#Self Publishing: Lessons & Resources

The following information and resources have been discovered by me in the process of self-publishing. It is general and the result of my self-published e-book, My Rural Broadband Journey, and my work with a friend recently on his self-published print book.

A note: content created over time can make a good book. My 2014 e-book was based on my blog about rural broadband and my friend made a book out of his newsletters written for a local historical organization. My book is online and my friend’s hard copy book will be out soon!

1.Content~ Is it ready?

The Manuscript:  The content should be ready …that means, all proofing done.  There is nothing more annoying than having to go back through your manuscript once it is in a template and correct errors.  I recommend having an editor, everyone needs one, or two and if you can not find someone to edit, or do not want to pay, or want an editor and more back up, you can use a nifty computer program called Grammarly.  Grammarly is a comprehensive computer software program which goes far beyond Microsoft Word to check your punctuation and style.  A nice feature of Grammarly, you can set it to a variety of styles:  Academic and Creative Nonfiction for example.  Also, I can recommend a copy editor:  Autumn at The Grumpy Grammarian.  She has a newsletter that is excellent so you can check out her stellar skill.

2.If you are not a designer and do not want to learn as you go, I suggest you either hire a designer or purchase a design template. One very good template source is Book Designer Templates.  They sell templates with instructions and organize the templates into categories: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, etc. In addition, they sell both InDesign and Word templates so you can select the software you feel most comfortable using.  If you are interested in hiring a designer, I recently used this service and liked both the design and quick turn around time:  West Hill Graphics.

3. Photographs: if you are scanning in photos, remember that in print, your photos need to be scanned in at a DPI of 300 in order for the resolution to be strong. Also, remember that once scanned, you need to set the tones so that if, for example, you are doing all black and white photographs, you can see the details of an object which in very dark tones can get muddled.  See the examples below.

In addition, you need to save your photographs for the medium you are using:  CMKY for print and RGB for ebooks.  It is easy to find the difference through google as I did just now, here is a site you can check out:  http://www.fastprint.co.uk/blog/cmyk-vs-rgb-printing-what-is-the-difference-when-designing.html

12 18 17 sample cant see edges bc cornellc2c
This is a photograph that illustrates what happens when there is too much black:  detail is lost.
12 18 17bc cornellc2c
This is a photograph where you can actually see the outline of the window pane edges to the right of the bus.

4.Online or Hard Copy or both.

Who to publish with: of course, you can use Amazon and many other online vendors. But, I found when doing my Amazon online book, it was frustrating trying to figure things out without chatting with a real person.  I used their Q and A and instructions, which at the time, 2014, took some energy figuring out.  If you have no idea what your market will be for your book or you are not sure how much marketing you want to do, print on demand sources, like Amazon, are a good option.

Here is a caveat:  I think it is better to prepare your book for print because it seems a lot easier to translate it over to an e-book later.  Also,

personally, I think that there are benefits to having a print shop do the work. First, you can go to the actual shop and discuss with the staff the ins and outs of manuscript preparation, see 3 above. Also, you can print one run and then return for a second and third run if your book is a big hit. Overall, I have used both and I  think going through a printer produces a finer looking product.  (Locally, I thought Joe Sepe did a gret job on my friend’s book, he is the owner and operator of Pioneer Printing in Lodi, NY.

5.  The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing  

This has been my bible for questions about self-publishing.  I note it is copyrighted in 2010 so there are several paperbacks available.  In terms of social media marketing, however, it may be a bit dated.  However, you if you are going to do social media marketing, you can refer to the updated, excellent book by M. Scoot Meerman, The New Rules of Marketing and PR.  

6.  Marketing:  the least you need to know.

*Write and submit a 4 paragraph press release for any audiences that may be interested in your publication.  The press release can also go out to listserves.  If you do not have a press list, you can make one yourself by consulting the websites of key organizations and/or media outlets who may want to know about your book.

*Hard copy ads leads to your online world…always have information about your publication on your website…make it easy for people to purchase your product…more than 4 clicks and you will probably lose the buyer’s interest.

A hard copy advertisement, strategically placed in anything that your readers might see, is a good idea…keep it simple:  one image, one or two benefits of purchase, where and how to purchase the product.  Make sure a replica of this ad is among the things on your website and Facebook page.

*Facebook page~ people use Facebook to locate things quickly, have the information lead to your website but also duplicate the information on both your website and Facebook.  Also, Facebook pages seem to span the generations.  Note:  A Facebook page is for everyone to look at, a group is for people who are only members of the group.  People are more likely to visit a page than a group, especially at first.  If however, you already have a group, be sure to link your Page to the group.

Here is an example of a Facebook page, the book is called The House of the Spirits.

7.  Library of Congress Number:  I think it is a good idea to get a Library of Congress number to place in the front matter of the book.  For the most recent book, a member of the historical society was able to get a number online within days.  The Library of Congress website is here:

The Library of Congress website has a great deal of other information that you may enjoy pursuing.

8.  Front matter…the following are some general guidelines, in the world of self-publishing, nothing is set and people adapt to fit the circumstances.
Please note, on Amazon, you can see the front matter of individual books very easily: Bird By Bird

After the Cover Page  

1.Title, Author, Publisher
2 Also By with a listing of Other books by the author
Book Title, Author Name, Publisher on a plain page

Click here for more details and example:  https://itsaboutthestory.wordpress.com/2018/01/09/resource-pictures-for-post

3 Publisher Info~  Publisher Name, Publisher Address, Book Edition, Copyright, Library of Congress Catalog Number, Disclaimer, Jacket Designer
4.Table of Contents
6.Book Title

9. Back Matter is what you end the book with and again, self-publishing and circumstances will determine these pages.  In both books I worked on Acknowledgments were listed.  In the second book, I put in an Afterword because of difficult circumstances under which the book was completed and because I wanted to say a few things about my friend’s book.  But this area is also where one can find indexes, glossaries, etc..Again, google the term Back Matter and you will find a great deal of information as I did on this site:  What is Back Matter/Scribendi 

10. Finally~Self publishing is a lot of work…it is step by step.  If you are going to do it, I suggest being very committed to your project and to finding answers when the technology confounds you.  I also suggest that you try to figure out what you need to do to get a book project completed and that you set realistic goals.  Mid-way through my friend’s book project, I realized that the design work was beyond me…I could have saved both of us a headache if I had really sat down to consider the project carefully when I first received it.  Luckily though, when I realized the Design work was beyond me, my friend and I found assistance.  The lesson here is, if you do go beyond yourself, take a step back, reassess and make adjustments.

©claireaperez @ gmail.com


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