Tag Archives: eBook

Steps to Self-Publishing

Deciding to self-publish your work can seem like a daunting task. In reality it isn’t hard as long as you take it step-by-step and find the correct people to help you along the way.

Use the steps below to guide you through the self-publishing process:

  1. Finish writing your manuscript.
    Duh, right?  Quite a few authors try to start the process without having their manuscript completed. By completed I mean, your manuscript should already be edited by yourself and at least read through by someone else and all rewrites are done. It needs to be as done as you can make it yourself.
  2. Hire an editor.grammar-389907
    Find an editor that fits you. You want an  editor that listens to what you need. This editor will be looking at your manuscript and giving you feedback. Editors tell you what needs to be rewritten,  taken out, and in general cleans up your manuscript so it reads cohesively without losing the original voice.
  3. Make all the necessary changes to your manuscript based on the editor’s feedback.
  4. Proofread, proofread, proofread!
    Hire a proofreader. A fresh pair of eyes find a lot more mistakes than the pair that has looked at the same words for over a year or so. Over time our minds fill in the gaps because it knows what we meant to say.
  5. Hire a formatter.hand-set-705674
    The same person can sometimes format for print and eBooks. The person you hire will need to know where you intend to sell your books so they can format your manuscript to specific specs. This conversation should also include how many ISBN’s you will need and where to acquire them. The print formatter will need to know what size you would like your book to be. For an explanation of ISBN’s click on the links below.
  6. Hire a graphic designer.
    If you are self-publishing in print and online you will need two covers. One for your print book and one for online. Both require different formatting. Once again the graphic designer will need to know where you are intending to sell your books so they can apply the correct specs to your covers. The graphic designer will also need to know the size of your book and how many pages your print book is when the print formatter is done formatting so they can design your cover correctly. General cover formatting for print and eBooks is linked below.
  7. Send or upload files to be printed.
    Send your formatted manuscript and cover file to the printer or upload them to a POD site.
  8. Upload your eBook files.
    Create the necessary accounts and upload your formatted eBook manuscript and cover file to an eBook distributor.
  9. Market your books. board-1097118
  10. Start writing your next book!

    Links to other blogs relating to self-publishing, ISBN’s, ISBN vs. ASIN, Book Covers.

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Choosing a Book

I have two bookshelves full of books at home. I have gotten rid of probably the equivalent of a 3rd bookshelf of books and I have a couple hundred books on my nook. When we have friends and family over several are known to peruse the shelves looking for a book to borrow. Most of them comment on how varied the collection is and everyone asks how I pick out the books I have read and placed on those bookshelves.  Each reader picks out books differently and no one way is correct. I choose my books based on cover design and spine font. This seems silly, because as the saying goes, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Sorry, this girl does…initially. I had a friend follow me through a brick and mortar once and observe me choosing a book (without my knowledge that she was doing this by the way). She finally started laughing and asked me what in the world I was doing. I explained my process. If the book was on the shelf with the spine out I would read the synopsis if I liked the font and color the author used on the spine. If the book was on the shelf with the cover out I would read the synopsis if I liked the composition of the cover. Ok, lame I know, but if I was choosing books this way other people probably are too. I have read a variety of books on topics I never would have read by using this method.

Barnes & Noble nook (ebook reader device)

Barnes & Noble nook (ebook reader device) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have an issue with the nook, and any other eReader for that matter. My friends and family can see the books on my bookshelves and ask me questions about them and take them home to read themselves. I have a couple hundred books on my nook and not one person has asked me what books I have on it. Are we losing something when we use an eReader instead of physical books? I choose my books for my nook based on book covers also but it’s not the same experience. I was in a store tonight with a friend looking at books and we both agreed we liked to physically turn the page as we read however, I do not have enough space in my house to host more books so I have migrated to the eReader. I will admit I’m slower to buy a book on my nook. I could have bought about ten of the books I picked up tonight in two seconds. Don’t get me wrong, I love my nook. I love being able to read in the dark, have a 2nd book to read if I finish the one I’m reading, and being able to prop it up (I could go on forever I think). 

My whole point is choosing a cover for your book is the second most important thing you do as an author. The first is having your manuscript edited. Most readers judge a book by its cover so it needs to be professional and inviting.

How do you choose a book to read and do you prefer an eReader or a physical copy?

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What’s an ISBN For?

EAN-13 bar code of ISBN-13 in compliance with ...

