How to Use Custom Printed Calendars for Fundraising

Fundraising can be tricky. Creating unique items to sell that people will be eager to buy is the bane of every fundraising chairman’s existence.

Custom printed calendars are a good fundraising choice because they are a tool that most people use regularly. There is no need to convince buyers they need a calendar. There is only the need to convince buyers they need YOUR calendar.

Why Do People Buy?

Fundraiser calendars should be attractive. They should be filled with images that people will want to display on their walls.

Custom printed calendars are unique and limited-edition, naturally creating scarcity. This will make buyers more willing to say yes to the seller in the moment.

What Should the Calendar Theme Be?

Images for the calendar should be attractive and reflective of the cause for fundraising. Calendars with adorable dogs and cats are classic for animal welfare fundraisers.

Consider what the fundraiser’s core cause is and how it can be reflected in the calendar. The correlation doesn’t have to be exact. A fundraiser to support a local care home for the elderly might feature recipes given by those residents from their childhood complete with images of the tasty dish.

A fundraiser for sick children might feature pictures drawn by those children with a simple bio explaining how funds will support that individual child.

How is the Calendar Created?

Once a theme has been decided appropriate images should be gathered and organized by month. It is helpful but not mandatory to organize the images by seasonal theme or feel. Depending on the theme of the calendar, seasonal tie-ins should be given preference in the related images.

A festive custom calendar image for December

If suitable images can’t be sourced then custom illustrations can be bought for the calendar.

Other Things to Consider 

  • Calendars can include important organizational dates such as future fundraising events along with the typically listed holidays.
  • Calendar fundraisers are most successful when done near the end of the year. If the calendars will be available to purchase for an extended period of time they should be made available from October to February. If the fundraiser is short-term then November or December are the best choices.
  • Along with attractive images, the calendar should include contact information for the fundraising organization and how to further donate to the cause.
  • Keep in mind that custom calendar publishers often offer lower prices for larger orders, so it is wise to purchase the high end of what is expected to sell so that the printing costs are ket down, and can earn more money for the intended cause.
  • Consider a betterbinding option. Saddle stitch binding is commonly used in mass-produced calendars. This sort of binding holds the calendar together with staples. It does the job and keeps costs down. However, for a fundraising calendar, wire-o double binding looks more professional and gives the calendar a higher quality look, making it more attractive to customers. While the wire-o double binding will add to production costs, it will equally add to the appeal of the finished product.
  • Custom printed calendars can be sold at events, door to door, or to local businesses. Everyone uses calendars.

InstantPublisher can help you create a custom printed calendar for your next fundraiser. Call us at 1 800 259 2592. Or fill out our online contact form. You can also send us an email to questions@instantpublisher.com.

5 Ways To Use Custom Printed Wall Calendars to Enhance Your Business

A custom printed wall calendar template

Calendars are unique. They are both decorative and practical. Their unique mixture of art and usefulness makes them an excellent tool for business owners. There are many ways that businesses can take advantage of custom printed wall calendars made exactly to their brand’s specific needs.

1. Reinforce Company Culture

Custom printed wall calendars are a great place to add quotes and inspiration. Those can be anything from the corporate mission statement to an exploration of company values. When added to an attractive image, it will draw employees’ eyes. Don’t have an image? No problem. Custom illustrations can be purchased for use in the calendar and made to meet company needs.

Frequent viewing of the image will help reinforce the ideas the calendar exhibits. In addition, these attractive calendars can be hung in break rooms, cubicles, meeting rooms, and other public places. They can also be given to employees as end-of-the-year gifts.

2. Highlight Company History

Custom printed wall calendars are a great way to share company history. This can include images of founders, charity events the company has participated in, employee engagement activities, or even previous locations if they are sentimental.

Calendars can be made with custom dates noted, including company anniversaries, events, employee birthdays, and celebrations of employees’ longevity with the company.

3. Include Calendars in the Giftshop

Calendars are an excellent way to keep a business in its customer’s thoughts for at least twelve months.

Custom printed wall calendars for customers should showcase what they love about the business and endear them to the brand.

If the business is a factory that offers tours, they might showcase interesting machines in their calendars or images of what they produce. A museum or other sightseeing attraction might highlight photos of the touring experience. A restaurant might feature pictures of their foods.

Whatever images are chosen for the custom printed wall calendar should immediately call the brand to the viewer’s mind.

Such unique calendars make great additions to gift shops or other places a company sells memorabilia and branded items.

