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.
Are you missing an opportunity with not having an audio format of your book? The standard format of course for most books tends to be either eBook and/or printed, which is fine and serves authors well, but think of the additional audience you would be able to reach if you had it in audio too.
People listening to your book while at the gym, walking the dog, at work, on a long journey or simply just relaxing at home, the possibilities are vast and an audio version makes consuming a great book incredibly easy.
But many authors dismiss this opportunity for lots of reasons, maybe they don’t have the time or inclination to record their own book, it could be a cost restriction or simply lack of knowledge on how to even start the process.
The good news is that it’s a lot easier than you may have thought and using Audiobook Creation Exchange www.acx.com will help you from start to finish, ACX is part of Amazon so you’ll be able to publish via Amazon, Audible and even iTunes.
You have a couple of options in creating an audio version of your book, either you read it yourself or you get a narrator to do the job for you, using ACX you have the option for both and it will guide you through the process step-by-step.
If you are reading it yourself then you will need to take in to consideration some of the following:
If this sounds like too much work, then you can always use a professional narrator to do the job for you, again, this is something that ACX offers.
You will need to set up an account with ACX and prepare a 1-2 page excerpt from your book, this will get used as an audition script for potential narrators. You then post your book or invite narrators to audition, after this you’ll be able to review the auditions and select your preferred narrator.
It’s at this point that you work out the costs of the narration and make an offer to the narrator, if they accept then you have a deal and move forward with the process. They then record a small part of the book (usually 15 mins) and get back to you for approval, once you’re happy they’ll then record the full book.
Once completed, ACX distributes your audio book through Amazon, Audible and iTunes, from here you can then shout about it to your existing audience and promote like crazy.
So, there is a little more work involved but it does offer the professional author a huge opportunity to reach an audience that would have been missed otherwise, we’re seeing more and more writer’s use this format, isn’t it time you stayed ahead of the game too?
In order to create a cover design for your book you have to take in to consideration many factors and be quite subjective with yourself (as an author that is), because while you’ve been writing the book itself you may have started to form a theme for the front cover design, and (with time) become very attached to that individual idea.
But is that a bad thing? Not necessarily, many authors have great ideas already at the forefront of their minds when it comes to the design of their book cover, however, being open to other ideas and the opinions of a design team makes for a stronger concept and a cover which is designed to help sell your book too.
So, when designing a book cover you should try to remember its main purpose, which is of course grabbing the attention of your next reader, the book cover is the face of the book and ultimately advertising. When you understand that the book cover has a job to do (as well as look great) then you have an advantage during the design process.
Knowing that your book cover is advertising certainly helps to focus your mind when looking at what needs to go upon the cover. This is a fine line between hooking your reader in and not giving too much away (more so with fictional books) and then making a statement for non-fiction (for a reader who is looking to gain something through reading the book).
Putting too much upon the cover is something that appeals to many first time authors, there is an urgency to sell the book by throwing lot’s of hooks at the viewer, in the end you have a book cover which becomes confusing and/or gives too much of the story away, condensing a book down into a couple of main elements presents a more organized and enticing cover which gives a clear message and has a better chance of being picked up and bought.
To condense the themes and concept of your book you should take your synopsis and write a newer and smaller version of it, if you had to shorten it to one sentence what would it be? This can take a while to complete, but it’s worth doing, this process really helps you to understand what the main focal point of the book is and what should belong upon the book cover.
Once you know what your main focal point is you can then start playing with ideas based around this, again, don’t feel the need to over work it either, some of the most powerful book covers use simple ideas to make their points, in some cases the art work may be elaborate, but the concept is still clear and concise.
Just remember, your book cover design is advertising that should grab the attention of your viewer, it should have a clear message within it, it should not give too much away but let the viewer understand what the concept and theme of the book is.
As most authors will have heard, Createspace is about to close down several of its publishing services that it currently offers to indie authors, these are additional services such as editing, formatting and book cover design. The good news is that they are still printing books for authors and that Createspace will still be a great way for any author to publish their book.
So, what does this mean for the indie author? Well for most it’s business as usual, for many indie authors the process of editing their manuscript was something they either did themselves or used an independent service (as they tended to be better value), the same goes for formatting, with great services enabling any author to have a professional and attractive looking interior.
Book cover design with Createspace always felt rather expensive for what you actually received in return, so for many authors, using an independent book cover designer was always going to be the better option, moving forward, it is now your only option.
It’s a shame to see Createspace scaling back on the services it offers, there were always some authors who were happy to keep everything in-house with CS and for them it will require some research with their next book, but for most others the publishing process will remain just the same.
As we get in to February our client list continues to grow and we’re working upon some very exciting projects that we can’t wait to shout about once published, more and more writers are making it happen with self-publishing than ever before, this is certainly great for the world of literature as there are some absolute gems about to hit the book stores.
The route to becoming a published author is of course easier in some ways, as you can completely control the whole process yourself, you decide when to publish, how to promote, how much to charge and which formats to release the book as. You can either approach this whole process as a hobby (ie: you’re not doing it to make money but more about getting your work out there) or as a small business venture where ultimately you want to make a return on your investment (when I say investment I refer to the time and money gone into the project).
We are also finding that the level of refinement to an author’s manuscript is increasing dramatically too, with more services (both traditional and new) every author has access to the tools which were once only available to large publishing houses, your book can be edited, formatted, proofed and reviewed within a short period of time and without having to leave your own house.
This refinement is something which is driven by the increase in publishing, with your competition being so much larger than ever before you need to ensure your book stands out in the right way. Along with the increase in publishing is the power of the review, with more books being bought on-line your buyers are more willing to leave a review of the book, this of course influences other readers and helps with your ranking within the sales pages.
More authors understand this aspect of publishing and polish their books accordingly, it becomes about creating a rounded package for the book, great content which is delivered beautifully within the pages along with a professional book cover design, when you match this with promotional materials and a marketing plan you elevate a book towards success.
So, it’s a great start to February and we continue to see plenty of opportunities for every author.
Book cover designers.