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.

What’s Amazon up to now?

Amazon’s pricing

An acquaintance used a vanity press to publish and print his book. (I describe “vanity press” as paying to have your book published and using that company’s imprint/press name.) His book is for sale on Amazon. He sent an email mentioning how the list price is $15.95 (it’s even printed above the bar code on the back cover) and Amazon is selling it for more than $24! This is a new one. The author was advising people to purchase his book from a local bookstore instead of purchasing it from Amazon.

For years, Amazon has sold books below the list price. When I inquired about that, Amazon told me it is done to drive traffic to the book and the author is paid based on the list price so it’s a win-win.

What’s up with this new strategy remains to be seen.

Book design tips

My specialty is book design (interior pages and covers). I’m frequently asked what makes a good book design so here is the start of an ongoing column:

  1. The designer should follow The Chicago Manual of Style: The Essential Guide for Writers, Editors, and Publishers in order to give you the most polished look possible. This will enable your book to compete with traditionally-published books. For instance, I originally designed a cookbook that was picked up by a traditional publishing house. My client was told, “Self-published books don’t usually look this professional!”
  2. Stick to two—three at the most—typefaces (a typeface is a font family). Too many typefaces scream self-published.
  3. Blank pages should be blank, no page numbers.

New resources

I’ve added new resources including Five Rainbows Cataloging Services, proofreader Janet Basset, and permissions specialist Melissa Flamson. Please see my Resources page for their contact information.

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.

Typography, terminology, and more

Typography

Designing the interior pages of a book, I work with typography to make a book look inviting to read. It involves placing the writer’s manuscript into Adobe InDesign page layout software to create a beautiful, accurate print-ready file in the desired size. There are many details involved, including glyph positioning for titles. Examples can be seen in the article “Glyph Positioning and Baseline Shift” by Ilene Strizver.

Book terminology

Are you working with a book designer and confused by all the lingo? Here’s a quick look at “The Anatomy of a Book” by Jenna Homen of Chronicle Books.

New website

During the holiday break, I overhauled my website (the coding I’ve learned to create e-books helped me tremendously). I’ve launched it, but as author Dr. Christiane Northrup says, “The minute you update your surroundings, your wardrobe, or even your computer [which I also did over the break…hello 27-inch iMac Pro!], something will need to be changed. Accept this process and embrace it as part of joyous, ongoing, never-complete self-expression.”

However, don’t let that be the reason you never release your book or other creative works!

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.

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays from me to YOU!

Book Tips

While I’m not a book editor—although I do have an eye for spotting typos as I’m designing the interior pages of books—here is an article about the appropriate word count for several genres. The article came to my attention as it was recently endorsed via Twitter by a respected colleague who works for a large publisher.

I’m also not a book marketer, but here is some help in that area:

“14 Ways Authors Can Cross-Promote Each Other’s Books” by Diana Urban.

And a book marketing tip from Author Marketing Experts, “Enhance your Amazon Author Central Page by linking your blog, Twitter feed, or adding a video.”

For book design, because I AM a book designer [smiley face], please reach out.

book coverNew release

Congratulations to Bruce Johnson on his latest release: Reflections on an Adolescence: The Search for a Long Lost Friend.

I also designed Johnson’s Beyond the Dream: Bandon Dunes, which details the inception and building of that destination golf resort.

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.