4. Calendars Make Great Gifts

Custom printed wall calendars are great gifts for both employees and customers. Most people keep their calendars in a prominent place and look at them frequently. Every time a customer or employee looks at the calendar reminds them of their connection to that company.

It is also an excellent way for a company to keep its contact information accessible to customers, provided it is printed on the gifted calendar.

5.  Calendars Are Advertisements

Customers appreciate having attractive calendars to hang on their walls. A well-done calendar will be displayed with pride, whether on a kitchen or cubical wall. The hanging of the calendar is the owner’s implied endorsement of the company it represents. This allows a calendar to advertise for a company every time anyone enters the dwelling or workplace of the calendar owner.

Visitors’ eyes will be drawn to the attractive calendar, potentially offering repeated exposure to the calendar’s represented brand.

Custom printed wall calendars offer businesses great benefits, whether reinforcing the company culture with employees or reminding customers about a brand they love.

Custom printed wall calendars are easy and affordable to make with InstantPublisher. For assistance, call 1 800 259 2592, fill out our online contact form, or send an email to questions@instantpublisher.com.

5 Unique Ways to Market Your Self-Published Book

One of the biggest deterrents to self-publishing is that the author must be not only a creator but a marketer too. There is no experienced book publisher behind the author promoting their work to the world. Instead, that responsibility falls onto the creator.

Most self-publishing authors have considered using various ad services for their self-published books, but there are many other creative ways to market. While ads are a valuable tool, they aren’t the only hammer in the proverbial toolbox. Below are five other marketing ideas perfect for self-publishing authors.

1. Sponsor a Video on Social Media

Content creation sites such as YouTube and TikTok offer viewers entertainment and creators the opportunity to earn money in various ways. One of those ways is sponsored content. If an author is writing non-fiction, they should find content creators on their topic and send them a message asking if they would promote their book in a video for a fee. Fiction authors can reach out to those in the reading community and ask if they will sponsor a video. These videos are not book reviews but instead tie into the genre or featured tropes of the fictional book. For instance, a romance writer might sponsor a video about what makes a great love interest. The content creator will talk about what they love in a romance and then introduce the sponsored book to their audience.A self-published author promoting self-publishing a book giving a presentation

2. Create a Meet and Greet

Authors can ask their local libraries, independent bookstores, or coffee shops if they will host an author meet and greet event. This may include a book signing and/or a book reading.

This gives the author a chance to get their name out to the local population of readers and may open doors to get their books onto library and shop shelves. In addition, many independent books stores will agree to sell books on consignment if they believe there are enough interested local readers.

Authors don’t have to limit their meet and greet opportunities to local areas either. When an author plans a vacation, it doesn’t hurt to reach out to venues near their destination.

3. Be a Speaker at a Local Organization

Non-fiction authors can reach out to local organizations related to their topic and ask if they can be a guest speaker. Authors are considered experts on the topics they write about, and organizations often appreciate learning more about the subject they already love. In addition, the author might make a few sales to members, and the members might tell other friends with similar interests about the author’s presentation. This creates wonderful marketing opportunities through word of mouth.

4. Share Book Related Photos on Social Media

There are reader communities on almost every social media platform. Authors can find fun ways to share their custom book covers on social media platforms such as Instagram. This could be a post of the book chilling with a morning cup of coffee or a book visiting Niagara Falls.  Fun and enticing pictures of a book create a cover and name recognition, making readers more likely to try that book when they come across it online or in stores.

If the book has a unique and enticing cover, seeing it might be enough to convince a book lover who comes across the image to buy the book.

Images don’t even have to be of the books themselves. Images can be taken of something representative of the book, and the title and the purchase link to the book can be shared in the image description. People love sharing intriguing images with their friends and family. The image might even go viral, introducing a wide readership to the featured book.

5. Create Your Own Content on Social Media

Authors can start groups online related to the topic of their book. They can talk about their love of books or their writing process while creating content to share. They can live-stream book readings or other content they think their group members will love through various social media platforms.

Readers love having the opportunity to interact with their favorite authors, and they also prefer buying books from people they like. Becoming a content creator won’t only get an author’s name out, but it will also help them establish a relationship with their core-reader community. When authors establish a good relationship with their readers, those readers will line up to pre-order the author’s next book. Relationship building is one of the most useful marketing tools that an author can use to create a long-standing readership. As long as the author delivers quality content, they will create loyalty amongst their social media community.

There are many ways to market a book. A little creativity is all an author needs to share their book with the world and get readers hungry for their content.

But, for that content to be marketable it must be more than a neatly typed manuscript at the bottom of a draw. A marketable book needs to be published.

