PPG Publisher’s Blog will be Transitioning

Over the next few months, the PPG Publisher’s Blog will be transitioning from our long-time URL https://blog.polishedpublishinggroup.com/ to our main website https://polishedpublishinggroup.com/blog/. There, you’ll find many new and exciting updates to our business. Times are changing, and we’re changing with them so we can serve you better.

PPG Publisher’s Blog will be Transitioning

In addition to our regular publishing services, PPG now offers a wide variety of online courses on writing, marketing, audio production, et cetera, for aspiring authors. Watch for our new podcast interviews with successful authors in addition to more new online courses and books.

At PPG, we take it further than most publishers do by teaching authors how to write a bookhow to publish a book, and how to sell a book effectively. Our professional project management services are still available to those of you who want help managing all aspects of your book projects. But, through the years, we’ve learned what most authors truly want from your books: discoverability. And we strive to help you achieve exactly that through the PPG Publisher’s Blog, our educational books, and our online courses.

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Blogging Progress Report May 01 2019

For Blogging Progress Report May 01 2019, I’ll show you the difference in ranking between two different Amazon Author Pages. One is an author profile that is continually worked. The other is an author page that hasn’t seen any new activity for quite a long time.

Kim Staflund Blogging Progress Report May 01 2019

Kim Staflund Blogging Progress Report May 01 2019

First, take a look at my non-fiction Kim Staflund ranking above. You’ll notice that my “Business & Money” Kindle ranking sat at a stagnant 60,000 ranking for a long time until I started publishing regularly in 2017. Now? It goes up and down. But the level it falls to is less and less each month. It’s only a matter of time before I break the top 100 list in that category. I just have to keep publishing to it, every four to six weeks, to get there.

Kim S. Progress Report May 01 2019

Kim S. Progress Report May 01 2019

Now look at my fiction Kim S. ranking just above. This is what happens when you have very little activity and don’t publish books or RSS feeds from your blog to your Author Central Page very often. Your ranking just continues to fall bit by bit every month. I believe that recent spike in June was due to me adding a new title to my Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) admin page that month. But I haven’t actually published the book yet. I plan to finish writing it and publish it this autumn. (I’m much more focused on my non-fiction books for now.)

Blogging Progress Report May 01 2019

These two Author Central profiles visually illustrate the whole reason why you want to be publishing regularly—both new books and blog entries. The more activity, the higher your ranking grows each month. Once you have a consistently high author ranking like Timothy Ellis‘s, that’s when you’ll start to sell 3,000+ books per month in your category:

Timothy Ellis ranks (paid store), as at writing time:
1853 in the Amazon Book store.
1023 in the Kindle store.
180 in Science Fiction and Fantasy.
79 in Science Fiction.

Why? Because the higher your ranking, the more visibility your book(s) will have in front of a larger number of Amazon readers. You’ll never quite know which book will be the tipping point for you. That’s what Timothy Ellis and other authors like him all say.

Bonus tip: The authors who release a new novel of a decent size every 4 weeks, never lose their momentum, and these authors make a decent income. It only takes 1 book to get the ball rolling, but you will never know which book it is until it happens. Once it does, a whole heap of things kick in to boost you up, and as long as you keep releasing, you can stay there and make a living from writing. (Timothy Ellis)

So, just keep writing. Just keep publishing. That’s the simple key to success online.

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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 © 2019 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.



Will you read and critique my manuscript for me?

I get asked this question a lot: Will you read and critique my manuscript for me? Possibly. But not for free. Because this is an editing service—a paid service—that must be completed by a professional editor.

Will you read and critique my manuscript for me?

Will you read and critique my manuscript for me?

I find that many people request this even after they’ve already had two or three friends or colleagues read and critique a manuscript for them. Those people gave it a rave review, and now they’re looking for … what? Another rave review? Or maybe a criticism—a way out?

I always ask these people, “And what will happen if I like the book? Or what if I don’t like it? Then what? Will you bring it to someone else to read and critique? Or will you finally stop procrastinating, finish writing it, have it edited and designed, and publish it once and for all?”

Will you read and critique my manuscript for me?

The only critics who truly matter are your readers—your customers. And the only way you’ll learn what they like and don’t like is to publish it and read their reviews. You’ll grow and learn from there if you keep yourself open to growing and learning.

