Category Archives: The Book Business

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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What is Vanity Publishing?

What is vanity publishing? Vanity publishing is one of the three options today’s authors have available to help you publish a book. But this option doesn’t have a good reputation. Today’s post discusses why that’s the case and what you can do to improve your book’s image.

What is vanity publishing?

What is vanity publishing?

You have three different book publishing options available to you: traditional trade publishing; vanity (unsupported self-publishing); and hybrid (professionally supported self-publishing). For a clear understanding of the pros and cons of each, I recommend you download this free ebook. It’s a short book. You should be able to read it in under two hours.

What is Vanity Publishing?

The vanity book publishing model was introduced as an alternative for writers who were tired of waiting around to be accepted by traditional book publishers. They had, instead, decided to self-publish their books themselves. As noble as the vanity publishers’ intentions might be, they are the least respected book publishing alternative of them all within publishing circles (i.e., traditional publishers, reviewers, booksellers, and distributors). With good reason.

These companies are more aptly described as book printers than publishers. They’ve earned their notoriety by accepting and printing 100 percent of the manuscripts that are submitted to them. Little consideration is given to the quality of your book—the opposite extreme of trade publishing. A vanity publisher will take what it receives and print it as is, matter what it looks like.

Vanity Publishing is Unsupported Self-Publishing

Some of these companies run a “self-service” type of operation using a selection of generic template builders. This allows self-publishing authors to upload book files online (or via email) and then draft them into ebooks or paperbacks.

Other vanity publishers are simply printers with in-house design staff. They will take your raw materials (e.g., manuscript, graphics) and do all that formatting for you for a fee. Then they’ll print however many copies you want printed.

There is No Editing Included

Both vanity publishing options share one commonality: although their staff might be knowledgeable about printing and electronic file formatting, they are wholly unseasoned when it comes to the essential publishing practices (such as professional editing, graphic design, and proofreading) that ensure the polished result every serious author is after. Vanity publishers never actively encourage their clients to improve the quality of their work in any way. This lack of improvement is truly a disservice to the serious-minded authors who wish to present themselves as professionals.

Best for Personal Gratification (Hence the “Vanity” Reference)

For those who wish to publish your books solely for personal gratification, then the vanity book publishing route is probably the best one to take. This is a great option for family history books, scrapbooks intended as gifts for loved ones, and other non-commercial projects.

If you wish to sell your book commercially, then you’ll need to produce a more professional product. Copy editing is a crucial step in helping you to achieve this. But there are ways to produce your book economically. Click here for details.

Related reading: Sneak a peek inside How to Publish a Bestselling Book for even more details on your publishing 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.



Profitable Publishing in 2019

profitable publishing

profitable publishing

What does profitable publishing look like to you? Is it signing a publishing deal with a major publisher like Amanda Hocking did after proving her marketability through self-publishing? Or maybe it’s upstaging trade publishers by selling more books as a self-publisher than they ever sold for you. That’s Mark Dawson‘s story. Is it seeing your paperback or hardcover for sale on the shelves of “bricks and mortar” bookstores? Or is it having your ebooks listed as best sellers in multiple categories on Amazon or Kobo? Profitable publishing can take on many different forms, depending on your personal goals. In fact, this blog is already full of various author success stories and their personal roadmaps to success. Each story is a little different. All of them are inspirational.

Profitable Publishing in 2019

In the upcoming year, I’ll be providing even more examples of success in all its forms. I once focused on cautioning authors about the “peculiar old-fashioned practices and unforeseen pitfalls” of the traditional publishing world. Now I want to focus more on what contemporary authors find is working well for them. There’s no sense in focusing on the past anymore. Right? I want to bring you today‘s recipes for success so you can begin implementing them immediately. In other words, I want to focus on truly profitable publishing in 2019.

If you want to reach the masses and sell an increasing number of books, then you’ll need to be publishing and selling online in very specific ways. Search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial to your success, and there are some easy techniques all authors can learn to improve their rankings on all the search engines.

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



What is Author Central and Why Do You Need It?

What exactly is Author Central and why does every author—whether self-published or traditionally published—need it? Here’s the greatest reason why. 

Author Central (Amazon)

Author Central (Amazon)

Whether you self-publish a book directly to Amazon using Kindle Direct Publishing or use the services of either a traditional or hybrid publisher to publish it for you, there is a 99% chance your book will be available for sale on Amazon. Everyone sell books through this ecommerce giant now.

