Name: Caroline Greyling
Occupation: Author of Five 

1. It sometimes seems like the world has too many writers and too little readers. With the decline in printed book sales, is it still possible to make a decent living from writing fiction? (J.K Rowling and E.L. James aside.)

If you’re writing because you want to get rich, then stop right now. There are plenty of more lucrative and quicker ways to make money. Most authors write because it’s something we love to do.

That said, as with anything, it is what you put in that determines what you get out. If you want to make any money at all, one book is not going to cut it. You’ll need to write a few good books every year. You’ll also need to spend a fair amount of time and money marketing your book. Even if you have a great publisher, if you want your book to sell, YOU will have to sell it!

2. Does writing and publishing your first book cost you any money? If so, what expenses should a new writer prepare for?

Even with the fantastic services offered by the likes of Amazon and Smashwords, the fact is that putting out a quality product is going to cost you some money.

Firstly, you’ll need some equipment, such as a computer to format your book correctly. There are companies out there who support authors with these services, so if you’re not up to the task, I would suggest seeking them out.

Some of the formatting can be a bit tricky and you want to make your book as easy to access as possible for your reader.

Secondly, you’ll need to create a decent book cover if you want to sell any books. Whoever said ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ has clearly never bought or sold any books! If your cover isn’t eye-catching, nobody will even look at your blurb. Once again, there are service providers out there that can do this at a decent price, or you may be lucky enough to have a graphic designer as a friend…

Thirdly, don’t underestimate the importance of good editing. Good editors are not cheap, but there’s no bigger turn off than a book with spelling errors.

Fourthly, marketing costs money. Even if you’re giving your book away for free, it won’t help if nobody knows about it. You’ll need to spend a little money and a lot of time on marketing and keeping up an active social media portfolio.

3. What does self-publishing mean, and when is it advisable to follow this route?

A self-published, or as we affectionately call ourselves, ‘Indie’ author, is one who has decided not to go the traditional route of getting him or herself a publisher. Instead, an Indie author takes the plunge alone. It’s a very personal decision for each author.

Some self-publish because they’ve received tons of rejection slips, but they still believe enough in their work to publish anyway. Some self-publish because they can earn a higher percentage of the revenue that way. Some self-publish because they realise that they’ll have to do all the work themselves anyway, so why bother with a publisher?

Whatever the reason, make sure that you have a quality product. Readers are intelligent and discerning; don’t try to sell them rubbish. I would recommend having your book professionally assessed before doing it on your own.

4. How does one go about publishing an eBook and how can you make money from it?

First, you will need to write the book. Every second person wants to write a book, and many think it is a piece of cake. Yet only a tiny percentage ever makes it to the starting block, and even fewer finish the complete process.

Don’t even think about publishing until you have a complete, edited (numerous times) manuscript in your hands.

When you’ve got the finished product ready, you’ll need to do some research and make some decisions. There are a number of online stores with different revenue options to choose from. Some require exclusivity, so you’ll need to weigh the pros and cons according to your marketing and sales goals.

Once you’ve made the decision, DO it! As writers, we’re always thinking up new plotlines and wanting to change words here and there, but there comes a time when you have to stop procrastinating and just put it out there!

5. Hiring proofreaders and editors can become very expensive. What advice do you have with regards to editing your book?

You can be the world’s best English professor and self-edit your manuscript twenty times, and I guarantee that you’ll still end up with a missed error or two.

Don’t skimp on editing. If possible, pay the fees and get it edited professionally.

6. Where or how do you find the inspiration to write?

Life is full of inspiration. Mine comes from many places; dreams, other books, people I meet, places I visit, pictures and what ifs… I’m always thinking about scenarios and determining consequences. Sometimes this can be hilarious or downright crazy, but then I strike an idea that just sits in my imagination and refuses to go away until I write about it!

I am going to say one thing, though: read, read, read!

7. Finally, when can we expect to see the sequel to Five?

The last time I put a date to it, I ended up having to rewrite 6 months worth of work, so let’s just say that it will be this year still. You can be amongst the first to know the released date by following me on Facebook, Goodreads or www.carolinegreyling.wordpress.com .

About The Author

Enrique Grobbelaar

Enrique is the eternal entrepreneur: his first venture was selling off his parents’ household goods at bargain prices to their neighbours at age seven. All other endeavours thus far have been entirely above board.

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