Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Between the Covers

Home computers and  the internet have made it easy for the average person to have access to industries that were previously restricted to professionals: photography, accounting, and publishing to name a few. But that doesn’t make everyone experts in all these fields.
As a self-publisher, you need a team of experts—an editor, designer, printer, illustrator, marketer—to ensure you have a quality product that sells. Learn what you can from these specialists and use their services when you can’t (or shouldn’t!) do it yourself.

After your manuscript is completely edited, the next step is the layout and design of the book. Understanding the process involved in preparing your book for printing will help you envision what you want your completed book to look like. Choose specifications in the early stages of book design to prevent reworking the text multiple times.
The traditional choices of book sizes are 5 ½” x 8 ½”, 6” x 9,” or a standard letter size of 8 ½” x 11” which is especially suitable for a workbook or how-to book that contains a lot of graphics or spaces for filling in answers. Check with your printer to find the most economical size to fit your genre and your budget.
The front matter, the body, and the back matter make up the major parts of the book.
  • Front matter:  These pages appear before your actual book content and include the title page and the copyright page which every book must have. The dedication, table of contents, list of figures/tables, foreword, preface, acknowledgements, introduction, and prologue are optional. 
  • Body: The body is the story or text of the book that you’ve spent hours perfecting. Within the body, you may have simple chapter divisions or more complex part divisions, including title pages, chapter opening pages, the epilogue, an afterword, or a conclusion.
  • Back matter: The last pages in the book include notes, bibliography, index, appendices, and glossary. You may or may not have information for these pages.
Look through books at the library or a book store and take note of the elements you like, such as chapter headings, size of font, placement of page numbers, position of graphics, etc.  Keep your target audience in mind as you consider these elements of interior book design:
  • The font style and size of the text, as well as the spacing between the lines
  • The font style and size for the headings, subheadings, and chapter breaks
  • Header/footer style to determine whether you like page numbers on the top or bottom of the page
  • Graphs, photographs, or charts to illustrate concepts
  • Quotes or graphics on leading pages of a chapter
Discuss all the options with the designer who will advise you of what works and what doesn’t. Ask for a few sample pages so you can see a visual representation of the final book layout.
While your book is being designed and printed, relax and celebrate. You deserve it!

Debbie Kerr is a typesetter and proofreader specializing in interior page design. She also designs speaker sheets, postcards, and bookmarks for marketing your book.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

When to Start Marketing Your Book

One of the questions I get asked all the time is, "When do I start to market my book?" Authors oftentimes wonder if there is a time that is too soon or too late to start getting the word out about their book. Although there are no hard and fast rules to when you should start marketing your book, I suggest you consider where you are in the content development phase of your manuscript. 

Anita Paul shares tips on When to Start Marketing Your Book

Remember that everything you do, anytime and always, to get the word out about your book is marketing. Consider where you are with the development of the content of your book. By the time you get your manuscript complete and sent to your editor, it's time to start marketing your book. Even though it's not complete, even though you might not even have a book cover, this is the perfect time to start marketing your book. What does that look like?  
  • Mention your book in your electronic or print newsletter.
  • Blog about your book.
  • Post about your book on social media sites.

In each of these mediums, mention the process of producing your book. Mention some of the tips contained in your book without giving away too much. This is something many authors are afraid of. Authors sometimes say, "If I talk about my book too soon, why will people buy the book; I've given them all this free content." Well, you're not giving them the full monty in your blog posts and in your social media posts. What you're doing is teasing them. You want to tease people a bit with some of the content that you cover in your book. Also, give an overview of the book, explain what readers can expect to get out of the book, and mention who you wrote the book for. This information helps narrow your focus for when you do your full-blown marketing campaign. 

So these are just a few tips to consider when deciding when to start marketing your book and how to execute early marketing strategies. What other ideas do you have to get the word out about your book early?


Anita Paul, known as The Author's Midwife, coaches aspiring authors to write a phenomenal book and helps current authors use their existing books to leverage their business. She is the author of the-book Write Your Life: Create Your Ideal Life and The Book You've Been Wanting to Write, and is the creator of the Write Your Life program, through which she has created a dynamic system to Write Your Book in 90 Days or Less. She has owned The Write Image for 15 years, and has had her freelance articles featured in over 25 publications in the U.S. and Canada. Anita is also the host of "Book Your Success".
Facebook: Write Your Life Coaching Program
Twitter: @AnitaRPaul

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Make the Microphone Your Friend

Do you get nervous when someone puts a microphone in front of you? That’s a pretty common fear – people who are very intelligent and articulate suddenly get dry mouthed, tongue tied, and lobotomized when asked to speak on mic. But authors often need to shine in media interviews, so read on for some moral support in those interview situations.

For all of my adult life, I got paid to belly up to the microphone, turn it on, and talk. I
worked on the radio for over 30 years. Would you believe that the fear of that microphone never totally goes away?
It was March of 1977. I had been working at my first radio job for 4 months, learning how to run the control board, how to switch between programs on reel-to-reel, the network and the turntables, plus how to take the transmitter readings so the guy from the FCC would be happy if he came to inspect us.
Finally, I was about to do my first on-air radio show. Steve Smith, the afternoon DJ, had been letting me watch him work so I could learn how to run a show filled with songs, commercials, jingles, phone calls, and live breaks. He made it look sooooo easy!
He came back to the studio to sit in with me as the last song in the 11 p.m. hour was ending. It was almost midnight, and my airshift was midnight to 5 a.m. I was about to open the mic of a radio station for the first time in my life, try to say something intelligent, and then play a record.

