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Blog by Ron – Getting Published

Getting Published should not hurt, but if you are not careful you can get hurt big time. In posts and past blogs, I have shared much of my story. When I wrote my first book, I needed an author. So, I set out to find what I needed.

I didn’t have any idea of what publishing and marketing would entail. But I did understand that publishers, especially traditional publishers, were increasingly wanting authors to have a book agent. Someone who could represent the author and be a trustworthy connection for the publisher.

It was not always that way. There was a time when you wrote a manuscript, mailed it to a publisher, and, if approved, it was eventually published. Back then there were no agents. Just the publisher and the author.

Of course, it was also true back then that almost all of the marketing was done by the author, and they did this without benefit of the internet. From those days these publishing houses grew into the mighty Traditional Publishers of today.

Getting Published the Traditional Way

By the time I came into the picture there were two types of publishing houses, the Traditional and the Self-Publishing. At that time, I knew a little about the traditional, and very little about Self-Publishing.

I knew that there were some rather big publishing houses that handled virtually all the best well-known authors. I also knew they paid royalties, that authors often had long lines at book signings, and, apparently, made a lot of money.

Armed with this knowledge, I began looking for an agent. I knew it might take time, but I was also confident that I could find the right agent for my book. The book itself was called, Refuge: The Genesis Chronicles, which fit into historical fiction. In fact, it was in multiple genres such as historical, Biblical, and Adventure.

As I began searching for an agent I focused on historical fiction. This helped me narrow the number of agents that I would need to find and submit my book to for their inspection.

Rejection

Time went by as I searched diligently. Then came the day when I struck gold. I found the right agent. I submitted my book and a few weeks later received a reply. Eagerly I opened the letter, and my spirit immediately sank. It was a rejection letter.

Why?

Because it was the wrong genre!

She didn’t really say that. In fact, she didn’t say much at all other than it didn’t fit at all! At first, I was stumped, then it came to me, my book was historical, but it was also based on the Bible.

Being turned down by an agent soured me on going with a traditional publisher. The more I investigated, the more I learned. For instance, I learned that they were increasingly wanting the author to have an agent. But  it had taken me months to find one that turned me down. It was a major downer!

As I further studied the matter, I learned that not only does it takes months to get an agent, but it takes months for an agent to find the right publisher, as well. On top of that, the typical publisher might take another two years before they publish the book.

I didn’t want to wait THAT long!

What About Getting Published by Self-Publishing

What about getting published by self-publishing? The idea was prompted by information that introduced me to self-publishing. I don’t remember the details, but it was probably an ad. And it probably suggested that I would have greater control, be guaranteed to be published, and not have to wait a long time. All of this was exciting news.

That thought renewed my energy, and I turned my focus to self-publishing. It didn’t take long before I found a self-publisher that I could use. I paid the fee of about $400, (today it is more likely above $800) and was soon working on getting my book published.

I was on my way!

Getting Published was NOT So Easy

Although I had paid for the publication, it still had to go through their process. One particular annoying practice they had was the proof copy. Once I had finished the book and selected the cover, I was ready. So, I took the next step by requesting a proof copy.

They sent me the copy, but I only had 72 hours to examine it and note the errors to be fixed. That was bad, but I also found a number of errors on their part. One was a repetitious error throughout the book. It was daunting, but I worked hard and got most, not all, the errors identified and provided corrections.

That resulted in errors slipping through. It simply wasn’t enough time to find, and note the errors and the solutions. Once the book was published, I couldn’t update without it costing more money.

Getting Published a Different Way

I was disgusted and changed to another company, but it wasn’t much better. I learned a bitter truth. Self-Publishing sounds great, but the “self” part only means that you pay for it in advance, thus assuring yourself of getting published.

It was a hard lesson to learn, and then CreateSpace showed up representing an idea I never heard of before. Indie Publishing! It changed my life!

But that experience with self-publishing solidified in my mind that when I sat down to write my course on writing I determined that I would work with the student. No rushing them. The student and the manuscript are both important. So, whether the student chooses to be published by T&R Independent Books, or chooses another way, I will work with that student to get the manuscript ready for publication. That decision didn’t happen right away. It took time. And it took tragedy.

