Whether you are trying to get published or reviewing someone else’s work, knowing how to edit plays a huge role in how well the content is received. If you have to edit a book, it might seem very daunting and time consuming. To make things simpler, here’s a short guide on how to do it the easy way:
Edit in Chunks
It can be very difficult to edit a book in one go. This makes it more likely for you to miss out on the errors. A good idea is to go by chapters when you are editing. You can also pay attention to other factors such as the outline of the story, scene setting, sentence structure and other factors. By editing in chunks you are more likely to pick up on any discrepancies in how the story flows.
Re-Read the Edits
Once you have made the edits, don’t be so quick to turn in the book. Take a break for half an hour and then go to the start of the document. Re-read your edits to make sure that the changes you have made, add to the story. You might be removing redundant words or making sentences brief and readable but make sure that the plot or storyline doesn’t get sidetracked when you do so.
Question the Content
When you are editing, don’t just look at the spelling and grammar. Look at the story at large and ask yourself a few questions. Don’t know what to ask? The following can be a rough questionnaire for you to use:
Get an Outsider’s Perspective
It’s a good idea to ask someone else to edit your work or re-read your edits. Many writers face difficulty in knowing what to cut out or what to keep. With an outsider’s perspective, they get a more objective outlook on the content and the mistakes in it.
Many writers have a problem with social media. Either they are using it too much or not enough. Finding the right balance is essential as it plays an important role in how you communicate with your readers/audience. To make things simpler for you, we have four simple social media tips for aspiring writers:
1. Pick the Right PlatformsYou don’t have to use all the social media platforms. Just pick the ones you are most comfortable with. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are a must whereas Instagram and Snapchat can be more optional. Twitter, in particular, can be crucial for networking, socializing and building a target market and improving interaction and awareness of your book.
2. Create a ConversationFocus on improving engagement by trying to create real conversations. Ask questions, be thoughtful and interact with your target audience in a manner that will create and instigate loyalty. Share content related to an interesting topic that can click well with your followers. Memes and puns and jokes are also a great way to create a good conversation and healthy interaction.
3. Avoid a Promotional AuraDon’t just keep talking about your work on social media. It can be very promotional and off-putting to others and might decrease interest in your work. A good idea is to follow a ratio of 80:20 in your content. At least 80% of the content you share can be related to your industry, genre, writing tips or more. Around 20% can be related to your work. This keeps a good balance and ensures you aren’t going too overboard in the start. Once you understand your target audience, you can change the ratios to suit you.
4. Good Examples of Writers on Social MediaIt is a good idea to look at different examples of writers on social media. Looking at how they interact can give you a better idea on how to interact on social media. The following are a few good examples:
While they are renowned authors who have best sellers, they are also from a time when using social media was not the norm. Over time, they have carefully curated their social media presence to garner a large array of followers.
Writer’s block happens to the best of us and it can be very frustrating to deal with. While many writers often assume that it will go away on its own, some writers have experienced weeks or even days when all their work feels insufficient. To tackle the problem, you have to consider the cause and several other factors. Some of these include:
All these scenarios and more can contribute to causing writer’s block in a person. Some writers can become absolutely miserable and start to procrastinate or refuse to write until the block disappears. However, it won’t go away on its own. The following are a few ways you can overcome writer’s block with ease.
Creating a great book cover design for your manuscript is something that every successful author has taken seriously, it’s a fact that the market place for authors has become incredibly busy, so, if you don’t try to stand out from the crowd you will find it more challenging to sell your book.
A professional book cover will help you to present the best image to your audience, but you will also need some form of advertising too. Now I’m not saying you have to spend thousands of dollars in self promotion, but you will need to put a little effort in to ensure you reach an audience.
So, what options should you be looking at with your book? Well the first and most obvious choice would be using social media, the likes of Facebook and Twitter are great places to begin with and they are free to set up. Of course the greatest investment you’re going to have to make will be with your time, the social media accounts are wonderful places to begin, but you will need to be consistent with their usage.
Getting set up with your social media channels gives you the choice in using a personal account or having a separate and more specific set of feeds which are purely for your ‘Brand’ as an author. Now this is a personal choice but most favor keeping them separate and focused on you as an author (not all of your readers will want to read about your friend’s birthdays etc).
With your social media channels created you should look at having a consistent feel across all of them, so use the same profile picture and banners. With your profile picture keep in mind your genre, if you write thrillers, would a selfi on vacation be the best option? Maybe not, try and use a profile picture which fits the image of a professional writer in your genre. The same goes for your banners, where possible have a professional one created which includes a visual reference to your current books.
With social media the key is not to just use it to sell, connect with others and engage with them, post things that interest you and that you think would be of interest to others, again, if all you do is post links to where someone can buy your book on Amazon you’ll lose followers very quickly.
