Tips for Indie Publishers

The following tips will help self-publishers create and publish a first-rate, beautiful book. And of course, if you have any questions, just contact us at 1106 Design!

You can also follow our Indie Publishing Tips board on Pinterest.

In that brief time, your book cover must convey the message that the book is amazing, that it’s worth buying, that it’s going to help the reader, that it’s what the reader wants. What message does your book send? While it might be tempting to save money by bypassing quality design, make sure your book cover sends the right message by making the investment in professional cover design.
Rivers of text are unsightly “rivers” of white on your page. These rivers occur when spaces between words fall in a pattern that is distracting to the reader. Hiring a professional book designer to lay out your pages using proper text layout software (not word processing software) is essential to eliminating these and other formatting errors such as word stacks, hyphen “ladders,” text that is too tight or too loose, and more. These errors detract from the overall professionalism of your book.
You may be told by XYZ Company that signing up with them is the only way to get your book printed on demand.  This is not true. You can open an account directly with Ingram Spark or CreateSpace,  deal one on-one with the POD printer, and be in control.
As an Indie publisher, you are a business and your book is your product. Hopefully you researched the potential market for your book before you started writing. Now you must identify how you will distribute the book, and how you will support your  distribution efforts through marketing. Don’t underestimate the amount of work needed to market your book!
It’s tempting to save money by making your book available as an eBook only. But, many people prefer the feel of a real book, and you will shrink your pool of customers by limiting your format to an eBook. Instead, use the services of a print-on-demand company as well as providing an eBook. You will save money by printing only the number of copies you need, and give customers your book in the format they want.
Your book designer should provide you with three cover design concepts, each of which is distinctly different from the others. If your designer gives you only three variations (e.g., same image, different fonts), ask him or her to go back to the drawing board and provide you with a variety of concepts to give you some choice as to the direction you want your cover to take. To save time and money, clarify variations versus concepts with your designer upfront, before making the hiring decision.
The ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is the standardized global
identification number for books and is essential if you plan on selling your book. In the US, the ISBN is available for purchase from Bowker (www.myidentifiers.com). Because each different version of your book (hardcover, softcover, ebook, audio) requires its own ISBN, it’s more cost effective to buy a block of ten. In Canada, ISBNs are free from www.bac-lac.gc.ca
(Click on Popular Services, ISBN).
A Facebook page is a tool to expand your potential market by creating a community around your book.  Building that community is hard work. If you already have a personal page with a thousand “friends,” you’ve already developed your “brand” and a significant following. Rather than trying to convince all your friends to follow you over to your new book fan page,  market your book to your existing community on your personal page. If your book will be part of a series, it makes sense to create a Facebook page using your publisher imprint or your author name. When you publish your next book, you don’t need to create another fan page. If your book is meant to help build your business, create a fan page for your business. And consider Facebook ads, a low-cost way to build your community.
If you are creating a website for yourself or your book, buy your domain name (your url) while your book’s cover is being designed. Include your website address on your book’s back cover and/or in the frontmatter; invite readers to join in conversations about your book and to receive updates on future publications. Make sure you include a mailing list subscribe form on your website. Set up your Facebook fan page, and Twitter username so that these addresses can be included in your book as well. Make it easier for your readers to find other like-minded readers, and to tell their friends where to find you!
When it comes to your book, you’ll always find something else to do. If you allow yourself or others to review and re-review your book, you WILL always find something else and your book will never be finished! If a professional editor has copyedited your book before it was typeset, and it was proofed after typesetting, review your book personally one more time. Then, sign off on it. Every change you make after the book is typeset could cost you money. Clarify how many revisions are included in the cost of typesetting and what the additional charges are for changes over and above those revisions. If you have confidence in your proofreader, your typesetter and yourself, then recognize that everyone has done their job and declare an ending!