Although Steve made it look easy, suddenly all I wanted to do was run. Panic caused my heart to beat in my ears. Panic turned my face whiter and my cheeks redder. Panic made me swivel around in the chair, legs poised and ready to push me past Steve, who was right behind me.
Panic didn’t work for Steve.
He shoved me back into the chair, spun me around, pulled the mic to my face, and turned it on as the song ended. I should have said “540 WDAK – Columbus, Georgia’s home of the hits. Here’s the Rolling Stones.”
What actually came out sounded more like “540 WDAK Columns Georgie home hits. We’ll roll the bones.”
What a great start to a radio career, huh?
It got worse before it got better. Dad still has a recording of me from that same night. About two hours into the debacle that was that radio show, I played some commercials, then a jingle, and then a song should have played, but I let dead air happen. Dead air is the worst radio sin. I thought I’d turned the mic off. I hadn’t. Out came “what am I doing here?”
If you’d been listening to WDAK that night, you would have heard a young, scared, near-tears disc jockey trying hard to get it right, and failing ... a lot!
Steve is probably still laughing at me. Not with me – at me. I gave him a lot to laugh at that night.
We all get scared by the idea of an unseen audience hearing us, judging us, and worst of all, perhaps laughing at what we say or how we sound. It’s okay to be scared, but know this, if you’re scared a lot the first time, you’ll be scared less the next time, and even less the more you do it. With practice, those icebergs of fear in the pit of your stomach will turn into little butterflies. They’ll always be there, but you’ll be more in control of them. They’ll be your reminder to do the best you can do, so people won’t be laughing at you, they’ll be laughing with you.
Practice interview sessions with your friends and family members. Use a pepper mill, wooden spoon, or something similar as your pretend microphone. Get used to handling any question that gets tossed to you. The more you do it, the better you’ll be.
And I know this for sure, it does get easier. In my 30-plus-year radio career, not only did I get more comfortable, I actually won awards for my radio shows. Your awards will look a lot like royalty checks for book sales. Don’t forget to let me know when and where you’ll be interviewed. I want to hear how well you do!


Sandy Weaver Carman is CEO of Voicework On Demand, Inc. Her specialty is audio products: audio books, audio learning courses, podcasts. She partners with writers, speakers, coaches, and trainers, taking work they've already done and turning it into a revenue river. She is the author of the award-winning The Original MBA - Succeed in Business Using Mom's Best Advice and "Create a Revenue River."


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Find Your Voice

Have you ever connected with a book right away. I mean, from page one you were on a roll with the content and the flow of the story so much that you couldn't put down the book. You were right there in the scene or you totally understood the concepts being taught or you completely connected with the main character. In fact, you probably felt so good about the book that you felt you almost knew the author personally. Yeah, I love that! 

That is what voice can do for readers. So what is voice? When it comes to writing, voice is the attitude, personality, or point of view that comes across to readers.  It's your style, rendition, or arrangement of language and description. It might also be the trait of a main character or the narrator, but it's yours as the author. Voice impacts the cadence of your book, the emotional feel you give it, and the way readers connect with the story and with the characters. Voice can also determine your word choice, the use of punctuation (or the lack thereof), character motivation and behavior, scene and dialogue development, and the unfolding of the moral or lesson of your book.

Voice allows you to establish and build a relationship with readers, because remember, it's all about the readers. For that relationship to be most successful, you first have to know who you want to build a relationship with, meaning you must know who your ideal readers are … but that's another topic for another blog post.

As a first-time author, your writing voice might not come across in your writing naturally at first; it's something that has to be developed and perfected over time with practice, editing, and rewrites. After all, you want your voice to be consistent throughout the book and to capture the interest and imagination of readers. Although your writing voice might not reflect your everyday personality, it should be authentic, meaning that it should match the tone or mood of your book's content and subject matter. Or, your voice could actually be your alter ego, that personality that only comes out every now and then when the moon is in the right orbit and … oh wait, I digress.

Consider this, if you're writing a humorous novel about a 9-year-old boy who thinks he overhears his 18-year-old sister and her rebel boyfriend plotting to elope after their high school graduation, you don't want your main character — the 9-year-old — to sound like a 50-year-old parent offering tips and advice to the would-be newlyweds. Instead, develop a mischievous voice for the book and the boy. Fill the scenes with contemporary kid attitude, throw in some technology references, maybe use some juvenile slang, and make the pace quick. Here is a 9-year-old who has to think quick in order to save his big sis from what he thinks could be the biggest mistake of her life; or maybe it's not so bad because the boyfriend DOES drive a motorcycle and he might actually let him drive it someday as his new brother-in-law. Hmmmmm, maybe this isn't such a bad idea after all!

Do you get the point? Hear the voice?

Here are some ideas to consider for the voice of your book.
  • Humorous
  • Serious
  • Instructional
  • Edgy
  • Sassy
  • Angry
  • Flippant
  • Romantic
  • Suspicious
  • Curious
Remember, let your voice come naturally. As the song says, "If it don't fit, don't force it!"

What voice do you want to guide readers through your book?


Anita Paul, known as The Author's Midwife, coaches aspiring authors to write a phenomenal book and helps current authors use their existing books to leverage their business. She is the author of the-book Write Your Life: Create Your Ideal Life and The Book You've Been Wanting to Write, and is the creator of the Write Your Life program, through which she has created a dynamic system to Write Your Book in 90 Days or Less. She has owned The Write Image for 15 years, and has had her freelance articles featured in over 25 publications in the U.S. and Canada. Anita is also the host of "Book Your Success".
Facebook: Write Your Life Coaching Program
Twitter: @AnitaRPaul