If you are a self-publishing author, InstantPublisher can help you with your book printing needs. They offer a wide range of books publishing services, including custom book covers, interior book design, and digital printing services. Our expert staff is available to assist you at 1 800 259 2592. So call today, fill out our online contact form, or send an email to questions@instantpublisher.com. We look forward to helping bring your dream book to life.

4 Things to Think About When Buying Custom Illustration Services

Writers don’t always agree with the sentiment that a picture is worth a thousand words. However, there are times that books need pictures to help the words convey information to their readers. Many people need to buy illustrations before printing a book. Fiction authors may need to purchase custom illustrations to add to the substance of their stories. Non-fiction writers may need custom illustrations to help readers better understand their meanings. Companies may need to buy images for promotional and training purposes.  Before a buyer approaches an illustrator, they should already have made decisions about the following things:

1. What is the Purpose of the Illustration?

Why is an illustration needed for the book? What function does the author want the illustration to fulfill? For example, is the illustration being used as a tool for storytelling, such as in a graphic novel or children’s picture book? Is the illustration offering additional information to the readers, such as a map in a fantasy novel? Is the book helping readers visualize a concept in the book, such as a labeled diagram? Understanding the function of the illustration will better allow the buyer to explain their needs to an illustrator and help the illustrator deliver an image that is the best fit for the job it is doing.

A custom Illustration created for a self-publishing author

2. Color, Grayscale, or Black and White?

Color adds to the costs of publishing a book, but sometimes it is necessary. The author should consider the genre of their book and what kind of illustrations are typical for similar books.

Children’s picture books are typically in color. Pie charts and line graphs are easiest to read in color, but they may sometimes be done acceptably in grayscale. Simple diagrams within a non-fiction book are often acceptable in black and white.

The author should consider the costs that the illustration will add to printing a book and the benefits of that illustration to the readers.

3. Who Owns the Image Rights?

Many buyers approaching an illustrator haven’t considered rights of ownership. Typically, an artist owns the work they produce. They can sell usage to the buyer, or they can sell the rights of ownership. Often, buying ownership is more expensive, and in some cases, it may not be necessary.

A buyer who has written a children’s book should buy ownership rights to the characters the illustrator creates if they want to use it in marketing and merchandising. A non-fiction author who buys a diagram may buy only usage rights to the image if they don’t need to reproduce it outside of their book or use that image in their marketing. Typically, if an image is being used a single time to clarify information in a book, usage rights are adequate. If the buyer does not purchase the ownership rights, the illustrator can use and sell that image to someone else.

If there is an expectation of using the images purchased for marketing, trademarking, or merchandising, the buyer should purchase the creation. Rights of ownership should be clearly stated in any agreement or contract signed between the buyer and seller.

4. What Else Should be Considered?

Most agreements between buyers and illustrators indicate delivery times and ownership rights, but there are other things that buyers should consider in their negotiations. For example, how many revisions is the illustrator willing to do? Is the buyer obligated to purchase the finished illustration even if they determine it is unsuitable for their needs? If the buyer chooses not to buy the finished picture, is there a fee for the artist’s time and work put into the illustration? Can the artist use the image in their sampling if the buyer has purchased ownership of the work?  Is there any reason that a non-disclosure agreement might be needed?

Buying custom illustration services can feel overwhelming, especially the first time one needs to do so.

InstantPublisher offers a wide range of self-publishing services, including custom illustrations to help authors and publishers. Their skilled illustrators are experienced and easy to work with.InstantPublisher understands the unique needs of their customers, and they are equipped to meet the individual needs of anyone who is considering self-publishing a book. Custom illustrations are just a phone call away—dial 1 800 259 2592 for an InstantPublisher representative. Or, if you prefer,  fill out the online contact form, or send an email to questions@instantpublisher.com for more information about all the self-publishing services they offer.

InstantPublisher Adds Warehousing and Fulfillment Services for Self Publishers

InstantPublisher.com is proud to add warehousing and fulfillment services to its line of self-publishing services. Why did InstantPublisher add these services for their customers? Printed books, especially hardcover books, take up a lot of space. Storing books in an author’s garage or basement might not be an option. In addition, some authors, especially for books delivered by businesses, encounter a lack of proper, climate-controlled warehouse space to store their books.

Other Benefits of Warehousing and Fulfillment Services for Self Publishers

Another way that warehousing and fulfillment services may benefit self-publishing customers is that few print-on-demand companies will offer print-on-demand services for hardcover books, wire-bound books, or custom-sized books with embellishments such as foil stamping and special coating. These books also require proper storage.

