#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
5.Forward/Dedication
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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What happens when one broadband company runs half the country?

The  average American citizen is left powerless.

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http://www.amazon.com/My-Rural-Broadband-Journey-high-speed-ebook/dp/B00M7HP7O8

 Three years ago, Time Warner Cable told us they would charge us $53, 927 to connect us to their service .6 miles away.

At the same time, they wired the same space for $40,000 less in Maine (with similar population densities and for free).

I asked why the discrepancy? In fact, I asked and probed for a year. No one from Time Warner, or its monitor, the New York State Public Service Commission, could tell me.

$13,200: the amount Time Warner paid to wire .6 miles in Maine.

$53,927.00: the amount Time Warner quoted us this past
spring to expand service .6 miles to our home with the potential to serve over 11 households.

from My Rural Broadband Journey, this e-book is free today.

Continue reading What happens when one broadband company runs half the country?

Rural Broadband…Free book and why it matters to net neutrality

Book promotion is no easy task…so here is a sample of a letter I wrote folks on LinkedIn…I paid for 30 InMails which I have to use up by the end of the month.  It was one of

those free trials when you think you will cancel it by the time they ding you for $68.00 twice.  In addition, my book goes off KDP select on Friday, so I thought I might as well offer it free

today through Thursday.  So here is the promo letter which at the end answers the question:  Why my book matters:

Hello:  I am a Roy H. Park School of Communications graduate and I want to bring your attention to my e-book, My Rural Broadband Journey, which is free on Amazon Kindle through Thursday, October 30, 2014.

Continue reading Rural Broadband…Free book and why it matters to net neutrality

My Rural Broadband Journey

a great cartoon to go with my book review, thanks to the Net Economy

the Net economy

BOOK REVIEW

My Rural Broadband Journey: the one year trail to high-speed, Author: Claire Perez.

By Claire Perez – I wrote a blog about my quest for rural broadband and it is now a book.

I live ten miles from Cornell University and .6 miles from a wired connection to high-speed.  In 2011, wanting to utilize my recent Communications degree from the Park School at Ithaca College, I realized I was doomed without high-speed Internet.

I decided that I would drill down and find out what stood between our home and that wired connection, .6 miles down the road.  I thought a blog would be a good vehicle for recording my findings.

I began locally:  what did our local cable company really mean by a “survey to see how much we would have to pay for a connection? what was the franchise agreement with our local government? and…

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#self publishing: News releases, ugh! Tellagami:-), and Free Sunday

https://tellagami.com/gami/4K0M15/
to view, to here https://tellagami.com/gami/4K0M15/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Number 1

There is a great deal one could write about self publishing.  It is not the book that is hard, it is the marketing.  Especially if you are trying to save money.  I wanted to send out a press release and was hesitant to pay the $79 requested at most reputable sites.  I then embarked on finding a free site, which to my dismay, after setting up an account, seemed a bit too sketchy.  I goggled it and found nothing good or bad, so I decided to try my hand at the DIY method.

The DIY method takes much too much time.  First you have to find a newspaper site, then you have to hunt around for the editor that would be appropriate and hope that you can also find his or her email address.  I did do this and I did find a few people to email about my free book promotion this Sunday, August 31 on Kindle.   In the future, however, I will probably be using the $79 service.

 

Number 2

I found a great resource to promote my book, a Tellagami…so much fun to make.  You just upload a picture for the background, pick one character who you can dress up, and then design a 30 second statement for him, or her, to recite.  There are a choice of 4 different voices for each sex or you can record your own voice.  I made two, one appeared in my last blog post, but here is one I prefer because it shows some of our landscape.

 

Number 3

My book, My Rural Broadband Journey, the one year trail to high-speed,  is free on Sunday, the 31st of August and if you don’t have Kindle, you can download it to your PC, Mac, tablet, iPad, iPhone or SmartPhone.  Here is my book:  http://www.amazon.com/My-Rural-Broadband-Journey-high-speed-ebook/dp/B00M7HP7O8

 

http://www.amazon.com/My-Rural-Broadband-Journey-high-speed-ebook/dp/B00M7HP7O8
Citizen Pens Memoir

Sunday promotion: My Rural Broadband Journey

https://tellagami.com/gami/TRB0WX/https://tellagami.com/gami/TRB0WX/

a tellegami

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#self publishing…the free promotion

4 things to note:  the value of a writing group; how to get access to a free promotion; connecting with small groups through email; Kindle apps for all

Well, one thing that keeps popping up in my marketing research, and which of course makes sense, is to offer a free copy of my book to people. So, this is my first strategy to get this thing rockin and rollin.

  • Kindle Select is the vehicle through which my strategy is possible. When you enroll in Kindle Select, you, the publisher, agree not to sell your book anywhere else during a 90-day period. They offer benefits in return, one of which is 5 days, not necessarily consecutive, during the 90 day period in which I can offer my book free of charge.
  • In order to proceed, I emailed small groups of folks that I know. For example, I have a small group of friends in a nearby town that I emailed about the promotion. It felt more personal than just sending a mass email. I wrote them a note at the top and included the synopsis below.
  • I also included a note about where to go on the Amazon page to upload Kindle devices on computers, tablets, and smart phones. People don’t realize, as I did not, that you can read on Kindle without owning a Kindle. I read many books on my iPad Kindle application.
  • The Lansing Writers’ Group was especially helpful to me this week.  I read them what is now my fourth synopsis and they told me to let go a bit of this marketing project and the topic.  It is hard, but I am just about to take the weekend off from it.

Continue reading #self publishing…the free promotion

#self-publishing: it all went down like this

photo August 2014
August 2014

On or about March 7, I thought about Terry Gross ‘s interview with an expert on rural broadband. The expert found the same things out about rural broadband that I did, only her point of view is academic.

So I’m think-in’ to myself, the job hunt thing is a pretty benign way to make money, so why not turn my blog into a book. At least when I’m formatting in online templates, I will be truly investing in my future. More importantly, my year of rural broadband blogging has a story arc that reflects a universal conflict, man v. man, translated in my case to woman v. corporation.

Heck, I thought, I’ll just peel this book out in a week. Well, a week morphed into about 5 months. The self-editing was arduous. Read, change, reread, change; format, reformat, upload, download, REPEAT. Not to mention, the learning curve.

I spent hours one day scanning documents for the book, only to find mobi, the language of Amazon e-books, doesn’t translate text well in photograph form. I tried a few formats but nothing worked for me. I then just took jpegs of the letter headings and typed the documents into the book. Thirty hours of my life lost.

Finally, in late July, I sent my baby out to the world. And now the fun really begins: who needs a memoir on rural broadband and what is in it for them? I’m pondering my succinct lines for that answer. Stay tuned.

All I can tell you for now: I believe my little tome is an informative, fun read that packs a few punches to a system that could use the wind knocked out of it. But I know, that isn’t a marketing plan…for that you will have to see what I discover.

from a Homestead in rural America, where the 18th century collides with the 21st