~Guidelines for pricing



 Negotiate with one indexer at a time. They usually charge by the project, not the hour. This takes the form of page rates, but it can also be based on the number of entries in the index or the number of lines. Balance the expertise you need, the price you’re willing to pay, and the immediacy of when you need it. If a prospect doesn't ask questions about the book’s topic, then find one who does.


Type of book                           Entries per page                      Pages/Hour                  Page rates

Academic / Scholarly              7-10                                         7                                  $4.00 - $6.00

Textbooks                               7-10                                         9                                  $3.50 - $5.50

Trade books (Light)                3-5                                           10                                $3.00 - $4.00

Trade books (Dense)               6-19                                         7                                  $3.50 - $6.00

Technical / Business                7-12                                         7                                  $3.50 - $6.00


The greater the quantity and difficulty of the text are, the more you will pay.


When counting pages that need to be indexed, leave out those that the indexer can ignore, but include all pages that have text or illustrations, even if it's only one line of text under a picture. These easy pages balance out with the dense ones.


Sign a letter of agreement about the price and payment method. Copyright is vested in the creator of the work, and transfer of the ownership of the index isn't complete until payment is made.


Expect to pay extra if you need any special indices in addition to a general subject index. While not intellectually difficult, these are time-consuming indices to write. Bibliographies and references are often full of unresolved differences in spellings. A textbook or scholarly book cites thousands of authors, and these require a huge effort from the indexer to find and include.



Information the indexer needs


Your indexer needs to know your preferences on 


·         alphabetization

·         format

·         subentry arrangement

·         number of entries

·         number of sub-levels

·         cross-reference format

·         punctuation

·         capitalization

·         scope


He also needs to know


·         the type size of your book

·         the trim size

·         the number and type of indices needed

·         space constraints for the index

·         the nature of the text 

·         if illustrations will be indexed

·         if captions will be indexed

·         if you want an index for authors cited


Send the indexer your copyeditor's style sheet to promote consistency.


You need an ebook index too


Ebook indexing is not the same as print book indexing. An ebook index is hyperlinked. The A-Z list of linked letters saves the reader time. Click on a letter, and the link will take you to that section of the index where the headings all start with that particular letter.


Navigation is further enhanced by an icon on each page of the index (a capital A at the top right on the iPad) that takes you back to the start, where you can click on another letter. This way of navigating is preferable to scrolling back and forth through the index’s pages. All of the "See" and "See also" cross-references are linked too, so they instantly take you to other term(s) you can look at. And of course, all of the index entries and subentries are linked to passages in the text.


Place this note at the top of your Contents page:


NOTE: This ebook contains an index. To go to the index PLEASE CLICK HERE. To see a particular section of the index, use the alphabet letter links below. To access these links while reading the text, use the table of contents icon to return to this note. 


            A B C D E F G H I K L M N O P R S T U V W X Y Z


The guide letters should be the initial letters found in your index. If there are no “J” or “Q” entries, then do not list those letters in the alphabet letter links (see the above). Ebook devices have an icon on the frame of the screen that when clicked takes the reader to the table of contents. There is no icon that takes the reader directly from the text to the index.


Because the size of screens are so small, an ebook for a 150-page print book can have over a thousand “virtual” ebook pages (or as Kindle calls them, “locations”). Whether the reader is reading the text or using the index to your ebook, the links provided in this note at the top of your table of contents will quickly take the reader to the exact section of the index where the word or phrase they want to look up is located.


Your ebook index should have only one column since ebook reading devices have small screens.


Ebooks let the reader adjust the size of the font on the pages of the book. Changing the font size, however, changes the virtual “page”, the particular screen on which a topic listed in the index will be found in the text. Even if your ebook formatter specifies a default font for your index, Kindle will over-ride it. Apple will use your default font, but both Kindle and “.epub” books let the reader change fonts and font sizes at will. This means that the index you create for your ebook won’t be the same one your book’s readers may be seeing when they use it. You will never know where the list of subheadings will start to flow over onto the next page.


Keep headings simple and subheadings concise. Because the font size can be changed at will, and on some devices enlarged so big that only a single letter will appear on the device screen, you want to keep things as compact in the index as you can. If a heading or subheading is very long or contains a lot of big words, an ebook device may “wrap” it using a very odd-looking break in the word at the end of the line.


Don’t bother with “continued” headings. When a main heading has a lot of subheadings, sometimes the subheadings run onto the next page. When this happens, indexers will repeat the heading at the top of the new page followed by Continued. This way the reader will know what topic the run-over subheadings refer to. But eBooks do not have pages nor a standard font-size.


Use cross-references in your index. Ebook formatters can make links right to a particular part of the index, e.g. main entries beginning with the letter “M”. They can also make hyperlinks for a "See" cross-reference from a term not used in the index to one that is used in the index, e.g., Dogs, See Canines.


Make sure that "See also" cross-references are used whenever they are needed for the index. "See also" cross-references suggest other topics worthy of a look by way of a hyperlink. Multiple “See” or “See also” cross-references should be separated with a semicolon so that the link creator can correctly link them. For example, under this main heading,



See also Chihuahua; Great Danes; Shih Tzu; Yorkshire Terriers





Evaluating it


Once you get the index back from the indexer, check it for accuracy and completeness. Does it seem comprehensive? Are the important topics covered adequately? Ask for the statistics, such as the number of entries or locators per page. If he doesn’t have this, count the number of index lines. The ratio of lines to indexable pages should range from 2 (light) to 10 (heavy).


Check the accuracy of the locators with a sampling. Look in the index for a page number under a topic. Go to that page and make sure that topic is mentioned there. You can do this in reverse as well. Notice important information in the text and go to the index to see if that information is referenced. Is it where you first looked? Is it in another location? Is it not there at all? Different people approach the text in different ways and this is what you paid the indexer to cover.


Check for spelling and grammatical errors.


Check for orphan subheadings, a single subheading in an index under a main heading. Delete these by moving the subheading up and modifying the main heading. Conversely, check for a long string of undifferentiated page references. Seven page references is the limit before it's necessary to break these down into subheadings.


Imposed space limitations can cause problems. Consider this when assessing the index.


If you don't give a length limit but later have to cut material from the index, give the indexer a call. Compensation is up to the indexer, but it's a courtesy to ask his opinion on cuts.



The book’s cover and layout


Finding a designer


If you hire a designer, you may want to use the same person for both the cover and the interior layout. Or you may want to have a flashy, expensive cover done by one designer and a standard interior design done by a less expensive one. The decision comes down to talent, money and the kind of book you want.


·         Ask for referrals


In your social-media accounts, ask for referrals. Also ask the authors of books with covers that you like. Most authors are happy to give referrals because the designer will then work harder on the author’s next project.


·         Visit local art schools


This is an inexpensive way to find a high-quality designer.



·         Websites for finding a designer (cover or layout)

o   www.creativehotlist.com

o   http://my.aiga.org/vango/custom/directory.aspx (from the www.aiga.org website)

o   www.designfirms.org

o   www.theispot.com  

o   www.commarts.com 

o   www.Project4Hire.com

o   www.writer.ly/home

o   www.rayfowler.org/digital-services - a highly regarded designer for interior layout

o   https://52novels.com - a highly regarded designer for interior layout

o   www.smashwords.com/list - a list put together by Mark Coker, CEO of Smashwords

o   and general freelance websites


Look at the prospects’ own websites


Once you have six prospects that you like, see if they have their own websites; even students have their work online these days. See as much of each artist's work as possible to make sure his style suits you. You might spot a single illustration or photograph that looks perfect before realizing that that piece was the exception to a style.


Questions for interviewing one


·         Do you do both page layout and design, or do you just specialize in one area?

·         What book interiors have you done using Adobe InDesign?

·         Are you willing to make multiple versions of the page design and/or cover and then make changes as I fine-tune the design?


Setting a fair price


The cost of hiring a designer can be anywhere from $500 to several thousand dollars, depending on experience and the time needed for your book's layout and/or cover. If she needs to acquire artwork, such as photographs or illustrations, be prepared to pay separately for these extras.


Ways to save money:


·         Look for a designer who is interested in the ideas and aims of your project.

·         Go with an individual designer as opposed to a graphic design firm.

·         Negotiate a flat-rate for the project instead of an hourly rate.

·         Offer a student $250. Some will even do it for free in exchange for getting published.


Information the designer needs


·         your contact information

·         the software format that it should be in for its transfer to the print-on-demand company



For your cover and spine


·         a detailed description of the book and its audience

·         the title and subtitle (if applicable)

·         your name

·         a rough sketch of what you want the covers to look like with as many specifics as possible

·         any graphics you've acquired for it, such as photographs, illustrations, or clip art

·         whether you're publishing a hardcover, trade paperback, or mass-market paperback

·         existing book covers that you may want the designer to replicate

·         the title’s placement, size, color and overall appearance

·         number of colors to be used on the book's front and back cover

·         desired paper stock for the cover

·         desired trim size (the dimensions of your book)

·         desired binding

·         a very important blurb if space allows

·         the publisher’s name (either your own start-up firm or the print-on-demand company)


To keep more money in your pocket, go with a trade paperback in standard trim size (5.5" by 8.5") with “perfect binding,” which uses glue to attach the pages to the book's cover.


For the interior


·         the book's length (the total number of pages)

·         desired paper stock and color

·         ink color

·         how you want color used

·         guidance about fonts and typestyle you want used

·         details about how you want artwork, graphics, and other visual elements to be incorporated

·         your preferences about the layout of the front and back matter

·         your preference regarding running heads

·         the type of binding desired

·         whether the book contains an insert, such as a CD, DVD, or CD-ROM

·         whether you've acquired your own ISBN, bar code, and copyright

·         other details of how you want the interior to look


For your back cover


·         sales data: the barcode, ISBN, price, and publisher information

·         Book description: This must convey everything that a potential reader may want and need in order to decide whether to buy your book. In one or two paragraphs, explain the book and why it is unique. To save space, use a bulleted list when describing key features or content.


·         Information about the author and a photo: An About the Author section is optional, but it can establish credibility with the reader by showing your primary qualifications, credentials, or educational background. If you have a website, mention it here. You may also want to include a small publicity photograph, a head shot. A great author photo can sell books.


·         The BISAC Subject and Audience codes: The Book Industry Standards and Communications codes help booksellers and libraries categorize and display a book in the appropriate section.


·         Reviews, quotes, and blurbs: Proudly display one or two excerpts of positive reviews of your book, if possible. These quotes enhance your credibility and show the potential reader that your book has already received praise from others.



Your book’s cover


A cover technically includes the front cover, spine, and back cover. If you are doing a hardcover book, you'll need a dust jacket that has a front flap and a back flap. The spine width is dependent on the number of pages in your book, so you won't know how wide to make your spine until you know the length of your book.


If you make a cover with a design, make it great or not at all. If it's not fabulous, your book will look amateurish. If you know someone who can do a great job, go for it. Your main title should be big enough on the front cover so it can be seen and easily read from up to six feet away.


Produce two versions of your cover: one that is simplified to work in the postage-size context for both your ebook and your printed book’s online thumbnail image, and one for your actual printed book. You want the smaller image to stick out. Standing out on a web screen full of other covers requires big type (60 points or more), simple graphics, and bright, high-contrast colors.


The spine


Technically, the spine is part of the cover. The title is the most important thing to display on the spine, in the largest possible type and font. Also display your name and the publishing company, which can be in a much smaller type size. The font color and spine color should stand out to capture the attention of a casual browser. Even thin spines can have visual pizzazz, through color and typeface.


Go to any bookstore, stand in front of the section where your book would be displayed, and examine the spines of competing titles. Which ones capture your attention and why?


See award-winning covers


See AIGA’s website (www.aiga.org), the organization for graphic designers, and look up the 50 Books/50 Covers Award for the year. Also see The Book Cover Archive (http://bookcoverarchive.com), which shows great covers, discusses all things about book design, and leads you to top designers' websites. Cover designers usually have their names printed on the back of a book, on the back flap, or on the copyright page. Find some covers that you like and show these to the designers that you interview. Their style may not match the style of that cover.


Crowdsource your cover


Get others’ input. Form your own focus group of 10 to 20 people. Get feedback from strangers and managers at bookstores, as well as librarians. They need to fit your book's target audience. Ask what they think about your title and cover design, what the book might be about, and who it might target. Also ask other graphic designers who can give you feedback in design-speak.


Hold a design competition


Crowdsourced design competitions are like a request for proposals, or a pitch or bidding process. Applicants perform speculative work, or work "on spec;" they work on a design to near or full completion and submit their design in response to an open call. Someone gets the job or their work gets picked, and they receive some kind of consideration for their efforts. In addition to giving you a lot of creative possibilities, the crowd gains exposure to your book and can promote it to their social media connections.


Sites for hosting your competition:


·         www.crowdspring.com - (The average CrowdSpring project gets over 110 entries.)

·         www.guerra-creativa.com/en

·         www.squadhelp.com

·         www.zooppa.com

·         www.99designs.com

·         www.logoarena.com



Interior layout


Having a designer do it


Ideally your designer should use Adobe InDesign to do this.


If you need to, you can leave notes within the manuscript for the designer, such as formatting instructions and where you want the placement of headings, subheads, sidebars, photos, illustrations, and other elements. For example, you can add the line <BEGIN SIDEBAR> and <END SIDEBAR> to tell the designer where a sidebar begins and ends. For a level-one heading (the biggest heading you use), you can use the code [H1] followed by the heading.


Leave time for the designer to go revise the book based on your comments and new ideas. Be specific about what you don't like. You're paying for this. Show the designer’s work to others to get feedback. Your files, now called galleys, should be in an .indd file (InDesign) and a .pdf file. Each page hopefully appears exactly how you want it to be when printed.




Laying out the book yourself


To lay out your pages yourself, you will need Adobe InDesign. You can subscribe for $19.99 per month with a one-year minimum or $29.99 per month with no minimum. You can subscribe for a month, use it to create your book, and then cancel your subscription at month’s end. Even with zero InDesign knowledge, you should be able to convert your book in a month. For tutorials, see www.youtube.com/results?search_query=InDesign+tutorial .


Think of InDesign as a hub, not a destination. You import your Word file and then export various formats to your print-on-demand company and ebook resellers, such as a .mobi file (Kindle), an .epub file (iBookstore, Nook, Google Play, Kobo), a print-ready .pdf (Lightning Source and CreateSpace), and an interactive .pdf for direct sale and distribution. You will need to create an InDesign file that is customized for each format since each format handles a few things differently, such as the optimal image size, bullet styles, covers, metadata, and table of contents.


For the .mobi file, you’ll need this plug-in (www.amazon.com/gp/feature.HTML?ie=UTF8&docId=1000765271). Technically speaking, Amazon’s new Kindle uses the .kf8 file format, and their old ones use the .azw format, but both are based on the .mobi file and have their own DRM formatting. Just upload .mobi files unless a newer Amazon plug-in offers .kf8 and .azw.


A comparison of ebook formats: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_ebook_formats


Importing from MS Word


Before you import your manuscript, accept all changes in Word and turn off “track changes.”


