|The Angel Inside
By Allison Zopel
My main intention ... for writing this book is to remind people that inside of each one of us there is an entire world. And inside that world, there is the immense and incredible power and ability to heal.RealityIsBooks titles are available online at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble, and through most major bookstores throughout the U.S. and Canada, and in the United Kingdom, Europe and Australia.
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Manuscript Preparation & Editing
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your book, email Publish@RealityIsBooks.com or call 847-776-8528.
|A Welcomed Change
By Barbara Janssens
In Book Two of the Joslyn and Ed Series, Ashley and Joslyn will meet their future spouses. After meeting her future husband Marty, Ashley becomes concerned over leaving Joslyn alone. But it isn’t long before Joslyn is introduced to Ed, a widower who is Marty’s uncle. While Ashley is welcomed into the family, Joslyn must contend with the unwillingness of her fiancé’s two grown daughters to be happy for their father’s upcoming nuptials.
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You and Your Manuscript
The Publishing Decision
Getting It Printed
Give Yourself a Promotion
Far and Wide ... Or Not
Capitalize on Your
Manuscript Preparation Guide
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What are your options for publishing your book?
This overview is for those who are unfamiliar with self-publishing, are dissatisfied with previous experiences, or have not had the desired response from trade publishers. If you already know what you want to accomplish with your book, or are looking for editorial services for other types of manuscripts, such as articles, presentations, etc., please click on the RealityIsBooks Services link at the left, then call to discuss your project. Otherwise, read on.
To help organize your thoughts on self-publishing, it may be useful to think of the process in six parts, the first six links at the left. These are the basic components of publishing, and it is our purpose to provide self-publishing authors with assistance in those aspects in which they either do not have the requisite experience or do not desire to develop it.
Of course, not everything here applies in equal degree to every book; a book intended for limited private circulation will have different needs and priorities than the hoped-for best seller. Perhaps the primary consideration at this stage is the fact that authors are so intimately involved with their work. As a self-published author, with responsibility for practically every aspect of your book’s success, that relationship will intensify over the foreseeable future, certainly until time and other developments put it into a broader perspective. This is part of why we discuss aspects of the process beyond those in which RealityIsBooks may be directly involved. We believe that most self-published books are not just products to be sold independent of the author, but exist for many other, often complex reasons.
You will find that RealityIsBooks provides several services for those who are ready to publish their fiction or nonfiction book, manual, or reference work. These services can include converting your manuscript to computer format if necessary, editing your manuscript, composition of the manuscript into print-ready pages, providing expertise in dealing with the printing and distribution of your book, and help in creating the materials with which to promote it and yourself. Any or all of these services are available as needed to complete your project.
You and Your Manuscript
Everything begins with the author and manuscript, of course, and the implicit understanding that the book is about something that will be of interest to some particular audience of readers. Initially, the book may be of interest only to the author, but as it develops, the book is seen as having value to others, whether they are only a small number of immediate friends and family, others with like interests, larger groups with some connection to the subject matter, or general audiences who may enjoy the story or historical content. You will make your life as an author simpler and easier by considering your answers to three broad questions as you explore self-publishing your work. Knowing the answers to these questions will help you to determine what is or is not appropriate for your project as you go forward.
Why did you write your book?
There are many valid reasons to self-publish; depending on your goals, several may apply. Some of the more obvious are mentioned here to help you begin to consider which are relevant to you.
Financial gain. As a career or as a hobby, profitability will allow you to decide how you spend your time.
Establish and support credibility. Publishing enhances your personal and professional esteem.
Support and enhance other activities. Authorship provides a foundation for current business, publicity, attracts new customers.
Expand beyond your field. Demonstrate your knowledge of an unrelated field beyond what is expected from your current resume.
Promote causes or views. Be more effective in promoting your political, social, or other causes.
Communicate special perspectives. A book communicates ideas far beyond your personal group of contacts.
Focus on specialized interests. Reach others of similar interest, no matter how specialized your focus may be.
Make a literary contribution. You don't have to wait for literary merit to be seen by others as commercial potential.
Create a personal expression. Control the presentation of your ideas.
Preserve personal knowledge. Pass your story on to others when you are no longer here to tell it in your own words.
Personal enjoyment, creativity, self-expression. Perhaps the best reason of all to self-publish—just because you want to.
Broadly speaking, your readers are those who share your interests and can benefit in some way from reading what you have to say about those interests. When considering self-publishing your work, however, it is helpful to be more specific. Fortunately, the answers to why you have written your book also point to who your natural audiences will be. To begin, focus only on those groups who are likely to have an obvious interest in your topic. If your book is successful with these groups, those with a peripheral interest will find it without your having to spend much energy and resources on bringing it to their attention.
