Publishing 101: Get Ready to Upload

Publishing 101This is one in a series of posts entitled Publishing 101: Draft to Book in 30 Days. To learn more about this challenge, visit the Publishing 101 page, where all links regarding this topic will be listed as they become available.

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Once you have the interior and cover formatted and saved in PDF, it’s time to upload to CreateSpace.

If this is your first encounter with CreateSpace, you’ll need to set up an account. It takes only a few minutes, a few pieces of information, a password and username. CreateSpace is a division of Amazon. It’s a Print on Demand (POD) service that will print paperback books (both children’s books and novels; both full-colour interior and black and white interior).

After you sign into your account, go to the Member Dashboard (in the drop-down menu under My Account). Here you’ll see the list of books you’re both working on and published. You can navigate your books to find or change information by clicking the title. The Member Dashboard is also where you Add a New Title.

Adding a new title takes only a few minutes when the interior and cover PDFs are ready. Here is the information you’ll need to enter:

  • Project Title
  • Type of Project: Paperback (because CreateSpace also creates Audio CDs, MP3s, DVDs and Video)

Set up Process (Until you get used to adding new titles, choose Guided)

Click Get Started

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Publishing 101: Formatting the Interior

Publishing 101This is one in a series of posts entitled Publishing 101: Draft to Book in 30 Days. To learn more about this challenge, visit the Publishing 101 page, where all links regarding this topic will be listed as they become available.

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There are several options available to format the interior of a paperback book. They include:

  1. Hiring someone to format it for you
  2. Purchasing a preformatted template
  3. Formatting from scratch in a word processing program
  4. Using one of CreateSpace’s templates

I’ll briefly describe the top three and then provide more information about the option I chose.

Hiring someone to format your novel

This may be the easiest method for individuals who are not software savvy or who do not want to take the time to learn how to format the interior of the book themselves. The increased popularity of self-publishing has created a demand for this service, so it’s much easier now to locate someone to format your manuscript than it was fifteen years ago.

Formatting prices depend on the size of the project (word count and complexity of text) and the individual offering the service. I’ve seen it as low as $35, but that was a few years ago.

Formatters can be found by searching the web. You can also post the job to eLance and choose the bidder that best suits your project.

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Publishing 101: Sizing up the Paperback Cover

Publishing 101This is one in a series of posts entitled Publishing 101: Draft to Book in 30 Days. To learn more about this challenge, visit the Publishing 101 page, where all links regarding this topic will be listed as they become available.

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When I talked about my preproduction schedule on February 12th in the Publishing 101: Production Schedule post, I noted the dimensions I’d chosen for Fowl Summer Nights were 5.5 inches wide x 8.5 inches tall. When I discussed designing a cover in Publishing 101: Cover Design I mentioned the sample covers were exactly 11 x 8.5 but would not remain that size. They were destined to be resized to accommodate pages.

Here are the steps I took to resize the cover.

Step One: Page Count

The page count used to calculate the width and height of a cover is the actual page count. In MS Word this number appears in the bottom left-hand corner of the document screen. Fowl Summer Nights contained 113 pages.

The page count I did NOT use is the page numbers inserted into the manuscript. For Fowl Summer Nights the page count was 104, which meant title page, copyright information, dedication, table of contents and other material took up 9 pages.

Step Two: Thickness of Paper

The cream coloured paper at CreateSpace is thicker than the white paper. If you choose white paper, the thickness is 0.002252 inches.

Fowl Summer Nights was printed on cream coloured paper. The thickness I inserted into the equation was 0.0025 inches.

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Publishing 101: Read it One More Time

Publishing 101This is one in a series of posts entitled Publishing 101: Draft to Book in 30 Days. To learn more about this challenge, visit the Publishing 101 page, where all links regarding this topic will be listed as they become available.

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When people ask me what story they should write or which story they should choose to publish from the many stories they have in draft form, I tell them to pick one they love. I mean really love. Love so hard they can’t live without it love. Because by the time they complete the editing process, they’ll be so sick of the story they won’t want to read it again for weeks, possibly years.

Don’t believe me?

I wouldn’t believe me either except I discovered the truth in the fall of 2010. By the time I completed editing Mystery Light in Cranberry Cove, a youth novel of only 30,000 words, one I completely adored, I was ready to bang my head against the wall.

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Publishing 101: Book Trailer

Publishing 101This is one in a series of posts entitled Publishing 101: Draft to Book in 30 Days. To learn more about this challenge, visit the Publishing 101 page, where all links regarding this topic will be listed as they become available.

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Book trailers are interesting, they’re fun to watch and can be fun to make. In the past few years they’ve become all the rage with publishers and authors. It’s as if your book has hit the big screen even though it’s still on paper.

How important are book trailers to book sales? I can’t answer that. The only information I’ve read is ‘unknown’. Like many marketing ideas, it’s difficult to say which one entices readers to buy a book.

Still, book trailers are an asset, and if you can make one, they certainly shouldn’t hurt sales.

