About Writing, Life and Writing About Life

Archive for the ‘Publish Your Book’ Category

Coming soon…

Just a very quick update today to let you know that next week the Kindle version of Be An Author will be available to download absolutely free – that’s right, we’re having a giveaway. I’m also getting closer to having my download about self-publishing using Lulu completed and ready for you to pick up – also for free. So, as they say, watch this space.

Edit Your Book Pages To The Correct Format – Part Two

Continuing from last week’s post on beginning to edit your book document to a print-ready format, here is the remainder of this section from my self-publishing download (which I will be finishing and posting as a complete document in the New Year).

6. Now you need to decide what will be on your header or footer. Each time your header or footer changes you will need to have a different section in your book. This means that the simplest option is to just have the page number shown, usually at the bottom of the page. If you have decided to have the book and chapter title included as well then you will just have to create more sections.

7. Divide your book into sections. You do this by inserting a section break on the page before the first chapter starts, and optionally at the end of each subsequent chapter. You do this by positioning your cursor on the end page of the section and using Insert>Break>Section Break Continuous.

8. Now set your header or footer. Use View>Header and Footer, which will bring up the boxes for the header and footer for you to put in what you want. It will also bring up the tool bar. You probably already have a footer on your document with the page number as this helps you with the editing up to this point, so now it is just a matter of adding the other information you need and formatting it correctly. Use the Page Setup button on the Header and Footer Toolbar to allow you to set the fine detail of the formatting. You may need to set them to be different on odd and even pages. This allows you to have the page number left justified on a left hand page and right justified on a right hand page, and to have different text (eg the Book Title and Chapter Title) as well. You may also want to have a different first page header/footer, which will allow you to leave them blank on the chapter title page. You will probably want a smaller font size than your standard text, and can use a different font if you like. You can use the Same as Previous button on the Toolbar to copy the header/footer from a previous section if it is the same throughout the book. Play around with your header or footer until you are happy with the result.

9. Now you are ready to generate your Table of Contents. Go to your Table of Contents page, which just has the heading on it. Position your cursor below the heading, then use Insert>Index and Tables and the Table of Contents tab. Specify the number of levels of headings you want to include and press OK. Your table of contents will be generated and shown in the page. Make sure the formatting is ok and fits with the rest of your document.

10. Now print your formatted book and check everything looks right. Particular things to look out for are whether the chapter title pages are all formatted exactly the same; whether the spacing between paragraphs is consistent; any lines where having the text justified leaves a lot of blank space on the line, which can look odd; and any places where single lines or headings are left hanging at the bottom of a page. Correct any remaining formatting problems you see until you are happy with your book’s inside pages.

Learn How A Book Is Formatted – Part 2

This is a further extract from the forthcoming download Pulish Your Book on a Shoestring Using Lulu Print on Demand. Last week we began the process of looking at the inside of a book to study the elements of book formatting. You can read that extract here. Today we continue with that process. (more…)

Learn How a Book Is Formatted – Part 1

Continuing with the extracts from my download, Publish Your Book on a Shoestring Using Lulu Print-on-Demand, we are now dealing with how the inside of a book is laid out. Part 2 will follow next week and if you want to see the previous extracts you can do so here.

“In order for your book to look right when it is printed, you have to have it in the correct format before you load it up (more…)

Review Your Book Title

I am now in the process of editing my self-publishing download, and the complete document will be available soon. So it is fitting that the next extract I’m going to share is part of the Revision and Formatting Section of the process. Once you have completed your first draft of your book and cover, you will be ready to begin the process of revision by revisiting your book title.

“Go back to the working title you created for your book. Does it still make sense to you now you have written the book? Have you talked about it to other people, and if so what was their reaction? If they said ‘I want that book, when will it be finished?’ you are probably on to a winner. If you had to go on to explain what your book is about then it may need more work. Don’t be afraid to make changes at this stage, even to start completely afresh.
If you haven’t done so yet, test your title out – preferably on people who fit into the reader categories you identified back in Who Are Your Readers? You might ask them to choose between 3-5 slight variations on your title and see if one resonates best of all. Bear in mind your keyword research from Get A Working Title, keep any key phrases you identified there, or if you have gone in a different direction go back and redo the research. Keep working on this until you are completely happy with your title, and then breathe a big sigh of relief.
You will know you are done with your title when every time you tell someone the title, it seems more like an old friend, and you can’t even contemplate the book being called anything else.”

