Welcome To Self Publishing Simplified

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The mission of Publishing Simplified is to make independent (self) publishing as simple as possible by presenting useful information and valuable tools based entirely on first-hand experience publishing over forty print and ebooks.

By taking advantage of that extensive experience and developing simple methods to write and publish books and ebooks Bill Benitez has written several books on self publishing, created easy to use publishing tools, and posts as often as possible on this blog to help you do the same. Your questions and are always welcome. Please visit regularly and participate regularly as all aspects of the writing and publishing process are discussed. Thanks.

For those who want all the details on publishing books or ebooks in one compact, concise, and comprehensive package, Bill’s books, How-To Independently Publish Print Books With No Investment and Independent Publishing of Ebooks, contain complete instructions, precise screenshots, and links to help you write, publish and distribute your book or ebook worldwide. Get complete information on these valuable books at: http://booksfor.publishingsimplified.com/ .

Bill’s latest tools are geared to make the creation of Kindle books easy and inexpensive. The two listed below are available now.

Easy Kindle Formatting Kit – The kit includes an easy to use and modify template so you can have control over the final appearance of your ebook and a detailed set of instructions for use with the template or to create your own original file. That’s right, using these instructions you can create your own template to use as often as you choose. Check it out now at http://easykindleformattingkit.com/ .

Easy Kindle Covers – A great, attention getting cover is critical to the success of your Kindle ebook. You can pay a lot for a good cover but now you can save money while still selecting a quality cover from Easy Kindle Covers.

It’s a simple and inexpensive four step process and you pay nothing until you’re satisfied with the cover. Check it out at http://easykindlecovers.com/ 

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Please email bill@positive-imaging.com with question or comments.

Learn To Use Your Tools

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Word is an excellent tool for writing and creating the final files for self publishing, but many authors don’t take the time to learn even the basics of using this great software. As a publisher, I get manuscripts full of needless multiple formatting with tabs and single spaces that create problems for final formatting. On more than one occasion I’ve had to clear all the formatting so that I could begin again with clean text. One was so problematic that I copied the entire manuscript and pasted into Notepad to wipe all formatting. Then I copied and pasted it onto a new Word file. I suggest using Normal Style for writing and leave the formatting for after all the editing is complete, especially if you aren’t doing the formatting.

My Tools For Books and eBooks

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Reading books, blogs, and websites about self publishing reveal a long list of excellent tools you can use to create the files needed to self publish a book or ebook. I use three tools for publishing my books and those of other authors.

My main tool is Microsoft Word which I always use to create my original manuscript. For the Kindle version or Smashwords version, this is the basic tool I need to create the final file for upload and publication. Used correctly, Word will produce excellent results. You can also create your print books with Word, but I prefer a publishing software for this purpose.

For my print version, I prefer to use PagePlus, an excellent desktop publishing software that I began using in 2007. The first version I used was X4, and I am now using X9. Even though there have been improvements with each new version, for print books PagePlusX4, X5, X6, and X7 are perfectly adequate and can be purchased from Amazon.com inexpensively. Serif is a British company, and they are now into a new software called Affinity, and they are selling PagePlusX9 as a legacy application for only 19.99 British Pounds which is $25.74, a great bargain. I may try their Affinity product at some future date, but for now, I’m fine with PagePlusX9.

The third tool, Adobe Photoshop, I use to create covers and manage other images. There are other options including Serif PhotoPlus, which is now available at bargain prices, and GIMP available free. Questions, bill@positive-imaging.com .

A New and Fascinating Christian Book

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Working on completing the publishing of a new and fascinating Christian book by David L. Mundine of Milam County, Texas. “Behind The Glass Door” will move you. Learn more about it or buy a prepublication copy at http://behindtheglassdoor.billspositivebooks.com.

To write Behind The Glass Door David Mundine had to overcome the fear of putting himself out there for possible ridicule and humiliation.

Now, after years of resistance, he bravely shares all the details of the visions and other deeply moving experiences of his life. It’s a journey from which all of us can learn and gain inspiration.

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Even Free May Disappoint!

