Tag Archives: printing

Word on the Street with Rosemary Van Deuren

Through my years in publishing, I have worked with some really great authors.  All of these authors approach self publishing with their own agenda and expertise.   Since the whole point of my blog and book is to look at the reality of self-publishing, I thought it would be nice to do a series of author interviews.  Welcome to ‘Word on the Street’.

My author interviews will consist of 6 questions about them, their book and their experience.  You will get the good, the bad and the ugly.  It is interesting to read the varying responses from each unique author.

Tell us about it, Rosemary Van Deuren,


Real Answer Real Authors: Why did you decide to publish?

Rosemary:  Because I hoped there was an audience out there for the story I wanted to tell.

RARA: What titles have you published to date?

Rosemary:  My young adult fantasy novel, Basajaun. I began with a short, print-on-demand experimental run, to gauge reader response. When the response was positive, I fortified the book as much as possible and went back to press for an offset-printing edition — a more fully-realized version of the book.

Rosemary Van Deuren book cover

RARA: How are you currently marketing your book and what has given you the best results?

Rosemary:  Positive words from legitimate, established review outlets are helpful. Grassroots marketing dictates that, on average, people need to hear about your book from around seven or eight different sources before they’ll make the jump to purchase or pursue your work. Word-of-mouth is the most elusive, yet the best marketing you can get. Low-risk merchandising can also help pique the curiosity of potential readers. It’s understandably difficult for anyone to commit to buy a novel by an unestablished author, so attractive, creative tie-in merch sold alongside your book helps supplement interest in the early stages.

RARA: Are there any books or websites that you have found the most useful?

Rosemary:  The AbsoluteWrite.com “Water Cooler” forum is a good resource. Whoever writes the tips and how-to’s on AgentQuery.com does an excellent job.  Learning to edit your own work is a huge asset, and Stephen King’s On Writing book offers some great examples of how writers can become better self-editors. Also, pretty much everything on author Philip Pullman’s Q & A archive is pure gold: http://www.philip-pullman.com/q_a.asp

RARA: What has been your greatest challenge in self publishing?

Rosemary:  Letting go of control. When you self-publish you become accustomed to doing everything yourself. It’s important to know when you need to step back and hire-out for the tasks that you, yourself, are not equipped to fulfill. For me, that meant hiring two amazing people — my editor Shawna Gore, and my cover painter Bernadette Carstensen.

RARA: What is the best advice or tip you can give a new and aspiring author?

Rosemary:  You have to want it enough to push yourself forward, because nobody else can do that for you. Even when you are fortunate enough to have loving, meaningful support around you, you are ultimately creating your work in a vacuum, alone. You have to be okay with that, especially in the face of rejection letters and long hours of isolation in front of a manuscript. You have to keep writing. Because the more you write, the more you prove to the world — and more importantly, to yourself — that you are not going to give up.



Rosemary Van Deuren was the arts and entertainment interviewer for idlermag.com when the website chosen by the Writer’s Guild of America West for The Hotlist: A Guide to the Web’s Most Cutting Edge New Media Content. She has interviewed author Peter S. Beagle, artist and author Wayne Barlowe, actors Neil Jackson and Mark Indelicato, and many more.

She was also the press release writer for Quarry Bridge, an art show featuring the works of film concept artist and effects art director TyRuben Ellingson, and environmental ceramicist Stephen Plantenberg. Van Deuren is author of the young adult fantasy, Basajaun. In spring of 2013, she signed with Mariposa Press for the American edition of Basajaun to be marketed and sold in France.

Basajaun can be purchased on Amazon.com. http://www.amazon.com/Basajaun-Rosemary-Van-Deuren/dp/0985852100



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Word on the Street with Michele Hinton

Through my years in publishing, I have worked with some really great authors. All of these authors approach self publishing with their own agenda and expertise. Since the whole point of my blog and book is to look at the reality of self-publishing, I thought it would be nice to do a series of author interviews. Welcome to ‘Word on the Street’.

My author interviews will consist of 6 questions about them, their book and their experience. You will get the good, the bad and the ugly. Not all real self publishing stories are full of rainbows and butterflies – it can suck sometimes too.

Tell us about it, Michele Hinton:

author photo
Real Answer Real Authors: Why did you decide to publish?