Books ready for warehousing and fulfillment self-publishing services

Another warehouse and fulfillment service InstantPublisher.com offers is kitting. Kitting is when you bundle multiple pieces in an order, such as multiple book titles or custom-printed advertising pieces, and ship them as packages together.
“Our customers asked for this service, so we found a way to make it happen,” says Chris Bradley, President of InstantPublisher.com. “Our warehouse and fulfillment services address a need for some of our self-publishing and our custom commercial printing services customers.”

Please keep in mind that warehousing and fulfillment is not necessary for all customers. If you or your business only sell a couple of books a month, it makes more sense to store and ship the books yourself until you build your sales up.

InstantPublisher Provides a Full Suite of Self-Publishing Services

InstantPublisher provides a full array of book printing options and publishing support services such as book cover designs, illustration services, and now warehousing and fulfillment services. We are a full-service book printing and binding company that has served self-published authors since 2004. We are an affordable option for self-published authors everywhere. To learn more, contact us at 1-800-259-2592, fill out our online contact form, or send an email to questions@instantpublisher.com to get more information about our book publishing services.

Is It Better to Self-Publish or Get a Traditional Publisher?

This is the big question. Is it better to self-publish your own book or go through the traditional publishing process? The short answer: it depends. Here are some questions you should ask yourself to find out.

How Soon Do You Want to Have a Copy in Your Hands?

If you are impatient and want to have a copy of your book in your hands shortly after finishing it, then the answer is a no-brainer; you need to self-publish it. You can get copies of your book printed weeks or even days after submitting the final manuscript to the self-publishing company.

books from a self-publishing book company

Traditional publishing has many roadblocks which slow the publishing process down. First, you have to convince a publisher that they should publish your book, and they get thousands of new manuscripts a week. Second, some publishers require you to have an agent before you even think of submitting it to them. And even if you smash through these barriers and a publisher agrees to publish your book, the entire process can take anywhere from a year to 18-months or even longer. Traditional publishing is a very slow process with a lot of waiting involved.

Do You Want to See It on the Shelf of Your Local Bookstore?

If you want to see your book in Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, or other big retail chain, you are probably out of luck. Most of the national chains do not sell self-published books at their stores. So if you want to see your book in the big stores you need to go the traditional route. But you might be able to convince your local independent bookstore owner to sell your book. Some of these stores feature sections dedicated to books from local authors.

Do You Want to Design or Have Influence Over Your Book Cover Design?

If you have a specific vision in your head about what you want your book cover to look like, you need to use a self-publishing book company. Traditional publishers do not allow authors to have any say in the design process of the book at all. They have their own design departments and don’t care what you want for your book.

Do You Want to Earn Maximum Profit from Each Book Sale?

In traditional publishing you will earn around 10% of the cover price for each book you sell.  Plus you need to pay your agent 10 to 15% of your 10% as commission. In self-publishing you have complete control over pricing the book and anything beyond the cost of printing your book is your profit.

InstantPublisher Provides High-Quality Self-Publishing Services at a Reasonable Price

InstantPublisher provides a full array of book printing options and publishing support services such as book cover designs, illustration services, and much more. We are a full-service book printing and binding company that has served self-published authors since 2004. We are an affordable option for self-published authors everywhere. To learn more, contact us at 1-800-259-2592, fill out our online contact form, or send an email to questions@instantpublisher.com to get more information about our book publishing services.

What to Look for in a High-Quality Cookbook Publishing Company

Publishing your own cookbooks is very popular right now. Many organizations such as churches, parent-teacher organizations, and many other small organizations publish cookbooks to use as fundraisers. They also make great gifts for families and friends who like good food and sharing recipes. But to produce a cookbook that is good enough to resell or give away, it is essential to find a high-quality cookbook printing company. But how do you find one? What are some of the qualities of an excellent cookbook company?

Clearly Defined Recipe Collection & Formatting Process

When gathering recipes for a cookbook, the last thing you want to worry about is formatting them so they look uniform and easy to read. An excellent cookbook publishing company will have pre-made recipe formats available for you to plug in the ingredients and instructions easily. This allows you to focus on collecting the recipes for your cookbook.

Cookbook from cookbook publishing companies

Multiple Publication Format Options

Cookbooks come in many different formats. Just take a look at the food section of any library or bookstore. An excellent cookbook publishing company offers numerous bindings such as plastic comb binders, three-ring-binders, plastic coil binders, and several other options.