In February of 2023 my wife of 41 years unexpectedly passed away during the night. I had lost the love of my life. Thankfully, I was surrounded by my church family which showered their love and support upon me.

After the shock of her passing, I realized that I needed to get serious about the course I was writing to help others write. And I realized I was going to have to offer potential students not just value, but great value.

Looking at my life, and my skillset, I knew I could offer something unique. I could not only offer them a writing course, but I could publish and market their books! It was an idea that grabbed hold of me and wouldn’t let go. The more I prayed about it the more I knew it was what the Lord wanted me to do.

I now would be in the position to help potential writers avoid the school of hard knocks which I had attended, provide them a publishing opportunity that I had not enjoyed, and help them in marketing their books.

The Guarantee

If the student completes the course, meets the Christian criteria (which they would have been meeting all along), and chooses to be published by T&R Independent Books, then I guarantee that the book will be published, and that I will coach them right through that process.

On the other hand, if the student finishes the course, meets the Christian criteria, and chooses not to be published by T&R Independent Books, then I guarantee that I will work with them to get their book ready to be published by themselves or others. If they wish to publish the book themselves using KDP, I will help them set up an account, and coach them on how to use KDP. Since I am unqualified with other publishers, I cannot offer the same guarantee. However, I would still be a resource and would do my very best to help.

if you want to know more now, you should visit my article titled Whats-the-Truth-about-Best-Sellers.

To visit our bookstore, go to TR Bookstore and look around. You’ll find books by my late wife Tess, plus books by me, including Hurrican Ian Winds of Providence & Provision.

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Guaranteed Getting Published

Guaranteed Getting Published is today’s subject. At Basic Authors Training we consider helping people to get published is so important that we did the unthinkable. We guarantee that students who graduate from the course will be published by us!

That is amazing!

Why Have We Guaranteed Getting Published?

A big part of this is my own history. I have talked in the past about the school of hard knocks. Plus, I have post as recent as this week about my own experience trying to get published.

First, I had to choose between Traditional, Self, and Indie publishing. That story has appeared on both LinkedIn and Facebook, but not as deep as here.

But the fact is that when I finished my book, I had to find a publisher. My first choice was Traditional. I was like a babe in the woods. I was naïve and didn’t know much about the publishing industry. But I was soon learning.

It Required Book Agents for Traditional Publishing

In my posts I told how I was rejected. In addition, I discovered the time-consuming process of finding an agent and getting published was smothering me. As I recall I began wondering if there was another way. And there was.

I began scouring the internet looking for the right agent. After months of searching, I found an agent who not only handled the historical fiction genre, but she also had a good reputation. Eagerly, I submitted my manuscript to her.

A few weeks later I received a letter from her. I eagerly opened it only to discover it was a rejection letter. She thanked me for considering her, told me the book didn’t fit her, and wished me well.

I was devastated and confused. According to my research, she represented authors who wrote historical fiction. Then the realization slowly came. It wasn’t Historical Fiction she was refusing to represent, it was Biblical Historical Fiction!

I was completely undone, defeated.

But then I heard about something called Self-Publishing. That sounded good. I would be able to publish the book myself.

Self-Published Promised an easy way for Getting Published

Back in the early 2000s $400 was expensive and hard to come by. I didn’t have much money, but I managed to find it and sign on with a Self-Publishing House. And I was on my way.

Well, not exactly.

You see, Self-Publishing doesn’t really mean that you publish the book. It can be characterized as you pay to have someone else publish the book. That’s not so bad. We pay others to do work for us all the time.

But I quickly learned that while my money was welcome, they were the ones in charge. They chose the fonts, they chose the book size (they may have let me select), they wanted to do the editing, and they gave me little choice on the royalties.

But I didn’t care. I was going to be a published author.

Getting Published Involved Very Little Marketing

When the book was done and published, I was ecstatic! I showed it to friends and family. I was proud as a peacock! Until I learned the dirty little secret.

I wasn’t going to get much help marketing the book. Oh, they sent me a book on how to market, plus they offered several tools that I could purchase. I could have my book advertised in the New York Times! For a price that I couldn’t afford.

The world of reality overcame me.