I create my trailers in Windows Live Movie Maker that came with MS Word 2010. Here are the basic steps:

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Publishing 101: Writing an Author’s Note

Publishing 101This is one in a series of posts entitled Publishing 101: Draft to Book in 30 Days. To learn more about this challenge, visit the Publishing 101 page, where all links regarding this topic will be listed as they become available.

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I have never written an author’s note to add to my book for readers to find after the story, but as I have mentioned in a previous post, I’m trying on a few new ideas with Fowl Summer Nights, so a personal letter to readers sounds like a great idea.

I discovered the idea of author’s notes in the article Fine-tuning Your Author’s Note by Victoria Grossack on Writing World. I think it’s an interesting idea, so here’s the draft of my first letter to readers:

The idea for Fowl Summer Nights came from my own experience buying livestock from the online classified site Kijiji. It was surprising how easy it was to get addicted to checking the site daily to see what new animals were offered for sale. I bought several batches of chickens and ducks advertised on the website.

When we began our homestead in March of 2011, we had no animals. By the end of the summer we had one miniature donkey, two sheep, two goats, ten ducks, five turkeys and around forty chickens. It was too easy to get up in the morning, check Kijiji and scheme of how to get another animal.

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Publishing 101: Book Summary

Publishing 101This is one in a series of posts entitled Publishing 101: Draft to Book in 30 Days. To learn more about this challenge, visit the Publishing 101 page, where all links regarding this topic will be listed as they become available.

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Also known as the story blurb or back cover blurb, the goal of the brief explanation or book summary is to pique the interest of readers so they’ll look closer. It provides readers with an idea of what the story is about without giving away any spoilers.

Novel blurbs are usually short, averaging 200 words. They often focus on one or two of the main characters, providing a snippet of information to encourage readers to care what happens to them.

I’ve seen formulas for blurbs, but they don’t often provide enough spunk for what I’m looking for. I’ve used them, but I’m not over the top thrilled about them. They don’t make me think, “I have to read this book!”

But as Art Burton said so eloquently at our last writers’ group meeting, the idea is to not make readers NOT want to buy the book. So while not great, my blurbs don’t outright discourage people to drop my book immediately and run.

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Publishing 101: Cover Design

Publishing 101This is one in a series of posts entitled Publishing 101: Draft to Book in 30 Days. To learn more about this challenge, visit the Publishing 101 page, where all links regarding this topic will be listed as they become available.

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Writers who self-publish have several options for cover design. They can

  • hire someone to design it for them
  • purchase a premade cover
  • use a CreateSpace template
  • design it themselves

I’ll go through three of these four steps quickly and then focus on what I do.

Hire Someone to Design a Book Cover

A quick google search will turn up a long list of graphic designers who will create amazing covers for your book. CreateSpace also offers the service. You can have a cover created specifically for your paperback and one for your eBook. Prices start at around $50 and go up quickly from there. Remember: quality often matches the dollar value.

Elance is a well-used site where anyone can post a job and receive bids for it. The eLance system protects buyers and sellers to certain degree. Like all business, this is a business and it’s your job to do the homework to see you get the best value for your buck. I know two authors who found excellent illustrators on eLance.

Purchase a Premade Cover

I’ve seen several sites around that showcase covers on their pages. All you have to do is submit the title, author name and whatever other text you want on the cover and they insert it for you. Bang! Your cover is complete.

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Publishing 101: Reviews

Publishing 101During the Draft to Book in 30 Days challenge I’d like to try a few new ideas I’ve seen other writers/publishers implement. One of those ideas is to get quotes for the back cover or an inside page of the book. I’m going to take that a little further and look for reviews before the book is published.

So…I am wondering if anyone is interested in reading Fowl Summer Nights and providing a review I can post on my website.

Above each review will be a short (two to three sentences) biography to introduce the reviewer. The bio can contain one link to a website, blog or Facebook page. If the reviewer is a writer, they can mention a title or two of the book(s) they’ve written. If the writer wishes, they can send along a photograph of themselves to accompany their biography. Images of a book will be permitted in place of the reviewer’s image, but I’d prefer a picture of the person, so I can ‘meet them’.

If a book image is submitted, it cannot contain graphic sexual content. I have an eleven-year-old over my shoulder most days, so I don’t post anything to my website that I don’t want him to see. I have the right to refuse book covers I deem inappropriate for a young audience. An author photo would be more appropriate under these circumstances.

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Publishing 101: Interior Design

Publishing 101This is one in a series of posts entitled Publishing 101: Draft to Book in 30 Days. To learn more about this challenge, visit the Publishing 101 page, where all links regarding this topic will be listed as they become available.

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The interior design for a book is like the interior design for a bedroom or kitchen. For a room the designer must decide the colours of the walls, the material for the floor and the style of light fixtures and furniture.

When you design the interior of a book, you need to think about which font style and size to use for the front matter, the back matter, chapter titles, headers, footers and the body of the text (the actual story). You must also decide the layout of these items. Will the page numbers be at the top of the page or the bottom? Will they be centred, to the left or to the right? Will they be a number or will they have the word ‘page’ in front of them?