Knowing which are your high interest groups will enable you to decide how best to reach them, and point you toward making effective decisions on what they will expect in book format, content, language level, pricing, availability, and many more areas. For example, suppose your book focuses on your experiences bicycling around your part of the state to see and photograph the things missed when traveling by car. A few moments spent imagining will immediately yield potential reader groups, sponsors, professional groups with a possible interest, magazines and local media that could be ideal promotional venues, plus ordinary people reachable through lectures at businesses, libraries, and events, possibly even a potential for a tie in of your book with local charitable fundraisers and their publicity efforts.
How will you distribute your book?
Distribution can be considered to be of three general categories, and in most situations it is likely that you will utilize all three. They are giveaways, indirect sales, and direct sales. Each has its applications, advantages and concerns to be addressed. The details of each and how they can work to your benefit are best discussed in the context of your particular book, but we will touch on a few considerations.
You will want some quantity of books to give away to friends and as samples. Some retailers, and practically all book reviewers, editors, columnists and similar contacts, will need or will appreciate a copy of your book along with any other promotional materials you may hand out. A caution: If you expect people to value your work, treat it with respect for its value yourself; do not hand out copies to everyone you run across or send copies blindly to every name on a list, but rather establish that it is given in consideration of something valuable being exchanged in return. In professional situations, this will often be the good will of the recipient.
If you will give lectures, seminars or presentations in which your own expertise is the subject, having your book available to sell as part of the program not only reinforces your credibility, it can add some additional income to any fees you may charge for speaking. Alternatively, the book may be promoted as part of the value received by those attending your presentation, or as a broader view of a narrower topic on which you will speak. Exposure to your book, either by itself or in combination with your talk, can also create future clients for your services. Again, your attitude about the value of your book will condition the same perception on the part of others.
Finally, yours may be a work that is intended to have a certain level of mass appeal. In this case, you will want to explore your options for retail sales, both through brick and mortar stores, through internet outlets such as Amazon.com and the sites maintained by major (and not so major) book retailers, and direct sales through your own website. With the exception of your own website sales, the retail approach obviously trades a higher percentage of profit for greater volume.
If you will sell your work to people beyond those who already know you, each of the aspects involved must be considered. While you certainly do not need to plan and make final decisions on each and every detail at this stage, you do need to be aware that they exist, and be prepared to deal with them as they come up and affect your decisions on other aspects of your book. Content, design, production, audience(s), marketing, promotion, resources available—all interact and influence one another. On the bright side, thousands of others have undertaken self-publishing of their books and done it successfully. There’s no reason that you cannot do so, too.
The Publishing Decision
Second comes the decision to invest in publishing your work. At this point, the author must determine either to finance the publication himself or convince someone else to underwrite its publication, usually through profit from the sale of the finished work and items related to it, or some inducement involving publicity for an underwriting organization. This decision will move forward along four main paths.
The most obvious option for an author is to submit the manuscript to a trade publisher. In this situation, in return for ownership of the rights to the work, the publisher pays all the costs. The publisher undertakes all the production of the book from editing through print, plus the promotion and distribution of the work, and agrees to pay the author royalties and possibly an advance on future sales of the book.
Alternatively, the author may choose to subsidize the publishing of the book, referred to as vanity publishing. “Subsidize” is used euphemistically here: In return for the rights to the book, the publisher lets the author pay all of the costs. We do not recommend this approach.
The author may seek a sponsor for the book. A sponsor may be interested in the publicity value of being mentioned in the book, or the fact that they are subsidizing it. Sponsorship can be arranged prior to writing, during development, or after the book is written. Depending on circumstances and what one’s agreement may be, this is essentially a work for hire, even if the arrangements are made after the fact, and is more complicated than any of the above approaches.
The author can decide to self-publish. With this approach, the author retains all the rights to the book and also pays all the costs. Here, the decision to publish is not dependent on others’ viewpoints, agendas, and priorities, as it is with commercial publishing. The author retains almost total control over the finished product (subject to some physical limitations of production) and how it is marketed and distributed. Importantly, the author also retains a significant portion of the net profits from the book. When the right production sources are engaged, professional quality is assured and production costs are controlled. Some promotional and distribution functions are also often included or are available at nominal cost. Disadvantages include lack of support from a commercial publisher with a vested interest in the book’s success, and funding is limited to the author’s resources. Provided that the author compares the alternatives available from self-publishing sources and understands the terms of their author agreements, this can be a viable option for most authors.
Regardless of publishing method or considerations of subject, size, market, and so forth, the first step to preparing a work for others is to make sure that it is in a form that can be readily used by those who will need to work on it after you have finished writing, or even while it is being developed. To this end, we have included here a basic guide to manuscript preparation (see the link below). It is equally applicable to writing articles for magazine publication or to preparing a manuscript for publication in book form. Following these guidelines will help you communicate clearly and minimize the time and expense of working with your manuscript.
