Category: How To Series… Step By Step


Buff Polish Chick with Book

Writing a book is a commitment. I can’t chicken out a year later!

It is a major commitment to write and self publish a book. More than just the time of writing it, there is the commitment of living with it, working with it, talking about it, marketing it,  – up to my elbows in the subject matter of it – for years.

So it’s important to choose the right book from all the books I have within me to write.

Because unless I stay committed to it, or unless I become a blockbuster author-personality whose fan-base will read everything I pen, it won’t continue to sell unless I continue to engage with it.

Is it a subject matter that I will want to stay committed to? Is my own engagement with the story enough to keep my own interest for years to come?

For my first and second books, it was an easy choice. My first was the story of my own family’s homesteading and chicken raising adventures in rural New Mexico. It was a magical time, and continuing to live that book keeps that time close instead of letting it slip away into the past.

My second book was the story of my grandfather’s aviation pioneering life – and I could talk about that all day any day. The story of a man’s life, aviation’s history, world history – endlessly fascinating.

As a self publisher, I retain my ability to write anything I want – answerable only to my own pocketbook to determine the marketability of my manifestos. No contracts drive my choices. I am free to succeed or fail – earn or not. I want to write a book that will sell, but I also need to write a book that I can continue to support. Or better yet, turn into a series that I can continue to expand.

Writing is an art, publishing is a business. My upcoming How To Self Publish Step by Step series gives me a way to move artistically through the business of self publishing – and it is a project that I can support for as long as I am publishing. 

I need the book I am writing. I am using it to write the book I am writing. I’ll be immersed in my series for as long as I am writing any series – or any book.

That’s how I know when I’ve chosen the right book to self publish.

 

The Horned Lizard of Self Publishing demands a book proposal on each of her own books before she will consider publishing herself.

The Horned Lizard of Self Publishing demands a book proposal on each of her own books before she will consider publishing herself.

I’m in the book proposal stage of my book proposal chapter of my Step-by-Step How To Self Publish A Book series.

I’m whining about it.

“Why do I have to do a book proposal?”

“Because I’m your publisher and I need the book proposal,”

“But I’m a self publisher. I’m not going to submit this around  because it’s How To Self Publish – though that would be kind of ironic,”

“And as yourself, your publisher, I insist on the book proposal. I need the information you will find and summarize in it,”

“Then why don’t you do it, and let me get back to writing?”

“No way, I’m too busy doing Self Everything Else in your life,”

…. My previous blog post says it even better than I can….

Yes, the world needs another self-publishing how to book.

Yes, the world needs another self-publishing how to book.

Does the world need another How To for the self-publishing process? YES!

Because even the most helpful step-by-step how to self publish a book resources are not as step by step as I need them to be.

I honestly need a true step by step. I have so many things going on in a single day – not even counting my full time job – that I find it overwhelming to try and get the short pieces of time that I have available to add up to a large piece of progress on my writing project.

My book series does not seek to convince an author to self publish. There are many  well written books out there for that purpose.

My books don’t try to teach why an author should take the steps I list in my series. The books listed below, among many others, are the best way to learn why.

My series takes a complex and challenging process and breaks it down into tasks that I can accomplish in an hour. Those hours add up over time – and I put them in order- which saves me an impressive amount of time and stress.

After I’ve read and re-read Dan Poynter’s “Self-Publishing Manual: How to Write, Print and Sell Your Own Book”, and Carla King’s “Self-Publishing Boot Camp Guide For Authors: Step-by-Step to Self-Publishing Success, I still am left with the overwhelming and often action-stopping stress of where to begin. That’s with two self published (and selling) books already under my belt!

I know I am not the only person wanting this kind of true step by step resource. I have to write it for myself – so I will write it in a way that I can share.

I’m up to the “research similar titles” part – always interesting – and I’m finding that it is more important than usual to watch the publication date because Self publishing is a quickly-changing field.

If you’d like to be on the book release notification list, just sign up or keep watching this site.

Two books is great... ten books would be better!  But where does a not-full-time author find the time to write ten books?

Two books is great… ten books would be better! But where does a not-full-time author find the time to write ten books?

This is my favorite question to hear from people. No, wait a minute, actually my favorite is “Have you lost weight?” only I don’t hear that one very often.

But I do hear “Where do you find the time?”

I used to answer “from ditching my TV-watching evenings” but then Breaking Bad came to Netflix and I lost the time I used to find there.

And then I used to answer “from all the time I’m not spending at the gym” but then people stopped asking if I’d lost weight… back to the gym.

So then I was left with some possibly controversial truths; that I find the time by not doing many of the things that other women are doing. Like driving the kids to soccer practice, or volunteering at the school, or separating whites from colors before (or after) washing, or decorating for the seasons, or keeping up with people’s birthdays. And that my children have daily chore lists that are at least as long as my own. And that I’ve never run, or even walked, a marathon.

Along with that admission, I have to emphasize that even with the time found by not participating in portions of the American Family Lifestyle – I still have to rely on My System:

Methodical organization, regular up-skilling in software and technology, relentless list checking, and constant time-management efforts – which are constant because I get regularly derailed like everyone else does.

I’ve had to build good habits for working because they didn’t come naturally. If there is a productivity how-to out there on tape, DVD, YouTube, Podcast, print, brochure, TV, or under my windshield wiper then I’ve adopted a piece of it. Rarely all of it because I burn out half way through and go back to writing, but every little bit helps.

And the most effective systems that I’ve set up for myself are carefully thought out procedure sheets that help me step through big projects with small tasks, organized for efficiency and increased productivity via layering.

This is the system that I am building for the How To Self Publish A Book series.