What is an Author Central Page?

An Author Central Page acts as your own personalized webpage on Amazon. It is a place where you can include an author biography to let others know more about you and your books. You can upload author photos and videos. And you can let Amazon know which books from the online store belong to you. Futhermore, you can include an RSS feed to drive more traffic to your blog. (The above image displays an example of how your blog’s RSS feed will appear on your page.)

Why Do You Need an Author Central Page?

Amazon hyperlinks each author’s name beside the title of his or her book(s). Whenever people click on those hyperlinks, they’re shown a list of all the books by that author. Unfortunately, they may also be shown books by other authors with the same or similar names. The only way to ensure all your books show up together in one Amazon search, without other unwanted authors in the mix, is to create an Author Central Page and add your books to it.

Need another another great reason to create your own Author Central page? Here are three: 3 Ways an Author Central Page Can Spike Your Ranking on Amazon.

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



The Top 3 Traits of Successful Authors

The Top 3 Traits of Successful Authors

The Top 3 Traits of Successful Authors

The top 3 traits of successful authors are much like the attributes of top athletes and entrepreneurs. What you focus on makes all the difference.

Find the Best Idea of Success to Follow

There is so much advice out there for aspiring authors today. How do you know which recommendations to follow? Well, that depends. What is your idea of success? The first thing you need to do is figure that out. Then find a coach or mentor who is already achieving those results and follow his or her lead.

My own publishing career began 25 years ago. I started out with a traditional publisher, and much of the advice I’ve given authors along the way has been coloured by that experience. That is, until early 2017. I shifted my focus then because I wasn’t achieving my own idea of success by following traditional methods. So, I went in search of contemporary author success stories to inspire myself. And I found what I was looking for! At long last, I found a viable roadmap to my version of success.

Make a Plan that Suits Your Lifestyle

Once I learned what many other authors are doing with such success, I decided to implement their strategies into my own life. I sat down at my desk with my calendar and sketched out a writing schedule that fits well with my lifestyle. I’ve been doing it ever since, and I’ve made more gains these past two years than I did in the first 23 combined! I’ve watched the PPG Publisher’s Blog increase from a mere 1,000 registered users in early 2017 to over 7,500 at writing time today (and still growing). I’ve also seen downloads of my backlist books on Amazon, Kobo, and E-Sentral collectively increase from under 5 books per month to over 350 per month on average (and still growing) within the same time period.

Do the same thing for yourself. Learn the steps your ideal mentor is taking each day to achieve the results he or she is achieving. Then sit down with your calendar to figure out how you can customize those steps to suit your own schedule.

Take Consistent Action on Your Plan Every Day

It’s never enough to simply seek inspiration and write your goals down. It takes consistent action toward those goals to become a successful author. Today’s top authors work at it every single day as detailed in this recent blog post about Joanna Penn and Jeff Haden. These two people epitomize the top 3 traits of successful authors: find your idea, design your plan, and then take consistent action toward its achievement every day.

Related reading from Joanna Penn: My Author Timeline. From First Book To Multi-Six-Figure Author Entrepreneur

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



Author Salary: How Much Does a Book Author Earn?

Author Salary: How Much Does a Book Author Earn?

Author Salary: How Much Does a Book Author Earn?

Book authors don’t actually earn an author salary, per se. Instead, they are paid royalties based on their number of books sold. Depending on the book publication method used to publish a book, authors can expect to earn different royalty rates. (You can learn more about today’s three primary book publishing methods by clicking here.)

Traditional Author Salary (Physical Books)

Traditionally, whenever a physical book (e.g., paperback, hardcover) is published, there is automatically a large run of 1,000 or more copies printed. The publisher and/or its distributor(s) store these copies away in large warehouses. And this large print run means a higher upfront cost for that publisher on each author’s book.

Traditional publishers tend to pay authors a 7-to-10% royalty rate based on the retail price of a book. They can’t pay much more due to all the expenses associated with publishing/printing/selling physical books: editing and design; publicity; printing and distribution; shipping costs; deep discounts given to retailers (45% of list price) and wholesalers (55% of list price). With all these costs eating away at their bottom lines, there’s not much leftover in the end. Traditional publishers also lose money from the high waste of book returns they receive from traditional retailers.

So, let’s put this into perspective. With the average retail price of a paperback book listed at $9.99, that means authors can expect to be paid $1 per book in royalties. In other words, a publisher would have to sell 5,000 copies of that book for its author to earn $5,000 … less income tax. Ask the average traditionally-published author how many copies of his or her book were sold. Likely, those authors will tell you they sold way less than 5,000 copies in total.

