For many authors Ingram Spark is their first choice when considering a print on demand service, their finished product always tends to be high quality and they offer very expansive distribution of author’s books. Each time we receive a completed book from Ingram we’re always impressed with how it’s been finished (especially when you compare it to some of the other more popular POD providers).
The design and exporting process however is a little different to many other publishers, but it’s still pretty straightforward all the same, the main things that you’ll need to consider is in using one of their excellent templates and ensuring that the ink levels are adjusted to meet their stands of 240%.
To get a template for your own book you will need to go to Ingram’s Cover Template Generator, here you’ll add the details for your book (you will need your ISBN), selecting either and InDesign file, IDML or PDF (we tend to use InDesign and the PDF) and then click on the submit button, it will then send you a template direct to your Inbox.
These templates are very useful as you can build your book cover design on top of them, this ensures that everything stays within their safe areas and margins.
Once you have your book cover created and placed within the layout of the template, you will need to check that the ink levels of your design, this you can check by going to Window > Output > Separations Preview, next, in the drop down box select Ink Limit and change the % to 240%, if any area is in red you need to adjust the source file for the art work (or elements within InDesign).
If you are changing your source file/artwork in Photoshop, make sure you have a separate copy of the file saved, as you can lose the layers if adjusting the ink levels.
To adjust the levels go to Edit > Convert to profile > change the Destination Space Profile to ‘Custom CMYK’ than change the Total Ink Limit to 238% (just go slightly under 240%), click on ‘ok’ and save the file separately.
Go back to InDesign and relink your embedded file using the new version of your artwork which has just had the ink adjusted, now go back to the Separations Previewer and check again, you should find that the red areas have disappeared and all areas are in black and white (meaning the levels are fine).
Now you can export as a PDF, this is very straightforward with Ingram as they want the PDF exported using the preset definitions for [PDF/X-1a:2001], so select this and hit export.
You should now have a PDF which is ready to use with Ingram Spark, if you would like any help with this, we have created countless book covers for Ingram, get in touch with us today for further details.
Guest post from Angela Baker
Writing is a beautiful creative process that can have a beneficial effect on our mental health and inner peace. It can help us find a connection between our mind and our emotions and establish a balance that we all need. This is because writing can shape thinking. But, what does that mean?
There are impressive ways in which writing shapes our thinking and can help us reach depths we didn't even know existed. If you want to learn more, just keep reading. Here's how writing positively influences your thinking and helps you grow.
1. Helps You Relax
When we're under stress or there's a tension of any kind, we can't really cope with our emotions or our thoughts. Feeling stressed out is a major distraction that makes it impossible for us to calm down.
But, writing can help you relax and regain your peace. Here's how.
When you're stressed, and you take a piece of paper and a pen, here's what you're doing:
2. Helps You Find Focus
Finding focus and clearing our minds from various distractions can be tricky. With the fast pace of life and so many things happening in a single day, it's almost impossible to concentrate and deal with your thoughts freely.
But, when you decide to write down your thoughts, it all takes on a different perspective.
The truth is, writing helps you find focus because:
You should also consider retreating to peaceful places from time to time, and spend more time writing, eating healthy, listening to music, and spending time with friends. You could go camping or spend a day by the water. It will help you further improve your focus.
Finding focus is easier when you’re writing things down. You manage to remove all the distractions, aim your mind to a single idea, and process it peacefully.
3. Helps You Plan
Planning and setting future goals is a great way to help yourself to achieve more and be more productive. When you’re just planning things but not keeping them in writing, it’s easy to forget, skip, or ignore your plans.
But, writing them down is a whole other thing.
That's why you should always:
This way, you're empowering yourself to push through and continue dreaming big. Writing this down helps you shape your thinking and create a positive mindset about achieving greatness.
4. Helps You Learn About Yourself
Writing an emotions journal is a great way to learn something new about yourself and invest extra effort into growing on a personal level. This is yet another great way in which writing shapes thinking.
When you're talking to a friend, you're never 100% honest about how you feel or what you're thinking. There's always a filter for your thoughts and emotions that you use before presenting any of it to another person.
