Friday, August 31, 2012

Making the choice between e-book and print

Yesterday I posted a review of the excellent Publish Like the Pros by Michele DeFillippo of 1106 Design. Today I am pleased to publish this blog's very first guest post, by Michele.

What is an Author to Do? 

Put yourself in the way-back machine, all the way back to the year 1999. Among the things you might do if you could rewind the clock 13 years (worry about Y2K, party like it’s 1999, etc.), imagine yourself having a conversation with a person who prints books.

At that time, some adventurous souls were reading books on their Palm Pilots. Previous to that, there was the Sony Discman, which apparently had books on CDs! Regardless, the audience for eBooks was limited, and the closest most people got to an eBook was online help or a PDF.

However, if you were to talk to the owner of a book printing business in 1999, you might find he or she feeling that computerized readers could one day be a threat to the book printing industry, but that these devices would not hurt the market for traditional printed books until such time as they could replicate the experience of reading a paper book: the visual appeal of a well-designed book, the rustle of the turning page, the pleasure of a lovely font, the anticipation of returning directly to your bookmarked page.

Well, as we all know, that day has arrived.

Many self-publishers feel that they can “get away” with producing an eBook only, and save themselves a lot of money by not printing a pile of books in anticipation of sales that may never materialize. They ask themselves: “Who wants to buy a printed book when the same content can be downloaded in an eBook format for half the price?”

They have a point. According to a March 2012 blog post on the PC World website entitled eReader Sales Down: Way Down, global sales in 2011 of dedicated eReaders (not to be confused with multi-purpose tablets) rose 107% over 2010, and yearly global sales should reach 60 million units by 2015 (what were “down” were sales of “e-ink” readers, those that only display print in black and not color). But even with sales figures like these, there are plenty of people who prefer the printed book, and many who continue to buy printed books for reading at home while purchasing the eBook versions for travel and commuting.

So with the market divided, what is a self-publisher to do? The answer is: do both. The cost of producing both an eBook and a printed book is not as much as one might think. Print-on-demand services allow an author to print only enough books to fill existing orders, and while it’s a little more expensive than traditional offset printing, print-on-demand is a good route to take until demand for the book is established and predictable.

Some authors might hesitate to spend money on book cover design and interior layout for two versions of the same book. They try to save money by not hiring a professional book designer for the eBook project; after all, what is an eBook except for a glorified PDF? The opposite is true, and as the eReader technology improves over time, good design becomes even more critical. For example, the demand for color eReaders and multi-purpose tablets is increasing, placing added pressure on an author to have a fabulous book design that takes advantage of sophisticated displays.

Many professional designers will work at a reduced rate to reproduce the cover for the eBook version, lay out the interior pages and code the book for the eReader, provided they were also hired to design the print version. Authors must hire a person with eBook expertise to insert the coding that makes the book usable on popular eReaders. Why not spend that money on good book design for the print version and then spend a little more to have it prepared for eBook publication as well?

Authors who choose to produce only a printed book, or only an eBook, and not both, run the risk of distancing at least part of their potential audience. By spending just a little bit more to produce both formats, a self-publishing author can maximize the book’s market.

Michele DeFilippo owns 1106 Design, a Phoenix-based company that works with authors, publishers, business pros, coaches, consultants, speakers . . . anyone who wants a beautiful book, meticulously prepared to industry standards. 1106 Design offers top-quality cover design, beautifully designed and typeset interiors, manuscript editing, indexing, title consulting, and expert self-publishing advice. Michele’s first book, Publish Like the Pros: A Brief Guide to Quality Self-Publishing (and an Insider's Look at a Misunderstood Industry) is available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle editions!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

WOW! A good book about self-publishing

I've reviewed a lot of bad books in this blog. Sadly (and laughably) many or most provide instructions about publishing books.

It seems that the second book that comes from the author of a bad self-published book about anything, is a bad book explaining how she or he created and marketed the first book.

Most of these books are ugly, unedited and inaccurate. I shudder to think that there are people who buy them, read them, follow their advice and create even more garbage.

It was a particular pleasure to buy and read a book about self-publishing that is both accurate and attractive.

The author of Publish Like the Pros: A Brief Guide to Quality Self-Publishing is Michele DeFilippo. Michele is no newbie to publishing. She is an experienced and skilled designer, and owner of 1106 Design -- a company that has provided a wide range of services for many authors. Michele knows what she is talking about -- and that is rare.

Most books about self-publishing are how-to books (I've written some). Michele's book is more of a what-to, and what not-to.

It has become unfortunately easy to become a "published author." You just write a string of words, upload them, hack together something that functions as a cover, and hope and pray.

Michele attacks the common belief that you can "do everything yourself -- no training, no experience, no talent required." She compares this to the folly of someone who is advised by a doctor that surgery is needed, and instead of paying for the operation, gets a medical book, a scalpel and bourbon to function as an anesthetic... and then self-butchers.

