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September 2011

How Good Is Your Book After It Has Been Purchased?

By guest author Karrie Ross.

Once your book is purchased, the key to its success will be how well it can hold your reader's attention. Certainly good content has a lot to do with it. Good editing and proofing as well. But the real reading of a book is done from the book typography that is set; how well it is designed, formatted, sized and styled to hold readers' attention; how it is so compelling that they will not want to put your book down before they turn yet one more page.

The typeface you select for your book is of great importance, for it is what your book designer (perhaps you) has to work with to present a compelling atmosphere of your book's interior. Some designers believe that each book needs a different typeface to represent the "feeling" of a book, while others feel that if an author finds a book typeface they like, they should stick with it in all of the books they write - something the Harry Potter books did.

We have been "taught" through exposure, to feel comfortable with reading a typeface with "little feet" otherwise know as serifs. Typefaces such as Times Roman and Garamond are know as serif faces, and when used for a book's interior text, it will give a reader an easy read. Typefaces such as Ariel and Futura are know as sans-serif (without little feet), and are best used for heads, subheads, charts and graphs.

Although I've seen several books using a sans-serif for the body text, the use of a particular typeface is to be considered a matter of author's preference.

Here's an important tip. Prior to finalizing your book, be sure to print out a page or two to be sure, as you read, you feel the words talking to you as they and you move sentence by sentence into paragraphs, and that the pages pass like time does when you're having fun.

Remember, when you are designing your book, think about before and after the sale. You'll realize that the interior of your book is just as important as your cover. In fact, in order to keep your reader's interest and attention, it just might be the most important.

[Karrie Ross is a nationally recognized book design consultant and coach. She can be contacted at www.bookcoverdesigner.com.]

Promoting Your Book - When to Start and What to Do

By guest author Robbi Hess.

It's never too early to start promoting your book - even if you haven't completed writing it. True, you might not be able to hold up a copy of your book and say, "buy me" but there are a number of book promotional activities you can do to begin creating some buzz. Here are a few things you might like to consider.

  • Regardless of the topic on which you are writing, there is likely one or more organizations or trade groups that would be interested. For example, if your book is about writing, get yourself lined up to speak at writer conferences. If you book is business oriented, contact professional organizations and Chambers of Commerce to offer speaking events.
  • You should also be a member of a trade group where you have access to an audience of your peers - individuals who would likely welcome the knowledge your book has to offer.
  • Create a blog. Write about your book. Offer a free download (top ten tips, for example) in order to get people to sign up on your website for updates on your book.
  • Use social media. Utilize Facebook, Twitter and even LinkedIn if you want to build a following and spread the word about your book. If you're looking for a publisher, they will want to know who your audience is and what you've done - and plan to do - to promote your book and create sales when your book is launched.

So, before you've finished your book, get out there and start promoting it. If your book is almost completed, then tease your audience with something like, "I have a book coming out soon. To learn more, sign up for my newsletter, and you'll be the first to know when it is released."  Yes, you should have a newsletter too.

Embrace the opportunity to interact with your potential book buyers, even before your book is published. Invite their comments. Gather their email addresses wherever you interact with them. And above all, enjoy the pre-publication ride. If you do, you'll be well prepared for promoting the actual product once it's completed.

[Robbi Hess, a published author, provides editorial and writing assistance, and platform building tools to writers and authors. Her website is www.robbihess.com.]

I'm Writing a Book for Resale. Should It Be Hard Cover or Soft Cover?

This is an interesting and important question. But first, a bit of history.

Traditionally, the first issue of a book would be in hard cover book with a dust jacket. Early purchasers bought this edition. A year or so after the first release, the book would then be reissued as a soft cover, perfect bound book. Most people would buy this release. If the book sold well, a couple of years later it might be reissued again in a made-for-mass-market, smaller sized paperback edition for sale in supermarkets and drugstores. Budget-conscious people would buy this edition. The thinking here was that earlier releases would not rob sales of future releases because each sold to different buying groups. After 1980, there was a "paperback revolution." As a result, the majority of printed books were then being issued in soft cover.

So, should your book be produced in a hard or soft cover?

Today, most smaller publishing houses and self-publishers produce the majority of their printed books as soft cover books to (1) keep costs down and (2) achieve maximum distribution. However, if your goal is to use your book as an introduction to your work, you may want to consider hard cover. With today's digital printing and short run capabilities, you might also want to consider a split run - producing some books with a soft cover and others in hard cover. It was not too long ago that split runs were considered cost prohibitive.

When choosing the type of binding for your book, remember this important rule: "Respect the category." Your book should look like the rest of the books on its shelf. So visit a local bookstore. If other books in your genre are hard cover, yours should be also. Otherwise, it will not appear to fit in that section.

If you have decided to make your book a hard cover book, you have another decision to make. Should your book have a dust jacket or just a printed cover wrap? Dust jackets will add cost to your book's production, but there are a couple of advantages. Hard cover books with dust jackets have a higher perceived value and can carry a higher price. Jackets also provide additional print space to have a synopsis of the book on the inside front flap and a biography and photo of the author on the inside back flap.

The choice of book binding is totally up to you, but the above guidelines may prove helpful in your decision.

[Portions of this post were taken, with permission, from "Writing Nonfiction" by Dan Poynter.]