Self-Publishing and Book Design Essentials Part Two

A mystery novel written by Kim Stewart and book design by Graham Publishing Group.

You have written a book and have decided to self-publish, so what is next?

In part one, we began discussing some of the essential elements of the self-publishing and book design process.

During the self-publishing process, there are many details to consider and questions to be answered. You want to ensure that your book is presented in the best way possible and puts you in the greatest position to succeed.

Let us get into part two of self-publishing and book design essentials.

Does your book need copy editing? And what is it?

Copy editing is the process of making the manuscript as clean as possible with regard to spelling, grammar, and word usage and is the last step before sending the manuscript to a book designer.

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Self-Publishing and Book Design Essentials Part One

A fantasy novel written by Morgan Smith and book design by Graham Publishing Group.

So, you’ve written a book, and you’ve decided to self-publish. Now what?

How do you get your book in front of readers? How do you set yourself apart from the other books in your genre? How do you produce a book design that reflects all the hard work and dedication you put into writing it? All good questions. Let’s talk about a couple key factors you might want to consider when independently publishing.

First, is independently publishing the right path and journey for your book and you as an author?

Traditional and independent publishing both have advantages. Ask yourself, what do you want to accomplish with your book, and how best do you get there?

Who is your target audience? What genre is your book?

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Book Design. What is it really?

This exciting fantasy novel was written by Sara Lopez and book design by Graham Publishing Group.

Book design is the process of developing or typesetting the interior of your print book and adhering to the specification of the printer or online platforms like Amazon KDP or Barnes and Noble. This is essential and can affect book sales and distribution. All print book interiors we create are custom and professionally designed to the specifications of every major print on Demand Company.

Just as important is how your book is displayed page to page to the readers. What is the font that best serves the interior of your book? What does the chapter heading look like? Should we use a decorative drop cap? What formatting best fits your material and genre?

What else is book design?

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Book Covers and Book Sales

This thrilling fantasy novel was written by Jennifer Byars and book design by Graham Publishing Group.

One of my favorite places is the bookstore. Strolling leisurely through the aisles. That new book smell.

I love seeing all the books lined up on the shelves. A new world waiting to be discovered, a new adventure, a new character waiting to tell me a story. All those books waiting to be found and explored.

You know that anticipation when you find a cover that catches your eye, daring you to open to the first page. This often time leads to the second page and third, and then the store owner asking you to leave because they are closing for the evening and you have been there since noon.

Can book design influence book sales? Absolutely.

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Don’t Let Your Self-Published Book LOOK Self-Published

This tale of two travelers was written by both Joseph De La Cruz and Simon Vandekerckhove and was published by Graham Publishing Group.

You’ve spent countless hours writing your book – or you’ve hired a quality ghostwriter to assist in the process – and now you’ve chosen to independently publish the final product.  Here’s the thing. Most self-published or independently published books LOOK like they’ve been self-published.  This is the worst mistake you want to make, and there is no reason for it.  If you chose the right book designer or book design group, your book will look and feel like it was published by one of the big four publishing houses.

Yes, it begins with a beautiful and well-designed book cover.  This is critical. Most book covers look like they’ve been put together with clip-art. Don’t let this happen to you.  You want to make a great first impression with your book, and it begins with a killer book cover.

Yes, the interior layout of your book is critical. When a reader opens your book, make sure it blows them away with the professional layout of the interior.

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Why Publish Independently

This imaginative story, Soul Tracker, was written by Nicholas Crabtree and published by Graham Publishing.

Let’s assume that you’ve finished that special book that you’ve been dreaming of writing.  It could be a suspense novel, personal memoir, business book, or book of inspiration and health.  You’ve made the decision to publish your book independently. In this day and age of publishing uncertainty, here is an opportunity to choose your own direction.  It’s important, however, to be as well versed in this growing and vital industry as possible.  Let’s break it down into six important components.

First Component: Avoid vanity presses at all cost. The truth is, there are a lot of these vanity presses that make promises they cannot possibly keep. They take advantage of the fact that you are new to the business and make you feel as if you need them if you’re going to get anywhere with your book.  And what they really do is take a bunch of your money and leave you out in the cold. Do your research. All these fancy marketing packages and sales gimmicks are just that, gimmicks; and expensive ones at that.