Post things of interest to your readers and don’t go overboard, updating your status every five seconds is way too much but only posting once a week is way too little. It’s fair to say that most people follow lots of other feeds, so they’re used to seeing their social media pages update very quickly with lots of information, you can post five – ten times a day and still (if the posts are relevant) grow and engage your audience.
The nest step would be starting your own blog and/or website, these are so much easier to create than most authors would imagine, and we have several articles on how to do so with our own blog. Here you can have a platform to promote, inform and engage with your readers, as with social media the more you put in to it the more you’ll get out, so keep it relevant and update it consistently.
From a website comes an opportunity to build a mailing list too, for this you’ll normally need to offer something for free (such as the first couple of chapters of your up and coming book), this will be in return for the reader’s email address. From here you can build a list which you can send mail outs to, try not to go crazy with sending hundreds of emails each week, keep it to two to four a month and ensure you follow the guidelines from your mailout providing service.
Along with websites and social media you can promote your book through companies such as BookBub, here you can get a small ad for your book in front of thousands of readers, with a simple link to your book’s sales page. These services are normally quite economical to run and will give your book a boost.
Also, with Amazon you can try a give away (for the eBook version) and for four or five days give it away for free, from this you will be hoping for a boost in the rankings and a higher position (ie: easier to find) when the free offer ends.
Of course there are lots of other creative things you can do to promote your book and yourself as an author, the main thing to remember is to engage with your audience and have fun.
As an indie author there is a lot you’ll need to do in order to successfully publish your book, what’s more you are on your own while doing it. But there are some great resources available to you which can help in the process.
We have put together some of our favorite sites to help any Indie author with their book.
Editing your Book
Scribendi are an Editing and proofreading service which have been helping authors since 1977, they offer services from Proofreading to manuscript critiquing and also formatting for eBooks.
NY Book editors have edited books for some of the biggest authors in publishing. James Patterson, Paulo Celho and even Stephen King have had books edited by them.
Edit 911 Provide book editing services to a very high level along with evaluating the content, they can also help with query letters to agents and publishers, resources to attain an agent and writing a press release.
Novel Gazing, apart from having a great name they offer proofreading, full editing and critiquing of your manuscript. Their rates are very reasonable and offer a free sample edit of your book too.
Formatting your book
Fast Fingers offer a lot for the author, here you can get your book formatted and also set up marketing and an author’s website. Their formatting services cover novels, nonfiction and children’s books.
Polgarus are great value and quality formatters, they will take your existing manuscript (normally Word documents or Pages) and create a PDF for print and/or the EPUB and MOBI files for your eBook. They have a quick turnaround time and can be expedited (if needed).
Press Books is a do-it-yourself service where you use one of their templates to format your book with, the service works for both eBook and printed books alike with an option for both services or just eBook format.
Bookbaby does offer a great deal of services other than just publishing and also distributes to Amazon (although you could go directly to them yourself).
KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing), if you’re going to publish your book as an eBook (and why wouldn’t you), then the obvious first stop would be KDP, part of Amazon you can set up an account for free and publish your book quite quickly.
Createspace, again, another Amazon owned company, but this time for your printed books, you don’t have to order in large volumes and setting up is free and easy.
IngramSpark, their service offers great distribution along with the option to print your book in hardback as well as paperback and eBook. The services does require some upfront costs though.
Marketing your book
Book Fuel is an online video course which takes you step by step through not only marketing but publishing and planning your book launch, it covers a great deal for the author and is great value for money too.
The Chiltern Method, another online video course aimed very specifically at non-fiction, this course has a great track record and helped many nonfiction authors achieve success.
FSB Associates specialize in book marketing for authors, creating online visibility for your book along with designing websites and your social media strategy.
Author House, offering a whole host of services to promote your book from book signings to cinema advertising, this company provides a great deal of options for any author.
Online communities for authors
KBoards is an online community dedicated to kindle authors and eBooks, it’s one of the biggest forums specifically for eBook authors and has many helpful discussions.
ALLi (Alliance of Independent Authors) is a well-respected community and offers a great deal of advice to any author, it also has seminars and events for its members.
Goodreads is a very large site aimed at authors and those who love to read, it’s been around since 2007 and allows you to promote your book and interact with your readers too.
There are many different web hosting companies to choose from today. Your decision should not be based on the first or cheapest host provider you come across. The company you choose is going to have a massive impact on the performance of your blog and, consequently, your search engine ranking. You need a host that has an excellent reputation, a high level of guaranteed uptime, and exceptional customer service. With that being said, read on to discover more about some of the best hosting companies for bloggers specifically.
What should you look for when choosing a hosting company?
