Pros and Cons of Self-Publishing

There are a number of key things one might want to factor in when deciding whether or not self-publishing is a good route to go for your book. Naturally, there are benefits of either route, so it comes down to personal preference. We have made a shortlist of pros and cons to reference when making your decision.

Pros of Self-Publishing:

  • You own the rights to your book. With companies such as Blitzprint, we do not assume any ownership over a book. We simply print it. It’s completely owned by you.
  • When you self-publish a book, you have full creative control. Meaning you don’t have to answer to a publishing company’s preferences on the cover photo or paper stock.
  • You can set your own deadlines. If you are working on your book as a side project, you can work on your own schedule, without any external deadlines eating away at you.
  • It’s often easier to make changes on a reprint. It’s good to get feedback and apply constructive criticism to future prints of your book. Listen to what worked well, and what didn’t, and use your creative control to make minor adjustments to your next run of the book.
  • Potential for a shorter publishing process (resulting in quicker access to the market).

Cons:

  • It can be a lot of work. Writing a story is a lot of work, and on top of that, marketing your book is a complex and time-consuming process. You have to be ready to apply your passion in selling your title.
  • It is potentially more difficult to access an audience. When marketing your book, you must use a combination of outlets and resources to attempt to reach a target audience. Your network can be vital.
  • You have limited marketing resources (Often times you will have to do your own marketing and sales). There are plenty of guides online to aid you in marketing, but there is an abundance of information, sometimes with conflicting recommendations. Marketing can be overwhelming, but there are contractors or companies to hire for this exact purpose.

All of these points are important to take into consideration when choosing which route to go for publishing your book as they will influence everything from your design process to the way you market your book, to the revenue you earn on sales of the book.

Check out our Self Publishing Guide for more information.


How to Build Your Author Brand

As an author, your brand includes your image, who you are, and what you say. It’s not just your logo. Of course, this brand can circulate around your pen name, but anytime you converse online or in person, you are representing your brand.

Being likable and interesting may entice people to want to read your book, or at least learn more about it. I would argue that your brand is equally, if not more important than the cover of your book. Think of a trade show for example; You probably have your book cover on display, but it’s you as a person that draws in people to visit your booth.

Here are a few tips for your author brand:

  • Have a strong, visually appealing, organized website with an option to purchase directly from the site
  • Ensure your tone on social media reflects your brand. Streamline this across all platforms
  • Use a professional headshot on your book, website, and social media

Establishing a Brand:

One way to develop a personal brand as an author is to ask friends, family, and coworkers to describe you in adjectives. Better yet, if you feel comfortable, I would recommend asking a few strangers for a first impression following a brief interaction with you. There is no preexisting relationship, therefore, this interaction is likely to mirror an interaction at a trade show more closely in terms of how you are received by strangers.

What genre would you categorize your book under? If you’re a children’s author, you probably want to write lighthearted posts that appeal to parents and grandparents and be pretty personable with children. If you’re a romance author, it would play in your favor to be charismatic so people are drawn to you and your books.

Brand Guidelines:

Keep in mind, your brand does include guidelines for materials such as your logo, colors, fonts, and images as well. You want your brand to be recognizable and suiting to what you are trying to portray. Plus, putting together brand guidelines makes it easy to plug and play when creating business cards, bookmarks, brochures, etc.

Next Steps:

Once you’ve established your brand and you are ready to print, request a quote, and then begin getting your book out there!