Create a new InDesign document with the page dimensions of your print book or .pdf. This is your trim size. The traditional book size is 6 1/8” x 9 ¼.” If you are only making an ebook, use the default document size of 8 ½” x 11.”


Click “Place” from InDesign’s File menu to import your manuscript, and click in the top left of the page margins while holding Shift. This places the Word document and automatically inserts as many pages as needed.


When you import the document, you'll see InDesign's paragraph styles panel. If the panel isn't open, go to the Window menu. Confirm that it contains all of the styles you used in Word. Some might not look exactly the same, but that's okay because you can fix that the same way you make changes to styles in Word. You can then use these styles to define your table of contents.


Before you set up your table of contents in InDesign, your document must be formatted with paragraph styles. InDesign reads your document, finds these styles, and uses them to make the table of contents. Define which styles will be used by selecting Layout > Table of Contents Styles. Section title is level one, and chapter title is level two. If you don't have sections, your chapter titles will be level one. 


With InDesign, you have to do this style stuff only once. In its paragraph-style fly-out menu, you can select "Load Paragraph Styles" and select an InDesign document that has your entire style sheet pre-prepared. When you load the styles from that document, it will automatically apply them in the new document.


The Kindle plug-in will automatically make and insert the necessary pages for a .mobi file’s table of contents. An .epub file requires you to manually create a hyperlinked table of contents or define a separate table of contents document in the export. Your .pdf documents will also need a manually created table of contents as well as additional front matter like a cover, which will be part of the .epub and .mobi metadata. So, create your .pdf layout, copy the document, and then delete necessary pages for the .epub file. Then copy the .epub file and delete the table of contents for the .mobi file. This will make sense once you get into InDesign.


Importing Word documents gets messy when you include tables, bulleted and numbered lists, footnotes, tables, hyperlinks, pictures, other graphics, and their captions.


·         For tables, if you are making an ebook, convert them to images first.

·         For images, after you import your manuscript, replace each image placed by Word with one that is linked to the export format (use the "Place" command in InDesign's File menu). Also with images, avoid special characters in the file names, such as !, @, #, &, %, and $.


·         For URLs, the "#" symbol causes errors. Convert these links to bit.ly URLs or those from another link-shortening service before importing the manuscript. Or, set up redirect links that point to the target URLs so that if a website changes or you find a better source, you can change the redirect link instead of having to release a new book.


·         For numbered lists, nonfiction books often have ones that are interrupted by a figure or caption. In Word, you can right-click a number and select "Continue Numbering" or "Restart Numbering." But when this is translated into .epub or HTML, the numbering restarts after each change in the style.


To fix this, unzip your .epub file and manually edit the HTML so that the <ol> HTML tags don't restart. Once you fix the numbering, you can repackage the .epub with ePub Zip. Or you can convert your numbered lists to text when you export. This will prevent your lists from restarting. However, when the list is on ebook devices, the tabs will be misaligned because the number indicating the list item is part of the paragraph text.


Sometimes Word-to-.epub conversion works better if you use HTML as an interim step. An .epub file is an HTML file compressed into a special zip file. This means you can change the extension of an .epub file to .zip, unzip the file, and then edit the HTML. When you're done, just repackage your .epub using ePub Zip. When you are in Word, save it as .htm (instead of .docx). This lets you edit the HTML and delete any junk before exporting this .htm file to .epub. The cleaner your files are before .epub conversion, the better.




Miscellaneous InDesign tips


·         List page numbers in the top 0.25 inch of your page (between 0.5 - 0.75 inches from the page’s side edge), aligned away from the spine, with the correct running head. Odd pages are on the right, and even pages are on the left.


·         Provide ample space on all chapter-title pages. Reserve the top half of the page for the title and start the first paragraph about halfway down the page. Page numbers are either omitted or in a different location on these special pages. On the preceding blank page, remove headings and page numbers.


·         Ensure that line breaks do not cause hyphenated words in headings and chapter titles.

·         Leave no extra space between normal body paragraphs, and use indents where appropriate.

·         For the .mobi for Amazon’s Kindle: Use a 12-point body font.


·         For the .epub for Barnes &Noble’s Nook: InDesign often embeds fonts in the .epub file during export. When fonts are embedded, an encryption file accompanies them. If you try to upload an .epub file with an encryption to Nook Press (Nook's reseller system), the uploader will complain and reject your .epub. The fix is to unzip your .epub like you did with the numbered lists and delete the encryption.xml file. After deleting this file, rezip your .epub with ePub Zip.


·         For the interactive .pdf: Format your hyperlinks so they look like links in blue and are underlined so that people know they can click on them.


·         For the print-ready .pdf: For the “Normal” paragraph,” use a justified serif 10-point font with 1.5 (or 15-pt) line spacing. Also, margins must be at least 0.5-inch. Depending on the number of pages and the type of binding, you might want a slightly larger margin on the spine edge. This lets pages bend and fold without the text getting too close to the gutter and being hard to read. The more pages you have, the more room you'll need on the spine edge. Lastly, format all your hyperlinks so that they are the normal font color and not underlined.


For an Apple Multi-Touch ebook


Multi-Touch ebooks let you include rich media and interactive elements far beyond the normal ebook. You can have graphics, photos, links, videos, animations, and user-interaction elements such as self-assessment quizzes. However, you can only create Multi-Touch ebooks using iBooks Author, and you can only read them on iPads and no other device.


The iBooks Author tool is available from the Apple App Store as a free download. See https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ibooks-author/id490152466?mt=12 . If you've used other iWork applications, the interface of iBooks Author will be familiar. A great blog for iBooks beginners is www.tuaw.com/2012/06/29/ibook-lessons-the-absolute-beginner. iBooks Author is for McIntosh only.



You will have to create both a landscape and portrait layout for your Multi-Touch ebook. When you work in landscape orientation, you use a static layout. When you work in portrait, you use a layout where font and size change the flow of text. Media assets such as audio, video, and HTML will appear in line with the text in landscape and in the left sidebar in portrait.


iBooks Author lets you import Word and Pages documents. When you import documents from Word, you can keep the Word styles or override them with local styles. The import is not great, so do not expect to import and map styles as easily as with InDesign. After import you will need to go through and construct your table of contents since this is one style that will not carry over.


Instead of laying out your book and then defining your table of contents, iBooks Author builds your book in parallel with the table of contents. The left sidebar shows the current outline of your book. This outline automatically generates the table-of-contents pages and section headers.


In iBooks, unlike in InDesign, you can have Word Tables.


When you are finished designing the Multi-Touch file, choose "Preview" option in the toolbar to see what it will look like as an ebook. You can then export your Multi-Touch ebook as either a .pdf or .IBOOKS file for free distribution. You can also choose "Publish" from the File menu to publish the book to the iBookstore; iBooks Author will then automatically launch iTunes Producer with a new submission that will be pre-populated with your ebook.



Preview final layout (any export)


Check the final version of your file on a host of devices, such as computers, Android tablets and phones, iOS tablets and phones, Kindles, Nooks, and Kobo tablets. It won’t look like your Word version, and it won’t look the same on a Kindle device as it will in the Kindle app on an iPad.


For your .mobi file, download the Kindle Previewer for free from www.amazon.com/gp/feature.HTML?ie=UTF8&docId=1000765261. This is how your ebook will look on Kindle devices and in Kindle apps. For your .epub and .pdf formats, download Adobe Digital Editions for free to test your book in .epub and .pdf formats - www.adobe.com/products/digital-editions.html.


A checklist for testing your ebook:


·         proper functioning of all hyperlinks

·         appearance and scaling of images

·         spacing

·         improper substitution of fonts for weird characters

·         simulation of customer use by changing the font, font size, and portrait/landscape views


Before you upload your .epub file to iBookstore, Nook, Google Play, or Kobo, you have to “validate” the file for free on http://validator.idpf.org . You don’t have to do this for Amazon.



Identifier codes you’ll need




The ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is a 10- or 13-digit number that uniquely identifies books. You'll need an ISBN to sell your book through any online or offline bookseller, and without one, your book will not be found. The ISBN allows libraries and bookstores to find information about the author, the author's book, the book's price, ordering information, and other data. Each edition of your book, whether a paperback, hardcover, ebook, color copy, black-and-white copy, audiobook, or other such form, requires its own ISBN. All ebook platforms (Kindle, iBookstore, Nook) count as one format and thus only need one ISBN.


Eventually, the 10-digit ISBNs will be phased out, so when you get one for your book, you'll be assigned two (for now).


R.R. Bowker is the official agency for distributing ISBNs. They maintain a database of all ISBNs worldwide. While you can buy one ISBN for $125, you will likely need several, and you can buy 10 for $250. See Bowker’s MyIdentifiers site: www.myidentifiers.com/isbn/main. If you're just publishing an ebook, Smashwords might sell a single ISBN for less than Bowker’s.


Bowker is also the author of Books in Print, which lists nearly all books that are currently available in English and in the United States from major publishers. A resource for bookstores, libraries, and publishers, it is available in a print version but is most often accessed electronically. Books in Print listings are in the millions, a number only exceeded by Amazon. Your book can be listed for free in the Bowker database as long as you submit your title’s information for free at www.bowker.com.


IBPA members get discounts on Bowker products.


ISBNs and print-on-demand companies


Print-on-demand companies can provide an ISBN for your book. However, the company thereby permanently becomes the publisher of record, and this will complicate things if you want to move your book to a different printer. Also, book reviewers and libraries may conclude that a book with a print-on-demand company as the publisher of record is a vanity-press effort and might then underestimate the book’s quality. It’s much better to buy your ISBN from Bowker.



LCCN (or PCN) number


The Preassigned Control Number (PCN) program assigns a Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN) to titles most likely to be acquired by the Library of Congress. Librarians use this for finding, ordering, numbering, and cataloging books. The LCCN includes the year of publication and a unique number for each book title. Unlike an ISBN, the LCCN is assigned to the work itself and doesn't change with each new edition or version; ebooks are ineligible for an LCCN. Strictly speaking, the LCCN is the control number for the bibliographic record, not the book.


A Preassigned Control Number (PCN) is an LCCN that has been "preassigned" to a given work before the work’s publication date. The two acronyms are often used interchangeably, but they do not refer to the copyright registration that you must file with the Library of Congress nor the Dewey Decimal System number that you use to find a book on a library bookshelf.


Ask your book printer if it offers this service for free. If not, you yourself can obtain the PCN/LCCN. The first step is to get an ISBN, which you need to have before applying. Then complete the PCN/LCCN application and obtain an account number and password, which takes one to two weeks. The application is online at www.loc.gov/publish/pcn. Mail it to: Library of Congress, Cataloging in Publication Division, 101 Independence Avenue, S.E., Washington, D.C. 20540-4320. Apply three months before your publication date so that the number can be printed on your copyright page. The process is free except for the copy of the retail version of the book that you are required to send immediately upon publication to the Library of Congress.


Cataloging-in-Publication data (CIP)


On the copyright page of a book, you'll notice a list of categories filed with the Library of Congress. This is the cataloging-in-publication data, the categories that determine where libraries across the country will shelve your book. When you fill out the CIP forms, you have a chance to sway catalogers. It is their first look at your book, which may include a proof or material such as title page, table of contents, preface, and samples. The CIP website is www.loc.gov/publish/cip.


EAN and UPC barcodes


You need barcodes for only physical books. The print-on-demand company should take care of the bar code without an extra fee. On the ISBN website, they currently cost $25 each. The Bookland EAN bar code is what retailers will scan from your book at the register. If you are selling your book in drug stores, department stores and other non-bookstore retailers, you will need a UPC bar code since these retailers are not equipped to scan the Bookland EAN symbols.



Your copyright


File a copyright for your book with the U.S. Copyright Office. This establishes a public record of ownership and lets you file a copyright infringement suit in federal court. If you register your copyright prior to infringement or within 3 months of publication of the work and this holds up in a suit in federal court, you can win statutory damages and attorneys’ fees without having to prove monetary harm. The Certificate of Registration form that the Copyright Office sends you names the date when your ownership of the work began. Its duration is your life plus 70 years.


Only you, the author, can file the copyright. Do so by uploading through their online system (www.copyright.gov) the appropriate copyright form, an electronic copy of your book, and a payment of $35. Your registration becomes effective the day that the Copyright Office receives your application. However, receiving the Certificate of Registration can take up to five months.


Put the copyright mark on your website as well as in your book. Under all circumstances keep the copyright registered in your name.


Don’t do it too soon


Don't register your copyright too soon, such as while in the writing stage. You want the maximum amount of time to promote your book, and it is hard to get publicity for a book that was published last year. Ideally, publish your book at the beginning of the calendar year so you have plenty of time to fully promote it as a new publication.


Mention it in your will


Ownership can be passed on to your heirs just like real estate. If your book is selling well, these funds can be a meaningful part of your estate. Be sure to spell out which heir will receive it.


Important websites


·         United States Copyright Office - www.copyright.gov

·         Their FAQ section - www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-general.HTML#what

·         Copyright Basics - www.copyright.gov/circs/circ01.pdf

·         European Patent Office - www.european-patent-office.org

·         World Intellectual Property Organization - www.wipo.org/eng



IBPA membership


Join the Independent Book Publishers Association. Membership costs $129 per year for an author, but you can then take advantage of many discounts in the publishing industry and quickly recoup the fee. For example, for publicizing your book, you may want to consider PR Newswire, which is very well-known, and membership there is $195, but with an IBPA membership, PR Newswire is free. You also get 50% off Lightning Source’s setup fee, plus increased volume discounts. For more on the IBPA benefits, see www.ibpa-online.org/benefits/list-of-benefits.





A blurb is an endorsement or testimonial quote from a well-known person. Tracking down these blurbs should be a high priority. They are hugely important to critics and to readers who haven't heard of you but who have heard of the person giving the blurb. Keep them to six.


Location on the book


Blurbs go on either your front or back cover and answer the question, "Why should I buy this book?" You can also include them in the front matter. Put blurbs on page i or ii to ensure that people see them. This requires pushing everything else back a page. If you publish your book with Kindle Direct Publishing, you can include your blurbs in the online listing of your book.


When blurbs come in


As soon as a blurb comes in, write a thank-you note. Then include it in your future pitch letters and press kit. When you get finished copies of your book, send a personalized, signed copy to each person who only received an unfinished copy the first time.



Production of the printed book


Use a print-on-demand (POD) company


Print on demand (POD) is a printing process in which new copies of a book are only printed when a customer order has been received, even if it is just for one book. There is a fixed cost per copy, regardless of the order’s size. You’ll never have to figure out when to print more. 


Some POD companies give you the option to buy a price package for a lot of things that you might not need. Avoid this. Freelance editors, graphic designers, and indexers usually do a much better job than an in-house POD staff. On this note, try to meet in person with the editors and designers you hire, who should all have experience in book publishing.


Besides the lousy price packages for editing and design services, rip-off areas with POD companies include bogus fees for copyright registration services, printing of promotional material, inflated printing costs, and unfair royalty rates.