But, when you're talking to yourself, you need to be completely honest. And, writing can help you do it:
Over time, you'll be able to look back at your previous entries. You'll see how you felt, what you thought, and what you did. You'll also learn about your triggers.
This way, you'll be getting to know yourself better, and that is truly valuable and unique.
5. Expresses Your Creativity
As we’ve already mentioned, writing is a creative process. People often believe that they’re “not creative enough” to be artistic and create art. But, we need to beg to differ.
We're all creative in our own ways. We just need to learn how to express that creativity.
So, if you're interested in writing for an audience, just sit down and try it. It might take some time before you find your style and learn how to handle words, but who knows what might happen.
You might even end up publishing a book. And, in case you need a design cover service, make sure to check out JD&J book cover design services.
6. Boosts Your Confidence
Self-love and confidence and more important than you might think. Loving yourself is the primary precondition for having a happy and balanced life.
But, self-love and confidence do not come overnight. It takes practice, effort, and determination to build it.
Luckily, writing can help you shape your thoughts and build the self-love and confidence that you need. You can do it in many ways:
Through writing, you'll be able to reveal your hidden talents, bond with yourself, and be your own biggest support.
7. Teaches Your to Persevere
There’s one final benefit of writing regularly, and that is teaching yourself the importance of discipline and perseverance. When writing becomes a regular habit, you’ll soon notice:
That means that writing will help you understand that you can do anything when you're determined. You could even start blogging, writing articles, and sharing your writing with others. If you do, Get Good Grade can help you polish your writing at first. You can also use Pixabay or Canva to add visuals to the mixture.
Writing is one of the best hobbies you can take on to build your inner peace and shape your thinking. Positive thinking and a forward-looking attitude can take you a long way.
The tips and examples provided above will hopefully help you realize the true power of writing, whether you’re doing it just for yourself in a journal or you’re writing to share with others.
People make more than 3.5 billion Google searches every day. If you’re going to rank highly enough for potential visitors to find your content, then you need to play by the rules of Google. One of the best ways to do this is to make sure you are optimizing all your content for SEO.
Use A Program That Integrates With Google Analytics To Track Metrics
The best way to start improving your SEO for 2021 is to better understand Google Analytics. Google Analytics is an invaluable tool for understanding your website, so you can data-based decisions. Metrics will help you to understand how you are ranking, and who your audience is, so you can create better content for them.
Identify Low-Performing Pages And Refresh Them With New Content People Want To Read
Content marketers who develop content that ranks highly have one big thing in common: they deliver engaging content topics to their audience. Successful content marketers follow trends to brainstorm content ideas, so you are likely to have to revisit low-performing content to improve it and keep it relevant. You can also hire AAM Consultants to improve your website’s content.
Ensure Your Content Is Created Around A Primary Keyword And Secondary Keywords
Researching keywords for your content will help to develop the framework of the piece. It will also help you understand what your audience wants to read. Understanding the keywords that work best with your target audience and content will help you to build a content strategy that optimizes SEO.
Writing for Google needs a balance between keywords and everyday language
our content should be written in a way that flows naturally. Your keywords should come up naturally in your content, so you don’t have to stuff your content. An easy way to do this is to identify related keywords to your primary keyword.
Diversify Your Backlink Portfolio
Even if you follow all of the guidance for on-page SEO, this won’t guarantee you’ll get onto the front page of Google. A large part of SEO deals with backlinks and whether or not you get backlinks from high-authority sites.
Backlink diversity has two sources:
Use Effective Header Tags To Target Google Featured Snippets
When you develop your content, be mindful about you structure the content on the page. Every page ought to have content organized logically, with the most information at the top of the page. Readers spend most of their time looking at the content at the top of the page.
To get the most out of your keywords that you’re targeting, add jump links to the top of your page. This makes a more enjoyable user experience and lets your use headers tags in more creative ways to try to get Google Featured Snippets.