6 Tips To Design Your Book Cover

The cover of your book is (obviously) extremely important. With so many choices out there, you want to get your book noticed, and a good way to do that is to have a cover that stands out. Your cover design can influence the perceived quality of your book. Here are a few recommendations that you should take into consideration when designing the cover of your book:

  1. Hire a designer
    • A designer can help you apply your vision and they will know the proper way to set up the cover to send to your printer. You do not have to do everything on your own. A good designer should have an artistic eye as well as access to specialized software.
  2. Ensure that you have permission to use the images you choose
    • This is where a site such as Shutterstock or Adobe Stock comes into play. You can subscribe to obtain permission for a number of photo downloads per month or purchase images individually on these platforms. (We will share more information on image copyright in a future post, so stay tuned.) You can also use your own photography, but make sure the photos are taken with a good quality camera in the correct format.
  3. Use images with a high resolution
    • Further to the previous point, if an image has a low resolution, it’s going to reflect that when it’s printed. This is why you should use a good camera if taking your own photos for your book. For example, we do not recommend using a cellphone camera unless they have been set to take high-resolution images. Poor quality images may negatively influence readers when deciding whether or not your book is worth reading.
  4. Don’t overcrowd the cover with images
    • Sometimes, less is more. You want the title to be the focal point of your book cover. Overcrowding images can look cheap, whereas clean, minimalist covers can be attractive to readers because it suggests a degree of sophistication in the content. Of course, there are exceptions to this, such as children’s book covers, biographies, etc.
  5. Make sure the title is legible
    • As previously discussed, the title should be the focal point of your book cover. Pay attention to the font size and typeface, and choose a good color that pops with your background image and/or color(s). Although there are certain genres that tend to have fancy scripted titles, such as fantasy, often you want your title to be easily legible.
  6. Decide if you would like your book to have a matte or gloss finish
    • Check out this blog post to learn more about choosing which finish is best for your book.

For more tips and information about designing a good book cover, get in touch with us at books@blitzprint.com.


10 Social Media Post Ideas for Promoting Your Book

A good set of goals to have when creating social media content for your book is high engagement on a post, as well as a spike in website traffic driven by your post. Successful branding and content can lead a potential customer to enter the sales funnel, ultimately leading to a purchase of one or more of your book titles.

We have compiled a list of 10 social media content ideas to help you reach these goals as an author:

  1. Introduce yourself to the audience
    • As an author, you are your brand. It’s important that your audience knows a little about you. When they purchase your books, they are supporting your brand, meaning it helps if they like you and what you are about.
  2. Q&A sessions
    • Q&A sessions allow you to engage with the audience directly. One existing or potential customer may ask a question that may apply to another customer. Q&A sessions also increase engagement on your social media posts or stories, which can help your content reach a wider audience.
  3. Encourage book reviews
    • I cannot stress enough how powerful peer reviews are when it comes to determining whether to purchase a product or service. We tend to trust our peers, and look for patterns when reading reviews. If the general consensus looks fairly negative, that might sway someone away from purchasing a product or service, and vice versa. This is why influencers are growing in popularity among brands. Company’s realize that a peer’s opinion is able to sway someone far better than a celebrity endorsement because they are actually relatable.
  4. Announce book signings and other events
    • Let your social media following know when you have an upcoming event such as an author book signing, and encourage them to attend.
  5. Share the behind the scenes of the writing process (before the book is finished)
    • The idea behind the scenes plays into your brand as well. It deepens the connection with the audience and can feel exclusive.
  6. Share a photo of your workspace
    • Show where the blood, sweat and tears were shed when writing your book.
  7. Announce when and where your book is available for purchase
    • This point seems very simple, however, is key for driving sales. People are not going to go out of their way to find out where to purchase something. The easier the process, the more likelihood of someone completing a purchase. Tell your audience where to go, and at the very least, they might check out your site.
  8. Share a short paragraph about your inspiration to write the book
    • Sharing your inspiration for writing can enable a deeper connection between an author and an audience. The ‘why’ is equally as important as the ‘what.’
  9. Link to your other titles
    • Let your audience know that you have other books. Maybe they read one and would be interested in reading the other ones.
  10. Share fan photos with the book
    • Similarly to the idea of book reviews, seeing other people engage with your books can encourage one to visualize themselves reading it too. This can almost serve as “proof” that other people are reading and enjoying the books. When you share someone’s social media post, they tend to feel valued as well, because it shows that you appreciate them as a customer, spending their money, and investing their time to read your title(s).
social media

If you are looking to self-publish a book, get in touch with us here for your personalized quote today.