Some POD companies have ink restrictions for your book cover. The result can lead to a cover that looks faded or partially bleached and thus cheaply made.


Decide whether you want the POD company to be listed on your book as your publisher of record or if you want to list your own publishing start-up, which would cost you a small fee to create. Whoever buys and holds the ISBN will be listed as the publisher.


Most POD companies provide you with the exact printing cost per copy and require that your book's retail price be at least double the printing cost. This ensures that both of you can make an ample profit on each copy sold. It also allows for a standard 15-60 % discount off the cover price to be offered to book distributors, booksellers, and libraries that order it.


Printing costs are about $.013 to $0.15 per page and $.90 per cover for each paperback ordered. A 200-page paperback costs the publisher approximately $3.90. Anyone who tells you the per-book production costs are higher is gouging you. Thus, ask to have in writing what the company includes in printing costs and their cost to print a single copy. Trim size, page count, paper type, cover stock, and binding all impact the printing costs.




The contract


Your contract should state that the print-on-demand company is not claiming an interest in any other rights other than those directly related to the publication of your book, and only those that allow them to print and distribute the book on your behalf. The goal is to always have the least number of restrictions on your rights, freeing you to search for a better publishing deal with a traditional publisher or another print-on-demand company.




Make sure you retain all rights to your book, including the copyright.


Time length


The contract terms should not lock you into a contract for a long period of time. Look for


·         exclusive, but only for one year

·         exclusive for X years, but you can terminate it at any time by giving Y days written notice

·         nonexclusive for X years, and you can terminate it at any time


No right of first refusal on future books


Stay away from any print-on-demand company that demands an option or right of first refusal on any other books you may write. This is different than the traditional publishing world.


Getting paid


Ask to have it written into your contract that you must be paid within 30 days of each payment date. This way, if they don't pay you for months, they are in breach of contract; in a worst-case scenario, you can take your book elsewhere.


Selling the subsidiary, serial, or foreign rights


An experienced lawyer or a literary agent can best handle marketing, negotiating, and selling the subsidiary and/or serial rights to your work.


Subsidiary rights refers to licensing or selling permission for other companies to rework your book into other products, such as videos, movies, or television shows. The term can also refer to selling rights to an overseas publisher or book club interested in publishing its own version or edition of your book. Depending on the topic, subsidiary sales and licensing can become extremely lucrative. Also consider licensing your book to an established audiobook publisher.


Serial rights


Serial rights are the publishing rights that you sell to magazines, newspapers, or other publications. This sale allows them to publish large portions of your book, including excerpts, serializations, and condensations (an abridged version). When you sell the serial rights before your book is published and distributed in book form, this is referred to as selling the first serial rights. If you sell or license the rights after your book has been published, it's called selling the second serial rights. Many publications are willing to pay more for the first serial rights because these rights give them the ability to offer their readers an exclusive.


Foreign rights


Some books have sales potential not just in the United States but elsewhere too. Having your book sold overseas may require a translation. Many authors contact overseas publishers and offer them an exclusive licensing arrangement. In exchange for licensing fees (or an advance, plus royalties), the overseas publisher obtains the rights to publish, market, and distribute your book in their territories. They incur the translation cost, if applicable. This method is probably the most cost-effective and easiest way to obtain international distribution for your book.


If you list your book on Amazon.com, try to get it listed on Amazon’s sites for various countries.




You should be able to terminate the contract easily and with no further obligation. The print-on-demand company shouldn't require payment from you in the event that you sign with a bigger publisher or sell your television or movie rights. Remove the language that gives the print-on-demand company nonexclusive rights after contract termination.



Understanding the royalties


A royalty is your percentage of the sale of each copy of your book that is sold. Even half a percent can make a big difference if your book sells a lot of copies. Full-color books or books with special features can have royalties half the size of normal black-and-white ones.


Your royalty might be based on the retail price or the net-sales price (retail price minus the printing cost-per-copy). If the royalty is based on the net-sales price, it should be the difference between the actual printing cost and the retail price. Don’t let the print-on-demand company include “administrative costs” or “marketing costs” in the printing cost. If they mark up the printing cost and then take the profit differential after your royalty, they are wrongfully double-dipping.


Each statement might reflect sales from a few months ago, so check the end date.


Any royalties you have should be mentioned in your will. They can be passed on to heirs just like real estate. Spell out how proceeds are to be divided among the beneficiaries.





Gauging the proposed royalty:


·         Do you get to purchase the book at 60% off the cover price to then sell to others?

·         How does the company help you market, publicize, or sell the book other than printing it?

·         How much do you get of the royalty amount? If it is less than 50%, pick someone else.

·         How is the royalty calculated? Is it based on the retail price of the book or the net sales amount? If it's based on net sales, the calculation should rely on hard numbers, such as production costs and credit-card fees, and not on vague items such as administrative costs.


·         Does the publisher just use the actual production cost of the book when telling you the printing cost, or do they inflate it unfairly? Production costs should fall between $.013 and $.015 per page and $.90 to $1.00 per cover.



Preferred paper and dots-per-inch




For the cover, you can add laminates or special coatings - glossy or matte finishes, but these will add to your costs. The most popular cover stocks are 10-point or a thicker 12-point, which is coated on one side in either a glossy or laminate finish. Choose some samples you like and ask your printer for a quote on creating a similar cover.


A separate full-color machine prints each book's cover (reproduced at 300 ppi). Most POD books use a perfect bind. Request book samples and discuss printing limitations before choosing a firm.




The most common interior paper weight is 20- or 24-pound bond – 20 for paperbacks and 24 for hardcovers.  The higher the number, the thicker the paper is, and the thicker the paper, the more expensive your printing will be. The preferred paper color is off-white, not stark white, with black ink at 600 ppi. Off-white is easier on the eyes.



Reviewing proofs


Just before many copies of your book are made, you will be provided with a proof. This is the very first copy of your book and your final chance to make last-minute edits and to ensure that the layout is exactly as you envisioned it. If your book has multiple colors, ask to see a high-resolution full-color proof that accurately shows how the colors look.


Review the proof multiple times. After you are finished, instruct the printer on how to correct each error. This process is best done in writing to avoid miscommunication (not via email). Mark up the pages of the proof with a blue or black pen, and fax or hand-deliver these edited pages to the printer. After the corrections are made, request a revised proof, even if you're charged extra for it. You want to ensure that all corrections were indeed made.


A checklist to follow


For each item here, review your proof by looking for a mistake from just that category. Then do it again for the next item on this list.


·         spelling

·         grammar

·         missing text or content

·         missing characters at the end of headings, paragraphs, or sentences

·         correct placement, labeling, and referencing of figures and graphics

·         correct positioning of photos and artwork

·         correct captions

·         correct sequence and placement of page numbers

·         correct width of margins throughout the book

·         correct facts: names, phone numbers, website addresses, statistics, and figures

·         correct sequence and numbering of book’s front matter, chapters, and rear matter

·         correct page references to other sections of the book

·         correct fonts and typestyles for the body text, chapter titles, and headings

·         high-quality print: uniform, clear, and professional looking



Two popular POD companies


Lightning Source


Lightning Source (www.lightningsource.com) is the print-on-demand option for its parent company, Ingram Book Company, the country’s largest book distributor. When you print your book with Lightning Source, it's available to Ingram’s 30,000 wholesalers, retailers, and booksellers in 100 countries.


Lightning Source does not offer editing, cover design, layout, and marketing assistance. Therefore, use it when you plan to start a small publishing company, have thoughts about your next book, know how to hire professionals to help get your book into print, and can pay the set-up fees, for which IBPA members get a big discount: http://www.ibpa-online.org/ingram .


Lightning Source offers two distribution models for individual self-publishers:


·         Print-to-Publisher: You order copies of your book, and Lightning Source ships them to you, wholesalers, retailers, and warehouses. These books appear to come from you, and you pay Lightning Source for printing, handling, and shipping. You bill and collect from the recipients of the books. www.lightningsource.com/print_to_publisher.aspx


·         Print-to-Order: Lightning Source sells your book and pays you the difference between the wholesale price and printing costs. www.lightningsource.com/print_to_order.aspx


Lightning Source offers both black-and-white and color printing options in all standard sizes in hardcover and paperback formats. They also offer discounts when you order copies in bulk.


To get started, go to Lightning Source and click the "Create a New Account" button. Lightning Source uses a four-day, application-approval process to weed out writers and organizations that are not likely to generate significant orders. You will have to sign a separate contract for distribution in the United States, UK, Europe, and Australia. Additionally, you must set a separate wholesale and list price for each of these distribution channels.


You must provide a print-ready .pdf and your own ISBNs.


If you want to sell your printed book through resellers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble, Lighting Source can handle this for you. Ingram will make your book available for ordering at almost every bookstore in the country and automatically list it on Amazon. You get to set both the suggested retail price and the wholesale price that resellers pay. Resellers, however, don't like small margins and may refuse to order your book, much less stock it.


Lightning Source calculates your revenues by subtracting the printing costs from the wholesale price. If you set the retail price of your book at $20.00, then your wholesale price should be approximately $10.00. Lightning Source recommends offering a 50-55% discount to attract retailers. This means that you would make $10.00 - $3.02 = $6.98 per book.


Revisions to your book that are not due to a Lightning Source error will cost you $40 per file.


For more on Lightning Source, see www.newselfpublishing.com/LightningSource.HTML.


Amazon’s CreateSpace


CreateSpace (www.createspace.com), Amazon’s print-on-demand service, guarantees placement on Amazon.com and its global affiliates. It can distribute your ebook and print it with full-color inserts, in paperback or hard cover, and in a wide range of trim sizes and paper stocks. If you need help, you can buy services that include design, editing, copywriting, and marketing.


CreateSpace manages the inventory and shipping of your printed books. If you go the free-services route (most authors do), CreateSpace only makes money when your book sells. Your royalty is based on the interior of your book, trim size, and number of pages. For example, a 200-page, 6” x 9” black-and-white paperback with a $20 list price yields a per-copy royalty of $8.75. CreateSpace has a free royalty calculator to help you price your book.


If Amazon sets a street price on your print book from CreateSpace, a price that is not the result of price-matching another reseller, then your royalty is still calculated on the original list price, not the street price. This means cheaper books for readers, higher royalty for you, and more volume.


Once you have an account, you can create new titles from your dashboard by clicking the "Add New Title" button. When working with a title, you either choose an advanced setup, which presents everything on one page, or the creation wizard that walks you through each step. CreateSpace can provide a free ISBN, but you should provide your own ISBN in order to control who is listed as the publisher of your book.


For print books, CreateSpace accepts .pdf, .doc, .docx, .rtf, and .txt. Black-and-white print books must be between 28 and 878 pages. Color print books must be between 28 and 480 pages.


Unlike Lightning Source, CreateSpace does not charge you for changes unless you have enabled expanded distribution for $39, which lets you reach as many resellers as you would with Ingram. These resellers won’t "stock" your book, but if someone asks for your book, they can order it.


Pairing CreateSpace with AmazonAdvantage


If you are using CreateSpace to publish your book, create a title listing through Amazon Advantage (http://tinyurl.com/AmazinAdvantage) three months before the book is due to be published. This helps with pre-orders and pre-publication promotion. With Advantage, you can upload more info onto your Amazon sales page, such as reviews, and your book becomes available for sale much quicker on Amazon after you approve your proof on CreateSpace.


As the publishing date nears, Amazon will start ordering copies. Tell them that copies aren't yet available. Two days before the publication date, tell Advantage that CreateSpace will supply the orders and that copies will not be shipped to their warehouse. Amazon then sources the copies from CreateSpace. You won't pay any fees, and Amazon only gets the 40% discount through CreateSpace. You are only using Amazon Advantage to get initial exposure for the book in the form of pre-orders and other pre-publication promotion (reviews, etc.) and not for selling it.


You don't want Advantage to handle your Amazon.com sales because there is no reason to give up an extra 15% of your list price if CreateSpace is your printer. But by using Advantage just at the very beginning, before your publication date, you can get publicity exposure on Amazon that you wouldn’t get if you were only using CreateSpace and weren’t using Advantage too.


Only use Advantage for actual sales if you are using offset printing and need Amazon to store inventory.



Best choice: Use both CreateSpace and Lightning Source


The best solution probably is to use both CreateSpace and Lightning Source for the print versions. Let CreateSpace handle all of the print orders from Amazon.com (and affiliates), and have Lightning Source handle all print orders through wholesale and Ingram. Your profit will be the spread between the printing costs and what resellers paid. As Amazon owns CreateSpace, you get more profit per book compared to Amazon selling a Lightning Source book. However, not all stores like Amazon, so add Lightning Source and its Ingram network to make them happy.


Either way, make sure in advance that the Amazon listing will not say, "Temporarily out of stock, order on demand." That makes the book look self-published.

Eight other outstanding print-on-demand firms


These were described as “outstanding” in The Fine Print of Self-Publishing: The Contracts & Services of 45 Self-Publishing Companies - Analyzed, Ranked, & Exposed, by Mark Levine. He skipped his own firm, Mill City Press (www.millcitypress.net), for conflict-of-interest reasons. This book is updated regularly – it has at least five editions – and is a fantastic resource. 


·         Aventine Press, www.aventinepress.com

·         BookLocker, http://publishing.booklocker.com

·         BookPros, www.bookpros.com

·         Cold Tree Press, www.coldtreepress.com

·         Dog Ear Publishing, www.dogearpublishing.net

·         Infinity Publishing, www.infinitypublishing.com

·         RJ Communications, www.selfpublishing.com and www.booksjustbooks.com

·         Xulon Press, www.xulonpress.com (strictly for Christian themes)



Your book’s profile on resellers’ websites


When submitting information about a new book, you usually have to include the following:


·         title

·         author’s name

·         the book's ISBN

·         price

·         publication date

·         BISAC Audience

·         BISAC Subject(s)

·         format (ebook, hardcover, paperback, etc.)


More information you should try to include:


·         book's front and back cover images

·         page count

·         trim size (dimensions)

·         table of contents

·         index

·         your bio (including your website)

·         your photo

·         a link to your press kit

·         upcoming events of yours

·         your suggestions for other books

·         an excerpt from your book

·         additional images or graphics from the book

·         a video clip of you explaining the book (or your book trailer)

·         excerpts of published reviews about your book from book reviewers and journalists

·         an exciting and complete description of your book

·         a "Message from the Author" that lets you post info directly to potential readers


Amazon’s Author Central


Once your book is on Amazon, sign up for Author Central (https://authorcentral.amazon.com) to build your profile. It combines your public profile page and your sales analytics. It also lets you communicate directly with your readers and upload photos, videos, and other info about your book, yourself, and future projects. Messages from you are displayed as part of the book's listing in a blog-like format called Amazon Connect. You can also add a link back to your own website.


Add extra info about your book on its Amazon-owned Shelfari page, www.shelfari.com. Also consider creating a Listmania list to suggest other books that you like: www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.HTML?nodeId=14279651.


You must sell a certain number of books before you see the feature called “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought.” 