Remember To Optimize Images
Image optimization is often overlooked for boosting SEO. When you do it properly, it can drive a lot of traffic to your website. There are lots of benefits to using visual content:
Visual content can leverage better SEO. Image optimization will help your content to rank higher on Google Image Search and improve your site’s visibility.
Make Sure Your Site Is Mobile Friendly
A huge proportion of Google searches come from mobile devices. This means it’s important to ensure that your website is optimized for them. Google rewards websites that are optimized for mobile.
Use Clean URLs and Meta Descriptions
Your URL and meta description are important factors for helping Google to understand your content. There is no hard and fast rule about the length of either of these things, but you should make them both as clean and concise as you can, and include your target keywords.
Decrease Load Times On Top-Performing Pages
Slow loading times are one of the main causes of a high bounce rate. Speed equals revenue, which means that slow load times increase the likelihood that your site visitors will leave your web page. Your SEO ranking depends on your website speed.
An auditing tool can help you to gain an understanding of your website’s speed. Use these tools to learn what might be slowing your site down, and how you can address that. It can also scan for common SEO mistakes so that you can improve your website content for an SEO boost.
Continually Learn From Your Analytics
Track your website’s performance to better understand what works and what doesn’t for your audience. This means you can create more content with what they like in mind. There are several metrics that you can focus on and see how to improve. These are some of the metrics you should consider tracking most closely:
The beginning of a new year will always fill people with ideas of change and motivation to achieve their goals, but several weeks in and it is easy to slip back into the old ‘comfortable’ way of doing things, before you know it, the goals are a distant thought and it’s ‘business as usual’, which is not great for you or your goals.
But you may be asking yourself ‘I don’t have many goals set, I just want to publish my book or lose weight or get that promotion’, whatever the goal is (and as you’re reading a blog which is heavily based around books and publishing, I’m assuming its about working on your book), you should take some time to refocus and plan out how you’ll achieve hitting or even setting your target for 2021.
The good news is that setting targets and goals is easy to do, you just need to be specific and realistic about it. If you look at the world of business, goals are set as S.M.A.R.T goals, meaning that they are:
Specific – This sounds obvious but so many people are vague when it comes to setting a goal, saying you want to write a book in 2021 is a little wishy-washy, setting a goal of writing a book on fishing on the Florida coast, with a word count of 75,000, begins to be more specific and leads on to the next part of a SMART objective.
Measured – Ask yourself, how will I know once I have achieved this goal? You need to have something to measure the achievement with, your goal could be to write your book with a minimum word count of 75,000 words, have it edited, proofread, formatted and a book cover designed. Giving yourself tangible targets that can be measured (after all, you either do them or you don’t) helps you to understand what the specific outcome of your goal will look like. If you don’t know what your outcome/target looks like, you will miss it.
Achievable – This is so important, many people make wild assumptions about how much time and effort they can dedicate to their goal, they work like crazy for the first couple of months and then burn out (the goal is missed, and they go back to their old ways). If you have a goal of 75,000 words break it down into manageable chunks, if you can write just 100 words a day, stick to this.
Realistic – Similar to the achievable aspect of a SMART goal, you should look at making your goals realistic (but challenging) for yourself. For example, if you went to the gym for the first time and decided by the end of week one you want to be benching 500bls, you would leave the gym injured and disillusioned. You would give yourself a more realistic goal at first and lead up to those bigger weights, keeping motivated and free of injuries. The same goes for your goal, make it realistic but still challenging.
Timed – You must set yourself a timeframe, without one your goal becomes undeliverable, it could be to achieve the first draft of your book to a minimum of 75,000 words in 12 months, you need that end date so that you can hold yourself accountable for the goal itself.
SMART goals are used by many successful people within every area of both business and the creative industry, they make your targets clear, hold you accountable for them and help you to set a specific path in achieving each one.
It’s also good to share your goal with someone you trust and review your progress on a regular basis, this is really important if you have a goal which is set over the next 12 months. Taking time to review where you are every month ensures that you can adjust your performance towards the goal as you go (you don’t want to get to the end of the timeframe only to miss it because you should have adjusted something six months prior).