Before we can begin to look at the best hosting companies for bloggers, we need to establish the important ingredients when choosing a host provider. There are three critical elements you need to look out for, and these are as follows:
The best web hosting providers for bloggers
Now that you are aware of the important factors to consider when looking for a web hosting company, let’s take a look at some of the best companies that tick these three boxes.
Hopefully, you now have a better understanding regarding the best hosting companies out there for bloggers. With many different options available to bloggers today, it can be difficult to know where to start. The last thing you want to do is waste your money on a hosting provider that actually harms your blog’s reputation through continual issues with their servers. If you opt for one of the hosting companies that have been mentioned above, you can be certain that this will not be the case.
Today’s guest post comes from our friends at UK Web Host Review.
Having some sort of presence online as an author is essential if you want to connect to a larger audience, and you do have some choice, you most probably have social media feeds (Twitter & Facebook still being the most popular), but do you have a website and/or a blog?
For most of the big-name authors the common option is for a website alone (well, with social media too), having a large audience they know people are looking for them on line already, this means having a site which they or their publishing house updates with news every now and then works just fine.
But for the indie author who is in the process of growing their audience you’ll need something which is more current and far more engaging.
Now you could set up a website which includes the option to have a blog within it, and for many this works very well, there are certainly plenty of platforms to get you up and running with an author’s website very quickly, they tend to have templates which you build your site around and have become very easy to use.
The other option is to just go with a blog, again, like the ‘build-your-own’ website services these too are incredibly easy to use and very cost effective. The most common choice for setting up a blog is using Wordpress, I know there are many other services out there too, but Wordpress are the largest and currently have thousands of new blogs being set up each and every day (this may not sound that important, but when a service is used so heavily it means they know what they’re doing and also there’s a great deal of advice out there should YOU need it).
The first thing to understand is that there are two types of blog with WP, the first is WordPress.org and the second is WordPress.com , for the .org version you’ll need to download software from WP to create your blog and with the .com version you create your blog from their online website alone.
For many the .com version is a better fit and you can create your blog directly from WP’s own website, you can use one of their domain names for free or purchase something more specific , it also comes with free hosting (although it does limit your blog to 3GB of space, so keep the images you upload small over time).
However, for more freedom, WP’s chargeable services make more sense (you won’t have wordpress within address of your blog for a start, and you won’t get their advertising either). Their prices currently start from $4 per month for the Personal plan, this gives you the custom domain name, further support, free themes, 6GB storage and removal of their ads.
The next plan they offer is the Premium, this is $8 per month and gives more advanced tools, you still get the custom domain name & additional support, you will also get unlimited free themes, advanced design customization, 13GB of storage and be able to monetize your site.
After this is the Business plan at $25 per month, offering everything from the Premium plan but with the additions of Unlimited storage, SEO tools, access to live courses, upload themes, Google Analytics integration and removal of any WP branding completely.
For those who want to simply write an engaging blog then the Personal plan works very well (and as you grow you could always upgrade your plan at a later date).
Once you have set up your blog the key thing is to keep using it, I know of people who have written a blog every single day for the past ten years, using it more of an online journal for their thoughts. This may not work for every author, but having a regular schedule for writing will make the blog more current, even if it’s just once a week (people want to see that your blog in use and that the last time you posted wasn’t a year ago).
Keeping your blog up to date is important but so is creating content that your readers find interesting, useful and engaging, so write about subjects that genuinely interest you, I know that ultimately you are using the blog to help promote your book and career as an author, however, if your blog is just one big advert you will struggle to find readers, remember to keep your reader in mind.
Promoting your new book to an audience seems like a daunting task to so many authors, where do you start and how much will it cost? Well, if you’re publishing through KDP then advertising upon Amazon’s own website may be the option you’re looking for.
With Amazon Marketing Services you can run a Pay Per Click (PPC) campaign where your ad is displayed upon search pages for relevant other titles, the ads are normally highlighted as being sponsored but because the product / book cover images are displayed in a similar fashion it looks more natural than a great deal of advertising.
With PPC advertising you set a daily budget (from $1 to $100, dependent upon the type of ad you choose) and only get charged when a person actually clicks on the ad itself, the views of your ad don’t by themselves incur a fee(just when they’re clicked upon). Once your ad is live they will let you increase the daily spending, so starting lower whilst monitoring it you can adjust it upward as needed.
With Amazon Marketing it allows you to target your readers by keywords, interest, genre, titles or authors, you can run a continuous backlist to promote to new readers looking to purchase your other books. Promoting your books along with similar titles and authors will help increase interest and sales, you can also promote your new releases in order to push sales as soon as the new title is actually published.
You will need an account with Amazon Marketing and the ad itself will have to go through a vetting process prior to launch, during this they’ll ensure that the ad is appropriate, available in English, has the book’s title and author name, has good quality images, is readable, free of typos and conforms to their full book ads acceptance policy (more of this can be found from their website).