While it is unlikely that botched self-publishing will be fatal, it can certainly ruin the reputation of a new author.

The worst mistake that ignorant, egotistical and financially unprepared authors make is to skip professional design and editing. Michele advises that "a good cover is absolutely essential to the success of your book. Cover design is not the place to save money." She also points out that "We have never once proofed a book without finding errors, sometimes hundreds of errors...."

Michele's "Parable of the Pumpernickel Baker" is a tale about a baker who goes broke by offering only pumpernickel bread to customers who want other varieties. This is Michele's device for pointing out how important it is for a publisher to offer both e-books and p-books. "It's risky to provide content in only one form," Michele says. "...It's impossible to count the number of sales that were missed as a result of only offering one format."

Some more good advice: "If you don't write convincing text for the outside of your book, your readers may never get as far as the inside, so give your title and back cover the attention they deserve!"

And: "Humans are programmed from birth to look longer at things we haven't seen before. In prehistoric times, this instinct saved us from the saber-toothed tiger prowling outside the cave. Today, it means that your buyers will look longer at your cover if it's interesting and different, and the longer buyers look, the more likely they are to buy." (I followed this advice and revised the covers on a series of books I am working on. Thanks, Michele.)

Although I've been reading for nearly 60 years, professionally writing for over 40 years, and publishing for four years, I can still learn. Michele made me aware of the problem of "word stacks -- where the same word falls one above the other on several consecutive lines of text." Thanks. Michele.

Michele does an excellent job of explaining the publishing sequence, advises on having productive relationships with service-providers, and tells writers how to keep costs from getting out of hand. Did you know that correcting an "AA" will cost money but correcting a "TE" should be free? 

The inexpensive book is slim (just 79 pages) but has an extensive chapter on book distribution, pricing and marketing that may be more useful than some huge books about book marketing.

I don't agree with everything Michele wrote in the book, such as blogging every day is "overkill" (well, maybe it is overkill for blogs about fiction books); and I format my own book pages because I make a huge number of changes and want complete control over my pages. But Michele provides so much good advice, and such important advice, that I strongly recommend this book to anyone considering -- or already involved in -- self-publishing.

Michele will be a guest blogger here very soon. Check back and learn something important.


I don't want today's blog title to imply that this is the first good book I've read about self-publishing. There are others, but so few good ones and so many bad ones, that this one deserves the "WOW." 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Outskirts Press has nothing to brag about (but they brag anyway)

This is the time of year when Inc magazine publishes its list of the 500 and 5000 fastest growing privately owned American companies (that choose to submit information).

It's also the time of year when dishonest and incompetent Outskirts Press brags about its placement on the lists.

For several years Outskirts had decent positions in the Inc. 500.

Two years ago Outskirts plummeted from the 500 into the 5000. The company still touted its dubious achievement, assuming that readers would not notice that FIVE THOUSAND is not the same number as FIVE HUNDRED.

Outskirts boss Brent Sampson wrote: "In 2009 Outskirts Press . . . became the only self-publishing company to appear on the Inc. 500 list. . . . And in 2010, and again in 2011, Outskirts Press repeated its appearance on the Inc. 5000 twice more, and became the only self-publishing company to appear on the list of top 5,000 fastest growing businesses in America for three years in a row."

In the past, Brent used his blog to brag in advance about his company's pending Inc position. (". . . the annual Inc. Magazine Fast 500 list is announced at the end of this month. . . . We placed #268 last year among all private companies and #1 among participating self-publishing services. We’ll see where we are this year when they’re announced later this month.")

This year, Brent had nothing to say in advance of the Inc announcement -- a wise move.

Last year Outskirts paid to have PRweb distribute an announcement of its Inc position. This year it used a freebie Twitter tweet -- no surprise.

  • In 2009, Outskirts had a ranking of #268 (part of the top-performing "Inc 500").
  • In 2010, Outskirts dropped out of the 500 and was ranked #1266.
  • In 2011, the Outskirts ranking dropped to #3088.
  • In 2012, the company is ranked #4530, getting perilously close to the bottom of the barrel.
  • In 2013, if the trend continues, Outskirts will not even be in the 5000.

As in past years, Outskirts competes in the "consumer products and services" category. It would be much more logical for a publisher to be in the "media" category. However, if Outskirts was listed in media, it would suffer in comparison to more successful companies.

In a book he wrote, Brent provided the wrong name for the publisher of Roget's Thesaurus. He has also confused foreword and forward and made other foolish mistakes. Maybe he hopes prospective author/customers will be similarly sloppy and won't realize that being part of a group of 5,000 is not the same as being part of a group of 500.

