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Guest Post

Though many people eschew carrying a physical book these days, preferring e-readers or apps to get their reading done, printed book sales continue to increase.  Every writer knows that there is just something about collecting words on corporeal pages that grants history, depth, and the feeling of truly conveying a truth to a piece of writing. After all, there is nothing like seeing your work in print.

While many libraries are struggling in the digital age there are still a good many throughout the world that stand as invaluable seats of knowledge, and have done so for centuries. The buildings themselves are wondrous. Take Stiftsbibliothek in Austria where many of its over 70,000 books are housed in the largest such hall in the world and you’ll see just how important it is to stay just a bit slavish to the printed word.

Below, Oldest has collected statistics on 11 of the most invaluable public libraries in the world. Collectively housing millions of volumes, these buildings contain a gravitas and majesty that cannot be replicated by a computer screen.

If you are looking for more infographics, you might like these:

  1. Breaking Down Writer’s Block
  2. 11 Steps To Writing A Bestselling Novel
  3. 6 Iconic Literary Road Trips To Inspire Your Inner Creative
  4. 9 Famous Authors’ Pen Names

If you enjoy our posts, please consider this:

We want to keep our blog free of clutter and advertising — so you’re not distracted and can focus on your craft. If you’re inspired, educated, or entertained by our posts, please give us a donation. We’ll keep Writers Write about writing and nothing else.

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This excerpt is from our Secrets of a Memoirist course.

Even Memoirs Need Suspense

Suspense is not conflict. Suspense means keeping readers on the edge of the page, guessing and wondering what will happen next. The way to do this is by asking a question, or series of questions, in the beginning of your memoir and not answering until the end.

Even if the readers of your memoir know your story, and they obviously know you have survived, you can keep some things back. This will keep them interested enough to go all the way to the end to find out how you coped.

It is often the ‘how’ that is more important than the ‘why’ in a memoir. Take a step back and write yourself as if you were writing a character in a novel. Show how you lived, breathed, and felt throughout the memoir.

Seven Ways To Create Suspense in Memoirs:
  1. Use heightened sensory details. If you were waiting for an abusive partner to come home, every sound becomes loaded with possibilities.
  2. Confide in your reader. Tell the reader your plans, your dreams, and your hopes. This allows them to get to know you and empathise with you. They will be as devastated as you are when things do not go as planned.
  3. Use time constraints. If you had a ‘ticking clock’ situation with deadlines and the consequences of missing those deadlines, use it in your story. It will keep you and your readers alert.
  4. Show dilemmas. We all have to make choices. Use dilemmas you faced and offer readers a bird’s eye view into your life as you made your decisions.
  5. Add pressure. You will have dealt with pressure and complications in your life. Make sure you write these into the appropriate scenes of your memoir with the intensity they deserve.
  6. Micro-manage suspense. We all want something every day. We may want to go shopping, or get to a meeting on time. You are no different. Show readers how the little things that do not work out for you make a difference.
  7. Make promises and keep them. If you tell readers that your story will change their lives, make sure you show them how your life changed, and keep that promise.

P.S. If you want to learn how to write a memoir, enrol for Secrets Of A Memoirist. We include ‘The 7 Memoir Plot Patterns’ and ‘The Basic Plot Formula For A Memoir’ on this awesome course.

 by Amanda Patterson

If you enjoyed this post, read:

  1. 5 Reasons Why Writing A Memoir Is Like Writing A Short Film
  2. How To Define Your Character’s Narrative
  3. Dear Writer: Advice For Beginner Authors

If you’re inspired, educated, or entertained by our posts, please support us with a small monthly donation. You can help us keep Writers Write about writing – and free of clutter and advertising.

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Welcome to part three of our podcast series. In the first part, we discussed what you need to know about podcasting, in the second the equipment you need. Today, I will be discussing how to edit your podcast.

Editing

People are intimidated by editing of any kind. It invokes a sense of dread and encourages procrastination.

