Category Archives: Graphic Design

Author Photos are Important

Put Your Best Face Forward With an Attractive Author Photo

When it comes to author photos, “attractive” can come in all kinds of forms. Writers can even dress things up to depict a character or scene inside their books.

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Author photos make as powerful a statement about a writer as a book cover makes about the story inside. As such, an author photo should always be given as much care and consideration as the rest of the book.

Where the writer’s picture once appeared on only the back cover of a book and a publisher’s press release; nowadays, Internet-savvy authors can take full advantage of social networking sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook to promote themselves and their books. They may also choose to write a personal blog or create a video of themselves for YouTube.

There are many ways for people to promote themselves these days. And there are just as many types of professional photographers and videographers to help them put their best faces forward.

Author Photos on Book Covers

The back cover of a book is a great place to put an author photo. It can be a simple headshot or full-length portrait, depending on the writer’s preference; and this is a great place to get creative. A professional photographer knows how to use either colour or black and white to depict the mood of the story within the author photo. To make the picture even more attractive to readers, writers can dress themselves up as a character from inside their books or create the setting of the book within the background of the picture.

Author Photos on Social Networking Sites

Facebook is a social networking site that helps people keep in touch with personal friends and family members, but it can also be used as a business networking tool much like LinkedIn. (Think of LinkedIn as “Facebook for professionals.”) Both are great places to post an author photo as one’s profile picture. This can help to promote one as a published writer to the public.

That said, everyone should be careful about the type of photographs they are posting on these public sites. If the author photo on the back of one’s book is provocative or risqué in any way, it is wise to keep that one to the back of the book or one’s personal blog and have a second, more conservative photo done specifically for the social networking sites. Many authors only write part-time and have other full-time careers, and some may be looking for work in a professional office setting. It is important to remember that today’s employers often “Google” prospective employees before deciding whether or not to hire them. This makes it all the more important to ensure that employer will find an appropriate photo online.

Author Photos on Personal Blogs

Blogging is all the rage these days. What is blogging? The word “blog” is an abbreviated term for “web log,” and a web log can be thought of as an online diary of sorts. The public has taken the noun “blog” and turned it into the verb “blogging” when referring to writing entries within these online diaries.

Writers can use blogs to promote themselves, their work, and their books. One example is the PPG Publisher’s Blog. This is where the author of this article does her blogging and answers industry FAQs (frequently asked questions) for writers about the Canadian book publishing industry. (You’re reading that blog right now.)

Author Video Readings on YouTube

YouTube is a website where people can watch and/or upload videos completely free of charge. It is a great place to post a modern video reading as this video will be available to a worldwide audience within a matter of minutes. It is also possible to share a link to this video with one’s personal and professional networks via email, social networking sites, or a personal blog.

The possibilities are endless for modern authors with the introduction of all these Internet tools. Never before has it been easier to reach such a broad audience so quickly—and at such an affordable cost! This makes it all the more important for authors to put their best faces forward with professional-quality author photos.

This article was originally published at Suite101 in March 2010.

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PPG is a professional book publisher dedicated to serving serious-minded authors around the world. Visit our group of websites today:

PPG Book Publishing Website: http://www.polishedpublishinggroup.com/
PPG Publisher’s Blog: http://blog.polishedpublishinggroup.com/

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 © 2009 to [current year] Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.

 

Three Important Tips for Serious Self-Publishers

How to Ensure Your Book Emulates Trade Publisher Quality

If you are serious about book publishing and want to present yourself to the public as a professional author, then there are three important things you must do….

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There seem to be a few book printers out there disguising themselves as book publishers these days. “Publish your book in just thirty days!” and “Publish your book for only $599!” seem to be popular search-engine catchphrases. While it is true that you can print a book in that timeframe for that cost, there is so much more to publishing it properly. Below are three crucial steps, leading up to the printing stage, that require a much greater investment of your time and money if you wish to produce a truly polished result.