Whatever the specifics of your own goal may be, using a SMART approach to it will certainly increase the chances of your success and will build a greater process for your future projects too.
Guest Blog Post By Angela Baker
When you need that motivational, inspirational, or productivity boost, what is your go-to solution? Maybe you want to step up your inspiration game so this is where podcasts step onto the scene. If you haven’t yet embraced the wonderful world of podcasts, now is the time.
There are tons of amazing podcasts that can spark that fire within you. Rather than surrendering to the writer’s block, test out the power of podcasts.
Listening to the tips, stories, and techniques of other writers can give you a different perspective or innovative ideas. So, without further ado, here are some of the best inspirational podcasts that every writer should know about.
1. Magic Lessons by Elizabeth Gilbert
The charming host of this podcast is Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of one of the must-read books “Eat, Pray, Love.” What you maybe don’t know is that she also revealed the secrets to her creative methods in the book “Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear.” Her podcast further reveals the ins and outs of the challenges that writers face.
Elizabeth is opening the doors to her creative methods, writing struggles, ways of pursuing a writer’s goals, and much more. In addition to great tips, this podcast can make you laugh and overall fill you with positive energy. Sometimes that’s everything you need to get your mojo back.
2. The Writer Files: Writing, Productivity, Creativity and Neuroscience by Keltorn Reid
Kelton Reid, the author of this incredible podcast, confronts the mysteries of what kind of habits, techniques, and mindsets power great writers. He digs deep into their approach to productivity and creativity to single out the best advice for all the writers out there.
Whether you need tips on how to brainstorm ideas, kill your block, or deal with remote working, you can find some useful information on this podcast. Take a sneak peek into the minds of some of the best-selling authors.
3. The Creative Penn by Joanna Penn
A positive attitude, experience, and admirable mindset are what Joanna Penn brings to "The Creative Penn" podcast. As you get lost in one episode after another, you'll find every piece of information that a writer needs. Learn how to get inspired, embrace new writing techniques, and even get some advice on marketing your published book.
New episodes come out every Monday, so this podcast can be a perfect way of starting the week on a positive note. What makes this podcast especially fascinating is that you’ll be able to broaden your horizons with information on technology, industry news, and so on.
4. Between the Covers by David Naimon
“Between the Covers” is a long-form podcast featuring hour-long conversations with writers. David Naimon brings in writers from different genres to provide a choice to their listeners.
These thrilling and informative conversations are digging deep into writers’ backgrounds, methods, and creative processes. Hearing about how these writers find inspiration and spark their creativity can give you some fresh ideas.
5. Write Now by Sarah Werner
In this motivational and honest podcast, Sarah Werner covers various topics from writing inspiration over best books to how to live a better life. When a dull day comes along, when nothing seems to matter, this is a podcast that can lift you up.
There is something for every writer in this podcast. You might want to fill the rainy days with positivity or find the strength to start writing a dissertation discussion chapter. That's when you need to turn on the "Write Now" podcast. Just 30 minutes of well-spoken advice can give you the energy to head to Freedom or Write! App and start typing.
6. Beautiful Writers Podcast by Linda Sivertsen
“Beautiful Writers” is your opportunity to listen to interviews with some of the best-selling authors such as Deepak Chopra, Brené Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Cheryl Strayed just to name a few.
Get to know more about the writing processes of accomplished writers, their ups and downs, and how they spark creativity. The podcast gets up close and personal as writers share their anecdotes and how they battle with creative challenges.
7. Dead Robots’ Society by Justin Macumber, Paul Cooley, and Terry Mixon
Aspiring writers can find their community in this podcast created by aspiring writers. You can get insight on writing novel openings, designing book covers with the right services such as Jdandj, celebrating your milestones, and more.
Give your writing confidence a boost by joining the society of fellow writers who understand your writing woes. The awesome trio that brought this podcast to life, share their tips and experiences. They also bring some interesting guests from whom we can all learn a lot.