In general Interior Design focuses on…

  • book dimensions
  • paper colour
  • front and back matter font
  • novel text font
  • chapter titles font and style
  • headers font
  • page number font
  • drop caps for chapter starts
  • scene break design

Book Dimensions

I’ve chosen 5.5 inches wide by 8.5 inches tall for Fowl Summer Nights. It’s a good average size for a novel. If I were publishing a children’s picture book, I might go 8×10. I’ve also published books at 5×8 and 6×9.

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Establishing Front and Back Matter

Publishing 101This is one in a series of posts entitled Publishing 101: Draft to Book in 30 Days. To learn more about this challenge, visit the Publishing 101 page, where all links regarding this topic will be listed as they become available.

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The front and back matter of a paperback and hardcover book is different from that found in eBooks. Sometimes it’s the same, just located in a different spot. For the purpose of this post, I’ll discuss the front and back matter for the paperback copy of Fowl Summer Nights.

If you are unsure about any of the items in a paper copy book or you’re wondering how to lay it out, just check out the books on your shelf or your local library’s shelf. Not all books display the information the same. I recommend finding books similar in subject to the one you are publishing and use them as examples.

You can check out other genres and types of books too, just in case you stumble upon a unique idea.

In general, most novels have the following items:

  • title page
  • copyright page
  • dedication
  • prologue
  • a short clip of an exciting scene
  • table of contents
  • biography
  • picture for biography

Title Page

The Title Page is the first page you’ll see when you open the book. It contains at least two items: the title of the book and the name(s) of the author(s). I also add three other lines in small font at the bottom of the page: my publishing company (Quarter Castle Publishing), location (Nova Scotia, Canada) and the month and year of publication (March 2014).

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Publishing 101: Production Schedule

Publishing 101This is one in a series of posts entitled Publishing 101: Draft to Book in 30 Days. To learn more about this challenge, visit the Publishing 101 page, where all links regarding this topic will be listed as they become available.

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With my manuscript off to the editor, one might think I can sit back and take a break. Not so. There’s still plenty of work that needs to be completed before I publish my novella Fowl Summer Nights.

Let me introduce you to my Production Schedule. I create one for each book I plan to publish. It keeps me on track and doesn’t let me forget an important step. It also holds pertinent information for this book in one place, so I don’t have to open multiple files to access it.

Below is the production schedule for Fowl Summer Nights. As I complete each item I write DONE beside it. If a small piece of information was needed to complete this step (such as ISBN), I record it. I sometimes note what stage I’m at in the step.

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Publishing 101: Print and Edit

Publishing 101This is one in a series of posts entitled Publishing 101: Draft to Book in 30 days. To learn more about this challenge, visit the Publishing 101 page, where all links regarding this topic will be listed as they become available.

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I was born before computers became the gadgets of the day, so perhaps my brain wasn’t programed to see words on the screen like a child born into the world of computers, tablets and cell phones. Or maybe the human brain processes information on a paper differently than it does on a computer screen.

My brain reads text on a computerI don’t have the answer. I do however, recognise that my brain reads text differently on a computer screen, and mistakes I see easily on paper are dismissed on my lap top. I realised this more than a decade ago, so since then, I added the printing step to my editing process.

Today I printed the manuscript of Fowl Summer Nights. I didn’t print it the same as I have it on the screen. Instead, I used one font size larger (from 12 to 14) and increased the spacing between lines (1 to 1 1/2 spacing). Many suggest to use a different font to trick the brain into thinking it’s looking at a totally different story. I do this sometimes, but I didn’t do it this time around.

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Publishing 101: Spell and Grammar Check

Publishing 101This is one in a series of posts entitled Publishing 101: Draft to Book in 30 days. To learn more about this challenge, visit the Publishing 101 page, where all links regarding this topic will be listed as they become available.

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This step of my editing process took less than fifteen minutes to complete. The check found eight issues that were easily fixed because they were brought to my attention using MS Word’s Spell Check and Grammar Check software (2010 version).

I know. I’ve heard the experts: Don’t use the computer software for spell check and grammar! Blah! Get over it, experts. Step down off your high horse and reconsider.

Spell and Grammar check does NOT replaceWhy do I use this feature? Because in an instant, it might inform me that I mistakenly used their instead of there, or placed two spaces instead of one between words. BANG! One mistake I may have missed was found. Even after I’ve completed the previous editing steps, there are still mistakes hiding in my manuscript, and if software can point out a few of them, I’m using it.

Spell and Grammar Check does NOT replace a proper edit, but it is a tool to help reduce the number of errors in a manuscript down to as close to zero as I can get it.

The software won’t correct things for me but many times it offers suggestions; the writer still must know whether to accept the advice of the program (and repair the error) or to discard it.

The software is not perfect. For example, it flagged the first ‘lay’ word in this sentence: “They don’t lay every day, but they lay most days.”

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Publishing 101: Read Out Loud

Publishing 101This is one in a series of posts entitled Publishing 101: Draft to Book in 30 days. To learn more about this challenge, visit the Publishing 101 page, where all links regarding this topic will be listed as they become available.

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I began reading my work out loud more than a dozen years ago. Each time I complete this task it reminds me of the importance of this step.

It took me three and a half hours to read Fowl Summer Nights, so this step takes only a little longer to complete than silently reading the story.

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