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Have Your Work Copy Edited By a Professional

The fact is, self-publishers’ books are competing in the marketplace with trade publishers’ books. Trade (traditional) publishers always have their books professionally edited. Always. This is why they can boast such high quality. In light of this, can self-publishers truly afford not to have their work edited? It may seem excessive to some, but it is a necessary investment if that author is serious about publishing and competing in the marketplace.

Make no mistake, not all copy editors are equal. Expect to pay a minimum of $0.025/word for a quality copy edit which equates to $750 on a 30,000 word manuscript. If you’re paying any less than that, bottom line, you’re not dealing with a professional. Time wise, you’re looking at two to four weeks for a copy edit to be completed correctly.

Hire an Expert to Design Your Book Cover and Interior

No matter how engaging your story may be, the public is going to “judge your book by its cover” before they ever decide to read it. As such, the graphic design of your book—both inside and out—should receive the same professional attention as the content itself.

Just as not all editors are equal, there is also a noticeable difference between a book designed by a human/mechanical template builder and one designed by a professional graphic artist. Expect to pay between $500 and $600 for your initial cover/interior combo. As long as your designer receives clear instructions and trouble-free files, you should receive your first draft within about two weeks.

A Qualified Proofreader Should Review Your Hard Proof

Always, always, always request a hard proof whenever you are publishing physical books. Electronic proofs are fine for e-books, but you might be surprised by just how different a page looks on a computer screen compared to how it looks in print. You’ll notice things on paper that you may not see in a .PDF file.

Not only should you give this hard proof a once-over yourself, but you should also hire a professional proofreader—a different set of eyes from your copy editor—to do the following nine-point check:

Interior:

• the front matter (such as the table of contents) is accurate and correct
• the back matter (such as the index) is accurate and correct
• headers and footers are accurate and correct
• bad breaks are eliminated
• text is kerned to flow smoothly throughout
• margins and trim size all measure properly
• spelling and punctuation is correct

Cover:

• spacing, bleeds, and trim size all measure properly
• spelling and punctuation is correct

Expect to pay a minimum of $0.015/word for a comprehensive proofread like this which comes to $450 on a 30,000 word manuscript. It should take around two weeks to complete.

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Now you’re ready to print your book … and revel in the gratification authors can only feel when, deep down, they know they did everything that was necessary to publish a high quality product.

This article was originally published at Suite101 in January 2010

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PPG is a professional book publisher dedicated to serving serious-minded authors around the world. Visit our group of websites today:

PPG Book Publishing Website: http://www.polishedpublishinggroup.com/
PPG Publisher’s Blog: http://blog.polishedpublishinggroup.com/

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 © 2009 to [current year] Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.

The Components of a Book’s Interior

A book’s interior is comprised of three basic elements: front matter, the body, and back matter. Each element may differ slightly depending on the type of book being published. For example, a non-fiction book will contain an index in its back matter where a fictional novel will not. This article will briefly touch on each component while focusing on the interior design of a fictional novel.

Front Matter

The front matter of a book contains some or all of the following components:

  • Primary title pageThis is usually the very first page of the book in which the title appears on an otherwise blank right-hand page.
  • Secondary title pageThe secondary title page repeats the book title along with the author and/or publisher’s name on the next right-hand page.
  • Copyright pageTypically, the publishing company will insert the copyright page into the book’s front matter on behalf of the author/self-publisher. In anticipation of this, the author/self-publisher should leave room in the front matter of their manuscript to accommodate it.The copyright page will contain the book’s ISBN number(s), publication date, copyright owner’s name, and a copyright notice such as: No portion of this book may be duplicated or used in any form, by any electronic or mechanical means (including photocopying, recording, or information storage and retrieval), for any profit-driven enterprise, without prior permission in writing from the publisher. If the author/publisher wishes to credit any of the book’s contributors (such as photographers and designers), that can also be done on this page.
  • Quote pageSometimes a quote will be placed in the front matter if it sums up the essence of the story quite well.
  • Dedication pageOftentimes, authors will dedicate their books to their loved ones. That dedication is placed in the beginning of the book.
  • Acknowledgments pageAn acknowledgments page allows an author to provide more detail when crediting the book’s various contributors rather than just listing their names on the copyright page. Here, a heartfelt thank you can be expressed in a much more meaningful way.
  • ForewordUsually, a foreword is written by someone other than the author. Its purpose is to provide a history leading up to the story being told or explain what inspired the publication of the book.
  • PrefaceWhere a foreword is an introduction to the book written by someone other than the author, a preface is an introduction written by the author for the same purpose. An author may also use a preface to explain what methods of research were used during the creation of the work.
  • ContentsA table of contents lists the various sections (chapters, articles, poems, etc) within the book and what page numbers they each begin at.