8. The Drunken Odyssey with John King
John King is a writer and literary reviewer who is also the host of this great podcast. The treasures that hide behind this fun podcast title are discussions on creative writing, living the life of a writer, and finding the inspiration for creating a masterpiece.
The goal of the podcast is to provide writers with a community where they can find information on anything that their writer's mind is curious about. Therefore, you can listen to authors' advice on how to build your characters, structure a novel, but also how to find inspiration and confidence to start writing.
9. So You Want to Be a Writer by Valerie Khoo and Allison Tait
Successful journalists and authors Valerie Khoo and Allison Tait aim to demystify the path towards a writer's success. If you want to succeed as a writer you need to know how to navigate your career.
With Valerie and Allison on your side, you can learn all about publishing trends, writing techniques, and how to get your big break. Moreover, the podcast will uncover proven ways of dealing with writer’s block and getting your inspiration back on track.
10. Happier by Gretchen Rubin
This podcast isn’t designed solely for writers. However, considering that the hosts are the bestselling author Gretchen Rubin and her sister, TV writer, Elizabeth Craft, it is worthy of a writer's attention. Feeling confident and satisfied are the key ingredients for building your writing stamina.
With the practical habit-related tips that this podcast offers, you’ll be headed in the right direction towards a successful and fulfilling life. Both Gretchen and Elizabeth reveal the obstacles they had to face as writers and what kept them going. Learn from their experiences and look at their inspiring stories as lessons.
Don’t hesitate to give these podcasts a try and get a glimpse into the lives and ways of praised writers. Instead of learning from your own mistakes, you can absorb the pearls of wisdom of successful authors. Get lost in the voice of well-spoken and inspiring people who will lift your spirits and give you the strength to fight for your big break.
BIO: Angela Baker is a writer, editor, and proofreader. She is always seeking to discover new ways for personal and professional growth and is convinced that it's always important to broaden the horizons. That's why Angela develops and improves her skills throughout various writing projects. Her biggest aspiration is to inspire people to pursue their dream of being a writer.
Writing a book for most of us is a very solitary task, in those pre-pandemic days you may have wandered off to your local coffee shop and spent a couple of hours diligently increasing the word count of your manuscript, admittedly you are now surrounded by people, but you are still working alone. And the thing about working alone is that motivation (after a while) can stagnate.
And this is the thing, many people start off a new project, goal, or task with the best of intentions only to get three months in and slowly lose the motivation to stick with it, how many gym memberships are used like crazy in Jan/Feb and then by June have been canceled? The same goes with diets, everyone has the best of intentions and then when any roadblock is faced, they quit, regaining any weight lost and going back to unhealthy habits.
How many unfinished manuscripts are stored in long forgotten folders on laptops and PCs? Every single one of them started with the best of intentions and now they lay waiting for their authors to return and complete them?
It always makes me wonder just how many great works of literature are missing from libraries because they were never finished, I am not saying that every single book that does not get completed was going to be a masterpiece, but there will be some that would have been, by not following through on that intention to write the book, the world is deprived of its impact and beauty.
So, if you are halfway through writing a book and are struggling with the motivation to finish it, what can you do to regain the impetus you may need?
Here are seven great ways that can give you that motivation.
One – Set a realistic daily writing goal
Writing daily may not be the first thing you would expect to read (after all, you are not motivated to write, so why should the first tip simply be to start writing again!!!???), most people lose motivation because they associate the task with something arduous, by breaking the act of writing into smaller chunks of just 100 – 300 words per day, your chances of getting back into the habit of writing increase dramatically.
So, yes, the first tip is to simply start writing again, but this time with more manageable daily goals, you should look forward to writing, if you only spend 30 mins per day doing it, that’s fine.
Two – Peace and Quiet
Being distracted has never been easier than before, we all have cell phones that constantly beg for our attention, our laptops will be eager to show notifications the second they arrive, your kids will need you for something every five minutes and don’t even try to work if the TV is on.
If you are breaking your routine to write into small manageable periods, you need to ensure that you make the most of this time, and a distraction free environment is vital to do this.