Also, according to the info published by Inc, sales at Outskirts dropped from 2010 to 2011 -- a time of tremendous growth in self-publishing -- and Outskirts employment has remained at three lonely folks since 2009.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Get your book published


Finding a publisher can be difficult, especially for children's books. There are good and bad news. The bad news is that you can receive hundreds of publishers to send your manuscript to the best deals. And if you're already a published author, is likely to bear the cost of some publications. The good news is that publishers once again that there is a handwritten document. Editori almost prefer now is to send a proposalE-mail. This makes it much easier and cheaper for publishers to contact. However, you need your proposal to be perfect and that takes time.

Do not waste your time sent a proposal to a publisher that specializes in this type of book. She is not to change their minds and they receive hundreds of proposals each week. So watch out research publishers. Search for books within individual companies of your type. Often you can start using the keywordsFor your book title and content. Some of the larger companies have departments for specific genres. Search for "Science Fiction, Self Help, children, or any kind the book is too. Refine your search to publishers to publish your book and I kind of ongoing observations. "Once you find a publishing system and specializes in general, be prepared to contact them.

Some people prefer to seek First literary agent. While they want to find literary agents and publishers are writers for beginners, the method is not often successful. literary agents looking for authors who publish with headquarters in a particular genre. If you have never been published before, this opportunity is successfully getting an agent for his first novel, badly. How to find a publisher, being represented by an agent requires an excellent proposal and only chance. In the meantime, we can and should go ahead and contactPublishers> alone. You can always try later an agent.

Each editor brings his specific way of receiving information. This means you have to search every publisher on the Internet. Find something that says. "Submission Guidelines" This will tell you exactly what to send, and how to send it. Read carefully. If you are looking for a signature that is you, forget and move along. If your book seems to be a good fit with itsPublishing interests, create a proposal suitable to their guidelines. Some publishers are very diligent in rejecting the proposals of the author, the address is not required any content to the particulars. Do not take lightly.

First step is to develop a proposal for a fantastic book. The proposals are very specific information in a very specific format. They can not do this and if your proposal is rejected. In the absence of other directions, your proposal shouldcontains a table of contents, Internet sales, biography, outline, chapter titles, market analysis, competitive analysis, marketing strategies. Every part of this proposal is crucial. Take your time and use of at least one page for each topic content. The synopsis may require multiple pages. Sometimes, the Verlag or request more chapters of the first three chapters. Read their submission requirements exactly. Tell them that your book (buy and market analysisSales on the Internet), because it is better than similar books (competitive analysis) and how to convince people to buy it (marketing strategies). Take your time and give each topic its own page. If you're still not sure what to write, with the lowest Internet efforts. There are many available.

Publishers receive hundreds of submissions every day and remove if you can not follow your instructions carefully. Remember, you must not only wintheir attention, they also need to feel like your kind of book. Submit a proposal for a fiction-horror novel by a publisher specializing in books for children is a waste of time for everyone. Even if you find the right publisher for your work, you must convince the publisher to which the public can enjoy your book, who bought it and how it sells.

Purchase lists publishers on the web. Use keywords to find publishers for your topic and genre.Some companies sell a list of publishers. We basically have access to. Plan for the Internet to hundreds of publishers on the Internet. That's right a few hundred. Published, how to get a job. Your proposal is your resume. The best is, the more will get interviews. The best post, as have more positive reactions. The first offer is not necessarily the best. And in this world, patience is definitely a virtue. E ' can take months or years. But I guarantee … more suggestions please post every week, the faster they are published. Two or three proposals a week for not only do the job.

You can not agree with the first publisher to accept your book, especially if it is a vanity publisher. Publishing industry today can be a bit difficult to understand '. Traditional publishers publishers to turn in the vanity. Just a couple of traditionalPublishers> offers you a contract without asking for money, unless you are the author successfully. But it can happen and you can certainly negotiate the cost.

Traditional publishers have a great attribute. To print your book store, contract with distributors to use and their means of influence to do so quickly to all major retail ads. They will market your book in a way that would be difficult to achieve alone.And they have distribution channels that do not. With self-publishing or vanity publishing, you should do what on your computer. If you simply want the table, have a nice book with your name for the coffee, then the vanity publication may be in order. But when people want to read it, a traditional publisher is more appropriate.

Then there is the thorny issue of marketing. Many of vanity or self-publishing print publication of the bookbut not in the market. Yes, it will be in their online catalog. But how many people read it? Who is your book on the websites of Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble, Target and Wal-Mart job? As your book in Europe, Africa, South America and Asia will be sold? If you distribute? About the sales process and pay for shipping? Who is promoting his book at book fairs around the world? Those who produce radio, television and viral marketing on the Internet? These are all reasons whyTraditional publishers are the best way to go. You will also receive royalties twice a year, a good feeling.

