Finding the Best Way to Write

Finding the Best Way to Write

Finding the Best Way to Write with Michael LaRocca

I read voraciously, a habit I recommend to any author who doesn’t already have it. You’ll subconsciously pick up on what does and doesn’t work. Characterization, dialogue, pacing, plot, story, setting, description, etc. But more importantly, someone who doesn’t enjoy reading will never write something that someone else will enjoy reading.

I don’t write ‘for the market.’ I know I can’t, so I just write for me and then try to find readers who like what I like. I’m not trying to whip up the next bestseller and get rich. Not that I’d complain. Nope, I have to write what’s in my heart, then go find a market later. It makes marketing a challenge at times, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

When you write, be a dreamer. Go nuts. Know that you’re writing pure gold. That fire is why we write.

An author who I truly admire, Kurt Vonnegut, sweats out each individual sentence. He writes it, rewrites it, and doesn’t leave it alone until it’s perfect. Then when he’s done, he’s done.

I doubt most of write like that. I don’t. I let it fly as fast as my fingers can move across the paper or keyboard, rushing to capture my ideas before they get away. Later, I change and shuffle and slice.

James Michener claims that he writes the last sentence first, then has his goal before him as he writes his way to it.

Then there’s me. No outline whatsoever. I create characters and conflict, spending days and weeks on that task, until the first chapter really leaves me wondering ‘How will this end?’ Then my characters take over, and I’m as surprised as the reader when I finish my story.

Some authors set aside a certain number of hours every day for writing, or a certain number of words. In short, a writing schedule.

Then there’s me. No writing for three or six months, then a flurry of activity where I forget to eat, sleep, bathe, change the cat’s litter… I’m a walking stereotype. To assuage the guilt, I tell myself that my unconscious is hard at work. As Hemingway would say, long periods of thinking and short periods of writing.

I’ve shown you the extremes in writing styles. I think most authors fall in the middle somewhere. But my point is, find out what works for you. You can read about how other writers do it, and if that works for you, great. But in the end, find your own way. That’s what writers do.

Just don’t do it halfway.

If you’re doing what I do, writing a story that entertains and moves you, then you will find readers who share your tastes. For some of us that means a niche market and for others it means regular appearances on the bestseller list.

Writing is a calling, but publishing is a business. Remember that AFTER you’ve written your manuscript. Not during.

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I’ve been paid to edit since 1991 and still love it, which has made people question my sanity, but they were doing that before I started editing. I got serious about my writing in 1978. Although I’ve retired more times than Brett Favre, I’m revising my 19th book. Learn more about me at MichaelEdits.com.

© Michael LaRocca 2019



Book Binding: What Are Your Options?

When it comes to your book binding options, you have a few choices: paperbacks, case-wrapped hardcovers (cloth or laminate), or dust-jacketed hardcovers. The below pictures illustrate the differences between them.

Book Binding Option #1: Paperback (Perfect Bound)

paperback

paperback book binding

Last year, PPG had the privilege of publishing the above paperback for a Canadian CFL Champion: Smoke and Mirrors: Life in the CFL with Richie Hall. It’s hard to tell in the picture, but this book has a standard 6″ x 9″ trim size.

Here’s an interesting video that shows you the difference between a perfect bound book and a saddle-stitched book: https://vimeo.com/61195060. Generally, the only time an author would choose saddle-stitching over perfect binding would be if your page count is too low to be able to glue the edge (e.g., from only four to 48 pages). In that case, printers fold the sheets in half and staple them in the centre, instead.

Book Binding Option #2: Case-wrapped Hardcover (Laminate)

case-wrapped laminate hardcover

case-wrapped laminate hardcover book blinding

Above is the best picture I could find of this children’s book PPG published for Denise Geremia back in 2013 titled The Pouty Puppy. Oftentimes, you’ll find children’s books are published as case-wrapped laminate hardcovers like this one. Because it’s more durable and easier to handle for children. Like Richie Hall’s book above, but this book has a standard 6″ x 9″ trim size.