Contemporary Author Salary (Digital Books)

Obviously, ebooks and print-on-demand paperbacks/hardcovers have lower upfront costs to produce. Other than editing, design, and publicity, you can eliminate almost every other cost. Authors can expect to earn a way higher royalty rate on digital books as a result. In fact, today’s self-publishers are earning up to 70% royalties (e.g., between 45% and 70% royalties on Kobo books versus between 35% and 70% royalties on Amazon books).

The best way to sell books in today’s world is to utilize the power of search engine optimization (SEO). Effective digital publishing requires a little more finesse than simply combining traditional offline sales and marketing methods with modern online techniques. Doing so can actually be counterproductive. This is because traditional publishing takes time while digital publishing requires momentum.

If you want to succeed at publishing and selling books nowadays, you can no longer “waste precious time” by publishing only one book per year or one blog entry per month. The Internet rewards speed and productivity, and the Internet is your greatest ally. Used right, it can help you stand out among the millions of books being published worldwide each year. It can help you earn a six-figure income. Believe it or not, many of today’s online self-publishers are earning that much. If you’re willing to do the work, the world is your oyster in today’s digital world.

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



How Do I Prevent Other People From Stealing My Book?

How Do I Prevent Other People From Stealing My Book?

How Do I Prevent Other People From Stealing My Book?

The best way to prevent other people from stealing your book is to protect your copyright ownership. You protect it by proving you’re the true copyright owner right from the very first written draft. There are a few simple ways you can do this.

How Do I Prevent Other People From Stealing My Book Before it is Published?

Every time you sit down to write a portion of your book, email that evening’s work to yourself. Send it to two or three private, secure email addresses. Save it on a USB drive, too. This not only backs up everything you’ve written so you always have access to it, even in the event of a computer crash. It also acts as date-stamped proof of your copyright ownership all along the way.

Here’s another great way to get this evidence of copyright ownership—a way that is virtually free of charge. It’s as simple as sealing a copy of your completed work in an envelope and mailing it back to yourself via registered mail. When the date-stamped package is returned to you, keep it sealed and stored in a fireproof container. Then, in the highly unlikely event that someone else ever tries to claim copyright ownership of your work after the fact, you will have more date-stamped proof of your ownership to fall back on.

How Do I Prevent Other People From Stealing My Book During the Publication Process?

The likelihood of any professional editor, designer, or proofreader stealing your manuscript is very low. But, for those of you who are concerned about this, I recommend hiring reputable help you know you can trust.

A great site to find freelancers of all kinds, with all experience levels, from all over the world, is UpWork.com. You can browse through the talent already listed there. Get a sense of what their hourly or flat fee rates are. Or you can post your own job, timeline, and payment expectations to see who replies and take it from there. I’ve personally used this site as a freelancer. I can tell you there are many checks and balances in place to ensure the freelancers you’re hiring are exactly who they say the are.

How Do I Prevent Other People From Stealing My Book After it is Published?

This is where things get a little more involved. When it comes to copyright infringement, the laws and remedies vary per each country. Click here to read some important advice from a trademark, copyright, and entertainment attorney free of charge.

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



Why is Self-publishing a Good Idea?

Why is Self-publishing a Good Idea?

Why is Self-publishing a Good Idea?

Why is self-publishing a good idea? Because it not only helps you learn about the industry firsthand. It can also get you signed by trade publishers more quickly.

Anyone who has sent a manuscript to a trade publisher for consideration can relate to the sting of rejection. Usually, that rejection happens multiple times over the course of several months or years. It can make you question your own worth as a writer and make you wonder if you have what it takes to succeed. An avid reader and aspiring author named Amanda Hocking was going through that exact thing back in 2009.

She was increasingly frustrated because her personal goal was to publish her first book by age 26 (the same age her idol Stephen King was first published), and time was running out. In a state of desperation to meet her goal and earn some extra cash, Amanda turned to self-publishing. A short two years later, she found herself being interviewed by The Guardian about her new millionaire status. She had also signed a $2.1 million publishing deal with two of the trade publishers who had previously rejected her. Why? Because they finally saw her potential through the eyes of her growing readership.