EAN-13 bar code of ISBN-13 in compliance with the “Machine-Readable Coding Guidelines for the U.S. Book Industry”, Revised 1/97. (The referred book being The Logic of Scientific Discovery by Karl Popper, 10th edition, German language, ISBN 3-16-148410-X resp. ISBN 978-3-16-148410-0) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ISBN officially stands for International Standard Book Number, but I think of it as an International Search Bin Number . This number identifies not only the book but also its publisher. The 13 number format now identifies the country in which the publisher does business. It allows a reader, a book seller, or anyone interested to look up a specific book world-wide and order it while being positive the book they are ordering is the book they actually want. In the United States, publishers and authors that self-publish get ISBN’s from Bowker. The process is simple and can be done online. ISBN’s are sold individually, or in packs of 10, 100, 1,ooo, 10,000, or 100,000. Some of you might be saying, I’m self-publishing so there isn’t a publisher. Oh yes there is a publisher. That publisher is you, the author. Unless, as a self-publisher, you are using a Print on Demand service, then they become your publisher. Deciding how to do that is a whole different blog that I will write another day.

I did some research on what materials need an ISBN because I kept reading differing opinions. Here’s the scoop about ISBN’s and books. If you are writing a book and planning to self-publish, each form of the book needs a different ISBN. For example, I theoretically have a book called “Pickles Like to Dance” that I want to self-publish in paperback, hard cover, audio, and eBook. I will need 4 different ISBN’s for “Pickles Like to Dance”. By having all four with a different ISBN a person searching for the audio book will be assured what they are ordering is in fact an audio book because it has its own specified number. eBooks distributed through a single channel like Amazon do not need an ISBN, but if you distribute your eBook in multiple places it is a good idea to put an ISBN on it also. If I chose to publish “Pickles Like to Dance” in different languages, each language needs its own ISBN. Getting all these numbers can get expensive but if you are planning to sell to bookstores or libraries they are a must. If you buy a pack of 10, all ten do not need to be used all at once.

Before you run out and buy a bunch of ISBN’s do some research on the places you want to sell your book. Print on Demand services usually have them for authors, some will charge for it and some won’t. Decide for yourself how important it is for you to have your eBook uniquely identified.

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Why is Editing Important?

Every manuscript, whether you intend to self-publish or have it traditionally published, requires a professional edit by an editor. In order to traditionally publish a book the manuscript must be presented professionally formatted and edited to appear and read appropriately to catch the publishing agent’s eye from the beginning or your manuscript will end up buried in the slush pile quickly. Nobody wants their hard work to end up in the slush pile, do everything in your power to avoid that by sending your manuscript to an editor first. If you are self-publishing, it is important to present a professional book that is formatted properly and reads well to keep the reader reading and wanting to read more by you, the author. eBooks are set aside often because of formatting errors and typos that would be caught before they were published with a professional edit. Most readers will not buy a second eBook from an author that self-published with formatting errors and typos. That means an author gets one opportunity at eBook publishing and if it is done incorrectly profits will be lost almost before they start. Self-publishing can be done inexpensively and profitably by utilizing print on demand services and eBooks with the help of a professional editor. I cannot stress enough how important it is to always present a professional looking product for the best results. When you submit a manuscript think of it as your most important job interview. Be prepared for it by using an editor to let your story stand out, not your mistakes.

Edited Version of First Book

Edited Version of First Book (Photo credit: TheCreativePenn)

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To DRM or Not?

When an author decides to self-publish an eBook a decision that must be made is whether to DRM your book or not. DRM (Digital Rights Management) allows an author to encrypt their book to prevent illegal sharing. A lot of authors worry that readers will steal their material so they enable DRM. This is counter-productive when the same author wants to get their name out there and become known. Word of mouth is the best form of advertising there is so use it to your advantage. So what if a small handful of readers acquire your book without paying for it. If the book is good that reader is more likely to check out what else you have written, buy other books, and tell their friends about the book they read. By enabling DRM readers can’t buy an eBook and convert it to use on their device.

Nook with OpenDyslexic

Nook with OpenDyslexic (Photo credit: Antijingoist)

For example, I know of an eBook that was bought on Amazon with the intent to read it on a Nook.The author had enabled DRM so the reader could not convert the eBook to work on the Nook.  Needless to say, the author lost a reader even if their book was good because they couldn’t convert the book and that reader more than likely spread the word that this author used encryption and spread their annoyance. As a new author the goal is to gain readers in any way possible, to get your name out there, not turn readers away. A bit of advice for up and coming authors, skip the DRM and let your name spread in any way possible. Readers will buy more if they like your book, regardless of how they received it.

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