There are distribution options beyond online retailers and brick-and-mortar shops. Create your own website and sell your book there. Approach book fairs; many towns have book fairs and welcome authors to purchase tables and sell books (and be available for a book signing). Be an exhibitor at a conference that is focusing on the subject area of your book. Offer books as door prizes and arrange to have a book signing. Offer conference attendees a special “conference price” for your book. Think of other venues that may welcome you at one of their fairs, or in their lobby during lunchtime, especially if you offer to donate a percentage of your sales (e.g., your faith community, community center, retirement home, hospital, community health fair).
Many first-time authors fear losing control of their book if they allow other people to help. Instead, they take a “do-it-yourself” approach or sign up with big self-publishing companies or POD
publishers. By researching and interviewing experts before you hire them, you have a better chance of knowing if you can develop an open and trusting relationship with the people who will ultimately be on your publishing team. Make sure you are comfortable with them, that there is honest two-way communication, and that you have both laid out your expectations of each other. Doing so will give you the freedom to be involved in the project as much or as little as you wish.
While authors will happily spend a lot of time and effort on writing content, quite often they will rush through the process of coming up with a book title. However, your book title is every bit as important as the book’s content. In fact, it’s what’s on the cover of the book that influences a buyer’s purchasing decision. Without a compelling title (and cover design and back cover text), readers may never get as far as reading the inside of your book!
Your book’s front and back cover text is your chance to tell readers why they should purchase your book—it’s your sales pitch! Unfortunately, many authors blow this opportunity to tell the reader all about the book, and instead write back cover text that details why the book is meaningful—to the author. Instead, tell readers why the book should be meaningful to them! Know your audience and market and speak directly to them.
So that your book designer can learn more about you and your book, provide him or her with a copy of your manuscript or at least a summary. Also, provide the final title and subtitle for the book, and share your vision of the cover design. Finally, share information about your book’s intended audience. If your designer does not ask for at least some of this information, reconsider working with this designer!
Proofreading is a necessary step in the book production process. A proofreader will check for typos and punctuation, but will not agonize over sentence structure or your choice of words, or figure out the problem with your manuscript, fix it and piece the book back together. A copyedit or substantive edit goes well beyond catching typos, adding that extra level of professionalism and readability that will make your book stand out from the others.
Word processing software has enabled everyone to produce professional looking letters, reports, presentations and more, but isn’t meant for book layout. Word processing software doesn’t offer the same precise control over spacing, fonts and general page layout as professional design software, nor does it have sophisticated hyphenation and justification controls, resulting in tight and loose lines that are unsightly and distract the reader. But don’t waste time and money learning to use professional design software! A trained and experienced designer knows how to use this software to create an appealing and professional layout and differentiate your book from the others.
We get a lot of requests from authors to simply turn their word-processed document into a PDF, the format needed by POD companies. However, while it’s all that the printer needs, it’s not all that YOU need. POD companies are too polite to tell you the truth about how your book looks. They have specs that need to be met, but that’s it. Your success, on the other hand, is measured in the number of books you sell. And an amateur job won’t satisfy the distributors, reviewers and book retailers—the “gatekeepers” of the book industry—who will immediately spot a beginner’s efforts and reject your book as “self-published.”
Find out how your local library orders books. Libraries usually have small budgets for book purchases and quite often share copies through their local library network. Consider donating a book to your local library so that it is available to the network to share. By doing so, you may raise awareness about your book, create demand, and sell books to readers who don’t want to wait to get your book from their library.
As you know, the main product of your publishing business is your book, and your product must be of the utmost quality, one that people are going to want to purchase—or what’s the point? To produce a book that stands out from all the other books—one that doesn’t scream “self-published” and instead is a book that intrigues potential readers and makes them want to buy it—you may just need to bring in some experts. By carefully identifying your needs, evaluating your options, taking advantage of free consultations offered by experts, and avoiding the package “deals” available through POD Publishers, you can assess and hire the services you require to make your book the best it can be without breaking the bank.