Send any publication of an e-mail cover sheet that the reader will be hooked on your book. Explain why this particular publisher is a good fit with your book (yes, you have to do for the publication of research to do so). If possible, add your suggestion. If the publisher does not accept attachments, then you have the cover sheet e-mail and hope to use forTo respond to a request for proposal. But there is another alternative.

While most publishers are reluctant to open an attachment from a stranger (or?), Do not hesitate to open a connection to the Internet. To create web pages of beds for your book and put it in your cover e-mail. It's easy and free. Anyone can create a website for a book (use free service like Yahoo, Google, Hotmail, Word Press, Geocities, etc..) Create a page overview of features and reasons that madePeople buy it. Then embed the links for the site in your e-mail to the publisher. While many publishers are afraid of opening attachments from strangers, none of which are almost afraid to open a web page.

I put four websites for my book and I have a couple of interesting articles, too. This lasted about three days to create. It cost nothing. In fact, some large Internet companies like Google, you should have to pay per click advertising on your site.Instead of paying for web development, and create the money earned from the sale of advertising for them.

The more often you have a suggestion for a publisher, you will be better integration with Internet connections in the cover e-mail. Again, this is a very simple process. In many email programs that you can use Word as your editor, right-click on any word and then select the button "hyperlink." If the reader clicks on the word (with compression of the Control key), theWebsite will appear in your browser. Within your website, you can create a tab or a link for the suggestion, and your biography. Or you can write a proposal on the load side. This site may provide links to other sites that review and sell your book in more detail.

Not to be discouraged. Pub is a numbers game. You may need to get send a hundred proposals a good offer and you may need to get three quotes before you are satisfied. This means you needsend a three hundred tips for getting the right offer. You want a publisher and regulations suited to your book and with the right financing. I had already Publishing offers four, before I was convinced that I had to offer the best. Be very, very patient.

Please note that the editors lack integrity. There are a few bad apples in every industry. Be aware that the work of publishers, you have to pay to have your analysis orbe processed. And 'natural for the service fee, or refer you to an affiliate, you provide the billing service. Some publishers are very happy to put the book in print, free of charge or for a "nominal fee for printing." These publishers can do little or no marketing outside. You pay a fee and will print your book and give you some copies. But do not expect to see your book on Amazon, Borders and Barnes & Noble. Do not look for them on the shelves of localBookstore. You could not even a reseller. If you do not have a dealer, your book is not on the shelves of libraries and will not see the use of the internet pages of the popular shops.

You can check suspicious motor publishers with their name on Google or other search robust. If the search reveals a number of negative comments from the authors, then you know that this agent is not for you. One of the companies willing to publish my book before could have time to read it. On the Internet I discovered that thousands of writers are now very happy with the content publishers. Some of these publishers are not misleading, but offer little in return for a signed contract. With the release, as in life generally, if it sounds too good to be true, is not likely. Even if your name is not Stephen King or Tom Clancy, probably towards the cost of printing and> Books. If this is the case, make sure that your company pays for your book market after (if not just to have a book display on your desktop is). Warranty!

If you have a publisher to offer that you'd like to have a lawyer you can see, which is preferably an experienced attorney client. In the meantime, you need a publishing contract research on the Internet. Look carefully at each contract. Be prepared to renegotiate parts of it. MyThe publishers have agreed to certain marketing activities that can add ordered. In return, I agreed, but some are removed, increasing the potential for commercialization. It 's a give and take relationship that benefits both parties. Be willing to negotiate on the finer points of the contract.

Traditional publishing contract fee can be anywhere between 10% to 24%, but often in the range of 12-18%. Royalties are usually paid every six months and are counted only for the retail sector. My Publisher provided a good license and was also my novel, I could quickly on Amazon Kindle listed as a book. License fees for Kindle books are the same percentage of hardcover and paperback sales. Unless you want is a good book on the table, nothing is more important than sales. And nothing is more important for distribution as marketing and sales. Focus on those aspects in your contract negotiations.

Some authors prefer to use> Publishing Agent. If your name is James Michener, good luck. Real estate agents often take a chance on an unknown, although the book is already in print. A good agent can greatly increase sales. From this perspective, is a useful concept. Of course it is a certain percentage of the fee back. My feeling is that if you get an agent, only helps your goal a reality. However, spending too much time trying to find an agent, instead of getting a closePublishers. Once published, you can always watch later for an agent.

Finally, after obtaining a publishing contract, ready to be self-help book market. This means that you contact local bookstores and retail outlets. Request for book signings in stores. For newspaper articles about your book. Conduct public speaking events and tours of the book. Marketing is time consuming and often frustrating. But not the editor should do, especially ifAre you a new author. Be prepared to do your business. The harder your commitment, the higher the cost of an overhaul.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Hyphens do not poison books. USE them, dammit.

