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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It’s About Us

I edit nonfiction more often than fiction. There are rules for editing both and not just because some people like rules. The rules exist to make reading easier.

I was recently editing a book for a writer who frequently mentioned the names of companies. Part of the rationale, no doubt, is to capitalize on SEO. So many Short Reads, in particular, are thinly-veiled advertisements. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

But, if you are going to namedrop, you need to drop the correct name, spelled correctly. The easiest way to know if you are using the name correctly and whether you are using it legally is to refer to the company’s website.

No S

Comb through the Nordstrom website. Does it look like I spelled that name wrong? I have meticulously combed through the Nordstrom website and the company never uses the spelling “Nordstrom’s.”

It’s simple to find this information. It’s on the company’s About Us page. If you’re still not sure, look for a Press Release section. Nordstrom always says Nordstrom.

05/16/16 Nordstrom Brings 1,600 Jobs to Toronto for Eaton Centre and Yorkdale Stores
05/15/16 34th Annual Nordstrom Beat the Bridge Race Results
05/12/16 Nordstrom Reports First Quarter 2016 Earnings
04/28/16 Nordstrom to Report First Quarter 2016 Financial Results on May 12

How do you spell Ray-Ban? The company hyphenates it and capitalizes each word.

Book layout

Speaking of Ray-Ban, if you need a photo of sunglasses, it is illegal to copy one from their website and print it in your book.

How do you know? Well, first of all, you should assume that it is illegal. But, Ray-Ban makes it perfectly clear on their terms of use. Copying images and citing the source is not sufficient. Don’t do it unless you have permission, in writing, from the company. The company often doesn’t own the artwork. They have likely purchased it or hired the photographer and have a legal agreement with the photographer or artist not to give away the artwork for other people to use in for-pay publications.

There may be exceptions, for educational purposes. But, be sure to read the copyright permission, as posted on the website or available directly from the company.

copyrightInfo

Give credit. How do you know how to credit artwork? The website often explains the rights and cost of use, for how long, in what kind of publication and in what part of the world. In the above example, the rate varies based on use.

upclose

That seems like a lot to keep track of but it isn’t. Photographers and artists often embed the ownership inside the image. It is your responsibility to know that and to give credit where credit is due.

hack Need to copyright your images? Need to know if an image is copyrighted and by whom? Open the file in Photoshop and open File/File Info. No, I didn’t stutter. That’s really the menu option. There is a Copyright section where the owner or creator can add as much copyright info as they need or choose.

tonyFrench

Play nice. You wouldn’t like it if someone made money or a reputation on your words without compensating you. Support the arts community.

#thinkfastwritefast

 

 

 

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