IP Grammar Tips – Part 1

KeepCalm1. Never use “that” when you’re referring to a person.

“H.H. Holmes was the first American that became a serial killer.” H.H. Holmes (an alias for Herman Mudgett) was a person, not an object. It’s an insult, even to a serial killer, to call him “that.” The sentence should read, “H.H. Holmes was the first American who became a serial killer.”

2. Who or Whom?

Who is doing what to whom? When in doubt, ask yourself that simple question. The one who performs the action–the subject–is who. The one who experiences the action–the object–is whom.

3. I see this alot. It’s wrong.

“A lot” is always two words. “There were a lot of problems with the manuscript.”

4. There, Their and They’re

Homophones create another common error. It’s pretty simple, really. “There” indicates a location. “Their” is possessive. “They’re” is the contraction of “they are.” “They’re over there, examining the storm damage to their house.”

5. Subject-Verb Agreement

The subject and verb must always agree on the math. Singular subjects must have singular verbs.

“The killer screams at his victim.”
“The killers scream at their victim.”
“I am not a convicted felon.”
“We are not convicted felons.”

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IP Writing Tips: A Handful of Homophones

A homophone is a word with multiple spellings and meanings, but only one

The most common homophonic gaffe involves to, too and two. It’s pretty easy
to deal with by keeping these simple rules in mind:

Two is a number.

Too means also.

To is a preposition indicating transfer or direction as in “give the gun
to Dr. Watson.”

There, Their, they’re. It seems like a big problem, but it’s pretty simple,

“There” indicates a location.

“Their” is possessive.

“They’re” is the contraction of “they are.”

“They’re over there, examining the storm damage to their house.”

The words principal and principle share at least five uses between them. If
you have trouble with their usage, it’s best to check every time you use

Principle: Guideline or rule: “The most basic principle of our democracy
is inalienable rights.”

Principle: Moral or ethical rule: “It’s against my principles to kill an
unarmed man.”

Principal: Primary or major: “The principal purpose of our meeting is to
discuss the crime.”

Principal: The head of a school

Principal: A capital sum of money, as distinguished from interest.

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IP Writing Tips: Decoding the Jargon: Polishing your Manuscript

So you’ve written a book. You’ve even gotten some readers to look at it. If you’re unfortunate, those readers are friends and family, who will pull their punches at best. If you’re very lucky, they will be expert readers, and possibly even professional critics or authors themselves.

When you get their notes back, for what they’re worth, you read through and make changes. That’s polishing.

But what a lot of people don’t know about polishing is that the more you work it, the better it gets. One revision isn’t enough. It isn’t ever enough. You deserve to put out the very best book that’s in you! And like a fine piece of antique furniture, the finish is everything!

That means a lot of work. Take the French Polish technique used on furniture or example. It involves shellac, mineral oil, pumice and solvent, all in repeated stages, over numerous applications. A lot of elbow grease goes into that fine luster.You don’t want your book to be like a wobbly Ikea shelf, do you? It’s a work of art. Not just anybody can make your book. In fact, no one else can.

Here are some tips to help you cover all the polishing basics:

Read it aloud! This will definitely help with the rest.Pay careful attention to your prose. Watch for word repetition, poor and confusing sentence structure, accidental rhymes, homonyms and your personal common mistakes.

See the big picture. Look at chapter length, and the dramatic points at which each chapter breaks. Does the book flow right? Are there sections of heavy drama and action that seem bogged down? Cut away the excess. Is a certain revelation made too early to maintain suspense? Push it back. Does the ending really satisfy? Make certain it does!

Let it rest. At some point, leave the project alone for a while. Write a short story or some articles in the meantime. Go back to it in a few weeks, or a few months, and see it with fresh eyes. You’ll find common errors and plot problems easier this way!

Get professional help. You really need three people to help you finish the job, in addition to your printer. A content editor will help with plot holes, character development, and flow. A line editor fixes grammatical problems, spelling errors, and may notice a lot of little details that need to be addressed. The final editor, a proofreader, goes through your manuscript with the proverbial fine-tipped comb in search of every lingering mistake. You may have friends with the skills to do these jobs, and some professional editors are excellent across the board. That said, be sure to have at least three pairs of eyes check off on your final revision. It can be a pain, but it’s worth it!

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Family History Books

Did you know that InstantPublisher prints family history books? We’ve helped many customers self publish their family histories, genealogies and memiors over the years.

Whether your family history is humorous, sober or serious, we can print it. This is your opportunity to professionally publish family traditions, ancestors’ stories and memories you have of family members. Many customers choose to have their family history printed in a color hardback cover, but the options are endless.

Here are just a few family history books we’ve printed:

If you’re interested in publishing your family history, you can order our free self publishing guide by visiting our website or giving us a call at 800-259-2592. Our customer service reps are ready to help you every step of the way!

