What size should my book be?

rulerThe first thing that I am going to recommend is that you think about what type of book you have. Is it a novel, a self help book, a family history, etc. Once you have determined what kind of book you are dealing with, think about other books that you have seen in that genre. What did you like? What didn’t you like? Don’t be afraid to walk into a book store and spend an afternoon going through those books, and writing notes about those things. It is a lot easier to make decisions if you know what you like.

For book sizes, your most economical sizes often are between 5 x 8 and 6 x 9. They tend to give you a great bang for your buck in size. Those sizes are your most common bookshelf sizes, and when you compare the number of words per page that you get to the pricing, they tend to be the value sizes. Anything smaller will be less expensive, and anything larger will cost more. With digital printing, typically we will print 2 pages, back to back, multiple times up on a sheet. If you go larger than 6 x 9, you will get less on a sheet. With a size like 4 x 7, you will get more up on a sheet. Typical book sizes are 4 x 7, 5 x 7, 5 x 8, 5.5 x 8.5, 6 x 9 and 8.5 x 11. If you want to get wider than 9.5”, you are going to have to, at that point, go from a normal digital or offset press up to a large format offset press. That will cause a price jump that can be quite noticeable.

Typically 4 x 7 is referred to as a pocket book. 5 x 8 through 6 x 9 are common novel sizes. Typically, most family histories that I see come through are 8.5 x 11. With that being said, there are no limitations to the size that you want your book based on usually’s or typically’s. Make your book the size that you like. It is, after all, your book. Of course, if you are going to try to market your book, try to stay realistic in sizes. People may not want to pay more money for your book just because it is a unique size.

For more information on self publishing visit our website.


Featured Author: Amelia Lionheart, Local Calgary Author

These books are Educational, Fun, adventures, where the Facts about the animals are accurate, while the locations, plots, incidents and the characters, are fictional, but plausible. There are five books, so far, in the series, and the adventures are based on animal conservation centres – in different countries (Amelia has lived in, or visited, these countries), with the focus on a different animal in each adventure. In the books, children are introduced to basic information/ideas on topics such as: captive breeding; releasing animals back into the wild; relocation; and other work being done in Conservation Centres, in Canada and around the world, to protect animals from becoming extinct or endangered. The JEACs in the books travel to different countries during their vacation from school and have an adventure!

The books are cosmopolitan, and have basic good values such as: respecting everyone, empathy and caring towards others – especially those not as fortunate as ourselves, self-discipline, humour and the ability to laugh at ourselves, teasing but not bullying, understanding and not discriminating against people who are different from us, etc. They encourage: fundraising, volunteer work, discovery and use of talents, etc. Since French, Spanish, Latin, Hindi, Sinhala, Italian, Australian, as well as some very British words and expressions, are used in the books – each book has a Glossary.  The Snow Leopard and Grizzly Bear books also have a Foreword by Dr. Doug Whiteside. Dr. Doug, is the Senior Staff Veterinarian at our Calgary Zoo, and is an eminent Zoo Veterinarian in North America. He is also a Professor at the University of Calgary in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. 

Amelia is thrilled that the REAL GROUP OF JEACs in Calgary – incredible and talented groups of youngsters, have done amazing work and have participated in numerous fundraising events with her.

What inspired you to write your books? One of my assignments when I was doing my Diploma (I have a Diploma in Writing for Children and Teenagers from The Institute of Children’s Literature, Connecticut, U.S.A.), required me to “state 5 facts, and then use all, or some of them, in a 2,000 word story”.  I chose to write a story titled “Peacock Feathers” about a boy on a Conservation Centre, named Rohan. My instructor told me it would make a good adventure story; I “fleshed it out” from 2,000 words to around 60,000 words, added several characters, (Rohan being the eldest of the JEACs, and one of the MAIN CHARACTERS, did a great deal of research on conservation centres, animals, etc., created the JEACs groups in the first book (Peacock Feathers), and – Hurray! My JEACs series began!  I adore animals, I’m a bookaholic who reads an eclectic selection of books, loves series, education, knowledge, learning, and humour and, naturally, big and interesting words; travel and multiculturalism, fundraising, volunteer work etc.!  I have always loved Fact and Fiction, and believe very strongly in the conservation of wildlife and, in particular, the conservation of endangered species; I am convinced that awareness of this issue, when imbued in children at an early age, is a vital step towards saving our planet.  I enjoy working with the JEACs, and other young people who are aspiring authors!

If you could go back and change one thing about the process of writing or designing what would it be? I wouldn’t change the creative process at all, and my publishers are great!

Please visit the following link to learn more.

www.jeacs.com

Email: amelia.lionheart@shaw.ca – Please note, ALL children who contact Amelia, either through her website or email, MUST COPY A PARENT IN THEIR EMAIL.