However, unlike editing a video or a book a podcast can’t be changed once it is recorded. So don’t worry about all the things you could do better. You’ll just have to do it better next time.

I hope you have a main body of audio to work with. That will contain your topic.

This might be broken up into segments. You may want to do this to create space for adverts.

You should also have some audio around the front and the back of the topic. This will be the sounds of you setting up. Maybe a bit of audio testing.

It could also contain some unscripted “pre-show” dialogue. If these is any gold here you have two options.

You can cut it or you can use it. But where do you put it? Often an effective place is after the show proper is over you can add a stinger.

The stinger should deliver a line or two of dialogue. It should be funny or otherwise unexpected. This will give any listener who has stayed the course of show a sense that they found the last nugget of information in the rich vain entertainment. Short and sharp should a stinger be.

But, but and to butt in, consider the front of the show before you have introduced anything at all. You can of course just start the podcast. That will be fine.

However, add a bit of conversation from the middle can spice this up. Something out of context: “Like refined corn-syrup” adds a bit of flavour.

This is a good chance to use set up conversations. That would otherwise have to be cut simply for not being part of the official show.

This all creates a sense of disjointed time and helps create a narrative or at least a story-like tone to your conversation.

Post-Processing           

You can of course spend a great deal of time and energy on a podcast. You may want to do a number of things:

  1. Create images for thumbnails or YouTube. This is worthwhile in our visual culture as having something to stare at on you podcast app creates the illusion visual motion when coupled with audio.
  2. Make show notes. This is just a common courtesy to tell you listener what is in the podcast and when it happens.
  3. Add sound effects. From something complex like making or commissioning a song for your intro or simply adding some music for dramatic effect. You may even just want to add a second of static or a beep between your segments and ads.

You unfortunately run the risk of doing far too much. People listen to podcasts primarily for the sense company they provide and this is enhanced by a more slapdash rustic quality.

By all means edit out all the background sounds. Write a script. Even hire voice actors. But what you now have is a product more like corn syrup not wild flower honey. 

Editing Itself     

So how do you edit?

What you need is a computer that can run Digital Audio Workstation software.

If you are using Audacity you could probably just plug a screen into a potato with USB support and call it a day.

However programs like Adobe Audition or Premier (for video podcasts)  require an actual computer bought in the last 5 years and preferably not a laptop, never a tablet.

Once you have these programs all you need to do is play around with them.

However, once again, to interject, it all boils down to selecting the section of audio you want “cutting” it and moving it to where you want it or deleting it out right.

You can have one track. You can have dozens and often it is useful to have duplicates to work from so you don’t delete your main track by accident.

Regardless you are probably going to have to reduce it to a single MP3 or similar format to upload it to the internet. Now this is simple of the adobe software but you will need to install additional software on audacity. Here is their guild.

After that is all said and importantly done don’t forget to upload the podcast! And to share it on your social media. After all how else will we ever hear about your wildly successful podcast?

Good luck and happy editing.

P.S. If you want to learn how to blog, join us for The Complete Blogging Course in Johannesburg or sign up for the online version.

 Written(but not uploaded) by Christopher Dean – typing on potatoes since 2003.

If you enjoyed this post read:

  1. 11 Things You May Or May Not Need For Podcasting
  2. 3 Things To Know About Podcasts When You Know Nothing
  3. 3 Things Bloggers Need To Know For 2019 And Beyond
  4. Everything You Need To Know About Blogging

If you enjoy our resources, please consider this:

If you’re inspired, educated, or entertained by our posts, please support us with a small monthly (or once-off) donation. You can help us keep Writers Write about writing – and free of clutter and advertising.

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Guest Post

While some people cry foul at the mere mention of writer’s block, claiming it’s all in the writer’s mind, the fact that there are days when your creative writing juices just don’t flow does exist. And it sucks. Not only do writing projects halt to a standstill, but the pressure of needing to put out work but being unable to can also sometimes be too much to handle.

Writer’s block can be attributed to a lot of factors, both physically and mentally. It can be because of multiple distractions within your vicinity, or it can simply be because you’re suffering from high fever, thus rendering you unable to make full use of all your faculties.

