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.


Tips to Manage Your Time As an Author

I think it’s safe to say we are all guilty of some degree of procrastination. You set a goal and the deadline tends to get pushed back again and again because you just run into roadblocks along the way. Sometimes the roadblocks are in the form of writer’s block, or other priorities simply get in the way. As an author, you do have to be a little flexible with yourself. So for example, if you have an event that you would like to present your finished book at, maybe allow yourself 2 months longer than you think you really need to complete your book. Give yourself some wiggle room so that your quality of work doesn’t suffer from feeling pressure to finish writing. Here are a few tips to manage your time as an author:

Productivity Timing

Everyone has a time of day that they tend to be most productive. For some people, such as myself, they can wake up, have a coffee, scan the news, and then sit down to work by 8:00 am. It’s the afternoon where productivity begins to decline as distractions arise and the mind begins to wonder. For others, however, the evening might be the time when they are most productive. Maybe this person feels a creative spark after dinner, when their day is calm and there are no competing tasks to eat away at their time. Either way, figure out your best time of day to be productive and creative and schedule your days around that.

Calendars

Once you have figured out your prime time of day to write, plug it into a calendar. I personally like Google Calendars because they sync to all of my devices and are user friendly. So if I’m sitting on my laptop I can pull up the calendar and update it, and then it will automatically update on my phone as well.

I color code my calendar based on the activity. So I use pink for hours working, blue for appointments, green for reading/downtime, red for dinners and time with friends, and yellow for volunteer work. This makes it easy to read and set up my days. As an author, I would suggest blocking out time for writing first, and scheduling the rest of the day around that. You have to prioritize based on what is most important for you. Writing shouldn’t feel like a chore, so you don’t want to squeeze in a session among everything else you have going on in a day.

To-Do Lists

A good idea would be to attach a to-do list to your calendar. It feels great to cross things off as you complete them. If you want to take it a step further, you can use a number system of 1-5 to determine the level of priority or urgency of a task. this way you can organize your tasks and not feel overwhelmed.

Reward Yourself

Humans tend to respond well to being rewarded for their work in some way. Something that I used to do when I was in school would be to set a goal such as a textbook chapter I want to complete and then decide that when I accomplish the task, I will reward myself with something such as a nice relaxing bath, or a piece of cake, etc. Not only does this system subconsciously train you to willingly accomplish your tasks, but it also gives you enjoyment so you feel like writing is less of a chore.

Conclusion

Writing a book is an exciting and rewarding endeavor, but it requires strong commitment and determination. Using some of the suggested tips to manage your time as an author and will help you feel in control of your book and all-around more organized.

We have plenty of resources available for authors throughout our website https://blitzprint.com/author-self-publishing-support/. Additionally, feel free to contact us at books@blitzprint.com for any questions about self-publishing.


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.


Author Website: a How-to Guide

You wrote a book, now what? You need to create an author website. Marketing is key to generating sales for your book or book series, and a strong author website is an important component of this. That is why we have composed a how-to guide to point you in the right direction. There are a few things that you need to think about when creating your website, including what hosting platform to choose, and what pages and information to include. We break it all down for you here;

Why it’s important to have a strong author website:

People appreciate convenience. The easier the process, the more likely someone might be to purchase something. Ensuring that your website is clear and not confusing will play in your favor in generating potential sales. A strong website also can be a reflection, in the consumer’s eyes, of a strong product (your books).

Choosing a platform:

Here are a few of the user-friendly website platforms I suggest to use for your author website. Each of these makes the process easy to learn, and there are many Youtube videos or other articles available if you are unsure of how to do something on the site.

  • WordPress
  • Wix
  • GoDaddy
  • Weebly

Once you have chosen your platform, you need to purchase a domain for your site.

What pages should you include on your author website:

You don’t want to over complicate things, but there are certain pieces of information that are relevant and important to include on your site. These include:

  1. Bio.
    • When people purchase your book or series, they are buying into you as well. You are your brand. If your personal story resonates with someone, they might be more inclined to want to purchase your product. Sometimes, the bio is just an opportunity to connect with others and share a little about yourself.
    • You may include the inspiration behind your story or a little about your history. You can also choose to share personal information such as the city you reside in, your family, and what you do for a living. Don’t go too far in-depth with this information.
  2. Books
    • Include a write up on each of your books. You may choose to offer excerpts from the books as well so people can sample what the content is like. Include photos of the book covers on this page.
  3. Reviews
    • Asking or incentivizing customers to review your book upon reading it is a very valuable tool that you can and should include on your website. People place a high value on the opinion of their peers.
  4. Contact info
    • Having a strong website ties into the need to have strong social media pages as well. Social media is a powerful tool to reach new audiences and connect with current ones. That’s a whole other topic, but it’s important to mention the need to include these links on your website so visitors can check out your pages. Additionally, it’s important to link your website in your social media posts to drive traffic there.
  5. Purchasing section
    • If you choose, you can include a page where customers can directly purchase your book. Alternatively, you can link to another page where people can purchase a copy. Either way, make sure that the available options for purchasing your books are clear.  

