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