Book Binding Option #3: Dust-jacketed Hardcover (Cloth)

case-wrapped cloth hardcover with dust jacket and paperback

case-wrapped cloth hardcover with dust jacket and paperback book bindings

PPG published the above centennial celebration book back in 2012: 100 Years of Memories: Celebrating Strathmore’s Centennial. As you can see, we did two different versions for this client: a case-wrapped cloth hardcover with a dust jacket; and a paperback. The paperback version was sold online. They are selling the case-wrapped cloth hardcover as a limited-edition book directly from their town hall. (Typically, if you want a dust-jacket around your book, the book itself will be a cloth hardcover as shown above.) Both versions of this book have a special 8.5″ x 8.5″ trim size.

Related reading: 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.



James Patterson Shakes The Author’s Money Tree

James Patterson

James Patterson

Independent authors aren’t the only ones shaking The Author’s Money Tree in new ways. Even mainstream thriller author, James Patterson, has jumped on this band wagon with his BookShots line.

James Patterson Shakes The Author’s Money Tree With BookShots

His reason for publishing books this way may be a bit different than the rest of us. After all, he doesn’t need the money. But no matter who you are, the results are still the same.

…Mr. Patterson is after an even bigger audience. He wants to sell books to people who have abandoned reading for television, video games, movies and social media.

So how do you sell books to somebody who doesn’t normally read?

Mr. Patterson’s plan: make them shorter, cheaper, more plot-driven and more widely available.

…He aims to release two to four books a month through Little, Brown, his publisher. All of the titles will be shorter than 150 pages, the length of a novella. (Alexandra Alter, The New York Times)

This is one of the greatest keys to success as an author in this day and age: prolific publishing. The single best way to sell books (and build a blog) is to utilize the power of search engines. Ping their algorithms by feeding them new content on a consistent basis. Do this, and they’ll reward you by feeding you more traffic. It works the same for Amazon’s internal search engine as it does for Google.

Related reading: BookShots: The Hachette vs. Amazon Truce?

Related reading: Organic Web Weaving: Modern Book Publishing, Sales and Marketing

Related reading: Sell Non-Fiction Books Using AI

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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 a Book for Free

How to Publish a Book for Free 01

How to Publish a Book for Free 01

If you’re reading this page, it’s because you’re wondering how to publish a book for free. There are two valid options for you to choose from. One of them is completely free while the other is almost completely free—your only necessary cost being copy editing.

In 2014, I released How to Publish a Bestselling Book … and Sell it WORLDWIDE Based on Value, Not Price!. It compared the pros and cons of traditional (trade) publishing, self-publishing, and supported self-publishing. If you click on the title link above, you can “sneak a peek” inside the book to read those comparisons for free.

The information is still valid when it comes to paperbacks and hardcovers. To properly produce these types of books, you’ll require an experienced team of professionals: editor, graphic designer, proofreader, and indexer. A reputable book distributor, such as Ingram Content Group, will also be necessary to get your book into the “brick and mortar” bookstores. Alas, all these professional services cost money. So, the only way to publish “traditional bookstore books” in a way that will be free to you is through traditional (trade) publishing methods.

How to Publish a Book for Free … Almost

How to Publish a Book for Free 02

How to Publish a Book for Free 02

There is another way to publish a book almost completely free of charge. If you’re fine with self-publishing ebooks and selling them online exclusively, then you’re in luck. In fact, many of today’s independent (“indie”) authors are enjoying massive success with ebooks. Some of them are being signed by trade publishers due to their self-publishing success, while others are choosing to remain indie.

So long as you have your ebook copy edited by an experienced editor, you can produce a decent result on your own. For starters, ebook covers are less involved than physical book covers. You don’t have to worry about the back cover or spine—only the front cover. There are many free templates available online to help you create an attractive front cover. There are also free tools out there to help you convert your Microsoft Word manuscript into ebook format for publishing on Amazon and/or Kobo. The capabilities of both these ecommerce sites have come a long way since I wrote my other book in 2014. I publish ebooks to both of them regularly now.

