Making self-publishing exciting and profitable

Ages ago, my first teaching gig was at a university. I did not teach students. I taught faculty and staff.

One of the courses I taught was PageMaker. A number of faculty wanted to publish their workbooks and textbooks. But, paying someone to publish them wasn’t practical.

So faculty would attend. Or, they would send their clerical staff who would actually be the people typing, doing layout and actually getting words on paper. At that time, the campus print shop was the usual option. Not pretty, but it got the job done.

I’m excited to see Glasstree Academic Publishing come into being. They offer what all those instructors needed: well-crafted original textbooks.

This is also a boon for anyone interested in creating print products for academia. Your skills are needed. Work with faculty who provide content. You edit. You do layout.

Bonus

There is a bonus to Glasstree. They pay 70% royalties. That’s a LOT.

Academic publishing is going to be a bit different than publishing a novel. There is a different process.

Selling academic textbooks may not seem like an exciting field. But, this is a seller’s dream. The average textbook sells for nearly $100 each. Multiply that times the number of students in your class who are required to buy that textbook. Now calculate 70% of that income. You keep that. Well, the author keeps it. They may have to pay for editorial staff, artwork and other services. But, this still stands to be a higher profit than any other kind of publishing.

And, there is a captive audience. Every time someone signs up for your class—cha-ching. You just sold another textbook.

Time is running out. “Glasstree is currently in a limited free trial period until December 31, 2016. During this time, authors can publish as many titles as desired, free of charge, receiving a range of complimentary services.”

Take a look. Give it a test run. Now, THIS is exciting!

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Self-publishing: hat #6

Every self-publisher wears six hats. Six. It’s not an option. That’s how it is.

  1. Writer
  2. Editor
  3. Graphics
  4. Technical Layout Designer
  5. Marketing
  6. Coordinator

Even if you plan to provide self-publishing services for others, you need to know the process. You need to wear six hats.

Hat #1: Writer

Hat #2: Editor

Hat #3: Graphics

Hat #4: Technical Layout Designer

Hat #5: Marketing

Hat #6: Coordinator

There is a sixth hat that is more important than the other five. This hat sits on the head of the coordinator.

Someone has to keep track of the details. Someone needs to keep the projects rolling while adhering to print specs.

Work flow

Someone needs to manage the work flow. What is your revision process?

Are you familiar with digital commenting? Perhaps, more importantly, is your client familiar with Track Changes? Are you prepared to teach them?

Meeting print requirements

Each self-publishing company has specific requirements for color mode, pixel rate, alignment, fonts and book layout. Some companies allow for full-bleed, while others do not. There is a myriad of book layouts print sizes, paper weight and cover options.

Someone needs to confirm that graphic resolution is appropriate. If it is not, don’t take short cuts.

Defining Done

Before you begin, define how you will know when you are done.

How many revisions will you make for free? What action marks a project done? What would constitute a new project, versus reasonable revisions of the initial project?

Contracts

If you agree to create a photo book of images you photographed or graphics you created, who owns them? Can your client sell them? Can they reprint them? Can they give them to other people to reprint? Or, do you have a contract entitling you to royalties if the images are duplicated?

Who owns your book? What does the self-publisher say? Do you retain the right to re-publish elsewhere? Can you publish the same book in digital format?

A contract is essential. It can be simple. But, it needs to be thorough.

Sometimes the contract just needs to be with you. You need a deadline. You need commitments to each of the Six Hats whether you wear them all yourself or subcontract to others.

Six hats. One book. Let me show you how.

Register now. I’ll see you on January 26.

Writing. Let’s do this thing.

 

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Self-publishing: hat #5

Every self-publisher wears six hats. Six. It’s not an option. That’s how it is.

  1. Writer
  2. Editor
  3. Graphics
  4. Technical Layout Designer
  5. Marketing
  6. Coordinator

Even if you plan to provide self-publishing services for others, you need to know the process. You need to wear six hats.

Hat #1: Writer

Hat #2: Editor

Hat #3: Graphics

Hat #4: Technical Layout Designer

Hat #5: Marketing

Marketing begins before the project takes shape. Whether you are marketing your skills to clients or whether you plan to self-publish and sell a book, you need to market.

Who is your customer? How do you reach them? What are their expectations?

You will get lost on the internet. Finding your niche, your customer base, your outlet is a challenge for anyone. Reportedly, a year ago, in February of 2016, it was announced that only 40 self-published authors “make money.

Most self-publishers do not have $70,000, like Meredith Wild, to invest in a full-fledged marketing campaign. Most self-publishers manage their own marketing.

Regardless, you need a marketing campaign. You need a plan. Only in the movies can you build it and people will come.

CONCLUSION

Six hats. One book. Let me show you how.

Next time …Coordinator

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Self-publishing: hat #4

Every self-publisher wears six hats. Six. It’s not an option. That’s how it is.

  1. Writer
  2. Editor
  3. Graphics
  4. Technical Layout Designer
  5. Marketing
  6. Coordinator

Even if you plan to provide self-publishing services for others, you need to know the process. You need to wear six hats.

Hat #1: Writer

Hat #2: Editor

Hat #3: Graphics

Hat #4: Technical Layout Designer

The technical layout designer is the one who makes it all look pretty and function well for the reader. There are specific parts to a book. Readers expect to see those parts. The designer incorporates text, graphics and photographs to build a book.

The one rule most people break is the rule that stipulates whether the first page of a book needs to be on the right, or the left. Yes, it does matter. One new self-publisher on the scene forces your book to begin on the correct page, regardless of whether you created it to do so, or not.

That matters. That matters tremendously.

Moving the first page, either forward or backward, one page, means all your layout will be in mirror image when the book is printed. Your page numbers will be on the “wrong” side of the page. Pages you have left blank intentionally in order to keep your pagination attractive, will suddenly be on the wrong side.