What size should my book be?

rulerThe first thing that I am going to recommend when deciding what size to make your book is to 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.

Economical Book Size

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.

Common Sizing

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.


Top Ten Common Grammatical Errors

Even the most experienced writers still make grammatical errors from time to time. The famous American novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne once said that “Easy reading is damn hard writing”.

There are always some common spelling and grammatical errors that pop up to disturb the flow and comprehension of any story. Identifying and fixing these usual suspects will put you ten steps ahead of the writing game.


They’re, their and there

  • They’re is short for. “They’re English.” (“They are English.”)
  • Their is the possessive of they. “I like their English accents.”
  • There indicates a place. “They live there.”

You’re and your

  • You’re is short for you are. “You’re right.” (“You are right.”)
  • Your sits before a noun (word) to show that it belongs to it. “That is your opinion.”

It’s and its

  • It’s is short for it is. “It’s raining.” (“It is raining.”)
  • Its denotes ownership. “A leopard can’t change its spots.”

To and too

  • To denotes distance or movement. “I went to the movies.”
  • Too denotes something in addition to. “I too want to go to the movies.”

Then and than

  • Then denotes time. “We went to dinner, then we went home.”
  • Than compares. “Nike is better than Adidas.”

Who’s and whose

  • Who’s is short for who is. “Who’s that?” (“Who is that?”)
  • Whose denotes ownership. “Whose jacket is that?”

Let’s and lets

  • Let’s is short for let us. “Let’s go to the park.” (“Let us go to the park.”)
  • Lets is a verb. “He lets me use his computer.”

Loose and lose

  • Loose is a noun, as in “loose cannon” or “my belt is loose”.
  • Lose is a verb, as in “don’t lose the race” or “don’t lose your phone”.

Affect and effect

  • Affect is a verb, while effect is when you’re talking about the noun (word) itself. An experience can affect you deeply, while the experience had a great effect on you.

A lot and alright

  • A lot is always two words. Always.
  • Alright as a word for ‘satisfactory’ has grown in popular usage, as opposed to all right, which means ‘everything is fine’. To be on the safe side always use all right.

Does your book need a proofread before going to print? Blitzprint can help. Contact us today for more information at books@blitzprint.com

Check out common mistakes made by self-publishing authors


The International Standard Book Number (ISBN).

INTERNATIONAL STANDARD BOOK NUMBER (ISBN) What is it? Why do you need it? And how do you get it?

An International Standard Book Number (ISBN) identifies a title and its publisher. ISBNs are issued by individual agencies in every country that adheres to the standard. In the United States, you can acquire your number through www.isbn.org. In Canada, ISBNs can be acquired through Library and Archives Canada.

The 13-digit ISBN number helps identify:

  • The specific title
  • The author
  • The type of book they are buying
  • The physical properties of that particular book
  • The geographical location of the publisher

Although you are under no obligation to get an ISBN, marketing your book will be difficult without one, as industry sales and distribution systems depend on them.

Signing up is simple and it’s free. Register through ISBN Canada, or if you don’t have internet access, you can use the Library and Archives Canada mailing address. It takes about 2 weeks from the time of registration to receive your ISBN(s).

CATALOGUING IN PUBLICATION (CIP)

Cataloging in Publication (CIP) is a voluntary program of cooperation between publishers and libraries, and a free service in Canada. Unfortunately, CIP service has been discontinued for self-published materials. Library and Archives Canada recommends that authors of self-published books consider approaching their local libraries or bookstores about opportunities to promote their works.

LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CANADA

If you registered for an ISBN, it is important that you send a copy of your book to Library and Archives Canada. This is called a legal deposit and confirms the information that you provided for your book and completes the registration process. Legal deposit applies to publications produced in Canada regardless of medium or format, including; books (monographs); serials (journals, periodicals, magazines); sound, video and spoken-word recordings; multimedia or instructional kits; CD- and DVD-ROMs; microforms; cartographic materials; and online or digital publications.