The publishing company will also provide numerous options for book covers, including many pre-made cover designs or custom cover designs. In addition, they will provide different cover options such as lamination (to protect the cookbook from spills and splatters while you are using them) and even foil stamping.

High-Quality Printing and Formatting Options

A high-quality cookbook publishing company provides many different fonts, colors, and designs for both the interior and covers of the book. This includes clip-art, as well as your own images and photos.

Clearly Defined Pricing Structure

The printing cost of the cookbook you wish to print shouldn’t be a big mystery, especially if you are planning on selling them as a fundraiser. A good cookbook printing company provides the cost per book upfront so you can price the book for the fundraiser appropriately. Some book printing companies even offer an online book price calculator on the site. So there should never be any confusion about what you do and don’t get for the printing cost.

Friendly and Responsive Customer Service

When putting together your cookbook, you will have some questions, possibly many questions about the process, the available options, pricing, etc. So, you need to be able to ask them and get answers promptly. An excellent cookbook printer will have people available to answer questions over the phone or online through email or a chat feature on the website. They respond promptly and in a friendly manner.

InstantPublisher Provides High-Quality Cookbook Publishing Services at a Reasonable Price

InstantPublisher provides a full array of cookbook printing options and publishing support services such as book cover designs, much more. We are a full-service book printing and binding company for both cookbooks and other self-published books. Our parent company, Fundcraft Publishing, has been publishing cookbooks for fundraising since the early 1940s, so rest assured that the professionals at InstantPublisher can help with your book printing needs, no matter what they are. To learn more, contact us at 1-800-259-2592, fill out our online contact form, or send an email to questions@instantpublisher.com to get more information about our book publishing services.

Book Publishing Services Scams That All Writers Should Be Aware of

When an author, especially a first-time author, finishes a book, they are excited to get it out into the world and on the bookshelves of Barnes & Noble and the Amazon website. In their excitement, many authors fall prey to predatory publishers and unethical self-publishers.

Book publishing services scam alert

There are two ways to avoid being a victim of these scams.

  1. Knowing if you want to have your book submitted to a traditional publisher or a self-publisher. Having a clear understanding of the pros and cons of each method of publication is essential when making this decision.
  2. Doing careful research on the publishing business you work with. It doesn’t matter if it is a self-publishing company or a traditional publisher, read contracts carefully, research what others have said about the business. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Reading Fees

Predatory publishing and self-publishing companies try to collect fees for unnecessary services upfront.

For example, a reputable traditional publisher or self-publishing company would never charge an author a mandatory reading fee. This is not the business model that a traditional self-publisher follows. Reading author manuscripts is just a cost of doing business for these companies.

Self-publishers leave it up to you to submit high-quality work. They will not reject a book based on the quality of its content.

Contest Fees

Some publishers inform you that you are a finalist in a writing contest and ask you to submit a fee (usually a large one) to submit your book to the finals or purchase a minimum number of copies of this book compilation to be considered for the prize.

Contests for book-length works are rare, and even when they are legitimate, the entry fee is modest. Entry fees of more than $50 should be scrutinized very carefully. You should research any contest you enter thoroughly. Is it a reputable contest? What do the online reviews say about it?

Required Purchases of Your Own Book

A traditional publisher would never demand that you purchase a minimum number of copies of your book before publishing it. These publishers pay for their printing costs and other overhead by buying good book manuscripts and selling them to satisfied readers.

Book publisher requiring the author to buy copies of his own book

A self-publishing company doesn’t demand that you purchase a minimum number of book copies before publishing your book, but they may offer you reduced pricing based on the number of books you buy at one time.

Other Services and Fees

Neither traditional publishers nor self-publishing companies will require you to get editing services or to get a paid consult from a “book doctor” before publishing your book. A traditional publisher might recommend that you work with an editor or book doctor, but that is never a condition for publication.

Self-publishing companies occasionally will offer editing or proofreading services as an extra, but the prices should be reasonable and comparable to those you can get from an independent editor.

Also, beware of companies that nickel and dime you to death with charges for every little thing. Charging you a low rate for publishing the book, but then adding on fees for things such as

  • Typesetting and layout
  • Filing for ISBNs
  • Copyright registration
  • Marketing and promotion costs

Of these services and fees, probably the most insidious are the marketing and promotion fees. These fees overcharge the author for simple tasks such as listing your book on Amazon (which is easy to do, even if you are not that computer savvy). With marketing and promotion, it is difficult to calculate your ROI. And any company that makes vague promises about marketing should be avoided.