How Are Today’s Indie Authors Succeeding Online?

If you’re like most writers, you don’t want to have to sell your books after you write them. You just want to move onto writing the next book. Am I right? Well, here’s some great news for you: writing is selling in the online world. The best way to sell books today is to utilize the power of search engines. Feed them new content on a consistent basis, and they’ll feed you more traffic.

This is what today’s indie authors are doing to succeed online: How to Build a Loyal Readership So Your Self-Published Books Get Picked Up by Literary Agents and Trade Publishers. The step-by-step instructions are all here including hyperlinks to all the free tools you’ll need for each step. There is also helpful advice contained within on how and where to find an affordable copy editor.

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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.



The Author’s Money Tree: How to Grow a Bountiful Readership Organically

It takes three full seasons to reap the true rewards of The Author’s Money Tree: planting, growing, and harvesting. And it’s well worth all the effort.

The Author's Money Tree

The Author’s Money Tree: AVAILABLE SOON through Amazon’s Kindle, Kobo, and E-Sentral!

The Author’s Money Tree Season #1: Planting

There are three effective ways to plant an abundance of seeds with your desired readership: productive blogging, prolific publishing, or (better yet) both. If you are strategic in the way you do these things, you’ll be amazed by how quickly your sprouts begin to show.

That’s the beauty of being a writer in this digital age of book publishing. Writing is selling in the online world. And keywords are the seeds you’re planting to feed all your hungry readers at harvest time.

The Author’s Money Tree Season #2: Growing

But those keywords will never be enough on their own. Each sprout needs to be fed and watered so it can grow, and this takes time and patience. Quality content is the fertilizer that breathes life into a sprout and helps it grow into a healthy sapling. Proper search engine optimization (SEO) is the mulch that prevents your sapling from being taken over by larger weeds.

You need a strong root system to grow a bountiful money tree that will bear fruit for you, year after year, and stand the test of time. This is crucial to your progressive success in future harvest seasons, and I’ll show you exactly how to do it.

The Author’s Money Tree Season #3: Harvesting

And now comes the fun part! Harvest time is when you reap the rewards of all your efforts.

In this section of the book, you’ll meet some authors who are earning six-figure incomes from their readerships in their own harvest seasons. You’ll learn some of the strategies they’re using to harvest the same crops, over and over again, while planting new seeds each year.

Do you want to grow an abundant readership? This is a totally sustainable system that you can use successfully for fiction, non-fiction, and even poetry. Truth!

Related reading: James Patterson Shakes The Author’s Money Tree

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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.



Book Trim Sizes: What Are Your Options?

book trim sizes

book trim sizes

When it comes to book trim sizes, there are a few standards: 5″ x 8″, 5.5″ x 8.5″, and 6″ x 9″. These measurements relate to the width and height of your front and back covers in inches, as shown on the illustration to the right. This book has a 5″ x 8″ trim size.

Browse any bookstore, and you’ll see there are all kinds of different shapes and sizes of books to be found. Some of these books use a thick, glossy paper for their interior pages. Others use a thinner uncoated stock. In the traditional (trade) publishing world of corporate publishers with big budgets, they can afford to print large quantites of books on offset printing presses. This enables them to use any paper stock they want to use for their book covers and interiors. And if they want a uniquely-shaped book that stands out from the rest, they can pay to have special die cuts created to achieve that result.

As I discuss inside 3 Book Printing Tips for Indie Authors, today’s publishers (self-publishers) have more choices than we had when I started my publishing career 25 years ago. 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.