Every author experiences criticism along the way. It’s okay. I get five-star and three-star reviews, and even the occasional one-star review on my books online. After several years of doing this, I’ve grown a thicker skin and have learned that I have to love me and my books first—I have to support my vision first—and other people’s approval (whether it comes or not) is extra; it doesn’t make or break me anymore. Now, when someone gives me one star with an unflattering review attached to it, I simply thank them for taking the time to read and comment on my book; then I recommend another book that they may enjoy better. End of story. Move on. You’ll learn to do the same over time.

“Some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all—in which case, you fail by default.”
~J. K. Rowling, 2008 Harvard Commencement Speech

In other words, you fail by default if you never publish your book. But you have a strong chance of success if you go through with it—publish it and then sell it by following these steps.

Discuss Your Book Project Over Coffee

PPG offers Calgary and area writers an in-person book project consultation with a book publisher and fellow author. This one-hour coffee meeting is appropriate for those who have been working on their manuscripts for a while, have at least 30 pages written, are wondering if their projects are viable, and are seeking advice regarding the various publishing options that are available to them. Click here to book your meeting.

Discuss Your Book Project Over Coffee | Have Your Manuscript Reviewed

In addition to the above service, PPG also offers manuscript reviews by professional editors. The writer is encouraged to bring a USB memory stick or flash drive to the coffee meeting. That drive should contain up to the first 30 pages (double-spaced, using Times New Roman 12-point font, roughly 5,000 words in total) of his or her manuscript for review by one of PPG’s copy editors. The copy editor will offer basic advice and guidance on writing style, spelling, grammar, and punctuation to complement the publishing/business advice given at the one-hour in-person consultation. Click here to book your meeting.

Related reading:
Don’t Call Procrastination Laziness. Call it Fear. (PART ONE)
Don’t Call Procrastination Laziness. Call it Fear. (PART TWO)

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Why You Need a Graphic Designer Who Understands Printing

In this post, I want to discuss why you need a graphic designer who understands printing. This is especially true if you wish to print business cards, book marks, and other marketing materials.

Why You Need a Graphic Designer Who Understands Printing

Why You Need a Graphic Designer Who Understands Printing

In past posts, I mentioned the different printing processes and what each one is used for. I also discuss that today’s digital printers can only handle certain paper sizes and weights.

Now I want to take this a step further to discuss specialty “soft touch” papers and soft touch finishes. These are popular choices for those who want to emulate elegance and sophistication. But they have their limitations.

Why You Need a Graphic Designer Who Understands Printing

Graphic designers are truly creative people who can take your author business to the next level. They can design stunning business cards, book marks, trade show banners, et cetera, to complement your books. Many of them are recommending soft touch to their clients nowadays. Feel a soft touch business card or presentation folder just once, and you’ll understand why.

But before you hire a graphic designer to help you produce any speciality marketing materials, ask if he or she has a printing background. If not, ask that designer to vet his or her recommendations through a local printer before presenting them to you. It will save you a lot of time having your print jobs quoted and requoted several times over.

Some of these specialty papers/finishes cannot be run through digital printers. They’ll either get jammed or they’ll melt. They can only be printed on an offset press, which means you’ll have to produce large quantities of them. As discussed in an earlier post, offset presses cannot be used for short runs. This is because the set-up cost is far too high to print only a few copies at a reasonable price.

Related reading: Why Do Authors Need Graphic Designers?

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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 © 2019 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.



Self-Editing Tools for Independent Authors

Self-editing will never completely replace the value of a professional human editor for your books. But these self-editing tools can help you clean up your blog.

self-editing

self-editing (Image by Anne Karakash from Pixabay.)

l recently came across an article written by Amanda Shofner, and further edited by the TWL Team, on The Write Life website. I take the advice regarding these editing tools seriously because of who is giving this advice:

During self-edits on my latest manuscript, I experimented with six editing tools, both free and paid, to determine which could be most beneficial to The Write Life’s audience. Besides being an author, I’m an editor, so I also weighed each tool against what I’d look for when editing.

…An automatic editing tool doesn’t replace a human editor. Because language rules and elements of a good story can be so flexible, human eyes will always be superior to the rigidity of automatic tools. (The Write Life, February 2019)

According to Amanda and the TWL team, each self-editing tool has its strengths and its weaknesses. None can be used for everything.

