Book Tips

Publishing timeline

Christmas in July

Daylily

What’s up with the “Christmas in July” subhead when it’s June? 

I’d like you to be thinking about how much time it takes to publish a book. 

After a book is written, there can be multiple stages of editing and then book design as well as printing and distribution. Ideally, marketing is happening during these stages.

I’ve had many authors rush to launch their books for the Christmas buying season. Rushing doesn’t allow for the best finished product, although amazing things have been accomplished!

If it is your wish to launch your book before Christmas, let’s talk now.

P.S. It’s helpful to allow time for the unexpected, too. I’d like to extend gratitude to my colleagues who backed me up so I could be with my parents as they both made their transitions over the winter. (The photo above is of a Daylily plant my mom gave me. It makes me happy to see it blooming now.)

Resources

I have compiled a page of Resources to help independent/self-publishers. Included is an article about “Why Marketing First” by Carol White. I met Carol years ago when we were both members of the Northwest Association of Book Publishers. Her article is a timeless piece of good advice.

New release

Kira Lynne Allen’s Write This Second: A Poetic Memoir is a courageous book of poetry. I designed the cover and interior pages.

Help for Independent Presses

Book Design and Production

Have you written a nonfiction or fiction manuscript? After it has been professionally edited, I can design the interior pages and cover, plus guide you through the maze of book publishing and printing. To get started, call me at 503-690-2438 to discuss your project and my helpful guide for authors.

Self-published books surpass 1 million

Self-published books

The number of self-published books passed the one million mark last year. “According to the latest report from ProQuest affiliate Bowker, self-publishing grew at a rate of more than 28 percent in 2017, up from an 8 percent increase during the prior year. The total number of self-published titles grew from 786,935 to 1,009,188, surpassing the million mark for the first time.” (Source: Bowker.)

In gratitude

I’m so thankful for my clients…and everyone. Life. All of it. There is so much to learn and experience.

Some of my clients share their experiences so I can report industry information to you. Here are some nuggets.

With Teresa Neumann’s latest book, we learned that IngramSpark’s automatic conversion to an ePub file from a PDF file doesn’t let you review the results of the ebook conversion prior to releasing it. That’s worrisome, but the process seems to be quite good.

Maureen Driscoll told me about BookBub’s marketing blog, which is full of valuable tips. Here are two posts:

Social media platforms help sell books and it’s most effective when our posts are varied. Stumped about what to post? Diana Urban shares tips in her article “How Successful Authors Use Social Media: 23 Content Ideas.”

“50 Inspirational Marketing Tips from Authors [Free Flipbook!]” by Diana Urban.

New release

Just in time for gift giving (to yourself and others) comes Greg Bell’s What’s Going Well?: The question that changes everything along with a companion journal filled with inspirational quotations. I was uplifted as I designed the book and journal interior pages so I hope you’ll enjoy it, too!

Help for Independent Presses

Book Design and Production

Have you written a nonfiction or fiction manuscript? After it has been professionally edited, I can design the interior pages and cover, plus guide you through the maze of book publishing and printing. To get started, call me at 503-690-2438 to discuss your project and my helpful guide for authors.

ALL Publications turns 24 years old!

Book design tip

In book design, a widow is a short line ending a paragraph that appears at the top of a page. An orphan is the first line of a paragraph at the bottom of a page or column. Per The Chicago Manual of Style, widows should be avoided. Orphans are okay because they are always a full line, never a word or two.

When I was presenting a book design workshop at a Willamette Writers Conference years ago, a woman said that the house style of her publisher, the Penguin Group, was to allow widows if they were a full line.

“Self-published books don’t usually look this professional,” was what my client Pauli Halstead was told by the traditional publisher who picked up her book. My goal is to make a book look as professional as possible so it can easily compete with traditionally published books. I follow the rules in The Chicago Manual of Style and I work with kerning or the number of lines on the page to eliminate widows in the books I design.

Happy birthday!

Ready for the party!

