A Map, A Compass and an eBook.

©TheFiestyCat
©TheFiestyCat

Roundups and quick takes from Galley Cat’s writer’s guides.
By Elizabeth Cutright

Some days you just want a prod or a poke.  Just one little tip or tool.  That one piece of advice or website suggestion to help you “start the process”…”make the move”…”turn over a new leaf.”

I don’t know about you, but there’s always that one moment during the week when I am just done.  I don’t want to think…I don’t want to create…. I don’t want to plan.
I just want to live in the moment, let someone else make the decisions, and maybe have a cookie.

In honor of that “cut to the chase” mood, below is a summary of some of Galley Cat’s best advice for the finished novelist ready to send their manuscript out into the world.  I’ve talked about Galley Cat before – a faithful friend to writers and aspiring creatives, this news aggregate website rounds up all the writerly stories bubbling around the cybersphere and collects them one place for easy perusal.  (If I were you…I’d bookmark it.)  You may not always find what your looking for, but on days when you feel aimless and distracted, Galley Cat can help find a focus, or help you wander down the serendipitous garden path.

You may not be ready to submit anything (I know I’m not…though a finished manuscript is definitely on my 2013 “to do” list), but don’t let this information stress you out or intimidate you.  While useful, I think  these links to contests and tips on e-book formatting can also be inspiring.  They can help answer questions you didn’t even know you had (like, “how do you submit an eBook?”  “How does self-publishing work?”  “Should I enter a writing contest?”), and it demonstrate that there’s a solution for every challenge and a method for every aspiration.

And away we go….

First up, Penguin’s Book Country announced this week that it’s offering a free self-publishing option to it’s self-publishing program.  The program hosts packages ranging from free to $399 and helps authors self-publish eBooks that can be hosted on a variety of eBook formats, including Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Sony, Google and Scribd.  Check out Galley Cat  for more info on the package, including the royalty options and a list of the genres that qualify for the program.

In that same vein, Galley Cat also catalogs the free style guides that are available online for writers who want to make sure their eBook is formatted correctly.  At the jump, can you access Galley Cat’s rundown of the sites, including (again) Amazon, Barnes and Nobel, Kobo and Apple.  Smashwords Style Guide is another option – it provides “guidance for ‘major eBook retailers such as Apple iBookstore, Barnes and Nobel, Sony, Kobo and Diesel.’”

Want to “get your book out there right now”? – Galley Cat’s got some suggestions.   There’s Amazon’s 2013 Breakthrough Novel contest  which includes a $50,000 prize and an Amazon publishing contract. You can also submit your manuscript to Random House’s New Digital Imprints (Romance, new adult, mystery, thriller, science fiction, fantasy and horror are all eligible genres) .  If you have a finished romance novel, pop on over to Avon Impulse  , which beckons with the entreaty that “we encourage creativity, so feel free to impress us with what you’ve got.”

And if you’re curious about applying for an NEA grant, Galley Cat’s got you covered.  Click here  for deadline information and links to previous NEA winners.

Remember that scene in The Graduate when Benjamin gets cornered at a party by one of his father’s friends who tells him the future is “plastics”?  Substitute “promotion” for the punch line and that’s what you’ve got if you explore Galley Cat’s “6 Ways to Promote Your Book on a Budget.” 

I’ve been swimming in the shallow end of the social media pool for a couple of years now – warily eyeing the deep end and the hungry sharks that no doubt linger within its depths – and I may not know much, but I know that you haven’t got a thing if you ain’t got that promotional swing.  Thankfully, initial promotional efforts can be relatively painless and budget friendly – there are free sites designed to help you promote your eBook  , and Galley Cat also helpfully supplies links to articles about pitching to media outlets and selling your self-published book in bookstores.

And, finally, it seems like you can’t go anywhere these days without hearing tales about the glories of LinkedIn.  I’m not yet a true believer – the platform still feels a bit like the wild west to me – but I can see it’s appeal and I suspect there’s probably value to be had if you just know how to navigate that particular Oregon Trail (too derivative?  Yeah…you’re probably right).  Galley Cat rounds up some LinkedIn Strategies for Writers, and I plan to (eventually) put some of those strategies into play on my own LinkedIn.

So that’s your writerly round up for this purposeless and unfocused Thursday.  Let me know if you’ve got a website or tumblr or social media juggernaut you love (or hate) – I’m always on the lookout for someone else to grab the wheel, turn off the main road and head out into the hinterlands.

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