Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Publish Your Book Using Print On Demand with CreateSpace.com and Amazon.com

Over the next several posts I will cover some of the leading print-on-demand sites for publishing your books.

Print-on-demand means that books are printed when someone orders them from a site like Amazon.com or somewhere else. This is the future of publishing. You can get pretty fancy with your books, from black/white, to color, to different bindings, cover wraps, etc. The huge advantage is that you don't have to pay printing costs and have books sitting around in warehouses collecting dust and your money. Your printing and distribution costs drop dramatically, basically to just about $0 and you can focus on the writing, marketing and selling of your book. This also means that you don't need a large publishing company anymore. Publishing houses are valuable with all their services but they also had a large barrier to entry and they can take a long time to bring your book to market. Now with print-on-demand anyone can be a publisher and send their work out into the world. POD isn't just for books, you can also do CD, DVD, audio, video, and even physical products like hats, mugs, shirts, bags, etc.

CreateSpace.com Home Page

CreateSpace.com
One of the leading print-on-demand sites is CreateSpace.com which is a division of Amazon.com. They offer a range of POD products from print to audio, iPod, CD to video, DVD and streaming video. It is a great service not only for the quality but also that it is connected directly to Amazon.com.

CreateSpace is a great service for bringing your book to market:
  • It is trusted because its Amazon.com
  • They have a range of products and services from free on up to custom design interiors and covers.
  • You have no printing or shipping costs, this is basically free publishing.
  • Their standard distribution includes the Amazon.com site, Amazon Europe and their own CreateSpace eStore which you can brand to match your own website.
  • All books are assigned a unique ISBN number for tracking, CreateSpace will give you one for free or you can supply your own.
  • Books can be produced using their templates or you can supply your own hi res pdf files. Text or fully design books are uploaded to the CreateSpace site where they are processed and then moved over to Amazon for selling, printing and shipping.
  • Amazon takes care of display, printing, shipping, and depositing your royalty payments into your account.
  • Royalty payments are 2 to 3 times more than traditional publishers.
  • Why Amazon, well it has over 94 million visitors a month and has a large book distribution system. It is also a trusted name with huge brand recognition I recommend buying the ProPack option for $25. this gives you access into their expanded system. This gives you distribution to bookstores, libraries, academic institutions and other online retailers.
  • The site includes templates, training videos, and excellent help.
  • Excellent pricing if you decide to use them as a printer, you can also ship books wherever you need.
  • Pay a small fee and you can move your book over to the Kindle platform.
You can check out more about them at https://www.createspace.com/

Questions
What is your favorite print-on-demand site and why?  Be sure to sign up over on the right for more information like this and a free copy of our How to Publish and Market Your Book

Monday, May 28, 2012

I Want to Put My Book On CreateSpace, What Do I Have to Do?

I had a great question come across my plate from a colleague about self-publishing using CreateSpace so I thought this would be a good topic for a post.


CreateSpace.com home page

Question: What do I need to have to publish a book on CreateSpace.com?
Hi Bruce, I have a friend who has a Mac and wanted to do a book using Amazon’s CreateSpace.com self-publishing service. Does she need special software? I told her about you and how you were proficient at this stuff. She now has access to a PC laptop so if she needs different software, then she can look at it.

She indicated her problem arose when she went to upload the book as she said Amazon has certain guidelines in regards of loading separate sections of the book, such as cover for the graphics, chapter titles for the reader to see, and the actual chapters for people to read a sample, as well as a bio of the writer. I haven’t been there yet, but will need to soon as I have a few books about to be written and would love a little guidance on getting books up on CreateSpace.com.

Answer: How to work with CreateSpace.com, the print-on-demand service from Amazon.
Hi, thank you for the great questions about getting your book up on CreateSpace.  CreateSpace is Amazon’s self-publishing service. It is a stand alone division of Amazon and handles their print-on-demand publishing services. Using CreateSpace you can upload a MS Word or a PDF file of your book using one of their templates or a document that you have formatted. Once you have filled in the application form and the book has processed it will be moved over to Amazon.com and can be bought by anyone through their website. The entire uploading process can be done in one sitting. The processing and move to Amazon takes about 1 to 2 weeks. Which in publishing terms is like lighting. The service is basically free or if you want their expanded distribution you can spend an extra $25.00. I highly recommend the expanded distribution. They now have distribution in Europe which is super cool.

Producing Your Book on CreateSpace.com
One of the concepts that took me a while to figure out and this is the same on other print-on-demand services is that the book insides and the cover are treated differently. They are also upload individually. Lets take each and talk about them.