To see the ebook sales, go to the "Reports" tab of your Kindle Direct Publishing account.





Pitching to reviewers and bloggers


The following people are deserving of free copies along with personalized notes: national book reviewers, syndicated columnists, newsletter editors, book club editors, bloggers, tweeters, blurbers, booksellers for themselves, librarians, and other publications targeted to your audience. Avoid reviewers who wouldn't consider reviewing it but who would request a free copy.


1.      If you have a publicist, have her do the following; otherwise, it’s up to you.


2.      Make reviewing easy. Put in one place all of your background material: your bio, picture, cover, book specifications (page count, ISBN, price), blurbs, and foreign-rights holders.


3.      Contact only people who cover your genre by researching their previous reviews.


4.      Get a referral. If you haven't met the person, try to get a referral from someone who knows both of you. LinkedIn is useful to make this kind of connection if it's within one generation-that is, a friend of a friend as opposed to a friend of a friend of a friend.


5.      Go to events. The best relationships start by meeting people in person, so go to networking events and work the crowd. It's much harder to turn down someone you've met in person.


6.      Follow them on social media and their blog, and comment. Many people see their followers and in particular their comments. Say something that's positive, helpful, and insightful.


7.      Share or retweet their words. People notice who has spread their posts and tweets, so do this for the critics and bloggers you like. Get them familiar with your name.


8.      Customize your short pitch. The ideal length for an email is five sentences: who you are; what the name and subject of your book is; what the gist of the book is; what you would like them to do; how to access your online press kit; and that you are willing to send a copy of your book if they are interested. Send your email during the weekend or first thing in the morning (recipient's time). You want your email to hit their inbox when fewer emails are arriving so that they will be more likely to respond to you.


9.      Then follow up after two to three days. Send an even shorter email to ask if they received your previous one and if they would consider reviewing your book. A week later, send one more email. Then give up; it wasn't meant to be.


10.  If they like your book, inform them of the day when Amazon will let people post reviews of your book, and ask them to post a review then.


Book-review websites


·         www.blognation.com/directories/book-review-blogs

·         www.forewordreviews.com

·         http://ereadernewstoday.com

·         www.bookreporter.com

·         www.thenewbookreview.blogspot.com

·         http://indiebookreviewer.wordpress.com - a compilation of book-review blogs and websites

·         www.midwestbookreview.com/get_rev.htm - gives priority to self-published authors

·         http://indiereader.com/the-indiereader-discovery-awards-welcome - guarantees a review if you enter their contest


·         www.indiebound.com - solicits opinions from independent booksellers. Its "Indie's Next List" monthly picks are upfront in hundreds of stores. To get on this list, ask independent booksellers to suggest your book, or have your friends and colleagues ask.


·         The Indie Book Reviewer Yellow Pages: A Reference Guide for Self-Published Authors and Small Publishers, by Christine Pinheiro (2011)


For Kirkus Reviews and Publishers Weekly


If you are a self-published author, you can pay to have Kirkus objectively review your book. See www.kirkusreviews.com/author-services/indie. For Publishers Weekly, you pay to have your book considered, but you will not be assured of a review. They review about 25% of self-published submissions. See www.publishersweekly.com/pw/diy/instructions/index.HTML. Some of these authors are selected for interviews.



If sending bound galleys to reviewers


While you're checking your page proofs, the printer may be turning them into bound galleys with pages cut to size. Bound galleys do not include any of the changes you make to your proofs, but it’s okay to send these bound galleys to book reviewers. They should have a prominent label instructing reviewers not to quote anything from the text without checking it against the finished book, which will contain all revisions. Reviewers are aware that bound galleys are uncorrected proofs and that they should check all quotes and facts in their reviews against the finished book.


Contact Amazon’s top reviewers


1.      Contact their best reviewers of books in your genre. Look for those who have "Hall of Fame," "Top 50 Reviewer," or "Vine Voice" badges. Amazon Vine is a by-invitation program by Amazon for their most trusted reviewers. Vendors submit products (including books) to Amazon for Vine members to review.


2.      Reviewers are more likely to look at your work if it is not a significant time commitment.


3.      Ensure that the reviewer has published multiple reviews and is still active. Reviewers with only a few reviews typically enjoyed those particular works and are not interested in reviewing more books. Also, previously active reviewers may no longer be writing reviews.


4.      Correctly spell the reviewer's name in your email. Many reviewers don't list their full or real name, so address those with the Amazon handle that they use.


5.      Use proper grammar and spelling in your email.

6.      Offer a free copy of your book in print. This is a marketing expense. Don't be stingy.

7.      Don't boast about your book's potential.


8.      Mentioning specific reviews you liked by the reviewer, but don't mention one without first marking the review as "helpful." These votes are the only tangible compensation that reviewers get for their effort.


9.      Never offer to pay money for the review.

10.  Don't pester reviewers about when they will post the review.

11.  Post a thank-you note comment on the review. Do this even if the review is negative. And if a review is negative, don't retaliate by giving it an unhelpful vote.


12.  It is better to get a meaningful review from a rookie reviewer than to get a vacuous review from a top reviewer.


Book bloggers and blog tours


A blog tour starts with a description and excerpt of your book on someone else’s blog. Then you'll "appear" and submit a commentary on the topic of your book, thus opening a discussion. Over the next week you then visit the blog to answer questions and comments from the audience.


Offer a review copy of your book to influential bloggers in exchange for an introduction from them on their blog or for an entry that reviews your book. Schedule the tour shortly after your book is published, with as many stops as possible. Send out news releases to 20 bloggers; be sure that their blog is a good fit. Email each one, address him by name and say in one paragraph why your book fits his blog. Include a link to your site. Do not send a form letter.


If a blogger doesn't respond, wait 10 days before emailing again and mentioning that you sent something earlier. If he responds, ask if he would prefer a hard copy, an ebook, or a .pdf, and send it out right away. Thank him after your appearance on his blog or after his review is posted. Then post the link from his blog on your website, blog, and social-media profiles.


Bloggers who interview authors





Generating Amazon-user reviews


Have good user reviews of your book on Amazon within 48 hours of the book’s availability for shipping. Make sure that the reviews are believable and not too over-the-top. Relying on strangers to do this is honorable, but most readers invest their time in writing bad reviews about how they feel ripped off. Motivating people to write about books they enjoyed is harder.


There are three ethical ways to do this:


·         Ask the crowd to whom you crowdsourced your outline and editing. One of the benefits of crowdsourcing editing is that on the day your book ships on Amazon, there are dozens of people who have already read it. Keep track of the readers who liked your book and ask them to post a review on Amazon.


·         Ask the people who provided you with blurbs to post their blurbs as reviews.


·         Ask friends, family, and social-media followers. Offer the ebook to anyone who promises to review it. One week before your shipping date, ask your followers on social media to fill out an online form if they would like a review copy of your book. This will generate some leads.


Filter reviews through a friend


If you're worried about bad reviews, have a trusted friend, family member, or colleague read the reviews first and just pass on the nice and/or constructive bits. But know this: If you write a book, you will get bad reviews, just like every great writer before you. The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about. Be emotionally prepared for harshness.



Getting publicity


Build your platform (Networking)


Platform is marketing-speak for the sum total of people who know you, including friends, friends and followers in social media, people in your email address book, readers of your blog, readers of your previous books, bloggers, reviewers, people who have seen you speak, and others.


Answering, “What is your book about?”


"What's your book about?" You’ll hear this repeatedly from reviewers, booksellers, consumers, friends, and the media. Use your 15-second pitch to elicit intrigue and appeal. Your response only needs to be 20-30 words, but it must capture the book’s essence and make people think, "I want to read that!" For nonfiction books, your subtitle makes for a great response.


Your book’s business card


Make one with your contact info on one side and the pertinent book info on the other side: title, author, ISBN, publisher, publication year, publisher’s contact info, artwork, and your website.


A good, free book-publicity site




Think like a publicist


It probably costs too much to hire a publicist, but you can think like one. A good publicist can


·         create your entire press kit or just write your press release and author bio;

·         provide intensive media training for you;

·         help you define and establish your image as a published author and expert in your field;

·         access her pool of media contacts for you;

·         handle all media contact on your behalf, including sending out review copies of your book;

·         decide on the perfect show or publication for a piece about you and your book;

·         use your press kit to pitch different stories to specialized media outlets;

·         line up bookstore events and print, TV, radio, and online-media interviews;

·         schedule paid appearances, lectures, and appearances on your behalf; and

·         assist you in planning a multiple-city book tour.


If you actually want to hire a publicist, do so about four months before your book's publication date. Make sure she has a background and expertise in your subject; ask her for the names of media contacts that are good for your book and be wary if these aren't forthcoming. Book publicists aren't always the best choice, especially for authors with nonfiction titles. General publicists specializing in particular areas may better understand your book, your audience, and the right people to slip it to.


To find a publicist, contact the Public Relations Society of America (www.prsa.org) and ask for a referral. You can also visit a freelancer website or check out publishing industry magazines, such as Publishers Weekly (www.publishersweekly.com) or Writer's Digest (www.writersdigest.com). Split the payments so you can be sure she does the job that she said she would do. Some get paid by the hour, some by the job, and some by the market. Get a lot of quotes, do some haggling, ask for references, and strike the best deal you can. Then at the end of each month, get an activity report, showing all communications up to that time. If you part ways after a couple of months, you'll know when and to whom your book was pitched.


Your publicist needs between one and three months to properly make contact with each media outlet, due to the different lead times of the outlets. Ask her for a list of possible initiatives.


No publicist can control whether or not you get reviews.


Starting local


The key to making your book a national bestseller is to first make it a local bestseller. Network in your local area. Contact the managers of local bookstores and local authors. Make it known that you'd love to speak at local book clubs, conferences, or events. Ask about any local critic or reviewer to whom you can send a book, a local journalist who might do a story about your book, a radio show that might have you on, or other bookstores that might be interested in hosting you.


Many bookstores now have blogs. If your local bookseller does, ask if you can guest-post on a semi-regular basis. Pitch the local angle!


Don't stop with book people. Tell your letter carrier, your hairdresser, and other people who know lots of other people. And definitely tell anyone who's connected to the media.


Write a publicity and sales plan


1.      Perfect your pitch.


2.      Summarize your strategy and goals. For example: "Connect with ___ (#) bloggers (include names and URLs); do in-person appearances at ___ bookstores, ___ universities, and ___ organizations (list names); create virtual presentations consisting of podcasts, videos or webinars (each with their own mini pitches); target mainstream media outlets (list names)."


3.      Summarize your efforts to date. Include the web and social-media presence you've built; the other online communities you’re in; any early media coverage; and links to workshops, presentations, readings, or other videos that could promote your book. Include numbers (site visitors, mentions, etc.) wherever possible.


4.      Make a local and national TV/radio media wish list. Ensure the list balances long shots, realistic choices, and safeties. Particularly helpful are specialized media outlets, which include news programs where you're interviewed as an expert on a topic related to your book. Explain how you will approach them.


5.      Explain how you will get reviews of your book in newspapers, magazines, and on websites.


6.      Name the websites, online communities, and bloggers that you know will be good. How do these people launch books? Some like to serialize a chapter, some like to bundle several similarly themed books together, and some prefer interviews, editorials, or regular reviews.


7.      List all public events where you’ll appear leading up to and past your publication date. Then make a list of places you'd like to be booked. Which of these places can you approach on your own and for which ones do you need help?


8.      List cross-promotional opportunities. What other authors speak to your audience? Suggest events and panels with like-minded authors, or guest posting on their website.


9.      Explain how you will get booksellers to sell your book, how you will sell it on your website, and the options that you will be using with the online booksellers.


10.  Explain how you will schedule author appearances and book signings in bookstores, libraries, and other places.


11.  List products related to your book that might sell well.

12.  Include your book title in the signature portion of your emails.



Your book’s website


Pages to consider having


·         homepage (maybe include the info in the next bullet point)

·         book photo/description of the book (include price, audience & competition)

·         blog page with social-media links and social bookmarks

·         a list of interesting statistics or interesting facts that relate to your topic

·         a .pdf excerpt, including the intro (up to 5,000 words)

·         submission of contact information and embedded email (see www.mailchimp.com)

·         photo and bio that describes your experience and how you gained your expertise

·         videos of yourself talking about your book and the concept (or your book trailer)

·         media section: press kit and electronic press kit (including a press release)

·         your e-commerce store for buying the book and related items such as t-shirts

·         photos and contact info of endorsers

·         reviews and interviews about the book and you (and readers’ comments)

·         FAQ about you, your book, the topic, and other info

·         a calendar of events, lectures, workshops, or appearances (only if you have a lot of events)

·         a book guide in .pdf format for book groups – 10-15 questions per chapter

·         a page for hosting chats (include all of your transcripts from shows thus far)


Your e-commerce page


For those who want the print copy, use Amazon’s Associates program to link your website to your printed book’s page on Amazon. For each sale that comes through the link on your site, you make a small percentage. They send your book out for you, and each sale counts on your royalty statement and toward bestseller lists. See https://affiliate-program.amazon.com.


For those who want the ebook, you can use either Amazon’s Associates program or a direct-sales option, such as Gumroad or E-Junkie. With direct sales, the buyer downloads the ebook directly from your website, and you will earn a bigger royalty than if they used Amazon. However, the buyer might not know how to install the ebook or which format they need.


Have friends test it out


Once your site is set to sell, get some friends to go through the process. Have them note anything that was annoying, difficult or even mildly confusing.


If they don’t want to buy online


List on your site your phone number, fax number, mailing address so that they can send you a money order for the cost of the book and shipping.



Opt-in mailing lists and e-newsletters


Allow your visitors to opt in or subscribe to a mailing list so you can stay in touch with them through email, perhaps on a weekly or monthly basis. You can remind them about your book's existence and give updates. The company that develops or hosts your website can help you make an online mailing list and related database. A good third-party website for this is www.mailchimp.com. However, don’t do this if you don’t want to regularly write newsletters.


Set up a blog


If you have a blog, you can interview people in your industry, answer FAQs about your book's subject, make a checklist, or let someone else post as a guest. Tips to remember:


·         Post regularly; no less than weekly.

·         Make sure your blog's categories make sense; keep these to under ten.

·         Make sure each individual post is tagged accurately.

·         Link to others in your posts, particularly to others who might send traffic back to you.

·         Link back to prior posts of yours when they are relevant to what you're discussing.

·         Respond promptly, politely and concisely.

·         Quickly delete spam and abusive comments.

·         Install Google Analytics (www.google.com/analytics) so you can watch your traffic.

·         Promote each post through your website, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter by using shortened and trackable links.


Have a category for your book’s journey


If done with style, wit, and intelligence, a chronicle of your book's journey to publication can delight your audience. Why not create a weekly post about your bookish trials, tribulations, and success? Create a buildup to your book release so that when the big day arrives, your following will joyously click their way through to purchase. Queries and updates will also help you gauge public opinion on what aspects of your book are most interesting and what needs work. Keep your followers involved by asking for feedback.