I still managed to sell books by visiting bookstores and other shops. I had several book signings at a local bookstore. I think I sold around 100 books altogether. But it was hard work, and the royalties were small.

Indie Publishing Appeared!

I switched from the self-publishing house to another publisher who was more of a hybrid, which means it had aspects of self-publishing and traditional publishing merged together. But this didn’t improve the situation. They paid an advance just like Traditional Publishers, except it was only $1. They also paid royalties on the same scale as Traditional, which I thought was unfair. But they published a nice book, retained control of the process, and collected their profits.

 It was then that I began learning about something called Indie Publishing. I didn’t know what it was, but my research on the internet cleared it up. Indie Publishing is the author publishing his/her own book. Plus, a new service called CreateSpace existed for just such an author as me.

So, I switched to CreateSpace, which eventually became Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). It was a decision that would change my career and my life! Not only that, but it sparked within me a desire to help others without all the hassle. Plus, it would lead to Teresa, my wife, and I founding our own business and calling it T&R Independent Books.

It was at that time that Teresa confessed her desire to be an author, which excited me. It would take 5 years of battling a heart attack (me), cancer twice (Teresa), and other hardships before her first book was published by T&R Independent Books. Writing under the name of Tess Riddle, she would go on to rewrite and republish that first novel, plus write three Ladies Devotionals before her untimely death. She had done the impossible!

But that is not the end of the story. Before and since her death I developed a book writing course designed to help others become authors. It was a simple idea that would soon explode into something fantastic!

More on this subject in Guaranteed Getting Published part 2.

To learn more about how Basic Authors Training can help you get finished, go this link:

What’s The Truth About Best Sellers? – T&R Independent Bookstore (trbookservices.com)

VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

Don’t forget to comment below. We are always interested in your opinions. And to make sure you get our blogs, simply check the box that says, Notify me of new posts via email.

Company information:

T&R Independent Bookstore is a division of T&R Independent Books founded in 2014 by R. Frederick and Tess Riddle. TR Ministry, aka Christian Fund, is both a charge and an exciting outreach to the Christian Community.

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Blog by Ron – Need an Agent?

Do you need an agent?

When I first began writing the need of having an agent quickly became a question that needed an answer. My first response was ‘Of course’. But, as you will see, my answer changed.

Since my answer was ‘Of course’, I proceeded to look for an agent. At first, I didn’t know what I was looking for in an agent or why I needed one. Thus, began my education.

But there was one thing I knew. I had the internet available and could research the subject. I began digging.

First Things First

One of the first things I needed to know was what genre I was writing. It turned out to be historical fiction. From that little bit of knowledge I now knew that if I was to get an agent, he or she must work in the historical fiction arena.

The next step was to learn what do agents do on behalf of the writer.

More on the other side of this break.

T&R Independent Books brings you this blog post to keep you informed on the issues of today. Authors need to stay informed so that they can relate to their readers facts as well as entertain them with their imagination.

It’s Your Business is a Basic Writing Course that explains and guides you into becoming an author. Powered by video along with PDFs and Coaching you learn the basics of writing. Sign up is Coming Soon and Class will start shortly afterward. Watch for the headline ‘Authors Basic Training Open for Registration now’.

To discover how you can be the writer you want to be, write to us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. We will respond.

Check us out and get your career moving.

Now back to the article.

Searching for an Agent

Searching through the internet I learned there are three things they do.

  1. Find and submit to them the author’s manuscript.
  2. Negotiate contracts.
  3. Distribute money (royalties, etc.)

Sounds relatively easy, doesn’t it? But I soon discovered some interesting facts:

  1. Finding an agent in my genre is time consuming
  2. It requires knowing what you need
  3. Not every agent is accepting new clients
  4. My book needed to pass their approval
  5. Seeking a publisher in more productive
  6. Being a publisher is better yet!

Publishers May Require an Agent

In addition, I discovered that a growing number of publishers ‘require’ you to have an agent! They won’t look at your manuscript unless there is an agent!

It was shortly after I discovered this that I decided to go self-publishing. It was a major move; virtually a first step toward independence. Later I would take another step away from Self-Publishing and toward Indie Publishing that would change my life!

Note: some people use self-publishing and indie publishing interchangeably, but there are differences.