THE INSIDES 
Your book insides can be produced in a variety of ways, at the simplest using MS Word, which you can format and upload. It works great for text based books and simple design such heads, subheads, body copy, headers and footers, that kind of thing. Great for fiction, novels, text based books, etc. Books can be produced in a variety of sizes form 5 x 8 up to 8.5 x 11, black/white or color. I recommend using the industry standard sizes.

CreateSpace will supply you with a MS Word template which I have used and didn’t like. They set their templates up for left and right hand pages which I find awkward and not very flexible. I ended up building my own and liked it a lot better. Basically you just set up the Word document at the size you want, say 6” x 9” and then set up margins at 5/8” or 3/4” of an inch. CreateSpace likes good wide margins and will complain if you move to close to the edge. With this kind of set up I would center your header and your footer. Once it is formatted you will upload this file to Createspace.

You can see all the sizes and other info here:
https://www.createspace.com/Products/Book/

MS Word works great if your book has a simple layout. You can use the H1, H2 heads to build a Table of Contents, you can add simple illustrations, it works really well. If your book is more complex with pictures, with a more involved layout then I recommend moving to a program like Apple’s Pages or Adobe InDesign. I use InDesign for some of my books and I also use the latest version of Adobe Illustrator, which now has the ability to have multiple pages. InDesign is a powerful program with any kind of feature you might need to layout a publication. Again you set up the document size for your final size and give yourself decent margins. Once the book is done you save it as a high res pdf file with fonts embedded

Some Keys Tips,
  • Books need to be a minimum of 24 pages and can be up to 220 to 828 pages depending on size. 
  • CreateSpace likes high res graphics, if you are adding images make sure they are 300 dpi. It will accept less but they complain.
  • Images can be color RGB or CYMK, if your insides are black/white then the images must be black/white bitmapped or grayscale. 
  • CreateSpace can produce black/white or color interiors, the covers are always color, it is the interior that determines the b/w or color designation for pricing. You can make a much higher royalty if you produce black/white books, but they do a very nice job printing color. If you need really high quality color images then look at Lulu.com or Blurb.com
  • Decent margins are important, or your book will be priced out as one with bleeds. They have an excellent book reviewing tool that will let you know if you went to close to the edge and you can fix it. This includes the page numbers.
  • If you find you have made a mistake in your book after you have published you can also upload a new file, that is very cool.
  • I like purchasing the physical proof, it gives me a great sample and sometimes you pick up mistakes.
Full cover in  CreateSpace's online cover template

To see how the book looks on Amazon.com Click Here. I put it up in paperback and on Kindle.


THE COVER 
There are two ways that you can go with covers on CreateSpace. You can use their templates or you can make your own and upload them. You can also hire a cover designer through CreateSpace or on your own.

CreateSpace Templates
I recently did a project using their cover templates, the experience wasn't to bad. They have a nice variety of designs for you to choose from. They have a pretty good tutorial that leads your through the process step by step. Front cover then back cover. You can supple your own cover images and there is a fair amount of customizing that you can do. You can change backgrounds, type sizes, colors that kind of thing. If you make a mistake you do have to start the sequence over again but all and all not to bad. On the design that I picked I wasn’t all that pleased with how the back cover type was treated but the process make a decent cover.

For the cover image I used a royalty free stock photo from Dreamstime.com, they have a nice selection of pictures and are very reasonable in costs. I purchased a smaller file size and uploaded it in the template when they asked for a cover image. Pretty easy to do.
Here is the site: http://www.dreamstime.com/

Designing and Uploading Your Own Cover
I generally design my own covers and it takes some care to get it right. To make the book cover you need to layout the front, spine, back and bleeds all on one page. Once the book is printed the cover is wrapped around the entire thing so it has cover all sides. I usually design my covers in Adobe InDesign and then move them to Adobe PhotoShop to prepare the final artwork for CreateSpace. You can also design them directly in  PhotoShop or Apple Pages. The front cover is on the right and the back cover is on the left and the spine in-between. Remember you also need to add 1/8" bleeds all the way around.

In Indesign I generally work on a larger page size than the cover so I can add guides, crop marks and stuff like that. For uploading to CreateSpace, the cover needs to be the actual final size. I will tackle that in a moment.

Books are printed larger than their final size and are then trimmed down. If you have ink running off the edge of your cover then the cover has to be printed larger so that you have a nice clean edge to trim off. This extra space is called bleed. So a 6” x 9” book is printed 1/8” or larger all around.

Your spine width is determined by how many pages you have. For white paper you multiple the number of pages times the thickness of the paper. CreateSpace uses paper that is .002252” thick so a 60 page book is 60 x .002252” or 0.141” thick. 