Analyzing your website traffic

A website is not something that you should simply create and then never touch again. You should consistently update your site, whether this consists of linking your social media feeds to your site, or writing a blog.

The most important part, however, is the analysis of website traffic. With a resource such as Google Analytics, so much valuable information is available to you. Some of the metrics I would suggest paying attention to include:

  • Bounce rate (generally, you want a lower bounce rate)
  • Demographics (location, age, gender, etc.)
  • Website traffic referral – where is your website traffic coming from?
  • What pages are most visited on your site

Paying attention to these aspects is important in driving your decisions on whether to edit pages, get rid of some, or make other changes on parts of the site that aren’t working optimally for driving sales. Analyzing something such as demographics can influence your other marketing decisions.

Hopefully this author website how-to guide provided some clarity on the layout and contents of your website so that potential buyers can learn about you and your book, and purchase a copy without difficulty.

Looking to print a book? Connect with us at https://blitzprint.com/request-a-quote/.


Copyright Pages for Authors

Every book needs a copyright page. That much is certain. But what information do you really need on this page? What information is essential, and what is optional? Using Blitzprint’s Copyright Page as an example – which can be requested here – let’s break the text down piece by piece.

First off, the copyright page usually goes on the second page of your book. First page is the title page (on a right facing page), and the second page is the copyright page (on the left facing page). This is not the mandatory location of the copyright page, but it is the most optimal. If I am asked by a client where to put the copyright page, Page 2 is what I recommend.

Essential:

© Copyright 2019 by (Author or Publisher name goes here)

It is essential that you list your name (or the name of your publisher) after the copyright symbol, wording, and year of publication. Technically, your book is protected under copyright law the moment you write it. However, it doesn’t hurt to say as much on your copyright page.

Essential:

(BOOK TITLE GOES HERE)

It is essential you list the title of your book. You cannot copyright a title; other books may have the same title as you. However, linking your title to your story identifies it as a unique work of art created by you.

Optional:

All rights reserved–no part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, or by any information storage or retrieval system except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review, without permission in writing from the publisher.

This ‘All Rights Reserved’ text is optional, but why not add it? It states clearly what a reader cannot do with your work. You can also just write: ‘All Rights Reserved’ and leave the rest unsaid.

Optional:

Author Name

City, Province

You have already listed your author name beside the copyright symbol, so it is optional to list it again here. You can also add the city and province in which you reside, if you feel it would be beneficial.

Essential:

ISBN (XXXXXXXXXXXXX)

If you are going to sell your book, even just locally or to friends and family, you need an ISBN.

It is a 13-digit code you get free of charge from Library and Archives Canada. Just set up an account, and you will have your ISBN within ten business days. For more information on the ISBN process, read our recent blog: The ISBN: What, Why, How?

Optional:

Cover design, lettering and illustration by XXXXXX

Printed and bound in Canada by Blitzprint Inc.

Published by: name

(address – optional)

(website – optional)

The first line is entirely optional. The second line is mandatory: we always need to state in which country a book is printed. The last three lines are optional: you have already added your name in the above section, and it is up to you how much personal information you want to list in your book. If you have a website, it doesn’t hurt to put it here. After all, you want your readers to access it and learn more about you, and any other books you have printed or upcoming titles you have in the works.

One last thing…

Cataloguing 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.


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

Though sometimes confused with titles, headers are actually the type that is at the very top of the page, often justified to the left or right, depending on which side the page falls on. You can easily set headers in Microsoft word, and you can even have different odd and even ones, as well as a different first page. With that being said, you can not have your headers change throughout the book (ie. When a new chapter starts) and you can not have some of the pages not have headers. If you are wanting different headers for each chapter, or blank headers for your title page, table of contents, etc, I will suggest creating those sections separately, and then putting them all together once you have PDF’d the files.
1. Select the Page Layout tab

1-Select-the-Insert-tab

2. Click on Header

2-Click-on-Header

3. Go all of the way to the bottom of the list, and select Edit Header. You will now find yourself in your header.

3-Go-all-of-the-way-to-the-bottom-of-the-list-and-select-Edit-Header

 

4.  Select different first page, and different odd and even pages, if you want them, at this point. We recommend that you select different odd and even pages. See step 6 for more information. If you choose different first page, be sure to create your odd page header on page 3, instead of page 1.

