Monthly Archives: April 2018

Seek Inspiration from Writers Who Have Succeeded Before You

Possibly one of the most inspirational author success stories of this century is that of JK Rowling. I write in a different genre than she does. I have a different audience altogether. But it is her human story that fascinates me most, so I go in search of great articles about her such as this one: JK Rowling gives advice to aspiring young writers in challenging situations. I seek her knowledge and advice from afar when I need it. (Thank God for the Internet! What did we ever do before we had this valuable tool at our disposal?)

This woman not only understands the unique challenges that writers everywhere face, but she has also experienced her share of adversity that most everyone can relate to on some level. Poverty. Divorce. Single parenting. The loss of a loved one. She found the way to continue writing through all of it.

That’s what I want you to take away from today’s email: she found the way to continue writing through all of it. And look at where she is now!

Nobody is saying it’s going to be easy all the time. There is work to be done if you want to finish writing your book and see it published at long last.

But I’m telling you it’s possible. That’s all you need to know for now. The rest will follow. The answers—and the way—will fall into place if you really want this and are prepared to work for it through everything life throws at you during the process. Have faith.

Now get back to your writing! That’s an order! 😉

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2018 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.

3 Book Printing Tips for Indie Authors: Consider This Before Printing Any Books

AVAILABLE VERY SOON through Amazon’s Kindle, Kobo, and E-Sentral! Watch for it!

Whenever prospective clients contact my company for a book publishing quote, they invariably request a book printing quote to go along with it. I tell them that, to figure out your initial publishing costs—the professional editing, graphic design, proofreading, indexing, and administrative costs involved in publishing a book—a publisher will need to know five things:

  1. How many words are included both inside your book’s interior and on its cover?
  2. How many images/graphics are included both inside your book’s interior and on its cover?
  3. Will your book have a colour or black and white interior? (If colour, will it be a full bleed?)
  4. What trim size (e.g., 6×9, 8.5×11) do you want?
  5. What format (e.g., paperback, case-wrapped hardcover, dust-jacketed hardcover) do you want?

Figuring out your book printing costs is even more involved than that. It is only once your book is fully formatted and you know all the above information plus the final page count of the final-designed book that you can officially request a book printing quote.

There is much to think about, much to consider when it comes to book printing. I also ask each author, “How many books are you thinking about printing, and have you considered how and where you’re going to sell them?” Some people are puzzled by that question, assuming the publisher will actively sell your books for you. I published this FREE ebook for these individuals a while ago: Your Ebook is an Asset … if You Own the Copyright. The moral of the story is there’s no point in printing any books at all unless you have a clear idea of how to distribute them—successfully. Otherwise, you’ll end up wasting a lot of money in book printing costs followed by even more in storage costs.

For the authors who believe you’ll be able to print and sell direct to popular “bricks and mortar” book retailers, I highly recommend you download and read this additional FREE ebook: Why Traditional Bookstores Won’t Carry Your Book on Their Shelves … and Why That’s Okay. The truth is, if you want your book placed on the physical shelves of a traditional bookstore, you must play by the peculiar rules set by the traditional book supply chain. And, believe me, peculiar is the best word to describe these old rules … as I’m sure you’ll agree once you read the book. As well, most “bricks and mortar” booksellers (e.g., Chapters Indigo, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, and Blackwell’s, et cetera) and libraries will only purchase their books through established distributors. They simply won’t deal with individual authors.

Add to all this the fact that printers can be finicky machines at times. Have you ever wondered why, sometimes, a colour image looks different on your computer screen than it does in a printed document? This has much to do with the way the colour file was created by the designer as well as the type of paper it is being printed on and the type of printer being used.

There is MUCH to consider with book printing. Before you engage in any type of book printing at all, read this book! It could save you a lot of time and money down the road. For those who still wish to print their books, this guide will help you to produce the best book printing result possible.

Celebrate Your Success!

I want to talk to you about the importance of celebrating your success once you’ve published your book. But first, click here to view PPG’s Facebook album containing pictures of some of our past author events for inspiration. 
  
For some, a simple bookstore signing is the perfect way to celebrate the publication of a new book. Others celebrate with an evening launch at a venue that serves drinks and appetizers to their guests, and they bring in guest speakers to talk about the author and the book. Some businesses even order in a custom cake with a picture of their book cover on the front, and their event is covered by the media. 
  
The sky is the limit when it comes time to celebrate your accomplishments as a published author. My only advice is that you should do something. This is a huge accomplishment! Celebrate it! 