Choosing a Print on Demand Company – Distribution

I was asked recently for my thoughts on a particular print on demand company. This company, unlike many, is actually based in the UK. For a UK resident, that would seem to be a really good thing. So I optimistically started to investigate. The brochure I had been forwarded looked super, the packages were priced sensibly (very important in my book), not inviting you to sped thousands that you will have trouble recouping, and you could buy additional services such as editing individually from a menu.
So far, all looking good. Then I applied a simple test to their distribution. I visited the company’s website, found some books they featured, and then looked for them on Amazon. Oh dear. Yes, the books were there, and the print-on-demand company was listed as a seller for the books. But one thing was missing. The all-important ‘in stock’ label for Amazon itself. Not one of the titles I looked up was in stock at Amazon’s warehouse and ready to be shipped. Does this matter, given that they are in stock at the p-o-d company and ready to be shipped by them? You bet it does.
I am an Amazon fan. I use it all the time to buy things. You know where you are with Amazon, and when items you buy will arrive. That’s not to say that I won’t buy from other sellers on the Amazon marketplace, but I am far more likely to buy from Amazon itself, especially as we have subscribed to Amazon Prime which gives you unlimited next day delivery. There are many people just like me, in fact many will never even see the other seller options, just look at the ‘out of stock’ status and move on to another book.
By having your book in stock at Amazon, you dramatically increase the chances of it selling. Most people on the internet are looking for information. This means they are not automatically in buying mode. But on Amazon the reverse is true – most people on the site at any time are looking to buy something. This is an absolute gift to an author. So make it easy for them to buy. Use a print-on-demand company which has an arrangement with Amazon to keep books in stock. Then you won’t ever have to do anything to make sure your book is available now to those people who make it onto your book’s page.
There are several print-on-demand companies which can achieve this for your book. The one I use is lulu.com, and I’ll be writing more about how you can publish your book using their services in my soon-to-be-available free download ‘Publish Your Book on a Shoestring’. Keep an eye out, I’m in the editing stage now and it will be coming out in the next few weeks.

How to Get Your Book Published or What Does a Publisher Want from an Author?

Here is another topic which came up at the Literary Festival.

A member of the audience told of sending her book proposal to agents and publishers, waiting seemingly interminable amounts of time on each occasion, only to be told that ‘we don’t take on new authors’ or some other formula rejection. A familiar tale to many, I am sure. She then asked me what she should do. My response was to say ‘publish the book yourself’, but I’m not sure it was a very welcome answer.

So I thought I would step into a publisher’s shoes for a moment – which will take a little stretch of the imagination – and look at it from their point of view. We know that publishing is an industry in difficulties at the moment. They have to differentiate their product from all the self-published books out there. So when they reject your manuscript, is it because they are looking for a better written book? Possibly, but most likely not. After all, they have editors who can help hone a book to perfection. What they are looking for is a book – and an author – who will sell. It is easy to sit outside and say that this means that publishers only take on well-known celebrities, but this is just not true. There are still authors being picked up by the major publishing houses, but these days many of them will have a self-publishing career under their belt already.

What this gives the publishers is a chance to see what the author is prepared to do to support their book. They have already put time and energy into promotion, and learned this skill. This is not entirely new, by the way. The original Chicken Soup for the Soul book was rejected by several publishers. It was only taken up eventually because the authors, Mark Victor Hansen and Jack Canfield, had developed a comprehensive marketing plan – to the extent of having pledges to purchase over a thousand copies from their contacts.

So if a publisher rejects your manuscript or proposal, it might not be because they are looking for a better book. They might be looking for a better author. Look at it from their point of view and wonder why they would take on someone who is expecting to have everything done for them. There isn’t enough marketing budget to support an author like that. The good news is that you can become that better author. By self-publishing a professional product, learning how to promote yourself and making a name for your writing you will show them what an unmissable package you are. Whether you then decide that you don’t need a publisher when you can go it alone and keep control of your work will be your decision. And one day it may be the publishers who will have to show that they have something to offer an author, and not the other way around.