Again the keyword here is “required.” Traditional publishers never charge the author for any of these services. Reputable self-publishing book companies either work these into the cost of printing the book or provide these as optional, reasonably priced add-ons if you’d like them to do it for you.

Unrealistic Promises

These fall under the category if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is. Reputable book publishers, whether they are traditional or self-publishers, cannot make any of the following guarantees:

  • Your book will be a bestseller or sell a specific number of copies.
  • Your book will be on the shelves of your local bookstores and national chains such as Barnes & Noble.
  • Excessive flattery or unrealistic promises surrounding the success of your book
  • Guarantee a book contract if you work with their book doctors, agents, or editors at your cost.

Minimum Sales Guarantees

Always read publisher contracts, terms, and agreements carefully to avoid getting trapped by unfavorable terms and conditions.

Disreputable publishers might require the author to sell a specific number of books within a particular time. These sales totals are unrealistic and not achievable. When you fail to deliver the number of sales described in the contract, they bill you the difference to pay for “production costs.”

Poor Royalty Rates

Royalty rates for traditional publishers vary somewhat depending on the format of the book sold. Publishers provide royalty rates anywhere between 10 and 25% depending on if the book is a hardback, trade paperback, or mass market paperback. The rates usually increase if the book sells well. Ebooks tend to get higher royalties, typically between 25 and 50%.

Self-publishers set a flat printing charge per book based on the number of books printed. The more copies you print, the lower the price per book gets. You set the book’s price and collect the difference between your cost for the book and the price the customer pays. It is not unusual for a self-published book to pay out “royalties” of 50% to 75% and maybe even as high as 90% in rare instances. But keep in mind that these rates do not consider distribution or marketing costs subtracted from your cut of the royalties.

Restrictive Copyrights

Some publishers provide contracts to authors that have them sign away the rights to their books and limit the options for the author to get out of the relationship with the publisher. You should never hand over all of your publishing rights to the publisher. If you land a traditional publishing deal, it is a good idea to hire an agent (if you don’t already have one) and let them negotiate the publishing rights for the book on your behalf.

For self-publishing companies, they should not have any publishing rights to your work at all. Once they deliver a printed book to you, they cannot earn additional income from book sales or anything else (unless they sell the book on their website). You can also break off the publishing arrangement with them at any time for any reason.

Final Advice About Avoiding Publishing Scams

If you work with a traditional publisher, you will probably need representation by a literary agent from a reputable agency. The process will take a long time, and you will encounter many hurdles along the way. The benefit of this is that you do not pay anything to get your book published. They pay you. And any publisher that claims to be a traditional publisher that makes the author pay for any services should be considered suspicious.

Bookstore chain buyers reluctant to purchase books from self-publishing company

For self-publishing companies, you need to evaluate what you get for the money you spend. You need to self-publish with the mindset that you will have to do everything to make the book sell. You will handle all costs for producing the book, editing and typesetting services, book cover design, arranging sales terms with bookstores, and more.

Please note that it is challenging to get your books placed in a national book store chain without the following:

  • Networking and marketing with corporate book buyers
  • A consistent track record of excellent sales
  • Significant discounts on your sales price for the store
  • An agreement that you will “take back” unsold books

Self-publishing a book can be expensive. So shop around, compare prices, read reviews, ask other writers what self-publishing company they used and if they were happy with the work. Reputable self-publishing companies don’t hide the prices of their goods and services; they provide the self-publishing costs upfront with all fees listed.

InstantPublisher Provides High-Quality Self-Publishing Services at a Reasonable Price

InstantPublisher provides a full array of book printing options and publishing support services such as book cover designs, illustration services, and much more. We are a full-service book printing and binding company that has served self-published authors since 2004. We are an affordable option for self-published authors everywhere. To learn more, contact us at 1-800-259-2592, fill out our online contact form, or send an email to questions@instantpublisher.com to get more information about our book publishing services.

11 More Ways to Defeat Writers Block

Writers’ block challenges even the most prolific writers at times, and a lot of times, the only way to overcome it is to trick your brain into moving the project forward. Last month, we presented nine ways to defeat writers’ block, but these were just a few simple ideas on how to do it. This month we here at InstantPublisher will present eleven more in-depth ways to defeat writers’ block.

1 – Beat It Out

No, this does not mean punch yourself in the face or beat someone else up. This technique called “story beating” helps you break down your story into small chunks. Divide these chunks into essential scenes in your novel or story.