 

Below is a group of visuals to show how the front matter might be arranged in a fictional novel. This is but one example of how it can be done:





The Body

The body of a book usually contains at least the following two components:

  • Title PagesA title page is used at the beginning of each section within the body of a book. The purpose of the title page is simply to differentiate between the sections, to help organize the flow of the work.
  • Sections
     
    Sections of a book’s body can be divided up as chapters, poems, articles, etc. It all depends on the type of book being published.

Below are two visuals showing how the body of a novel might be formatted. The second visual contains recommended measurements for your book’s margins. Again, this is but one example of how a book can be formatted and is meant as a guideline only:

Back Matter

The back matter of a book contains some or all of the following components:

  • AppendixAn appendix contains supplementary details that help to further clarify any legal, technical, and/or scientific information within the book.
  • GlossaryA glossary of terms contains a list of specialized words that can be found throughout the book along with their definitions.
  • IndexAn alphabetized index is used to help readers pinpoint the exact page(s) where they can find an important name, place, and/or subject throughout the book. Most non-fiction books will have an index.
  • Promotional ContentA great way to sell your backlist titles is to promote them in the back matter of each new release. It is best if you can provide a graphic of each book’s front cover along with the corresponding ISBN number.
     
  • Author BiographyAn updated author biography helps personalize your book for readers by giving them a bit more information about the storyteller. It is also a great way to promote past titles thereby increasing the chance of more sales.

 

Below are two visuals showing how the back matter of a novel could appear:

 



It is a good idea to use this article as a guideline when deciding how to lay out your book’s interior. Better yet, why not pay your local bookstore a visit and take a look at how some of your favourite titles are formatted? The more information (visuals) you can provide to your graphic designer ahead of time, the better. This will help the process run much more smoothly for both of you.

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PPG is a professional book publisher dedicated to serving serious-minded authors around the world. Visit our group of websites today:

PPG Book Publishing Website: http://www.polishedpublishinggroup.com/
PPG Publisher’s Blog: http://blog.polishedpublishinggroup.com/

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 © 2009 to [current year] Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.

The Components of a Paperback Book Cover

No matter how engaging your story may be, the public is going to “judge your book by its cover” before they ever pick it up to read the contents. As such, the exterior should always receive the same professional care and consideration as the interior.

A complete paperback book cover is made up of the following components:

  1. Back CoverAs shown in the following visual aid, the back cover portion of your complete book cover begins on the left-hand side. The dimension of the back cover must match whatever trim size you’ve chosen your book to be (i.e. 5.5″ width x 8.5″ height) with a minimum 1/4″ bleed around the outside edges for trimming. It will also contain:- an author photo (optional)
    – back cover copy (to summarize the contents of the book in a compelling way)
    – room for the book’s barcode/ISBN number on the lower right-hand corner
    – room for PPG’s logo on the lower left-hand corner
    – a short author biography (optional)
  2. SpineThe spine portion of your complete book cover sits in between your back and front cover. Its height will match your chosen trim size (in this case 8.5″) while the width is determined by factors such as the final page count of your designed interior and chosen paper weight. (PPG will provide you with these specs once your interior has been designed by one of our professional graphic designers.) The spine also contains:- the book title at the top
    – author name (pseudonym) in the centre
    – room for PPG’s logo to be placed at the bottom
  3. Front CoverThe front cover portion of your complete book cover sits on the right-hand side. The dimension of the front cover must match whatever trim size you’ve chosen your book to be (i.e. 5.5″ width x 8.5″ height) with a minimum 1/4″ bleed around the outside edges for trimming. It will also contain:- the book title (and subtitle, if applicable)
    – author name (pseudonym)
  4. ArtworkYour cover artwork can wrap around the spine of your book and span the entire height/width of the complete cover (as shown in the first visual below), or it can appear on the front cover only (as shown in the second visual below). Both examples are correct. If going with the first example, make sure the artwork itself contains a minimum 1/4″ bleed all around the edges so the outside edges of the picture aren’t trimmed unnecessarily at the printer.


