We had a ton of questions pouring in from CreativeLIVE viewers and not enough time to go over them all, so I asked that people pose their questions on Twitter with the #hughlive tag and I would respond. Since 140 characters isn’t enough space to do this properly, I thought I’d make a running blog post with the questions and answers. Maybe they’ll help someone else out as well. I’ll be updating this post throughout the day until my flight back home.
@kayladawnwrites It seems expensive to self-pub by the time you do cover art and editing. Thoughts on keeping cost down and quality up? #hughlive
How much it costs to self-publish is entirely up to you. Yes, you can get higher quality if you’re willing to pay, but most authors starting out can’t afford this luxury. I think e-book formatting is one place it makes sense to spend $50 and get a professional file. Cover art can be had for $50 – $1,500. Editing can run over a thousand bucks. If you see this as a hobby, do as much as you can yourself and have fun with it. Trade for services (writing workshops and critique groups are an excellent resource). However, if you see this as a serious career, keep in mind that a $2K or $3K investment in the best product possible is very cheap compared to most business start-up costs. It’s no more than other people spend on their hobbies (like a new camera or musical equipment). I spent zero dollars on my book production until after I was already a bestseller. But that’s because I was willing to pour a ton of time and energy into the process.
Patrice Fitzgerald @PatriceFitz #HughLive Fantastic interview on creativeLIVE! I was reading, writing, listening, chatting. Q: Have you published anything you regret?
No. All my regrets are over the things I didn’t finish, that I didn’t write, that I didn’t publish. I have a lot of those.
Nomadic Park @NomadicParkBlog Were you always able to churn out novels in 3mos? Or is it a skill that comes with writing daily? #hughlive
I used to write even faster. Participating in NaNoWriMo every year really helps. I think the quality is much higher for books written in short order. You stay in the flow, in the voice, and keep all the details of the story straight. When I read, the books I consume in a few days are the ones that stick with me. The books I read over a six month period fall apart. If you can manage 2,000 words a day, you’ll write a book in a single month. That’s what I aim for. Revising and editing account for the rest of that time.
Tabitha Garrido @TabithaGp #hughlive With an established brand in sci-fi, do you feel freedom to explore other genres? Would you remain @hughhowey or brand a new name?
I do and I have. I’ve written a regular fiction story, a horror novel, young adult science fiction, and post apocalyptic. I’ve written short stories and sagas. I have all kinds of books planned, and I’ll write them under the same name. I don’t understand the use of pen names. Readers can check the description of a book and see if it’s right for them. For those who want to follow my writing wherever it takes me, it only seems fair to be open and honest about what I’m producing. This is one of those instances where publishers don’t understand readers very well. Most readers are far more adventurous with their reading than they are given credit for.
Van Clayton Powel @vanclaytonpowel #hughLIVE Great insights on cLive. Thx! Wondering what system you’re using to prevent Spam on your Blog? Thx again!
I don’t have a very good system for it. I have it set up where I need to authorize each user’s first comment. So I do get spam, I just mark it as spam. I think you have to be logged on to comment as well, which helps. It’s such a nuisance for everyone. Spamming blogs would’ve been a hangable offense a century ago.
Adam Poe @AuthorAdamPoe #hughlive A lot was talked about on the merit of an initial spark to ignite word of mouth. How do you better the odds at getting that spark?
I don’t think there’s anything better than writing that next book. And making sure that every book you write is buzz-worthy. What risks are you taking? What are you doing that no one else is? Each book you write and each risk you take increases your chances of being discovered. Be creative in your social media presence. Ask yourself what other talents you have. Are you an excellent photographer? Post pictures with a link back to your book landing page. Send free copies to influencers. Most of all, though, write that next work and get it out there.