Self-Editing Tools for Spelling and Grammar

Not surprisingly, Grammarly is first on the list of self-editing tools. We’ve all been inundated with Grammarly advertising lately, so it’s a popular brand. You can download and start using a free version of this tool to help with self-editing your blog entries. Unfortunately, you can expect to be continually bombarded with even more ads if you do so. They won’t stop until you upgrade to a paid version. At the end of the day, The Write Life team recommends Grammarly for basic grammar and spell checking. I personally think you can get this same value from Microsoft Word … and without all the advertising interruptions.

The next recommended tool is called ProWritingAid. This also has a free version available (for a limited time) so you can try it out before buying it. It takes things a step further by helping you catch over-used words and repeated phrases.

After the Deadline is next in line. This grammar tool is completely free of charge, so it’s perfect for bloggers on a budget. That said, the team at TWL cautions “you get what you pay for” here. They recommend Grammarly above it.

Self-Editing Tools for Analyzing Readability

The Write Life team recommends AutoCrit as a great tool for fiction writers. They also speak highly about this paid tool’s ability to analyze and correct one’s common writing issues. More sophisticated than any of the earlier-mentioned tools, it can help in the developmental editing stage of a manuscript.

Next up is the Hemingway App. This free online app needs to be used in conjunction with other grammar and spell checking apps. Why? Because it doesn’t check those things. It appears to be similar to the Yoast: SEO for Everyone plug-in I recommended earlier in that it analyzes your writing to improve its readability.

Last, but not least, there’s WordRake. This one is a fairly pricey add-in for Microsoft Word or Outlook, and with good reason. You get what you pay for in life. And here’s what these editors have to say about this tool: “WordRake is a great tool for the copyediting stage. Verbose writers, authors wanting to cut down on editing costs or editors looking to speed up their editing process will most benefit from WordRake.” It sure sounds worth the investment!

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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 © 2019 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.



What is the difference between offset printing and digital printing?

What is the difference between offset printing and digital printing?

What is the difference between offset printing and digital printing?

It used to be that, whenever a book was published, there was automatically a large quantity of 1,000 or more copies printed. All these books were then stored away in large warehouses by the publisher and/or its distributor(s). Long run printing was done because there was only one type of printer available to publishers back then: offset. An offset printing press is “old-school printing” in that it uses liquid ink, is the most cost-effective option for higher print quantities, and offers better colour control than today’s digital printers do. The downside is that offset presses cannot be used for short runs. This is because the set-up cost is far too high to print only a few copies at a reasonable price.

What is the difference between offset printing and digital printing?

Today’s publishers (and self-publishers) have more choices available to them. If you want to print 1,000+ books straightaway and pay the lowest possible cost per unit, you can still use offset printing. Alternatively, you can choose to print smaller quantities of books using two different digital printing solutions: print-on-demand (POD) and short run printing.

A digital printer is what every business has in its office. These printers use dry toner rather than liquid ink and can run smaller quantities at a cost-effective price. The turnaround time for digital printing tends to be faster than offset. This is not only because of the smaller quantities but also the quicker set-up time for each job.

The difference between the digital printer at your office and one you’ll find at a professional print shop is that the latter offers “bigger, stronger, faster” technology. Also, it is run by trained operators who know exactly which settings to use for each individual print job.

What is print-on-demand (POD) printing?

Ecommerce retailers, such as Amazon, utilize POD and short run digital technologies to sell physical books online. In other words, they won’t print and store any physical copies of your paperback book in a large warehouse anywhere. Instead, they’ll store only the digital cover and interior files that you’ve uploaded to their site. And they will print, bind, and ship only as many copies as someone buys from them at any given time. This saves you from having to print any upfront copies whatsoever. If someone buys ten copies of your book, ten copies will be printed, bound, and shipped to that buyer. If another person buys only one, then Amazon will print, bind, and ship only one—hence the term “print-on-demand.”

Related reading:
Is Book Printing a Good Idea for Indie Authors?
Book Binding: What Are Your Options?

Book Trim Sizes: What Are Your Options?

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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 © 2019 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.