Self-Publishing

My going with a Self-Publisher quickly dispelled some of the misinformation I had acquired. For example, having an agent wasn’t required. You could have one, but you didn’t to have one.

In my case I thought it wise to continue looking for an agent. But this proved hard and boring. I eventually found an agent I liked, and I submitted my book to her only to get a rejection letter stating that she didn’t work in my particular genre. Bummer! By the way, my genre was still historical fiction which was her genre, but it was also Bible based historical fiction, and that is probably what she was referring to.

Indie Publishing

A lot of similarities between self-publishing and indie publishing, but one major difference is that indie publishers don’t charge fees because the author is the publisher. Of course, that means that the author assumes all responsibility for writing, editing, proofing, publishing, and marketing. But the author also reaps greater financial rewards!

Truths Learned About Agents

The truths I learned here were:

  1. It can take months to find the right agent
  2. That agent may not want you
  3. Agents are not required for self-publishing or indie publishing.

So I went with a self-publisher and learned that although there is more freedom than in traditional publisher, the self-publisher still had control of all the tools and most of the profits. Plus, you had to pay them upfront!

One advantage of the self-publisher/indie publisher is that they will help you market your book. They may provide you marketing tools for a small fee. But another truth is that no matter what publisher you have you will do most of the marketing.

This all leads to a question:

Can you benefit from an agent?

The answer is yes. They have the expertise and the experience to get things done. So, there is value in getting an agent.

However, I opted out.  Instantly I became Author, Publisher, and Marketer! Which means that I had the added responsibility that agents normally handle, which is quite a chore.

What Should I Look For In An Agent?

Ultimately you make that call. Discover your genre or genres, learn their characteristics, and search for agents in that genre. No matter what, I think you should consider it. But you should explore the world of agents. You might find one you like.

And remember that going alone, especially Independent, requires you to do the work of an agent!

That said, I believe that going Indie is the best way to go. Yes, you work hard but the rewards are greater also! As an Indie you have a lot of responsibilities, but you also have greater possibilities. As an Indie you can hire companies to help you with certain aspects of your business.

VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

Don’t forget to comment below. We are always interested in your opinions. And to make sure you get our blogs, simply check the box that says, Notify me of new posts via email.

Company information:

T&R Independent Bookstore is a division of T&R Independent Books founded in 2014 by R. Frederick and Tess Riddle. TR Ministry, aka Ministry Services, is both a charge from God and an exciting outreach to the Christian Community.

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Blog by Ron A Look at Indie-Publishing

R. Frederick Riddle image

Today I am taking a look at Indie-Publishing. There are three types of publishing: Traditional, Self, and Indie. Let’s take a quick look at the first two.

Traditional Publishing is a term referring to the way we used to get published. Nowadays, it is represented by the big publishing houses, although it is possible that smaller publishing houses are traditional as well.

A brief understanding of Traditional Publishing is as follows: (modern version) The author writes a book, finds an agent who submits the manuscript to one of the big publishers. It used to be that an author could send an unsolicited manuscript to the publisher, who would read it, then either reject or approve. If approved, the publisher would publish the book.

Moreover, in days gone by the publisher would control the marketing. As far as the author was concerned, he or she had little control over the publishing or the marketing. And nowadays the average author gets only a small royalty. And the author does some of the marketing, such as book signings. A recent change, primarily in the 21st century, Traditional publishing houses are requiring that the author have an agent.

Self-Publishing came along and opened the door for the author. This was how I got into writing. My first three books were all self-publishing. One attractive difference between that and Traditional publishing was that I now had a semblance of control. But the publisher still had ultimate control and still got the biggest share of the royalties. And the author does most of the marketing.

As with the traditional houses, self-publishers are moving towards requiring an agent. This doesn’t appear to be large scale, but it looks like the day is coming.

Indie-Publishing is relatively new. You might call it the baby of the family. This is real self-publishing. When we come back from the break, we’ll take a closer look.

More on the other side of this break.

T&R Independent Books brings you this blog post to keep you informed on the issues of today. Authors need to stay informed so that they can relate to their readers facts as well as entertain them with their imagination.

