6 Qualities to Look for in a High-Quality Premade Book Cover

Studies have proven that we do judge books by their covers, and as self-published authors, we must take this seriously. If you have a poorly designed book cover, whether you design it yourself, have it custom-made, or select a premade book cover, it has to be great. Because a book cover that is anything less than great will hurt your book sales.

1 – High Quality Cover Art

The art for your cover should be a dynamic image that properly represents the genre and story you are telling. It shouldn’t look like a stock photo taken from a free photo website, nor should it look like clip art pulled from your word processing application. Spend some time looking at different book covers for best-selling titles in your genre. What types of images do they use? What information do they include on the cover? What color schemes are they using? Use the answers to these questions to help you figure out what type of cover would be ideal for your book.

Graphic artist creating a premade book cover design

2 – Proper Cover Title Font Selections

Font choices on book covers seem like a trivial thing, but they often set the tone for the book. As a self-publishing professional, you need to educate yourself about fonts and how they work both on book covers and the interior layout. Joel Friedlander has a good article on the Top 10 Fonts for Book Covers and Interior Design and another good post from Cover Design Studio about different typefaces and fonts are a good place to start.

3 – Good Cover Text Placement

Even if you select the perfect font for your book cover, there are many other mistakes you can make with placing the text on your cover. Here are a few of them:

  • Text too close to the edges of the cover
  • Title text is too small and hard to read
  • Too much text on the cover – Too much text makes the cover look too busy or even cluttered, especially if you have some nice visual elements on the cover
  • Using more than 3 fonts on the cover – Two contrasting fonts work best. Never use more than 3 different fonts on the book cover.

4 – Making the Author’s Name too Large on the Book Cover

There is a myth out there that self-published authors should make their name on the cover very large in order to convince the book buyer that you are a popular, best-selling writer. This is true if you happen to be Stephen King, Suzanne Collins, or John Grisham, but if you are reading this article, you should not try to fool potential readers by blowing up the size of your name to misrepresent how big of a selling point your name is. The reader will see right through it.

5 – Has a Professional Look and Feel

There are millions of book covers out there, and many successful ones use dramatically different design elements, colors, and styles. Spend some time looking at book covers at a book store or library. Which ones do you like? What draws you to them? Book publishers spend a lot of time and effort designing the perfect book cover for every book they print, so steal their cover design ideas.

6 – Designed by Someone Who Designs Book Covers

If you do not have graphic design experience, it is very hard to learn the skills necessary to design a good-looking book cover. Even with some of the fantastic DIY book cover design tools available, the tools cannot be a substitute for skill and experience. And even if you are a graphic design professional, book cover design uses different stylistic choices that only someone familiar with the publishing industry might understand. If you hire a graphic designer, make sure they have experience designing book covers and that they have some example book covers in their portfolio. There are many high-quality book cover design professionals out there who sell designs at a reasonable price.

InstantPublisher Provides Premade Book Covers and Custom Book Covers

InstantPublisher is your full-service self-publishing book printer that provides a large selection of premade book covers and custom book cover designs. Get more information about these services by calling 1-800-259-2592, filling out our online contact form, or sending an email to questions@instantpublisher.com.

What is a Vanity Publisher?

Vanity publishers–AKA vanity presses, vanity book printing, or subsidy publishers–are companies that offer commercial book printing services for authors who pay them to publish their books. This is very different than the “traditional” model of book publishing where the publishing company pays you for the right to print, distribute, and sell your books.

Vanity Book Printing’s Bad Reputation

Vanity book printing and self-publishing book printing are terms used interchangeably to represent any author who takes control of the publishing process to produce his/her own books.

Books printing at a vanity publisher

Vanity book printing has a negative connotation because it suggests that an author who uses such a service is vain and that if the author did not pay the book printing company it would never be accepted for publication or sold successfully by a traditional publisher. Vanity book printing also got a bad reputation because of a few unethical book printers who would overcharge the author for printing the book, take over the publishing rights to the work, and provide nothing in return. No editing services. No book cover design assistance. No marketing support. If the author wanted any of these services, he/she had to pay a premium for them on top of the book printing fees. All the author got in return was pallets of overpriced books sitting in the unfortunate author’s garage.

