Creative Writing Project: Publish Your Book | Dani and Steve Alcorn | Skillshare

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Creative Writing Project: Publish Your Book

teacher avatar Dani and Steve Alcorn, Authors, Mentors, Online Instructors

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Traditional Publishing


    • 3.



    • 4.

      Project: Prepare Your Manuscript and Publish Your Book


    • 5.

      Next Steps


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About This Class

The Creative Writing Project series helps you complete a novel, short story or screenplay. Each class focuses on a specific step in the creative process, from brainstorming to publication. The goal is to get you published!

This class introduces you to both traditional publishing and self-publishing. It shows you how easy, fast and economical it can be to get your story into the hands of readers. When you complete this class you will know exactly how to publish your Creative Writing Project.

The classes in this series include:

  • Creative Writing Project: Brainstorm Your Story
  • Creative Writing Project: Create a Character
  • Creative Writing Project: Structure Your Story
  • Creative Writing Project: Write Act 1
  • Creative Writing Project: Write Act 2
  • Creative Writing Project: Write Act 3
  • Creative Writing Project: Structure a Scene
  • Creative Writing Project: Create a Setting
  • Creative Writing Project: Write Great Dialogue
  • Creative Writing Project: Energize Your Manuscript
  • Creative Writing Project: Publish Your Book
  • Creative Writing Project: Market Your Book

Meet Your Teacher

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Dani and Steve Alcorn

Authors, Mentors, Online Instructors


Steve Alcorn is the author of many novels and non-fiction books. His publications include mysteries, young adult novels, a romance novel, children's books, history and non-fiction about theme park design, and the writer's guide How to Fix Your Novel.

Dani Alcorn is the Chief Operating Officer of Writing Academy, a writing instructor, and author of Young Adult fiction, screenplays, and a screenwriting handbook. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Northwestern University, where she majored in Psychology and Radio, Television, & Film.

Steve and Dani have helped more than 50,000 aspiring authors structure their novels. Many of their students are now published authors.