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2018 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.

Preparing Your Digital Files for a Book Publisher

PPG FILE NAMING CONVENTION

Each of your files should be associated with your book title, author name, and the current date. They should also indicate their individual purposes (e.g., book cover graphic, book interior text) so it is easy to differentiate each file.

Your file names should begin with: the first five letters of your book title, the first five letters of your legal last name, and MMM DD YYYY for the current date.

For example: HOWTO.STAFL.JAN012017.SAMPLE.DOC

The most important parts of this file naming convention are the first three: the book title, the last name, and the current date. Ensuring consistency and continuity in these three areas will make it easier for everyone involved in the project to find files when they need to down the road. The final part of the file name is a guide to let everyone know what the file is for, and it can be typed in various ways. 

Below are some acceptable file names 

for author photo files:
HOWTO.STAFL.JAN012017.AuthorPhoto.tiff

for book cover files:
HOWTO.STAFL.JAN012017.CoverGraphic01.jpeg
HOWTO.STAFL.JAN012017.CoverGraphic02.jpeg

for book interior files:
HOWTO.STAFL.JAN012017.InteriorGraphic01.tiff
HOWTO.STAFL.JAN012017.InteriorGraphic02.tiff
HOWTO.STAFL.JAN012017.InteriorText.doc

for promo piece files:
HOWTO.STAFL.JAN012017.PromoGraphic01.jpeg

PREPARING GRAPHIC FILES FOR PPG

A graphic is defined as any picture, illustration, chart, image, logo, or graph you would like placed either in your book interior, on your book cover, or as part of any other marketing materials we may be creating for you.

Colour Graphics

All colour graphics must be submitted to PPG in either .jpg (.jpeg) or .tif (.tiff) format, with a minimum resolution of 300 DPI, using the CMYK colour model.

Black and White Graphics

All black and white graphics must be submitted to PPG in either .jpg (.jpeg) or .tif (.tiff) format with a minimum resolution of 300 DPI. For best results, they should be sent as grayscale/monochrome files rather than CMYK colour files. (We can accept CMYK colour images; however, they may not reproduce as well in black and white as a grayscale/monochrome image will.)

All graphics for your book (including all author photos) must be sent to PPG at the same time your interior text is sent.

PREPARING TEXT FILES FOR PPG

PPG will only accept text files (e.g., your manuscript) in Microsoft Word format with nothing more than the following formatting. This ensures the file is clean, making it easier for editors and designers to work with it.

  • Include all front matterbodyback matter, and back cover copy in this document in exactly the order you wish to see it appear in the final designed version of your book (NOTE: back cover copy should be placed at the very end and labelled as [Insert back cover copy here] so the designer knows what it is and where to eventually place it; but it must be included in the original text document so it can be properly edited along with everything else).
  • Leave room for the copyright page within your front matter (e.g., simply insert a blank page that says [Insert copyright page here] at the top of it, and PPG will take care of the rest for you).
  • Times New Roman font, 11 pt. size, left-aligned text
  • Entire document double-spaced
  • The only hard returns in this document should be at the end of chapter titles and paragraphs 
  • Insert a page break at the end of each section and/or chapter
  • Insert an additional page break where you want blank pages to appear
  • Type [Insert image file name here with the following caption: caption text] where you wish to see an image and caption inserted. DO NOT INSERT THE IMAGE YOURSELF. 
  • Italicize any words/phrases you wish to see italicized in the formatted version of your book
  • Bold any words/phrases you wish to see bolded in the formatted version of your book
  • Underline any words/phrases you wish to see underlined in the formatted version of your book

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2018 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.

YouTube is an Author’s Best Friend

Here’s an excerpt for you from my bestselling book titled Successful Selling Tips for Introverted Authors regarding how you can use YouTube to sell more books.

As the second most searched website in the world (after Google), YouTube is a popular social media site on which users can upload, share, and view videos free of charge. This makes it a fantastic tool that authors can use to advertise themselves and their books online. 