Graphic Layout

Once you have graphics, put your Designer hat on. Where do graphics go? How do you make text wrap around an image? What graphics resolution does the printer need? What graphics mode do they require?

Page Layout

Publishing companies provide you with a template. But, a savvy designer quickly learns to understand and adapt the template to create a beautiful book. Making those adaptations requires unique computer skills.

Layout includes choosing fonts and embedding them. It requires a keen understanding of fonts and font decoration, deciding what margins to use, how many spaces equal a tab, and so much more.

Never select text and change the font.

Never use menus to apply fonts, font sizes, font colors, font styles, paragraph or alignment, or lists.

Always apply styles instead.

And, then when you are done, save your template and copyright it. Protect your work.

CONCLUSION

Six hats. One book. Let me show you how.  Register today.

Next time …Marketing

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Self-publishing: hat #3

Every self-publisher wears six hats. Six. It’s not an option. That’s how it is.

  1. Writer
  2. Editor
  3. Graphics
  4. Technical Layout Designer
  5. Marketing
  6. Coordinator

Even if you plan to provide self-publishing services for others, you need to know the process. You need to wear six hats.

 

Hat #3: Graphics

Most books need some kind of graphics. If nothing else, the cover needs some sort of visual design. A book should look good, inside and out.

You have two choices. You can create images yourself, or you can use someone else’s graphics.

Either way, graphics need to be copyrighted and that copyright needs to be embedded in your images. This is true whether you create the images, buy them, or use free ones. The copyright information explains who can copy—and reuse–your images. Each image needs to be copyrighted and uploaded along with your publishing package.

This information needs to be embedded into every graphic you use. It is what protects your images, or grants you permission to use someone else’s images.

 

 NEVER copy and paste an image into a document. NEVER drag an image into your book. Always use Place (Adobe) or Insert (Office).

CONCLUSION

Six hats. One book. Let me show you how.

Next time …Designer

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The Four-Letter Code to Selling Just About Anything

This from the Atlantic.

“…consumers are torn between two opposing forces: neophilia, a curiosity about new things; and neophobia, a fear of anything too new. As a result, they gravitate to products that are bold, but instantly comprehensible. Loewy called his grand theory “Most Advanced Yet Acceptable”—maya. He said to sell something surprising, make it familiar; and to sell something familiar, make it surprising.”

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Self-publishing: hat #2

Every self-publisher wears six hats. Six. It’s not an option. That’s how it is.

  1. Writer
  2. Editor
  3. Graphics
  4. Technical Layout Designer
  5. Marketing
  6. Coordinator

Even if you plan to provide self-publishing services for others, you need to know the process. You need to wear six hats.

Hat #1: Writer

Hat #2: Editor

Spellchecking is not editing. It is just that. Spellchecking. That is something your computer does. Editing requires human interaction.

An editor ensures that your message flows. They fact-check for you. They know rules of writing like when to use specific characters and how to create them. If you don’t know the difference between a hyphen and an em dash and en dash, you need to hone your editing skills or hire an editor.

Add to the mix the fact that every field follows a specific style of formatting. That style has to be followed in every instance. The final product will be judged by your reader and by retailers debating over whether they should carry your book. If you are not familiar with the various style manuals and when to apply each one, you need to hire an editor.

If you didn’t know your word processing software can do this or if you have never seen this menu, then you need to attend my upcoming workshop, Learn to Self-Publish Like a Pro.

A good editor is your guide to safe travels. They can prevent you from making embarrassing mistakes.

 

“Great minds think alike” is a common quote. But, most people don’t know that is not the complete quote. The rest of it is, “…and Fools never differ.” You might want to think twice before using that quote as a compliment!

CONCLUSION

Six hats. One book. Let me show you how.

Next time …Hat #3: Graphics

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Self-publishing: put your six hats on

Every self-publisher wears six hats. Six. It’s not an option. That’s how it is.

  1. Writer
  2. Editor
  3. Graphics
  4. Technical Layout Designer
  5. Marketing
  6. Coordinator

Even if you plan to provide self-publishing services for others, you need to know the process. You need to wear six hats.

Hat #1: Writer

Books usually have words. Sometimes the message is pure graphics like a coloring book, an art book or a photo book.

You still need to write the bits that make up a book. There is text for the cover. There is even more text for a dust jacket. There is copyright text.

There are specific styles to writing every kind of text. Adhere to the basic rules, and you can get your book into bookstores. Ignore rules and stores may decline to carry a book you have self-published and customers may reject it.

Your book will begin as a text file. According to the U.S. Copyright Office, copyright law automatically protects your original document from the moment you create it in a tangible form. But who are “you”? You need to embed your identity in the document.

Embed your identification into every text file. Your words belong to you. But, you need to embed your identification within the file, connecting that file to you.

 

CONCLUSION

Six hats. One book. Let me show you how.

Next time …Hat #2: Editor

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Learn to Self-Publish Like a Pro

In January, I will be leading a one-day workshop where I will teach attendees how to self-publish like a pro. What does that mean? I will teach you how to create beautiful, professional books and what you need to know about designing books.

There are a myriad of rules about how a book is supposed to look. How the pages are supposed to be arranged. How the pages are supposed to be numbered.

Retailers may refuse to carry your book, if the pages are not created following the norm. Unless you are avant-garde and have a secret outlet and an incredible reputation, bookstores may balk.

I can tell you how to lay out your book and how to get it to the sales sources you need.

Register online now. Or register for someone else and gift them during this holiday season.

Bring your content.

Bring your words.

Bring your graphics.

Bring your wifi-enabled laptop. We go online and do this for real.

Workshop is $40 – but the coffee is free!!

Register via Eventbrite today.

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