Michele: Being a new and unknown author, I tried for years to find a traditional publisher or agent for my manuscripts. Twenty years ago, vanity presses were outrageously expensive (I’d received a quote for $40,000.00 from one of them), so my work gathered dust in a drawer. Six years ago, I rediscovered print on demand publishers and gave it a try. It is still expensive, but a far cry from 20 years ago. Two of my novels became available through different websites, however, book stores would still not carry them on their shelves. That’s when I decide to publish my work on my own. I could format my own books and sell them through different venues on-line. I then decided that other new authors might be in the same boat that I was, so I expanded on my thoughts and now offer to publish the work of others (who are unable to publish on their own) as either ebook or paperback and distribute where I can without the high price charges that some of the major POD companies charge. I only charge when a book sells and then I split the royalties with my clients after expenses, which in some cases might be more than the 8% to 10% that traditional publishers would pay.

RARA: What titles have you published to date?

Michele: Books in Print written by Michele L. Hinton:
High Seas: The Cabin Boy
High Seas: A Matter of Blood
Tales with a Twist & Tales Totally Twisted
The Sin-Eater’s Daughter
Princess Courtney and the Magic Suit
Humpty-Dumpty: A Fractured Tale
Michael Smith (ebook only)
Joshua Pennwrite: Ghost Writer (ebook)

Books Written by my clients :

Beauregard Blue by Betty J. Rees
Bring Me a Blue Bird – by Brian Durski
Winds of Sand by Brian Durski
The Four Year Hitch by Roy Reichelt, Jr. (Coming Soon)
Dontay’s Alphabet Book of Color by Evelyn Hall
The Masks We Wear by Stacie Cooper
Secrets of Asian Women by Crystal Tai
A Field Where Memories Grow II by Joyce Lawhorn
The Confidence Box by Roy Reichelt, III
Poetry for the Mind by Debra Stephenson
The New Order by Charlie Thrun

Plus more

RARA: How are you currently marketing your book and what has given you the best results?

Michele: I’ve tried several local outlets: newspaper advertising, TV/website ads: Facebook; I have a book trailer for my book, The Sin-Eater’s Daughter;book fairs and events. Trying to find the right marketing tool is an uphill struggle with a limited budget.

RARA: Are there any books or websites that you have found the most useful?

Michele: Amazon Kindle has been my best venue, and I’ve had some sales through Smashwords as well as my own website, http://www.theseashellbooks.com

RARA: What has been your greatest challenge in self publishing?

Michele: The major challenge in self-publishing is finding a distributor that will be able to put books on book store shelves. Thus far, I am finding that unless you have hefty sales and a large bank account, finding a distributor or even getting into a major database is just as difficult as trying to find a traditional publisher/agent.

RARA: What is the best advice or tip you can give a new and aspiring author?

Michele: If you love to write, keep doing it. Have an open mind to suggestions made by other writers. You might find their words helpful. In these days and times, if you can’t find traditional means of publication, do it yourself. If you don’t have the technical skills to do it yourself, there are publishers out there, like me, who can give you a chance for your work to get out there.


Michele Hinton was born in Louisville, Kentucky and now resides in Bowling Green. She was married in 2007 for the first time at the tender age of 50. She holds a 4th degree black belt in Taekwondo and taught for many years (retired). Currently Michele is working on her Bachelor’s Degree and is expected to graduate in Oct. 2013. She won awards for her poetry from Mid-Continent University’s creative writing competitions. This year she won 1st place for her poem, Nature’s Serenade and will have several other poems published in their review magazine this year. Michele also started her own publishing company in 2008 and caters to the new author.

“Writing is my passion,” Michele says. Her newest books are The Sin-Eater’s Daughter, a novel, and a fully illustrated children’s book, Princess Courtney and the Magic Suit. Within the next few weeks, she will be launching an autobiography by Roy Reichelt, Jr. entitled, The Four Year Hitch on her website, www.theseashellbooks.com and it will also be available on Amazon and through Smashwords.

cover photo


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Still Don’t Have An eBook?


When I started working in book publishing, eBooks were not around just yet.   When they did come around, everyone was very curious and maybe a little scared (especially those who rely on people buying print!).   What exactly is an eBook and how is it different than a regular digital file – like a pdf?