  • The increasing use of cellphones and VoIP is leading to the acceptance of telephone calls with noise that would not have been tolerated in 1950!
  • The increasing use of the Internet (where the appearance of a website is affected by the web browser and PC of the person viewing the site), and the increasing use of e-books (where the appearance of a book page is controlled by the reading device, and the person who is reading) is leading to the acceptance of UGH-LEE printed books.
It doesn't have to be that way. We should not have to read ugh-lee printed books.

I AM GETTING PARTICULARLY FED UP WITH PEOPLE WHO TRY TO TEACH PUBLISHING, BUT MAKE FUNDAMENTAL ERRORS IN THEIR OWN BOOKS. Avoiding hyphens leads to unnecessary big gaps between words in "justified" text, as in the two book bits shown below.


There seem to be three reasons for not hyphenating words in a printed book:
  1. Ignorance
  2. Laziness
  3. Stupidity
A reason is not an excuse. There is no excuse for making an ugh-lee printed book. Ugh-lee books show contempt for the reader and should not be printed or tolerated.

Not every book can be beautiful, but no book should be ugh-lee.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Silly advice from Kelly Schuknecht of Outskirts Press

Kelly Schuknecht is VP at inept and dishonest pay-to-publish company Outskirts Press.

She previously was "Director of Author Support" at Outskirts, and before that was "Press Release Coordinator." Despite this apparent career advancement, Kelly's Linkedin page says she is interested in "job inquiries." Is she trying to leave a sinking ship?

Kelly is apparently responsible for Outskirts's dreadful press releases, and her blog advises writers. Her own writing is frequently laughable. Kelly says she has a B.A. degree in "Modern Foreign Languages" from James Madison University. Too bad she didn't major In ENGLISH!

She wrote: "If the book is published after 2007, the ISBN is 13 digits long. Prior to 2007, ISBNs were 10 digits long."

And if it was published during 2007, apparently no ISBN was needed.

Kelly, it's time to start reading what you write.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Advice to ignore

Here are excerpts from and my responses to Kill Electrons, Not Trees: Fiction Publishing in the 21st Century by William Gaius.

So it might be surprising to know that you can render your book into a paper copy indistinguishable from any you’d find in Barnes and Noble. Morever, it can cost less than $20.

The book will probably be indistinguishable from a 'pro' book only to blind people. If you spend less than $20, or less than $200, it is 99.9994287% likely it will be a shitty book. Good books are professionally edited and designed, and pros need to be paid.

Since preparing a few books for me and friends

Minus 50 points for bad grammar and being impolite.

There are two phases

Maybe many more.

to turning your masterwork into a finished book. The first is preparing (formatting) the manuscript, cover, and other copy. That’s the hard part. The last, easier part is the actual conversion of the formatted manuscript into a book using the site. (There are other places that will do this, like Createspace, but is what I know best.)

If you know Lulu best, you are unprepared to give advice about publishing. Lulu charges so much that a book will either be overpriced or provide no profit, or both.

The rule for formatting a manuscript is simple: make it look like a book.

Good point. Don't make it look like a Corvette or a plate of lasagna.

Choose a book from your shelf whose 

A book is a thing, not a person. Rewrite the sentence to eliminate the "whose."

interior pleases you in terms of font, margins, and the amount of white space,

If you say "white space," you don't have to say "margins." Margins are part of the white space.

and use it as a model for your own.

What if you are not a good judge of book design? 

Using Find/Replace, remove all the tab characters from the file, and remove blank lines from between paragraphs.

What if you want blank lines between paragraphs? That style is appropriate in some genres.

Finally, in Page Setup, set the page width to 6 inches and the height to 9 inches, to match the page size of the finished book.

It's probably better to set the page size at the beginning, so you can better judge the length of chapters and the entire book. Also, not all books are 6 by 9. The 'model' book may have characteristics that are unsuitable for 6 by 9.

Font: Book Antigua 

Minus 50 points. The typeface is Book Antiqua. Antigua is an island in the West Indies.

or Bookman Old Style, 10 or 11 point.

Page Layout: Margins 0.7” all around,

Maybe not.

page numbers bottom center,

Maybe not.

indentation 0.5”

Probably too much for a book, but OK for a letter or term paper.

People who know their word processor well enough sometimes make the front matter a separate section, but this is something beyond my technical ability.

If you are formatting a book in Word, it is very easy to have separate sections, and sections are important to having proper headers and footers. Someone who cannot master sections should not be giving advice about book formatting.

Start by going to page 1 and inserting four page breaks. Page 1 and 2 should be blank, except for the page numbers.

There is generally no need to have blank pages up front, and blank pages DO NOT get page numbers. The first page is generally a half title page, a title page, or a page of blurbs. The printer or bookbinder may insert a blank page or a flyleaf in the front, but the page formatter does not normally do this. Minus 40 points.

Page 4 is your copyright page.

It might be page 2.