Sometimes It’s The Other Way Around

Mark Dawson, by contrast, was first trade published. But when he saw how few copies his publisher sold of his fictional novel, he switched to self-publishing. He learned how to run his own author business with impressive success. When word went around that Amazon had paid him $450,000 in royalties in one year, Forbes magazine published an in-depth interview with him. He openly shared his publishing strategies with Forbes readers that day, and he continues to inspire other authors through his website and books.

Granted, these are two grandiose examples of self-publishing success. Not everyone who self-publishes will earn a six- or seven-figure income as quickly as these two authors did, if ever. But more and more authors are getting there over time. That’s a fact. It’s possible for you if you follow the same process these authors are following. Do the work. Learn the industry. Build your own readership. In the end, you may decide to remain a self-publisher like Mark Dawson did. Or you may agree to sign with a trade publisher like Amanda Hocking did.

The best way to learn what’s possible is to jump in and get to work like these two (and many other independent authors) have done. Don’t waste anymore precious time waiting for a trade publisher to tell you whether you’re good enough or not. Self-publish your work and let your audience tell you. Their opinions are worth more than any other’s, after all.

Bonus video from Sarra Cannon: How I Sold Over Half A Million Books Self-Publishing

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



How to Publish a Book in Canada for Free

How to Publish a Book in Canada for Free 01

How to Publish a Book in Canada for Free 01

If you’re reading this page, it’s because you’re wondering how to publish a book in Canada 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 2013, I released How to Publish a Book in Canada … and Sell Enough Copies to Make a Profit!. 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 in Canada for Free … Almost

How to Publish a Book in Canada for Free 02

How to Publish a Book in Canada for Free 02

There is another way to publish a book in Canada 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 2013. 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 © 2018 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.



Estate Planning Checklist for Authors

Estate Planning Checklist for Authors

Estate Planning Checklist for Authors

Anyone who has been reading this blog (or my non-fiction publishing guides) for a while knows about my sales background. I’ve worked in various positions—mainly print advertising sales—over the years while building my authorship on the side. After being laid off from one of those common jobs, I was certified to sell prepaid funeral and cemetery services. I did that for a short time. Now, some of you may find that career path a bit odd or morbid. But I have to say it was an eye-opening education for me. I’m so glad I did it, because I learned so much. It is so important for everyone to have an estate planning checklist completed for the family members they leave behind. It is equally—if not more—important for authors to plan ahead in this way.

The Standard Estate Planning Checklist for Everyone

When a loved one passes away, there are so many decisions to make and things for family members to do. If it’s a sudden passing and that person didn’t leave any instructions regarding his or her wishes, it can be especially traumatic. Unexpected upfront funeral and cemetery expenses can leave family members strapped for cash. They may have difficulties locating important banking or insurance information to cover those expenses. They may be unaware of who all to invite to the celebration of life. The list goes on, so it makes sense to plan ahead. In the very least, everyone should take care of the following three details and let family members know where to find them:

  1. Draft a will that includes who will be named the executor, beneficiary, and trustee/legal guardian (if young children are left behind) of your estate. It is also wise to stipulate a power of attorney in the event you are disabled in any way that prevents you from making decisions for yourself while still alive.
  2. Attach a list of employment, mortgage, banking, and insurance contact information that is easy for family members to follow.
  3. A contact list of those who should be called to attend your life celebration is also great to include. This list is important even if you aren’t preplanning/prepaying your own funeral and cemetery arrangements. It can make things a lot easier for your loved ones to ensure everyone you cared about is aware of your passing.

An Author’s Estate Planning Checklist

Estate Planning Checklist

Estate Planning Checklist

Authors have another important list to include with their wills: all your titles in publication. It’s wise to include where you published each title through (e.g., the name of the publishing house, distributor, or ecommerce site). It’s also important to include all possible editions (e.g., paperbacks, hardcovers, ebooks, audiobooks) and any contracts you have in place for subsidiary rights.

Why are these things important? M.L. Buchman explains it well in his book Estate Planning For Authors: Your Final Letter (and why you need to write it now) (Strategies for Success) (Volume 2). One important take-away is this: your book’s copyright outlives you by 50 years in Canada, 70 years in the United States. Did you know that? Assuming you self-published and retained 100% of your book’s copyright ownership, this means your estate will still be paid royalties for ongoing sales. Your beneficiaries could still potentially earn a living from your work many years after you pass on. So, you will want to give them instructions regarding how you want your intellectual property managed after you’re gone. I recommend picking up a copy of M.L. Buchman’s book for more details on how to go about this. It’s important, not only for you but for your loved ones.

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