Well, first off – eBook is short for ‘electronic book’.  You would create an eBook to be read on electronic devices like computers or eReaders (Kindle, Nook, iPad and so on).   This works best with text based documents.  The conversion basically puts all this text into one seamless page.   Your end user will have the freedom (on their reader) to adjust the text to their liking – big, small, blue, whatever.

You can have a document with charts, graphs, images etc converted to an eBook file too.  These elements are usually captured as a ‘flat image’ in the document.   This is to prevent things from being jumbled on a reader.  For instance, a chart has to be an ‘image’ otherwise it will look all funky when someone is minimizing or maximizing on their eReader screen.   You don’t want loose text in the chart just running all over the page and looking wonky – now do you?    Jumbled, Funky, Wonky = BAD.

When eBooks started to gain popularity, everyone wanted to invent an eReader device – it was the hot new item.  This caused a problem because they all required different formats – which was a super PITA when trying to do the conversion on your book.  For instance, you couldn’t open the same file on an iPad as you could the Nook.  Eventually, everyone got smart and the ePub file emerged as the universal format to these readers.  Except for Amazon of course…  They like to be special and require their own format – mobi.


There are companies out there that can do the conversion for you.  You provide a file (like a word or pdf) and they will send you the ePub and Mobi format – for a small or large fee.  Your price will depend on how many pages, images, links etc – basically the complexity of the book determines the price.   I had my conversion done by www.eBooks2go.com.    If you have a more complicated file, it would be best to let a professional handle this for you.  They will create a nice TOC and have everything link back and forth and make the eBook file very user friendly.  Professionals like eBooks2go also offer distribution to various online stores like Amazon, iTunes and B&N.

For the sake of comparison (and for my blog), I tried Smashwords to convert as well.   An author mentioned Smashwords in my book and once I learned more about it, I was intrigued – mostly because of their distribution options.   I was not too impressed with the look of their website.  It is very easy to navigate and self explanatory but it was a bit plain and ho-hum.   The creator of Smashwords also published books relating to the site.  These books are tutorials on using the site to the full extent, setting up files correctly and marketing your book through Smashwords – genius.

Anyway, this site has a free converter.   I would only recommend this for basic docs with just text.   Although the conversion is free, it can garner up some frustrations.  I have my doc uploaded to their site now and it is currently being ‘reviewed’ for their premium catalog.   The premium catalog consists of numerous distribution channels and libraries.   This is what I find fascinating about Smashwords.  The more wheels you have out their cranking away, the better – especially with little to no effort from you (the author).  Some people call this lazy, I call it efficient.   You want to have as many channels as you possibly can feeding the beast because that is what it’s all about – exposure and sales.


Many people ask me what to price their book.  Honest answer – I have no idea.  It is up to the author to research similar books and see what people are paying and why.  Always leave room for discounts and promotions to build interest and always have a call to action (2 days only – 25% off).   On Smashwords, you have a personal dashboard and can add coupons and do sampling.  A sampling would be letting people download 15 or 20% of the book at no cost.  This can get them to buy the book when they otherwise would have not.  It is a good idea to play around with this and see what works.  I will have mine on Smashwords for 99 cents at first.   Personally, I will always buy something I find the slightest bit interesting when it is just a buck – most other people will too.  It is much easier to get $1 from 5000 people then $10 from 500 people.

Unfortunately, everyone will want a piece of the pie and why not – you are using these channels to sell the book so they want a cut.   And yes, they are all different.  Here is an example of some fees.  The company distributing it (like Smashwords or eBooks2go) will also take 10-15% for managing the accounts.  Not a bad deal really when you do nothing.  Hopefully it results in a check coming to you every quarter.

           Amazon B&N Apple
$1-2.99  65%   60%   30%
$3-9.99  30%   35%   30%
$10-199 65%   60%   30%

As a publisher, it is important to provide your readers with options.   The printed book will never go away but the younger generations are all about the devices now.  I can’t really judge – we have plenty lying around the house too.

Check out my previous blogs on press releases and working with a printer.  If you are not following, just click the follow button on the right hand side to be emailed when new blogs are posted.

As always, I appreciate any comments, suggestions or feedback. If you have a blog topic you want me to cover – send it over.

…and in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night.