In a traditional book publishing arrangement, the publishing house takes on all of the risks—and thus the expense—of printing the book, and this makes it in their best interest to see that the author succeeds. As a result, these publishing houses provide editorial services, professional book cover designs, illustrators, book manuscript layout, distribution, and many other services in exchange for a large portion of the book’s earnings.

Vanity Book Printing vs. Self-Publishing Book Printing

Vanity book printing operates under a different business model than a self-publishing book printer. Where a vanity press earns most of its income by charging the author a mandatory premium for extra services such as editing, book cover design, and much more by overcharging the hopeful author who dreams of seeing his or her book on the NYT Best Seller list. A self-publishing book printer makes money primarily by printing a large number of copies of the author’s book. They provide these services at reasonable, competitive rates, and may offer additional services such as editing and book cover design as options if they are interested in using them. The focus on the self-publishing book printing model is empowering the author to make all of the decisions to make his/her book exactly as envisioned. From the book manuscript layout to the color of the lettering on the book cover, are all determined by the author with the self-publishing book printer as a partner in the process.

Self-Publishing Means You Assume All of the Risk

Even if you work with a reputable self-publishing book printer, it is important for you to understand that in this publishing approach you assume all of the risks. You are the one responsible for everything. You write the book, design the book cover (or hire someone to design it for you), you write the back-cover copy for the book, get the book reviewed by reputable book reviewers, distribute the book to sellers, handle all of the accounting for the book sales, etc.

If the thought of this level of control over the publication of your book excites you, then maybe self-publishing is right for you. If the thought of doing all of these things overwhelms or terrifies you, then maybe you should consider a traditional publishing contract.

InstantPublisher is Your Premier Self-Publishing Book Printing Services Provider

Whether you call us a vanity publisher or a self-publishing book printer, you get high-quality book printing at an affordable cost. We provide additional publishing services such as custom book cover design, typesetting, and book layout services at reasonable rates if you want them, or just do it yourself. If you have any questions feel free to give us a call at 1-800-259-2592, fill out our online contact form, or send an email to questions@instantpublisher.com.

17 Tips for Proofreading Your Book Manuscript

You’ve finished the fun part of the writing process, and you’ve had a couple of trusted readers review your book and provide feedback. Now you need to proofread the book to capture all of those quirky little typos, misspellings, and other issues that (if unnoticed) would distract the reader from your story or information and maybe even result in losing their trust as a reader altogether.

Most book printing companies do not proofread your self-published book before printing it, so to avoid embarrassing mistakes, proofread it before submitting the final manuscript to the printer.

1 – Print Out the Manuscript to Review and Mark Changes On

Several studies have shown individuals proofreading a hard copy manuscript catch more errors than those who edit onscreen. One study showed that people who are proofreading on paper can do it anywhere from 20 to 30% faster than those reviewing the manuscript on screen. To save time and improve your accuracy, kill a few trees by printing it out. (You can always plant a few trees in penance for your waste later.)

Proofreading a manuscript for book printing service.

Double-space the manuscript before you print it out so there’s room to insert comments and corrections. You must number the pages as well because you never know when your manuscript pages might get mixed up and out of order.

2 – Read the Manuscript Out Loud

This is the best way to catch errors such as missing articles (a, an, the, etc.) and words, typos that spellcheck misses (meaning to type “from” but entering “form” instead), and awkward and confusing passages. Better yet, have a friend read it out loud to you as you take notes. This way you can hear where they get confused or stumble when reading the manuscript.

3 – Look for Passive Constructions

If you remember from your high school grammar days that passive voice sentences are bad (most of the time). The passive construction is a sentence where the object of the sentence acts on the subject. Example: There was a great amount of snow covering the ground. (Passive) A lot of snow covered the ground. (Active). This is just a simple example, but make it a practice to look for all sentences that use linking verbs such as: is, am, are, was, were, be, being, and been (all forms of the verb “be”) and highlight them.

Next, go back and review each of the sentences with a verb underlined and see if you can rewrite it in an active form. You should identify and rewrite a good percentage of these sentences to make them stronger.

4 – Read the Manuscript Backwards

This approach helps when looking for missing punctuation or misspelled words. But also for catching things that you might have missed using other proofreading techniques. Read the last sentence. Then the next to last. And so on, until you reach the first sentence of the manuscript.