Wherever you choose to write, it should be free of distractions, turn off your notifications, switch off your cell phone and lock the door (as long as it’s safe to do so of course), getting into the flow of writing for just 30 mins will be so much more productive when done in an environment of peace and quite.
Three – Get Social
Connecting with other writers on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads (along with the many other forums/platforms) is a great way to increase your motivation, speaking with others who may be in the same place as you or who have published and are promoting their work can really help.
It can increase your motivation and enthusiasm for writing once more, getting involved with conversations within your genre and even just within writing in general sparks the inspiration to continue.
Get social, get motivated!
Four – Track your progress
Having a clear understanding of how much you’ve completed can really help in motivating you to finish the book, this really helps when you’re three or four months into the project. If you have set a daily goal of 300 words for example, you can work out that if you stick to writing five days a week, after four months you will have written 24,000 words (and this is by only writing 300 words per day and only five days per week).
The goal here is to finish your book, it is NOT a race and if it takes a couple of years, it takes a couple of years…….where’s the issue with that?
Five – Look after yourself
A healthy body and mind do wonders for motivation both in writing and life in general, exercising and eating right will help you to maintain the energy you will need to write your book to the best of your ability.
Always seek professional advice on where you are and what you should do to get/keep in shape.
Six – Be a professional
If you want your book to be taken seriously, and for you to be taken seriously as a writer who finishes what they say they will finish, now is the time to step up and act like the professional author you want to be.
Tell others that you have set a goal of writing a book and get them to hold you accountable, set the commitment of daily writing and keep to it, tell people that you will donate an amount of money to an organization that you disagree with if you do not achieve your goal.
Seven – Read
Read more of the greats within the genre that you are either writing in or that inspires you, read every day for at least 10-15 mins and reflect on the craft of the author. Learning from the best within the literary world helps you to both fine tune your skills and at the same time become inspired.
There is a great book within you, and the world will be a better place with it published for us all to read.
Don’t give up!
Most authors understand that to reach as many readers as possible (and especially now with social distancing) you must embrace the various channels available to you online. Social media is of course key and will be the first line of attack for lots of authors, but this will be followed by a website, blog, YouTube/steaming channel and you can even look at starting your own Podcast (it’s easier than you may think).
With these multiple avenues to reach readers you must show continuity, it looks unprofessional if your Twitter page has a different profile image and banner to that of your Facebook page and/website, both should match, the same goes for your other social media channels and complete digital footprint.
As a design team we create both book covers and promotional designs for many authors and publishers, and what we are seeing is a huge increase in authors taking a professional stand with regards to the way that they are represented online. More and more authors want to be seen in the same light as the big names within the industry, ensuring that they are taken just as seriously in a very crowded marketplace.
More self-published authors understand that to become successful when publishing a book, it takes more than just luck, it takes planning, hard work and dedication. Having a consistent image for your book and for you as an author is a big part of selling both to your audience.
The first thing that you may want to consider are the banners for your social media channels, the most popular pages will be Facebook and Twitter, the dimensions do change from time to time and it’s always worth checking with the respective channels to ensure that your banner is sized correctly. But you should take the artwork from your cover and theme the banners accordingly.
If you look at the example below, you can see that the banners for both Twitter and Facebook tie in very nicely to the book cover design, in this case you also see a 3D image of the book (which again shows consistency).
In the next example for Twitter and Facebook, the artwork from the front page of the book cover has been worked into the banner designs, it doesn’t have the image of the book, but it gives the reader everything they need to make the connection and see that the author has a professional page.
These next designs show a banner that you would use in either a website or when advertising the book through social media etc. it clearly represents the book and ties into the social media pages, again, this gives a clear and professional image to your reader.
The next three images show Instagram posts for the same three books, as before, they all clearly tie into the other platforms as well as the book covers.
For the website there are GIFS and banners (again, these many vary in size depending upon your website) they key is that they represent the book and clearly show continuity between your social media channels and book.
Paying attention to these elements when building your brand as an author is really important, to be successful in what is essentially a small business takes time, but also a professional and suitable image that you present to your readers.