Because I really need it in order to Write, Publish, Repeat (these authors host one of the BEST podcasts that I’ve got loaded for my dishwashing, commuting, treadmilling time).

Updating Books In Print is like a stroll through a garden of lavender. Okay, no it isn't. But it is very satisfying.

Updating Books In Print is like a stroll through a garden of lavender. Okay, no it isn’t. But it is very satisfying.

Updating Books In Print is tops in excitement!

Okay, maybe not tops, but it is a useful and satisfying action celebrating your self published book. And it is free.

It is an important finishing touch as a self publisher.

Books In Print is a database managed by Bowker, the same agency that sold you your ISBN numbers. This step is where you assign your ISBN number to your title – letting the world know that it’s out there and how to find it. By the world, I mean libraries, bookstores, and distributors. And maybe traditional publishers who are madly trying to get in touch with you to offer you a mega book deal. Exciting!

You got to BowkerLink and sign in using the login and password you got when you got your ISBN numbers.

There is a place for a thumbnail image of your cover, in addition to the important publication details like title, author, publication date, etc.

This step is only available to, or required for, authors who have their own publishing company – and therefore own their ISBN numbers. And this step is one of the reasons a self published author should own their ISBN number. Your name goes into this important database along with your title.

After adding your title, cruise over to Publisher Information and make sure everything is current and correct.

There is a feature to this service called ISBN Logbook, which can give you a list of your ISBNs and what titles you have assigned to them. It costs $25. I suppose if you have lost your list of ISBN numbers and the titles you’ve assigned to them, this would be a good way to re-find them. But I have not shelled out the $25 to see how beautifully it is formatted.

Then you are done! Bravo!

 

 

Finishing up with your copyright obligation is just like a walk on the beach. A walk on an Oregon beach, which requires a warm jacket and an umbrella.

Finishing up with your copyright obligation is just like a walk on the beach. A walk on an Oregon beach, which requires a warm jacket and an umbrella.

While it is not legally required to register your copyright with the US Government, it is highly recommended. I register my copyrights once I have completed my manuscript – before I self publish.

This allows me to upload an electronic copy of my manuscript – which by then, I have formatted as a book – and costs me $35 (in 2013).

Once I self publish my book, I have to follow through with the copyright registration process by mailing two good copies of the book to the copyright office.

“Mandatory Deposit in Brief

• All works under copyright protection that are published in the United States are subject to the mandatory deposit provision of the copyright law.

• This law requires that two copies of the best edition of every copyrightable work published in the United States be sent to the Copyright Office within three months of publication.”

This requirement is beautifully described in Circular 7dMandatory Deposit of Copies or Phonorecords for the Library of Congress.

I copied the quoted text from www.copyright.gov and I’m not sure of the copyright of that copyright info… so I’m trying hard to be clear about where I got that… but I’m the one who made “within three months of publication” bold, because I think that’s quite an important point.

These two copies become the property of the US Government and will not be returned. You also have to pack them nicely so that they don’t get blown up by Homeland Security on their way to the Library of Congress.

There is no additional fee for this step, other than the postage.

Not only does this step complete your copyright registration process, and protect your work for a couple hundred years (or less), it also ensures that YOUR book is one of the dozens – well, bizillions – of books on the shelf in a way-cool library. Or stacked in a basement somewhere; who knows.

Library of Congress
Copyright Office
Attn: 407 Deposits
101 Independence Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20559

 

More Than Twenty Tips for Self Publishing A Book

Book design is where we authors put all of our eggs in one basket… for a classy and cohesive presentation.

Book design is an important step in self publishing a book. It is the setting that showcases the polished jewel of your story. Designing your book is where you figure out what you want to do with each of the pages, headers, chapter breaks, and more.

Book design can be a great opportunity to express the message of your story in unique ways, or reinforce your message. So far, I don’t get too weird with my book design because I’m aiming for a polished and professional look… but I can literally do anything I want within the page margins of the book size I’ve selected and the content guidelines of the service I’m working with. But, what do I want to do? Where do I start?

I had no idea how to design my first book, and my friend Sue Waterman was a tremendous help. She did a lovely book design for “Just a Couple of Chickens”, and that was a huge boost. With her fundamental design in hand, I went to the library and checked out ten books, one each from my favorite authors. I lined them up and studied how they designed each of their pages. Then I decided how I would approach it. I also considered the fact that some of my favorite authors have fancy full-time book designers on staff, so their books look pretty swish. I opted for simplicity.

I found a wide variety of left page, right page, headers. Many books had the author’s name on the left and the book title on the right, with page numbers left and right with the header at the top. But some books had the book title on the left and then each applicable chapter title on the right. That takes either a lot of careful design or some fancy programming. It’s super helpful from a reader’s point of view, becasue I can tell right away what chapter I’m in, but it’s more than I want to take on right now from a designer’s point of view. I discovered that I prefer a page number on every page, although most books omit the page number from the first page of each chapter. Books that only listed the right hand page number were not popular with me. I don’t want to go looking for a page number. And I love book dedications, especially the creative ones. I discovered that many of the things I love as a reader, I don’t love as a publisher… like an index, for instance. Lotta work!

I’ll be posting in more depth on individutal book design elements over the next several weeks, and my soon-to-be available book series on How To Self Publish will have even more info, but in the meantime, using other books as a guideline is a great place to start.

Not every page is applicable to every book project, for instance, a fiction novel probably won’t have a bibliography. I feel that book design should always favor readability over fine art, but otherwise, it can be a powerful asset to the book when done well.

This, however, is an enormous amount of work… just when we thought we had “finished” our book!

 

 

Copyright 2012 Corinne Tippett & The Westchester Press
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