Category Archives: Tech Tips

Format a Book for Self-Publication

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You’ve written a book. You want to see it published. Where do you go from here?

Traditional vs. Vanity Presses

In the past, authors would choose to seek an agent and go for a traditional big-book publisher. This practice is becoming less and less popular as ‘indie’ (independent) authors learn to self-publish.  Don’t be confused between “self-publishing” and paying a company to print your book. Vanity presses abound and love to take your money to print your book. They may make lots of promises and get you to agree to buy hundreds of copies with the notion that they’ll promote you and your book. Don’t be fooled.

Self-Published Books

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Self-publishing through a print-on-demand company is totally different.  You do it yourself!  With enough technical knowledge, you can set up your book with the provided template, send it off, and within a week or two, you’re on the Amazon road. There are many such companies. I’ve worked with CreateSpace (now merging with Kindle Direct Publishing to become Media on Demand), Lulu, and Smashwords. Each are a little different. If you can do all the technical setup yourself, you pay nothing.

How Do They Make Money?

These companies can offer these services “for free” by charging an on-demand price when your book is printed. After all, nothing is really ‘free.’ Your royalty rate is from 35-70% of the price you charge for your book. What you charge for the book is up to you. Amazon takes their cut, CreateSpace or KDP takes their cut, and you get the rest. It’s paid for one book at a time as they print it. This is arranged when your book is being processed, and the percentage rate is up to you.  You design your own cover and interior design.  The company does not change it, edit it, or market it. It is all YOU. Your book reflects you.

Each print-on-demand company I’ve worked with also offers professional help for formatting, editing, book cover design, and marketing.  Of course, each of these services comes at a high price. That’s why it’s better to do it yourself – OR HIRE SOMEONE who knows what to do. Save yourself the headaches!

I Can Help You!

I can help you format your book with a professional interior design. Does this still mean you’re paying for a vanity press? The answer is no. Vanity presses “own” your book and receive a portion of your royalties. They often have a contract up to five years (or perpetuity) on your book.

When I assist others with the interior design of their book, it is a one-time fee for setup and publishing. All the proceeds – 100% of them – go back to the author once the “publish” button is pushed. It is published under your name and your logo (if you have one).  I have formatted almost thirty books and helped authors self-publish with CreateSpace or Lulu with great success. (See examples. I helped assist these authors with self-publishing as well as book cover design).

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Interior Design Guidelines

Interior design isn’t just making your 8-1/2 x 11 page fit into a 6×9 book format with mirror margins. It means selecting the right size and the color paper to match the topic. Choosing a readable web-ready font style and size, margin and line spacing that’s aesthetic to the eye, setting up headers and page numbers, and putting in an updateable table of contents is all a part of formatting. It’s knowing where to add the title page, copyright page, and all the other front copy. Back copy includes the author’s bio, and possibly an index, footnotes, or other information. It might also include adding drop caps for chapters, graphics, or pictures. Each of these must be formatted to the strict guidelines set up by the POD company.  Although a template is provided, some authors find this technical part difficult to navigate.

As a computer teacher with technical knowledge of over twenty years, my skills can help your book get off the ground without the frustration of you trying to figure it out on your own.

Sound intimating? Don’t know where to start?  Let me help!

  • Basic setup charge – $125 + $1 per 8.5×11 page of your book.
  • This includes all of the above and assumes the book has been edited and approved by you for final submission. I do not edit or change what you’ve written.
  • One free editing after proof is viewed
  • Pictures added have an additional charge as more setup is needed.
  • Turn-around time varies from 1-3 weeks.

Interested?  Give me a holler.

 

 

 

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PLOTTING BY DESIGN

plotting-ladyPlotting a book doesn’t happen by accident, it must be designed. Just as a baker needs a recipe, a seamstress needs a pattern, and a builder needs a blueprint, a writer does best with a plot.

Structuring your manuscript doesn’t have to be hard. A plot is simply like a road map. It doesn’t mean you won’t take detours or hit potholes along the way. It doesn’t even mean you’ll stay on the right road — but it will guide you.  It provides the parameters and guides along the way to help you reach your destination.

There are many different ways people have plotted their books -and I’m probably the worst for putting all my notes, outlines, character sketches, and everything else in one notebook.   I have found, however, that using a simple template or spreadsheet certainly helps in keeping timelines straight and remembering who has blue eyes and who has red hair.

Here are a couple of free sheets to help you get your manuscript plotted.

CHARTING SPREADSHEET

PLOT TEMPLATE