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Sometimes even giving something free doesn’t work! At least it seemed that way on Saturday when no one showed up for my free self publishing workshop, My best guess is that most people come to bookstores to find books to read not to learn how to write and publish books. Anyway, the Half Price Books staff was great and they have a fascinating bookstore and low prices. As to the workshop, it’s back to the drawing board. Maybe I will do one online and maybe I’ll just keep publishing books for others. http://publishing.positive-imaging.com .

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Layout and Formatting – Step 6 or the Next Step

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This is a topic with varying opinions and I’m not going to cover them all. Instead I’ll just describe the tools I use to prepare my books for publication as print books or ebooks.

My favorite software for print books is Serif PagePlus. At present I’m using version X9 but I have used versions dating back to X4 with success and you can save a lot by purchasing one of the older versions from Amazon. When using PagePlus I create a file for all the front pages and then a separate file for each chapter. Then I create a book file for the entire book. Each chapter is then listed in the book file and a pdf can be completed from the book file.

I have used PagePlus since 2008 and it’s always delivered great pdf documents ready to upload to my printer which is Createspace. There are many other companies that work with self publishers but the service from Createspace has been consistently first rate. Createspace makes it easy to get your book published and distributed worldwide without any fees. You just pay for each book you order as proofs, for book signings, submission to the Library of Congress, etc. Once your book is published it automatically goes into Amazon and they create a fulfillment estore for you. It’s a good, solid system.

To format ebooks I used Microsoft Word because it’s what I have but I’m sure you can use other software programs. It’s easy to format a book even with photos or drawings and there are many instruction books and tutorials to help. I normally upload my ebooks to Kindle because it’s such a large market, however there are other options. One that I like a lot is Smashwords. You can upload your formatted book to them and they will distribute it to many other resellers including iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, etc.

For more information about publishing your own books check out http://booksfor.publishingsimplified.com/ or contact me at bill@positive-imaging.com or 512-217-4803

ISBN – International Standard Book Number

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ISBN is a critical part of publishing a book. The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric book identifier that is assigned to every book to be sold commercially. And, it’s assigned to every edition or variation of a book. For example, if you will be publishing an ebook and paperback version, each one would have a different ISBN.

ISBNs are normally 10 digits or 13 digits. The 10 and 13 digit ISBN are the same except for a 3 digit prefix normally 978 or 979. ISBNs are critical because no commercial reseller will handle a book without it. ISBNs are country specific and in the United States they are issues by R. R. Bowker.

ISBNs can be costly if purchased individually but much less costly if purchased in quantity. Purchasing a single ISBN from R. R. Bowker can cost $125. You can purchase 10 for $250. I purchased 100 for $575, only $5.75 each. They are even less expensive in larger quantities.

For more information about ISBN go to https://www.myidentifiers.com/. Contact me with any questions. Thanks.

Print or eBook?

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Another step in publishing a book is to determine if it will be an ebook or a print book. I believe the best decision is to do both. Today most self published authors publish ebooks because it seems simpler and much less costly. If you know the steps involved it’s not really simpler and the cost is only more after the book is published.

Some still believe that print books are dead, replaced by digital ebooks in various versions but that’s untrue. Print books are alive and well and experiencing somewhat of a resurgence. I always publish both ebooks and print versions of my books and those of other authors. Usually I create the manuscript for the ebook version because the Word document is perfect for either Kindle or Smashwords. Then I use the manuscript to copy and paste into my publishing software.

While there are many options for publishing software, and you can use Word for this purpose, I prefer to use Serif PagePlus. I started using version X4 and am now on X9 and it’s still my favorite.

For those interested in self publishing or as I call it, independent publishing, I’ve written two books and you can check them out at http://booksfor.publishingsimplified.com/. Contact me at bill@positive-imaging.com with any questions. Thanks.

Step Three – Designing the Book

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There are many ways to design a book and many opinions on what looks best and what’s right and wrong. I always try to keep things as simple as possible and work to make the interior of the book look good while still being easy to read.

When I published my first book I had little experience in design so I decided the best way to learn was to go to a local bookstore and study books on the shelf. I looked at many genres and learned that it was difficult to find two book alike. Design seemed to be a matter of choice and opinion. I advanced my research to finding the designs that I really liked and then I studied how I could improve them and make them mine.

