Featured Author: Barbara Robin

Author: Barbara Robin

Book Title: I Should have Married a Cowboy

Book genre: Non-fiction

I SHOULD HAVE MARRIED A COWBOY is a series of stories told in the manner I try to live my life – with honesty and humor. The oldest of nine children, my formative years were spent in Vanderhoof, Terrace, Kitimat, and Fort St. James; my family, like these communities, all caught up in the post war boom. Through this period of parental wanderlust, I was provided with endless opportunities for adventure and discovery, right up to the moment I was brought to heel by rheumatic fever at the age of 14. Two bouts later, probably hoping to forestall trouble, my parents sent me off to a convent school in the lower mainland. The experience changed my life considerably but that set back did not dampen my romantic curiosity or stop me from becoming a teen-age bride soon followed by the daunting task of raising a handi-capped son.  

Inspiration:

My stories speak to the many challenges, heartaches and opportunities I have faced over the years but it is also a testament to resiliency and determination. 

When I was writing the book I struggled with some of the deeply personal stories and I wondered if perhaps I was being too honest. One day I was discussing my concern with my brother and fellow author, Peter Robin. His comment was, “if your story helps just one woman get out of an abusive relationship you’ve done your job.” Thanks Pete.

Writing and Self-Publishing Process:

If I had the opportunity to change one thing about my writing process it would be to have more patience. If I could start over I would set the book aside, walk away for six months or a year and then come back to it. I know that’s difficult to do, it’s like walking away from your baby but distancing yourself for a period of time allows you to come back and reread it with fresh eyes. 

I am fortunate the staff at Blitzprint were so knowledgeable and patient. It was my first publishing experience and they helped me immensely with the format and design. I made countless adjustments and corrections before approving the final draft but their diligence insured I would be happy and proud of the book.   

I can be contacted on my author Facebook page: “I Should have Married a Cowboy” or at: babsie@telus.net    

*If you are an author that has 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


So How Much is This Going to Cost Me?

costThis is a question that I always dread hearing when I first sit down with an author. Not because I can’t, or don’t want to get them pricing, but because it is such an open question.

I can get you pricing on printing your books, if you give me the needed information. With your manuscript, I can get you pricing on very basic typesetting and cover design, or even editing. However, that isn’t where the dollar stops. How much is marketing going to cost? What if I want a cover that really stands out? What if I want to employ a Literary Agent? What about distribution?

These questions are all good questions, but not something that one person can answer for you. Each and every single one of those answers has to come from people who deal in that specific business. There is another hitch. Before they can even give you an answer, you need to answer questions for yourself. How far do I want to take this? How deep do I want to go into my pocket? How deep can I go into my pocket? How far do I want my book to go? How much time can I put forward towards this? How much time am I willing to put towards this?

Without these answers, no one will be able to answer your questions. Really think on these before you get too deeply into your book. There is no point in spending thousands of dollars in design if you are only going to try to sell your book to family and friends, and it is unlikely that you are going to reach best seller status with your cover that you did in MS Word.

So, when I say that I, personally, can’t answer your question, it really isn’t because I don’t want to. It’s just not possible!


I’ve decided on my quantities. Who should I print with?

Blitzprint of course! No, I am just kidding. We may be the right fit for you, we may not be. It all depends on what your needs are. If you want to be able to print one book at a time, then you need to go with that kind of POD (print on demand) printer. For these scenarios, I would suggest checking out Lightening Source or CreateSpace. With both of them, you register your book through them, send them VERY specific files, and then they list you online with their various sources. Really make sure that you research this to be sure that it is right for you. For instance, CreateSpace lists you on Amazon.com once you are working with them. That being said, you can achieve the same thing with Amazon Advantage. Figure out what is right for you. Also, as fair warning, with these kinds of book printers, there is no guarantee on the colors on and in your book. Every time that you print, you can almost guarantee a 5% variance on your colors. It is hardly noticeable at 5% and under, but it is there. At places where someone is printing larger runs of your books, they should be watching to ensure that your color doesn’t vary more than that 5%. There really isn’t someone there doing that for you in these scenarios. Basically, you have strict file restrictions when you submit to them, because the book essentially has to fit a certain criteria. The reason for this is that, when they get in 700 orders that day, all of these books need to fit together into categories, so that they can all be printed together, at once. This is what keeps their cost down, it now cost them per unit the cost to print 700 books, which is way lower than the cost per unit to print 1 book. With all of those books going through, there isn’t really a person holding up the last copy of your book and saying, hmmm, I don’t think that this color is going to be acceptable to the author. These books would also be printed digitally, just as an FYI. Also, these books would be being turned around in a day or two, typically. Last, but not least, your cost per unit with these types of companies doesn’t go up or down much with quantity changes. The price will usually be pretty close to the same the whole way through.