5 – Wait a While After Writing Before Proofreading

Writing and proofreading/editing are different processes that use different parts of the brain. If you jump from one task (such as writing) immediately into proofreading, you tend to miss things or “autocorrect” errors in your brain since the writing side of you still knows what you intended to say. Putting it away for at least a couple of hours (a couple of days would be better) to allow you to gain some distance from the project before you go into proofreading mode. This will improve the number of errors you find.

6 – Get Someone Else to Proofread the Manuscript

There is something to be said for “being too close to the work.” Especially if you’ve spent a lot of time writing and rewriting the same pages. Get another person to proofread the manuscript for you. They will see it with a fresh perspective and catch things you would typically miss.

7 – Review Apostrophes Carefully

One of the most common amateur author mistakes is misusing apostrophes in contractions vs. possessives–the most common example being the use of “your” instead of “you’re” when you are trying to say “you are.” Slow down and look at all apostrophes to make sure you use them correctly in your manuscript.

8 – Use a Red Pen to Mark Up the Manuscript

Using a red pen, or any other bright color, helps you make sure that you don’t miss any of the change suggestions you note on the manuscript. You can easily miss these if you mark them using black ink or pencil.

Proofreading marks for self-publishing book printing.

9 – Look for Words That End with the Suffix –“ly”

Words that end in “ly” are indicators of adverbs, a typically unnecessary modifier to verbs. Most of the time adverbs can be eliminated by choosing a stronger specific verb. For example – Ran quickly vs. Sprinted. Which one paints a clearer picture in your head? Use the “Find” feature in your word processor and highlight all of them. See if you can remove at least some of them. Also look at empty words that try to “intensify” verbs such as “much, more, very, less,” etc. You can eliminate these most of the time.

10 – Confirm That You Use Homonyms the Correct Way

Homonyms are words that sound the same, but are spelled differently, and have completely different meanings. When you are deep within the writing process, it is easy for your brain to enter the word that sounds like the word you meant. Imagine how embarrassing it would be if you sent out an invitation to “Meat the Parents.”

11 – Proofread During Periods of Focused Attention and Concentration

You should not save proofreading tasks until the end of the day when you are tired from doing other concentration-heavy tasks. You also shouldn’t try to do it while listening to a podcast, sitting on a conference call, or watching TV either. Proofreading requires deep concentration to do a good job, so limit your distractions and only proofread during times when you are very alert.

12– Turn the Manuscript Upside Down

This technique doesn’t work for everyone, but for those who like it swear by it. Turn your manuscript upside-down, face up. This requires you to slow down when reading each word and decipher it. This makes errors stand out.

13 – Make Multiple Proofreading “Passes”

This method of proofreading is time-consuming but works well. Only look for one issue at a time when you proofread the manuscript. For example, you review the manuscript once only looking for punctuation errors. Next, you go through the manuscript looking for homonym issues, then go through it again looking for passive voice construction, and so on. Reviewing the document multiple times assures that you plenty of chances to catch mistakes.

14 – Use Spellcheck, But Don’t Rely on It

Spellcheck does not catch wrong words that are spelled correctly because of a mistyped letter. (See Tip 2 – Read the Manuscript Out Loud for an example)

15 – Fact Check Carefully

Any time you quote someone, make sure it’s accurate and you know the source. Any time you use a figure or number, double-check it for accuracy. Confirm that the names of people, businesses, and products are spelled correctly. Make sure you cite all of your sources, providing links where applicable.

16 – Use a Checklist

Pilots go through a checklist before every flight. Doctors verify each step on the checklist before each surgery, so you should also use a checklist. Especially if you are writing several documents or one long document. It is easy to forget the spelling of a character name or a person of interest in your study. Use checklists to track these mistakes, especially those you make often. Include your commonly misspelled or misused words on the list and any other important project information on the list as well.

17 – Don’t Edit While Writing

Writing and proofreading need to be completely separate processes. While writing it is tempting to make corrections and tweak the wording but try to get a draft down on paper first and then (after observing Tip #5) proofread the manuscript when you are in a completely different mindset.

Following these tips will make you an excellent proofreader. Never underestimate the importance of a good proofread to make your book the best that it can be.