Once your cover is set up you save the document as a high res pdf PhotoShop file with fonts embedded.

Measurements for a 6" x 9" Cover
Cover width: Bleed + Back Cover Trim Size + Spine Width + Front Cover Trim Size + Bleed
.125” (1/8”) + 6”  + 0.141” + 6” + .125”.  = 12.391”

Cover height: Bleed + Book Height Trim Size + Bleed
.125” + 9” + .125” = 9.25

Moving the Cover File to PhotoShop to Make the Final PDF
Once you have designed your cover it then needs to be converted into a PhotoShop PDF file for uploading. The first thing I do is set up a new PhotoShop document at the final cover plus bleed size for my book. The PhotoShop document for a 60 page book, 6x9 in size with white paper will be 12.391” wide x 9.25” high.

The original InDesign pdf file is opened in Adobe Photoshop, the high res version will open as a 300dpi file. I then copy this file and pasted into my new PhotoShop document. Make sure it is all lined correctly and saved as a PhotoShop pdf file. The PhotoShop pdf setting isn’t one that is normally used so look for it in the Save As popup menu. And that is it, you are ready to upload your cover file to CreateSpace.

Dimensions for laying out a cover for a 6 x 9 book with 60 pages
Illustration by J. Bruce Jones © Copyright 2012


To see additional information on building your cover at CreateSpace click on the link below: How to Create a Cover PDF for Your Book.
https://www.createspace.com/Products/Book/CoverPDF.jsp




Opening your high res pdf in PhotoShop will give you a 300 dpi file to work with

Some Key Tips,
  • Take your time measuring and remeasuring the cover size with the bleeds. 
  • You want artwork that is at least 300 dpi so that you get the best cover you can get
  • Leave space in the lower right hand corner of the back for the ISBN number
  • Your back cover also sells your book, drop in your main benefits, show some sample pages
  • Add your contact info, remember this is a selling surface
  • You need 130 pages to have text on the spine, I don't worry about it, most of my books are in the 60-80 page length.
Comments
I would love any comments on this article, was it helpful? what is missing? please let me know and be sure to sign up over on the right for more information like this.



Thursday, May 17, 2012

Self-Publishing Your Book with Kindle, ePub, PDF, Audio, Video, Web

You have written your book, started a marketing platform and now you are read to publish. Publishing these days is much more than ending up with bound book sitting on your coffee table. It now covers not only a physical book, but also an e-book, something like a Kindle or Nook, a pdf book that might be download off your website, an audio book for your iPod, a book that is read entirely on line, how about streaming video. When publishing you want to look at all of these. Your book is part of a system that brings people into your entire world of products and servies. Plan so that you can take advantage of as many as you can.

This is a constantly changing world with new technologies coming on line everyday. All of the publishers we will cover offer variety of book sizes, along with printing in black/white or color, along with many other options such as binding, covers and marketing assistance. 

Publishing today breaks down to several major formats: the e-book side with Mobie/Kindle controlled by Amazon and epub which is lead by Apple with the iPad and iBook. ePub is also the format that is used buy most of the other portable and tablet readers. The other format is pdf which can be distributed in many different formats from on-line or used to generate print-on-demand books. PDF is a very flexible format that offers you a lot of control over the look and feel of your book.

Over the next several posts we will cover some of the major self-publishing sites.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

9 Additional Ideas and Places to Market Your Book

Continuing the lessons we have been sharing in Chapter 2 of our book here are some additional book marketing ideas.
  • Youtube – YouTube has a huge amount of traffic and viewers and makes and excellent place to put up a book review video with links back to your web or blog site. You can do a series of videos on your book, interviews with the subject, small talks based on the content. It can go on forever.
  • Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Google+, all accept images and text postings with links. Every time you make a post on your book blog or up a new video you also bring that content over to the social media platforms. You can do this with a link, or mention or with Google+ you can bring over the entire post.
  • Just like with the popular social media site, they are most likely sites that are related just to your topic, maybe there are forums or other blogs and you can connect with them also. Search in Google for forums and blogs on your topic. Look under the More Tab on the Google search page or after you have done a search look on left
  • Your own local newspaper, they are always looking for a local story, this material then makes for great press clippings, and links for promotion
  • Check out Joan Stewart and PublicityHound.com she has excellent tips for promoting a book and for low cost easy to do public relations. http://www.publicityhound.com/
  • Make sure you have an About page on your website and blog. The About page is one of the most viewed pages on a website and is a great place to showcase your book.
  • Set up a Google Alerts on your book and book topics, respond accordingly. Watch your market and the trends. http://www.google.com/alerts
  • Set up an email auto responder series using your email host with parts of the book, or a small course built from the book or other info that references subject from the book. These get sent out to readers who have signed up at your blog.
  • ake your book and create a webinar or teleseminar for the audience that you have built from your blog.