Completing any task which requires creativity is a dream for most of us and something daunting for others, but even the most creative people in the world have days where they have to dig a little deeper in order to find that creative genius.
So, how to do you keep it flowing every single day?
Well there are plenty of things that you can do right now to ensure that you keep your creativity flowing each day, here are our top ten ways to stay creative.
Get some sleep!
It may not be the first tip that you were expecting, but research has shown that we are far more productive, capable, and creative when we get a good night’s sleep. For most adults this should be between 7 – 9 hours (more for teenagers and less for seniors), now I’m not saying that you have to be in bed every night at 9pm, but if you want to be performing at your peak, you will need to ensure that your body and mind are both well rested.
This of course should be done at a level which is correct for yourself, but regular exercise will improve your thinking and creativity, recent studies shown a link between the two, it also leads to so many other benefits other than creativity.
Go to a gallery
Taking inspiration from others is a great way to build creativity, in some cases going to a gallery or looking at the work of others within your chosen field can give you the boost that you need. These days of course, it may be a little harder to visit a specific location, but there are always online galleries and sites to give that same inspiration. If you’re a writer, then read some of the classics, it’s so easy to download a great eBook directly to your cell phone or tablet and there is an abundance of great literature available for free.
Collaborating on a project with someone else can help you learn new techniques, give you further inspiration and regain that creativity (they’re also going to benefit from working with you too).
Listen to music
Music has a great impact on creativity, select the right songs and you’ll be surprised at how much more creative you become. If you have a subscription to services like Spotify, you’ll find dedicated playlists specifically for keeping you in a creative state.
Switch off your cellphone
For some people this is the hardest task, we are forever checking social media, emails, texts, phone calls etc. STOP, for a short moment (where safe to do so) just switch it off and have a moment without the constant interruptions.
Find some space
Now this can be different for us all, but having the right space for creativity is a very personal thing, for some, writing in a café with a coffee by your laptop is perfect, for others it has to be a quiet room with zero distractions. Given time you will have a good idea as to which environment produces the best results for you (mine is a quiet room), once you know which is best, use it!
Go for a walk
The temptation when working on a creative project is to keep going regardless, if you hit that creative wall then the best thing to do is stop. Go grab a coffee, go for a walk, a drive or simply just get out into the fresh air, a break for 30 minutes can make a massive difference.
Sometimes the best thing to do is to just create, it doesn’t have to be any good, you’re not going to show anyone (unless it’s amazing of course), but the act of taking the pressure off of yourself can kick start you back into the creative flow.
And no, you don’t have to shave your head and sit cross-legged by a stream in the Himalayan Mountains! Meditation is a powerful way of cleansing your mind and letting go of thoughts which do you no service, meditating for just 15 mins can bring you back on track and will make you feel a great deal better too. There are plenty of ways to learn, but having been on a course with Karen Denega, I can highly recommend her website for further details
If you’re self-publishing a book, you will find a great selection of print on demand services to choose from, they’ll offer varying options and services, but all of them will give you a path to getting your book in front of a reader.
From a design perspective (and by this, I mean your book cover design), each print on demand service will vary with regards to how the book cover is created, the size, margins, spine width, format and even color profile. As each service will print your book slightly differently, you will find that each option will need to be created differently too.
eBook Cover Designs
If we first look at eBook covers, they are normally always created using RGB color (as this is designed for the screen) and have resolutions from 72 ppi to 300 ppi (pixels per inch). Their difference can come in the dimensions of the image, if you look at the following covers, you’ll see that the eBook design for Kindle (KDP) is narrower than the cover for LuLu.
The dimensions vary slightly with KDP asking for their eBook covers to be 1600 x 2561 pixels, Smashwords and iBooks are both the same with 1600 x 2400 pixels working very well for their books, Nook eBook cover designs can be made to 1333 x 2000 and give a slightly wider feel to the design. However, Lulu’s eBooks are a great deal wider in their layout ratio and are currently sized at 1224 x 1584 (making the layout feel a little more like a square).