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Filed under Book Marketing, Book Media, Distribution, eBooks, Self Publishing Author

The Nitty Gritty on Press Releases

So now that my book will be launching very soon (August 1), I need to let everyone know about it.  How do I write the release?  Who is going to care about my little book?  Where do I send it?   Well, as it turns out – there are tons of places to send it…and for FREE!   Did I mention FREE!?!  I don’t know about you but that makes me happy.  I always stick to doing free first.  Make a few bucks and then look at investing it back into your business (your book).  I did quite a bit of research on press releases and found some good info and templates to help guide me.

WHAT?  A press release is an official statement of a news story intended for newspapers, journalists and other media.  The media uses this release and makes it known to the public.

WHO?  You – yes, you the author must do a press release.  You can also hire someone to do it and the cost could range from $100-500.  I think it is a good idea to have a professional review this for you.  Journalists will be turned off immediately if there are misspellings, etc. and it appears unprofessional.  At least have a professional editor take a glance.  Your printer usually has someone on staff or go to a local writing chapter.  There are ALWAYS editors there.

WHEN? It is best to distribute the release when the book is ready to launch and then periodically after that for more exposure.  Maybe re-write and try it again 2 months later.  Some would argue there is no good time of day but most of the research says that early in the week and early in the day. Don’t send at 8 am on weekdays – make it more like 9-10 am.  Your release will get lost in the email abyss if it is sent too early.   Don’t send over the weekend for obvious reasons.

HOW?  I discovered quite a few good samples and templates online.  There are 4 major parts of a release: 1) Headline, 2) Summary Statement, 3) Main Body, 4) Biographical Info.  I liked the simple layout of this template: Press-Release-Template.  Also search online for sample book press releases if you need to brainstorm and get ideas or motivation.

WHERE? Again, always start with free first but don’t think that quantity is better than quality.  No one wants to be a habitual spammer of releases.  Personally, I will send to all the free sites but then dig into local media and send to appropriate
sources and get the quality too.  This will take time and effort but will be worthwhile.  Tweak the release to fit the personality of different journalists, maybe a personal note as well wouldn’t hurt.   Let them know why the release is important to them – but only in 2-3 sentences (not paragraphs).  Plan to email this and put the release in the body.  Don’t attach a pdf.  Journalists will not open because of time and fear of a virus.  If you plan on faxing it then you need to put your floppy discs and Jane Fonda VHS tapes in the trash and join us in 2013.

Here is a list of places to start:

  1. Your website – FREE
  2. Local Newspapers/Radio channels – FREE
  3. PRLog.com – FREE
  4. Link to 50 other places to distribute release – FREE http://www.avangate.com/community/resources/article/press-release-distribution.htm
  5. PRWeb.com – NOT FREE (I did start an account to inquire and they have contacted me by phone and email since – good follow up.  Also heard they are good to work with)
  6. Mass Media Distribution – NOT FREE
  7. 24-7 Press Release – NOT FREE

WHY? Uh, so people know about your book and you sell more copies.  That’s pretty much it.

So in a nutshell….


  1. Do have it edited or a professional help you.
  2. Do make it newsy – bring out the expert in you and be the source they need to talk to.
  3. Do send it out amongst all free release sites.  Also be specific and target certain journalists that will be prone to writing about your topic.  Tweak your press release to fit that journalist or publication.
  4. Do seek out newspaper/radio media – start with local media first.
  5. Do get to the point.  Keep the release brief and no longer than one page.
  6. Do follow a template to make sure your release is done correctly and you provide proper info.
  7. Do keep it in the 3rd person.
  8. Do try and try again.  Sending out releases is like going fishing – sometimes they bite and sometimes they don’t.


  1. Don’t use crazy fonts.
  2. Don’t start release with headline in all caps/bold/underlined.  Capitalize the heading like you would a title for a book.
  3. Don’t send pdf attachment of the release.
  4. Don’t just send the release to any person you know with an email.

I hope that helps everyone with press releases.  It is not something you have to hire a big expensive PR firm to do.  It can easily be put together and be cost efficient.  It is an important step in self publishing your book and letting the public know.

Check out my previous blogs on prelaunch marketing, cover/manuscript setup and working with a printer.  If you are not following, just click the follow button on the right hand side to be emailed when new blogs are posted.