When deciding how you would like your book cover to appear, it is best to pay a visit to your local bookstore and view the many different examples there. What designs, colours, and fonts draw your attention the best? Write down the book title(s) and author name(s) so you can use this as a handy reference when it comes time to provide a description to your assigned graphic designer. This will help the process run much more smoothly for both of you.

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PPG is a professional book publisher dedicated to serving serious-minded authors around the world. Visit our group of websites today:

PPG Book Publishing Website: http://www.polishedpublishinggroup.com/
PPG Publisher’s Blog: http://blog.polishedpublishinggroup.com/

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 © 2009 to [current year] Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.

A Self-Publisher’s Checklist

There are several little odds and ends involved with the Canadian book publishing process—some obvious, others not so obvious. PPG has created the below checklist to help you keep track of what needs to be done:

What PPG Will Do For You  What You Must Do For Yourself
Supplies you will require   In order to publish a book with PPG, you must have access to a computer, email, and the Internet. You must also have a working knowledge of and access to Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat Reader (for viewing .PDF proofs of your books).
Writing your book   You can hire one of PPG’s experienced ghostwriters to write your story in collaboration with you… … or you can write it yourself. Either way, whether you write your story or have someone write it for you, it must be completed in Microsoft Word. Click here for details on how to properly format all your book files.
Protecting your copyright   It is up to you to protect your own copyright before you send your book to any publisher/printer. Please click here for straightforward instructions on how to do so.
Choosing your book publishing package   Review the list of PPG Self-Publishing Services and choose the publishing package and/or À la carte services that are best for you. From there, visit our Online Store to make your purchase and begin the publishing process.
ISBN numbers/barcodes and legal deposits You only need an ISBN number/barcode if you plan to sell copies of your book. PPG will apply for all ISBN numbers and obtain barcodes on your behalf. You will be indicated as both the author and the publisher on the ISBN application so the book is linked to the true copyright owner rather than PPG. As the publisher/copyright owner of the book, it is up to you to submit one or two hard copies of it to Legal Deposit at Library and Archives Canada (LAC) upon publication.
Filling out/managing Vendor Agreements, Publishing Agreements, and Production Questionnaires     PPG will manage all Vendor Agreements with work-for-hire vendors (such as graphic designers, editors, ghostwriters, copywriters, indexers, etc.) on your behalf. Our agreements are designed to ensure: you receive the high quality service you are paying for in a timely fashion; and you maintain creative control and copyright ownership of the book/artwork that is being designed for you. It is up to you to read the PPG Publishing Agreement & Production Questionnaire in full so you understand the partnership you are entering into with PPG and our work-for-hire vendors.
Submitting Your Manuscript     Your manuscript must be written in Word.doc format and submitted to PPG via email. Please click here for more specific details.
Editing PPG will arrange for one of our qualified editors to copy edit your raw manuscript before it is sent to a designer for typesetting. You will have the opportunity to view the edited version and give final approval before it moves onto the design stage.  
Fact checking and indexing Non-fiction readers expect to find an index in the back of your book. They also expect your information to be completely accurate. You can hire fact checkers and indexers through PPG to help you with this.
Interior design PPG will arrange for a qualified graphic designer to typeset your book’s interior based on the input we receive from you on the above-mentioned Production Questionnaire. (We begin by designing your book’s interior because the spine size of your cover is determined by the final page count of your book.) In addition to answering all the questions on the above-mentioned Production Questionnaire, you are required to send your interior files to us in the manner indicated on our File Prep and File Transfer webpages.