Comment on related blogs


Target the 100 most popular, influential blogs related to your book's audience and comment on these blogs. Be genuine in your post and don’t just plug your book; however, put a link to it in your signature. In the year before your book comes out, see if these bloggers have books of their own coming out. If so, review them on your blog. Conduct interviews and talk up their sites. Share or retweet a particular posting. In short, send some goodwill their way.


Use a blog search engine (http://technorati.com or http://blogsearch.google.com) to find good ones. Technorati keeps track of blogs, ranks them, and collects other bloggers’ reactions. Your blog may be listed there, and if not, add it.


Now call on these friends to help spread your message. This can be in the form of reviews, links to your site, tweets, mentions, and more. If you've become friends with bloggers who have large followings, ask if you can do a guest post or if they could interview you for their site. Bloggers with big audiences tend to be generous because they can be.


Host a live call-in broadcast


Connect with your blog audience on BlogTalkRadio (www.blogtalkradio.com). If you have a telephone, you can host a live, Internet talk-radio show. Some of its features include live two-way conversations, live streaming, archived podcasts, and a browser-based switchboard where you can play music and conduct interviews with multiple callers. It is integrated with Facebook, Twitter, and iTunes, and it has an RSS option.


Other blog websites


·         www.blogger.com

·         www.blog.com

·         www.wordpress.com

·         www.tumblr.com






Social media




Make a separate Facebook page for your book. This way, you can keep your profile page personal and your book page public, open to anyone who wants to join. If you've built up a following on your own page, ask fans to migrate over to your book page, where you can use the "events" tab to promote any kind of event, including those that are virtual.  Facebook also allows indexing of events, which will be a search-engine optimization (SEO) advantage for you.


Facebook also lets you have video calls, like Skype or Google Hangout, but you can only do it with one other person, at least the present time. See www.facebook.com/videocalling.




Set up your profile. Include a headshot, bio, design choice, URL, and a description. Then start following people. Find those in your industry by the search function and see who they follow.


With your messages, follow the 60/30/10 rule: 60% helpful content, 30% engagement with followers sharing insights and opinions, and 10% personal posts. Allow time for retweeting, commenting, and following others. 


When new people follow you, follow back. Ask about their work. You can follow thousands of people, but mark only your favorites. If you don't know something about a topic, ask.


Use "hashtags" to add additional context and metadata (information about a particular item's content) to your tweets. Simply put a # symbol before the word: #selfpublishing, for instance.  Go to www.hashtags.org for more information or to have your personal hashtags tracked.


You can also host a “tweetchat” to discuss your book: http://tweetchat.com




Write your LinkedIn summary and descriptions with your reader in mind.  Use keywords that will make it easy to search for you. Add recommendations from colleagues. Make sure your profile is public if you intend to use it for networking, and use a professional photo. Consider adding your blog streams and books you are currently reading.


Use LinkedIn groups to connect with like-minded professionals. Membership in a group gives you access to the profiles of the other group members, free communication with them, and a display of your group’s name on your own page. Find groups through LinkedIn's search function using keywords appropriate for your industry or book's genre. Or create your own group.


Google +


Also post on your Google+ profile.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google%2B


Social-cataloguing book websites


Social-cataloguing websites for books include Shelfari (www.shelfari.com/authors), Goodreads (www.goodreads.com/author/program), and LibraryThing (www.librarything.com). As an author on these sites, you can do these things:


·         Add your picture and bio.

·         List what your favorite books are.

·         Create a blog.

·         Publicize events.

·         Share excerpts of your writing.

·         Create a quiz about your book.

·         Share videos.

·         Give away your book to build buzz.

·         Lead a discussion group.

·         Engage in discussions about your book.

·         Distribute free copies of your books via lotteries for reader reviews.


NetGalley (use before book’s release)


Subscribe to NetGalley before you release the book. NetGalley  (www.netgalley.com/home/tour) helps you market and deliver your book to over 160,000 reviewers, bloggers, journalists, librarians, and booksellers, who can peruse titles and request books that interest them. You upload your .pdf or .epub file, and then you control access, including whether people can share and copy your book. This will lead to more sales, more website visits, and more reviews. You will also receive an embeddable widget with a link to your book for your website and emails.


NetGalley has a membership fee but you get a discount if you are an IBPA member (www.ibpa-online.org/benefits/marketing-programs/netgalley-book-review-express).


Utilize online video


50% of people who watch a video will do whatever is asked of them. 65% will watch the video to completion, whereas less than 10% will completely read a text-only site. To increase the chances of your video going viral, keep it under two minutes, and then post it to your site and social-media sites such as www.youtube.com, www.vimeo.com, or www.dailymotion.com/us. Tag it correctly. On two other sites, www.oneload.com and www.trafficgeyser.com, you can send your videos to up to thirteen video sites at once.




Screencasting is the capturing of what happens on a computer screen, adding a bit of audio narrative, and publishing it online as a video. This works for your book if the topic is about a complex process for which you want to make a short video overview. Without a camcorder, your computer can make a screen-shot video of sequential webpages you visit.


Prepare what you want to show and make a script outline. You might want to create a storyboard that sketches out the visual and the audio together. Then run through it a couple of times before creating the screencast. Here is an example: www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5e5oO1zAPw .


Other websites:


·         http://camstudio.org

·         www.techsmith.com (see “Products”)

·         www.screencast-o-matic.com

·         www.debugmode.com/wink

·         www.allcapture.com/eng/index.php

·         www.hyperionics.com/hc/index.asp

·         www.shinywhitebox.com

·         www.ambrosiasw.com/utilities/snapzprox

·         www.adobe.com/products/captivate.HTML  (pricey but highly recommended)




This is the broadcast of a presentation over the Internet to many individuals. The transmission of information is one-way only, from speaker to audience. Webcasts can be live or recorded just before their broadcast. Live ones allow questions to be emailed or faxed to the presenter. However, the attendee can’t orally ask a question - hence, the one way limited communication.


·         www.ustream.tv

·         www.ehow.com/how_5954793_do-create-webcast_.HTML 

·         www.ehow.com/how_2141236_do-live-webcast.HTML

·         www.ehow.com/how_6546434_webcast-home.HTML 

·         www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpqAO4XfK2k&lr=1




This is a multimedia conversation over the Internet between a speaker and audience. Webinars are live and are therefore time-constrained and at a specific time and date.


Google+ Hangouts and Hangouts on Air are examples of a webinar. Hangouts on Air are broadcasted live on your Google + page, YouTube channel, and anywhere else you embed the code. They can have unlimited viewers, who may not all be speaking and on camera. All can comment and watch however. With a normal Hangout, only those participating can view it.


Hangouts on Air are recorded and uploaded to your YouTube channel so anybody can watch the replay. You can even download the recording, edit it on your computer, and upload back to YouTube or anywhere else you’d like to host it.


·         www.trainingauthors.com/how-to-host-a-live-webinar-for-free-using-google-hangouts

·         www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSz7VC0dq2c

·         www.youtube.com/watch?v=YaR4IWfxWXA

·         www.google.com/+/learnmore/hangouts

·         www.google.com/+/learnmore/hangouts/onair.HTML

·         www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuE2DnxPzg4

·         www.youtube.com/watch?v=FnXv2aFzNz0


A “book trailer”


You might want to make a video trailer for your book, like a movie trailer (a movie preview). If you can make a short movie showing you or your book, this can be a great selling tool. It might be a dramatic live reading, a how-to demonstration, or a highly artistic creation that has very little to do with your actual book. Keep it under 2-3 minutes. Nonfiction books easily lend themselves to book trailers. Maybe ask film students to help you make one.


You can also use www.sliderocket.com to turn a presentation into a book trailer.



Getting media publicity


Keep a list of journalists and bloggers who report on subjects similar to yours. Spin your story in such a way that it becomes an inspired editorial fit for their publication. Bulldog Reporter's Media List Builder (http://listbuilder.bulldogreporter.com) creates a targeted media list based on your needs. You can also peruse these media directories at your library:


·         Literary Market Place 2012 - www.literarymarketplace.com (updated annually)

·         The Gale Directory of Publications and Broadcast Media - revised annually  

·         The Standard Periodical Directory lists more than 60,000 North American periodicals.

·         The Radio Mall for radio stations - http://radio-mall.com/radiomal.htm

·         Ulrich's International Periodical Directory - magazines of the world

·         SRDS Directory has contact info for reporters, journalists, editors, producers, and talent bookers - http://next.srds.com


Or get called to appear as an expert


·         www.prleads.com; they might still have this offer: www.prleads.com/tim-ferriss-offer

·         www.expertclick.com/Expert/JoinAsAnExpertStep1.aspx

·         www.helpareporter.com: Help a Reporter Out (HARO) helps reporters find sources. You'll get three emails a day with a list of requests. When you see one that matches your expertise, contact the journalist with a pitch. If you're selected, you might get extensive free publicity.


Even after a media outlet expresses an interest in reviewing your book, an appearance of the review can take three months. So, for example, if you know that a lead time for a magazine is three months, contact the appropriate writer four months before your book’s publication. Her team needs time to discuss it before deciding. Editors like to time the publication of reviews with the publication date, so plan accordingly. If the outlet has a long lead time, send galleys.


Government holidays are the slowest news days, so use this to your advantage. If you pitch on a day when the media is starving for news, you're much more likely to get coverage.



Lead times for each outlet type




·         daily: between a few hours and two weeks, depending on the section

·         weekly: two to four weeks




·         weekly: two to four weeks, unless the topic is extremely timely and newsworthy

·         monthly: three months

·         quarterly: four to six months


Radio shows


Most shows book guests between a day and several weeks in advance, depending on the topic. It helps if you can fill in on a last-minute basis in case another guest cancels at the last minute.


Television shows


Depending on the show’s type, guests are booked from a few hours to a month before airtime. News shows, like the local nightly news, may book guests a few hours before the broadcast while a national show may book several weeks in advance unless the topic is very newsworthy.


Blogs and other websites


Website operators can add a posting about your book within minutes of receiving your press kit.


Sending a pitch letter


A pitch letter is a cover letter for your press kit and is targeted to a specific person. It introduces you and states why you're sending the press kit and what it contains. Either you or your publicist can write and sign it, preferably your publicist. Thus, if you do it, it’s okay to refer to yourself in the 3rd person. You need a good journalistic lead for your letter, preferably about current events.


After you gather your list of outlets to target, call and verify the name of the person at each outlet who is responsible for covering the topic you're pitching. Ideally have an intermediary make the pitch. If you have a publicist, have her sign your pitch letter and then record a voicemail message for your business phone line.


For shows, pinpoint the exact ones that interest you. Call their production office and ask for the name of the segment producer or talent booker who is responsible for booking guests. Don't pitch directly to the executive producer or host. At smaller shows, especially at local stations, you may discover that the right person is the show's executive producer or host; first contact a segment producer or talent booker unless you know that this is true.


If you're pitching a print journalist directly because you saw something that she wrote, let her know what you liked about it and then show how your book is appropriate for her readers.


As for newspapers, a number of them, including The New York Times, don’t review self-published books. They will, however, mention self-published books in the body of an article. So don't send books to the book review sections at major papers, but do try to spin a news angle or hook for an article in which your book can be cited.




Keep the length to a page. If you write it yourself, use the 1st person. If your publicist writes it, she refers to you in the 3rd person. In the first paragraph, introduce your book; in the second, talk about why you are credible; in the third, explain why that outlet’s audience would be interested in your book and what you have to say; and in the final paragraph, invite the journalist, editor, or producer to visit your website to review your press kit, to request a review copy of your book, and to contact you if she’s interested in booking an interview or receiving more information.


Email your pitch letter.



Sample media pitch letter by a publicist


[Company or personal letterhead]



[Recipient's name]


[Media outlet]


[City, state, zip]


Dear [Mr./Mrs./Ms.]:


I am pleased to inform you about [book title], an exciting, new book targeted to [brief description of the book's target audience]. [Publishing company] is publishing this title on [publication date]. Priced at $[price], [book title] will be available starting [publication date] through Amazon.com, BN.com, and bookstores nationwide. This [number of pages]-page book's timely approach to [topic] will definitely be of interest to your demanding audience [readers, listeners, or viewers, as appropriate]. For the downloadable press kit, please visit [Web site URL].


[Book title] was written by [author's name], a leading expert in [his/her] field, with [number] years of experience. He's/she's currently a [job title] with [employer]. In this book, [he/she] shares [his/her] unique perspective and advice, plus offers detailed and easy- to-understand strategies relating to [topic].


[Author's name] is currently available for interviews. [Reasons why author is an excellent person to interview for media outlet's audience]


Review copies are now available on request. If you have any questions about the press kit, wish to receive a review copy, or would like to set up an interview, please call [author’s name] at [phone number] or email your request to [email address].


Thank you in advance for your interest.





(Publicist's name)




A good website for pitch letters





Your press kit


Put as much of your press kit on your website as possible. Then include a link to it when you email your pitch letter and customized press release to each media contact. If you have a publicist, show her your kit to get feedback. Put the following in it:


·         a table of contents

·         one- or two-page general press release about your book

·         your bio (2-3 paragraphs)

·         Q&A with one-paragraph answers for each

·         your publicity photo

·         reviews/blurbs: cleanly reproduced, with the publication name and the date visible

·         articles about you: cleanly reproduced, with the publication name and the date visible

·         topics for discussion, articles, shows, workshops, and lectures

·         a list of the media shows and publications in which your book has been featured

·         a copy of the book’s front cover

·         the list of audio and visual clips in which you discuss the book

·         your contact information and an offer to send a review copy of your book


The press release


The release must convince the journalist that you are newsworthy. You might have to write many of these while publicizing your book, customizing it for different publications or events. For example, the release for bookstores should emphasize sales potential while the release for book reviewers should emphasize the article-worthiness of the book or author. Visit www.PRNewswire.com to see what you want in your message; also see http://communitymediaworkshop.org/resources. Then keep it updated with new reviews and media appearances.  


PRNewswire gives IBPA members a free one-year membership.


If someone requests material directly from you and if you have a publicist, follow up to make sure your publicist sent it to them.


A free distribution service




Using releases to monitor your publicist


If you gave your publicist a list of media contacts you don't know and who don't know you, add the name of a good friend to your list and see how long it takes for him to receive something.




Print on 8 ½”-by-11” white paper. Have 1” top and bottom margins and 1- ½” side margins. Use Times New Roman, Helvetica, or Arial font. Double-space the body with justified text; use 1-½  line spacing to fit the text on one page. If you go to a second page, put More. . . at the bottom-right corner of the first page and at the top center of the second page, and display a phrase like "Page 2 of 2."


Ideally the contact person is not the author.


See the next page for more on the format.

Letterhead: The name and address (and perhaps the logo) of your print-on-demand company, or if you’re self-publishing, your “doing business as (DBA)” name


The catchy headline: Use one or two lines (no more than ten words) to attract the reader's attention. Format the headline in bold 14-16 point size.


