In the past 12 years or so I have helped over 20 authors publish books; whether that be with a cover design, the formatting or both; and also publish it through online resources.
Sometimes people come to me with their finishes article and I just smarten it up, add essential details like publishing rights and copyright info; sometimes I literally get a document with words!
It’s important to state at this point that I take all measure and manner of starting points and aim to turn your idea into a readable, modern and topic related format so that you are proud of your work. Because at the end of the day my job is the easy one; you wrote it!
Saying all this, I wanted to bring a bit of a list to you who may be starting out on your author journey about what you might not have considered when writing your book and how I can help you achieve it.
This can be the most complicated part of the book and is often the thing which most first time authors know the least about. Before I give you a little list let me reassure you that a lot of what I say is something a designer can do themselves but it often speeds up the process of publishing if you can cover the basics.
a) Here’s an example of the order of the opening of you book:
Inside Cover Page
IMPORTANT: Publishing Information; As you write your book you may quote other published works, you HAVE TO include these in a page at the beginning of your book to acknowledge that those words aren’t your own and to give credit to the original author/source. Include the Title, the Author and the year it was published.
(Side note: Bible references need to be included with the Bible version, the publishing year and the ISBN if possible)
b) Questions to ask yourself before you start:
Am I including including page numbers? If you choose to include them put them in the centre of the page or in the far corner/the outside of the page.
Am I including the references in the footnote? (Some people choose to include the publishing information or references in the footnotes of the page it has been used on – sometimes this is easier than creating a long list of publishing information/references at the start of the book, other times it can be easier to just include a list – you have to decide how you are going to approach this.)
Am I including page numbers in the contents page? Do this right at the end when the whole book is complete as the page numbers may switch and change. Usually the designer formatting the book for you will complete this – but if you are formatting the book yourself then do this as the last job!
c) Chapters – depending on what kind of book you are writing depends on whether you want the book to be continuous flow or broken up by chapters. Most modern books, fiction or non-fiction, tend to use broken chapters which means that every chapter will start on the right hand side even if it means there is a blank page on the left.
Some people choose to include a picture on the left of each chapter start instead of having a blank page. Once again, the decision is yours.
Once you answer these questions you’ll be at a good starting point to cover basic bases as you write your book. If all of this is confusing then I would encourage you to speak to a designer who can typeset your book for you, give you examples and talk you through all the steps.
For me this is one of the most important parts of your publishing journey. Getting the cover right is vital key and I would encourage you more than ever to use an experienced designer who can untangle your book, understand your themes and the focus and then can interpret that in a way that creates something that stands out, that gives tangibility to your words and makes you proud of your work.
There are some key parts, if you do choose to self design, that need to be covered:
a) Leave space in the bottom right corner for an ISBN barcode to be added.
b) Include a blurb/description on the back of the book – make sure it’s legible and clear.
c) You may also want to include a picture of yourself and a short bio if this is your first book.
d) Include any logos, pricing or links to key information in the bottom left cover (don’t forget about the barcode)
e) Be prepared to trial and error.
When it comes to publishing your book you have a few options:
a) Self publish using a standard printer – this means you would have to have a substantial amount of money to get a publishing company to print your book and there would be a minimum order amount – somewhere between 25 to 100 books. You would have to provide the publisher with a print ready document and your cover and then will set to printing. If you wanted a proof copy they would charge you anywhere between £30 – £50 per book. This is probably the least cost effective way of publishing a book but definitely helps a small or medium size business so working out your finances and values are most certainly key when it comes to using this method. Following this you would then need to find places to promote your book, whether that would be going into an independent book store and asking them to sell it, making your own website and self promoting or through social media and accepting payments in different ways. You would have to handle all that yourself.
b) Use a professional publishing company – this is probably the hardest way to get published and in the end wouldn’t bring in the big books – unless you are the next JK Rowling of course – but it does cut out a lot of the in-house, self promotion you have to do as a professional publishing company would do all that. You would have to submit your ideas to their directors, wait for an assessment, if you get accepted you’ll sign the book over to them and then royalties will be worked out and they will use their teams to format and design the cover for you – obviously you’d have a hand in the process, your the author, but a lot of the time you’d be on a % based royalty, they would take their cut and they would probably expect you to write more, publishing solely with them and so the author and publishing company relationship begins.
Penguin actually state that most professional publishers won’t accept manuscripts direct from authors and recommend you have a literary agent who would put your book in front of publishers for you.
It’s a long winded process but again, it depends on your finances, time and values as to whether you’d like to use a much more well known publishing company who has a reputation and status to become your official publisher.
One thing to remember here is that the more people involved the more cuts people take. As an author, finding out all your options, getting a good literary agent, not putting all your eggs in one publishers basket and making sure you are getting the best deal is most certainly a vital factor as you make this decision.
c) Self Publishing Online – most commonly used is Kindle Publishing through Amazon; this is by far the quickest and most cost effective way to self publish a book your book. Amazon is the fastest growing online market for authors; traditionally Amazon was all about books and then it became the place to source everything with it’s incredible Prime delivery service; you can get your book to someone within 24/48 hours at no cost to you!
That’s right. At no cost to you!
Amazon take their percentage from your sales, they offer you an author price for you to purchase however many books you like for yourself and for you to sell AND they sell it for you via ALL their amazon sites. And the best part is YOU control the format, YOU control the cover, the book belongs solely to YOU and YOU control the price.
Amazon will tell you in the uploading process how much it will cost them to print it and how much of a cut they will take so then you can work out how much to charge so that you can make the royalties you desire.
This can be a difficult subject to cover, especially when you haven’t published a book before.
If you choose to go down the route of using a publishing company then they will often do all the promotion for you so you don’t have to worry about it.
If you choose to use an online publishing product such as Amazon then as long as you include certain keywords (basically themes/subjects that your book is related to) then you will begin to appear in peoples searches.
However, if you go down the self publishing route then a lot of the publishing is left in your hands to get the word out there.
Using a designer can help to create a promotional package to help people find out about your book.
A package might include the following:
a) Setting up social media accounts and promotional imagery to post, using hashtags to bring traction so people can find you that way.
b) Printed promotion such as flyers and/or posters – these can be put up in shops that have kind owners who are happy to help you get your book out into the big wide world.
c) Websites can help to get you noticed; building an author website specific to you is a great idea to help people find out more information about you and more information about your book. You can include a free first chapter to entice people to purchase your book and include any signing dates and locations that might be relevant.
At the end of the day, how you choose to promote is totally in your hands. Sometimes independent book stores might be happy to put your book on their shelves, hold a book signing and setup a promo stand for you. As with all these things, you won’t loose anything by asking so go do it!
Hopefully all this information will help you to get your hard work printed in a great way and get it into the hands of real people.
Here’s a list of books I have designed for authors:
Seeing the Church by Andrew Murray
Advent Devotional by Sarah Lee
The Pastor’s Little Pocket Book by Jamie Tonge
Here’s a list of cover designs I have done:
The Awakening by Chris Fleetcroft
Glory Carriers by Chris Fleetcroft
Wisdom to Go by Rachel Issitt
What’s your mission? by Rachel Issitt
Here’s a list of books I have typeset only:
Max, Michael, Jake & Lloyd by John Warren
If you would like help with any of this then why not contact me today [email protected]
Or see my Book Design Services page for more info!