The Print Book vs. Ebook Debate

Surreal Estate, a story about Palm Beach real estate corruption, was written by Sugar M. and published by Graham Publishing Group.

Here is the truth. There really is no debate. If you are an author and plan to publish your book independently, then you should know the pros and cons of creating a print book and/or an ebook. But know this: you need both.

Print book lovers love the feel of paper.  We all get that. Holding a book in your hand, exploring the cover, and feeling the pages at your fingertips is fantastic. All book lovers know this.      

Ebooks, on the other hand, are easy to read and easier to maneuver. It takes one hand. You can hold it any which way you choose and still see the words. You can change the font size. Heck, most e-readers these days have a built in light feature, which is darn convenient.

A print book can become community property. You can share it with your friends. You can leave it at one of those adorable mini-libraries people are putting in their front yards. Pretty cool.

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Publish, But Publish Smart

Blackhawk cover

Blackhawk, a story about a reclusive guitar legend, was written by Hayden Scott and published by Graham Publishing Group.

Begin with an assumption.  You’ve written a book.  A novel, biography, business book, self-help book.  It’s done.  Now it’s time to publish; time to publish smart.  Here’s some simple, but vital pieces to the publishing puzzle.

  1. Your book is done, but not perfect. No book ever is.  Seek out the best possible editor or editing group that you can. A content editor can make certain your presentation is at its highest level. A developmental editor can advise on flow, pacing, and consistency. A copy editor makes sure your manuscript is as clean as possible. 
  2. Do not underestimate the importance of your book cover. It is a prime marketing tool. It should absolutely reflect your story, your message, your mood. You may be tempted to design your own book cover, but this can be risky. Great book cover designers are few and far between. Know the difference between creativity and clip art, because plenty of so-called designers rely on the latter.
  3. Beware of vanity presses and self-publishing scams. They are running rampant in the industry.  They thrive on making promises they can’t possibly keep, like the promise of a sure-fire bestseller. Do your research. Know the kind of questions you need to ask. Getting your book in print form and ebook form is not expensive, but it has to be done right. 
  4. Only use a printing house that will also distribute and fulfill your books. You don’t have to buy a thousand books and store them in your garage. Print on demand is the new normal in self-publishing.  Again, do your research. Talk to people who have gone through the process, and then talk to some more.
  5. Market the heck out of your book. If you aren’t a celebrity or prominent public figure, you can’t just get your book on Amazon and sit back.  The public is very unlikely to stumble upon your book. Promote your book. Use every guerrilla marketing effort you can. Search out every program that companies like Amazon and Barnes and Noble have to offer.  Work hard for book reviews. Find book bloggers. Send out press releases. Do your research.
  6. Stay positive. Things are not easy in the world of book publishing.  But you are an author. You will be published. Stay aggressive and believe in yourself. Be smart.
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Book Design – Facts and Fictions

The Aware Leader, perfect for effective leader development, was written by Richard Metheny and published by Graham Publishing Group.

Fact: The best book designers and book cover designers make themselves completely familiar with your book’s content, storyline, premise, and message.  If they don’t, find someone who will to commit their time to this critical phase.

Fact: Both your book cover as well as the interior layout of your book will reflect the content of your book.  Rest assured that everything from the font and images in your book to the symbols and colors used on the cover reflect the content.  Any book designer who says otherwise is not worth your time.

Fact: Keeping both the cover and the interior layout simple is your best choice. Complex designs and symbolism may strike you as cool, but most people won’t take the time to understand any hidden meaning before laying the book aside.  Minimalism does not mean boring.  It means understandable. And it can also mean compelling.

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Does Your Book Need Content Editing or Copy Editing?

Tuah was written by Jeyda Bolukbasi and published by the Graham Publishing Group.

There is often a mistaken perspective in the world of publishing – and self-publishing in particular – that content editing and copyediting are the same, or at least cut from the same cloth. They aren’t. The similarities are important; but the differences are even more so.

Let’s begin with an overview of editing, or how editing is viewed at Graham Publishing Group and our book design and editing teams.  We focus on two levels of editing when it comes to your manuscript, whether we are talking about a novel, memoir, business book, or self-help book. These are developmental editing and content editing.

In both cases, you are looking for someone who can review your material and make substantive changes to the text that are meant to improve the pace, flow, and overall quality of your writing.

With both developmental editing and content editing, your editor is working directly on the language of your piece.

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Finding the Right Book Designer for Your Indie Publication

The Eyes of the Moose was written by David Ranking Johnson and published by the Graham Publishing Group.

If you have invested the many hundreds of hours that go into writing a book, be it a novel, biography, business book, or self-help book, then you owe it to yourself to find exactly the right book designer to provide both excellent design work and smart publishing assistance.

With that in mind, let’s break down seven important factors that you will want to consider in finding the best possible book design firm.

