Friday, March 01, 2019

How to Write and Publish--13--Decisions About Your Book

Note to email subscribers who are getting tired of all these posts in your feed: we're almost done!

Publishing a book involves decisions and lots of steps, and this list doesn't cover every situation.

You can do it, though. Step by step.

1. Royalty publisher or self-publishing? We discussed this before. The following information is for you if you decided to self-publish.
2. Do I want to hire a publishing helper to oversee the process or do it myself, either as a general contractor or learning to design covers and pages myself?
3. If I’m the general contractor, where do I get it printed?
4. How will I pay for it?
5. Editing. You’ll need someone to review the content in a general way and someone to look for the tiny details. This can be the same person, if they’re willing. Don’t try to DIY the editing.
6. The title of the book.
7. What type of book should it be, with what sort of binding? Hardcover, paperback, stapled booklet, spiral binding? 8 ½ x 11 workbook? 8 ½ x 6 ½ paperback?
8. What kind of paper—weight, texture, and color (white or cream)
9. The cover—
a) Design it yourself or hire someone (often, printers have someone on staff who can do this) Mine were done by a graphic designer, with Adobe InDesign.
b) Cover font, colors, design
c) The spine
d) The back cover—includes a description of the book, your photo and bio, and a bar code and ISBN, which you can buy online.
e) Extras such as embossing or glossy accents
10. Dedication and/or acknowledgments
11. Copyright page. This will include disclaimers such as the standard fiction paragraph that no one believes—"Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental,” and, if needed, a line about Scripture references for each Bible version you quote in your book. Also get and include permission for quoting other works such as books, articles, and song lyrics.
12. Information on how to order books. This is often on or near the copyright page, or on the last page.
13. Foreword or preface
14. Table of contents
15. Index—needed for genealogies, textbooks, how-to’s, and such
16. Illustrations and photography. Printing a picture book for children is a very different process from printing a novel. Your printer will know more about the specifics than I do.
17. Interior graphics—fancy swirls at each chapter heading, that sort of thing.
18. Font and type size. Size of margins. Books are printed in 16-page groupings called signatures, so the printer might tweak your margins and such so you don’t end up with 15 blank pages at the end of the book. 
19. Number of books to order. With print-on-demand, you can start with ten, 300, whatever you want. With other printers, the price drops per book with every 500 or 1000 you order. If no one has heard of you, start with 50 books. Romaine Stauffer ordered 5000 and sold them in a short time. I was somewhere between with mine.
20. Setting your price. This will appear on the back cover near the bar code. You can also have the price printed elsewhere on the cover, if you like. Remember that bookstores normally get a 50% discount, Amazon and other book distributors get a 60% discount, and Choice Books requires something like a 75% discount.
21. Publicity, advertising, and marketing. If you want to sell your book, plan ahead how people will find out about it.

Yes, it's a big job, but I've discovered a few things. It's ok to ask lots of questions, even when you know so little you hardly know what questions to ask. Book people are helpful people. You might surprise yourself with the skills you pick up in the publishing process.

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