Monthly Archives: November 2013

Four Horror Stories with Happy Endings

Does the self-publishing process terrify you?  You are not alone.  A simple mention of self-publishing causes veteran writers to scream in panic.  Self-publishing is notoriously costly.  The investment is also a gamble.   If the book sells well, you easily recoup the publishing costs.  However, if sales are not what you anticipate, you are in trouble. The road to publication needs not be paved with dollar bills.  By using the following five resources, your horror story has the potential to end well.   Read on if you dare!

The Dreaded Edit that Costs a Large Debit

In the world of literature, receiving the editor’s bill is like coming home to a living room drenched in blood. What happened while you were gone?  You search for a reason behind the carnage, but you find no reason.  Why does a measly hundred thousand words cost so much to edit?  The real scare is that editors are worth the money that they are paid.  Developmental editors provide feedback on characterization, plot, and authenticity.  Copy editors evaluate the grammar and mechanics.  What can you do if you cannot afford to hire a professional editor?  Seek out a service that charges one flat rate per month for proofreading services.  With Grammarly, the company where I work, you submit your document online and receive immediate feedback.  If you have friends who are critical readers, ask them to examine your manuscript to provide creative counsel.  Just make sure you choose someone honest!

The Second Scare:  The Cover

Warning:  If you get queasy easily, do not even think about how much the cover is going to cost you.  That’s right!  The picture and title on the front of your book will run from two hundred to seven hundred dollars.  It is evident why the cover is important… Have you ever seen a horror novel with a dancing cabbage and Disney font?  Probably not, and for a reason!  The fact is, the cover is often the single determining factor of whether someone will be interested in reading your novel.  You should seek a freelance cover artist.  Sometimes, and only sometimes, freelance agents will work for less.  Look for a hungry, recent college graduate who is eager to build his professional portfolio.  However, beware that you do not scrimp and save to the detriment of your novel.  You may want to invest a little money here to reap the dividends of an eye-catching book cover.

The Serial Killer Approach to Obtaining an ISBN Number

Yes, ISBNs are vicious money-sucking vampires.  We know,  and we sympathize.  However, think like a serial killer and buy ISBNs in bulk!  You will need several numbers anyway if you plan on producing an eBook or audio version of your novel.  If you are friends with other authors, form a gang!  Buy a bulk amount of ISBNs to be split among the group.

Advance Copies Are Just Gremlins

There are a lot of terrifyingly gruesome miscreants in the world of horror movies. Perhaps Gremlins scared the bejesus out of you when you were a child, but now they are not so much scary as they are amusing.  In reality, Gizmo is the creepy one.  Pardon, I digress.  The point is that advance copies (ARCs) do not need to be elaborate.   It is possible to use a simple, temporary cover on your bound galleys.  There are many companies that produce ARCs for reasonable prices.  A popular option is  Why not start by sending out PDF copies to determine interest before ordering a large amount of ARCs?

When I had a nightmare as a child, my mother sent me back to bed with the admonition to imagine a happier ending.  If the thought of self-publishing is a phantasmagoria of epic proportions, use your creativity to change the ending! Take advantage of the wealth of cost-effective options now available.

 By Nikolas Baron

Nikolas discovered his love for the written word in Elementary School, where he started spending his afternoons sprawled across the living room floor devouring one Marc Brown children’s novel after the other and writing short stories about daring pirate adventures. After acquiring some experience in various marketing, business development, and hiring roles at internet start-ups in a few different countries, he decided to re-unite his professional life with his childhood passions by joining Grammarly’s marketing team in San Francisco. He has the pleasure of being tasked with talking to writers, bloggers, teachers, and others about how they use Grammarly’s online proofreading application to improve their writing. His free time is spent biking, traveling, and reading.