Mail a postcard, with book cover art on one side, to family members, friends, business associates, etc. The other side will include information on how to order the book and a request for them to share the info with at least five friends. Your book designer can design a postcard and other giveaways, such as bookmarks. The graphic on the front of the postcard can be modified to include ordering information, your website address and contact information, to be used as an image to share on social media.
Not all marketing strategies need to cost money, but marketing strategies should cost books. Be prepared to give books away in order to spread the word. For example, you can offer your book as a door prize for a conference, or to be included in a gift basket for speakers. Get in the habit of carrying a few copies with you in your car or briefcase. Be like Seth Godin and give people two copies with the understanding the recipient will pass one on to a friend. You never know; you might give a stranger a complimentary copy and that person might just become your book’s greatest champion.
Copyediting involves a comprehensive edit of your book, including spelling, grammar, punctuation, word choice, paragraph structure, flow and style consistency, and catching errors. A substantive edit is excellent for authors who are unsure of their writing skills or who don’t know how to fix issues with the manuscript. The editor will advise on the book’s structure and the writing, and suggest fixes, often going over the manuscript multiple times. A proofreader will check for typos and punctuation. A copyedit or substantive edit goes well beyond catching typos, adding professionalism and readability that make your book stand out.
The retail price is what retail outlets will use when selling your book to customers. This price is printed on your book cover and encoded in the bar code. Retailers pay the wholesale price for your book, and the difference between what they pay for your book and what they sell it for is their margin; if they decide to reduce the retail price of your book, the difference comes out of their margin. Both IngramSpark and Createspace have Publisher Compensation calculators on their websites. Use these to test out retail prices and see how your compensation is affected by adjusting the price and the wholesale discount.
Making changes to a book after typesetting is much more difficult and time consuming than changing a manuscript while it is still a Word document. Adding a sentence to your manuscript in a word processor takes a few seconds and costs nothing. Adding that same sentence after your book is laid out may cause all the text after it to reflow, requiring time-consuming layout adjustments. All this to say that the later in the publishing process changes are made, the more they will cost!
Marking your proofs using AA or TE will give everyone a sense of how the job is going and avoid hard feelings at billing time. An author’s alteration (AA) is a change that the author requests and for which he or she will be billed by the typesetter. A misspelled name is considered a chargeable AA, because only the author can reasonably be expected to know the information. The number of chargeable AAs can be reduced by proofreading your manuscript before typesetting. A typesetter error (TE), should always be fixed by the typesetter free of charge. Formatting errors or accidental deletion of text that was in the original manuscript are examples of nonchargeable TEs.
Another way to control book design costs is to pay close attention to the sample chapters that your designer will offer. Work together with your designer, creating samples until you’re satisfied with the type style, type size and layout. Changing this sample is usually free; making changes to the design after hundreds of pages have already been laid out can quickly become expensive.
Eliminate hyphens at the bottom of a page; make sure that the last word on the page is not hyphenated. Also watch out for “ladders” — too many hyphens in a row at the end of lines of text. The typesetter should banish these and also find and fix hyphenated compound words, which also distract the reader.
Offer to speak at a conference; you may not get paid but you will be able to promote your book. Along the same line, contact book fairs and offer to appear as a speaker or to sign books. Everyone likes to get a book signed by the author!
Consider approaching independent bookstores and gift shops and ask if you can sell your books on consignment. This no-risk arrangement may appeal to gift shops or specialty shops in particular. For example, perhaps your book is about caregiving; approach hospital gift shops. If your book is about dog training, approach pet shops to take your book on consignment. If your book is about gardening, or is a novel with a title and theme that might appeal to gardeners, consider asking a gardening or home decor store to take your book on consignment.
One way to make your book stand out from others is to use an unusual page size and orientation. Standard sizes exist primarily for printing efficiency, but that doesn’t obligate you to use them. “Standard” is another way to say “ordinary.” Most books are printed using the “portrait” orientation, where the book is taller than it is wide. Consider shifting the orientation to “landscape,” so that the book is wider than it is tall. With a few limitations imposed by bindery equipment (and restrictions on print-on-demand), a book can be almost any size or shape — horizontal, vertical, square, oval or even a star.
