5 Services That Every Self-Publishing Book Company Should Offer

If you need to use a self-publishing book company whether, for a personal or corporate project, you may not be sure what to expect. You may wonder what services such companies offer. While every company is different there are five services that should be on offer no matter what book printing company you use.

1. Ghostwriting or Editing

All self-publishing book companies should offer a service that helps you put your words on the page in the best and most readable way possible. This can be through a ghostwriter who is hired to put your ideas into words or an editing team to polish your prose. While both of these services are available at a number of freelance sites, it can be difficult to be sure you are working with a professional. Going through the self-publishing company’s staff assures quality and experience.

2. Art

Book printing services should offer book covers for self-published authors as well as book illustrations when applicable. Like editing and ghostwriting, there are many freelancers that offer these services but their quality may vary. Working with a book printing company’s illustrator guarantees quality as well as assuring that the images will be formatted properly for printing. Ordering covers and art elsewhere risks paying for a product that is improperly sized or formatted for your printing needs.

An artist sketching a custom book cover for a self-published author.

3. Digital Printing Services

The world has moved into the digital age and many readers prefer to hold thousands of books on their e-readers as opposed to having shelves of paper books cluttering their home. Self-publishing book printing companies should offer options to convert your physical book into an ebook as well. This adds additional options for consumption and distribution.

4. Print Run Options

Every self-publishing book company should offer a variety of print run options. You should be able to order as many or as few copies of your book as you need at a time. They should be able to accommodate large or short-run book printing orders.

5. Binding Options

A self-publishing book company should offer you a variety of bookbinding options. You should be able to print hardcover and paperback books. If you want leather-bound bookbinding it should be on offer.  Self-publishers may have evolving needs as their careers change. Most self-publishers will have a wide consumer base and may need different bindings to meet different needs. The more binding options the book printing company has, the more options the author will be able to offer their reader base.

Ready to Connect with a Book Printing Company?

InstantPublisher offers a wide variety of options and services to meet the printing needs of individuals and companies. For more information on how you can get your book printed, contact InstantPublisher today by calling 1800 259 2592 or filling out this online contact form.

How to Organize Your Writing Project

The idea of starting a writing project can be daunting. Many people plan to write and print their own book a book but never do it because the task before them seemed too great. Organizing a writing project significantly increases the odds that the project will be finished.

When most people think of organizing a writing project, they think of creating an outline. Outlines are valuable tools but they aren’t the only thing to consider as you organize your project.

Writing in a notebook to plan a writing project for publication

Understand Your End Goal

The first step to organizing a writing project is to understand what the end goal of that project is. Is the project a genealogical history meant to be passed on within the family? Is the project an informational brochure sharing knowledge on an important topic? Is it a fictional story meant to entertain? Is it a parable meant to entice others to change their opinions or actions? Each of these writing projects will have different processes so understanding the end goal is vital.

Once you know your end goal, you can decide what needs to be included in the writing project and how that project will be used. A fictional novel will need different things than a nonfiction brochure. Everything from the writing tone to the binding of the projects will be vastly different depending on your end goal.

Outline Your Manuscript

Whether the writing is fiction or nonfiction, an outline is useful for organizing any writing project.

A fictional outline should consist of characters, setting, and plot. It should indicate important points about the beginning, middle, and end of the story.

A nonfiction outline should include the main topic of the project, important points, research needed, and, where applicable, the expected conclusion that the reader is supposed to reach after their reading is complete.

Plan for Publishing

Once the actual writing is finished, what is the plan to take the written work from a file on the computer to something that can be shared? Planning for publishing should be done while you are still organizing your project because it will influence how the project is written. Your publishing plan may change your word count. Your publishing plan may influence whether you add illustrations or use detailed text to explain a concept instead. Understanding the medium you plan to publish in will help you make decisions about your project. For instance, a project where the word count runs into millions will be difficult to put into a physical book. On the other hand, a nonfiction book where worksheets are included may be easier for readers to use within the physical form. Choices about the publishing medium can change choices about the writing of the project.

Is the goal to sell digital books or to engage an on-demand publishing service for easy self-publishing? The latter is an excellent choice for books that will be sold at events or for projects, such as brochures and pamphlets, that aren’t meant for sale but to be handed out as complimentary copies.