There are different types of writer’s block, as well. It may be because you have way too many ideas to fit into an 800-word article or have no clue at all on how to even start your first paragraph. You may find yourself suddenly getting bored of writing about the same topic over and over or, worse, run out of ideas in the middle of a writing gig.

Whether you’re a best-selling book author, a news writer, or a blogger whose daily life involves writing online, then you’ll definitely find yourself experiencing different types of writer’s blocks several times throughout your career.

Want to know more? Check out this free infographic and learn about how to get over your writer’s block.

If you are looking for more infographics, you might like these:

  1. 11 Steps To Writing A Bestselling Novel
  2. 6 Iconic Literary Road Trips To Inspire Your Inner Creative
  3. 9 Famous Authors’ Pen Names

If you enjoy our posts, please consider this:

We want to keep our blog free of clutter and advertising — so you’re not distracted and can focus on your craft. If you’re inspired, educated, or entertained by our posts, please give us a donation. We’ll keep Writers Write about writing and nothing else.

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These were the new Writers Write posts you enjoyed most in November 2018:

  1. 6 Superhero Writing Tips From Stan Lee
  2. C. S. Lewis’s 5 Rules For Writers
  3. Kurt Vonnegut On Making Your Soul Grow
  4. Harnessing The Power Of Time In Your Storytelling
  5. How To Define Your Character’s Narrative
  6. 11 Steps To Writing A Bestselling Novel
  7. 12 Short Stories Announces 2018 Short Story Competition Winner
  8. Janet Fitch’s Top 10 Writing Tips
  9. 7 Things You Need In A Writing Partner
  10. 5 Questions On Self-Publishing Answered

Previous Posts

If you enjoy our posts and resources, please consider this:

If you’re inspired, educated, or entertained by our posts, please support us with a small monthly (or once-off) donation. You can help us keep Writers Write about writing – and free of clutter and advertising.

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This is the last story for 2018. Well done to everyone who got #12/12! Keep an eye on your inbox, high-fives are coming your way. I am very proud of every writer who participated, even if you didn’t meet every deadline you have written more than you would have. Those still aiming for 12, keep going.  

Submission process: 

I will accept and approve posts for That Will Not Be Necessary (Word count: 1200 words) from 5 December 2018, 8:00 (Johannesburg time), until 6 December 2018, 8:00 (Johannesburg time) on 12shortstories.com.  Please ask Google to figure out what time that will be in your part of the world. 

Please use the correct format:

In the post title bar:              Story Title by Author Name.

Just above the story:             Prompt: XXXXXX | Word count: XXXXXX | Genre: XXXXXX

Warning to sensitive readers can go after that.

2019 Challenge:

We will be writing more short stories next year. You are welcome to join us. Please sign up on 12 Short Stories.The first prompt for 2019 will be up on 9 January 2018. 

Here is my short story:

Prompt 12: That will not be necessary | Word count: 1200 words exactly | Genre: Action

Warning: violence and profanity

Joy stares at the man she thought she knew so well, tracing the familiar creases looking for a sign, a memory, but all she sees is the maniacal glint in his eye. He clutches his rosary in his one hand and a gun in the other, a red smear mars the white square of his collar.

“Make them stop.” She says. José is a bloody pulp at their feet.

Padre looks at her and grins. “They’ve waited a long time for this.”

Joy grabs a sidearm from the man on her left. He’s distracted by the bloody debacle and reacts too late. She has the gun pointed at Padre. “Make them stop.”

The fleshy thumps of the beating cease and are replaced by dozens of clicks and they train their guns on her.

“Leave him alone or I kill the priest.”

Nobody moves. Padre turns towards her and holds up his hands. He makes a show of putting down his gun. Joy kicks it away.

“Child, you know better than anyone what he is capable of.”

“Yes, but I never knew you were capable of this.”

“Desperation makes one capable of many things.”

“What is this place?” Joy asks.