                                                                                                Contact: PR person's name (10 pt., no bold)

                                                                                                                                Phone number: align right

                                                                                                                                Email: align right




City, State -- Date with year - First paragraph includes author's name, book title, price, publisher, audience, ISBN, page count, one sentence theme, and where it is available (justified). Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? Assume that people won't read beyond the first paragraph of your press release unless you've titillated their interest.


Second and third paragraph (justified): The next 1-2 paragraphs have details about the new book - what sets it apart, who it targets, and why people may be interested in it. If your first paragraph doesn't fully answer the "w" questions, then convey that information here. If you have a great blurb from a well-known person who can really speak to your subject, include it here and edit it down if necessary. The same goes for great reviews; include excerpts from them, a few short quotes that show you off to your best advantage and make the reader excited about your book. Also include relevant information about upcoming events of yours, such as speaking engagements, workshops, or lectures. 


(third paragraph…)


About (Your Name): 

Here is your bio. Describe your credentials, establish yourself as an expert, include reasons why you make for an interesting guest, and list your website address. The final sentence of this paragraph states, "For more information, or to schedule an interview with [insert author's name], please call [publicist’s phone number], visit [website], or send an email to [publicist’s email address]. Review copies are available to the media by request." Even if contact information is already on the letterhead, repeat it here – full name, title, address, phone #, fax #, email address, and website.


# # # (three of the numerical symbol are centered at bottom of page)



Author bio (for the press kit)


If you want to be on a radio or television program, the bio is the best way to persuade producers and talent bookers that you'd be an ideal guest. Describe yourself and your experience, and position yourself as an expert. Showcase your personality. After reading your bio, the media contact will hopefully want to meet, interview, and feature you in her coverage.


Include a list at the end of the bio of five to ten sample questions for the host to ask. By offering these questions, along with background info about you and your book, you'll be providing the information interviewers need without making them do too much pre-interview preparation.


Optional photo


Some authors have a small, black-and-white photo in the upper-right corner of their bio page. It helps readers see who they're reading about and helps them to better relate to that person. For radio and TV appearances, press kits with an author photo generate more requests for interviews.


Format of bio


One, 8 ½” by 11”-inch page; 1 ½ or double-spacing, justified text, and 12-point font


The heading


Write your full name in centered, bold, and 16- to l8-point lettering. Underneath, type your title or main credential - "Author, [Book Title]" or "President and CEO of [Company]" – in bold and l4-point font. Then skip a line, and add your contact info, including your mailing address, phone number(s), fax number, email address, and website, in a normal font and 12-point size.

The body


Have 3-4 paragraphs that describe you, your credentials, your background, and your story.


·         What makes you the ideal person to write the book?

·         Why should the media outlet you're pitching interview you?

·         Address topics such as

o   your professional background

o   your educational background

o   information about your book

o   why you wrote it

o   how and why you became an expert in your field

o   interesting, newsworthy, or unusual info about yourself

o   1-2 sentences of personal info about your family, interests, and/or where you live


Keep in mind your book topic and target audience. The first paragraph needs to grab the reader's attention, summarize who you are and why you're an expert, and mention your book.


After the body, skip 2-3 lines and type # # #. This means that no text follows.



Q&A section for the press kit


This is a terrific place for the media to pull out ideas for an interview or article. They are looking for someone who will say something important. Create a list of 10 to 20 questions you think they will ask you, write out your answers, and include both in the Q&A section. Sample questions:


·         Tell me about your book. What's it about?

·         What inspired you to write your book?

·         What initially got you interested in this topic?

·         Who would be interested in reading your book?

·         When is it being released, and how can someone obtain a copy?

·         What was the most interesting or unusual thing you learned when researching it?

·         How much research went into the writing of your book? What type of research did you do?

·         What sets it apart from others?

·         What are three things that someone can learn from reading it?


Your publicity photo


Good photos are important. Reviewers ask about this on the sly. Have a photographer with a studio and lights take many headshots and full-body shots in which you show a variety of facial expressions and poses. Go from serious to goofy, sexy to thoughtful. This way, you have a number of choices for the media. Your tone will convey a message about your personality and the tone of the book itself. If you get nervous in front of cameras, bring a friend to loosen you up or have a glass of wine to relax. Try to engage in a conversation while being photographed.


Ask that your photos be either a 5”x7” by7” or 8”x10”-inch, and shoot both black-and-whites and full-color ones; newspapers prefer the former and magazines the latter.


Allow a week for them to be developed. Make sure you and/or your publicist get digital copies so you can email them along with your press release. Put your full name, title (Author, [book title]), and contact info (at least your phone number and email address) at the bottom of the photos you like. Then load the best ones onto your website with high-resolution. That way journalists or fans can download them to help promote you and your book.


If you're super photogenic, send your picture out with all promotional materials. If you have several different and fun shots, go ahead and include more than one.


The electronic press kit (EPK)


This is a compilation of various clips of you discussing your book on radio or television programs. The footage allows others to see whether you'd be a good guest on their show. They want to see exactly who you are, what you look like, and how well you speak. You don't need an EPK right away. Wait until you have several great interviews on file, ones that portray you and your book in the best possible way, highlight your PR message, and show how scintillating, deep, funny, and/or brilliant you are. Keep the length under five minutes.


Begin the clip with you and not a long lead-in from the show you were on. However, if you were on a national show, it's good to start with its logo or a few seconds of the host saying, "In the next half-hour, we'll be talking to (your name) about his fabulous new book." At the end of the clip, include a still shot of your book cover with your website's URL.


If you need help with editing or producing an EPK, call a local video or audio production company. The production costs can be anywhere from $200-$3000, depending on its complexity, length and what's involved in the actual filming. Then post the compilation on your website.



The interview itself


You must convey a lot of info while speaking slowly and clearly. Do this in 15-second sound bites (less than 50 words). Create a list of 20 questions you think they will ask, and write out your answers. Focus on what's funny, special, and interesting about your book, and establish yourself as an expert. Add anecdotes about the writing process. Include both your questions and answers in your press kit’s Q&A section.


Record the sound bites in advance and play them back. Keep doing this until you sound as if it's the first time you've ever been asked that question. Take a second to think about your response even though you know exactly what it is. Then videotape a mock interview with a friend. Have her ask you questions that you fear the most or do other things to unnerve you.


Research the specific show or publication and demonstrate that you know it. Past interviews are available online. Study the guests and find out what the interviewer likes or dislikes.


On the big day, breathe deeply. Know that you look great and that you're prepared. Pause for a silent breath before answering each question. Keep good posture, make eye contact, and keep your hands at your sides.


For radio interviews, speak in simple sentences. Listeners can’t see you speaking.


For the phone, be physically and vocally warmed up. Use a land line and suspend call-waiting.


For print interviews, have it be someplace quiet where you're comfortable. Look good even if there won’t be a camera. Ask for your website to be in the article and for either a link to it or a hard copy. If you are misquoted, only contact the editor if what was written will cause physical harm. Be prepared to be misquoted and accept that there's nothing you can do about it. Don’t trust him when he says it’s "off the record."


Finally, for television interviews, watch the show for several days before your appearance. See what everyone is wearing and dress accordingly. Try out your outfit the day before the interview. Then get ready several hours early in case you have last-minute adjustments. Confidently enter the studio. If it is a low-budget show that doesn't have a makeup artist, at the very least apply a thin layer of powder to get rid of the shine.


Ask in advance where the producers want you to look, probably directly at the host and not at the camera. Also ask how long the interview will be and what the signal is for wrapping it up.


If you are in front of a live studio audience, include them from time to time with eye contact and gestures. If it's a show that has a Q&A, refer back to a previous question that an audience member asked. This helps gain their support.


During the interview


Your passion will sell your book. Just focus on talking to that one person, the interviewer. If you can, chat beforehand and ask for a mention of your book, where it is available, your website, and upcoming events. Have a sentence that he can use to introduce you and your book. You yourself should plug your book title at least three times if you can do so naturally. One easy way to do so is to begin your answers with it. Examples:


 - "In [insert title], I wrote about ..."

 - "That's a great question. In chapter [#] of [insert title], I discussed that exact topic ..."

 - "To answer that question, I'll share a story from [insert title]..."


If you have any events lined up, slip them in as well.


Beware the interviewer’s friendliness. Even if he is friendly beforehand, he may not be during the interview. Assume that he is just trying to get you to say something you'll regret. It will go all over the Internet against your will.


Afterwards, get business cards for sending thank-you notes and stay in touch. If the moment feels right, ask if you may add their name to your email list. You never know when one of them might need a story and be reminded to call you after seeing your update. Once you leave, write up the events while they're fresh in your mind and post them on your site.



Tasks to do on the publication date


·         Tell everyone you know about the book’s publication and encourage them to write reviews on Amazon, the Barnes & Noble website, Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere.


·         Put a special post on your blog.

·         Arrange for interviews to be posted on this date on bookstores' and fellow bloggers' websites.

·         Send messages over Twitter and on your book’s Facebook page.

·         Host a Tweetchat

·         Conduct a live eight-hour webcast where you can answer questions all day. For this you could combine sessions on Google Hangout on Air and Tweetchat.


Hosting a book event in person


Events might not lead to a ton of money, and sometimes no one will come, but you can use them to get local publicity. Newspapers might run articles announcing them, and each article will help you get more readers than the event itself.


Don’t schedule events that occur before your release date. Most people have short attention spans and want to buy on the spot. If your book's not there, it's out of sight, out of mind. Schedule the events for the first three months after the book is available to readers.


Before contacting each place, visit its website to see what events it has hosted. Have your pitch down cold so that you can tell the person on the phone in a minute who you are, what your book is, and why he should have you. Then follow up by emailing your press release and also your cover letter if you didn’t get through on the phone.


If you have a publicist, check with her before you set up any events. She will also be setting up events for you, and you don’t want to overlap locales. As you book new events, keep her updated.


Work with the event coordinator. Supply him with fliers to promote the event, and ask him these questions:


·         What successful events have other authors done?

·         Should I write and send out the press releases and flyers, or do you do that?

·         Will you be sending information to others’ calendars? If not, can you suggest some for me?

·         Which local media members should I contact?

·         Any other organizations that I should include in my mailing?

·         How do you want me to get books to the event?

·         Are there any local book groups?

·         Do I need to bring my own table for signing books?

·         Is there anything else that I need to bring?

·         Will I be selling the books myself, or does someone else do that?


Publicize the event


Get on the venue’s events calendar and send your press release to local media to get on their calendars. Do this a month before the event. Send out another release two weeks later and then a final notice three days beforehand. If you can, get the local media on the phone to pitch to them.


Use social media to spread the word. Mention it in your online communities, and afterwards, share pictures or video, which should also be put on your website and on your author profile page on the online bookseller sites.  Slice long videos into five-minute clips.




Have enough books for sale


There are four ways to do this.


·         If you can get a local bookseller to come to your event and provide your books, do so. However, bookstores rarely stock self-published books. You will have to give them plenty of advance notice so that they can order the book from a distributor such as Ingram, and more crucially, you will also have to persuade them that there will be enough sales at the event to make it worth their while.


·         You can order books from your print-on-demand company, but you may not be able to get them at a discounted rate so that you can then profit on each sale. These sales will not count towards sales on bestseller lists.


·         You can bring a computer with an online connection to the event, and have attendees purchase the book online from Amazon. They might still want something signed from you, so you may want to bring copies of a black-and-white photo that you can personalize for them so that they can later tape this to part of their book.


·         Use Enthrill gift cards for ebooks. Enthrill (www.enthrill.com/endpaper/author-cards) lets you buy preactivated gift cards that you can then sell or give away, after signing them. Recipients then download the ebook in .epub or .mobi format for their devices. The cards cost authors approximately $1 to $1.50 in quantities of 500 or more. Having a physical card may enable you to close twice as many sales.


You will also need a cashbox, change, blank receipts, and a credit-card processor.


Have someone introduce you


Make plans in advance for someone to introduce you to the audience, and have her mention that you'll be signing books afterwards. Also ask her to come on afterwards to thank everyone and to remind them that you'll be signing books. Here is a generic introduction to use:


"(Your name)" has been a (relevant work info) for many years and has written (your writing credits if you have any). This is his/her first/second/whatever book. (Title of book) has been called (short, pithy quote from a review or blurb). She/he has also (any additional interesting info-awards, colorful jobs, etc.). There will be a brief question-and-answer period, and the author will sign books afterwards. And now ladies and gentlemen, please welcome (your name)."


During the event (usually 30 minutes)


Your event is a show, and you are the passionate entertainer. Dress well and arrive early.


Start five minutes late. Lots of people show up late, and by waiting, you give the audience time to bond in their admiration for you. Sometimes you will be asked to start right away; ask nicely if you can wait a couple of minutes.


Connect with your audience by beginning with a story. It could be about how you came to write your book and got it published, about the subject, or something completely different. But it must be entertaining, inspirational, honest, or deep. Have a couple stories prepared, written, and rehearsed. Write them out longhand on index cards; this will help you remember each word.


Then share a spontaneous anecdote, such as what happened to you on the way to the event or what you read in the paper that day. Or perhaps show a short five-minute video clip, perhaps something from YouTube related to your topic.


Next, read a little from the beginning, unless you have a compelling reason not to. This provides a context. Also read a couple of passages that do not need a lot of setting up. Read for only 10 minutes unless you're doing a workshop. Memorize in advance as much of these excerpts as you can. This will let you make periodic eye contact with the audience when reading to them.


If you have a book that can’t be read, arrange a debate with someone whose views oppose yours. Ask a local luminary or journalist to interview you, which is another way to get journalists interested in your book. Or give a charming, well-rehearsed, informative, and passionate lecture.


End with a big finish, a bang. It should be you at your best.


To avoid the awkward silence after you ask, "Does anyone have any questions?" ask the audience what they'd like to hear about. If silence reigns, pass out a handout of 20 frequently asked questions. Some will be aspiring authors; therefore include the question of how you wrote your book and got published. Then stop after five questions to sign books and let people escape.  


The event, including Q&A, should last about half an hour even if people are having fun. After a certain point, they will drift away and won’t buy books. You can always hang around afterward and chat. If you do, get suggestions from these audience members for additional venues.


Afterwards, thank the employees at the event and get business cards so you can send a note.


When signing books for buyers


Have a pad of Post-it notes and ask people in line to write a) the name they'd like you to use, b) if they want it on the cover or the title page, and c) if they want a short message (two-sentence maximum), a dedication to that person or to someone else, or just your signature. If a dedication is requested, be sure to spell the name right. This makes autographing go faster, especially in a noisy environment when others are waiting and may change their mind in buying the book.


Also have a sign-up sheet for your mailing list by your side. Ask people if they want to sign your list while you sign the book. On the list ask how they found out about the event and your book.





Multi-author events / panels


You've probably already amassed a list of authors who have written books complementary to yours. Hopefully you have read these books, are signed up to their blogs, and are e-friends with some of them. If you approach an author as a fan and now a colleague about teaming up for an event, you could end up with not only an advocate but a real friend as well. Each of you can speak on your own at the event or as parts of a panel. 