It’s Your Business is a free video service to help authors learn how to set up their business. We provide free video training where you learn why you, as an author, are already a businessman or businesswoman. You also learn basics for structuring your business. Along with these videos is Learning to Write with the basics you need.

To discover how you can be the writer you want to be, write to us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. We will respond with a free copy of our Guide to Writing.

Check us out and get your career moving.

Now back to the article.

What follows is a brief look at the advantages of Indie-Publishing.

Advantages: (same as self publishing)

  1. Virtually able to have book published. Rare that a manuscript is rejected.
  2. Author owns the ISBN, unless received free ISBN from KDP or similar.
  3. Royalty paid.

Advantages in addition to above:

  1. No signed contract. (Terms of Service usually act as contract).
  2. Published within days
  3. Growing number of publishing formats
  4. Kindle Direct Platform (KDP)
  5. Others
  6. Select either 35% or 70% royalty
  7. Control throughout the process
  8. Minimum requirements by platform
  9. Ability to retire a book
  10. Ability to edit and republish a book
  11. Ability to not only set prices but to change prices
  12. FREE (KDP, for example, gets paid through selling the book).
  13. No agent required.

Disadvantages:

  1. You don’t have an editor telling you what to do.
  2. You don’t have to wait months to be approved and/or published.
  3. You make all the marketing decisions (inc. hiring marketers).
  4. You handle all the editing and proofing

Some of the disadvantages listed are actually advantages. While being my own editor is hard work, it is also part of having control. Indie Publishing is all about control and greater profits. You control close to 100% of everything regarding your precious book.

In 2014 Teresa and I formed our own publishing company: TR-Independent Books. Although getting up and running was time consuming, we have not regretted it. Since that time, I have purchased the rights to and republished Perished: the World That Was plus others. As publisher, I have republished another book under a new title; and I am publishing new books.

And it is not costing me $400 (back in 2003) or $800 (now) to publish a book. Yes, there are costs associated with doing it yourself, but the cost is much less.

As an Indie-Publisher I also handled the marketing. I can turn it over to a professional (which I may do in the future), but whichever way I go the ultimate source of authority lies with my wife and I. One of the things I may do in the future is publish a catalog. This would help to develop and expand local marketing.

I would recommend to anyone that they seriously consider being an Indie-Publisher. Yes, it will require more work, but it also gives you control throughout the process. And that is important.

Try this simple quiz:

  • Do I control the editing services? Yes
  • Do I control review time of a Proof before returning it for correction or publication? Yes
  • Can I pull the book, edit it, and republish after I have already published it and do it for free? Yes
  • How much help do I get marketing the book? Various free tools
  • What do the marketing tools cost? Some are free.

These and other questions need to be answered. And I think you’ll be pleased with the answers. Perhaps the biggest advantage that Indie Publishing has, other than control, is the cost. You can publish an entire book free of charge or you can pay a little. Again, you have control!

Here are some facts to consider:

An Indie Publishing company is the author who now has virtual control over every aspect of publishing. That includes the cover, the back cover, any pictures within the book, and, to some extent, the text itself. Basically, the author has the power.

(note: If you use a publishing venue, such as KDP, they may have minimum requirements that you must meet. Even so, you decide which venue to use and you are the one agreeing to the requirements.)

Self-publishers generally don’t do marketing. But they do provide tools at a cost that you can use. This may include such things as banners, magazine ads, newspaper ads, and more. All for a price.

But Indie Publishing is different! You, the author, become your own agent, publisher, and marketer. This means you have greater flexibility in choosing who prints your book. You control virtually all aspects of the printing process.

In addition, you control the marketing. Let me point out that you have greater responsibility as well as power. But when you become your own publisher, doors of opportunity open allowing you to use the same tools you have been paying the self-publishers to use. You not only do the work, you make the decisions!

Happy Indie Publishing!

. VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

Don’t forget to comment below. We are always interested in your opinions. And to make sure you get our blogs, simply check the box that says, Notify me of new posts via email.

Company information:

T&R Independent Bookstore is a division of T&R Independent Books founded in 2014 by R. Frederick and Tess Riddle. TR Ministry, aka Ministry Services, is both a charge and an exciting outreach to the Christian Community.