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Book Binding Options

All of our book binding methods, except the 3-Ring and hardback/case bindings, are what are sometimes referred to as “soft covers.” The 3-Ring Padded binding is laminated card stock with a padded core, which is formed around three metal rings, similar to a school notebook. We offer several binding options (click for more information on each binding type):

Different book binding types are suitable for different applications. Instantpublisher’s free option for our books is Perfect Binding (shown below). This binding is excellent for books, corporate reports, manuals, brochures, and annual reports. One advantage of this type of binding is that if your book has 80 pages or more, we can print the title information on the spine of the binding. Sewn perfect binding is also offered for thicker color books. Sewing the perfect bound books allows the books to last much longer and is the prefered method for larger books. (InstantPublisher – a book publishing company offers many book binding options. See binding options below.)

perfect bound book   book publishing   saddle stitch bound
Perfect Bound Binder        3-Ring Binder                  Saddle Stitch Binder

double wire bound      plastic wire bound      Plastic Comb bound
Double Wire Binder             Plastic Wire Binder           Plastic Comb Binder

Hardcover/Casebound Book      Blue Cloth Bound BookBlue Cloth Bound Book

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Self Publishing is to your advantage

An author who decides to self-publish basically becomes the publisher. (The author does everything.) The author must proofread the final text and provide the funds required to publish the book, as well as the camera-ready artwork. The author is responsible for marketing and distributing the book, filling orders, and running advertising campaigns. In the past, the author had to decide on the number of copies to print, sometimes resulting in stacks of unsold books gathering dust in the garage! Fortunately, the Print on Demand (POD) technology now used by some self-publishing companies means that authors can have fewer copies printed.

Fundamental differences between self-publishing and traditional publishing:


With traditional publishing, a manuscript can take years to become a book. First, an author may have to pitch the manuscript to several publishing houses before it is picked up. Considering that the bigger houses can take up to six months to work through, to get to your manuscript and that you will likely have to try several publishing houses before you get one to show interest. That’s a lot of waiting. Then, if a large book publisher does decide to take your book, the actual process of producing the book takes at least another year. Admittedly, this process applies mainly to fiction. Nonfiction books that are topical and relevant to current world events might be pushed through more quickly.

With self-publishing, depending on the company, an author can literally have a finished book—hardcover or paperback or both—in his or her hands within a few months. And, with the advent of e-books, this can be reduced to weeks, or even days. Of course, authors have to pay for this service, which raises the issue of money.


In contrast, with traditional publishing, you are paid an advance, ranging from small sums to seven-digit figures. In traditional publishing, the publishing house, with its huge resources, experience, knowledge, and contacts, vigorously promotes your book. When you self-publish, you pay for everything—design, editing, printing, advertising, distribution—to get your book into stores and ultimately into people’s hands. You’re all by yourself; self-publishing works best for people who are good at self-marketing. The major payoff for all of your payout, though, is control.


Often an author’s joy at selling a manuscript turns into despair when an over-zealous editor at a publishing house rips that manuscript into unrecognizable shreds. Publishers might refuse to publish a book because it is too controversial, doesn’t fit the house’s list, or simply because [they think] it won’t sell. With self-publishing, the author has much greater control over the contents, design, and appearance, as well as where the book is marketed and distributed.

It’s all up to you…

Having looked at traditional publishing versus self-publishing, ask yourself some tough questions about what is best for you, your intentions, and your manuscript. Are you willing to play the waiting game in order to earn a large advance from a traditional publisher? Or is control of your manuscript and a quick turnaround more important?

The good news is that the available tools—POD, the internet, and online booksellers—are leveling the playing field between traditionally published and self-published books. Authors now have more options.

Remember, a document that’s free of spelling and grammatical errors is far more likely to catch the attention of a publishing house editor—or satisfy the customers for your self-published book. Submit your draft to one of our book editors today to ensure that your document is error free. Proof it until it’s right and error free, before you print.

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Book Publishing Industry has steady Growth

A recent study in August 2011 shows steady growth in the modern U.S. publishing industry — capturing its size, scope, revenue and rapid strategic expansion across multiplatform content and sales distribution channels. Spanning 2008-2010, BookStats offers data and analysis of the total industry and the individual Trade, K-12 School, Higher Education, Professional and Scholarly markets. Produced jointly by the Association of American Publishers and the Book Industry Study Group, its highlights include:

Overall U.S. publishing revenues are growing — Publishers’ net sales revenue has grown annually; 2010’s $27.94 Billion is a 5.6% increase over 2008.

Overall U.S. publishing unit sales are up as well — Publishers’ 2.57 Billion net units sold in 2010 represent a 4.1% increase since 2008.

Americans, young and old, are reading actively in all print and digital formats — 2010 total net sales revenue in the consumer-focused Trade market is $13.94 Billion, increasing 5.8% since 2008 (and excluding 2011’s e-book sales surge). Both Adult Fiction and Juvenile (non-fiction and fiction) have seen consistent annual gains.

Education publishing holds steady and, in some segments, shows solid growth — Higher Education’s $4.5 Billion net sales revenue for 2010 represents a significant 23.1% increase over 2008. K-12 School, the industry’s second largest category by net sales dollar volume, reached $5.5 Billion revenue in 2010.