4-Select-different-first-page-and-different-odd-and-even-pages

5. Adjust the spacing for your header. You may want to play around with this a bit, to find the right distance to allow for your current margin settings. You may also find that you need to readjust your margins at this point to allow room for headers. We do not suggest any spacing for your header smaller than 0.25”

5-Adjust-the-spacing-for-your-header

6. Choose your orientation of where your header should fall on the page now. We suggest different odd and even headers so that you can have odd page headers fall on the right side of the page, and even page headers fall on the right. This will prevent your header from getting lost in the gutter. If you do choose to have them the same on every page, your best bet is to have them be centered on the page. To choose the orientation, click into your header, and then go to the home tab.

6-Choose-the-orientation-of-where-your-header-should-fall-on-the-page

 

7. Select your text size, color and font now.  I suggest doing it in a slightly smaller font, and perhaps changing the color to a darker grey. It makes it less predominant on the page.

7-Select-your-text-size-color-and-font

 

8. Put in your text now. If you have different odd and even pages, you will have to repeat steps 6 & 7 on the next page.

8-Put-in-your-text-now1

 

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

9-Double-click-on-the-center-of-the-page-to-return-to-the-normal-text-body3


Getting Your Book Into the Library

Getting-Your-Book-Into-the-LibraryThis is definitely about more than purchasing a library card. We’ve discussed this topic before on this blog, but, previously, we really only scratched the surface.

It is a great idea to get your books into libraries. It’s a good way to get your book known, to get people talking about you, and to also do your part to help your local library. Of course, there are right ways to go about this, and there are wrong ways. I could try to explain it all, but I don’t think that I could do as good of a job as long time librarian, Marlene Harris. Lindsay Buroker, of www.lindsayburoker.com, interviewed Marlene, and posted this amazing article to her site back in February of this year.

Please check out the article below, and get some great advice from someone who is really in the know. Check out the blog here.


What’s in a Cover?

BookCoverGreenBrownThey always say, don’t judge a book by its cover, but really, don’t we all? Even just for that first, fleeting moment, as we find ourselves drawn towards that book on the shelf?

In the mid-19th century, with the advent of the mechanical age, a book cover changed. Previously, it was a way to protect a book, while decorating it with ornate finishing touches, to show how important the information inside really was. Books were so expensive that they couldn’t just belong to the average Tom, Dick or Harry. They were archives of information so precious that they weren’t meant for general consumption.

As mechanical book binding began to take form, the process and materials began to change. First, bound in incredible covers made of natural treasures such as ivory, then, on to natural products that still involved the delicacy of the hand binding, such as leather. Moving forward, it became cloth, such as linen, and then eventually, there was paper. At this same time, the popularization of the printing press was coming up quickly, and together, this created a phenomenon. Suddenly, books weren’t just for museums, parliament, or the extremely rich. Suddenly, book topics weren’t just limited to important, historical notations. Suddenly, books could tell a story, and be readily available on the mass market for a reasonable price.

Now, the cover was an advertising piece. Something necessary to convince the common consumer to part ways with their hard earned money so that they could read the pages hidden inside. The more expensive the book, the more daunting this task can become. The synopsis plays an important role in cementing the sale, but the imagery on the cover itself becomes so important in even drawing the consumer to pick it up in the first place. Whether it be dramatic in its simplicity, or vibrant and captivating in its detail, your book cover HAS to make the reader want to pick it up.

Your book cover is your initial point of contact and impression, so make sure that you make it a good one. Local designers can be found via writers groups, word of mouth, sites like Kijiji and CraigsList, via colleges of art and design and through various other sources. As always, be sure to ask for a good look at an established portfolio, and that you get a good feel for the designer. You want to be sure that you have made the right choice. Find out what your printer will need in regards to the files, and create.

Don’t believe me that it is that important? For a great perspective from a book reviewer on the importance of a book cover, visit this article.

On a final note, this is one of my favorite comments that I have read in a long time. On this blog, one commenter wrote, “I think the cover should be the first promise to a reader…..” I wholeheartedly agree.


11 Good Questions

Before you make your final decision on who will get to print your book, there are some very important questions that everyone should ask. Watch the video below to hear some words of wisdom from our President and CEO, Kevin Lanuke, and then click here to get the 11 Good Questions download.

For more information on self publishing, visit our website.

We will return to our Make Library and Archives Your Friend series next week, when we discuss copyright.


What is formatting?

formating?Formatting is taking your manuscript and changing it so that it is in a print ready format. This is something that you can do yourself, using programs like Adobe inDesign (our recommended program) or MS Word (functional, but not what we recommend).

Programs like inDesign are pricey and can be challenging to use.  To do the formatting yourself you can find tutorials online. You may decide that you would like someone else to do it for you, you can speak with your printer as they will likely either have someone on staff, or some recommendations. You definitely want someone who is a professional designer and who is going to create it in inDesign for you, if you are going to pay for it.

For more information on self publishing, please visit our website