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September 2012

Book Design Questions Involving Page Size and Paper

Your book may have a smashing cover, but what about the interior text. Are there design questions here, too? You bet there are.

Page size: For economic reasons relating to the tim size of paper and printing presses, most books fall into the 5 3/16" x 8"1/4" to 6" x 9"size. Recently a range of 7" x 9" to 7" x 10" has also emerged. Think about the use for your book. If you want to include business letters or forms, 8 1/2" x 11" might be more practical. Gift books often run 6" x 4" or 6" x 4 1/2". However, if you choose to use an odd and unconventional trim size, be prepared to pay more and work closely with your printer.

A good suggestion is to visit your local bookstore and look at the trim sizes of books in your genre. This may provide you with an idea of what is acceptable.

Paper: While paper is certainly a design consideration, it also affects cover design because of the spine width, and can have great bearing on your overall printing costs. Depending on the number of pages and the quantity of books to be printed, paper costs can run from 28 to 50 percent of the total printing bill.

Paper is chosen for its weight, opaqueness and color. If you have a skinny book, use a "high bulk" paper, and the book will appear fatter. You'll pay more for the paper, but if it will make your book appear to be a better value and allows you to charge more for it, this stock may be a wise investment.

Most books (with the exception of photo books) use 50-, 55-,or 60-pound paper. Ask your printer for samples. Be aware, however, that a 60-pound paper from one printer may differ from a 60-pound paper from another.

Today virtually all papers are acid free. This means your book will till be in good shape a century from now.

So when it comes to designing your book, make sure you consider your interior pages as well as your cover. Elements such as trim size and the type of paper you choose will affect appearance, cost and ultimately saleability.

[This post was created, with permission, from excerpts taken from The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing, 5th edition, co-authored by Marilyn Ross and Sue Collier.] 

Nine Ingredients to Ensure You Finish Writing Your Book

Starting a book writing project can be a challenge. Finishing your book can be an even bigger challenge. The following nine ingredience will help you successfully meet both challenges.

1. The first ingredient in writing a book is passion. Ask youself these questions: What story do you want to tell to inspire others? What do you want others to learn? Do you feel strongly enough about your book to give up many hours each week for the next few months to make sure it gets written? If you do not feel passionately about your subject, you will probably not finish the work.

2. You must have self-discipline. It takes discipline to continually sit down at your desk and spend hours writing. Finding the creative energy when you'd rather be doing something easier and more fun is what self-discipline is all about.

3. Find time versus making time. A clear picture of your vision, of what you are trying to create and why it is important, will help you protect that time you found to write. A clear picture of your readers can be an inspiration to you when your own focus blurs.

4. Manage priorities, not time. Take a few minutes and make a list of your priorities. Then look at how you've allocated your time. Finally, look at your calendar and block out specific times in your week when you will work on each activity.

5. Learn how to deal with interruptions. No matter when and where you write, you will face interruptions. To deal with this, you need to find a way to keep your work organized. Then when the ineveitable interruptions occur, you'll be able to easily pick up where you left off.

6. Find an accountability partner. An accountability partner is someone who will support, nudge and nag you (if necessary) into completing your book. Knowing you have someone who will support you is one of the best ways to overcome writer's block.

7. Set a deadline. And once you have establish a deadline, don't keep it to yourself - tell others about it.

8. Create a list. Before you can finish your book, you must first start to work on it - that starts with creating a list. Include in your list who you are writing for? What is your theme? What are your chapters or sections? You'll discover a completed list can become a great outline for writing your book.

9. Define a set of "waypoints" to follow. Waypoints will help you measure the progress you are making toward your destination. A goal may be your destination, but think of waypoints as markers along the path.

[This post was created, with permission, from excerpts taken from Finish Your Book, co-authored by Karen Hodges Miller and Lorette Pruden, Ph.D.]

Five Mistakes New Authors Often Make

If you are a first-time author, you may feel like a stranger in a strange land. And in the world of book publishing, you can easily make wrong turns and unnecessary blunders. The best way to avoid these author mistakes is to know in advance what they are.

Mistake #1: You mention to people you are writing a book...and they become instantly fascinated. Resist the urge to tell anyone who will listen all about your book - its content, its purpose, its potential for becoming a best seller. The mistake many new authors make is talking about their books, rather than writing them. Capture your topic in one single sentence: "My book is about..." Then, stop talking.

Mistake #2: You proudly print out your manuscript and read what you have written. The mistake many new authors make is assuming you only have to write your book once, that your first draft is your final draft. If you have showed your book to friends and family, and been showered with praise, you're good to go...right? Well, not quite.

Mistake #3: From those you have asked for input...are any of those people professional editors or subject matter experts? Have they given you constructive comments on content, organization, accuracy, grammar, punctuation, consistency, length or readability? The mistake many new authors make is failing to hire a professional editor to review their work and provide knowledgeable feedback.

Mistake #4: You are ready to publish...but are torn between sending your book to a major publishing house or using a "POD" publisher.  Do you have any idea how few unsolicted manuscripts are even looked at by big publishers? Do you know what POD publishers really do? The mistake many new authors make is not thoroughly researching publishing options in order to make an educated decision on how to publish.

Mistake #5: At last, you are holding your book in your hands. You are a published author. Now, all you need is sales. But where to start? The mistake many new authors make is waiting until their books are published to begin thinking about how to mount a successful marketing campaign

If you are becoming a first-time author, being aware of these mistakes will be your first step in avoiding them.

[This post was created, with permission, from excerpts taken from an article written by Bobbi Linkemer, a book coach, ghostwriter, editor and author of 16 books. Her clients include Fortune 100 companies, entrepreneurs and individuals. To visit her website, go to http://www.WriteANonfictionBook.com.]