A good story beat should include the following information:

  • The character(s) who are involved in this scene.
  • The location where the action takes place
  • The problem or conflict the character(s) encounter within the scene
  • Specific detail or language to include within the scene as a line of dialog, descriptive detail, or feeling or tone to present (not essential, but nice to have)

All of this information can fit on an index card. You can then arrange and re-arrange the index cards to organize your story as you write. The great thing about story beats is that you can write up the significant scenes that you know you want to include within the book and add more of them as you learn and understand the flow of your story.

2 – Outline It

Outlining is equivalent to story beats for non-fiction projects (although many writers use outlines for fiction projects). Many writers resist outlining because they feel it stifles their creativity. This is simply not true. Your outline does not have to be a formally organized (1,2,3; a,b,c; i,ii,iii) indented approach. It can be a series of notes on a single sheet of paper listing all of the important information you want to cover in your project. You can also create the outline of notes on index cards to provide flexibility in organizing your project. An outline can be as simple as a list of topics you want to write about in your project, or full-blown sentences and notes to include within the book’s final draft.

3 – Design Your Book Cover

Sometimes the best approach to beating writers’ block is a misdirection. In this case, you are working on something completely different to spark the imagination. Taking time to design the book cover for your book is a great way to distract your blocked mind while still moving forward with the project. Even if you don’t use your book cover design, it will give you, or the custom book cover artist you hire, some ideas for the final book cover art. Here are some tasks you can do to help with your book cover design:

  • Select stock images or photos you’d like to use for your cover
  • Find a good model for your lead character for the book cover
  • Review cover designs for books similar to yours already for sale. Do you see any patterns or obvious “dos and don’ts?” What cover designs do you like?
  • Select font types and sizes for your cover
  • Look at various color schemes for the cover

4 – Storyboard It

This technique is favored by writers who are more skilled at drawing, but you don’t have to be a skilled visual artist to use it. Storyboards have been used for decades in the movie industry to help writers and directors visualize the scene. Comic book writers and artists also use this technique to map out a story’s look and feel. So sketch out a pivotal scene or a scene that gives you trouble in a series of comic panels. Again no fancy artistry is needed; stick figures and rough shapes are good enough.

Storyboarding for self-publishing a book

5 – Eliminate Distractions

What is distracting you from your writing project? Is it your messy, disorganized desk? Spend an hour cleaning it up. Losing focus by looking out of the window and daydreaming? Close your blinds. Getting distracted by social media or news on the internet? Shut it down (at least temporarily) during your writing time. There are applications such as Freedom and RescueTime can help if you have trouble doing it on your own.

Bottom line: Figure out what is pulling you away from your writing and try to mitigate these challenges to get back to your writing.

6 – Write a Synopsis

Agents use synopses to get a summary of the story. It is essentially a high-level overview of the characters, plot, and unique features of the story. The synopsis should not be longer than one single-spaced typewritten page (or around 500 words). Do not leave any significant story twist out of the story to preserve the surprise.

7 – Step Away from the Project for a Day or Two

Sometimes the best way to work through writers’ block is to let it sort itself out on its own. Allow your subconscious mind to continue working on the problem while you focus on other things. Work on other projects, write in your journal, read a book, whatever it takes to distract your mind from the problem at hand.

8 – Write a Letter

Write a letter to a close friend, loved one, or ideal reader that describes the problem from your perspective. Tell them about the story, the challenges you are encountering, and what you think might be causing the block. Explain the story in detail and what you hope to get from writing the story in the first place.

9 – Create an Elevator Pitch

Elevator pitches work for fiction or non-fiction projects. The technique helps you quickly boil down to the essence of your project so that you can clearly communicate it to that famous agent you happen to run into on an elevator. You have exactly 30 seconds to impress the agent, so tell him/her what your project is about, who would want to read it, and what other projects your project is similar to.

Elevator pitch for self-publishing a book

For example, a elevator pitch comparison for Susanne Collins book, The Hunger Games might be presented as a combination of the reality TV show Survivor, and Richard Connell’s famous short story, “The Most Dangerous Game.” This story where a big game hunter decides to hunt humans for sport is not a far leap from the savage games presented in the world of Panem.

10– Make a List of Questions About Your Project

Take 15 to 30 minutes and generate a list of questions that you think you need to answer before continuing your formal writing on the project. Write them down as fast as you can. They don’t need to perfect, and you won’t necessarily need to answer all of them to move forward with your writing. Sometimes just asking the question is good enough to spark your creativity and push you forward.

11 – Just Start Writing

If you just can’t seem to get anything going, simply set an easy “low-hanging fruit” writing goal today for you to achieve. The goal should be ridiculously easy to achieve, so you won’t resist doing it, and once you reach that goal, you can consider your writing work for the day done and go on with the rest of your day guilt-free. Here are some examples of “low-hanging fruit” writing goals.