One of the things I noticed and found troubling was that many books had quite narrow margins next to the spine of the book. This made the book difficult to read plus you almost had to damage the spine to read comfortably. The second thing I noticed was that some fonts were much too small. The only reason I see for the tiny font is reducing the number of pages. Within reason this may work but if the font gets too small to read comfortably it’s not a good idea.

I even saw several books where the design involved a very narrow margin at the spine but a large and generous margin at the outside edge. This may be considered an attractive design but I didn’t care for it and have never used it on any of my books.

My method is to allow adequate white space, a large enough font, and sufficient room at the spine to make the book comfortable to read.

As to fonts, there are plenty of design articles to provide information for a good choice. If in doubt I would format several pages with different fonts and then print them and select the one that seems best.

There is much more to learn about design and you might even consider hiring a book designer if you are unsure how to proceed.

Is Anything Really Free?

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We’ve all heard, “There’s no free lunch!” To a large extent that true, but not always. For example, there’s some great software applications that are free with no catches. A great example of that is Open Office, an excellent office productivity software and GIMP, a great graphic software to name just two that don’t attempt to sell you anything. And, I’ve attended some valuable webinars and tutorials that were free even though they did try to sell me something at the end. I made good use of the information and purchased nothing. I’m sharing this because I’m encountering something interesting.

For the past two weeks I have been placing posts on Facebook, Linkin, Twitter, and my blogs for a free self publishing workshop that’s coming up on January 28th in Austin. I placed one on this blog also. The workshop is in a small room so I can only accommodate ten attendees. At first, I thought because it was free my problem would be selecting ten from many. As it turned out, only six attended but all of them learned a lot and received the two free books.

I’m trying to figure out what happened. Perhaps no one believed it was free because there’s a catch to everything. That’s often true but the only catch with this workshop was that I can only take ten. The workshop was free, short (three hours), and included two free books that covered everything in case anyone missed something. You can check them out the books at http://booksfor.publishingsimplified.com/

Maybe they believed that I had some motive that would come as a surprise at the workshop. Well, I did have a motive but it was no surprise. As an independent publisher my business depends on authors accepting and trusting my expertise, reliability, and honesty. By conducting this workshop I got to know the attendees and share my expertise with them and they might tell their author friends about me perhaps bringing me some future business. It’s even possible that an attendee may contact me for help in the future but there was nothing to purchase at the workshop nor any sales pitch. It’s the same as this blog and my other blogs and websites, just an opportunity to share my expertise so others get to know and trust me.

I guess it’s also possible that the response was been poor because I didn’t promise that publishing a book will make you rich or even increase your income. I definitely want attendees but not enough to make those statements. No one knows what your book or any book will do once it’s published.

Print Books or Ebooks?

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With the advent of Kindle and other digital books, there were many predicting the end of print books. As creating digital books (ebooks) became easier many authors opted out of print books to publish quickly and inexpensively. As it turns out the popularity of print books has rebounded; and it’s a mistake to ignore that market.

As an independent publisher of both print and digital books, I work with authors every day. It’s been surprising how many still believe that the ebook is the only way to go without making a large financial investment. The truth is that, if you do the work yourself, the initial investment for either a print book or an ebook is quite similar.

For either print or ebook you must start with a good book that is well edited and has a great, attention-grabbing cover. Either books or ebooks require concise formatting for uploading to the printer or distributor. Admittedly, the formatting for print books and the cover creation are much more complex requiring a much longer learning curve and specialized software, but the steps involved are similar.

Often the main concern to authors of print books is the cost of books for order fulfillment. They sometimes envision a large financial investment and a garage full of books. Print-on-demand (POD) eliminates all that. When someone purchases a book, the printer processes the order, prints the book, and ships it to the customer while maintaining an accounting for the publisher.

The author does need to buy copies of their book for readings, signings and bookstore consignment if he or she chooses to do that.

Promotion of books or ebooks can be costly and time-consuming, but the cost is the same for either one. With print books, you do have the cost of sending copies to reviewers, but sending them an ebook version is an option.

I always advise authors to create both versions. Have questions about print or ebooks, email bill@positive-imaging.com.