Will pictures or drawings be needed for the book? Will you buy or create the cover? What bookbinding is best for your project? Should you enlist the services of a ghostwriter to present your ideas in the most organized and professional way?

Once you have organized your writing project, you can sit down and put your plan in motion. Write chapter one, hire a ghostwriter, or contact self-publishing book company publisher such as InstantPublisher.

Contact InstantPublisher Today

InstantPublisher offers a wide range of services from low volume book printing to full-color book printing. We can help you get a book made today. Email us today at questions@instantpublisher.com, or call 1-800-259-2592, for more information.

Sewn perfect bound book binding.

InstantPublisher prides itself in offering the most customizable self publishing and book printing service around. I am going to start randomly posting about some of the different book printing options we offer, as many of our customers do not know that we offer so many different configurations in our book printing line and that  many do not know what the terms even mean.  This week I am going to talk about sewn perfect binding.

Sewn perfect binding looks similar to a regular perfect bound (paperback)  book but the book block is actually sewn together before gluing the cover to the book block.   The reason we offer this binding style is that perfect binding by itself is not suitable for long term usage because the glue hardens by alternating cold and hot weather and will eventually break and the pages will fall out. When some people read a book they will tend to try to make the book lay flat by folding the book back onto the spine.  This also tends to break the glue where the book is folded and will cause the pages to fall out.

Sewn Perfect binding is recommended for books that need to last for a very long time or books with a coated stock like our gloss coated papers.  Gloss coated papers do not let the glue penetrate as well as regular text stock so, with gloss coated books with more than 80 pages, we recommend that you take the sewn option.  Sewn books are first glued together, sewn with thread, then they are perfect bound to hide the threads.  The threads can still be seen when the book is opened wide but they are barely noticeable.  The outside of the book will have a slight bulge as well where the thread is but it is not very noticeable.   This is the same binding style that we use in our hardcover book binding to be sure the books last a very long time. See more on this binding style here.

Notice the threads inside the spine of the sewn perfect bound book
The sewn perfect bound book appears just like a regular glued perfect bound book

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!

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:

Time-

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.

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.

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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Edit Your Novel before Self-Publishing

Always let someone else proof your novel before you publish, and make sure your editor isn’t such a good friend that he/she won’t tell you about the problems he/she finds. Along with errant commas and missing words, your editor should look for plot holes, weak writing and unresolved situations.

{ A good editor will suggest changes that tighten up your novel and elevate it from good to great. }

Your copy editor (could be a friend who currently works at a big publishing house or a friend who’s a writer). These editors can suggest people who would be excellent editors. You may choose an experienced editor with 10+ years of experience or a newbie with 2-3 years experience. It’s also good to get 2-3 people to edit your book before self-publishing.

Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. Time to fix those errors and polish your masterpiece.

Reread your novel, and as you finish each chapter, summarize the most important events that occur. Remember to focus on what happens in the novel including the character motivation and emotion that propels action and lends a human touch to the storyline.

Imagine that you’re telling your story to a group of friends. You won’t have their attention for five hours, but you will for a few minutes. So convey the essential storyline complete with tension, pacing and character emotion.

Make your synopsis complete and yet a quick read that stands on its own. The most effective synopsis provides the feeling of having read the entire book.

Of course, it’s impossible to tell from a single chapter or even the first few chapters whether an unknown writer can orchestrate the important elements of fiction — character, plot, dialogue, pacing, setting, and point of view. For this reason, editors find that fiction submissions of a plot synopsis or sample chapters aren’t enough to demonstrate, that the writer can carry through on what they promise. That’s why it’s important to write and rewrite your entire novel before submitting it for publication.

Printing your book is STEP #1 in your Self-Publishing Success Story

The mistake new authors make is in assuming that a physical copy of their book is the end goal. They don’t understand that creating a print copy is simply a step in the process. This is step #1. Then marketing comes. Authors must spread the word.

{ Printing your book is STEP #1 in Self-Publishing. }

The real problems begin when it comes time to market that print copy. Merely having a website on the internet or a placement on Amazon.com isn’t enough. You MUST have a way to drive traffic to your book.

Without major buzz, it is unlikely that people will flock to those sites in search of your book. More importantly, when you self-publish, you do not have access to the vehicles through which most new releases find homes: Libraries and large retail outlets like Barnes & Noble or Wal-Mart.

