Sunday, February 15, 2015

Workshop and training update

Print book formatting and affordable printing, with co-facilitator Tania Arpa, February 28, O2 Space Makati. Sign up here:

After February 28, we are conducting training based on requested schedules only. Choose your schedule here, if you'd like us to help you set you up as a digital and print publisher:

I've been accepting many opportunities to speak and give talks on publishing and writing, so there will be those too. But if you're interested in learning to publish, and actually publishing your book, in a classroom type setting, with me as the instructor, this will be the only way we'll be doing it in the near future. Thanks!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

5x5podcast Episode 22: Our Favorite Underrated Things

Mine: Sarina Bowen's Ivy Years book series, Eliza Victoria's Dwellers, Amplify.PH, special mention of Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Spark Books by Anvil Publishing

They're out! We can talk about this!

I'm thrilled to announce that I've entered a new (non-exclusive, for those who need to know) partnership with Anvil Publishing here in the Philippines. The result of that partnership is a new Anvil imprint called Spark Books (FB / Instagram). They will be publishing in print my New Adult books, and distributing them to local bookstores. (Yay!)

They launched their new imprint with three books from me, Welcome to Envy Park, The Harder We Fall and Never Just Friends. How are they different from previous editions you might already have?

Welcome to Envy Park: Has a bonus story, "We Were So Yesterday" originally posted on Wattpad, but in this edition handwritten (yes, written by hand!) by pen enthusiasts Faith Yeo and Chito Limson. You might also see your name in the new acknowledgements page.

The Harder We Fall: Almost identical to the print edition already on Amazon! But a fraction of the price at P185.

Never Just Friends: Exactly the same as the US print edition. I never did a local printing though so this is the only print copy you'll find in the Philippines.

I'm so psyched for this and I hope you understand that you (readers, and random person on the internet) made this all possible.

The other exciting thing about this is, Spark Books will be releasing more titles. By more authors. People you might know, if you've been following the indie romance writing thing we've been doing. I can't wait to see them!

So, here's a favor, if I may ask for yet another: Please read/buy/share/review/give as gifts? If you see the books in a bookstore, please let me know! Send me a pic. Or a pic of you with the books. Tag @minavesguerra in your reactions. I'm sharing all of them on my Twitter and Facebook. Thank you thank you thank you and I hope you enjoy the books!

(PS. I still own copyright and most rights to books I've written and will write. I am still currently working with other publishers, and will continue to, as an author, consultant, editor, and whatever else. I'm not going to expect everyone to be able to keep track of this so if you need me for anything, just ask!)

Monday, February 2, 2015

Being an author-entrepreneur

Spent my Saturday afternoon at the Creative Entrepreneurship Summit. I'm glad I got there just in time, and managed to see all of the speakers lined up.

I was there to talk about how I earn from writing and publishing romance novels, and I happily shared a few things that you'd already know, if you've been reading my blog. But just to emphasize a few things that I might not have been able to because of the time constraints:

1. Publish in ebook format, please.

It astounds me how not all Filipino authors are into this, and many because of their own preferences as readers. (Oh but I don't understand e-reading...don't own a Kindle...prefer reading paper...don't have a credit card so never buy online anyway...) That's like someone telling me "I made this shirt and I think you should buy it, and wear it, and love it, but it's only in size M, which is exactly my size, because I represent the people who would like to wear this, and I wear M." Decide not to publish an ebook if it is not advantageous to you, or if the format cannot do justice to your book. There are very, very few books that will fall under this exception.

2. There is a lot of money to be made in writing, if you write what people are willing to buy, and you do it well.

I should have said this, arg. Here's a test to know if you are writing what people want and are doing it well: Name your price and see how they react. Someone asks you to contribute an article for their site? Name your price (what you think is FAIR based on your talent, the time you spend working, and the response it gets from readers), without asking them what their budget is. If they say "yes" to what you perceive is your value, then you're on the right track. If they negotiate, or choose to get someone else, then you need to work on a few things. Or you just need to work with the right people.

As someone who writes books, I encounter this and have come to terms with it. There are people who will only read my books if they're free. People who will buy, but only if it's $1. People who will buy, but only if it's paperback, and under P200. I am fortunate enough to have met people who've decided they're willing to pay the price I set for the book, without haggling. It's a struggle to discover what our value is, but every interaction tells us if we're heading in the right direction.

Now, it's not just skill, but product too. Maybe that book we wrote was something we wrote "for ourselves." What makes you think other people will want to buy it? Not a question you should be worrying about as a writer, sure, but as an entrepreneur? Yes.

3. You don't need a lot of money, but you will get what you pay for.

One of the problems that startup author-publishers encounter is either raising funds for a good editor and cover designer, or not knowing someone who would be willing to volunteer to do it for them. I got lucky in this aspect I guess because when I started out, I spent only P489 on my first self-published book, and my friends volunteered their time and services to turn it into a fun little project. (I've since given them money.) 

So yeah - if you don't have the money, it doesn't have to hold you back. You can produce a professional-quality book if you have the right people working with you, even just as volunteers, if they believe in your book enough. (And know that the can be adequately compensated later.) In this case, the question I ask is: why don't you know people who are awesome enough to work with you on this? Why are you in a position where you are probably the most artistic and creative person you know? Get out there and interact with other writers and artists! What have you done lately to help a friend's passion project come to life? Because as with all collaborations, you're supposed to be able to give as well as you take. Maybe the way to eventually meet the people who will work with you is to contribute your skill to help someone else.