As always, I appreciate any comments, suggestions or feedback. If you have a blog topic you want me to cover – send it over.

…and in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night.


Filed under Book Marketing, Book Media, Book Printing, Self Publishing Author

Maximize Your Social Media – Easily

I know that I said the whole social media thing is a bit boring and a total time suck but I have been having some fun with it.  I think once you start to see results it gets you more excited.  You just have to get over the hump.

My first social media blog was about setting up basic accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.   I was getting distraught on the thought of having to post everyday and be consistent.  But then, along came Hoot suite.  I had heard of these social media ‘platforms’ and then started to really look into what they have to offer.   Let me just say – it is A-MA-ZING!

I researched a few of these systems and some are setup more for individuals.   Hoot suite seemed to be the best fit for me.  You can add all your social media streams (or accounts) and view simultaneously.  The program is free for up to 5 social media accounts – so you can do Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and one more for no monthly charge.  I am a member of quite a few author groups on Facebook so I upgraded to 9.99/month pro plan to have 50 social media ‘accounts’.  Each ‘group’ I belonged to on face book counts as 1 social media ‘account’.

When I posted a blog, I found myself going to each group on Facebook, then my Twitter, then my LinkedIn, etc.  This was very time consuming and I would end up getting distracted with screaming children in the process.  Well, the most awesome thing about Hoot suite is that you can compose a message (or blog, whatever) and include all (or some – your choice) of your social media accounts and post to them at one time.  And get this – you can SCHEDULE the posts too. This is what gets me so excited (I know I am kind of a loser if this makes me excited, but anyway…).  Anything that helps me manage my time better I absolutely love.  So now on the weekend I will get all my posts for the week and schedule accordingly.   You can be more consistent and almost tell a story with your posts.   The best time to post is between 10am-2pm so just schedule them for that time of day.

Hoot suite also features reports and analytics.  Once you really start to get some traction, these tools are super helpful.  They will help to show trends, what links are being clicked, what messages get the most views, etc.  It is nice to start seeing results and feel like the time you are spending engaging with your social media is really paying off.  This program helps to put everything right in front of me so I give it 2 thumbs up.

Check out my previous blogs on prelaunch marketing, cover/manuscript setup and working with a printer.  If you are not following, just click the follow button on the right hand side to be emailed when new blogs are posted.

As always, I appreciate any comments, suggestions or feedback. If you have a blog topic you want me to cover – send it over.

…and in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night.


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Working with a Printer can Suck

Yes, I work with a printing/publishing company and have for 7 or so years.  I think of all my blogs, this one I can really give my two cents on and feel more like the ‘expert’.  However, I can still empathize for my authors because printers can be tough and very hard to understand.  I get it ….and hopefully you will too once you read my blog.

The very first thing(s) you need to decide are the following:

  1. Budget – how much money do you have to spend and have you really thought about all the expenses (setup, editing, proofing, printing, shipping, marketing materials….)?
  2. Commitment – is this something that you want as a side gig to show a few friends or do you plan to hit it pretty hard with signings, speaking engagements, marketing, etc?
  3. Expertise – how much do you really know about marketing your book?
  4. Motivation – have you had your towels in the washer for 4 days now?

There are different types of printers as well and they all serve different purposes:

  1. POD – This stands for print on demand.  Digital printing equipment is used.  Digital printers are just fancy copiers with way more bells and whistles.   It is awesome that people can print just one book at a time these days – who would of thought.  POD printers are normally all online.  You do not usually get to speak to a live person.  They can often be higher in price and there can be limitations on what you can do.  You will get super frustrated with POD if you are unfamiliar with getting files ready to print and if you are not too computer savvy.  POD is great if you are the type of person who gets things done at 3am and you know what you are doing.
  2. Short Run Digital Printing – POD also uses digital printing equipment but there are companies that specialize in more of the ‘short run’ digital printing.  These are the mid-level market guys and are perfect for first time authors.   Short Run Digital Printers require a minimum order of books like 25 or 50 and will print up to 500 efficiently.  They can usually give you a better price per book since you are ordering more than 1 at a time.  You will have a more personal connection to the company.  They will review the files and come back to you when there are issues and some setup is required.
  3. Offset/Traditional Publishing – this type of printing is only efficient for runs of 1000+ typically.  This is the old timey method where plates are made and the plates ‘stamp’ the paper.  Offset printers use ink.  Digital printers use toner.  Most people don’t care about this but some do.  The presses take time to setup which is why it does not make sense to do a short run.   You will still get a personal connection with the company.  You will receive a much lower cost per book.   They will also review your files and come back with any issues, etc.  This is what authors will graduate too once they are successful in marketing their book.  Just be sure and have space for storage.  A good space that is BIG and not damp or humid – 1000 books can be like 30-40 boxes.  That’s a lot of boxes.

