I’m pleased to announce that another of my self publishing author clients – Alison McGrath – has recently completed her book: Getting the Right balance: a simple guide to people management and recruitment. In addition to fulfilling a long-held personal dream of becoming a published author, Alison’s main motivation for writing her book was to promote the professional expertise she’d gained as a result of many years’ experience working in the human resources and recruitment industry.
Leveraging your intellectual property to best advantage
In today’s online and super-connected world, many small (and, in particular, micro or solo) businesses are based entirely on the knowledge and creative input of the business owner. Whereas in previous decades it wasn’t possible to launch a business without physical premises, products and stock, and employees, now, as an entrepreneur, it is possible to reach out and form networks with people all over the world from a desktop computer in a bedroom (or even from a smartphone). Yet, while blogging and social media are good avenues for business owners to share their knowledge and interact with their market and potential clients, these communication tools are probably not the best method for them to fully harness their intellectual assets and ideas that form the core of their business. Apart from tapping into their knowledge in conversations with clients, many business owners often don’t adequately leverage their intellectual property and utilise it to boost their business success.
Self publishing a book positions you as an expert in your industry
So, as a business owner, what can you do to ensure that the ‘wealth of knowledge’ you possess is put to the best possible use? One of the most effective ways is to write and self publish your own book. While this can seem to like a daunting prospect for anyone who hasn’t yet trodden this path, it is often not as hard as you might think. And, with advent of high-quality digital printing options like Print on Demand, it is so much more affordable than ever before. Moreover, for those business owners who are sought after keynote speakers or presenters at workshops and seminars, it makes perfect sense for them to consolidate their industry expertise and knowledge in the form of a printed book that can then be handed out or offered for sale at business events.
By self publishing your own book, you join that elite rank of ‘published author’ and are (often instantly) perceived as an expert in your particular specialty. In this way, for business owners, publishing a book can offer one of the greatest time-leveraging tools available because it becomes a passive lead generator for you and your company– opening doors and creating opportunities that might not have otherwise presented themselves.
As soon as a writer publishes their first book they are instantly transformed into that mystical realm of becoming a published author. Other people look on in awe from the sidelines and marvel how such a seemingly insurmountable goal was achieved. But, as my self publishing author client Nick Schuster would no doubt agree having now published his first book – Why am I in Pain?: Your journey from pain to relief – it’s relatively easy once you know how.
As with any major undertaking, breaking the self publishing process down into manageable steps makes the procedure far less daunting for first-time authors. With this concept firmly in mind, I’ve developed a 5-step book publishing program which I’ve called the Five ‘C’s of Self Publishing. The aim of my program is to help writers who are wondering what they need to do to convert their Word document into a printed book by guiding them through the complex minefield of book publishing.
So what are the Five ‘C’s of Self Publishing?
The first ‘C’ is the ‘Correct’ or editing phase. To make sure your book is the best it can be, your manuscript should be reviewed by a professional editor. They will check that your writing is 100% free from errors, your narrative flows smoothly, and your tone and style are appropriate for your audience.
The second ‘C’ is the ‘Create’ or interior page formatting and typesetting phase. Most people are familiar with the concept of designing a book cover. However, the inside pages of your book also need to be properly structured and laid out.
The third ‘C’ is the ‘Classify’ or administrative phase. This step involves dealing with the admin side of book production including obtaining an ISBN for your book and applying for the Cataloguing in Publication (CiP) record from the National Library of Australia.
The fourth ‘C’ is the ‘Cover’ or book cover design phase. Contrary to the well-known saying, most people do judge a book by its cover. An effective book cover should reach out and grab your readers’ attention. To do this, your book cover design needs to be creative, eye-catching and, most importantly, give your audience a glimpse of what’s inside.
The fifth ‘C’ is the ‘Check’ or proofreading phase. Proofreading is the final polishing stage in publishing your book. It involves carefully checking for any remaining grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors, as well as any formatting issues or typographical mistakes.
By following these five steps when you embark on your self publishing journey, you can be confident that your finished book will ‘look and feel’ identical to any title produced by a traditional publisher.
