• Background Image

    News & Updates

    self-publishing

April 18, 2019

How to proofread your book before publishing

Unfortunately, not everyone is able to hire an editor when they self-publish. This means that you will have to proofread your entire book thoroughly before you publish. However, you can use this to your advantage because you have complete control over your work. Here are some tips that may come in handy when you want to proof-read your work!

Grammar and Punctuation:

No one wants to read a book that has grammatical or punctuational errors. If you do not want to go over every word by yourself, we recommend using free tools like Grammarly that identify the errors for you and provide you with the correct usage. This may not always be accurate so don’t rely on it completely.

Proofreading in stages:

The first stage can involve checking the spellings, followed by grammar and then punctuation, etc. Although this is very time-consuming, it helps to improve accuracy.

Proofread a printed copy of your book:

People tend to read differently on screen and on paper. So if you print your manuscript and read it, you might be able to identify errors that you skipped while reading the online version.

Read it out loud:

By reading the book out loud, you might hear something that your eyes missed!

Read it backwards:

You’re probably confused now. Why should I read my book backwards you ask? It’s simple. When you’re reading it backwards, you are not focusing on the flow of the sentence or the content. This makes it easier to spot spelling mistakes.

Spot overused words and phrases:

Sometimes, we tend to overuse certain words and phrases without even noticing. While reading it normally, out loud, or backwards, take notice of such words and phrases!

Fact checking:

Readers are quick to notice factual errors. If your book is fiction, this is not essential but it does affect your credibility. For non-fiction books, make sure to fact check!

Take a break:

If you keep reading the same words over and over again, you might not spot any mistakes. So, take a break, sleep on it, and get back to proofreading after a while.

Ask friends and family to read your work:

You can also have someone else proofread your work. Find someone who is willing to be your harshest critic. Friends and family want to see you succeed and would be willing to spot errors and provide suggestions. 

Find proofreaders and ambassadors:

Proofreaders read your manuscript (online or in print) before you officially publish the book and they can provide your story with feedback. Proofreaders can be friends, family or acquaintances, but perhaps even better people who can look at your story objectively. This way you can find proofreaders on Sweek, via a call or via Facebook groups. Be clear about what they get in return. Do they receive a free copy? Or just an eternal thank you? Tip: thank your proofreaders somewhere at the start of or at the end of your book; they will certainly appreciate that!

In addition to making your book better, proofreaders can also become ambassadors. You can also hire additional ambassadors who are not proofers. For example via a registration form on the website or via a message on social media. Make sure you can keep them informed via e-mail (or for example Whatsapp). You can (for example) ask your ambassadors whether they can write reviews online or share your book on social media and through word of mouth

Proofreading does take a lot of time but you can indeed use the above-mentioned steps to make sure that it is less tedious. Once you are done with proofreading, you are ready to self-publish.

Self-publishing is easier than ever with Sweek Publishing. If you want to know more about how this works, check out this blog post.

April 17, 2019

Self-publishing with Sweek: A step by step guide

Have you always wanted to publish your own book? With Sweek Publishing, self-publishing your own book is easier than ever! Sweek Publishing is already live in the Netherlands, Germany, France, UK, and India. Very soon, we are going to go live in Brazil and Latin America.

We can imagine the process of publishing your book seems daunting and time-consuming at first but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. This blog post will inform you about everything you need to know when it comes to self-publishing with Sweek.

As you’re responsible for the design and the marketing, you have a lot of freedom in self-publishing your book. There are also many other benefits that come with self-publishing, especially with Sweek Publishing. You do not have to find a publishing house that is willing to let you publish your book. Anyone can publish a book for free with Sweek Publishing. There is no minimum order quantity so you can even print just one copy if you prefer. You can also use our platform to publish a photo book, a yearbook, or even a book about your family heritage. We work on a print-on-demand basis so the printing occurs only after the book has been ordered. But don’t worry, this does not slow down the delivery process as we aim to get the book to the reader as soon as possible!

For each copy that you sell, you earn a good profit as well. You can sell via the Sweek webshop, but also via Amazon, Flipkart, iBooks and more! So there’s really nothing to lose, just a new adventure to embark on!