So once you have decided on the above you want to start connecting with that type of printer for estimates.  Printing companies can be intimidating because we have our own language.  We start to throw terms out to you like perfect binding, duplex, trim size, bleed and you start to feel dizzy and want to hang up.  Personally, I can tell instantly if an author is new to the process by the first things they ask or say.  That helps me to steer the conversation in the right direction.  It will be important to connect to the sales person or printer so you fully understand what you are buying and they fully understand your expectations.  This can be difficult.  I would suggest the following:

  1. Review or google print terms you do not understand.  I have put together a list here: Printionary.
  2. Send or give the printer a physical sample of what you want.  This could be on paper type, a design, layout or binding style.
  3. Talk to more than one printer.
  4. Talk to other authors on their experiences.

When I gather information from an author to get an accurate quote, these are the specs I would ask for:

  1. Title of Book:
  2. Quantity to print:
  3. Trim size (height and width of finished book):
  4. Number of pages:
  5. Is the interior b/w or color:
  6. Any paper preference or standard:
  7. Binding style (click here for sample images)
  8. Will you require an ISBN or barcode:
  9. Do you need layout or formatting:

From this information, I can get the most accurate proposal together.  When you go to several printers for estimates, be sure and have the same specs quoted so you can compare apples to apples.  Granted, I do not believe that the lowest price is the best option.   When you buy cheap – you usually get cheap. There are many other things to consider like customer service, turnaround time, additional services available, location etc.

90% of files are sent incorrectly!  Ask the printer how they need files setup to print and what their process is.  Every printer should give you some guidelines on this.  I have attached a sample here: MIRA Preparing Files.   Authors often get annoyed when printers come back with issues and need to have them fixed or charge a small fee.  Unfortunately someone has to do the work and if they are on payroll – we have to charge the customer.   It can get rather expensive to make a lot of changes and send new files throughout the proofing stages.  All files have to be setup a certain way so to avoid extra charges – make sure you are at a stopping point.  The good thing about digital is you can print a small amount, find mistakes and correct them, and then print another small amount.

I hope that you have learned a bit about the ‘Other Side’.  Printers are not so bad I guess.  Check out my previous blogs on prelaunch marketing, cover/manuscript setup and social media.  If you are not following, just click the follow button on the right hand side to be emailed when new blogs are posted.

As always, I appreciate any comments, suggestions or feedback. If you have a blog topic you want me to cover – send it over.

…and in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night.









Filed under Book Printing, Self Publishing Author

ISBN# and Barcodes – Never pay for a barcode again!

I guess I have to blog about boring stuff like ISBN#’s and Barcodes too. They are not nearly as fun to talk about as cover design and marketing – but I got to do it. Most people will need to buy an ISBN # for their book. I say ‘most’ because I have seen people who only want to print 25 books for a family reunion or something and I don’t think it is necessary in that situation. Some people may disagree. If you want to sell your book in a retail setting, you definitely need an ISBN. Most places will not accept your book w/o one and it will look unprofessional.

Bowker is the US ISBN agency. They are the source for ISBNs. You can purchase the # at www.bowker.com. Just go to Products and Services/Identifier Services/ISBN. You can buy one for $125 or a lot of 10 for $250. If you do more books, it makes sense to invest in the 10. It is super important to have a different number for each format too. So if you have an eBook, a printed soft cover and a hard cover – that would require 3 ISBNs.

An ISBN is a 10 and 13 digit number for your unique book. The reason it is so important is because this is how your book is cataloged in the thousands and thousands of books out there. Once you purchase the ISBN#, you will need to register it correctly. When Mira Publishing provides ISBNs to authors, we have asked for a form like this (ISBN Registration Form) to be filled out. The registration is essential because it places you properly in www.booksinprint.com. This is a database of all books – where libraries, publishers, bookstores, etc will go to search the marketplace for titles. You want to make sure you are on there and that your book is registered properly. Be sure to register each # for each format – eBook and print. You will also need an ISBN for other products such as audio books, DVD, CD, etc.