“My base.”

“Base for what?”

He grins. “The Church, you know, they don’t pay so well.”

Joy’s mind reels. She doesn’t want to believe what she is hearing.

“And then there is the added bonus of revenge.”

“But he let you go.” she says.

“He did. I left, became a priest to be with you, but when he figured out I was your father, he took you to punish me.”  

He puts a hand on her arm, but she recoils.

“Make them go away.” She doesn’t want an audience for this.

Padre flicks his wrist; their guns are holstered and they retreat. One closest to José lands another kick in his side and she fires a shot at his feet. The crowd disperses faster after that. She lowers the gun and turns to Padre.

“Why?” Joy can’t think. Images of Padre, of the quiet gentle man, war with this one before her.

“I know it is a lot to take in, but he took everything from me.” He waves his hands as he talks, as if it can erase what he has done. “He killed Sofia,” he closes his eyes, “and once he found out who you were, he took you away as well.”

“What? Who?”

“Sofia. Yes, I loved her very much. When we realised she was pregnant we were going to run away, but then you were born early and José found out you weren’t his and he killed her.”

“You had an affair with José’s wife and I’m her daughter?” Joy shakes her head, “What a bloody cliché.” She glances at José, but he is passed out. She turns back to Padre. The pieces falling into place.

“You thought José was cutting in on your business, didn’t you? That‘s why you involved the Americans. You wanted them to eliminate José.” Joy says. “You thought it was José and he thought it is was you. That’s why he wanted me to shoot you? He knew it was you all along.” She turns away, fighting back the assault of emotions. “The children; you’ve been selling them for years – all the women. You’ve been profiting off them all the while letting me believe it was him. You fucking sold them.”

Padre straightens under her glare, he brandishes his crucifix at her.  “He took everything from me, I was just taking what I was owed.”

Joy descends on him so fast he has no time to react. She slams the pistol into his temple and he sinks to his knees.

“In what messed up place are you the victim in all this? You sabotaged the drugs that killed hundreds, you sold women and children to perverts, you…” Joy raises the gun again and presses the barrel to his forehead.

“Stop.” Drew’s voice stops her cold. “Joy, stop.” He appears to her right.  She can’t begin to imagine how he got there.

“No, he deserves to die.” She presses harder.

“Joy, it is not necessary. Stop it. We have enough evidence. He’s going to jail for a very long time. Miguel told us everything. He is going to testify. He has the proof. He kept the records. The women and children Padre sold are already being located. We’ve got Padre. We’ve got José. It’s over.”

“Miguel knew?” she whips around.

“Everything. It’s why José beat him and left him for dead. He found out about Padre and that it was Miguel helping him.”

Joy steps back, the gun dangles in her hand.

“They said it was my fault. Because I left. He said it was because of me.”

“They lied. To you. To me. They thought everything was fine, but then you began sabotaging their loads. José thought it was Padre and Padre thought it was José. They didn’t know it was you who stole the drugs. They didn’t know about Carlos. You stopped the trafficking and the drugs for more than a year. That’s why he took the risk of kidnapping the kids. He needed they money. Desperately. But you stopped him again.”

“You?” Padre says. “It was you?”

“Yes, you sick demented bastard. I took everything. I burnt your cocaine. I made sure every girl you kidnapped was rescued. I…” Her voice cracks. “How could you?”

He wilts a little as she rants. “You were the one good thing in this world.” Her voice drops to a whisper. “I trusted you. I loved you.”

“I did it all for you.”

“Don’t you dare say that.” Her voice rasps. “You did it for revenge. You did because it you hate him. It has always been about him. Don’t make it about me.” 

Drew puts a cool hand on her arm. “They’re here. To take them away. It’s over”

Troops are swarming the camp. Green camouflaged swamp monsters emerge from the foliage and drop from the trees. She steps back.  A sharp light glints to her left, she draws and fires in one movement. José gargles and fresh blood bubbles from his lips. He looks at Joy. Panic flares but dissolves into a blank stare.