This list can go on and on but it gives you a great place to start. Send us some of your best ideas for marketing your book and I will share them.

How to Figure Out What People Want to Read

One of the best blogs out there for  bloggers is Darren Rouse, ProBlogger blog. There I have the word Blog 4 times in one sentence. Darren just delivers outstanding content on how to run your blog. Today he put a great post by guest blogger Brad Smith on 5 Simple Ways to Discover What People Are Dying to Read. He takes you through some simple steps, looking at your own popular posts, other people's popular posts and some easy analytic work. Well worth reading and referring back to.

Check it out at ProBlogger
http://www.problogger.net/archives/2012/05/09/5-simple-ways-to-discover-what-people-are-dying-to-read/

Monday, May 14, 2012

52 Resources for Self Publishing from The Book Designer.com

Just found a great resource for self publishing called The Book Designer, Practical Advice to Help Build Better Books at www.thebookdesigner.com. The blog follows the journey of book designer Joel Friedlander from traditional ink to the modern day of digital publishing and print on demand. Passing along tons of information for all of us in the self publishing area. Well worth checking out.

This post in particular caught my attention and will take some time to dig around in, 52 Great Blogs for Self Publishers.
http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2010/11/52-great-blogs-for-self-publishers/

Friday, May 11, 2012

How to Sell Your Book and Build a List At The Same Time

It is always worth paying attention to what is going on at Amazon. So here is an interesting idea to sell books.
  1. Set up a email signup page for access to a free course or information which is in reality your book that you release out bit by bit through your email auto responder. 
  2. Set it up for a regular release of the content, short lessons, once a week or so, tease the next release with "next week we will talk about Lesson 3, lesson 4, etc." Write your book so that it can be broken down into lessons or small chapters. Take an existing book and pull out some basic short lessons from it. Look at your table of contents and add two paragraphs to it
  3. Highlight that you can also just get all the information or the course faster by buying the book which is advertised on the side of the email. Aweber has some nice templates for doing this. 
  4. Don't have a book, then take an existing book from Amazon that is really good on your topic and make your own set of 10 lessons from it. Advertise this book in the email, use the Amazon affiliate program to make a little money and test it. Maybe just 4 lessons instead of 10 and that way your can continually test books to see which one people want while you are writing you own. You could build out an endless number of books, almost like a book club. Look at the chapter titles for what the lessons should be, rewrite in your own words. 
There are a lot of ways to spin this.


If your customer doesn't buy, so what, they are in your list with great content, yours or content inspired by someone who is a leader in your area. Your customer does buy and you make a few bucks with a buyer, use the Amazon receipt technique to give more content or a video presentation and capture the buyer again, again a win. In the Amazon receipt technique you tell the potential customer if they buy the book to come back with the receipt number and drop it in a sign up box for additional content, or the work book  or lessons or something.

Remember don't copy or plagiarize but be inspired. You can also use the Google Top Ten technique to come up with the autoresponder list. Google "top ten tips for XYX", you will see tons of top ten lists on your topic. Use variations of this phrase and you can very quickly pull together a top ten list. People love top ten lists, then market your's or someone else book on the side.

Here is the article that gave me this idea.
In this article from PaidContent.org Pottermore CEO: New Amazon deal so big, any lost Harry Potter sales "more than made up for" it is highlighted how Amazon noted that 19% of Kindle readers who borrowed the first Hunger Games book ended up buying vol 2 or 3 of because they didn't want to wait. We don't all have Hunger Games but we might have "how to do X Y Z ..."


I do something similar, but I think I might switch around to this new idea.

 
One of my AWeber AutoResponder Pages for one of my map books

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Using Images to Promote Your Book

Here I am sitting in my studio with the rough manuscript of my How to Publish and Market Your Book. Notice I added the web address right in the photo along the bottom
Images from your book can be a very powerful marketing tool. Google announced recently an increased emphasis on looking at images in search. Images can include the front and back cover, of course pictures or drawings from the inside the book, and author images. If you have a book that is just text how about pictures of your studio, or how your write, the coffee shop that you go to. Or the trip you took to research your book, or pictures of the people in your book. The key here is to record the journey of the writing and the elements inside of your book. People love the back story. In some of my music books. I make sure each image has the web address right in the graphic. Those images have spread all over the internet.  You can see what I have done at http://www.acousticmusictv.com

The second step is to upload your images to as many different places as you can, caption them and give a clear link back to your book blog or website. People use Google search, or Google Images, they see your pictures, click on them and link back. Make sure the images have a clear descriptive title like, Bruce Jones How to Publish Book.jpg instead of a name IMG_34565.jpg. My music pages are on Flickr, Facebook and Google Picasa.