The Pros and Cons of Print-on-Demand (POD) Printing

Online worldwide book distributors, such as Amazon and Ingram Content Group, 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/hardcover book in a large warehouse anywhere. Instead, they’ll store only the digital cover and interior files that you’ve uploaded to their sites; and they will print, bind, and ship only as many copies as someone buys from them at any given time, saving you from having to print any upfront copies whatsoever. If someone goes to their site to buy ten copies of your book, then ten copies will be printed, bound, and shipped to that buyer. If another person buys only one, then they will print, bind, and ship only one—hence the term “print on demand.” This is a definite pro, isn’t it?

Now here are the cons: digital printers can only handle certain trim sizes and paper weights. Because of that, you’re limited to the following book trim sizes, binding types, and paper stocks/colours if you wish to sell your books online (which most of us do nowadays). The below specs come from Ingram Content Group’s Lightning Source® division.

Book Trim Sizes for POD Books With B/W Interiors

Trim Size Inches Trim Size mm Binding Types Available Page Range Paper Stock Priced as
5 x 8 203 x 127 perfect (paperback) 18 – 1200 white small
perfect (paperback) 18 – 1050 crème small
5.06 x 7.81 198 x 129 perfect (paperback) 18 – 1200 white small
5.25 x 8 203 x 133 perfect (paperback) 18 – 1200 white small
perfect (paperback) 18 – 1050 crème small
5.5 x 8.5 216 x 140 perfect (paperback) 18 – 1200 white small
perfect (paperback) 18 – 1050 crème small
case laminate (hardcover) 18 – 1050 crème small
cloth – blue or grey 18 – 1050 crème small
jacketed 18 – 1050 crème small
5.83 x 8.27 210 x 148 perfect (paperback) 18 – 1200 white small
perfect (paperback) 18 – 1050 crème small
6 x 9 229 x 152 perfect (paperback) 18 – 1200 white small
perfect (paperback) 18 – 1050 crème small
case laminate (hardcover) 18 – 1050 crème small
cloth – blue or grey 18 – 1050 crème small
jacketed 18 – 1050 crème small
6.14 x 9.21 234 x 156 perfect (paperback) 18 – 1200 white small
case laminate (hardcover) 18 – 1200 white small
cloth – blue or grey 18 – 1200 white small
jacketed 18 – 1200 white small
6.69 x 9.61 244 x 170 perfect (paperback) 18 – 1200 white small
7.44 x 9.69 246 x 189 perfect (paperback) 18 – 1200 white small
7.50 x 9.25 235 x 191 perfect (paperback) 18 – 1200 white small
7 x 10 254 x 178 perfect (paperback) 18 – 1200 white large
case laminate (hardcover) 18 – 1200 white large
8 x 10 254 x 203 perfect (paperback) 18 – 1200 white large
8.25 x 11 280 x 210 perfect (paperback) 18 – 1200 white large
8.268 x 11.693 (A4) 297 x 210 perfect (paperback) 18 – 1200 white large
8.5 x 11
(A4)
280 x 216 perfect (paperback)
case laminate (hardcover)
18 – 1200
18 – 1200
white
white
large
large

Book Trim Sizes for POD Books With Colour Interiors

Trim Size Inches Trim Size mm Binding Types Available Page Range Paper Stock Priced as
5.5 x 8.5 216 x 140 saddle-stitch (paperback) 4 – 48 white small
perfect (paperback) 24 – 480 white small
case laminate (hardcover) 24 – 480 white small
cloth – blue or grey 24 – 480 white small
jacketed 24 – 480 white small
6 x 9 229 x 152 saddle-stitch (paperback) 4 – 48 white medium
perfect (paperback) 24 – 480 white medium
case laminate (hardcover) 24 – 480 white medium
cloth – blue or grey 24 – 480 white medium
jacketed 24 – 480 white medium
6.14 x 9.21 234 x 156 saddle-stitch (paperback) 4 – 48 white medium
perfect (paperback) 24 – 480 white medium
case laminate (hardcover) 24 – 480 white medium
cloth – blue or grey 24 – 480 white medium
jacketed 24 – 480 white medium
7 X 10 254 X 178 saddle-stitch (paperback) 4 – 48 white large
perfect (paperback) 24 – 480 white large
case laminate (hardcover) 24 – 480 white large
8 X 10 254 X 203 saddle-stitch (paperback) 4 – 48 white large
perfect (paperback) 24 – 480 white large
case laminate (hardcover) 24 – 480 white large
8.5 x 8.5 216 x 216 saddle-stitch (paperback) 4 – 48 white medium
perfect (paperback) 24 – 480 white medium
8.5 x 11 280 x 216 saddle-stitch (paperback) 4 – 48 white large
perfect (paperback) 24 – 480 white large
case laminate (hardcover) 24 – 480 white large