If you’ve never made a video of any kind before, not to worry; neither had most of the other authors who are now using YouTube regularly (the author of this book included). Get some practice by starting small at first: 

  • Camera-shy authors can start with just their voices. Take an audio recording (.MP3) of you reciting your book’s elevator pitch; then, using a user-friend program like Microsoft Movie Maker, convert it to a YouTube-friendly video file (.MP4) by adding your book’s front cover image to the file. Upload it to YouTube and copy the text of your elevator pitch along with a link to your book’s storefront into the description box under the video. Also make sure the title, tags, and category sections are complete. This is one of the YouTube links you can share with others via Facebook and Twitter on the designated days.
  • Create and Post an Alfresco Video ReadingWhen you feel a little braver, take a video recording (.MP4) of yourself reading a chapter from your book and post that online. You can make it much more interesting by shooting it as a scene outside—by reading from your book with a picturesque display of your own town or city in the background. You can add music to the file, if you choose, in addition to filling out all the standard sections—the title, tags, category, and description—with as many of your popular keywords as you possibly can.

Always keep your audience in mind no matter what type of video you’re creating or sharing. It isn’t enough to just read from your book; rather, think about what your readers will want to know about you and your book. Your goal is the same here as it is on every other site you’re posting content to; it’s an opportunity for potential new audience members to get to know you and your book a little better, to build on that top-of-mind awareness we’re trying to build on. Just as it is when you’re writing blog entries, remember that how-tos, answers to FAQs, expert interviews, insights on characters and their development, and entertaining stories are all popular topic matters that will grab people’s attention. 

Keep your YouTube videos short. In this “instant soup society” of ours, even YouTube users have short attention spans, so it’s better to upload five three-minute videos than it is to upload one 15-minute video whenever possible. More videos that utilize even more of your top keywords will also provide more varied selling opportunities. 

In addition to creating my own videos, I always make sure to ask the interviewers of any Skype, radio, or television interviews I’ve done to send me an .MP3 or .MP4 of our interview session. I upload that to my company YouTube channel along with an introduction to the interviewers and their station in the description box below the video. It’s a way to thank them by opening them up to an expanded audience through my channel, and it’s also a way for me to attract some of their listeners to me by coupling their top keywords together with mine. 

I hope you’ve found some value in this excerpt from my book on how to utilize YouTube to sell more of your own books.

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2018 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.

Unique Writing Advice from Margaret Atwood

I came across some writing tips by Margaret Atwood on BrainPickings.org the other day titled “Margaret Atwood’s 10 Rules of Writing.” Her advice for writing while on an airplane is quite interesting … and a sign of our times, I suppose. It made me laugh.

Presumably, most of us “write” with a keyboard now, not a pencil. But she makes a good point about backing up your work with a memory stick if you’re a digital writer. Great advice! There’s nothing worse than spending several hours writing anything only to lose the data because your computer crashes.

But listen. You should definitely read Margaret’s advice. The BrainPickings blog has included some great tips from her that we haven’t covered on this blog so far. This is one of the reasons why I recommend reading other people’s work, other people’s advice, et cetera. We can all learn from each other.

On that note, this content first appeared on BrainPickings.org and is being reshared here for your enjoyment:

Margaret Atwood’s 10 Rules of Writing

  1. Take a pencil to write with on aeroplanes. Pens leak. But if the pencil breaks, you can’t sharpen it on the plane, because you can’t take knives with you. Therefore: take two pencils.
  2. If both pencils break, you can do a rough sharpening job with a nail file of the metal or glass type.
  3. Take something to write on. Paper is good. In a pinch, pieces of wood or your arm will do.
  4. If you’re using a computer, always safeguard new text with a ­memory stick.
  5. Do back exercises. Pain is distracting.
  6. Hold the reader’s attention. (This is likely to work better if you can hold your own.) But you don’t know who the reader is, so it’s like shooting fish with a slingshot in the dark. What ­fascinates A will bore the pants off B.
  7. You most likely need a thesaurus, a rudimentary grammar book, and a grip on reality. This latter means: there’s no free lunch. Writing is work. It’s also gambling. You don’t get a pension plan. Other people can help you a bit, but ­essentially you’re on your own. ­Nobody is making you do this: you chose it, so don’t whine.
  8. You can never read your own book with the innocent anticipation that comes with that first delicious page of a new book, because you wrote the thing. You’ve been backstage. You’ve seen how the rabbits were smuggled into the hat. Therefore ask a reading friend or two to look at it before you give it to anyone in the publishing business. This friend should not be someone with whom you have a ­romantic relationship, unless you want to break up.
  9. Don’t sit down in the middle of the woods. If you’re lost in the plot or blocked, retrace your steps to where you went wrong. Then take the other road. And/or change the person. Change the tense. Change the opening page.
  10. Prayer might work. Or reading ­something else. Or a constant visual­ization of the holy grail that is the finished, published version of your resplendent book.