Some bookstores, under financial stress, are selling slots on their shelves to self-published writers, meaning that now the “author” not only has to pay for the printing of the book, he or she is also paying for space in a bookstore.

Self-publishing can be a viable alternative for non-fiction writers who are a part of a specific niche. Because they are connected to a well-defined segment of the market that is already interested in the subject matter, non-fiction writers have a potential leg up on sales. {It does help when you write a novel about a popular subject matter. This helps sell your novel.}

Although the fiction market is divided into genres, it’s tougher to harness that power because the market is so large and diffuse with many, many websites and social networking opportunities.

However, it does help you to have a professional website to sell your book. Also, you must have a blog. Blogs are very popular, and people can leave comments. Others will review these comments and the snowball effect starts. By word of mouth your book will start to get good reviews.

Yes, create a business Facebook page. This will help spread the word. Post comments about your new book 3-4 times per week on Facebook. *Note, make sure you post a link back to your website, about your book.

In summation, step #1 is to get your book printed. Self Publishing is a winner. To have success, you must network, network, network. Tell everyone you know about your book. *Yes, Amazon, and iTunes will help sell your book, but you must market your book by telling everyone that you have a new book.

*[Share your success story from self-publishing your book with InstantPublisher.]

Self-Publishing >>

How to Edit Writing Like a Professional

You can edit your book, if that was not part of your school training. Follow (carefully) the proceeding guidelines, to edit your book.

Ask who the intended reader. As an editor you will need to know, who is the intended audience. You will determine the readability level, the tone of the writing, the clarity, and the use of jargon for the intended reader.

Read the work thoroughly. When editing, read through a piece several times in order to catch as many errors as possible. The first time through, do not concentrate on catching errors. Instead, focus on getting a sense of what the author is trying to communicate. Then, as you read the piece a second and third time, start marking errors to correct.

Do a “spell check” and readability index. Use the spell and grammar check functions in your word processing program to identify possible errors. (*Note, the word possible. We need humans to actually read and proof books, because Microsoft Word will not catch all spelling errors.) These functions can point out specific types of errors. Most people use Microsoft Word for spell and grammar checks. Once the spell check function finishes, a “Readability Statistics” box is displayed.

Readability Statistics” box in Microsoft Word:
Click the Microsoft Office Button Windows, and then click Word Options.

1) Click Proofing.

2) Make sure Check grammar with spelling is selected.

3) Under When correcting grammar in Word, select the Show readability statistics check box.

While all the statistics in the box can be useful, the two which help the most are the Word Count and the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level score. The Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level score is intended to reflect school grade reading levels.

Make sure the readability score is appropriate for the intended audience. If the writing is designated for a first grader match the reading level to a Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level of 1.0 to 1.9.

If the book is to be read by a general adult population, the readability score should be between 8.0 and 9.0. This level ensures easy comprehension and retention by the vast majority of adults. Remember this is a safe range for most adults to comprehend your book.

If the writing is intended for an academic audience or a highly trained level of professionals, such as engineers or doctors, then the writing level can be 12 or higher. Jargon is permissible when writing to a specialized audience who will be familiar with this selective vocabulary.

School papers and articles for publication may have word count requirements. In general, other pieces of writing do not. Word count is important though, because readers will stop reading documents they suppose too long. They appreciate writing which conveys its message fully and quickly. You may want to edit to lower the word count.

The following are some guidelines for adjusting word count.

  1. Less than 150 words: books for children under the age of 3.
  2. 400 – 500 words (one page): business letters, executive summaries, resumes, press releases.
  3. 400 – 600 words: books for children ages 4 to 6. The word count levels mentioned here are for books intended to be read by these children without assistance from an adult. Children should be read to from books with higher word counts allowing for the possibility of growth in vocabulary and language skills.
  4. 500 – 1,500 words: Internet articles, newspaper stories, magazine articles.
  5. 100,000 – 125,000 words (200 – 250 pages): most novels.

Calibrate your review to the intended reader. If the reading level is too high, use these techniques to revise the writing.