The next page can be the first page of your text, or you might want to insert a dedication or introduction or an appropriate quote.

or the table of contents

Just be sure that the first text page is on an odd-numbered page, so it will be on the conventional right side of the opened book (the so-called ‘recto’—but don’t be a noob and call it a ‘recto page’).

Minus 15 points. Lots of experienced pros in publishing and typography call it a "recto page." "Recto" can be shorthand for "recto page," but there is no reason to shun the complete term.

Preparing the body text often goes quickly

If it goes quickly, it will be ugly.

, but it still demands care. Begin each new chapter the same way. Some people like to start each new chapter on a recto, but the only thing that matters esthetically is to begin each chapter the same way.

Not necessarily. Many books have mixes of recto and verso chapter starts.

More often than not, you’ll find oddities. For example, the last word of a chapter might show up at the top of an otherwise blank page. Use your ingenuity. Sometimes you can edit a word or two out of the chapter until the lonesome last word jumps back to the previous pages. Changing the font size of the last paragraph may help.

Very amateurish. DO NOT DO IT. Minus 500 points.

The back matter

This is usually only of interest in non-fiction, where it might include an index, footnotes, etc. In fiction, it’s a good place for an author bio and a list of other books available by the author.

Oh, so back matter can be of interest to the author of a fiction book. Also, the book list is usually in the front matter.

In any case, there should be at least one blank page, and the last page should be even-numbered.

Minus 50 points. Blank pages don't get numbered, and the author seldom has to insert blank pages.

Again, those skilled in Word might choose to make this a separate section so that there will be no page numbers.

Minus 100 points. If you can't figure out how to do this, you should not be giving advice about using Word.

Finally, save cover images in jpegs,

Minus 250 points. Every time you save an image as a JPG, it loses detail. It's much better to save each image as a "lossless" TIF so it can be modified without harming the image.

1800 pixels wide by 2700 high 

Maybe not.

or 300 dpi.

And -- not or.

Important: Be sure to put no text or important objects within one-quarter inch of the top, bottom, or right-hand edges, as the final shearing process 

That's called "trimming," hence "trim size." And be careful at the left-hand edge of the back cover, too.

Finally, we’re near the end. But the logline 

You may be right here, but I've only seen "logline" applied to scripts, movies and TV shows.

and blurb should be ready before beginning the publication process.

Maybe not.

Write a sales blurb for your novel, about 100-200 words, in such a manner that no one reading it can resist buying your book.

I could resist it.

Whew! Done! Save and back up everything.

It should have been saved and backed up many times before now.

Now you’re ready for Lulu.

And now you're ready for books that will be overpriced, unprofitable or both.


"About the Author:  Bill Gaius lives and works in the American Southwest with his lifetime lover and wife (who happen to be the same person). Retired from a life in science, he operates a small business while writing erotica, but he can't decide which is vocation and which is avocation. While faced with the same barriers to publication that all new authors face, he's made a study of the modern publication process. This was begun with his experience with old-fashioned ink-on-paper publication of his wife's local history book over a decade ago. In 2010, Bill published two novels, The Ancestors of Star and Lessons at the Edge with (UK), but has previously self-published the mainstream novel Anne the Healer. He has also assisted friends in the self-publication of their own works."


photo from Thanx. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Was a book cover altered to keep people from complaining?

The ampersand is often used in business names and logos such as A&P, AT&T, Barnes & Noble, Bain & Company and Simon & Schuster.

It is inappropriate in book text, but is sometimes used to save space on book covers. I think it's OK and have used the ampersand on at least one of my covers. Some language purists disagree.

While researching a book I'm writing about typography, I spent a lot of time trying to find a book cover with an ampersand on it, that I did not publish.

I ultimately gave up, but a few hours later the FedEx guy brought me two good books -- about typography and graphic design -- with ampersands on the covers.

Strangely, as shown on, the text on the cover of the white space book was later altered to replace one ampersand with “and.”

Maybe the publisher expected people to complain.

But why was the second ampersand allowed to stay?

Will the cover be changed again now that I've published this?

Stay tuned for future unimportant developments.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Who are Mrs. Eaves and Mr. Studley?

Just as companies like Chevrolet, Chanel and Walmart were named after their founders, typefaces are often named after their designers, such as Goudy, Caslon or Lubalin.

Sometimes a typeface is named to honor a person important in type design (Garamond), a place (Memphis) or an event (Renaissance). The Inland Type Foundry named typefaces such as Studley to honor important customers. Robert P. Studley was the first printer to use a lithographic press in St. Louis. Some typographic historians claim that Studley (the type, not the man) was not an original design.