Professional and Scholarly publishing shows gains — The Professional market’s $3.7 Billion net sales revenue was +6.3% over 2008. Scholarly publishing experienced 4.7% growth since 2008, with $191 Million net sales revenue for 2010.

“This study indicates that the publishing industry is healthy and growing during a time of unprecedented change.”

Resource and

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Book Cover Designs

The cover for your book is a very important selling tool. You can have a great story to tell, but if the cover fails to draw attention, the book will not sell. All large book publishers and distributors look for an attractive cover and book title. Good designs are what make buyers reach for the product.


publishing books First Choice— (Black & White)
Instantpublisher.com book publishers have four choices to make in cover design. The first, a black and white design printed on white cover stock. This can include grayscale images on both the front and back cover. Covers are to be uploaded separately to your library. [ JPG, TIFF and PDF files may be emailed as well after placing your order with the order number.] *Cover specs are set to 1/8″ larger than your actual book size to incorporate bleeds with .5″ margins for text. Photoshop templates are available.

publishing booksSecond Choice— (Stock Full Color)
Stock full color cover designs is the second choice offered by Instantpublisher.com and can be personalized with your wording and the selected typestyles. If you chose this selection on your order, you will be given a screen during the order process to complete the information you want imprinted and the cover design you selected. Back cover text and images can be added for a flat fee of $20 for initial set up.

publishing booksThird Choice— (Customer Full-Color)
Customer full color is the third choice. You will email, upload to your library or ftp your custom cover art separately after placing your order. Customer full color photos or art designs can be printed on your front cover including bleeds. All images for the cover should be scanned and saved as EPS, TIF or PDF files at 300 dpi. For color accuracy, be sure to use CMYK colors and take the hard copy proof option. Cover specs are set to 1/8″ larger than your actual book size to incorporate bleeds with .5″ margins for text, Photoshop templates are available.

publishing books Fourth Choice— (Instant Publisher)
    The fourth choice is to have an InstantPublisher designer take your concept and design your cover for you. If you want a completely custom cover design, but do not know how to complete the process, this is the option for you. Two options are offered with the service, the first being the standard custom cover design service. This service includes 1 hour of design service and 2 online proofs costing $65. The second option is the premiere design service which includes 2 hours of design time and unlimited online proofs costing $120. Most basic designs can be completed with the standard services, and more intricate designs will require the premium service.

More about book cover designs from a book publisher >>

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The History of Book Printing

The history of book printing can be traced back hundreds of years ago to China,
where most scholars believe the process’ origins began. Since then, the process
of book printing has changed greatly into the advanced, high-quality service
that Instant Publisher uses today and makes available to professional and
amateur writers alike. Here, we will take a look back at a short timeline
illustrating the evolution of the all-important book printing process:

  • Woodblock Printing
    – 220 AD – The technique of woodblock printing incorporated blocks of wood that were carved with text, images or patterns and then covered with an ink or dye. Similar to stamps, the blocks were then pressed onto cloth and later on paper, to reveal the carved text or design. This technique began in East Asia and then spread to Roman Egypt and other areas of the Middle East in the 4th
  • Movable Type Printing
    – 1040 – The first ever movable type was documented in China and was created
    out of porcelain. Every word was carved into a small piece of porcelain making
    typesetting and printing itself more efficient.
  • Printing Press -1450 – The famous German inventor Johannes Gutenberg created the Gutenberg press. This machine used movable type made from sturdy metal. The sturdier type material combined with the speed of the press machine made book printing faster than ever.
  • Inkjet Printing
    1976 – Jump to the 20th century and the invention of computers and you
    will find that inkjet printing has become the popular method of book printing.
    Both fast and inexpensive, inkjet printers create images or text by propelling
    droplets of ink onto paper.
  • Digital Printing
    –1993 – Similar to inkjet printing, digital printing uses ink droplets to create
    an image gained from a digital base like a computer. Digital printer is better
    for larger job such as book printing because it can print faster and produce
    more pages than smaller at-home inkjet printers. Since images and text can be
    received digitally, this allows book publishing companies like us to produce
    high-quality work for our customers all over the world.

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“Print-On-Demand” & Marketing your Book at Book Fairs

InstantPublisher specializes in Print-on-Demand. They print product manuals, employee handbooks, and training manuals, and and all other types of printing services. After placing your order and printing your book, it’s time to market this possible “best seller.” Talk to many people to help market your book. Yes, Amazon and iTunes will probably sell multiple copies of your book, but exposure at book fairs (for example), starts your new network of people.

There are many book fairs coming to help sell your new novel.  “Book Expos” or fairs  offer great opportunities for authors to display their content, meet fellow authors, and hear insights from industry professionals. If you are pondering about attending or displaying your book at a book fair, here is a list of up-coming fairs. 

NATIONAL BOOK FESTIVAL – September 24 – 25th
BROOKLYN BOOK FESTIVAL – September 15 – 18th
THE 60th ANNUAL JEWISH BOOK FAIR – November 2 – 13th
Miami Book Fair International– November 13 – 20th

*** View all Book Fairs in U.S.=

USA Book Fairs

Read more about print-on-demand business printing.

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