A small cough draws her attention, she spins around to see a wet, shiny patch blossom on Padre’s chest. José’s shot found its mark. Padre folds into his robe and shudders as he exhales for the last time.

Drew pulls her towards him. She leans into him for a moment closing her eyes.

“What is this - a fucking Hallmark movie? Are you cheating on me, mi amor?”

Joy pulls away. “I’m not your amor, Carlos.”

“You break my heart, mi amor.” He straightens and takes in the carnage. “Sorry, about Padre. Didn’t see that coming. Girls are safe though.”

“Thank you.” she drops the gun as she walks away.

Drew steps closer, takes her arm. “You ok?”

“Not right now,” she looks at the bodies again, “but I’m going to be.” 

She keeps walking.

“Where are you going?”

“Away.” She gives him a half smile over her shoulder. “Find me when you’re done.” Joy disappears into the foliage.

If you want to learn how to write a short story, join us for Short Cuts in Johannesburg or sign up for our online course.

 by Mia Botha

If you enjoyed this post, you will love:

  1. Word Count Problems: What’s The Deal With ‘Exactly’?
  2. A Complete Beginner’s Guide To Creating A Privacy Policy
  3. Silver Screen Inspiration For Short Story Writers

If you enjoy our posts and resources, please consider this:

  1. If you’re inspired, educated, or entertained by our posts, please support us with a small monthly or once-off donation.
  2. You can help us keep Writers Write about writing – and free of clutter and advertising.
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Welcome to part two of our podcast series. Podcasts have become a crucial part of blogging and, because we blog about blogging, we will be sharing what we know.

In the first part, we discussed what you need to know about podcasting. Today, I will be discussing how to record that story. For this you will need a number of things.

The Essentials 1. Computer

Basically any PC or Mac will do. This does not need to be a great computer but you need to make sure it can handle all the software you will need. It must have enough USB ports for your equipment.

If possible, and if you have the money, you can buy high-end motherboards that have integrated isolated input components for improved quality control.

Failing that, you’ll need long enough 3.5mm audio cables, or if you are using a USB microphone, then you will need USB cables.

Now, I say any computer but something with 4-8 cores (Go AMD for price) and a graphics card (GPU) from the last 4 years is what I’m thinking about.

This will help you edit your audio files, and if you want to turn them into videos you will need a GPU to help encode these into videos.

It is possible to use a mobile phone or tablet, but it’s a real headache and the quality is usually low as a result of poor manufacturing standards in the industry.

Both iBUYPOWER and CYBERPOWER make and sell custom computers to order but you can also buy them on Amazon.

A reasonable computer like this

will work just fine.

Of course you can use an iMac if you want.

2. Microphones

This can go two ways. You can buy a large radio style mic for the table and hope for the best.

Mostly this will be fine, but it is better to have a microphone for each person speaking. Rhode makes great audio equipment for this purpose but it does come at a cost.

However, in some cases you can buy a three mic audio set-up that records directly to a SD card (Like you have in a camera or your phone).

This is good if you don’t want a complicated computer set-up interfering with your talking. However, it will complicate your life in editing as you will need to have a way to get this recording onto your PC and perhaps even change the format to suit your software.

If you record straight to the software you don’t have to worry about this. Also you’ll know if everything is alright. You’ll know if you are recording, have power and that it sounds alright.

An easy work around are lapel mics like news anchor use. You can hook two or three to the same jack and everyone gets their own little mic to speak into for a tenth of the price.

This is ideal.

However, this might be more affordable.

3. Editing software

Audacity is free software for audio recording and editing. I use it to record to and to convert my files into MP3s. You can copy cut and paste your audio on it, but I prefer using Adobe for that.

Audacity works on Mac and PC and is really easy to use. Just go to their site to download it.

The Adobe suite is a tool that will cost you, but if you are willing to give it a try it is free to use for 30 days. Get it here.

The Optional Extras

These are known as the nice-to-haves.