Bowker seems to have jumped on this author services bandwagon like every other Joe on the street. I noticed a service for submitting your manuscript to publishers for $99. I have seen services like this numerous times and I think they are bogus. I don’t have the money (like most new authors) to try every single one of these services from various publishers/printers so I guess you have to decide if it is worth it yourself. If you find one that works, definitely let me know! In my opinion, once they have your money they don’t give a crap. You have to consider the return on your investment too. ROI is a real thing and now that your book is your business, then you have to consider – If you spend $400 on some product to get exposure or whatever then how many books do you have to sell to break even at best? After printing cost, editing, and the service fee – maybe you have to sell 150 books. Well, that doesn’t sound very appealing to me. We will talk more about this with marketing blogs but cannot stress enough good old fashioned grass roots.

Anyway, so on to barcodes. The barcode is generated from your ISBN#. When you have your book in a store, they will scan this barcode and it will keep track of inventory and sales. You can also put a price in the barcode if you wish – some people leave price blank if they are unsure. The barcode needs placed on your back cover. The proper size of a barcode at 100% is 1.469” wide x 1.02” high. This can fluctuate a little smaller or larger if needed. The proper placement of the barcode would be 3/8” from the bottom and 3/8” from the spine. This is recommended but not mandatory. In the self publishing world – I have seen barcodes all over the place and every size. Being a self-publisher, you can really do whatever you want with your book. If you want to appear more professional though, I say stick to what is recommended.

Barcodes usually cost about $25. This is my gift to you for reading this whole boring blog on ISBN#’s and barcodes. Never pay for a barcode again! Here is a super easy link to get a barcode yourself online: http://bookcovers.creativindie.com/free-online-isbn-barcode-generator/. All you do is put your ISBN# in and a price (if desired) and BAM – you got yourself a barcode. They will ask if you want a pdf or an .eps file. You can send this barcode file directly to your printer and they can place on book cover – usually for no charge. Be sure to scan and test barcode before printing!

Check out my previous blogs on cover and manuscript setup. If you are not following, just click the follow button on the right hand side to be emailed when new blogs are posted. My next ones will be about social media and getting your copyright.

As always, I appreciate any comments, suggestions or feedback. If you have a blog topic you want me to cover – send it over.

…and in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night.


Filed under Book Printing, Self Publishing Author

Prelaunch Marketing – great idea!

The point of my blog is to note my progress and what I know and have researched about self-publishing. I don’t want this to become just facts and information that I get from other books or online. I really intend to keep this on a personal level – and keep in mind that this is what I am doing. Others have probably done different, better or worse. Just sayin’.

So now what am I doing? Well, I am really focusing on the pre-launch stuff. There seems to be so much to do and every time you talk to someone, you get another idea and add it to your list. I have attached my ‘to-do’ list so far. Just click here: To Do What I have highlighted, is already done. The list grows everyday and by the time I post this again, it will be twice as long – guaranteed. I will be the first to admit, this isn’t a very good system but at least it is a system. You need something to keep you focused and moving forward. I promise to develop a checkpoint of some kind for my authors so you feel like you have a handle on things.

My pre-launch consists of first – creating a website and blog. You have to direct people somewhere once you get their attention so a website has to be first. I went to wordpress because Mira (my work) had used it and I felt a bit more comfortable. There are other options for blogs and free sites (godaddy, blogspot, etc). I will actually be blogging about setting up a blog. LOL. Definitely start with what is free. You can get to all that fancy stuff later once you have made a few bucks.

Social Media – Wow. I have 2 small kids, a full time job and now this book. Who has time for this social media stuff? I am lucky to flip through facebook at 9pm for 10 minutes before I fall asleep. Anyway, this is the most challenging for me, by far. I have done the following (and will get more in depth with social media once I figure them all out) – Linkedin, facebook, twitter, reddit, tumbler and digg. I know nothing about reddit, tumbler and digg. Luckily, my brother is one of those guys that read a lot of articles about anything and everything so he is a pro with this site. I handed this job over to him so let’s see how it goes. I know that on my blog I instantly saw about 9 hits come through reddit. He also said that people see things on this site way before facebook and other sources. The point of this rant was – don’t be afraid to ask for help!