After the book has been edited, it should be proofed. A proofreader will catch typos and other mistakes that the editor may have missed or that you created as a result of fixing the manuscript post-edit. Then, proof the book again after typesetting. Why proof twice? Formatting your manuscript can reveal new errors that were missed when the book was in its old word-processed format. However, correcting errors after the book has been typeset can cost you a lot more money. For example, deleting an extraneous word from a word processing document is easy, but deleting that same word from a typeset page can cause all the words on the page to shift, creating more work for the typesetter to fix the page. Your objective is to have as few errors as possible for a typesetter to fix after the book has been typeset, and the only way to do so is to proofread it before it is typeset.
An author website legitimizes your book. Without a website, your potential readers will have a hard time taking your book seriously if they can’t find much information about it or about you, the author. In addition, your website, which can include text, photos, and video trailers, along with a blog, builds anticipation in advance of publication, informs readers about book signing events and other appearances, and allows your audience to get to know you. The website also gives you another forum to sell your books. As you publish more books, you can add them to your website. Your domain name should be your name; if it’s not available, try adding the word “books” or “author” after your name.
If you sell your book on Amazon.com, take advantage of the “Look Inside!” feature. Many buyers take the opportunity to “look inside” to review the table of contents, index, preface and sample pages, and will base their purchasing decision on what they see there. See this blog post on how to set up the “Look Inside!” feature.
Your non-fiction book will require both a main title and subtitle. Because your titles must fit on the book cover, they should not be too long. If your book is part of a series, you need to come up with a title for the series and titles for all of the books planned for the series. Finally, make sure that the title is not misleading; it needs to reflect the content of the book!
Conference attendees like to peruse the exhibit tables and collect free information and giveaways. If your book is the only item on your exhibit table, people might assume that they are available to take for free, and they will try to do so! Make sure you have some other items, such as postcards, bookmarks, or pens printed with your book name, for giveaways, and clearly identify your books as for sale only. Try not to leave copies of your book on the table if your booth will be left unattended. Have a special price for your books to entice conference attendees to buy your book at the conference.
Before embarking on your self-publishing journey, think about who you will invite along for the ride. If your “destination” is a high-quality publication that you want to sell (rather than a hobby), then it’s important to “go pro” and assemble a team of professionals who can help you get where you want to go. Your team should include a cover and book designer, editor and proofreader. Consider professional assistance in marketing and distribution as well. Happy travels!
The process of publishing your book can be broken down into six basic steps, which you can use as a framework for planning your publishing project: (1) Cover Design; (2) Manuscript Editing; (3) Interior Layout or Typesetting; (4) Proofreading, Corrections and Final Review; (5); Printing, and (6) Marketing. Click here to learn more.
Schedule more time than you think you’ll need for book production. We recommend at least two weeks each for cover design, copyediting, typesetting, proofreading, corrections/final review, and uploading your digital files to a POD printer. Some steps, such as cover design and editing, can be worked on concurrently. If you must have your books in hand by a specific date, be sure to tell your designer so he or she can make it happen.
The time that you invest in your book publishing project depends on your experience, your personality, and your available time. Many authors relish the “hands-on” approach and enjoy the prospect of talking with multiple providers. Others prefer to hand the project over to a company that will manage the entire project for them. Fortunately, service providers (such as 1106 Design) are available to suit every preference.
The title of your book must make an immediate and positive impression upon a prospective reader. It must quickly get to the heart of your book’s message; the reader should understand right away what your book is about. A marketing expert can help you create just such a title. Provide the expert with as much information as you can about your book, including a synopsis and the intended audience and market. Based on this information, the marketing expert will evaluate the strength and appeal of your book title, and will create alternative titles that drill right down to a message that readers will understand.
The unfortunate reality is that you should always be aware of opportunities to promote your book. Carry postcards, business cards or bookmarks with information about the book and how to order it with you at all times. Make sure your website is featured on your promo material. Tell everyone you meet about your book; don’t be shy! Most are genuinely impressed by authors and eager to hear from them. Finally, be sure to have signed copies of your book handy to sell or give away.