1.  De-noiser/Filters/Audio Interface

You might have an annoying buzzing sound in the background of your recordings. This is due to some sort of electronic interference. It could be from any number of things. For example, I need to record in the dark because my lights create a very bad interference feedback effect. But it could be your internet router or a radio.

So check this before you buy expensive microphone filters or resort to clever but time consuming post processing software tricks. If this continues to be a problem you might need to resort to expensive equipment and recording devices. Or even do your podcast somewhere else.

Bear in mind that most DACs will do this job as well.

2.  Multi-channel DAC

A Digital to Analog Converter is what makes your computer understand music. Your PC already has this built in. But, it’s probably very basic.

With a multi-channel DAC you can filter the sound coming from a computer or going into it. And you can record multiple tracks at the same time giving your audio a more real in the room sound.

Here is a cheaper option. I like the dials because it give you tactile control. And you can record music with it.

3.  10 ft. cables

5m, 10-15ft cables give you the slack to move your mics and headphones around to suit your needs. Just don’t coil them or let them cross over each other. This could affect sound quality.

4.  Pop Filter

You’ve all seen these. They are the dish shaped mesh screens that you see musicians singing into. They help with that odd pop sound that sometimes happens with loud sounds. They also keep spit off your equipment.

Check them out here.

5.  Headphones

You may want to listen to the audio of the show while recording to see how it’s going. Maybe you want to listen to an audio clip but don’t want your listeners to hear it? Then you’ll need a pair.

Sennheiser is considered the best common brand. These are some of their more reasonably priced models.

6.  Mic Stands

Hopefully your mics come with these. If not, you may want something more professional-looking than a pile of books.

There are a variety of them out there and you’ll have to know which kind you want, so do you research before you buy one.

This is a Tripod Stand.

This is an articulated arm.

The Overkill

These two are for those who have the funds or are entering a professional stage.

1.  Sound booth

You might want to build a room that is sound proofed. This will allow you to record regardless of the weather outside or the noise of the street. It should also be echo proofed. This will improve your sound quality.

To do this you will need to seal off an area. Perhaps your garage? You will need to block off any flow of air through the room. Often air conditioners are necessary for air circulation if you do this.

Then you will need to apply a noise cancelling compound like foam to the walls of this space. There is custom-shaped foam designed for the best effect, but any reasonably thick foam will work.

A carpet floor is advised and any flat surface should be covered in material to prevent an echo.

2.  Mixing Board

This is entering the realm of a small radio station. A mixing board will require a level of commitment financial and training-wise that is really not essential to a podcast experience. But it will provide the ultimate real-time control for a host who is obsessed with audio quality and effects.

You don’t need it. It is really just a time waster unless you already have a command of audio equipment. I guarantee something will go wrong every time you add a new piece of technology to your set up. With a soundboard it can go wrong every time you touch a dial.

I hope this helps you decide what you do and don’t need for your podcasting.

P.S. If you want to learn how to blog, join us for The Complete Blogging Course in Johannesburg or sign up for the online version.

 by Christopher Dean  (Official Podcast Listener for Writers Write)

If you enjoyed this post read:

  1. 3 Things To Know About Podcasts When You Know Nothing
  2. 3 Things Bloggers Need To Know For 2019 And Beyond
  3. The A-Z Of Blogging
  4. The Blog Economy – And Why We Need More Daves
  5. Everything You Need To Know About Blogging

If you enjoy our resources, please consider this:

If you’re inspired, educated, or entertained by our posts, please support us with a small monthly (or once-off) donation. You can help us keep Writers Write about writing – and free of clutter and advertising.

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Two years ago, we ran a series called Grammar for Beginners. We included parts of speech in it. For today’s post, we have included links to all the parts of speech in one post.

What Are Parts Of Speech?

In language, parts of speech are categories of words based on their function in a sentence. A part of speech is also sometimes known as a word class. Words are the building blocks of language and we need to know how to use them when we write.

Words become sentences. Sentences become paragraphs. Paragraphs become essays, reports, articles, resumes, short stories, and novels. If we understand the functions of words, our ability to write well improves.