Related reading: The Elements of a Professional Book Cover 

Related reading: Is Book Printing a Good Idea for Indie Authors?

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.



Learning How To Write with Michael LaRocca

Michael LaRocca of MichaelEdits.com

Michael LaRocca of MichaelEdits.com

As a student of Spanish, my goal was to think in Spanish. Skip the word-by-word translation so I’d have the necessary speed to speak and listen. I know words in Spanish that I’d be hard pressed to translate. Usually profanity, I confess. Chingow!

For years my students here in China have studied grammar, and know it better than you or I. They read. They write. But speaking involves moving faster than that. In conversation, we don’t have time to write it first and make sure it’s all grammatically flawless, then read it aloud, perhaps after a bit of rehearsal.

So, I try to give them a chance to practice putting words together on the fly, rules be damned. The rules they’ve internalized will kick in and keep them comprehensible, which will build their confidence in their ability to keep creating conversation that way.

This is not unlike what we go through as authors. First we study rulebooks, perhaps take some classes, and conclude just about everything we’re is doing is wrong. So many rules to memorize. We might dread sitting down to write with all those constraints.

But really, it’s not about memorizing rules at all. It’s about internalizing the rules, following them (or not if you prefer) without being consciously aware of what they are. They’re there, but in the background.

The story’s what matters. You’re supposed to be having fun, not “working.” At least not during the creation phase.

We don’t always take the time to say, “I’ve written ten active sentences in a row so maybe I’ll whip in a passive one now” or “I need a beat for every X lines of dialogue.” I published four novels and edited dozens more before I learned what a beat was. (It’s a pause so the reader can catch his/her breath.)

And, of course, since it is writing and not speaking, we can always go back and revise later. Then rely on editors to catch what we missed, or at least make us wonder why we wrote it this way instead of that way.

Some authors aren’t even consciously aware of “the rules.” They’ve never taken a class, never read a book about writing. They’re simply avid readers who one day decided to write. But they’ve internalized the rules. It comes from reading.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If you want to write, you must read. If you don’t like reading, maybe writing isn’t for you. It’s not about writing because you want to say, “I am a writer.” It’s about writing because you enjoy writing.

And, it’s really nice when you’ve been writing for a long time to go back and read a book about how to write. You might find one or two things to tweak in your technique, as opposed to a daunting laundry list of flaws. It’s much easier to internalize one or two new rules than 50 or 100.

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I’ve been paid to edit since 1991 and still love it, which has made people question my sanity, but they were doing that before I started editing. I got serious about my writing in 1978. Although I’ve retired more times than Brett Favre, I’m writing my 19th book. Learn more about me at MichaelEdits.com.

© Michael LaRocca 2019

Audiobooks: Your Own Voice or Someone Else’s?

Audiobooks: Your own voice or someone else’s?

Audiobooks: Your own voice or someone else’s?

When in comes to audiobooks: your own voice or someone else’s? That’s the question. Many of today’s independent authors choose to convert their paperbacks/ebooks into audiobooks using free do-it-yourself tools like Audacity. But, for a more professional touch, you may want to hire a voice-over artist.

Audiobooks: Your Own Voice or Someone Else’s?