Make your bio easy to find. Readers want to know your background and why you are qualified to write this book, particularly if your book is nonfiction. Your author bio should be brief and focused on your expert credentials. Don’t include your photo here: the bulk of the back cover space should be used for the sales pitch. A longer author bio and photo can be included inside the book.

There are two providers of print-on-demand services: IngramSpark and CreateSpace. CreateSpace feeds directly into Amazon and is a good option for getting your book on Amazon. Use IngramSpark for the connection to bookstores and a robust international distribution system. You can open accounts directly with CreateSpace and IngramSpark, maximizing your potential profit margin per book. The more people between you and the print-on-demand provider, the more people with whom you must share your profits!

If you look closely at low-cost covers, you’ll see that many of them are the same. The author may have used a template to create the cover him or herself.

When browsing for books online or in a bookstore, potential buyers will decide in nanoseconds whether or not to investigate a book further, and they will base that decision on whether or not they like the book cover! Buyers gravitate to covers that are visually compelling and different from the rest. When one cover looks like another, it’s hard to make yours stand out.

Some self-publishing companies purchase blocks of ISBNs and then offer ISBNs to their customers at a low cost or for free. While this might seem like an economical option, your book’s ISBN will belong to the self-publishing company, making them the publisher and not you. Ownership of an ISBN is not transferable and it can be difficult and expensive to obtain the book files and publish again under your own ISBN.

Just because you bought professional page layout software, don’t assume that you can now lay out text like a pro. While the program includes handy default settings, experienced typesetters rarely use them. They rely on their years of training and experience to adjust settings for better results, sometimes line by line, word by word, or even letter by letter. It’s these tiny adjustments that make the difference between professional and amateur-looking page layout.

Successful page layout invites the reader in and subtly leads the eye from one section to the next. The right fonts, careful spacing, and an attractive arrangement of paragraphs, headings and illustrations work together to make reading a pleasure instead of a chore. An experienced typesetter has the tools to carefully adjust word and letter spacing, along with justification, to give your text an even “color” that’s easy on the eyes and delivers better reading comprehension as a bonus.

Making multiple revisions to an entire book multiple times takes a typesetter many hours. Consolidate your changes into one or two rounds of revisions and you won’t have to deal with “sticker shock” later. Second, add several weeks to your prepress schedule for changes. It’s stressful for everyone and unfair to your typesetter to hold to the original deadline when days or weeks of work have been added to the project due to revisions.

However, it’s a frequent practice grounded in how books used to be produced. Back in “the day,” book publishing followed a standard procedure: The manuscript was edited and proofread multiple times. Only when all the editors, the author, and senior staff signed off on the manuscript did it go into production (typesetting). Typeset “galleys” were produced, meaning, the type was set in long strips of paper, produced by the phototypesetting machines of the era. These galleys were sent to the author, and reviewed yet again by editors and staff. Corrections were made, and only then was the book “pasted up” into pages and sent to the printer. While the procedure sounds archaic now, it did accomplish one major goal: corrections were very rare after the book was paginated. Today, the use of computers and software means that changes can be made whenever and however the author wishes. We are no longer invested in “getting it right” before typesetting because we know changes can be made after typesetting is done. Unfortunately, the opportunity to proof after typesetting is often overlooked, as can be seen in the number of errors that get through to the printed book.