*If you have printed a book with us and would like to share your story, please feel free to reach out to alisha@blitzprint.com.*

If you have a book that you are looking to print or inquire about publishing, please get in touch with us here


Featured Author: Christopher Warner

Our author, Christopher Warner, spoke a little about his book: Tommy Wants a Guide Dog in today’s blog entry. Continue on to learn about his book and the process of writing it.

Book genre: Children’s picture book (easy reader)

Tommy Wants a Guide Dog is about a young boy with sight loss who is too young to get a guide dog, so he imagines what it would be like to have other animals as a guide. 

April 29, 2020 was International Guide Dog Day, and was also the launch date for my new children’s book, Tommy Wants a Guide Dog. Tommy is a young boy with sight loss who would like to get a guide dog, but he’s too young, so instead, he imagines what it would be like to have other animals as a guide. It’s a fun story for both children and adults, featuring amazing illustrations by Cerridwen Sage Hicks. Tommy Wants a Guide Dog will be available in English, French, and English large print.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each book will help support CNIB Guide Dogs.

What inspired you to write your book? I do presentations about vision loss on behalf of CNIB in schools, and occasionally I’ve been asked, “Why aren’t there any guide cats?” After talking about it with a friend, the idea for other animals as guides, and the pitfalls that could happen with each one, started swirling in my head. From there the idea was born.  

If you could go back and change one thing about the process of writing or designing what would it be?  The story had already been written and the illustrator was working on the pictures when an additional idea came to mind, but it was too late to add it to the story without causing a huge disruption. 

Please visit http://www.nakokitabooks.com to learn more.

Click here for a live reading of Tommy Wants a Guide Dog

*If you have printed a book with us and would like to share your story, please feel free to reach out to alisha@blitzprint.com.*

If you have a book that you are looking to print or inquire about publishing, please get in touch with us here


Cat is Scared – A tribute to Front-line heroes

To all the front-line workers across the globe who have placed their health, families, and lives at risk during this global pandemic, we sincerely thank you.

Cat is Scared by Carolyn Neary is a gentle reminder to kids and adults alike that we will get through this global pandemic, thanks to the hard-working, selfless front-line workers. This book helps to bridge a gap in helping ease children’s confusing during these unprecedented times.

Check out this article to learn the inspiration behind Carolyn’s amazing children’s story.

Please consider purchasing a copy of Cat is Scared as a gift to a front-line hero. Visit orders.blitzprint.com/cat-is-scared to grab your copy.

A portion of proceeds will be donated to Ronald McDonald House Charities® Alberta.


Featured Author: Cindy Drummond

We are excited to begin sharing some of the work of the amazing authors that have published their books with us.

Check out the first interview submission from Cindy to learn about her book, what inspired her to write it, and what, if anything, she would change next time.

Your name: Cindy Drummond

Book title: Reflections from the Dating Pool

Book genre: Memoir, self-help, relationships

After the initial shock of witnessing the arrest of the man she had been in love with for six years, Cindy and her daughters fled their beloved family home and sought refuge in her parent’s basement.  Betrayed and heartbroken, Cindy knew she needed to act fast. She refused to let the actions of one deceitful person define her, so within weeks of her life being turned upside down, she created and executed an event for women. Her sold out womenonlyweekend gave her shaken confidence the boost she needed to embark on a new challenge; 50 dates in 52 weeks.

Follow Cindy’s dating journey as she shares her words of wisdom about loneliness, the importance of finding a tribes and how she fell in love again…with herself.

You don’t have to be single to love this book. It’s a book about starting over, a book about gratitude, and a book about creating the life you desire.

What inspired you to write your book? I wrote this book to offer hope to others might be feeling isolated, frightened or stuck. Many people are on pause these days. They are waiting for someone or something to come along, but the truth is…this is the perfect time to get goals, start a new project or find your passion.

If you could go back and change one thing about the process of writing or designing what would it be? I am considering changing the cover of my book. At the time, I chose a cover that I thought would appeal to a wide range of audiences, I now wish I had chosen a cover that reflected me and my personality.