The Parts Of Speech Are:

  1. Nouns
  2. Adjectives
  3. Conjunctions
  4. Verbs
  5. Articles
  6. Pronouns
  7. Adverbs
  8. Prepositions

Please click on each of the parts of speech to find out more about each one.

Image Source: Parts of Speech

Learn how to write for business. Join us for The Plain Language Programme

If you enjoyed this post, read:

  1. Abstract Nouns
  2. The Passive Voice Explained
  3. Three Nagging Grammar Questions Answered
  4. 30 Examples To Help You Master Concord

If you’re inspired, educated, or entertained by our posts, please support us with a small monthly donation. You can help us keep Writers Write about writing – and free of clutter and advertising.

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Neil Wright is a South African writer and the owner of Wright Publishing. He and his wife Liesel live in Johannesburg. They run a Game Lodge, Sigurwana “Close to Heaven” on the Soutpansberg in Limpopo Province.

Wright says his books are non-fictional. Subjects include business management, the lives of two artists, a book on numbers, and his latest on the current political scene in South Africa.

5 Self-Crafted Questions On Self-Publishing Answered            1.  Did you self-publish because you could not find a publisher?

No, I faced reality. I started writing late in life. I needed 10,000 hours of writing and the help of Writers Write. I love holding the finished product in my hand. I know I can do that if I self-publish.

Ones reasons for writing all differ. Does one need an income from writing? Is writing just a hobby? Can one self-finance? Does one have the ability and means to promote the book? I self-published to make certain of the book in hand.

2.  Are there question marks about the quality of self-published books?

You firstly need a good creative layout artist to prepare the book for printing. A sample of their work will tell you all. This assumes you don’t have the know-how yourself.

You need a skilled editor, who understands one and where the chemistry works. Finally, your proof reader must have the utmost attention to detail.  Some readers are serial error spotters.

There are no reasons why self-published books cannot be up there with the best. A quality product needs the support of a skilled team.

3.  What are the main draw backs of self-publishing, apart from the cost?

Self-publishing authors need to do their own marketing. All the selling tools must be put to effective use, social media, book launches, radio interviews, book reviews, etc.

Distributors of books are helpful and have sales persons taking orders. My printer has a joint venture with a distributor. The printer gives exposure through their website. The more books sold, the more books need printing. It is good business. Still, the author must do a great deal of the promotion.

Between the distributor and the bookshop, the cost is in the region of 70% of the selling price of the book. Pushing online sales makes sense.

When I wanted to place a pile of my books in an eye-catching position in a bookshop, I was told. “No, we have an agreement with the large publishing houses. The best positions are reserved for them.”  Self-publishers may also battle to have book reviews published in the media.

4   What are the main pluses of self-publishing?

The chance of living the dream of publishing has become easier. The advent of computers and the internet can be thanked. Self-publishing online may not be as fulfilling as holding the finished product in one’s hand. But it is less costly and a good option.

With new technology, printing on demand over the counter does assist self-publishers. Will AI (Artificial Intelligence) assist writers? Copy writing for adverts are using AI successfully.

Technology has not reduced the number of people employed. Yes, positions have become redundant, but others have increased. Technology has increased production and reduced the unit costs, so boosting sales. Resulting in more people employed in logistics and sales.

For the highly technical AI might aid an increase in the number of books produced by self- publishing authors in the future.

5    What advice would you give to would-be self-publishing writers?

Writing is being creative and should give one a sense of reward. Focus must be on the appeal of the writing, the content and the technical design. There is an explosion in the volume of the written word. Together with rivalry from audio and video, focusing on excellence is a must.

The test is enticing attention to your writing, the power of design, the interest and ease of reading are factors. Don’t under estimate the help from those who have the knowledge and expertise. My thanks go to those who have helped me over the years.

 by Neil Wright. Neil has written six books and numerous articles. His latest book One Race, The Human Race, Now was published at the end of 2017. Visit his website: Wright Publishing

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