InstantPublisher is Your Premier Book Printing Services Provider

When your book is ready to be printed, have InstantPublisher take care of it. We offer many additional services such as custom book cover designs, different binding and formatting options, and much more. If you have any questions at all, please give us a call at 1-800-259-2592, fill out our online contact form, or send an email to questions@instantpublisher.com.

How Much Does It Cost to Self-Publish a Book?

When you self-publish a book, you are not only taking on the responsibility of writing a high-quality book but all of the decisions (and expenses associated with) producing the book. So, you need to know how much it will cost to print each copy of your book so you price it appropriately in order to make money publishing it.

A frustrated writer learning how to publish a book

One factor to keep in mind is that most book distribution outlets such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other bookstores and online outlets demand anywhere between a 45 and 65% discount on the book’s cover price in order to agree to carry the book. The amount of the discount typically depends on the cover price of the book. Higher cover prices earn you more royalties per sale. You might be thinking 35 to 55% of a profit on each book sounds pretty good when you consider that your royalties on a traditionally published book would be somewhere between 10 and 12%. But hold on, you have to factor in the preparation, printing, and marketing costs for the book. Even after you’ve done all of the calculations, a self-published book’s royalty will make considerably more than that of a traditionally published book.

Preparation-Related Self-Publishing Costs

When writing, the main cost to you will be your time, unless you decide to hire a ghostwriter to help you out with the writing process. Some self-publishing companies offer this service as part of their book publishing packages, but it might be better if you do the research and find a reputable ghostwriter on your own if you decide to do it this way.

One thing that you MUST understand about hiring a book printing service to publish your book is that they will print the manuscript you send them EXACTLY as you sent it. They do not correct typos (even obvious ones) or text that is formatted wrong, or blank pages inserted accidentally in the middle of your book. You are the quality control for your self-published book. That’s why you need to check, double-check, and check one additional time to make sure that your manuscript is PERFECT. Because correcting mistakes after the print run is expensive.

But it is very easy for the author to make mistakes within his/her own work. You are very close to the project and sometimes it is hard to see typos or missing words right under your nose. Our brains are just not good at catching these things for most of us. This is why it is important to have other people read your book and provide feedback. Here are a few professional services you should seriously consider hiring for the production of your self-published book:

Editing Services – 99% of self-publishing book companies do not offer any type of editing services. Anytime that you write a book it is important to have an experienced professional editor read your work to make sure that it makes sense, has accurate and consistent information, correct grammar and usage issues, is well organized and flows well, and much more. Editing services is typically one of the larger costs of self-publishing your own book, but it shouldn’t be overlooked.

Copyediting Services –Many people confuse copyediting services with general editing services. They are very different in nature. Editing services review the book as a whole looking for major issues of organization and consistency, which sometimes can result in deleting content, reworking existing content, and creating new content. Copyediting is the line-by-line review of a book looking for typographical errors, punctuation and capitalization mistakes, agreement issues, and much more. A good copyeditor is critical to your self-publishing book process because these types of errors can destroy your credibility as a professional author and turn off readers.

Illustration Services – Most authors are not blessed with both superior writing ability and artistic know-how, so you might need to hire an illustrator to help illuminate key information or events within your book. Some self-publishing book companies offer illustration services as an add on service, or you can go online and try to find an illustrator yourself.

Interior Book Design Services – Another frequently overlooked cost associated with printing your own book is the book manuscript format. A poorly designed book format may not only turn off possible readers of your book but may also increase the number of pages for your book overall which will drive up the price per copy to print the book. Unless you have some experience or knowledge of book manuscript layout and interior book design, you should allow the self-publishing book company to handle it.

Self-Publishing Book Printing Costs

The cost of printing the book itself will be the biggest chunk of expense when it comes to self-publishing a book. Because you make all of the choices when it comes to printing a book, you can control how much the base price might be. Here are some of the factors that determine the per-copy cost of printing a book:

  • Number of Pages– The more pages, the higher the cost.
  • Number of Copies Printed– The larger number of copies you have printed in a single print “run” the lower your cost per book will be. These discounts can be considerable if you print a large number of copies of the book in one print run.
  • Book Size– The dimensions of the book typically impact the cost per copy of the book.
  • Binding Type– These costs are mainly determined when choosing to print a paperback or hardcover book. These costs vary considerably depending on the book format, from spiral-bound paperback to leather-bound book bindings, and everything in between.