Please visit one the following links to learn more.

www.cindydrummond.ca

Amazon

Indigo

Facebook: Cindy Rankine Drummond

Instagram: cindydrummondyyc

*If you have printed a book with us and would like to share your story, please feel free to reach out to alisha@blitzprint.com.*

If you have a book that you are looking to print or inquire about publishing, please get in touch with us here


Some Basics of Microsoft Word 2010 for Book Typesetting – Setting Your Page Numbers

You can easily set page numbers in Microsoft word as well, and you can have a different first page & odd & even pages with page numbers as well. You can choose to have your numbers start at different points, if you have multiple files, and you can also choose to have Roman Numerals, if you so choose. If you are not wanting page numbers, or Roman Numerals for your title page, table of contents, etc, I will suggest creating a separate front section, and then putting them together once you have PDF’d the files.
1. Select the Insert tab

1-Select-the-Insert-tab1

2. Click on Page Number

2-Click-on-Page-Number

3. Select top or bottom of the page, whichever is your preference. From there, scroll down and select a style. If there is not a style that you like, select a top or bottom option that is in the right position, and then go to the header or footer and double click. I always prefer to do this, and then set the page numbers up to either fall on the outside corner of the page (different odd & even) or to be in a different font, etc. If you want your numbers to start at something other than 1, go to the list and select Format Page Numbers.

3-Select-top-bottom-or-format

 

4. If you select a style, you are set and ready to go. However, if you chose Format Page Numbers, enter the number that you want your first page to start at. For instance, if you don’t want the first page to be page one, input 0.

4-If-you-select-a-style

5. If you chose to go your own way, you can now start by double clicking on the header or footer, wherever you chose to put your page numbers.

5-If-you-chose-to-go-your-own-way

6. Now you can choose where your orientation, font size, font type, etc. You can also choose to have different odd and even pages. This comes in handy if you would like to do the page numbers on the outside corners of your page. Put the odd paged numbers in the right corner, and the even paged numbers in the left. However, remember that whatever you choose for your page numbers will affect all other headers and footers that you have.

6-Choose-your-font-and-orientation

6b-Different-odd-and-even-pages1

7. Double click on the center of the page, and you will return to your normal text body.


Say What You Need!

Say-What-You-NeedWe are all guilty of this at one point or another in our lives. We don’t want to ask questions because we feel silly, so we don’t and we agree to something without really having all of the facts. Or, alternatively, we think to ourselves, “This is what I want, but they already know that.” Do they though?

These scenarios can play against you in several ways, no matter what area of your book you are dealing with.

First, it can result in you paying for services that you don’t want or need. The same goes for products. If you don’t know what a Litho-Wrapped book is, but you agree to it because you are afraid to ask, you could be paying upwards as twice as much as you would have been for a soft cover, perfect bound book. This could mean that you are not getting the type of book that you wanted, or you are missing out on the chance to work with a really great company, because the price was too high, when in reality, the price was right, but the wires got crossed somewhere down the line. Simple miscommunications can happen.

What if you think that you know what you are getting, but don’t clarify, and don’t get what you want? If your expectations aren’t clearly expressed, there is a chance that something could be missed. Want the full meal deal editing? Make sure that you clarify that, or you may end up just getting grammatical editing. Need your books to arrive on a specific day? Make sure that you mention that up front, in the very beginning, to see if it is even possible, and so that your printer is very clear about when you need them. Keep yourself in the clear by keeping your wants, needs and expectations clear.

I know that, for myself, personally, I love it when clients lay it out for me. The less guess work I need to do, the better. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or to speak your mind. There is no such thing as a stupid question, and there is nothing wrong with seeing if something is possible or available.

At the end of the day, I want to know that you are 100% happy with whatever we have done for you!


What Does an Editor Do?

What-does-an-editor-doA good editor is imperative to a great story. I’ve said this before, and I will surely say it again. The question that many of you are asking though is, why? What will an editor do for me, and for my story that will make it so much better?

To begin with, an editor is a trained pair of fresh eyes—someone impartial from the outside who can come in and critique your story, without any emotional attachment. He or she is not influenced, as friends might be, by concerns for your reaction to criticism or advice.

There are different kinds of editing; below is a summary. We’re going to assume that you have already written your manuscript.

Copy Editing
Copy Editing is involved with improving the text of the story. Copy editors make sure sentences say what they mean, and mean what they say. To accomplish this, they correct grammar, punctuation, word usage (using the correct words in the correct places), and spelling (ensuring consistency throughout, whether Canadian, British, or American spelling). If sentences are awkwardly expressed or vague, copy editors will rewrite them. They also see to it that the text flows smoothly. Copy editors read the text for sense and check for coherence and internal consistency—for example, making sure a character’s eye colour or the car she drives doesn’t suddenly change a third of the way through the manuscript without an explanation.

Substantive Editing
Substantive Editing, also called structural editing, focuses on the content, organization, and presentation of the entire book. Substantive editors help authors (it’s very much a collaborative effort) shape the manuscript in the best possible way. This may include working with the author on plot and character development. It could mean eliminating extraneous material or asking the author to rewrite material or write new chapters.

Often Substantive Editing is not necessary, but when it is, it’s an invaluable service. Usually authors know that there is a problem with their story, but they’re just not sure how to fix it. That’s what substantive editors do—they fix stories, and manuscripts, so the authors can get on with their work.