Multi-author events are more exciting than readings. They let you connect with well-known authors and raise your profile as a result. These events also mean bigger crowds because each author brings her own friends. The media likes them, especially when the issue is newsworthy. Booksellers like them because they sell more books than events with just one author.



Venues for events




Many bookstores book a minimum of six months ahead. The more popular the store, allow for a longer lead time to give yourself plenty of time to promote the event, which stores will not do for you. There are strict but unwritten rules about how many venues you can do in one city, as well as how to set up events with the chains. If you do events at two different stores in the same city in the same month, you'll likely make both of them unhappy.


Explain why your event will sell books. Is a book group coming? Do you have local media contacts? Assert that you will actively promote it, will get press, and will get people to come.


After the bookstore event, when you're finished signing books for attendees, sign as much stock as you can. Signed books on shelves often get a little sticker that says "autographed copy." It raises the value of the book and draws people's attention. There's a good chance the booksellers will display your signed books in some nice spot and will be less likely to return your books.


While at the shelf for your book, rearrange the copies so that your cover is facing out. Also politely ask the bookseller if your book can be placed in a more prominent position and if they can confirm that the number of copies on the shelves matches the number in the store's computer. They will not reorder your book if they think they have copies on hand. If they are low on copies, ask if they can order more.


Living room tours


If strapped for dollars, consider a living-room tour. Call on friends and family around the country to host you for a night and an event in their home to which they invite other friends and family. You're guaranteed both a captive audience and people who want to see you succeed. It is so much more intimate than a bookstore event because it is in someone's living room, with all their friends. You might sell a lot more books here than you ever will in stores. Three stipulations:


·         The hosts try to get 15-20 friends to show up, each of whom bring a snack to share.

·         The hosts get a free signed copy of your book.

·         The hosts agree to let you sleep on a spare bed or couch if your home is in another city.




Libraries host author events and are great buyers of regional books. Look for your local Friends of Libraries group and visit your library’s website as well as www.ala.org, the site for the American Library Association (ALA).


Book clubs


Find book groups on the web, in chat rooms, through bookstores, and elsewhere. Note that they prefer paperbacks. To help them say yes to you, put a reading guide in the back of your book, post discussion questions on your website, and offer video chats so they can meet you.


Trade conferences


Many trade associations, special interest groups, and trade-show conference planners sell books and educational materials to their members. Contact those associations who may be interested in selling your book; offer a discount to members. Allow them to publish excerpts from your book for free on their website in order to generate interest and sales. In particular, try to attend the Book Expo of America, a.k.a. BEA, so you can collect catalogs from publishers to see what books will be released in the upcoming year. See www.biztradeshows.com and www.bookexpoamerica.com.



Other ways of getting publicity


Online groups


Participate in chat groups, also called forums, newsgroups, LISTSERV email lists, and bulletin boards. There are Internet groups that care about your subject, and you should be part of them. By answering relevant questions and showing your expertise, you build a real presence. To see what is available, go to http://groups.yahoo.com or https://groups.google.com/forum.  While overt advertising is unwelcomed, you should have the title of your book as part of your signature.


Be a reviewer yourself


Within your reviews for other books, position yourself as an expert in your field and as an author, and mention the title of your book. For example, say, "As the author of [insert book title], I've read and reviewed many books on this topic. This one offers..."





Mention signed copies at stores


When you visit bookstores, ask their permission to autograph your book, and then use Google+, Facebook, or Twitter to tell people which stores have it.


Speeches and consulting


An informative book can lead to speaking and consulting opportunities, a natural outcome of a book that adds value to people's lives. Once you have spoken at several places, approach a public-speaking agent. If you speak or hold workshops regularly, include in your proposals and press kits a list of select speaking engagements for previous and upcoming years. If you speak in front of large audiences (500 or more), include those numbers.  If you go out on a book tour, offer to speak at schools, universities, or other organizations, even for free.


Book award contests


Enter your book for as many awards as you can afford. For some awards, you can be nominated in more than one category. Awards typically have "reading fees," application costs from $10 to $50. Poets & Writers Magazine is a great place for prize listings.


If your book is related to your job


Go to as many conferences and trade meetings as you can in the months before the publication date. Ask colleagues to talk up your book. Trade-industry newsletters are a great way to reach a targeted audience. Can you get one to do a Q&A?


Turn your book into some other cool thing


Make it into something else to expand your audience and earn more profits. Examples include one-person shows and a line of t-shirts. An unknown play by an unknown writer, put on at a small but respected theater, is more likely to get reviewed than an unknown book by an unknown writer from the biggest publisher. It could also help raise your book's profile as a possible movie or TV project.


Look for licensees, manufacturers or whoever else makes the stuff you'd like to sell. Use the same sales methods as you have all along to approach these companies. If you succeed, you may be able to develop a whole line of products, each of which will raise your visibility another notch and hopefully put some gold in your pot.










Pricing strategies


1.      To spread your ideas and to establish yourself as a sector expert, charge less.

2.      For your ebook, start at a low price - for example, $0.99 or even free - to achieve critical mass, and then raise the price to $2.99 or more, up to $5.99. Don’t go above that.

3.      Give away the ebook with hopes that people will then pay for the print copy for the better reading experience.


4.      Occasionally run discounts. The high price conveys high value, so a deal feels valuable.

5.      Your price for the print version depends on your printing cost per book, the print-on-demand company’s extra cut for each book, ongoing marketing expenses you have, and the profit margin you want.


Importance of preorders


You can accumulate massive preorders that will count as part of the first week of sales, regardless of when, prior to publication, they were placed. Preorders get everyone excited and prompt the booksellers to double their initial orders. When preorders occur all at once, on that first day your book goes on sale, they can mean the difference between success and oblivion. You can do this to launch yourself onto bestseller lists or Amazon’s Top 100 list. Start a few months out. If once a month, for the three months prior to publication, you can sell 50 to 100 books in a single day, you can get the online booksellers' attention.


If you sell your book directly to customers from your website, work out a promotion strategy. Readers get, say, 20% off any orders placed on your site during the first day or week of publication. Discounts are great incentives.


Digital Rights Management (DRM)


Amazon, Apple, and others offer the choice of adding DRM security for your book, but you may want to decline these services because:


·         DRM inconveniences honest people.

·         DRM doesn't stop dishonest people.

·         Even if you could stop the dishonest people, they won't buy your book.

·         Even dishonest people, if they like your book, may tell others to buy and read your book.

·         You should focus on writing a book that's worth stealing and marketing it so that the world knows about it.


Use a free ebook to sell the printed book


Ebooks make lousy gifts, but you could use them to seed the market and then sell the printed version for people to give as gifts. Arrange it so that people get the ebook for free when buying the printed book.


Selling through Amazon


Their sales ranks


A sales rank of 100,000 or less is fantastic. If your book has a sales rank of 50,000 that means that it is the 50,000th best-selling item on Amazon on that day.


Their one downside


You will make considerably less in royalties per book than you would from sales otherwise. This is because of the large trade discount that they take off your book’s cover price for their profit.


Help their customers find your book


Use categories, keywords, and tags to help them. Consider what best describes your book.




When you list your book on Amazon, you can choose two BISAC categories, a book industry standard for subject headings. You are choosing a browsing-path for readers, a hierarchy of sub-categories for readers to follow. Amazon used to allow you to choose five categories, which is why some books have more categories listed at the bottom of their product page.




These are really key phrases since they can be more than one word. These keywords are used by Amazon in its own search engine — along with words in your title, subtitle, and product description. You can usually choose up to seven keywords, along with the two categories. The keywords are searchable in Kindle Store as well as in the main search box on Amazon’s website.




Tags are a kind of keyword or key phrase. They are listed on a book’s product page under the heading “Tag This Product” and can help readers describe and find products. Readers can click on any tag and find other books with the same one. They can also say that a tag is useful and can add their own tags, so you will see some that are misspelled.


In the tag section on the product page there is a special search box labeled “Search Products Tagged With.”  By entering terms in that special search box, readers can search tags, but only tags and not keywords. Unlike the keywords you assigned to your book, tags are not searchable in Amazon’s main search box on its website or in a search of the Kindle Store on Kindle devices.


After publication, you can add tags to the product page just like readers can. Check out the tags to make sure they reflect the findings of your keyword research. If not, add appropriate tags.


Selling your printed book via Amazon




Amazon’s CreateSpace will automatically make your printed book available on Amazon.


Send buyers to Amazon from your site


The Amazon Associates program lets you link your website to your book’s page on Amazon. For each sale that comes through that link, you make an extra percentage. Each sale counts on your royalty statement and toward bestseller lists. See https://affiliate-program.amazon.com.



Selling your ebook through Amazon


Kindle Direct Publishing (https://kdp.amazon.com/signin) is Amazon’s self-publishing service for selling your ebook. It will account for most of your sales. Upload your book to reach people who use Kindle devices as well as those who use tablets, smart phones, and computers with Kindle applications. Here you can also manage your author account, adjust prices, and track your earnings.


1.      Enter basic information such as your book's title, description, and ISBN. Many people refer to this information as the "metadata" of a book. The form says that an ISBN is optional because Amazon will assign a number ("Amazon Standard Identification Number") if you aren't selling your book through other resellers.


The book description is one of the most important pieces of writing you'll do for your book. Be clear; people are going to skim it. Be compelling; explain how your book adds value to their lives. Be clever; use popular keywords for your book's genre to help people find it.


2.      Confirm that you own the publishing rights.

3.      Choose up to two keyword categories for your book.

4.      Upload your book cover. The recommended size is 2,500 pixels by 1,563 pixels. Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) accepts .jpeg and .tiff files.


5.      Choose whether to add digital rights management (DRM) to your book. This is not advised because it inconveniences readers and still doesn't stop pirates. Upload your file in .doc, .htm, .mobi, .epub, .txt, .rtf, or .pdf format, or ideally, upload a .mobi file.


6.      Preview your book to ensure that it looks the way you want.

7.      Select the regions of the world where you own the rights to your book. Since you're self-publishing, you own the worldwide rights.


8.      Select your royalty rate and set prices. The 70% royalty rate incurs delivery charges and the 35% rate doesn't. You can set prices for each country or peg your price to the US price. For more on this, see https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A29FL26OKE7R7B


9.      Decide whether people can lend their books.

10.  Confirm that you have the right to publish the book and agree to the terms.

11.  Announce your ebook to the Kindle fans at www.kindleboards.com in their Book Bazaar section: www.kboards.com/index.php?board=42.0 .




·         Royalty: 35%, or 70% ($2.99-$9.99 less delivery charges)

·         Time until available for sales: One day

·         Price limits: [35% (Less than 3MB, $0.99-$200; 3MB-10MB, $1.99-$200; Greater than 10MB, $2.99-$200)], 70% ($2.99-$9.99)

·         File size limits: 200 MB (additional restrictions for .epub)

·         Input formats: .doc, .htm, .mobi, .epub, .txt, .rtf, .pdf

·         Output format: .mobi

·         Cover design size and format: .jpeg or .tiff; minimum 1000px on longest side; ideal height/width ratio is 1.6; for best quality, use 2500px on longest side


·         Multiple admin: No

·         Countries: 246 countries and territories

·         Pricing for individual countries: All countries pegged to U.S. pricing, but you can override a country's price


KDP Select


If you enroll your book in KDP Select, you're making your ebook available only through KDP. During a 90-day period of exclusivity, you cannot distribute your book digitally anywhere else, including on your website, blogs, etc. However, you can continue to sell paper copies.


In exchange for a 90-day Amazon exclusive, your book goes into the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library and you can offer the ebook for free for up to five days. People who own Kindle devices (not Kindle apps running on other devices) and who are Amazon Prime members can participate in this program. Participants can borrow books from a collection of 180,000 titles to read on their Kindle devices. There is a limit of one book per month, with no due date. Authors in the program also receive a portion of the Kindle Owners' Lending Library fund based on how often people borrowed their book. See https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/KDPSelect .


Your book will still be available for anyone to buy in the Kindle Store, and you'll continue to earn royalties from those sales.


If you opt in for KDP Select, you will also earn 70% royalty for sales to customers in Japan, India, Brazil and Mexico and get to choose between two promotions: Kindle Countdown Deals (time-sensitive discount promotions for your book) or Free Book Promotion, where readers worldwide can get your book for free for a limited time.



Reading the Kindle version without a Kindle


Tell your readers that they can read the Kindle version of your book without buying a Kindle device. They can use the free Kindle reading apps on computers, phones, and tablets as well as the Firefox, Chrome, and Safari browsers to read a Kindle book stored in the cloud. Send them to www.amazon.com/gp/feature.HTML?ie=UTF8&docId=1000493771.


Wait 90 days and then sell elsewhere too


If you sign up for KDP Select, list your ebook with other online distributors and resellers after the 90-day exclusive period has expired. Set up an account at Apple (iBookstore), Barnes & Noble, Google (Google Play), and Kobo. Use Smashwords with any other resellers.



Selling your ebook elsewhere


Apple’s iBookstore


Apple iBookstore is Apple's platform for selling ebooks, and it is the second biggest player. It carries two types of ebooks: the traditional ebook and the Multi-Touch ebook for iPads only.


Register for an account on the iBookstore website as an iTunes Content Provider, which is managed through a service called iTunes Connect (https://itunesconnect.apple.com/WebObjects/iTunesConnect.woa/wa/bookSignup). iTunes Connect is a portal for sales tracking, banking information, contracts, and support.


You manage and upload books with a desktop app called iTunes Producer; it is a free download for registered iBookstore content providers on iTunes. iTunes Producer is Macintosh-only software and currently requires that you are running at least OSX 10.6. Then upload your book to iBookstore in either the .epub or Multi-Touch format.


You must sell Multi-Touch ebooks through the iBookstore, and they only work on iPads. However, you can give away your book, or sample chapters, outside of iBookstore. You also can sell a .pdf exported from iBooks Author outside of iBookstore.




·         Royalty: 70%

·         Time until available for sales: One week

·         Price limits: .epub: $39.99; Textbooks: $14.99

·         File size limits: Multi-Touch: 2GB (1 GB Max recommended)

·         Input formats: .epub, iBOOKS (Multi-Touch)

·         Output format: .epub

·         Cover design size and format: .jpeg or .png; minimum 1400px on short side

·         Multiple admin: Yes

·         Countries: 32 countries and territories

·         Pricing for individual countries: Set one country at a time


Barnes & Noble’s Nook Press


To make your book available to Nook owners, you upload an .epub file to Nook Press (www.nookpress.com). When you upload it, remove any encryption that may have been added by your application (for example, by Adobe InDesign). Encryption sometimes occurs automatically by these programs when embedding fonts and other assets.


·         Royalty: 40%: $0.01-$2.98; 65%: $2.99-$9.99; 40%: $9.99+

·         Time until available for sales: One to three days

·         Price limits: None

·         File size limits: 20 MB

·         Input formats: .doc, .htm, .epub, .txt, and .rtf

·         Output format: .epub

·         Cover design size and format: .jpeg, Less than 2MB; Sides must be between 750px and 2000px.