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The Publishing World as We Now Know it

Laughter in the Red Woods, a humorous novel by May Kramer, was published by Graham Publishing Group.

Let’s make an assumption.  Let’s assume the you have successfully finished your book. You’ve written that novel that you always dreamed of writing. You penned the auto-biography or memoir that will serve has your legacy.  You finished the business book that will serve as a platform for your speaking engagements.  Now what?

These days, you will hear people saying things like: “No matter what, you will be published. You may publish with a mainstream publisher or you may choose to self-publish. Maybe you’ll choose to publish electronically.  But in all cases, you will have a book out there.”

The message is simple: write a book and plan to be published. The message sounds simple, but the reality is a bit more complicated.

Our suggestion is that you ask this question first: How does the publishing process work for your book?

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Write, Market, Sell – It’s all about the Book

The Amazing Huff, a captivating story about a mysterious benefactor, was written by C. Herbert Locy and published by Graham Publishing Group.

The creation of a book is a process, a wonderful, arduous process.  Don’t let anyone try to convince you otherwise.  A book – novel, memoir, business book, self-help book, even a comic book – takes time and discipline.  How much time? Lots of writers spend two or more years writing their book. It’s a journey, but one worth taking.

So, now that you’ve taken the journey, it’s time to get down to the business of it all. What does that mean?  It means the marketing and selling of your book. You don’t want to be one of those writers who gets the book done and think they’ve reached the finish line. The finish line is still far out in front of you.

Book marketing is one of the most important pieces of being a successful author. How do you get exposure? How do let your audience – assuming you’ve pinpointed your audience – know that you’ve got a finished product to sell.  And yes, your book is a product. Now you have to get it on the market and let people know it exists.  Just like any product.

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The Art of Book Cover Design

No Return Ticket, a captivating memoir, was written by Andi Crockford and published by Graham Publishing Group.

Never forget the art of it all.

You have written your book.  Whether it is a work of fiction, a business book, biography, or self-help book, it is special to you.  The book cover you design, or have a professional book cover designer help you design, should be just as special to you.  You can rely entirely on the designer to create something amazing, but I recommend sharing all of your ideas with that person.  What does your eye see?  What image from your book stands out to you?  Put all of your ideas into a file called: “My book cover.”

Start early in the process, even when the book is just coming together.

Make sketches. Take photos. Think about colors.  You are going to share these with your book cover designer. Don’t be shy.  Don’t say, “I’m not very creative.”  This is a collaborative process, so trust yourself.  A good book cover designer will welcome your input and take it seriously.

Don’t be shy about looking at other book covers from books in your genre.

You’re not going to copy what someone else did, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find inspiration there.  Go to the bookstore in your neighborhood.  Explore books on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.  Takes notes. Have fun with it. A book cover is part of your marketing strategy, so take it very seriously.  It’s all about exposure, and a memorable book cover can draw attention to your book purely as a visual.

Don’t forget who your audience is.

This may sound obvious, but it’s not. Are you targeting men or women?  Baby boomers or millennials?  Are photos best for your cover or graphics?  Whose eye are you trying to catch?

Don’t go cheap just for the sake of going cheap.

Make sure the designer you are working with has the ability to create the images you want or has access to high quality images. There can be a huge disparity between amateur and professional presentations.  Do your research.  Make sure you see plenty of samples of your designer’s work, and do not settle for less than you want.

This is your book.

This is your heart and soul bound up in a book cover that will last for a very long time.  Settle for nothing less than exactly what you want.

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Plan A: Market the Heck Out of Your Book

This thrilling fantasy novel was written by Billy Wright and published by Graham Publishing Group.

You’ve heard the saying: There is no Plan B.  That’s how you should feel about the marketing of your book. Plan A: Market the heck out of it.  If there is a Plan B, it should be: Market the heck out of it even more.

Yes, I know, I’m putting the cart before the horse. First you have to write the book of your dreams.  Novel, memoir, business book, advice, self-help, a book health or inspiration. Yes, that book. It is an undertaking, no doubt about it. But everyone who has ever taken the arduous road to write a book or have a book ghostwritten is overwhelmed with joy and satisfaction when they hold that printed book in their hands. It is a proud moment.

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