Monday, 15 November 2021

Recommended Resources from the 2021 Omega Writer's Retreat

Omega Writers held a successful online writing retreat in October, with inspiring sessions from Edie Melson and Nicole Partridge, and informative panel discussions on publishing and marketing.

Today I’m sharing some of the resources discussed during the retreat, particularly during the marketing panel (which, unfortunately, did not record).

Recommended Resources


Here are some excellent writer podcasts to listen to: I enjoy the Creative Penn and SPF podcasts because they’re both produced by authors who built their reputation and platform on selling genre fiction, and who still write and publish multiple books a year. Yes, they both have courses and nonfiction books, but their focus is their fiction.

Facebook Groups

There are many excellent Facebook groups for writers. The best groups allow little or no self-promotion, as their aim is to help writers (not become a spammy echo chamber). These last two groups are aimed at general market authors, so the language and subject matter can get spicy … but the information is excellent.

Other Recommended Resources

Author Platform

Authors need a website, but how do you build one if you’re not a web designer? An online course may help.


There were also lots of great questions in the chat.

How much can an indie author expect to pay up front to publish?

The two main expenses in self-publishing are cover design and editing.

How much does an editor cost?

The cost of editing varies. The first book might cost $2,000 or more, because you’ll probably need two kinds of editors:
  • A developmental editor (looking at genre, plot, structure, characterisation, point of view, and other major aspects of writing).
  • A copyeditor (who looks at the writing at a sentence and paragraph level, making sure the writing is clear and error-free).
It’s worth paying for both sets of edits, especially for newer authors. These will often be two different people. Traditional publishers will use a line editor between the developmental edit and the copyedit. The line editor works on polishing sentences and paragraphs to make sure they say what the author means them to say and in the strongest way possible. A traditional publisher would complete at least two rounds of proofreading once the document has been copyedited by an editor and revised by the author:
  • At least one proofread using the Word document, to catch any outstanding typographical errors. There may be more than one proofreader at this stage, and it would probably be a specialist proofreader i.e. not the line editor or copyeditor.
  • A second proofread on the final page proofs (e.g. the PDF or InDesign file), and would focus more on the look of the test on the page e.g. no widows or orphans (a single line of text on a page), and no rivers (a line of spaces running down a page). At this stage, the proofread would only change the most obvious errors, as adding or deleting a word on page 12 might mean repaginating the entire manuscript.
Self-published authors have different processes depending on their budget. Some hire an editor or proofreader for the final read-through. Others work with a team of eagle-eyed beta readers to proofread. The actual cost of editing depends on word count, the quality of the writing and how many rounds of revision and editing the manuscript has already been through.
  • Lisa Renee (from The Collaborative Press) USD 85 per 10,000 words.
  • Meredith expects to pay around AUD 1,200 for 70,000 words for a main copyedit.
  • Carolyn Miller suggested around AUD 1,000 for 90,000 words if the writing is very clean (which probably means it’s already been thoroughly edited by the author and one or more editors, or is from a multi-published author).

Any tips on cover design?

Genre is key when it comes to cover design, so it’s important to know your genre, know the books in your genre, and select a cover designer who knows what sells in your genre. Check out books in your genre. Authors will often credit their cover designer, so check out books in your genre. Suggestions from those at the retreat: A full wrap paperback and ebook cover is around USD 250 (but a custom or illustrated cover can cost USD 1,000 or more). Premade covers are cheaper, and can start at USD 50. Premade covers are a good option for standalone books (not books in a series, because they should have consistent styling and branding and it’s going to be difficult to find premade covers with consistent branding).

What is acceptable content in Christian fiction?

The US Christian market is very conservative. They won’t drink beer or wine, but they’ll happily eat burgers and pizza for every meal. But the definition of “acceptable content” depends on your target market, and that’s going to be slightly different for everyone.
  • Are you writing for a mainstream Christian audience, or are you writing for the general market and bringing in Christian themes or “grace notes”?
  • Are you writing for the Australian market, the US market, or the UK market?
Each market is different. The best advice is to read a lot in the genre you’re interested in, and observe the trends and standards. Also, work out which publishers and imprints publish in your area, and because that will also help. This is a subject we’ve blogged about before: Acceptable Content in Christian Fiction

How can I get my books into Koorong?

Contact them. They have a form to fill out, and you’ll need to send them a copy of your book. Then they decide. Self-published books will need to be of the same standard as traditionally published books, and you’ll either need to have a solid author platform (e.g. website, email list, or established fan base), or have a unique book that meets a genuine need.

How can you get books in audio?

Those of us Down Under can’t use ACX (Amazon), but we can publish audio through Findaway Voices. Penny Reeve and Cecily Paterson got a grant to produce an audiobook from Create NSW.

Yes, we covered a lot in a short time!

Did you attend the retreat?

What top tips or resources would you like to share?

About Iola Goulton

Iola Goulton is a New Zealand-based book reviewer and editor specializing in adult and young adult Christian fiction. She won the 2016 ACFW Genesis Award (Novella), and copyedited Then There Was You by Kara Isaac, which won a RITA Award from Romance Writers of America. Iola holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree majoring in marketing and has a background in human resource consulting. When she’s not editing, Iola is usually reading or writing her next book review. Iola lives in the beautiful Bay of Plenty in New Zealand (not far from Hobbiton) with her husband, son, and cat.