So, which ever eBook publisher you decide to use, you should be aware of the impact that their format will have upon the book cover and it’s layout, you may find certain elements within your design becoming cropped out of the image when publishing across multi formats.
The layout of your paperback will be a little more similar across the range of publishers, a book with a trim size of 6x9 via KDP will still be 6x9 when printed through Ingram Spark. However, the spine widths will differ (even with the same page count), you’ll also find that the construction of the cover (especially if you are using their templates) will be different too.
Below are three templates used by KDP, Ingram Spark and Barnes & Noble for the same book, the template for B&N being more of a guideline for constructing the book cover itself. But the main thing you should notice is how all three publishers have different spine widths for the same book, this is due to the paper stock used by each, and it will mean that if publishing through different POD services, you will need different cover PDFs for each one.
Currently, the most popular choice for indie authors to publish their book as a hard back is through Ingram Spark, they offer a wide range of trim sizes, the option for dust jacket and case laminate, they also offer the option of both, this is where the book has a dust jacket and underneath this the book has a case laminate cover.
With a case laminate book, the cover extends past the edges of the book and is wrapped back around so that these edges fold onto the inside of the back and front pages and are glued in place (they are normally covered so that you don’t see them once the book is printed).
With a dust jacket the layout is of course a great deal longer and you should take into consideration the use of the flaps (both front and back), these are normally used to add an author bio and add more detail for the blurb itself.
The only other thing to point out with using Ingram Spark (for any of their printed books), is that they place more restrictions with regards to ink levels. With off-set printing, the book cover gets printed using four plates (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black), if you were to print a page with all four of these plates at 100% output on each, then the outcome would be a completely black page and you would be printing at 400%. However, if you tried to print with much more than 240% output on all four plates the page would stay damp and end up smearing.
So, Ingram restrict the amount of ink to be used when printing their book covers to 240% max, this means that when designing the book cover, you need to reduce these levels within the PDF. This is something that most book cover designers are aware of and create designs for Ingram to these levels.
Even with their restriction on ink, Ingram’s book covers always tend to print to a very high quality and we have always been impressed by their products.
Every author is excited when they complete their first manuscript, after all, there’s been countless hours, days, weeks, months and even years that have gone into its creation, but once the excitement wanes a little, every author then needs to go back and start the process of polishing (and in some cases, being courageous when doing so).
One small step at a time.
The first read through and edit you can certainly do yourself, but don’t try to take on more that one chapter at a time, editing your own book (when done by yourself) should be done in small chunks, if you try to persevere with editing huge sections at a time, you’ll miss elements that should be adjusted and cut corners through fatigue.
Re-read and re-edit
Once you have made edits to the book, go back and re-read what you’ve just edited, and allow time between completing the edit and then reviewing it (publishing a great book is not a sprint to the finishing line, take time, your readers deserve it).
Grammar, more grammar and spelling
This is of course the first thing that every self-editing author looks for, there are software applications like Grammarly and the inbuilt software within Word that will help with fixing those obvious elements that you may have missed the first time around, reading the manuscript again will always help find them.
Does it make sense?
Question what you have read and ask yourself if it makes sense, also, does it actually add something to the book itself (or is it just unnecessary ‘padding’?). How believable are your characters? Will they connect to your readers? What about sentence structure? Is your book made up of lots of very small paragraphs or huge blocks of text? How does it read? Look for crutch words or phrases, these often repeat themselves throughout your manuscript and become annoying to the reader, it’s wise to replace them (time to break open the Thesaurus).
Get it read
Once you have edited your own book, it is highly recommended that you get someone to read it for you, and use someone whose judgement you trust, you want someone who won’t tell you what you want to hear, but give constructive feedback. Most people have friends or know other writers who would be willing to help, you may have to return the favor (but even this is a great learning curve for you too).
Add if you’re still not sure
Once you’ve edited your manuscript as much as you can, it’s time to go to a professional editor. A good editor will be able to tweak your book from something good to something great, their insight and experience is invaluable to you and your book, a professionally well edited book will give your book a great chance of success.
Book cover designers.
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