Cover design PPG will arrange for a qualified graphic designer to create your book cover based on input we receive from you on the above-mentioned Production Questionnaire. In addition to answering all the questions on the above-mentioned Production Questionnaire, you are required to send us any related graphics/files in the manner indicated on our File Prep and File Transfer webpages.
Copyright page     PPG will insert a pre-designed copyright page into your manuscript before it is typeset. (All we ask of you is that you leave a blank page in the front matter of your manuscript to accommodate that copyright page.) It is up to you to proofread this copyright page to ensure the ISBN number(s) and all other information is correct.
Proofreading Once your book has been written, edited, and designed, a professional proofreader will review it one last time to ensure each of the book’s components fit together properly. All editors, designers, and proofreaders will do their part to help you polish and perfect your book along the way, but you are ultimately responsible to ensure it is completely correct before signing off on the final proof. It is recommended (and wise) for you to read everything over one more time before signing your final proof approval—not only your recent corrections, but everything—even after the professional proofread has been completed.
Printing hard copies of your published book  It is only possible to order hard copies of your book(s) through PPG if you are subscribed to receive our POD distribution service. Hard copies of your book(s) will only be printed if ordered through the PPG online store. If you would like to receive hard copies of your published book, it is up to you to purchase them either through PPG (at your special author discount) or from the printer of your choice. We do not include hard copies in our publishing packages as that would drive the price up unnecessarily. It is best for you, in the long run, to obtain quotes from various printers and go with the best price you receive. (We can recommend a few great printers to help you out with this.)
Complimentary & Promotional copies      It is customary for the publisher (in this case the “self-publisher”) to send out one complimentary copy of their book to each vendor who helped them publish it (i.e. the copy editor, designer, indexer, proofreader, photographer, illustrator, etc.) as a special thank you. It is also common for publishers to send promotional copies to other individuals/organizations who agree to promote the book on their behalf (i.e. publicists).
Review copies   It is up to you to research the book reviewers in your area and send them each a complimentary copy of your book. (This is not mandatory. It’s just a suggestion you may want to consider.)
Library copies   As a self-publisher, it is up to you to produce and submit a flyer or small catalogue of your book(s) to all the libraries you wish to appear in. The only way libraries learn about new titles is through the flyers/catalogues they receive from publishers.
Distribution Your book(s) will be available for sale through LSI’s online distribution channels and our very own online bookstore for as long as you are subscribed to receive our POD online distribution service. As an added bonus, we’ll also submit your book files to Google Books at no extra cost to you! Click here to see examples of how your book could appear on Google Books, Amazon.com, and the PPG Online Bookstore! You are responsible for the distribution of any additional copies of your book that you purchase on your own.
Royalties You will be paid royalties on all of your PPG books that are sold through the PPG online bookstore and/or through PPG’s online POD distribution channels (as detailed in the PPG Publishing Agreement). You won’t receive royalties for any copies of your book that you purchase at an author discount through PPG for resale by yourself, nor will you receive royalties for any other copies of your book that you have printed elsewhere for resale by yourself.
Sales and Marketing PPG will continually strive to drive more and more traffic to our website, online bookstore, forum, and blog; and we will also include a brief write-up about your book in the “Coming Soon to PPG!” category of this blog. It is up to you to manage all other sales and marketing of your book, but we’ll do our best to provide all kinds of ideas to help point you in the right direction.

 

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PPG is a professional book publisher dedicated to serving serious-minded authors around the world. Visit our group of websites today:

PPG Book Publishing Website: http://www.polishedpublishinggroup.com/
PPG Publisher’s Blog: http://blog.polishedpublishinggroup.com/

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 © 2009 to [current year] Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.