  1. Simplify sentence structures.
  2. Use vocabulary containing three syllables or less.
  3. Use sentences with “active voice” and in the present tense.
  4. Rewrite sentences which require semi-colons or dashes to make them less complex.
  5. Trim wordy sentences.
  6. Spell out contractions.
  7. Revise a paragraph, when possible, to a list. A list, well derived, shows essentials briefly and clearly.
  8. Keep all writing on target. Eliminate rambling or pointless thoughts.

Read through again and mark possible errors. Check the following:

  1. Spelling – spell check functions can help with this task, however, look for words spelled correctly but used incorrectly.
  2. Punctuation.
  3. Capitalization.
  4. Grammar – pay special attention to skipped words since grammar check functions do not reliably catch these.
  5. Repetitious word use – use your dictionary or a synonym finder for possible alternative words.
  6. Accuracy of statements of fact.
  7. Flow and consistency of the book.
  8. Logic – make sure any argument presented is supported and follows a logical thought pattern.

Once you have marked the possible errors, research them to confirm the error and provide suggested changes. Note, always use a dictionary or online dictionary. Note references as appropriate.

Provide feedback to the author. If you are reviewing in an academic or business situation, you may have guidance on how to provide feedback to the author. If not, here is an example of how to present your feedback. This format allows the author to locate the potential change, gives a solution, and a reason for the suggested change. *If you are in Microsoft Word highlight with yellow (tool beside the text color tool). If you are proofing an actual printed document, you a red pen to mark errors. Write notes clearly, and write specific changes to make for the author.

Page 1, Para 12:
• Line 1: Delete “Not” and replace “too soon” with “later”. Reason: Places the action in the correct time sequence.
• Line 4: Replace “her nose” with “Emma’s nose”. Reason: Clarifies the reference noun for the pronoun. As it stands the “her” would refer back to the immediately preceding noun which is the crab.

More Writing Tips >> , Why Self Publishing >>

Keeping Control in Self Publishing

In the self-publishing process you want total control from start to finish. You want to make the decisions, not Mr. Big Publishing House, Inc. You want to own all rights and have complete control of your book. By maintaining control over the editing and proofreading process, you have the ultimate say with what actually stays in and what is omitted. You are again “in control” of what the audience reads as the final printed version. With big publishing houses or publishing companies, they often will want to edit and omit parts of the book you actually want to leave in. These publishing firms sometime delete too much of the important parts out of your introduction or parts of chapters that you think or know will be important to your book.

You want to remain in control over your work. You want to keep control of the entire writing, printing, & selling process. Bottom line is you have 100% control when you self publish.

Self Publish >> How to Self Publish >> Advantages of Self Publishing >>

How to Create an attractive Book Cover

(A picture says a thousand words.) We have all heard this before. Research and hard work make a great book cover. A book cover is one element that usually catches the most attention of the readers and an attractive book cover makes the 1st impression. Without reading the entire book, you are able to get the concept of the story, by looking at the book cover design.

Inspiration- Get inspired! Look at other book covers in book stores or online. Ponder the main character of the story. Ponder how you want your cover to look. Find a Graphic Designer to help design the cover. Together create or talk about the cover. Develop 10 or more cover design ideas. In the end choose two (2) that you think are stunning, and will get readers reading. Finally choose the one you think is the winner. You must get their attention. You may browse book covers with or without a similar theme. Point being to find and agree on a book cover design that is pleasing and attractive. It should represent the story.

Challenge- Designing a book cover can be very challenging. Trying to summarize the content of a book on one page is not an easy task! Looking at other book covers is OK. You are not stealing ideas. You are brainstorming to create yours. You can overcome the challenge of creating a beautiful book cover. In the end you will be pleased. And remember sometimes the most simple design will suffice.

Title- Keep titles short and sweet. A title that is easy to remember is very important. Less is more when titling. Usually using a few words works best, because people are usually scanning and will get bored or lost in a long title. The DaVinci Code is a good example of a short title. Everyone’s heard of DaVinci. Be descriptive to convey the content. It isn’t necessary to state ‘The DaVinci Code that Solved the Most Infamous Murder in Paris.’ This is too long. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. This title is short and to the point. Create a title that definitely fits your book and describes in a few words your story or message. KISS – Keep it Simple Stupid, is an old design principle to stick by because it works. Find what works for you and your book.

More on writing Book Titles next.

Self Publish >> or read Self Publishing >>