Audacity is a free tool you can use to convert your ebook to audio by recording yourself reading your book. According to a blog post titled “Should You Turn Your Book Into an Audiobook on Audible?” by Matt Stone, Audacity is a decent tool for do-it-yourselfers who want to produce an audiobook as cost effectively as possible:

It’s some trouble no doubt to do it yourself. But like anything else, once it’s done and behind you, it doesn’t seem like such a big deal. A decent audiobook can be created in about 40 hours (based on a 50,000 word book, much less for a shorter book), and really only requires a decent USB microphone (usually $50-100) and a free program called Audacity. That may not produce rock-your-socks-off audio quality, but it’s certainly enough to give your readers a positive listening experience, and enough to get you in the audiobook game. That is, of course, if you have a decent-sounding voice. (Stone, 2017)

Your alternative is to hire voice-over talent—which can be found from the long list of freelancers on Fiverr—to produce a professional, musically-scored audiobook for you. The site displays a long list of both male and female talent to choose from, at all different price points. And Fiverr has controls in place. They ensure you’re happy with the result before your funds are released to the freelancer as final payment.

The Choice is Yours

Whichever way you choose to convert your book to an audiobook is fine. It’s all up to you and your budget, of course. Once you’ve done it, you can upload the audio files to Audible, Amazon, and iTunes in one fell swoop via ACX, and begin selling your audiobook online. Or you can save the audio files on your own website or CD for direct distribution to your targeted clientele.

Sample audiobook with professional voice-over and music scoring:

Sample home-made audio using my iPhone recorder:

Related reading: [eLearning Industry] The Virtues Of eBooks And Audiobooks In eLearning

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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.



Why Do All Authors Need Editors and Proofreaders?

Why do all authors need editors and proofreaders? Because each of these professionals plays a different (and essential) role in polishing your book for publication.

Why do all authors need editors and proofreaders?

Why do all authors need editors and proofreaders?

Traditional Forms of Editing

Traditional literary publishers put each and every manuscript through a thorough and professional process of substantive/stylistic editing, copy editing, and then proofreading to ensure a polished and saleable result. There are several pairs of eyes on every raw manuscript and galley proof all the way through the process to ensure that 99 percent of every last error is caught and corrected before it goes to print.

Below is a brief description of what each of those editing processes looks like. Independent authors should have your manuscripts copy edited in the very least.

Copy Editing

A copy editor will thoroughly review your manuscript in Microsoft Word format and correct any issues with spelling, grammar, and punctuation throughout. He or she will also make helpful suggestions regarding word choice and sentence structure, using the “Western-based” English editorial style guide of your choice. The edited version will be returned to you for final approval before moving onto the next publishing stage.

Stylistic Editing

Sometimes, you want a little more than a copy edit. A stylistic edit will cover all the points of a copy edit, plus it will eliminate jargon and redundancies, clarify meaning, and ensure that the writing matches the intended audience. Stylistic edits are negotiated with you all along the way using the English editorial style guide of your choice. The edited version will be returned to you for final approval before moving onto the next publishing stage.

Substantive (Structural) Editing

Do you want the help of a professional editor to improve the overall structure of your manuscript? A substantive edit will cover all the points of a stylistic edit, plus it will clarify and reorganize your story for you. These changes are negotiated with you all along the way using the English editorial style guide of your choice. The edited version will be returned to you for final approval before moving onto the next publishing stage.

Professional Proofreading

Where an editor’s job is to review and improve an author’s raw manuscript, and the graphic designer’s job is to arrange that raw edited text into a professional and appealing layout, a professional proofreader provides yet another set of eyes to ensure all the components fit together properly and the book is ready for public viewing and printing. The proofreader’s job is to complete the following nine-point check for you:

Interior Check

• 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, widows, and orphans are eliminated.
• Text is kerned to flow smoothly throughout.
• Margins and trim size all measure properly.
• Spelling and punctuation is correct.

Cover Check

• Spacing, bleeds, and trim size all measure properly.
• Spelling and punctuation is correct.

