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December, 2011


by Bhakti Shringarpure

Warscapes, a magazine of literature, art and politics was launched on November 8th, 2011. It is an independent online publication that provides a lens into current conflicts across the world. (Continued below...)


Advice on Self-Publishing

by Manuela Anne-Marie Pop

A few people emailed me for advice on self-publishing and I decided to write a small guide. There is a huge hype now days with self-publishing and companies are making lots of money from thousands of people who want to see their books in print. 

My experience with self-publishing has been an OK one. Would I advise one to self-publish? Sure, as long as your expectations are not too high. Keep in mind you will not make money out of it. It is better to see the world of POD (publish on demand) as a hobby, but nothing else. The royalties in self-publishing are so low that you actually have to sell thousands of books to make money. 

I put a lot of effort into my self-published book, writing and promoting it. Writing is hard, but promoting your book is even harder. When you choose a self-publish company, make sure you read carefully what they offer you. The company I chose is iUniverse. What I like about iUniverse is that if you choose a package that includes the evaluation, they will tell you what is wrong with your book. You then get a chance to work harder on your book and re-submitted to them. If you have the budget, I will advise you to buy editing services, such as line editing. This is what I did to correct the grammar and spelling errors. Self-publishing is expensive and you will not make much money out of it. It is only a hobby. 

Many self-publishing companies offer several services, depending on how much money you want to invest in your book. Keep in mind that you will not make much money out of self-publishing. If you are a very talented writer and you think you have an amazing book, I advice you to keep looking for a traditional publishing house to publish your book. I tried to publish my book with a traditional publishing house, but trust me it is really a 'mission impossible.' 

Other traps to look for in self-publishing: there really is no need to keep pouring money into your book. There are many companies out there who will do anything for your book for a large sum of money. IUniverse for example, offers expensive editing with the help of skilled people. After a few thousand dollars that you invested in your book, you can get the label 'Editor's choice' and if you sell five hundred copies, you get a chance to see your book re-published by a traditional house. It sounds very promising, but trust me from my experience, to sell five hundred copies is a really hard thing to do. Many people are still very skeptical buying a self-published book. 

I worked very hard at promoting my book. Here are some ways to do it: send it to reviewers, distribute printed postcards with the information on your book, tell all your friends about it and advertise it as much as you can on the internet or anywhere else you can. 

I put together a list of self-publishing houses that you should look at: iUniverse, AuthorHouse, Infinity Publishing, Llumina Press, Aventine Press, etc. Of course there are some other companies out there, some more expensive then others, but those are the ones I would recommend. I do not recommend the really cheap self-publishing companies, such as LULU, because they do not check the content of your book. They will print just about anything for money. If you think your book is fantastic and needs no additional work, then you can publish very inexpensively with them. 

There are a bunch of places where you can send your book for review. BookConnector site has been a great help for me in finding internet sites that do book reviews. They have a huge list with places where to send your book for review. You should not pay for a book review! Book reviews should be free of cost. I had very positive experience with most of the review sites, except for one, from where I got a bad review. Try to read other reviews first from where you choose to send your book to, see if they give decent reviews. Some places might scrutinize your book too much and you really don't want that for publicity. In the writing business, opinions can differ so much from one person to another, so you really need feedback from a lot of people before you decide if your book is good or not. If ten people gave you good reviews and one person gave you a bad review, you might tend to forget about the later one. Otherwise, I really had a good experience with reviews, so I definitely recommend you to send an email query first to ask for a review. 

If you believe you have a fantastic book, you can also try to send it to local newspapers or radio stations for interviews. But really, try to query the place first to see if they want to accept your book. 

Self-publishing is a great hobby and unless you have a passion to write and promote your own book, you will not be able to succeed much. A traditional way of publishing is definitely the key to success, but it really is almost impossible to get in. 

About The Author

Manuela Anne-Marie Pop 

I am a computer engineer, who enjoys traveling and exploring different cultures - I have traveled and lived in three continents: Europe, North-America and Asia. I also have a variety of hobbies: such as cooking different vegetarian dishes, practicing yoga and meditation, reading and writing and spending time on the computer. I also review books for http://Bookpleasures.com 

In September 2005 I have published the book "Young Female, Traveling Alone" with iUniverse. It is a book inspired by my travels in S.E Asia and India from October 2003 until March 2004. 


Warscapes... (continued)

Warscapes publishes fiction, poetry, reportage, interviews, book, film and performance reviews, art and retrospectives of war literature from the past fifty years. It is a tool for understanding complex political crises in various regions and serves as an alternative to compromised representations of those issues.

Our global advisory board comprises Somali novelist Nuruddin Farah, courageous French journalist, Anne Nivat, Iranian journalist and filmmaker, Mazair Bahari, award-winning Ethiopian-born novelist, Dinaw Mengestu, Congolese author Emmanuel Dongala, former UN Undersecretary-General and author Shashi Tharoor and Zimbabwean publisher and editor, Irene Staunton. Our inaugural issue featuring writers and artists from Congo, Somalia, Cambodia and others received over 15,000 hits from 76 countries.

Warscapes has several unique elements. For example, in our Retrospectives section, we re-publish an existing older work and offer a backstory for conflicts taking place today. In our first issue we featured the 1961 prison memoir Battle of Algiers by Saadi Yacef, a war veteran, writer and filmmaker. Through conversations with him and accompanying reviews and features on Algeria, we arrived at a complex and unconventional way of thinking about Algeria today. In January, there will be a multi-faceted retrospective on Zimbabwe and it promises to be an exciting mix of old and new authors as well as text and image. The focus on graphic art and poetry along with the innovative cover page feature set Warscapes apart from other online magazines.

Moving forward, we are working to establish partnerships with big and small NGOs to create an energized and engaged community around the issues of war and peace. As our magazine grows, we invite you to support us through submissions, subscriptions or by simply reading it on a regular basis.

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Publishing New Writers,

December, 2011 (no. 1212)


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