The Mrs. Eaves typeface was designed by Czech-American Zuzana Licko in 1996. The face is named after Sarah Eaves, the housekeeper, mistress and wife of famed eighteenth-century type designer John Baskerville According to Wikipedia, "He hired Sarah Eaves as his housekeeper. Eventually her husband Richard abandoned her and their five children, and Mrs. Eaves became Baskerville's mistress and eventual helpmate with typesetting and printing. She married Baskerville within a month of her estranged husband's death. Selection of the name Mrs Eaves honors one of the forgotten women in the history of typography."

Mr. Eaves is the sans serif companion to Mrs. Eaves, created by Zuzana in 2009.

How can you have a typeface named after you? Become important to someone who designs typefaces -- or design your own. 

- - - - - 
This blog post is based on material in my upcoming e-book, Typography for Independent Publishers.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Don't be stifled by the Publishing Grinch -- publish your book!

Many writers turn to independent self-publishing or "self-publishing companies" after being rejected by agents or traditional publishers. (Of course, many writers -- like me -- prefer the control, speed and income of independent publishing.)

While rejection can be depressing and discouraging, the failure to be approved by the media gatekeepers is not necessarily an indication of bad writing or an uninteresting idea.
  • Books are rejected for many reasons (not only bad quality), but they usually are accepted for one reason: because someone thinks they will make money.
Sarah Palin's Going Rogue and the endless stream of celebrities' addiction/abuse/confession/recipes/weight-loss books are not published in anticipation of glorifying the publisher by winning Pulitzer prizes. They are published in anticipation of making money.

Professional judgment is imperfect. Many books that are rejected by one publisher -- or by many publishers -- are later accepted by another publisher.

Joanne Rowling's first Harry Potter book was rejected by TWELVE publishing companies. More than 400 million Potter books have been sold, and the Potter movies have been seen by many millions. I wonder if any of the publishing executives who rejected that first book were fired for bad judgment.

Most books published by traditional publishing companies with highly paid experts having years of experience, do not sell well. After a few months they are doomed to be sold on the buck-a-book tables or recycled into the raw materials for more books.

My taste in books apparently puts me in the minority of book buyers. Often I eagerly buy a new book as soon as it is released. As expected, I love the book. Alas, few others care about the subject, and the book is soon available for almost nothing at Barnes & Noble or Dollar Tree. This has become a running joke in my family, and my wife would strongly prefer that I wait a while and pay just one dollar instead of $25.

But I won't wait.

There may be many people like me who are waiting for what you are writing. Find a way to reach us.

If you can't get a contract from a publisher, self-publish... on paper, online, or in e-books. Don't be stopped. Don't be silenced. Don't skip professional editing and design. Don't publish crap. Readers may want your words. Get to work.

(Grinch pic from Universal Pictures. I thank them.)


Friday, August 17, 2012

Choose your words carefully. Cars seldom crash "accidentally." Do sharks "attack" swimmers.

(by  Daniel Lametti. Originally published in Slate. I thank them)

Back in December, Brow Beat ran a New Scientist story by Christopher Neff called “Stop Calling Them Shark Attacks.” It’s misleading to call shark attacks “attacks,” Neff argued, because, despite what you might have seen in the movies, shark-on-human encounters are rarely the product of predation. “Modern research has shown,” Neff wrote, “that bites by sharks are often investigatory or defensive, taking place in cloudy water and out of curiosity.” By labeling these—well, let’s call them, shark “incidents”—attacks we make an already threatened species look like a bunch of man-hungry monsters.

This piece was already on our minds—Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, as you may have heard, is going on this week—when we came across an essay in the summer issue of Reclaim, a magazine for members of the New York City-based advocacy organization Transportation Alternatives. The piece, written by Aaron Naparstek, argues that many car accidents shouldn’t be called “accidents”—they should be called “manslaughter,” or, sometimes, “murder.”  

Naparstek is a visiting scholar in the department of urban studies and planning at MIT. Many car-on-people encounters, he writes, are the result of negligent drivers crashing their cars into other cars and people. Yet these car incidents, in which a driver is clearly at fault, are often reported as accidents.

Naparstek cites a 2006 New York Times news brief about five people who were mowed down by an SUV in Long Island. “The driver,” wrote the Times, “fled the scene of the accident.” Naparstek’s take on this reporting: “If, instead of car keys, the man had picked up a gun and shot five people, would the press and police have called that an ‘accident’ too?”

Naparstek further notes that, in New York City, car-on-pedestrian and car-on-bike collisions are investigated by something called the Accident Investigation Squad. “Death by motor vehicle,” Naparstek writes, “is an ‘accident’ before the investigators even get to what may very well be the scene of a crime.” He may be right. As Gothamist reported in February, last year cars killed 241 pedestrians or cyclists in New York City and only 17 drivers were charged criminally.  Words shape public perception and public perception can shape policy.