To start with, you have to create your own account on Sweek Publishing. After you have created your own account, follow these 7 simple steps and your book is ready to publish!

General:

After writing your book, you can choose whether you want to publish it as a paperback or as an e-book. Of course, you can choose to publish both, a print book and an e-book. If you have completed the process once, you simply have to copy it and change step 1 alone.

Add the title and subtitle of the book along with some information about yourself. At this point, you can also fill in other specifications such as the size, cover finish (matte or glossy), paper (cream paper or white paper), and the interior colour (B&W or colour).

ISBN:

The next step is to obtain an ISBN. You can skip this step if you want to sell your book on the Sweek webshop or on your own website. However, if you want to sell your book on other sales channels (Amazon, Kindle, iBooks, etc) this step is mandatory.

With Sweek, you can obtain an ISBN for 12.75 euros and we’ll do the registration for you. In some countries, obtaining an ISBN is free and in others, you have to pay a small amount to obtain the ISBN. If you can’t decide whether you want an ISBN or not, you can also continue without ISBN and come back to this step later on!

Manuscript:

It’s time to upload your manuscript. You can upload it in .doc, .docx, or .pdf format. Check the book thoroughly before you upload it in order to avoid any mishaps during the publishing process. Check out this blog post for some tips on how you can proofread your book before publishing.

Information:

After you have uploaded the manuscript, you have to provide more details about your book. You can provide the subject, the category, some relevant keywords, and a short and long description for the book. This information helps buyers find your book easily on web shops and search engines.

Cover Design:

Let’s admit that we all judge a book by its cover! And that’s why we think that designing a book cover is the most exciting step in this entire process. You can design the cover by yourself or use the cover designer provided by Sweek on the Cover Design page. Check out this blog post to learn how you can design your own cover

Pricing:

Hold on, you are almost done! In this step, you get to determine the price of your book. Once you set the retail price, you can see how much profit you would make per copy sold. Set the right price for your audience, you don’t want to set it too low and not earn much profit or set it too high and scare buyers away.

There are certain fixed costs (eg. shipping and printing costs) that come with publishing a book and this can affect your sales margin. Therefore, you can gain a higher profit by selling an e-book. You can also choose which sales channels you would like to sell your book on. What’s more, you don’t have to restrict selling your book to just your country –  you can also select which countries you want to sell your book in.

Final Check:

You’re only one step away from self-publishing your own book. In this final step, you can review all the information about your book. If you want to change something, you can go back to the relevant step. If you are satisfied with everything, tick the boxes and press the publish button.

We told you, self-publishing is easier than it seems! Once you have published your book, spread the word to your family and friends so that they can buy your book. We also provide you with some promotion and marketing tools so feel free to use them to expand your audience!

Good luck and don’t hesitate to contact us if there are any problems along the way!

March 27, 2018

“How I got over 10,000 readers for my indie mystery novel” by E. Lima

Written by Erwin Lima (this article was originally published on Erwin Lima’s blog, here).

Gary Vee says we should celebrate small wins. I agree. My debut mystery novel Face Value, which I released as an online serial novel on Microsoft Sway and at www.facevaluethebook.com a little over a year ago, has recently crossed the 10,000 reader mark. How did I cross that threshold? And how do I keep growing?

My goal for readership of my debut novel, from the get-go was a sky-high 1 million readers, which was intentionally absurd. Looking back now I can say I’ve reached thousands of people and converted over 10,000 of them to readers, which is amazing.

I thought I’d share my thoughts and my journey with other (aspiring) writers who might not have gotten so lucky just yet.

The life of an online mystery novel

For the couple of billion of you that don’t know yet, Face Value is a mystery novel that revolves around a few key questions:

What if the key to having it all, was suddenly thrown into your lap one day? All of the money, success, love and attention you could ever have imagined. Would you be able to believe in it? What would be the value of it all? Would it be real?

And; who does she keep texting?

Face Value was released as a multimodal online series in September 2016, and revamped – with the help of reader feedback and a reading platform called Sweek – in late 2017. What were the factors involved in getting an unknown, indie writer in front of an audience of 10,000 engaged readers? There’s an incredibly competitive online media landscape full of content out there as it is.