Stack of books from a short run book printing

Book Cover Design Costs

According to a 2010 Cover Matters Survey, 79% of all respondents said that the book cover plays a decisive role in a book purchase decision, and poor cover designs detract from the likelihood of a sale.

The proof is out there. We all judge books by their covers and because of this, it is CRITICAL that self-publishers spend some money on an excellent book cover design. The book printing company should be able to use your own book cover design. Full-color designs will cost more than black and white designs. Some book self-publishing services offer high-quality “stock” book cover designs and even custom book cover design for an extra fee. This is one area where you shouldn’t cut corners to save money.

Additional Printing Costs

Some costs are directly associated with the printing of the book itself such as:

  • Paper Quality – Higher quality paper equals higher printing costs.
  • Color Printing – The number of pages that require color printing drives up the cost as well.

ISBN Numbers and Copyright Fees

One thing that you will definitely need to sell your book is an ISBN number. The ISBN number is how booksellers and distributors track your book. Most book retailers will not carry books without an ISBN number. Each format and edition of your book requires a different ISBN number. For example, paperback and eBook versions require different ISBN numbers so that a customer doesn’t get the wrong version of the book by mistake. You can buy these yourself—you can even buy them in bulk at considerable cost savings–although many book printing services will buy these for you for an additional fee. Adding a barcode with the ISBN number also costs extra, but makes the books far easier to sell and more likely that retailers will stock them on their shelves.

Although it is not necessary to file an actual Copyright form to have copyright protection, some authors want the peace of mind that their work is protected. To do this you need to complete a Form TX application from the U.S. Copyright Office. The price for this is now $65.

These are all costs that will be generated by a direct result of working with the self-publishing book printing company. A reputable self-publishing company spells out all of the costs associated with printing the book upfront, often using a calculator for printing a book. This helps you determine how to best spend your budget for printing your book.

Marketing & Distribution Costs

Marketing and distribution are often strengths of traditional publishers. They have connections to major book distributors and buyers at chain bookstores that most self-publishers don’t have. But, unless you are a big-name author, few publishers will put much budgeting for a marketing effort behind a book from an unknown or little-known author.

As a self-published author, you put in as much (or as little) effort as you want to market and distribute your own books. You can sell them out of the trunk of your car at book festivals and writers’ conferences, set up your own book tours, send out hundreds of review copies, participate in online giveaways, and much more. The ways of marketing books are almost endless.

Some book printing companies will offer custom printing services that can be used to print marketing collateral such as bookmarks, business cards, promotional brochures, and much more. Collateral such as this is a great way to promote your book at book signings, author visits, conferences, or nearly anywhere else you go to promote your book. It is a low-cost way to get your name out there and remembered by potential readers.

If you take all of these potential costs into consideration when writing and using a book printing service for your book, and price the book well, you can manage to earn higher royalty amounts than those from a traditional book publisher to print and distribute your book. In addition, you cut down the amount of time between writing the book and publishing it, allowing you to write and release more books in a shorter time-span.

Are You Ready to be InstantPublisher’s Next Author?

Of course, you are. You wouldn’t be here if you weren’t interested in taking complete control of your writing career and literary efforts. And InstantPublisher is always standing by to help you reach your publishing goals. Give us a call at 1-800-259-2592, fill out our online contact form, or send an email to questions@instantpublisher.com to get the process started today.

7 Questions You Should Ask Before Selecting a Book Printing Service

Congratulations! You’ve written your book and decided to self-publish it. Now you need to find an excellent book printing service to publish the book for you. But what do you look for? Here are seven questions that every author should ask before selecting a book printing service:

1 – How Long Does It Take?

A high-quality book printing service has clearly stated ranges of time (in business days) of how long it will take to print your book once they have received the final manuscript from you. These will likely be estimates based on the type of binding for your book, the number of copies requested, and other services provided by the publisher.

Books printed from a high-quality book printing services provider.

2 – What is Included in the Book Printing Package?

The book printing service should have clearly stated information about what is included and not included in a book printing package. What size book does the price get you? What type of book cover does it include? Does the price include a proof copy of the book? Get an exact description of what you do and don’t get for the price.