Will the language we use to describe these things ever change? It would take a real groundswell of support for the arguments made by Neff and Naparstek, which seems improbable. About a month ago, the media was filled with headlines trumpeting Great White “attacks” off the coast of Western Australia. When a 24-year-old surfer was killed in July—the fifth fatal shark incident in ten months—many called for a cull of the protected creatures. But were the sharks really responsible? As John G. West, the curator of the Australian Shark Attack File, told the BBC, the attacks coincided with “an increasing human population, more people visiting beaches, and a rise in the popularity of water sports.” What’s more, five shark-related deaths in one year is hardly an overwhelming figure. As West noted, about 87 Australians drown each year while simply swimming in the ocean.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Sometimes it's better to not read your new book.
But LOOK at it closely

Here's an important proofreading tip I discovered the hard way: after you've read your new masterpiece 183 times, sit a bit farther back from your computer screen and LOOK at the pages -- don't read them.

You'll probably be amazed at all of the errors you detect when you are not concerned with content, meaning and story-telling artistry.

I aim my eyes at the nine-o'clock position and make a clockwise scan on each page, but do what works best for you.

Check your book for these bloopers:
  1. Wrong typefaces, particularly when text is pasted-in from another source
  2. Commas that should be periods -- and vice versa
  3. Straight punctuation that should be curly "typographers' marks"
  4. Curlies that curl in the wrong direction
  5. Missing spaces between paragraphs or sections
  6. Bad justification in the last line of a page
  7. Chopped-off descenders where you decreased line spacing (leading) or if the bottom of a text box is too close to the text
  8. Wrong-size bullets
  9. Rivers
  10. Too-big word spacing
  11. Normal letters that should be ligatures (more for large type than in body text).
  12. Accidental spaces after bullets
  13. Improper hyphenation
  14. Roman text that should be italic, and vice versa
  15. Ignoring highlighted warnings in MS Word.
  16. Automatically accepting MS Word suggestions
  17. Gray text that should be black.
  18. Insufficient space adjacent to images
  19. Images or text boxes that floated over the margin.
  20. Images or text boxes that 'slid' down and covered up footers
  21. Missing periods at sentence ends
  22. Missing opening or closing quote marks.
  23. Periods that should be inside a closing parentheses -- or outside
  24. Repeated words
  25. Wrong headers, missing headers, switched verso and recto headers
  26. Subheads that are too close to the text above and too far from the text below
  27. Too much space between lines in a multi-line title, chapter name or subhead
  28. Pages with numbers that should not show numbers (blind folios)
  29. Words that shifted from the bottom of one page to the top of the next page
  30. And one that does require reading: chapter names in the table of contents that don't reflect a change made in the actual chapter name
  31. And another: chapters missing from the TOC.
  32. And another: a topic not in the index because you added something after completing the index
  33. And another: words that should have been deleted but were not, and may have accidentally been shifted into another part of a paragraph
(Eye photo from Microsoft. Thanks.)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Don't waste your advertising budget by being unprepared to deal with responses to your ads

A few months ago I started allowing Google to present mini ads on this blog. I make a few bucks. Sometimes I click on ads and discover worthwhile products and services. The ads are part of Google's "AdSense" program and are usually selected by the Google robot based on the websites that visitors to this blog have previously visited, or the content of this blog. Sometimes the ads are random.

I admit to being amused when ads are shown for Outskirts Press -- the company I most often criticize on this blog.

A recently noticed an ad for a blog promoting Tate Publishing. I've never used Tate and have no reason to think it's much better or worse than others in the field, so I clicked to follow the link. 

The blog was written by Dave Dolphin, "the Executive Director of Technology Solutions for both Tate Publishing and Tate Music Group. He has been with the company since the initial beginnings of both organizations and continues to be amazed at how fast they've grown. Dave oversees all projects that aid in making the company and its services better through technology."

I was surprised to find that there was no current blog posting, and not even one for this year. There were just two for the entire year of 2011, and just 18 for three previous years. Tate is paying money to direct potential customers to Dave's void. That's stupid.

We are in an extremely tumultuous and exciting era in publishing, yet Dave from Tate has almost nothing to say, and Tate foolishly spends money to show the world that it is ignoring its business.

At other times the Tate ad leads to a blog written by Tate's Executive Editor, Curtis Winkle. We're now in the second half of 2012, and Curt's most recent blog was posted in January. Curt posted just six times in 2011.

On another day, the Tate ad linked to the blog of Tate president, Ryan Tate. Like his employees, Ryan cares little about blogging or the benefits of advertising. His blog has just one entry for 2012, three in 2011 and five in 2010. 

Strangely, although Dave's and Curt's sparse blogs exist to promote Tate Publishing, there are no links from the blogs' home pages to the company's website. I'll do the job for Dave and Curt. Here's a link to Tate.

The Tate Company is anything but modest. It decrees that it is "AMERICA'S TOP PUBLISHER" but offers no explanation for its ranking.

Like much in business, it's sad and funny.