Likely it was luck, honing the craft, and a lot of help from people who genuinely wanted me to succeed.

1. Chance, probably

Or call it luck – whatever you want to call it, it probably accounts for a fair amount of the 10,000 pairs of eyes I’ve moved with my debutant words. Because, as Nassim Nicholas Taleb has taught me, and Jennifer Taylor reminded me in the article below:

In every endeavour, there are a thousand factors at play, and you can only ever partly control a handful of them.

All I Know is That I Know Nothing (And That There is No Map to Success, Just Probability)
I can’t tell you how many Medium articles I’ve read that have mentioned the habits of Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger…medium.com

I got lucky with Sweek.com picking me up, with several online influencers sharing my updates and my story, and of course with the help of my wonderful team and my lovely readers. All of the choices from all of these people were largely beyond my control.

The things I could control were honing my craft, as I will dive into below; working hard at making the episodes as attractive as possible, visually, and being consistent with –

  1. Putting out the content through social media, book platforms and the like, and;
  2. Reaching out to people who could possibly improve my writing and readership.

Luck is something that grows with every new arrow you shoot.

2. Honing the craft

Although I consider myself an inexperienced author, I am a professional writer. I’ve had quality training in writing both in academics and in courses as a professional.

I’ve been working in marketing, copywriting and content strategy for over five years now, and summarize my job by saying “I get paid by the keystroke”.

I learn and try to improve with every piece of feedback I receive from one of my co-workers, clients or other stakeholders. I have learned a lot from reading about writing online, and through reflection upon my writing, with and without the help of others.

Pro tip: Try to be humble, and detach your personal feelings and self-worth — or ego — from your creative process. Keep the goal in mind and see how feedback and reflection can get you closer to it.

As far as my creative writing goes — I guess we could say that I’ve had a semi-professional career as a singer-songwriter in the past. But when it comes to writing as a novelist, I needed as much learning opportunities and feedback as I could muster.

So that’s what I did.

  • I read four or five of the most popular novels at the time (including the painful to read “50 Shades…”, seeing if I could figure out what the writers were doing stylistically and in terms of story arc and character development that readers respond to, to see what I could steal or borrow.
  • I asked people I trusted to provide feedback for my first ten pages, then again for my first forty or so pages, and then finally for my finished draft.
  • I asked people I hardly knew for feedback on my final “draft”, and continued to ask feedback from online readers after the first publishing online in 2016.
  • I used online data analytics for visitor numbers to my site and reads on specific chapters — to see where I was captivating readers’ interest and where they were dropping off from the story.
  • I improved my writing and Face Value specifically with the help of all of the above, resulting in the story you can find here, now.

3. A lot of help from friends and strangers

Firstly, my significant other (my very talented girlfriend) was a great help in supporting me to do something as ridiculous as self-publishing my debut novel as an online, multimedia series, for free.

A beautifully photogenic friend of mine read the story, and decided to lend her face and insane photo-acting skills to the photo- and video shoot we did for the project.

The same friend introduced me to the photographer (Tim Schipper) who did all of the photography and videography, and who decided to challenge himself to learn video-editing just for this awesome book trailer:

My girlfriend’s bestie helped out by doing the make-up for the visuals we were shooting. Friends and friends of friends acted as extras. Several awesome places in my hometown (Rotterdam) served as the venues and decor.

My friends and family who proofread were never obliged to. Neither were the English teacher and the published best-selling author who proofread parts of the story.

Let alone the online readers who decided to give Face Value a shot, or to share it with their friends.

Last but not least; Sabine van der Plas and Sweek, who decided to give the story a huge boost in the second run, by putting it up as a featured story in their English section — and promoting it with not one but two separate competitions among the readers on their wonderful online reading platform. It was Sweek that helped me grow from 6,500 readers to over 10,000. And that made my book available as a paperback.

Lest I forget; Horned Horses provided three free organic Face Value hoodies for one of the give-aways Sweek organised.

How could one ever thank any of these people enough?