Now, I know you’ve put a lot of time, love, and care into your baby, and it’s only natural that you look askance at someone who comes along and tells you your baby’s got problems. But before you take offense, take a breath. This is their job. While the critiquing may not feel warm and fuzzy, it really is, because it is constructive. The editor is trying to help you to create the best book possible, so that you can really knock everyone’s socks off. It isn’t a personal dig. Incredibly successful authors all have editors who will gladly tell them that there are parts of their story that they need to work on (and the authors are happy to take their advice!).

Proofreading
Proofreading involves correcting production-errors of text and illustrations. This edit looks at such things as typos, omissions, spacing, and page numbering. Once the manuscript has been edited, and the formatting, typesetting, and design is complete, a proofreader will take one last, final look over your book proof (get it, proofreading) to make sure that everything still looks right, and that nothing was overlooked. Once you have the A-okay from the proofreader, you are ready to say those beautiful words: PRINT IT!

Make sure that you are clear about what services your editor is offering you in the pricing. You want to be sure that you know what you are paying for, so that you don’t end up disappointed. Oh, and if you can, please, get the whole meal deal. It will be better in the end.


How Do You Write a Synopsis?

How-Do-You-Write-a-SynopsisAs we discussed previously, the first selling point of your book will be its cover. The way your book looks will always lead the reader to grab it in the first place. With that being said, it is the synopsis that will likely be the selling point for the reader. I don’t know about you, but I have never purchased a book just because it was pretty.

How do you write a book synopsis for your back cover blurb, though? Many authors enlist the help of professional copy writers and of their editors, which isn’t a bad idea. What if you want to write your own synopsis though?

First, you need to establish the who, what, when, where, and why, just like you were writing the outline for your actual book. Who is the book about? – Don’t forget important secondary characters. What is the main experience of the book? Where is the story taking place? – This can be a location, or just a general setting.  When is the story taking place? – Tie this in to the setting, once you are writing. As for the why, what is your character, or plot trying to achieve? – What is the message?

Remember, keep it simple, and avoid going too far into detail, or you will give your entire story away. While keeping it simple, also remember to keep it short. You aren’t trying to rewrite your book here. I’d suggest between 3-5 paragraphs, with 5 being the max.

The blurb should be incredibly captivating, and informative, and it should hook your reader in. When people are trying to get published, they are told that they need to create a hookline, which is a one line sentence that describes the book in great detail, and hooks the agent that is reading it. You know the old saying, hook, line and sinker? This is along the same idea.

A back cover blurb is an art form, and really is one of your most important marketing tools. I would always suggest enlisting the help of a professional, even if it is just to get feedback on the synopsis that you have written.

For more detailed information on how to write a great back cover blurb, check out this great article from WheatMark, or this one from eHow, and for information on writing a hookline, check out this article as well.


When Should I Do That?

Clients often come in to us with things a bit backwards, and we help them to get everything in order, before they start going to print. So that you can be prepared, and make the most out of your money, here are some common, “When should I do that?” topics. 

get your ducks in a rowEditing
Editing should be done immediately after you have completed your final draft of your manuscript. Before it ever falls into the hands of a formatter or designer, it should have the final edits from your editor. If you take your book to an editor after you have had your book design done, you are going to be paying large amounts of money for changes to your files.

Illustrations
If you are having illustrations done for your book, wait until after your editing is done. Something that is in the book now may not still be there, or you may have decided to change it. You want your book to be in its final form, so that you can be sure that your illustrations will be the final illustrations. This will save you a lot of money, time and headaches.

Design & Format
Design & format should be done at the same time; preferably by the same person, if possible. This should come after editing, and illustrations, but before quoting or proofing. While it is ok to get a price quote for printing before this is done, be prepared to guess at your page count, and to resubmit your specs for pricing, because they will likely be quite different once the files are completed.

Launch Parties & Book Signings
Booking a launch party or book signing before you have your books in hand is literally putting the cart before the horse. Suddenly, you will have a deadline that is urgent ahead of you, which can lead you to rushing your book along. That is a recipe for a book that won’t be as good as it could be. Relax. It took you a long while to write your book, and it is going to take you a long while to go through the motions to have a professional, finished book. Any number of things can arise along the way, so it is best to not put yourself in a position where you will have to call people to cancel your launch. Instead, wait until your books are literally done, and in hand. Then you can go ahead and book a launch for a few weeks or months down the road. You can do all of the preparations for it, and be ready to go, but don’t set the date until you know that you have your books in your possession. This allows for Murphy’s Law to take place, without it causing you any more grief than it has to.

If you are unsure that you are doing things in the right order, give your printer or editor a call, and see what they have to say. They will likely have some good input for you.