As shown in the above list, a professional proofreader is someone who is knowledgeable/experienced with both basic language editing (spelling and punctuation) as well as the technical aspects of book design (kerning, bleeds, trim size, et cetera). If the proofreader finds any issues in the layout, he or she will indicate these. And the graphic designer will make those corrections with your approval.

Why Do All Authors Need Editors and Proofreaders?

In the traditional publishing sector, you will have very little to no say in the design and polishing of your book. Once they buy the rights to your manuscript from you, they own it. They have all the say in every aspect of the project.

That said, in both the independent and hybrid book publishing business models, you can accept and decline each change as you see fit. And I’m willing to bet you’ll accept 95% of these professionals’ changes—if not more. You’ll be amazed by what their eyes will find that you were unable to see after viewing your own book cover and interior several times over. I’m certain you’ll be grateful that you invested in this type of support.

Related reading: 3 Reasons Graphic Designers Should Never Edit 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.



Why Do Authors Need Graphic Designers?

Why do authors need graphic designers? Because it takes a true specialist to understand and follow each printer’s unique file creation guide.

Why do authors need graphic designers?

Why do authors need graphic designers?

What is a file creation guide?

For independent (“indie”) authors who wish to produce ebooks alone, things are pretty simple. You can write your book using Microsoft Word and create a simple but attractive book cover using Canva or Amazon.

It’s when you want to create a paperback or hardcover book that things get tricky, particularly if you want that book sold in traditional bookstores. In this case, you’ll need to use a company like IngramSpark® or Lightning Source® (both Ingram Content Group subsidiaries) as your printer/distributor. They each have specific requirements regarding how your cover and interior book files should be designed. These detailed instructions are listed in multi-page file creation guides. And, unless you’re familiar with how to use Adobe Creative Suite or similar programs, you probably won’t be able to understand or follow those instructions. But a professional graphic designer will.

Why do authors need graphic designers?

Perhaps the most important reason independent authors need graphic designers is for their knowledge of colours. Believe it or not, colours are much more complicated than you may realize. How something looks on your computer screen may look completely different in printed format. There are many different reasons why.

For starters, RGB (red, green, blue) colours are what you see on your computer screen. They are created using light. CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) colours, on the other hand, are created by mixing inks/toners together in varying percentages.

When you are creating an ebook only, it’s okay to use RGB colours in your design. But if you plan to print a paperback or hardcover version of your book, you should design it using CMYK colours. Otherwise, your printer may not be able to match the colours you’ve chosen since printers have a smaller colour gamut available than computer screens do.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the specialized knowledge graphic designers have to offer. You can (and should) provide a draft layout of your book’s cover and interior so your designer knows upfront what you’re looking for. But let him or her do the rest. It will be well worth it, I promise.

PPG’s Graphic Design Process

Once your manuscript is edited, it will be given to a professional graphic designer. He or she will work hard to complete a professional design of both your book cover and interior within the agreed-upon project timeline/deadline.

The design component of your PPG publishing package includes:

  • two sample cover designs and two sample interior designs for you to choose one each from (before any full proofs are completed and sent out)
  • one colour cover with either a b/w or colour interior (plus up to 10 interior graphics automatically included in each graphic design package)
  • a half hour phone consultation with the graphic designer (if needed)
  • two proofing rounds (two .PDF proofs of each component) with up to five structural changes to the cover and up to 50 typographical changes to the interior allowed per round
  • one hard proof (physical book) for final proofreading

If you need more than the standard two .PDF proofing rounds and one hard proof, you can purchase these items separately. Keep in mind that doing so will extend your book publishing timeline and also increase your costs.

While you wait to see your first design samples, I recommend you click on these two links to read more about book cover and interior design: The Elements of a Professional Book Cover and The Elements of a Professional Book Interior.

Related reading: 3 Reasons Graphic Designers Should Never Edit Books

Related reading: Book Binding: What Are Your Options?

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