ALL Publications turns 24 years old on October 24! The first 12 years I spent writing and designing newsletters and brochures, and the last 12 years I’ve focused solely on book design, which I love. The number of authors who return with more books for me to design amazes me because publishing can be hard work. Not to mention book marketing.

As successful authors have found, they are their own best marketers. Even traditional publishers want to know about their authors’ “platforms” and how they are going to market their own books.

For help with marketing, M.J. Rose has written “How to Write Attention-Grabbing Promo Copy for Books.”

New releases

Maureen Driscoll released book 4 in the Jasmine Cottage series: Where Souls Embrace. I had the privilege of designing this cover, as well as her others, and she frequently tells me when readers mention they purchase based on the covers. Here’s one such comment.

Finding Land: Stories of Japan by Marian Pierce chronicles the adventures of two card-carrying members of the Tokyo’s “Foreign Wives of Japanese” club at the height of Japan’s economic boom years. I designed the cover and interior pages of the print book. Marian presented at a workshop (good marketing!) and her firecracker personality comes through at 26 minutes into this video.

Cannonball Run 1919: A Transcontinental Motorcycle Journey by Vahan M. Dinihanian, Jr., is based on the diary of Erling J. Hangerud. It illustrates two adventurous young men who rode from Portland, Oregon, to New York City via the Yellowstone Trail on a 1918 Indian Powerplus and a 1918 Harley-Davidson. Their mishaps and successes take us back to that era, along with vignettes describing significant historical details relevant to their journey. I designed the cover and full-color interior.

I formatted the interior (2180 pages) of The Churchill Documents, Volume 21, plus co-created the cover design. Volume 22 is now with Sheila Ryan for indexing. One more volume to go!

Help for Independent Presses

Book Design and Production

Have you written a nonfiction or fiction manuscript? After it has been professionally edited, I can design the interior pages and cover, plus guide you through the maze of book publishing and printing. To get started, call me at 503-690-2438 to discuss your project and my helpful guide for authors.

Stopping a rumor

Amazon CreateSpace

After presenting at an Oregon Press Women’s Workshop at the Multnomah Athletic Club in Portland, Oregon

I gave a presentation about book design at an Oregon Press Women’s Workshop in June. There were comments at this workshop about Amazon CreateSpace going away. CreateSpace is Amazon’s print-on-demand (POD) arm, which has been a helpful service for indie publishers. CreateSpace has discontinued offering book editing and book design services, but the POD service is still very much around. I’m here to design and format your books for uploading to CreateSpace, so no worries. Please contact me if you’d like more information about my services.

Book design tip

In the interest of good typography, please meet the Dash family: hyphen, en dash, and em dash. We know the hyphen, which is a punctuation mark used to separate syllables and join words. Lesser known members of the family are the en dash and em dash. An en dash is the second-longest dash in a typeface, separating numbers and meaning “up to and including.” An em dash is the longest dash in a typeface, separating thoughts within a sentence and acting as a pause.

An exceptional proofreader will apply the correct dashes to a manuscript. If this hasn’t happened, you’ll likely want to make sure your book designer handles it. I do, and I also honor an author’s decision to use an en dash in place of an em dash. (Some feel the em dash looks too long.) One of the many benefits of self-publishing is you get it how you want it!

New releases

Teresa Neumann took on the daunting task of analyzing John Milton’s Paradise Lost and disseminating it into an easily understood version. Neumann’s Paradise Lost and Resurrected for the Twenty-First Century not only works as a book but could easily be performed on stage or screen. This is the fourth book I’ve designed (cover and interior) for Teresa.

I designed the interior of Meg Kenagy’s The House on School Street, a story of eight generations of a family who lived in an old farmhouse in a small town in Massachusetts. A biography, a memoir, and a personal history of the town, it’s not only a gift to her family but a story that will appeal to history buffs and genealogists. It was an interesting design project for me with many levels of headings, articles, pictures, and a family chart. (Meg’s article “Summer reading? It’s time to close the book on that” was published in The Boston Globe on June 22.)

