Free Independent (Self) Publishing Workshop

Free Self Publishing Workshop on Wednesday, September 27th, 6 to 9 p.m. at Sententia Vera Cultural Hub, 4002 E. Hwy 290 in Dripping Springs, TX! Bill Benitez of Positive Imaging, LLC, independent publisher of over forty books and ebooks, will answer all your publishing questions. Q and A and Workshop is free with no obligation or pressure to purchase anything. Details at http://workshop.publishingsimplified.com/ , bill@positive-imaging.com , or Call Bill at 512-217-4803.

Print or eBook?

Another step in publishing a book is to determine if it will be an ebook or a print book. I believe the best decision is to do both. Today most self published authors publish ebooks because it seems simpler and much less costly. If you know the steps involved it’s not really simpler and the cost is only more after the book is published.

Some still believe that print books are dead, replaced by digital ebooks in various versions but that’s untrue. Print books are alive and well and experiencing somewhat of a resurgence. I always publish both ebooks and print versions of my books and those of other authors. Usually I create the manuscript for the ebook version because the Word document is perfect for either Kindle or Smashwords. Then I use the manuscript to copy and paste into my publishing software.

While there are many options for publishing software, and you can use Word for this purpose, I prefer to use Serif PagePlus. I started using version X4 and am now on X9 and it’s still my favorite.

For those interested in self publishing or as I call it, independent publishing, I’ve written two books and you can check them out at http://booksfor.publishingsimplified.com/. Contact me at bill@positive-imaging.com with any questions. Thanks.

ISBN – International Standard Book Number

ISBN is a critical part of publishing a book. The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric book identifier that is assigned to every book to be sold commercially. And, it’s assigned to every edition or variation of a book. For example, if you will be publishing an ebook and paperback version, each one would have a different ISBN.

ISBNs are normally 10 digits or 13 digits. The 10 and 13 digit ISBN are the same except for a 3 digit prefix normally 978 or 979. ISBNs are critical because no commercial reseller will handle a book without it. ISBNs are country specific and in the United States they are issues by R. R. Bowker.

ISBNs can be costly if purchased individually but much less costly if purchased in quantity. Purchasing a single ISBN from R. R. Bowker can cost $125. You can purchase 10 for $250. I purchased 100 for $575, only $5.75 each. They are even less expensive in larger quantities.

For more information about ISBN go to https://www.myidentifiers.com/. Contact me with any questions. Thanks.

Print Books or Ebooks?

With the advent of Kindle and other digital books, there were many predicting the end of print books. As creating digital books (ebooks) became easier many authors opted out of print books to publish quickly and inexpensively. As it turns out the popularity of print books has rebounded; and it’s a mistake to ignore that market.

As an independent publisher of both print and digital books, I work with authors every day. It’s been surprising how many still believe that the ebook is the only way to go without making a large financial investment. The truth is that, if you do the work yourself, the initial investment for either a print book or an ebook is quite similar.

For either print or ebook you must start with a good book that is well edited and has a great, attention-grabbing cover. Either books or ebooks require concise formatting for uploading to the printer or distributor. Admittedly, the formatting for print books and the cover creation are much more complex requiring a much longer learning curve and specialized software, but the steps involved are similar.

Often the main concern to authors of print books is the cost of books for order fulfillment. They sometimes envision a large financial investment and a garage full of books. Print-on-demand (POD) eliminates all that. When someone purchases a book, the printer processes the order, prints the book, and ships it to the customer while maintaining an accounting for the publisher.
The author does need to buy copies of their book for readings, signings and bookstore consignment if he or she chooses to do that.

Promotion of books or ebooks can be costly and time-consuming, but the cost is the same for either one. With print books, you do have the cost of sending copies to reviewers, but sending them an ebook version is an option.

I always advise authors to create both versions. Have questions about print or ebooks, email bill@positive-imaging.com.

Publishing – Step Two – The Title

I like to determine the best possible title for the book as soon as possible. Often the author already has a title in mind. We need to spend time discussing the title to make certain that it peaks the interest of potential readers enough so they open the book or just look inside online.

The length of the title and font size are critical. Too long a title with a small font will be unreadable as an Amazon thumbnail. Even on the small size online the title should be clear and large enough to read and understand.

A good title can sell books so it’s important to take time to develop the best title for the book.

Publishing – Step One

As an independent publisher my first step when publishing a book for any other author is to conduct a consultation to learn about the book and the author. I especially want to know the author’s expectations for the book. If you are going to publish your book, the same step applies. It won’t be in the form of a consultation but you definitely want to set your expectations. Most of the time the desire may be to have a best selling book, but not always. Sometimes an author just wishes to share memories, skills, or experiences with family and friends and perhaps anyone else who may be interested.

The more you know about your book and your expectations the more likely you are to succeed with your book.

If your goal is just to share, then numbers may not be as important but you still need to identify your readers. If your goal is to sell as many books as possible, you must know your readers if you are to reach them with a message about your book so they can become buyers. This is a critical and time consuming process that is essential to the financial success of any book. There are many good books on the subject of book promotion, marketing, and sales and many methods. Most of them have merit but there are no guarantees. You may have to explore many possibilities before finding one that works for your book.

Book Promotion and/or Marketing

As an author who wishes to sell books, I have to take steps everyday to promote my books. As a publisher for other authors I have to help them promote their books. In these efforts I’ve noticed that the words promotion and marketing are often used. In the past I’ve mostly used “marketing” for my efforts to sell my books but I’m sure that I’m promoting my books also.

Just out of curiosity I decided to check the dictionary for the definitions of promotion and marketing and I listed both below:

Promotion – something devised to publicize or advertise a product, cause, institution, etc., as a brochure, free sample, poster, television or radio commercial, or personal appearance.

Marketing – the total of activities involved in the transfer of goods from the producer or seller to the consumer or buyer, including advertising, shipping, storing, and selling.

In carefully reading both my feeling is that promotion is better suited to selling books but marketing would work just as well. So, whether you promote your books or market them, the important thing is to sell as many books as possible. If your promotion or marketing efforts are working well then your books are selling. If they aren’t working, well you know.

It’s possible there are authors who don’t care whether their books sell but I’m not one of those and almost all of the authors I know would like to sell many copies of their book. Because of that I’ve decided to share some of things I’m doing to help sell my books and I hope that some of you will share what you are doing. Check back often for more posts on this topic. Thanks.

What To Do After The Book Idea

Once you have that great idea for a book, it’s time to develop a plan. This is an important step and varies depending on your reasons for writing a book. If your objective when writing a book is to make a profit, then the first step in the plan should be to decide who will want to read your book. It’s called knowing your market. The only way to make certain your book will be purchased is to know who is going to purchase it before you write the first sentence.

Once you know who will buy the book you will know the information they want and need and then you are ready to beginning planning the actual writing of the book. The first step in this process is compiling all the information you have on the topic. I prefer to compile all my data in a word processor because once I am ready to organize it the task will be much easier. Don’t worry about organizing all the information initially because it will cause you to overlook important things. Just compile every piece of information that could potentially contribute to your book.

Once you have the information compiled begin organizing using an outline. I begin by creating the outline at the beginning of all my compiled information. I list the headings and cut and paste the information that fits in that heading. I don’t attempt to put it in order at this point but just organize the data under the appropriate headings. Usually during this process I come up with headings that I had not considered because of all the loose information I have gathered.

Once I have all the headings I copy and paste them to form a well organized outline of everything that I want to write. During this process I add even more information to each heading and I wind up with a well organized outline for my book and I can begin writing. In my next post I will cover how I use this outline to write my book.