You are the publisher and you have a product to sell: your book. You’ve invested hundreds of hours developing your product and hundreds—if not thousands—of dollars in creating and polishing it, turning it into a product that you know consumers will buy. But you would be surprised how many authors fail to think past this point and end up allowing a self-publishing company to “distribute” the book (with average sales of fifty books) for a chunk of the royalties or who have a stack of book cartons in their garage, unsold. So, even as you write your book, it’s important to think about how you are going to market your book, who you are competing against, what price you are going to charge, and then, how you are going to reach your readers!

Your back cover text should be short, concise and focused, even while transmitting the benefits of reading your book. For nonfiction books, use bullet points to list the benefits— what the reader will get out of the book. If your book is fiction, provide a brief synopsis of the plot, but don’t give away the entire book. Moreover, know your audience and speak directly to them. Remember that the average book buyer will spend only ten seconds reading your back cover, so make sure you get your message across quickly!

If you’re new to the publishing business, how do you know what you need? Before getting a quote from companies, understand what you are purchasing. Ask lots of questions. At 1106 Design, we offer a free download of Michele’s book Publish Like the Pros: A Brief Guide to Quality Self-Publishing.  We suggest you read it before you approach companies for quotes. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive your free copy (click in the book cover link in most sidebars on this website).

Obtain a quote upfront so you know your costs. Companies may offer low prices initially, but charges can balloon quickly. And never pay someone to “publish” your book.
At 1106 Design, you’ll always know your costs. We don’t lure you in with low prices, then create “gotchas” after you’ve signed on the dotted line. Our proposals clearly explain what’s included and what’s not so there are no surprises.

Will the company release the final book files to you (the design files, not just the PDF)?  Who owns the ISBN? These are important questions to ask in case you ever need to make a change to your book.
At 1106 Design, we never hold your files hostage for additional payment. When the job is complete, we’ll be happy to send you the application files for your job (not just a PDF). In addition, we help you purchase your own ISBN from the original source: Bowker.

Make sure you get honest indie publishing advice. Are you able to speak with a real person? Are they constantly trying to upsell you under the guise of giving advice?

At 1106 Design, we’ll answer all your questions along the way. You’ll talk to real people who fell in love with books a long time ago, not a telemarketer working from a script. We’ll never recommend services that you don’t need. If we don’t know the answer to a question, we’ll reach out to someone who does.

When looking for a company to help you with self-publishing your book, check their website, Facebook page, Twitter, Google reviews…what are people saying about that company?

On our 1106 Design website and Facebook page, you’ll find many 5-star reviews from happy clients. We grow our business through referrals, not advertising.

Some companies compensate for their low fees by taking a percentage of the author’s royalties or profits on every book sold. If the company dictates how much profit or royalty you get per book,
consider it a red flag.

At 1106 Design, you pay us once for the services we provide, and then we’re out of the picture. We provide you with a detailed quote for our services, and we’ll even help you deal directly with IngramSpark and other printers to maximize your profits per book.

There are two ways to format an eBook: automated file conversion and hand coding. When using automated file conversion, the computer makes all the decisions, which can result in formatting errors. Ebook conversion is available everywhere and it’s cheap.  Hand coding allows the designer to “correct” for the idiosyncrasies of different reading devices so that the eBook always
displays as well as the technology allows. The designer can also license and embed the same fonts that were used in the print book so that your eBook looks as beautiful as the print edition.

The only time you pay someone else to publish your book is if you pay for services (editing, cover and page design, marketing, etc.) to self-publish your book. Don’t ever give money to a company who insists you must “apply” and then pay them to “publish” your book. This is a scam.

At 1106 Design, you only pay us for the services you receive. The ISBN and publisher imprint belong to you and you keep 100% of YOUR profits.

Authors are often relieved to know that a self-publishing company will take care of the ISBN by “giving” the author one of their own (or are under the illusion they are saving money by doing so).
ISBNs are the unique identifying number for books. They are the property of the publishing company and cannot be sold, given, or transferred to an author. That means the company providing the ISBN to the author still owns the ISBN and is the publisher of record for the book. Should the author ever wish to publish the book under their own name, the author will need to buy an ISBN and reprint the book. An ISBN cannot be reused, even if the book goes out of print.