How to Publish Books for Children

Publishing books for children is similar to publishing adult fiction, non-fiction, and poetry books. There are a series of steps to follow no matter what type of book you’re working with.

Books for Children | Children's Books

Books for Children | Children’s Books

Books for Children: Breaking Down the Elements

Children’s books will have many of the same interior elements and as other books have (e.g., front matter, main body, and back matter). The elements of a children’s book cover are also much the same as adult book covers. So, it’s important to familiarize yourself with each before designing your book for publication. Here are a few other things to consider:

  • If you want to sell a book—any book—it must have an ISBN. “ISBN” stands for “International Standard Book Number.” An ISBN is a unique 13-digit identifier for each edition of your book.
  • Many children’s book authors prefer to create a hardcover version of their book rather than an ebook or paperback. This is fine. But, if you wish to have this book sold online (e.g., Amazon), then you need to understand some of the limitations of print-on-demand (POD) hardcover books.
  • Most children’s book authors envision their book covers and interiors to be rich with illustrations or colourful pictures. If you are unable to create these images yourself, you’ll need to get them from someone else. Here’s where you can obtain illustrations and graphics for your children’s book.

To produce a truly professional result, I recommend hiring a graphic designer to help you. These professionals will be able to aid you with all aspects of your book project from the book’s layout to choosing colours that will print well on both digital and offset presses. This way, you’ll be able to sell your book both online and in traditional places.

Related reading: Why You Need a Graphic Designer Who Understands Printing

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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 © 2019 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.



Print-on-Demand (POD) Limitations [Endsheets Endpapers Endleaves]

Some clients come to PPG wanting us to help them design and publish hardcover books they can also sell online. This is possible. But there are limitations with print-on-demand (POD) books, particularly when it comes to endsheets endpapers endleaves. This feature can only be produced using a traditional offset printing press and manual binding process. In this post, I’ll touch on why this is the case. 

Digital Book Printing Limitations [Endsheets Endpapers Endleaves]: taken from https://www.bookmobile.com/book-production/hardcover-book-printing-know-how-printed-endsheets-and-endpapers/

Digital Book Printing Limitations [Endsheets Endpapers Endleaves]: taken from https://www.bookmobile.com/book-production/hardcover-book-printing-know-how-printed-endsheets-and-endpapers/

As shown above, one side of each folded piece of paper is glued to the insides of the front and back covers. This is what creates endsheets. It is a careful manual binding process that must be completed by a person. As such, it can’t be done by a POD printer. Digital POD printers are designed to mechanically print and bind individual books quickly.

POD Limitations [Endsheets Endpapers Endleaves]

Here’s another POD limitation. As I discussed in a past post regarding book trim sizes, digital printers can only handle certain paper sizes and weights. Because of that, you’re limited to certain book trim sizes, binding types, and paper stocks/colours if you wish to sell POD books online (which most of us do nowadays). Digital printers simply cannot handle the thicker paper stock that is used to create printed endsheets as illustrated below.

A Possible Solution to Have it Both Ways

When it comes to your book binding options, it is possible to produce a POD case-wrapped hardcover. But you cannot print anything on the inside of POD book covers. Nor can you insert endsheets with a different (thicker) paper stock than the book’s interior pages.

If you wish to have a traditional case-wrapped hardcover book created with printed endsheets inside, you can have this. A traditional printer in your area can print it for you. You just won’t be able to sell it online. You’ll have to sell those books direct. That said, you can also hire one of our graphic designers to produce a second POD version of your book that can be sold online. It will be almost identical to the traditionally-printed book; but the interior paper will be thinner, and there will be no endsheet included. It’s up to you.

Related reading: 3 Book Printing Tips for Indie Authors: Consider This Before Printing Any 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 © 2019 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.



Blogging Progress Report Mar 31 2019

For Blogging Progress Report Mar 31 2019, I’m going to focus on this blog’s stats for the past month. I didn’t post much in March because I was busy setting up my new Mailchimp email campaign. I was busy writing and publishing The Author’s Gold Rush. I’ve also been researching a bit more about WordPress to better understand their reporting capabilities and what each “user role” really means. (And, yes, I also got slightly addicted to Dr. Pimple Popper videos for a while. I’m now a recovering popaholic.)