I have also done the layout on postcards and business cards. They need to look similar to your book cover – same colors, fonts etc. This is what building your brand is all about. You have started a business now with your book, so treat it like one. You should always keep business cards and postcards on hand. Leave them anywhere you can w/o being too obnoxious. Don’t be afraid to spread the word. There will always be opposition to your success. Most great people faced this when they started. Ignore the haters and move on.
This is getting long so I will end on that note.

There are many other things to do pre-launch and that is all based around the genre and nature of your book. Be sure to check out my previous manuscript and cover blogs – just look to your right under ‘recent posts’. My next few blogs will be on ISBN, barcodes, LOC and copyright. Be sure and hit the little follow button on the top left of your screen.

As always, I appreciate any comments, suggestions or feedback. If you have a blog topic you want me to cover – send it over.

…and in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night.


Filed under Book Marketing


I will be the first one to admit that I should of created a blog the minute I had the idea.   That way I could record all the brainstorming and back and forth that I have done – and there has been a lot.  I have already done a bit of work with the book so I am going to backtrack a bit.  As previously noted, I am not a writer or an editor – you have been warned!

So my book is about marketing tips from authors (hence real answers from real authors).  I have collected what I feel is the best 60 tips to compile into one manuscript.  The very first thing you want to do is size your word document to the intended trim size of the book.  Trim size = height and width of finished book.  If you don’t have any idea, first Google most common trim sizes.  Or you can go to your bookshelf with a ruler.  Either way, you should come up with your answer.

So in word, go to page setup/paper/size and there you can put in the height and width and adjust margins.  Margins are good at about .5-.75″.  Okay so after that little step, I start to copy and paste each tip onto its own page (don’t worry – each author will get credit for their tip).  Since my page is already sized to my trim size, I know exactly the space I need to work within.

One thing you don’t want to do in word is be space bar happy.  This can screw with a lot of things – especially if you have someone helping you with formatting or editing.  I would suggest a simple tab if needed.

FONTS.  So many fonts, so little time.  What I did is take a paragraph, copy and paste multiple times into one separate document and then start changing each paragraph to a different font.  Always, always pick a serif font for easy reading.  Serif fonts have the little tails.  This is why everyone and their dog likes Times New Roman – although there are others out there that bear just as much as TNR but are a bit of the underdog in the font world.  I like Garamond and Palatino personally.  Anyway, sans serif fonts are good for titles because they are straight and more bold – this is more like Arial or Century Gothic.  So pick a font that gives you the warm and fuzzies and move on.  2 fonts total, 3 tops.  You don’t want to get font crazy – it’s confusing.

Font size – every font is a bit different in size even at the same point size.  I don’t know why everything has to be so complicated, but you will need to play with that too.  10-12pt is good.  14pt maybe for our older folk.

One thing that is a real PITA with word is adding page numbers to a document.  This I had to look up.  Instead of me re-typing all of this, here is a nice link: http://www.mirasmart.com/printing/publishing/how-to/how-to-insert-page-numbers-in-microsoft-word/

I realize that this blog is getting long so I will end on that note.  Will have more coming on manuscript and next up…cover design.


Filed under Book Layout, Uncategorized

Jumping In

Today I realize how important it is to involve other authors in the beginning stages of my self-publishing journey.  I was going to only blog about my book and how to market my book but I thought – that would be silly.  Why not start at the VERY beginning.  That way you all can see the trials and tribulations I encounter with preparing the manuscript, doing my cover, copyright, LOC, uploading to POD, printing, distribution, eBooks….the list goes on and on.  Boy it is overwhelming.  I find myself constantly thinking about everything I need to do and the order I need to do them.

The first thing to think about obviously is what are you going to write about and who is going to want to read it?  Well, I was a little lucky because my audience was right in front of my face the whole time.  I went out and asked all my authors what their best piece of advice or selling tip would be for a new author.  I received a great response from my authors and they were so supportive.  So I poured over many of these responses and picked 60 for the first volume.  The next blog will be about putting together my manuscript and dealing with Microsoft Word…Ugh.




Filed under Self Publishing Author