At 1106 Design, we will help you purchase your own ISBN from Bowker, the only source of ISBNs in the USA, so that the ISBN belongs to you.

Never pay a company to “publish” your book. If the company’s imprint appears on the book, the company is then the publisher (sometimes called “vanity publishing”). Instead, give your company a name, hire the services you need to publish the book yourself, buy your own ISBN, and maximize your profits by arranging for print-on-demand or offset printing yourself.

At 1106 Design, we don’t ”publish” books. We work with authors who want to publish books themselves, maintain control over all elements of the publishing process, and keep 100% of their profits.

How do you recognize publishing scams? Here are a few red flags: Companies that ask you to apply to have your book accepted and then demand money to “publish” your book; promising to publish your book for a cheap price; assuring you of instant success or “3 easy steps”; not providing you with an itemized quote; charging you a low price in return for taking an absurd
percentage of your profits per book.  Be sure to research all companies carefully and read their customer reviews.

At 1106 Design, we don’t ”publish” books. We work with authors who want to publish books themselves, maintain control over all elements of the publishing process, and keep 100% of their profits. And we have over a hundred 5-star reviews.

Your “following” is comprised of people who will purchase your book, leave reviews on Amazon, and recommend your book to their friends. They are your book champions! It can take months to build your following, so this is not something you can leave until your book is launched. You should start even as you write your book by establishing your presence on social media and with a basic website to announce your book and build an email list. At 1106 Design, we help you market your book successfully with author websites, eBook flipbooks to give readers a “sneak preview,” and trusted partners for book marketing, traditional book distribution, and bulk sales to special markets, each tailored to your publishing goals.

Make a list of your local media outlets: radio, television, newspapers, and magazines. Note any special shows or segments that you think would be a good fit for your book. Add contact names and
telephone numbers or email addresses. Now, write a pitch letter that tells the media outlet why your book would interest their listeners, viewers, or readers. Let them know how your book would benefit the media outlet. Leave out the parts about how much being featured would mean to you; remember, they want to know what’s in it for them! 1106 Design can help you promote yourself to media outlets with a book promotion press kit and a “ready for media” DVD to round out your pitch.

Book competitions for indie publishers are a great way to promote your book and an opportunity to see how “competition-ready” your book is. After all, if it can’t compete against others in an awards competition, how well will it compete in the marketplace? You can check out your book with others in your genre and measure its cover, page layout and readability against the winners in your category (and take a look at last year’s winners too!). 1106 Design can help make your book a winner with professional cover design, book layout, editing and proofreading.

Visualizing your published book is not enough. As for all projects, you need a plan! Your plan should be to have a PLAN … and get it in writing. Your PLAN should have a beginning and an end. It should have room for flexibility. Your PLAN needs to keep up front WHO the audience is that you are writing for.  What’s your plan for producing the book and marketing it? Do you have a plan to reach out to media for publicity? When there isn’t a PLAN, then the PLAN is to not plan. Is that what you want?

(From 101 Publishing Blunders by Judith Briles, www.authoru.org)

There are three kinds of dashes in every type font.

  • Hyphens (-) are used to hyphenate words and separate phone numbers.
  • Em dashes (—) are a form of punctuation used to offset clauses in a sentence.
  • The En (–) dash, typically half the length of an Em dash, is used to denote duration, as in 8:00–5:00.

Serif type is better for long blocks of text. Our minds are trained to recognize the shapes of words rather than reading letter by letter. The serifs form a link between letters, creating a recognizable shape. Bonus Tip: Choose a type size that adds up to 70 characters per line max for easiest reading.

Lines of text that are too close to each other (or too far apart) are difficult to read. Some authors attempt to increase or decrease the page count of a book (i.e., to reduce printing costs) by adjusting the line spacing. Some advice: Please don’t try to fool people by adding or deleting so much line spacing that it looks silly.