Images should be submitted to Flickr, Google’s Picasa, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest and any other photo sharing site that makes sense. All images should be tagged, key worded, and with clear captions, also include your web address if possible. Each actual image should also be marked with contact info and a web address along the bottom.

Here is a really cool technique for after you have published your book. In Amazon you can add images to the “Share Your Own Customer Images” area just below the book cover. This is a great place to showcase the individual pages with an extra description, highlight the key features, and show lots of details. A lot of authors don’t do this, in fact you can do this with any book, help an author with some fan images.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Using Facebook, Linkedin, YouTube and Twitter to Promote and Market Your Book


In a previous post I talked about using a blog for promoting your book. I believe that very shortly your ability to be a successful author will depend on your ability to mange and promote your book using the popular social media sites, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube, Google+ and whatever are the popular sites in your industry or area. On each platform you can re-post the blog posts, create original content, create links back to your book blog, connect with your community and contribute to the conversation around your topic. Each platform has a different focus and reaches different audiences.

Your book also needs to be integrated into all of the other things you do, displayed and sold when you give talks, listed in your email signature, used as giveaways, and used as a calling card to open doors. Your book is your currency.

Facebook
Facebook lets you promote the lifestyle around your book writing and marketing efforts, where you go, pictures from your events, the back story, show your studio, all aspects. You can also communicate with your fans and they with you. Facebook makes it easy to engage. Every post you make on your blog needs to be copied over on to these other platforms.

Twitter
Twitter can be used both ways, outbound and inbound. The major social media platforms are all pretty much integrated into the major blog platforms so it is easy to post to Twitter when I put up a blog post. It is just push a button. Twitter gives you that quick hit, ask a question in the Tweet that you answer on you blog. Twitter is also a great way to follow people and events that relate to what you write about. I think Twitter is kind of a slow burn. You don't see the results all that much but it is a good way to push out content. Twitter will also accept images and video.

Google+
Google+ keeps growing and growing. Again I duplicate whatever I do on my blog with my Google+ account. Google treats the information on its own platforms pretty high. Easy to upload images, video and connections. What is interesting about Google+ is that you can select the audience or the parts of your list that will be receiving your message through their circles.

Linkedin
I find Linkedin one of the most powerful platforms to connect with your audience. Using the status box you can post a weekly update on what you are doing our successes or links, etc. Once a week this status goes out to all of your followers. You don't sell here but you contribute, educate, or  just update. I have found it very effective.

YouTube
The world is moving to video in a huge way. Make a book review, show your book, the features, what it is about. Make these short and make lots of them. Almost any camera will work and your reach is global. Don't worry about being perfect, be you. Make sure you add keywords, a link back to your blog or website, this goes in the description area, have a good title and lots of of descriptive text about the book.

Social media is changing almost on a daily basis, new sites coming on all the time like Goodreads and Pinterest, which is exploding. Try not to get overwhelmed, I usually recommend staying with the major sites and build you platform.



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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

How to Find the Perfect Title for Your Kindle Ebook

Searching on Fly Fishing in Amazon search brings up all kinds of useful information
I was discussing a question with a colleague on how to find the perfect title for their upcoming Kindle ebook. I thought this would be great info for everyone.

Question: Help me find the perfect title for my kindle book!

My advice on the title is to search in Amazon in the regular area and in the Kindle books area. Start by dropping in what you think your title should be and watch the Instant search results that start to appear under what you are typing. This is Amazon's attempt to figure out what you are looking for. Pay attention to what appears, the words and phrases.

Then take a look at what books appear from what you typed in. Are these books similar to what your book is about. Look at the titles, you will find great info on what words should be in the title. Keep doing this until you have a good feel for how people search on your area, what brings up actual books in your subject area.

Kindle doesn't have subtitles where as the regular Createspace/Amazon paperback area does. So your title needs to be descriptive and keyed in on what people actually search on. Do the same thing in Google and in YouTube and see what shows up there also. Remember people often start their search in Google and then move to Amazon. Google indexes the Amazon books.

One of my key pieces of advice on book titles is don't fall in love with your working title, do the research in Amazon and figure out how people are searching and then apply it to your book.