Currently Amazon Marketing is only available to KDP authors, now this may seem a little restrictive, but with Amazon being the major book seller online, it should still help millions of authors who want to promote their book to a wider audience, this combined with reasonable costs should allow you to trial your initial ad over a two month period and tweak for best results.
Your can find out more via Amazon Marketing Services
The back page of your book is the next thing your buyer will see after picking it up from the shelf, so having a blurb which sells is just as important as having a great book cover design.
So here are SEVEN elements you should consider before writing your non-fiction Blurb.
1 - Remember that the copy for the back page does have a job to perform, as mentioned before, this is to sell your book, if you can keep this in mind you should be able to create content which uses this limited space wisely.
2 - Don’t try to write War & Peace, you have a limited space and filling it with 400 words plus will put the reader off, you should also consider the trim size of your book, if it’s only 5x8” then your surface area will naturally be smaller too (remember you will have margins to keep text within and also a barcode).
3 – Also with space, you have the size of your font, most publishers and designers will tell you that the lowest size you should go with is 12pts (any smaller than this and the text becomes very hard to read). Along with the font size is the font style, it is always best to play it safe and stick to something a little more basic (either serif or sans-serif), having an elaborate font will work well for your title and sub-title, but using it for your blurb will make it very off putting to your reader.
4- Your copy for the back page has to inform the reader what the book is about and why they should buy it, this breaks your copy into several sections.
Firstly – What is the book about?
A short description of the book’s theme and contents, telling the reader the subject matter.
Second – Why should they buy it & What they will gain by buying and reading it?
Detailing the benefits that this book will bring within a statement along with listing the key elements using bullet points, the use of bullet points helps to very quickly catch the eye and attention of your reader.
Third – Does anyone (with relevance) recommend it?
This will be quotes from respected people within the field of your chosen subject, ensure that they are relevant (any quotes from an unknown or dubious sources can have negative effects).
Forth – What qualifies the author to have written it?
Your reader will expect to be shown why you wrote this book and why you are qualified to do so, if the book is on brain surgery and then you would expect the author to be a brain surgeon, the same goes for every other field.
Fifth – Who is the author?
This should give a little more detail on the personal side of the author, people buy from people they like, so this gives you a small space to show the human side of the author (again, keep it short and succinct).
5 – These five elements make a good layout to follow, but of course they can be juggled about a little, you can certainly move the quotes to the top of the page, in some cases where you have more than one quote it’s good to have one at the top and another halfway down.
6 – When you are using a profile image for the back page (and we would recommend doing so), make sure the image is professional and of a good quality, taking a selfie from the back of your cell phone may be fine for Facebook but not for your book cover, again, keep in mind that the back of your book is a sales page too.
7 – Give further details of how your readers can keep up with what you are doing as an author, you can add Facebook, Twitter and website details to the bottom of the cover, just make sure these pages and sites represent you well as an author and your brand.
A book cover design is more than just the binding and protection for your book, the cover design becomes the ‘face’ and advertising for the work, and this is something that every author should consider prior to publication. However, sometimes there is a strong desire to design your book cover with too many elements or a greater focus on a detail which is very personal, this could be something which you alone understand or appreciate and runs the risk of being lost upon the viewer.
Creating a design is a fine balancing act of knowing what to put in and (just as importantly) what to leave out, stripping the elements of your book back to their bare bones is a great place to start and will of course help with preparing your synopsis. For this you do need to look at your book with a fresh pair of eyes (and this really is easier said than done), but stepping back and looking at your book in an objective manner will help bring in to focus the primary elements of the book itself.
The objective is at first to have a clear understanding of its overall theme and message, being able to boil this down into one paragraph which clearly relays this to the reader will enable a more effective book cover design to be created.
So, start by writing your synopsis and then look at how much you’ve written, is it five hundred words? If so, then you need to start condensing it down, keep going until you can get it down to a couple of paragraphs, this should start to reveal what the key message for your book is. Please note, if your book cover needs to include characters within the design then you can add those details later, the key is in first finding out what the main focal point of the book is.
In some cases you can strip the book down to a line of text, for example: ‘The re-found love between a man and woman in later years, a story of hope, love and forgiveness’. From this short line you have an understanding of the theme and focal point of this book.
Once you understand this first you can then start to work upon the rest of the cover, from here you take this brief synopsis and flesh back out again, but only with relevant details. So, knowing that the book was about a re-found love between a man and woman you may need to get details of their description, location and era (if you wanted to add the characters to the book cover). Or, you could look at metaphors to represent the theme of the book instead, having stripped it down to the short paragraph you’ll find it easier to design to what is important.
In designing your book cover, remember to condense it down to truly understand those key focal points of the book and then flesh back out (don’t go too far) and only use relevant details.
Book cover designers.