If your current manuscript is not in computer text file format, that is, it is typewritten, handwritten, or some combination of the two, it will have to be converted before it can be edited. If you do not have resources for this, it can be provided in conjunction with our editing services. Once your work is in computer file format, it can be worked on by any of the editors to whom you may wish to submit it. As editor for a small specialty interest magazine in the Chicago area, I can tell you that articles that are submitted on paper, by fax, or in non-standard file formats require more work than those that have been prepared in the proper manner. The same is true for books, regardless that sample printed pages may be requested.
“Then you should say what you mean,” the March Hare went on.
“I do,” Alice hastily replied; “at least—at least I mean what I say—that’s the same thing, you know.”
“Not the same thing a bit!” said the Hatter. “Why, you might just as well say that ‘I see what I eat’ is the same thing as ‘I eat what I see’!”
“You might just as well say,” added the March Hare, “that ‘I like what I get’ is the same thing as ‘I get what I like’!”
—Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Once your manuscript is in a standard computer file format, there are two basic types of editing to be considered. Depending on the particular work, you may benefit from editing for organization, flow and communication, usually referred to as content or creative editing. Since this involves interactive cooperation between the author and editor in reworking the manuscript, the manuscript is likely to change, in some instances, to a large extent. The next step is copy editing, which covers aspects such as punctuation, grammar, spelling, proper usage, and consistency.
Most writing will be improved if it communicates its author’s concepts and content in a way that allows the intended audience to comprehend them. The author is properly concerned with the creative aspects of the work. As the author, you are intimately involved with your writing. You know what you mean and how what you say all fits together. You know what should be there on the page, and because you know all these things, that is what the mind fills in, even when it is misspelled, objectively wrong, or not there at all. Because of their closeness to their own work, authors can neither proofread it nor can they successfully edit it.
Editors are concerned with whether the reader can make sense of an author’s writing. The reader comes to the work cold, without the author’s knowledge and understanding, without having gone over the text time and again as the author has done. The editor comes to the work in a similar way, but even while he is seeing and suggesting ways to make the writing clear to the reader, at the same time he works to consciously maintain a perspective of non-assumptive objectivity.
If, as the publisher, you want your book published essentially as you have created it, content editing is less of an issue. This is often the case with personal writings, highly specialized writing, or poetic and similar works. While I make a point of focusing on clearly communicating the author’s original intent in the author’s original words as much as possible, some editors feel it is their obligation to “improve” the author’s work by putting their own personal stamp on it. If you choose to work with such an editor, you should communicate your perspective on the finished work early in the process. You will likely also want to exercise significant control over the typesetting and composition of the pages to be printed.
Copy editing, on the other hand, is a fairly straightforward proposition. With the exception of some modernisms of grammar, the other aspects such as spelling, punctuation, usage, etc., are not in question. Your work will suffer in appeal and comprehension if it contains such errors. Copy editing is essential, regardless of the degree to which you may also want input on your work’s content when published.
In self-publishing your book, the next step is prepress production: creating the body pages and cover.
Putting your pages into final form is not a difficult matter, but it does have requirements and conventions that need to be observed to create a work that can be printed. The content, length, audience, and many other factors must be considered before page composition can begin. A binding method must be chosen in order to determine the physical dimensions of the book, which in turn determines the page layout, text size, placement of any illustrations or tables, and so on.
Generally speaking, the printer you select will work with your fully composed pages which have been created in one of the several file formats the printer can handle. If you are considering several printers to produce your book, it is wise to either work to a standard that each of them can accommodate, or narrow your choice of printers before beginning to have your pages created. Although they may look essentially the same, each book is unique, and each page in a book must be fine tuned, as it were, to properly present its content and work within the manufacturing specifications of each printing format. Because of this, it can be a major project to rework a book from one format to another, and a major expense. This can be avoided by selecting your printer early in the process.
Cover design is an endless topic, but deciding on the right cover for your book will depend more on who your intended audience is than on any other factor. Will they buy from a list or pick up the book to decide if they want it? Will the book be bundled with some other product such as a seminar, a piece of software, or a series of collectibles? Will it be marketed on the internet or through a specialty interest book club? Will the purchaser be able now or in the future to buy other books from you, or items related to the book’s content? If you will distribute your book privately, what sort of impression do you want to create in the minds of those who receive it? Might your book have several audiences with different interests that should be considered?
Of course, we cannot answer these questions specifically for your particular book here, but a thoughtful discussion about for whom and for what reasons you are publishing your book will serve to clarify these details and lead to creating a cover that will answer your needs.
This covers the basic services needed for getting your book ready to self-publish. For more information on printing, promotion, distribution, and planning to capitalize on the potential of your work, click here.