Category: Self Publishing

Layout and Formatting – Step 6 or the Next Step

Published / by bill / Leave a Comment

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?

Published / by bill / Leave a Comment

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.

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?

Published / by bill / Leave a Comment

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.

Publishing – Step Two – The Title

Published / by bill / Leave a Comment

I like to determine the best possible title for the book as soon as possible. Often the author already has a title in mind. We need to spend time discussing the title to make certain that it peaks the interest of potential readers enough so they open the book or just look inside online.

The length of the title and font size are critical. Too long a title with a small font will be unreadable as an Amazon thumbnail. Even on the small size online the title should be clear and large enough to read and understand.

A good title can sell books so it’s important to take time to develop the best title for the book.

Free How-To Book for Indie Authors

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In addition to promoting my books and ebooks I promote my publishing services for independent authors. To do that it’s important for authors to recognize my expertise. To help show that I’ve written a book on how to publish an ebook on Kindle, Smashwords, etc. and I’m making it available free to anyone. Information on this ebook is listed below.

NewCoverforBlogsMy new ebook “How To Publish Your Ebook: Succeeding on Kindle, Smashwords, Clickbank, and Your Own Ebook Store” is available now absolutely FREE. No obligation, no email registration, just download it to any device. I would love to hear comments once you read it. Get more details and your FREE copy now at http://ebook.publishingsimplified.com .

My next post will have more information about free ebooks. There are various to handle ebooks intended to share content and I’ll explain some and the method I use and why I prefer it. Check it out.

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Promotion and/or Marketing

Published / by bill / Leave a Comment

As an author who wishes to sell books, I have to take steps everyday to promote my books. As a publisher for other authors I have to help them promote their books. In these efforts I’ve noticed that the words promotion and marketing are often used. In the past I’ve mostly used “marketing” for my efforts to sell my books but I’m sure that I’m promoting my books also.

Just out of curiosity I decided to check the dictionary for the definitions of promotion and marketing and I listed both below:

Promotion – something devised to publicize or advertise a product, cause, institution, etc., as a brochure, free sample, poster, television or radio commercial, or personal appearance.

Marketing – the total of activities involved in the transfer of goods from the producer or seller to the consumer or buyer, including advertising, shipping, storing, and selling.

In carefully reading both my feeling is that promotion is better suited to selling books but marketing would work just as well. So, whether you promote your books or market them, the important thing is to sell as many books as possible. If your promotion or marketing efforts are working well then your books are selling. If they aren’t working, well you know.

It’s possible there are authors who don’t care whether their books sell but I’m not one of those and almost all of the authors I know would like to sell many copies of their book. Because of that I’ve decided to share some of things I’m doing to help sell my books and I hope that some of you will share what you are doing. Check back often for more posts on this topic. Thanks.

You Can Do It All But It’s Not Easy

Published / by bill / Leave a Comment

You can write and publish a book or ebook entirely on your own but many of the steps can be difficult and lacking experience you can come up with a poor quality book that could hinder sales in spite of your marketing efforts. If you want to do it all, my self publishing workbook (http://selfpublishingworkbook.com/) can be a great help and you can find help in this blog plus soon I will have some tutorials available on specific aspects of the publishing process for both print and ebooks. Unless you are already skilled in the various steps involved or can learn them, I suggest that you hire some help to ensure a quality book.

Self Publishing – Keeping It Simple – The First Draft

Published / by bill / 1 Comment on Self Publishing – Keeping It Simple – The First Draft

I read many discussions on the best tool to use to write a book. Sometimes the discussion is about what word processor is best for writing the draft or manuscript. To me it is a totally irrelevant question. It really doesn’t matter what tool you use to write your book. You can use whatever is comfortable for you including just a pen or pencil in a simple notebook. Word is my preference for writing my first draft but I could just as well use OpenOffice or even Wordpad that comes free with Windows.

If you do use a word processor keep the style set at normal to avoid any complicated formatting that will cause problems when doing the final layout and formatting for the print or ebook versions. Avoid multiple spaces with the space bar and paragraph indentations with the tab key. Use the normal style with line and paragraph settings that work the same throughout your draft. Keep it as simple as possible because the draft is not the final file for publishing. Don’t begin the final formatting until your editing is completed and you have a final manuscript.


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