I designed the cover of Second Wind: Thriving with Cancer by Dann Wonser. If you know anyone with cancer, Dann’s website is a great resource, too.

Help for Independent Presses

Book Design and Production

Have you written a nonfiction or fiction manuscript? After it has been professionally edited, I can design the interior pages and cover, plus guide you through the maze of book publishing and printing. To get started, call me at 503-690-2438 to discuss your project and my helpful guide for authors.

Book design tips for running heads

Running heads

Striving for more beautiful self-published books, here are some book design tips focused on running heads (the headings appearing at the top of pages). Running heads serve as signposts for readers and may include the page number, book title, chapter title, section title, etc. When this information is at the bottom of a page, it’s referred to as running feet.
  1. Running heads/feet are not to be used on display pages like the pages in the front of a book: half title, title, copyright, dedication, and epigraph. None on part title pages, either.
  2. There should be no running heads on chapter opening pages. If a book is displaying the page number in the running head, the page number is to be moved to the bottom of the chapter opening page or omitted. (I think it’s most helpful to move it to the bottom.)
  3. Elements in the front of a book (front matter) that are more than a page usually have running heads after the opening page. It is standard practice (see The Chicago Manual of Style) that these are the same on the left as on the right. For example in the Preface, the left-hand page would have a running head of Preface and the right-hand page would be Preface, too.
  4. Running heads/feet should not be used on pages containing only an illustration, picture, or a table.
  5. For how to handle running heads on the pages in the back of a book (back matter), one should consult The Chicago Manual of Style or hire me to design your book [smiley face].
(Click here and scroll down to the “Book Design Tips” heading if you missed my first installment.)

Help for Independent Presses

Book Design and Production

Have you written a nonfiction or fiction manuscript? After it has been professionally edited, I can design the interior pages and cover, plus guide you through the maze of book publishing and printing. To get started, call me at 503-690-2438 to discuss your project and my helpful guide for authors.

What’s up with Ingram?

Ingram’s ebook conversion tool—how good is it?

Ingram Content Group owns Lightning Source and IngramSpark. Lightning Source was forefront of the print-on-demand publishing scene in 2010. The set up of books on this system was, and still is, complex. Ingram realized this after a few years and established IngramSpark with an easier system to navigate, specifically marketed to indie publishers.

IngramSpark offers ebook conversion from a print-ready PDF file, which did a remarkable job last year on my print-ready file of Save Yourself from Burnout: A System to Get Your Life Back by Dr. Marnie Loomis, ND, and Beth Genly, MSN. Filled with subheads, lists, quizzes, charts, illustrations, and indented material, this book was a true test for this free tool and I was amazed by the result. There was only one area where a few paragraphs were indented that shouldn’t have been. The rest of the elements looked great. From those results, I’ve been recommending this tool to my clients who want to use IngramSpark to print and distribute their books.

This month, I’ve been working with my longtime client Teresa Neumann on her fourth book. For her first book in 2010, she chose Lightning Source because IngramSpark wasn’t an option then. We’ve used Lightning Source for her other books because it makes sense to have all books in the same place for financial reporting, tracking, title set up, etc.

I told Teresa about Ingram’s ebook conversion tool, recommending we use that if we could test the results before releasing it to the public. (I meticulously design and test ebook files, which cost money so the free tool makes sense if the results are correct.) She agreed, and I proceeded with her print book title set up on Lightning Source.

Here’s the head scratcher: Lightning Source does not offer that ebook conversion tool! Apparently, it’s good enough for self-publishers using IngramSpark but when it comes to larger publishers (which is the target market of Lightning Source), then Ingram’s word is nope, that’s not good enough.

Frustrating at best.

Help for Independent Presses

Book Design and Production

Have you written a nonfiction or fiction manuscript? After it has been professionally edited, I can design the interior pages and cover, plus guide you through the maze of book publishing and printing. To get started, call me at 503-690-2438 to discuss your project and my helpful guide for authors.