If you are printing between, I would say 25 and 1,000 books, your best fit really is a company like Blitzprint. We are called short run POD printers. At this range, we are still printing books digitally. Don’t let that scare you. I can’t speak for other companies, but I can for ours, and we have some pretty amazing machines that produce some of the most beautiful colors and printing that I have ever seen. This is definitely the sweet spot for most self published authors, because they can get usable quantities at reasonable prices, and in a reasonable timeline. I know that for us, our standard timeline is 12-20 business days after proof approval, plus any shipping time. The sweet spot for printing with a short run POD printer is usually between 100 and 500 quantity. This is where you will notice your cost per unit going down the most when you add books. There are no price break points in this type of printing. Every time you add a book to the quantity of your order, your price per unit will go down. Depending on how many books you add to your order, the price could be a couple of cents (deciding you want 101 books, not 100) to a dollar or more (deciding that you want 500 books, not 100). Also, in this type of printing, we typically don’t need, or want, for that matter, your book to come to us in signatures. What that means is, in most perfect bound book scenarios, as long as you have an even number of pages, then we will be able to print it.

At around 1,000 books, typically, sometimes less, sometimes more, we will suggest that you go to see an offset printer. Offset is traditional printing, with a press and inks. These books take a little longer to get, need to be set up in specific ways with signatures, and have to be done in large quantities. With that being said, if you are looking for large quantities, or have a specific color need, there really is no other way to go. With offset you can print specific colors called Pantones, you can do metallics, foiling, embossing, debossing, etc! Realistically, when it comes to offset the sky (and your wallet!) is the limit. However, if you aren’t up there in the quantities, it probably isn’t worth it. It may look pretty to have all of those fore mentioned things on your cover, but I promise you that no one is going to look at your book and say, “No metallic on the cover? I’m moving on!”. If you don’t want to print over 1000 books, but do have specific color needs that may need to be met via offset, talk to your short run POD printer, and see what your options are for getting a few thousand of your cover preprinted, so that they can just be bound to the freshly printed interiors every time that you have an order. If you are going to go this route, though, you had better LOVE your cover, because you are going to be stuck with it, as it is, for a while. If you are going the large run offset route, I strongly recommend checking out both Friesen’s and Houghton Boston here in Canada. Not only are they local companies, so you are supporting your country’s economy, but they are really great to work with. I can say that confidently, because my clients have told me so! Also, with these types of printers they work with things call price breaks. What this means, essentially, is that between X number of books, and Y number of books,  you are going to be paying pretty much the same amount. Make sure to ask them about price breaks.

For more information on self publishing, please visit our website.


The Discontinuation of the Microsoft Reader

In an unexpected move, Microsoft announced the discontinuation of its eBook reader software, the Microsoft Reader. The full discontinuation will take place on 08/30/2012. Users who have purchased .lit eBooks will be able to download their books until that date, but all new sales will cease as of 10/7/2011. No explanation has been provided by Microsoft in regards to this decision.

It is likely that this discontinuation is related to the fact that the reader was built around the now antiquated .lit file format, and that it was time for a change. The Microsoft Reader download is the grandfather of all eBook reader programs, introduced in 2000 as a free service which allowed people to read eBooks on their PDAs instead of their computer screens for the first time. The Reader sparked initial production of dedicated eBook readers that are available on the market today.

There is some speculation that Microsoft is ending this era of eBook reading as they embark into the tablet age, but that has yet to be seen.