Blogging Progress Report Mar 31 2019 - PPG Publisher's Blog Traffic

Blogging Progress Report Mar 31 2019 – PPG Publisher’s Blog Traffic

I only published five posts in all of March (before this one). Shame on me. My goal is to publish three per week. Luckily, of the 159 unique visitors who viewed my site, they still average more than three clicks each. So, that’s good for my blog site’s click-through rate. A good click-through rate always helps with SEO.

532 views and 159 visitors to PPG Publisher's Blog in March 2019

532 views and 159 visitors to PPG Publisher’s Blog in March 2019

Blogging Progress Report Mar 31 2019: Subscribers, Team Members, Followers, Email Followers

I’m still trying to get my head around what the difference is between WordPress “subscribers/team members” versus “followers” and “email followers.” My subscriber/team base continues to rapidly grow as shown in the next two visuals.

WordPress stats say I have 15,107 team members

WordPress stats say I have 15,107 “team members”

GoDaddy-managed WordPress stats say I have 15,107 subscribers

GoDaddy-managed WordPress stats say I have 15,107 “subscribers”

That’s an increase of 1,077 new “subscribers/team members” over last month. I have email addresses for all these users, but they don’t actually receive any sort of notification of my new blog posts.

In terms of actual “followers” and “email followers,” I’ve also seen a slight increase this past month as shown in the next two visuals.

Followers of PPG Publisher's Blog: 14 people

Followers of PPG Publisher’s Blog: 14 people

Email followers of PPG Publisher's Blog: 1 person

Email followers of PPG Publisher’s Blog: 1 person

So, I’m up from 13 to 15 official followers this past month. Micro wins, indeed. I’d like to see some macro wins soon, which is why I’ll be much more focused on email marketing in the coming months. I plan to send out a mass invite to all my “team members” to invite them to become email followers. I’ll offer them a free copy of The Author’s Money Tree to join.

What Do All These Different WordPress Roles Mean?

I’m unable to find anything online that tells me what a WordPress “team member” is other than this blog post:

Site Followers

To view your followers, select My Sites → People. You’ll see the following tabs on the next screen:

    • Team: People currently added to your site with a user role, such as Administrators, Editors, and Contributors.
    • Followers: A list of people currently following your site.
    • Email Followers: A list of people who are subscribed to your blog via email only. They may or may not have a WordPress.com account.
    • Invites: A list of outgoing invitations to people for following your site, or invites to add them with a specific user role.

Nowhere on the above WordPress blog page, nor on the accompanying “user role” link, does it reference the “subscriber role” that GoDaddy mentions on its admin page. So, where these users are coming from, I don’t know. Why are there so many new ones each month? I don’t know. GoDaddy is unable to answer that question for me anymore than WordPress is. So, I’m just going to assume I’m an SEO wizard then, and all these people are finding me through my books and the search engines. Until someone tells me differently, that must be the case.

Okay, next month? More blog posts. Better stats. More email subscribers. That’s the goal.

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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 © 2019 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.



Confession: I’m Addicted to Dr. Pimple Popper Videos!

I haven’t been blogging much this month. Shame on me. When I try to come up with decent excuses “why” for next month’s blogging progress report, I cringe. The truth is, I’m addicted to Dr. Pimple Popper videos! There is something strangely satisying about watching Dr. Sandra Lee squeeze cysts and blackheads out of her patients’ bodies!

Dr. Pimple Popper

Dr. Pimple Popper

I don’t even know how this all started. Somehow, I did some type of search on YouTube that brought up a Dr. Sandra Lee (a.k.a. Dr. Pimple Popper) video in my search results. I clicked on that video and watched it. Now, I find myself using these videos to wind down after a long day’s work. I’ll watch several like a crazed addict before going to bed at night. How silly is that?

Dr. Pimple Popper Videos Appeal to Many People

But I’m not alone in my addiction, so I’ve learned. My understanding is that her whole YouTube channel started after she posted one video of her squeezing a cyst. The video went viral because many people were fascinated with it. Now, she’s posted dozens more videos. And I can’t seem to get enough of these things.

So, I blame Dr. Pimple Popper for my lack of blogging this past month. But I also blame me, obviously. If I want to continue growing my blog subscribers, I’m going to have to limit myself to only one or two of these videos per night. Not 12!

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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 © 2019 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.