So you’re writer and your dream is to see your manuscript transformed into a book …
Until a few years ago, your only option was try your luck with a traditional publishing house. Self-publishing, while theoretically possible, was still a ‘hit and miss’ method of book publication with lots of complicated work involved and poor print quality output. It was a long, difficult process that wasn’t especially effective. In contrast, traditional publishers paid all of the expenses incurred in the book publication process: editing, cover design, formatting, printing, distribution, marketing, and so on. Under this traditional publishing model, authors weren’t required to pay any publishing or marketing costs upfront. In exchange, they got their books published for ‘free’. However, publishing is just like anything else – there is no such thing as a free lunch. Any new author taken on by a traditional publishing house gives away the rights to their book for some period of time (usually five to seven years) and, in exchange, receives a meagre royalty (typically 5-8 % of the retail price of their book).
The ‘old guard’ of traditional book publishing
As has always been the case in the book publishing industry, the ‘old guard’ still reigns and traditional publishers make it very challenging for you (as an unknown writer) to get your manuscript in front of them. So, the first step in getting a traditional publisher to notice you and even think about publishing your book is to write a query letter introducing yourself and explaining what your book is about, who the target audience is, and how you intend to market your book.
As you may well already know, sending query letters to agents and publishers frequently amounts to tossing these letters into a black hole. Sometimes an agent or publisher will contact you and ask for more material, which is a good sign. More often, they never write back or send you a form rejection letter. Even if they do ask you for more material, it doesn’t mean that you’ve won a publishing contract. Usually it simply means that they are going to think about reading more of your written material whenever they feel like it – hence the black hole analogy.
Of course, some new authors do manage to break into this virtually locked-down universe. Presumably, authors lucky enough to get a contract from a traditional publisher choose that route because the publisher brings years of design, marketing, PR contacts, and other important relationships to the table. But how many of those relationships will be leveraged for the release of a book by a little-known author? Probably not many. The best way to avoid the question altogether is to consider self-publishing your book.
Self publishing: a viable and affordable book publication model
For someone who has never ventured into the world of self publishing, getting your own book out into the world can seem like a daunting task. Indeed, there are many things that go into and steps involved in writing and self publishing your own book. However, if you have the right tools and are motivated to succeed, there is no reason why you can’t do it yourself.
If your goal as a writer is to spread your ideas or tell your story, self publishing can be a financially-advantageous, faster, and possibly easier book publishing alternative. Plus it has the added advantage of allowing you to retain the publication rights to your work. As time passes and with ever increasing technological advances, the book publishing pendulum seems to be swinging farther from traditional publishing and closer to self-publishing.
Digital books (or eBooks) are quickly gaining in popularity as more authors self publish their book not only in print form but also as an eBook edition. But as is so often the case with new mediums, you need to consider a few things before opting to go the eBook route. Many authors have little or no experience with this new format. This article should give you a quick overview of the ePub format and how to use it optimally.
eBook and ePub – What is the difference?
The terms eBook and ePub are often used interchangeably. But are they two words that actually refer to completely different items? While basically the same thing, the main difference is that the term eBook describes digital books in general, while ePub denotes the exact file format. Since all digital book platforms other than Amazon’s Kindle (which uses .mobi) use ePub, this format is often equated with eBooks as a whole.
ePub files will not open with Word
Many authors convert their manuscript produced in Word into an ePub file and then realize it cannot be opened. The ePub format requires a special reading program to open it. On eReaders and tablets, these are pre-installed. However, to open the ebook on a desktop computer the user needs a software program such as Adobe Digital Editions or FBReader.
eBooks are more flexible than paper books
Many writers wonder why converting their Word document into ePub results in a file that does not look anything like the printed book. The ePub format is designed to be readable on any digital reading device. In principle, it is a collection of HTML files rather like a mini-website. Consequently, an eBook can look different according to which device is used to read it. In addition, each person reading an eBook can make their own decision regarding the typeface and size they prefer for viewing the book.
eBooks are one-column documents
Some authors try compulsively to transfer the multi-column layout of their printed book to the digital book format. For this purpose, they often use tables. Especially on smaller reading devices or for larger font sizes, this can be very unattractive and make the book difficult to read. eBooks (particularly in the format ePub2) are designed for single-column continuous texts. Additional information should be linked as an extra paragraph at the end of a chapter or as information at the end of the book.
Links – the advantage of eBooks
One of the great advantages of eBooks over printed books is the ability to include active links in books. In this way, a book’s table of contents acts like a website menu by taking the reader to the desired location. Likewise, links within the body text are like hyperlinks that refer to other chapters and excerpts. Finally, if the digital reading device has internet access, an eBook can even link to external websites.