  • Sit at your desk for 15 minutes and try to work on your writing project. Don not get up, look away, or do any online research for the story. Just sit at your computer and try to move forward with your writing.
  • Re-read the work you did in your last writing session and write one paragraph.
  • Write one sentence.
  • Research critical information for your writing project for 10 minutes.

Sometimes just sitting down to write with low-expectations, you’ll discover that your brain will want to continue working on the project once you get started.

Writing for self-publishing services

What technique do you use to break through writers’ block? Let us know by leaving a reply below.

Let InstantPublisher Bring Your Creative Ideas to Life

Once you have broken through your writer’s block and have finished your book, send it to InstantPublisher. InstantPublisher is a full-service book printing and binding company that has served self-published authors since 2004. We are an affordable option for self-published authors everywhere. To learn more, contact us at 1-800-259-2592, fill out our online contact form, or send an email to questions@instantpublisher.com to get more information about our book publishing services.

4 Questions to Help You Set Realistic Writing Goals for Your Book

By the beginning of March, most authors have given up on their New Year’s resolutions to write a book and publish their own book. Maybe you don’t think you have enough time, or that things have gotten too hectic at home or work, etc., but these are just excuses. Maybe the real reason that you have given up is that the goals you set for yourself were not realistic in the first place. How do you set realistic writing goals for your book? Getting answers to the following questions is an excellent place to start.

A woman setting goals for writing and self-publishing a book

1–Who Are You Writing For?

Figuring out who the audience is for your work can help you focus and identify what kind of information the audience is looking for (non-fiction) or what the reader expects to see (fiction). Thinking about every aspect of your ideal reader is essential. Here are a few things to think about when identifying the audience for your book:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Education level
  • Hobbies and personal interests
  • Favorite books and authors
  • Occupation/Income Level

Even if you are not sure who your ideal reader might be, take a guess—the more specific your ideal reader profile, the better. You can always refine your description as you write.

2–Why Are You Writing the Book?

This is a question that is often overlooked when beginning the writing process. Still, it is crucial because it closely ties to your motivation and the objectives you want to accomplish by writing the book. Here are a few examples of reasons:

  • For your personal satisfaction
  • To create a family history for a small group of family and friends
  • To share an account of your personal experiences so that others may learn from them
  • To reach #1 on the New York Times Bestsellers List
  • To share your knowledge and build a platform for the professional speaking circuit

The reasons are as unique as each individual starting out on their book-writing journey.

3–What Critical Information Should Be Included in the Book?

For non-fiction books, this is easy. If you have a clear idea of what your project is about, you will probably know what questions need to be answered by your book. You will know the people, the places, or events involved with the book’s subject. You may also need to research specific information to help support the overall thesis of the book.

For fiction, this is a bit more subjective. But readers, especially readers of genre fiction, have certain expectations when it comes to story. Readers of science-fiction novels expect futuristic technology, aliens, robots, and spaceships in the story. Many types of romances need to include a “happily-ever-after” ending. For fiction, a lot of this information depends on the specific type of fiction you are writing. Read several books similar to the kind of book you want to write to identify these expectations.

4–How Much Time Can You Devote Toward Writing Your Book?

This is extremely important and one of the questions that writers often fail to answer realistically. It is unrealistic to say that you can write four hours a day, seven days a week, if you have a full-time job, four kids, and two dogs. But you may be able to dedicate 15 to 30 minutes each day for your writing project.

Another approach is to ask yourself: “What am I willing to give up to write this book?” This might mean giving up your nightly Netflix watching or reducing the amount of time you spend socializing with friends, on social media, or aimlessly surfing the Web. In order to take your writing seriously, you will need to make sacrifices to do so. If you are not willing to make these sacrifices, you may not be serious about writing a book.

Answer These Questions at the Beginning of Your Writing Process

Spending 15 minutes freewriting answers to each question is a great way at the start of your writing project to focus on it and give you direction on what goals you need to meet to finish your book. Getting this information down on the page is one way to clearly define what you want to write about and make your writing goals realistic and achievable.

Allow InstantPublisher to Publish Your Book Today!

Once you have written your book, reach out to us. We are a full-service self-publishing book printer, and we also provide a variety of publishing support services such as book manuscript formatting, custom book cover design, and bookbinding. For more information, call 1-800-259-2592, fill out our online contact form, or send an email to questions@instantpublisher.com.