·         Multiple admin: No

·         Countries: NA

·         Pricing for individual countries: Percentage of list price


Google Play


Google Play (https://play.google.com/store) is Google's content store that sells the same stuff as the iTunes stores does. It is worthwhile because of the success of Android phones and tablets as well as Google's ability to direct the river of web traffic.


On Google Play you set a suggested retail price, and there's a 52 to 48 percent split between you and Google play, respectively. You can either manually set a price for each territory, or you can configure Google Play to automatically set the price based on a percentage (which you define) of the lowest list price found in other channels.


You have two choices when providing your book to Google Play. The first is like other ebook resellers: Upload your .epub or .pdf file. If it is less than 10 MB, you can upload it via the standard HTML website. If it is larger than 10 MB, you need to use the Google Uploader Java application. The second way is to send Google a physical copy, and they will scan it.


To stay up to date, go to books.google.com and click on "Information for publishers" at the bottom. Also see https://support.google.com/books/partner/?hl=en#topic=3424344. You control how much of your book people can browse for free on Google Books, with a minimum of 20%.


·         Royalty: 52%

·         Time until available for sales: Two days

·         Price limits: None

·         File size limits: 10 MB via website, 1.2 GB via Google Uploader

·         Input formats: .epub and .pdf

·         Output format: .epub

·         Cover design size and format: .jpeg, .pdf, and .tiff (No requirements listed, but assume at least 1000px on longest side)


·         Multiple admin: No

·         Countries: 229 countries and territories

·         Pricing for individual countries: US and UK only




Kobo (http://store.kobobooks.com/en-us) accepts .doc, .mobi, and .epub files. Their royalty rate is 70% for the author, and you must price your book between $1.99 and $12.99; otherwise Kobo uses a 45% royalty. They have a program for authors called Kobo Writing Life and a program for publishers called Kobo Publisher Operations. You sign up for an account if you're an author, and you fill out a questionnaire if you're a publisher.


·         Royalty: 70%

·         Time until available for sales: One to three days

·         Price limits: $1.99-$12.99

·         File size limits: 10MB

·         Input formats: .epub, .doc, .docx, .mobi, and .odt

·         Output format: .epub

·         Cover design size and format: .jpeg or .png, less than 2MB

·         Multiple admin: No

·         Countries: 200 countries

·         Pricing for individual countries: Set one region at a time




Smashwords (www.smashwords.com) is the largest indie ebook distributor. For free you can upload your manuscript as a Microsoft Word file to the Smashwords service, which converts the files into multiple ebook formats for reading on various ebook reading devices.


Once published, the books are made available for sale online at a price set by the author, either on the Smashwords site or on other ebook sales platforms such as Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Sony, and others but not with Amazon.  You earn 60% of the list price on these other sites and 85% for sales on the Smashwords website. You can also publish your book as a preorder on these sites, which will let you accumulate sales and rise in the bestseller lists. 


Since you will earn more if you list directly with each ebook sales platform, you should try doing this before you work with Smashwords. The advantage of Smashwords is that they will list you on all of these different platforms, saving you some hassle.


Smashwords also distributes your ebook to libraries and offers free ISBNs.


Selling your ebook via your website (direct sales)


With direct sales, you upload your ebook to the service, decide on a price, and add the link to your website. People can click on the link, pay for the file, and then download it. You then pay a transaction and hosting fee to the direct-sales intermediary. This method offers the highest profit per ebook. However, you will have to drive people to your website, unlike with online resellers who already have traffic. You'll also need hosting, payment, and customer-service functionality.


After the website is set up and your ebook is ready for downloading, simply promote the site to potential readers. Visitors to your website can then learn more about your ebook, perhaps read an excerpt, purchase the ebook using a major credit card or PayPal, and download it to start reading.


Direct sales has some downsides. Ebook resellers such as Amazon and Apple pay less per copy, but they sell more copies. Also, direct sales do not count toward sales rankings for bestseller lists, and books on these widely known lists sell more. Also, selling direct is best suited for selling only the .pdf version of your ebook. These sites can sell any file format you upload, but your readers might not know what format to buy for their device or how to install your ebook.


Before you start selling your ebook directly to individuals, contact your state's department of revenue or a tax attorney and ask whether digital sales are subject to sales tax.


Gumroad (https://gumroad.com) charges $0.25 per download plus 5% of the sale for hosting and selling your file. For example, if you sell a .pdf for $3, Gumroad gets $0.40 ($0.25 + (5%*$3)), and you'd get $2.60. This is more than you would get from Kindle Direct Publishing. Gumroad also offers a " $0.00 + " option, where people can pay whatever they want, including nothing.


They only accept credit cards and unfortunately cannot tell you where your customers live, something you may need to know someday in order to charge sales tax.


E-Junkie (www.e-junkie.com) charges according to the number of files and storage space you use. The number of downloads is unlimited, unlike Gumroad's per-copy flat fee and percentage. A collection of ten files totaling less than 50 MB costs $5 per month. Therefore, if you have one book smaller than 50 MB, a huge size, you would only pay $5 per month, could sell an unlimited number, and keep the differential. Unlike Gumroad, customers can use PayPal. Also unlike Gumroad, E-Junkie can calculate sales tax because it knows where your customers live.


ClickBank (www.clickbank.com/monetize-your-knowledge) lets you create an account, upload your file, price it, and sell it. There is a $49.95 activation fee to get started. Customers can use credit cards or PayPal. You set a wholesale price, the price at which ClickBank and other affiliates buy the book from you, and a retail price, the price customers see and pay. Unlike Gumroad and E-Junkie, ClickBank has an affiliate program, where its members can get an affiliate link to their favorite books and promote the link on their blog and through social media.


Ganxy (http://get.ganxy.com) enables you to sell your ebook in .epub, .mobi, and .pdf format. It provides payment functionality, file hosting, and customer service. The charge is 10% of the net sales, which is the selling price of the ebook minus a payment-processing fee.



Selling your printed book elsewhere


Barnes & Noble


B&N’s rules are complex for listing on their site, www.bn.com, and their stores. See these links:


-          www.barnesandnoble.com/help/cds2.asp?PID=8153

-          www.barnesandnobleinc.com/for_publishers/How_to_Submit_a_Book/How_to_Submit_a_Book.HTML

-          www.barnesandnobleinc.com/for_authors/how_to_work_with_bn/how_to_work_with_bn.HTML .


If you need help, email PublisherAuthorInquiry@BN.com or call their Publisher Services Information line at (732) 656-7285.


Barnes & Noble has a series of author profiles called “Meet the Writers.” See www.barnesandnoble.com/writers/writer.asp?cid=1145572


Other stores


As a self-publisher, don’t expect to have a lot of success here. Bookstores are reluctant to carry self-published books from print-on-demand companies because the stores cannot return the books nor get credit terms. It's also very hard to get good shelf placement so it’s likely that no one will see the copies the store has anyway. Furthermore, your royalty drops on in-store sales.


Booksellers may purchase your book but insist on doing so at a discount of 40-60% off the cover price. First get listed with a distributor such as Ingram. When you call with your pitch, mention that they can download your sales tip sheet and press kit from your website. The tip sheet explains why your book is worth selling. If they are interested, follow up a week later and suggest an event if it seems doable.


Strategies for any store:


·         If you have a friend who is a successful author, have her introduce your book.

·         Call and set up an appointment.

·         Make sure you're talking to the right employee.

·         Be sensitive to what's going on in the store when you come in.

·         Soft sell a pitch that’s content-oriented. The more articulate you are, the better.

·         Get to the point.

·         Offer to sell your books on a consignment basis where you’re paid only when a book is sold.  


For chains, including both bookstores and other places, you will have to go through the head office to reach the person in charge of buying. Call and be prepared to send to the inventory buyer a printed copy, your marketing plan, and links to your press kit and sales tip sheet.


Independent booksellers


Compared to chains, independent bookstores are easier to approach, more likely to stock your book, and more likely to ask for a lower discount, around 40%. Unfortunately, unless you have a distributor, you'll have to call each bookstore individually. This could take over a thousand calls.


Start local. Most independents want to help local authors and are willing to take at least one copy of your book if it fits with what they sell. Local authors are great PR because they bring in many people from the community. If you are a local author, say, "I'm a local author and have written a book; I'd love for you to sell it here. What is the best way for me to follow up?"


Encourage them to read your book. At many independent stores, employees are encouraged to write reviews of books they like and to make picks of their favorite new releases. This means that individual opinion, and, by proxy, your connections with individual booksellers, can lead to a quantifiable result: prominent placement in their stores.


Don’t overlook college towns. Bookstores here can put on great events and sell lots of books.


Independent booksellers' associations


·         American Booksellers Association - www.bookweb.org (sellers listed by state)

·         Indiebound - www.indiebound.org – for independent booksellers

·         Mountains & Plains Independent BA - www.mountainsplains.org

·         Pacific Northwest BA - www.pnba.org

·         New Atlantic Independent BA - www.naiba.com

·         New England Independent BA - www.newenglandbooks.org

·         Southeast BA - www.sibaweb.com

·         Southern California BA - www.scibabooks.org

·         Northern California Independent BA - www.nciba.com

·         Upper Midwest BA - http://midwestbooksellers.org




Sales tip-sheet template


·         your name:           

·         publisher/imprint (how the name appears on the spine of the book):

·         book title:

·         subtitle:    

·         series:       

·         co-author if there is one:  

·         illustrator(s):         

·         if non-fiction, your credentials:

·         publication month:           

·         publication year:   

·         ships from:

·         distributor/wholesaler:

·         Does this tip sheet replace an earlier submission?

·         keynote (one-sentence description of book):

·         description (your pitch) (limit to 75 words):

·         ISBN 10 or 13 with or w/o dashes:

·         ISBN 10:  

·         ISBN 13:  

·         subject shelving category:

·         BISAC 1:

·         BISAC 2:  

·         BISAC 3:

·         children's book (yes/no):  

·         price (US$):

·         discount:  

·         format (hardcover/trade paperback/mass-market paperback/ebook):      

·         foreign rights:

·         trim size (in inches, width by height—not metric):

·         page count:           

·         # B&W photos:    

·         # B&W illustrations:        

·         # color photos:     

·         # color illustrations:          

·         other: (include number and description) (Example: 17 recipes):

·         carton quantity:

·         brief author bio (include city and state):  

·         your previous books (Title & ISBN) separated by semicolon; list up to 3 with sales figures:     

·         illustrator bio (include city and state):

·         illustrator's previous books (title & ISBN) separated by semicolon; up to 3 with sales figures:

·         ISBN of previous edition (with dashes):

·         date of first printing:

·         sales talking points (features and benefits):

·         endorsements/blurbs:

·         reviews:    

·         audience/positioning:       

·         competition/comparisons (up to three other books) - title of book, publisher, price, ISBN, publication date, in-print quantity (if possible); separated by semicolon; sales figures


·         extra sales materials to support the book:

·         How will people know about the book?

·         other aspects of your marketing plan:

·         if audio, # of minutes (total):       

·         if audio, # of CD's in set:

·         if audio, read by / performed by:

·         if audio, abridged / unabridged:




Selling in person


Wherever you may be selling, bring a generous supply of books, Enthrill gift cards, and a small table from which to sell the books.  Be ready to accept cash or credit-card payment, to issue a receipt with a copy for yourself, and to collect sales tax if your state demands it.


If you're going to accept cash, especially at busy events, have a register or cash box that remains safe, especially if you get distracted. If you're interacting with readers, signing books, and answering questions, have a friend handle the money and sell your books for you.


For accepting credit cards


Establish a merchant account through a financial institution or a specialized provider. It entails a one-time set-up fee, an ongoing monthly fee, and sometimes a transaction fee (2%-5%). It should let you accept orders on your website and in person with a handheld device. Non-swiped transactions, where you don’t see the card, cost extra. After customers’ payments are authorized, the funds are transferred into your account within three business days.


Read all the contracts and agreements carefully. Know the terms, including how long the contract is in effect and what the fees are. Ask about rate-review policies. After you establish a working relationship with a merchant bank, request a reduction in your discount rate after several months. Even a small reduction saves you money in the long run.


Companies worth considering as of 02/02/2014:


·         www.paypal.com

·         www.merchantexpress.com

·         www.shopify.com

·         www.merchant-accounts.ca (works for USA)

·         http://gopayment.intuit.ca/credit-card-processing/mobile-payment-faq.jsp (works for USA)

·         https://squareup.com : You can use this small card reader with a smartphone.

·         http://payments.intuit.com : If you need inventory-management or bookkeeping software and decide to go with QuickBooks, they have an integrated credit-card processing service.



Steps later on


Making an audio version


You can produce an audiobook version using a service from Amazon Audible called the Audiobook Creation Exchange.


1.      Confirm that you own the audio rights to your book.

2.      Create a profile with a short description of your book, your thoughts on the best kind of narrator, and a short excerpt.


3.      Post your book. Producers and narrators will see your post and hopefully express interest. You can also listen to sample narrations and hold a "casting call."


4.      Audition producers and narrators, and then pick one. You can also narrate the book yourself. Reading your own book helps you form a close personal bond with your readers. However, this requires a good reading voice.


5.      Cut a deal. The service provides the paperwork and mechanism. You can choose to pay on a per-hour basis or share royalties.


6.      You will need to get an ISBN for your audiobook.

7.      Amazon will link the audio version of your book to the details page for your ebook or printed book so that customers are aware of your available formats.


Releasing a new edition


Perhaps the world changes and makes your book more relevant than ever but in need of a new chapter or two. Perhaps your book is popular with book groups, and a reader's guide would be a great addition. Perhaps a movie is being made of your book, necessitating a new cover featuring movie stars. These scenarios give your book fresh legs; use this chance to do some more editing.


Upgrading to AmazonEncore


If enough people clamor for your printed book, try to cut a deal with AmazonEncore, the flagship imprint of Amazon Publishing (www.apub.com/imprint-detail?imprint=4). It uses sales results and customer reviews to identify high, potential self-published books. AmazonEncore then acquires these books and republishes them with Amazon’s marketing support and sales distribution clout.


Think of AmazonEncore as a traditional publisher such as Penguin, HarperCollins, or Random House. It signs authors, pays advances, and provides editing, copyediting, cover design, interior design, layout, and marketing, as well as providing distribution to bookstores as well as to Amazon itself. AmazonEncore books can come in ebook, paperback, and hardcover formats.





Coker, M. (2011). Smashwords Style Guide - How to Format Your Ebook (Smashwords Guides).


Eckstut, A., & Sterry, D. H. (2010). The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published.


Kawasaki, G., & Welch, S. (2012). APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur - How to Publish a Book.


Levine, M. (2011). The Fine Print of Self-Publishing, Fourth Edition - Everything You Need to Know About the Costs, Contracts, and Process of Self-Publishing.


Rich, J. (2006). Self-publishing for Dummies.


Ross, M. H., Ross, T., & Collier, S. (2010). The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing: Everything You Need to Know to Write, Publish, Promote and Sell Your Own Book.


Shepard, A. (2010). POD for Profit: More on the NEW Business of Self Publishing, or How to Publish Your Books

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