See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: Hello and welcome to the creative writing project. I'm Steve Alcorn, your instructor and mentor. These classes air all about projects. They're all about creating your own original novel, short story or screenplay step by Step one project at a time. The ultimate goal of this course is by the time you've completed these projects, you'll be ready to publish. I'm the author of a number of novels, travel books, Children's books, nonfiction books about the theme park industry and the book How to Fix Your Novel, which tells you all about the techniques you'll use to structure and create your own original work of fiction. It's techniques that will draw upon throughout this class in order to achieve your ultimate goal of getting into print. So let's get started The creative writing project. This lesson is all about publishing your book. In this overview, I'll take a look at what the publishing process is like. I'll introduce you to the different terms that are involved and whether you're working on a book, short story or a screenplay. These techniques will still all be of use to you in getting your book out there and read by others. The first key concept is to take a look at the traditional publishing. This is where books were sent out to editors and agents and were eventually published and appeared on the shelves of bookstores. And I look at how you'll approach that process and how well that process works in modern times. Then, in our second key concept, Lecture will take a look at the world of self publishing. This has changed tremendously since the advent of the Internet and modern on demand printing techniques, and I'll take a look at how you can take advantage of all of the technological changes that have come along in the past decade. In the project section, I'll invite you to explore one important website and several others and see what your book looks like. If you go that route and finally, in the next steps conclusion to this lecture, I'll give you some tips on how to further your own writing career. So let's get started 2. Traditional Publishing: the goal of many writers is to be traditionally published, and in this lesson we'll take a look at what that means and how to do it. Traditional publishing involved getting an agent or submitting your manuscript to a publisher. The publisher then accepts the manuscript or asks for changes to the manuscript and puts it on to their publication schedule. Once it's published, they distributed to bookstores where people can find it on the shelves and buy it. So how does one get that manuscript accepted by the publisher or get an agent to submit the manuscript to a publisher? Will? In both cases, the answer is with a query letter. And so when you write a query letter, there are different parts to the letter that should be done in specific ways. You need to introduce the idea that you have a book by its name and a very brief description of what the book is about. You need to indicate why you think that book would work for that publisher. Why could they sell that book and to whom? Who would be interested? If you have credentials, you need to include your personal credentials. In that query letter as well, so that they understand why they there's some credibility to the book that you've written. If you don't have a background in getting published or in writing before, then you can just skip that section. You need to keep it all very brief, and you need to send out thes query letters and wait for responses in order to see what is going to happen. And in the supplemental material for this particular project, I've included a sample query letter to show you what that would look like. Once you've sent out your query letter, you're going to get rejected. You're going get rejected a lot. In fact, it's famously known that Stephen King got rejected 31 times before he was finally published , and he'd thrown away his first manuscript. His wife actually saved it from the trash can, so there is a lot of rejection involved in traditional publishing. It used to be, however, that that rejection was worthwhile because if you did finally break through and get traditionally published, then the publisher would get your book onto bookstore shelves and would publicize your book through an advertising campaign in order to sell it there are two big problems that have occurred in traditional publishing during the last 10 years or so due to massive shakeups in the publishing industry caused by the effects of the Internet. The first thing that has happened is there are hardly any bookstores anymore. And if you're an avid reader, I don't need to tell you that it's getting harder and harder to find a place where you can go and browse books. You might be able to find used bookstores, but as an author, that's not going to do you any good. Because no author is making any money off of the sale of the used book. They only make the sale off of the new book, so you have to find a book store that offers new books. Well, Barnes Noble still exists as of the recording of this class, although they're having trouble. But nearly all of the other bookstores are now gone, and I don't see that trend reversing. So that means that the one advantage that publishers had of being able to get the books on the shelves where people would stumble across them has disappeared to a large extent. But the other thing that has also disappeared is that the publishers no longer have the budgets to promote new books unless they think that they're going to be an absolute best seller, or more often if they're written by someone who already is an absolute best seller. So you see advertising campaigns for the Stephen Kings of the World. But you don't see advertising campaigns for new, undiscovered authors except in very rare instances. And that means that the odds of getting your book published and into the hands of readers and making any real money off of it through traditional publishing are much worse than they once were. That's the bad news. Fortunately, there's some very good news that will look at in the next lesson. And that is that the world of on demand publishing has really shaken things up, and it's now very viable alternative for writers who want to get their books read until see you in the next lesson. When we explore the realm of on demand publishing, see you there 3. Self-Publishing: So what about self publishing? How has self publishing changed? Over the years? Self publishing used to have a really terrible reputation. It was mostly vanity publishing, and the vanity presses were companies that would charge you to print a whole bunch of your books, acting as if somehow that was going to turn you into an author. But what you'd really end up with would be a garage full of 5000 books that you couldn't sell. But the Internet has really changed all of that. The vanity presses have pretty much gone away because they've been supplanted by on demand presses that can print just one book at a time. And the Internet has also provided authors with a way to viably sell their books without having to figure out how to unload their garage and so on. Demand publishing is really a viable way to go, and it's a proven path to success. There are many books that have come out as on demand books and then later been picked up and sold to traditional publishers. Movie right sold turned into movies, and even if none of those things happen, the margin is so good on an on demand books about 10 times better for the author than on traditional books that it's really a viable way to go. When you as an author, sell a copy of a book through a traditional publisher, you might make a dollar a copy, maybe 50 cents on a paperback. When you do so through your own publishing efforts on demand, you can easily make $10 per copy of each book that yourselves, you only have to sell 1/10 as many books in order to be successful. And one of the best ways to get published is through Create space dot com, which is owned by Amazon. I love them as an on demand publisher because first of all, it's absolutely free. If you can prepare your book so that it's ready for publication yourself, it doesn't cost you a cent to get it into print, and the first copy costs exactly the same amount as if you bought 100 of them under $5 for the typical book. So you can in your hand have a book for less than $5 of your own writing by using create space dot com. The other thing that's great about create space is that once you get your book published in that paperback form, it's just a couple clicks away to get your book turned into an e book and published as a Kindle book and more and more books. In some cases, more than half of all books are now being sold as E books, and they can be Justus Profitable and Justus viable as getting the paperback well by going through create space, you get both at once. You get that physical paper back and you get your e book. You can also go straight to Kindle direct and published on Lee the E Book if you want. But really, there's no reason not to start it, create space and get the entire package because it doesn't cost you anything. So that brings us to the question of whether you should do it yourself or get help. Now I have a whole class available at writing academy dot com on Publish your book now, and it shows you step by step, how you can work your way through the create space site and pretty easily publish your book . If you can figure out how to format things in your word processor. You're really there. Create space will do a lot of the other work for you, and you can even build your cover yourself. No artistic experience required on the create space site. So if you're interested in that, you can take that class at writing academy dot com. It's called Publish your Book Now and step through and decide whether you condone it yourself. But in the project associated with this class, I will show you how to log on to create space, create an account and explore it yourself. You might discover that everything you need to know is right there in their help files, and you'll be amazed at how easy it is to turn your book into a printed book in no time at all. So I'll see you in the project area. 4. Project: Prepare Your Manuscript and Publish Your Book: and now for a very exciting project. Let's get your book into print. I'll show you how easy that can be in this lesson, So all you need do is visit. Create space dot com and create an account in order to get started. Once you've done that, follow the steps that they show you to create a prototype of your book. You'll have to format your manuscript according to their specifications. They have some documents you can download so that if you're using Microsoft Word, for example, it's pretty easy to get the book into the correct format and then upload the text of your book to their site. You'll be able to see what it looks like right online. Then you can use their cover builder to create the cover of your book. They've got some pre defined artwork and layouts and typefaces, and you can use those. Or you can upload your own picture if you own it. And use that as the cover of your book as well. You can put some copy onto the back as well, and they'll take care of all the other details, like putting that bar code on the back that all books need and so on that they'll assign that, and there's no cost to you to assign that I ESPN number at all. It's all included in their service, and so then you can actually get a physical copy of your book. Male T one copy Costs may be less than $5 and you'll hold it in your hand. See how it turned out. And if you like it, then you can officially publish it and release it to the rest of the world. And you can also do it with just a few more clicks. Create an e book that will be in the Kindle direct store, and then people can download your book in Kindle format as well. So then, if you like, share the results of your efforts. And, um, come and take a picture with your phone if you can and, uh, come post a picture of your finished book in the Communities Discussion area, I would love to see how it turned out. And, um, let's know what what you think of that whole process. It's amazing way that the world has changed, and I look forward to seeing you in print in the next class. I'll show you how to get that book into the hands of others by marketing it. See you there. 5. Next Steps: thanks for joining me on this journey. I've enjoyed it and I hope you have to. Thing is one of a dozen different projects that are available through this series, of course, is if you follow all of these projects from brainstorming all the way to marketing, you'll be able to bring your idea for a novel, short story or screenplay to reality, step by step and project by project. In the meantime, I hope you'll follow us on Facebook and be sure to sign up for free writing tips. I look forward to seeing you there. Until then, happy writing.