At Blitzprint, we always recommend our clients register for an ISBN. For each client, we will create, free of charge, a barcode from the ISBN to insert on the back cover of the book.

For more information about ISBN, CIP, and copyright protection, visit ISBN Canada.


There are so many different book cover finishes – What’s the Difference? – Litho-Wrap Case Binding

In the fifth blog of the series, we will be discussing Litho-Wrap Case Binding.

Litho-Wrap Case Binding:

As we discussed last week, when you do a standard hard cover binding finish, if you want to include a printed cover with it, you must have a dust jacket. While this is a nice option, it isn’t the most durable option for the survival of your cover, and it is definitely not a great option for kids’ books. It also tends to be the priciest option.

While not the most cost effective option, litho-wrapping allows your protected cover to be bound directly to the hard case cover, keeping it attached to your book forever, at a lower price than standard case binding with a dust jacket. As with soft covers, litho-wrapped covers can have a gloss or matte laminate done on them. The laminated paper is pulled tight around a thick board, and attached to the back of said board using an adhesive, just as with standard case binds and the cloth or buckram finishes. In the same way as standard case binding, the books are then bound and attached to the case, with end sheets inside to hide where the cover wraps to.

It is not recommended to try to litho-wrap with a cover that has been embossed or debossed, as the covers are pulled tight and will likely lose their effect. Also, gloss laminate tends to be a better choice than matte, as the matte can scuff easily.

Like standard case binding, this type of cover is very resilient, and should last a very long time. Longer than even standard case binding, typically. While this used to be a more popular binding for text books only, it has become quite popular with children’s books, and is readily becoming a more popular option for other types of books, such as novels, as well.

See our blog post on standard case binding.

For any questions, please contact us at books@blitzprint.com.


There are so many different book cover finishes – What’s the Difference? – Standard Case Binding

In the fourth blog of the series, we will be discussing Standard Case Binding.

Standard Case Binding:

Standard case binding actually has several different types of materials that can be used, but we could go on with individual blogs forever, so we will just cover the most popular options here. Common, and popular choices are synthetics like Buckram and Tanotex, and natural materials like linen and leather. Synthetics are the most cost effective, followed by cloth and then leather. The material is pulled tight around a thick board, and attached to the back of said board using an adhesive. From there, the books are bound and attached to the case, with end sheets covering the inside covers.

These materials are often adorned with the cover and spine text using either silk screening, which is the more cost effective option, or with foiling for golds, silvers, etc.

This type of cover is very resilient, and can last a long time, but does not tend to be the most appealing option to the eye. Typically, these  types of covers are covered with a dust jacket, which allows for the cover art to be included with the book, but allows for it to easily be damaged or lost. This type of bind is usually something that I would recommend for a keepsake, vs. something that will be read thoroughly, or often.

With the dust jacket, this tends to be the most expensive finishing option of all.

See post on the next type of book cover finish – lithowrapping.


There are so many different book cover finishes – What’s the Difference? – Varnish Finish

In the third blog of the series, we will be discussing varnish finish.

Varnish finish:

Varnish is a thin lacquer type substance that is applied to a book cover with an offset press. In order to have a varnish finish the entire cover must be printed offset. It is applied as a liquid, either as a flood (covers whole surface) or spot (covers only certain spots. People do this for effect sometimes), and then dries clear.  It very minimally protects against sun fading,  and general wear and tear of a book. You are likely to get frayed corners with this type of coating. If you want your cover to be embossed or debossed, however, this is one of the right finish options for you. The varnish floods into the ridges and ripples covering all nooks and cranny’s of the surface.

Varnish is available in gloss, semi-gloss, and matte. In order to get a high gloss sheen, you would need to do multiple floods of varnish.

Offset cover printing is an expensive option if you are not doing over 1000 books.

Varnish can be used as a coating for any type of book, even litho-wrapping.

Check out another option for book cover finishing: film laminate.