Consideration # 1.  Make certain that your book designer explains every step in the process in a way that makes sense to you.  These steps include proofreading and book cover design as well as the proper interior layout of both your print book and e-book and the exact files you will need to implement your marketing programs.

Consideration # 2. If anyone, including your book designer, tries to tell you that you’re trading away the rights to your book when you publish, get away from those people as fast as you can. You own the rights to your book. The copyright is in your name. You own your book cover.  Always, always, always.

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Great Book Design Begins with Great Communication

Twin Flames was written by Charles Quinn and published by the Graham Publishing Group.

I know what you’re thinking when I say, “Great book design begins with great communication.” You’re thinking, “This is obvious.”  It should be, but it often is not.

An author works extremely hard to produce that special book.  Whether it’s a novel, biography, business book, or some type of self-help book or book of inspiration. As authors, we put our hearts and souls into our books.  Very often what happens next is that the person in charge of designing the book cover or orchestrating the interior layout of your book then jumps in and takes over.  What happens?  The author suddenly feels left out or without any say in the next steps of the book design process.  This is not how it is supposed to work.

The whole idea behind independent book publishing, or Indie publishing as it is often called, is that the author has much more control than he or she would if the book was a product of mainstream publishing. The great communication that I am speaking about begins the moment you and your book designer start to work on your book cover.  There should be from the outset an exuberant exchange of ideas about what the cover should look like. This begins with the book designer having a very clear picture of the story, in the case of a novel or biography, or the message, in the case of a business book or self-help book.  If your book designer is too lazy to read what you’ve written or uninterested in what you’ve written, find someone else.

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Don’t Wait: Get Your Story Written and Published

The Rigel Affair was written by L M Hedrick and published by the Graham Publishing Group.

  • Having a great story inside you is only the first step.
  • Bringing the story to life is hard work, but it is as worthwhile a goal as there is.
  • Seeing that story in print is special.
  • Handing your printed book to a friend is beyond special.

We all have a story in us, which means we all have the power to see that story come to life and to be published in a most professional way.  A powerful narrative has a way of capturing the attention and imagination of audiences in a way no other device can.

Storytelling stories is also an effective way to impart ideas and information. Storytelling allows us to share individual experiences while exploring old and new ideas. In fact, storytelling is ideal for turning dull, uninteresting ideas into compelling, captivating narratives. But don’t stop there.  Tell your story and see that story into print.  We always say: the power is in the story. But there is more to it. The power is in seeing your story told and seeing it published and available to anyone who wants to read it.

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Book Design in a Nutshell

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

Book design often suffers from the mistaken notion that it is all about the perfect book cover. As all-important as the cover is, book design is much for than that. Look at the way you would a completed book, be it a novel, biography, business book, or self-help book. Every book is tied together by indispensable elements, from the plot and the characters to the message and the emotion.  Book design is similar: it ties together:

    • the cover front and back,
    • the interior layout of the chapters,
    • the choice of font,
    • the ink,
    • even the spine of the book.

All have to be addressed with an eye on one thing: a presentation that entices the reader, one, to open it, two, to buy it and read it. That’s why you wrote your book; so that people will read it.

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Reading, Writing, and the Book Jacket Design Process

This fearless memoir was written by Patricia Gunn and published by Graham Publishing Group.

Mood is everything when it comes to designing a fabulous book jacket.

A great book cover designer understands that his or her job is to translate what it feels like to read your book.  Get the mood, understand the feeling, and pour that into a book cover without over designing or over complicating things.

The best book cover designers are voracious readers. They love the written word, because they know the essence of their book jacket design emanates without fail from those words.

Yes, it’s the plot of a great novel or the depth of a powerful memoir.  Yes, it is the message of a good business book or the tools demonstrated in a useful self-help book. But it is more than that.  Book cover design is about feeling. It’s about understanding the reader as well as the words written on the page.

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Book Design Trends and Indie Publishing

A Gift Like Zoe's

This book, about a rebellious teen following near-death experience was written by C. C. Holmes and published by Graham Publishing Group.

How much attention should you be paying to the current trends of the day when you set out to write the book of your dreams, be it a novel, a memoir, a business book, or a book of health and inspiration?  Should you write from your heart or write to satisfy trends?

  • First, you can never go wrong writing from you heart.
  • Second, there is nothing wrong with taking note of the trends of the day.

But if the latest book writing guru says that political and social satire are destined to be the latest and greatest trend, but satire doesn’t appeal to you, then the answer is easy: write what does appeal to you. If some blogger suggests that poetry is making a serious comeback, and poetry is your one, true love, then it’s good to know that maybe it’s making a comeback. If you’re interested in writing horror fiction, but zombies are out of vogue, then don’t give up on horror; think as far out in front of the curve as possible while being true to you as a writer.

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