3 – What Extra Book Self-Publishing Services are Offered?

For example, most book printing services do not proofread the books submitted to them unless you pay extra for those services. Look carefully to see what services are available and might be helpful along your publishing journey.

4 – What Book Binding Options Are Available?

There are many different book binding options available for books these days. If you are looking for your book to fold flat so it is easier to take notes in it, a plastic comb, plastic wire, or even a 3-ring binding might be best. If you are targeting the mass market trade paperback market, then a perfect bound paperback binding is your best bet. An excellent book printing service provides many options for you to choose from, everything from 3-hole punched paper to leather-bound hardcover books.

5 – Do They Purchase ISBN Numbers for Your Self-Published Book?

An International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a 13-digit number that is essential to identify the publisher and the book title for book publishers, distributors, and booksellers in order to track inventory. If you do not plan to sell your book in book stores or via a major online site such as Amazon, you don’t need one. Most publishers do charge for this service as a separate service.

6 – Will They Accept Your Camera-Ready Manuscript?

If you are a good do-it-yourselfer when it comes to book layout and design, it might be good to see if the book printer accepts camera-ready manuscripts, or if it requires the manuscript to be formatted using one of their pre-defined templates. Most book printing services accept manuscripts that are pre-formatted as long as they fit into one of their standard book sizes.

7 – What is the Book Printing Service’s Price Per Book?

The best way to determine the price that you will be able to sell your book for at book stores and online book shopping sites is the printing price per book from your book printing service. Some of the factors that impact this price include:

  • Size of the book
  • Binding
  • Black & White or Full Color
  • Number of copies to be printed (the larger the number of copies in the print run, the cheaper the cost per book will be)
  • Extra services purchased for the book

InstantPublisher is Your Premier Book Printing Services Provider

If you have any questions at all, please give us a call at 1-800-259-2592, fill out our online contact form, or send an email to questions@instantpublisher.com.

5 Differences Between Traditional and Book Self-Publishing Services

The publishing world is constantly changing and with the availability of millions of books at every reader’s fingertips, it is important to know the differences between a “traditional” publisher and book self-publishing services once your book is ready for publication.

What is Traditional Publishing?

Traditional publishing is the name used for anyone who follows the “traditional” process of finding a publisher who produces the type of content you write, finding a literary agent who represents your kind of book, and submitting a book proposal (or synopsis and outline for fiction) to that agent. If that agent agrees to represent you, the agent then submits your book proposal around to the various publishers that publish that kind of book. If the agent makes a sale, they represent you for all of your literary business, negotiating publication rights, advances, and royalty rates. Agents earn 10 to 20% of your total royalties for the duration of the contract.

Book being printed by self-publishing service

With the book now in the hands of a publisher, they will ask you to make revisions to the manuscript and will engage their internal marketing group to handle promotion for the book, cover design, manuscript layout, and much more. Except in extremely rare situations, you will not have any influence on the changes, cover design, look, and feel of the book. You won’t even have control over whether you produce a hardcover or paperback book. These are all decisions made by the publisher.

Once the book has been completed, it is put on a release calendar and distributed to major bookstores, and online booksellers, and (in the case of most first-time authors) completely forgotten. This process typically takes at least a year, but more often than not several years before you see your book on the shelf of your local bookstore. This brings us to the 1st major difference between traditional and self-publishers.

1 – Self-Publishing is Faster

Once you have your book finished you don’t need to go through the tedious process of finding an agent and hoping that you will be taken on as a client, or waiting to be put on a release calendar several years down the road. You can get your book in the hands of your readers far faster than following the traditional route.

2 – You Keep Control of the Look and Feel of Your Book

In self-publishing you have complete creative control over aspects such as the book cover design, the book manuscript format, and length of the book. You can do the design yourself, or hire an expert to create a custom book cover and layout of the book.

3 – You Choose the Publishing Format of Your Book

Traditional publishers are often limited by what their accounting departments determine is an acceptable risk when selecting a format for the publication of your book. They may require a hardcover version of the book (even if your audience probably can’t afford it), or require you to publish only in the form of a mass-market paperback for your first book–in order to minimize the risk on their end. They may decide not to create an audiobook version of your book, an eBook, or publish the book in other languages. With self-publishing, you make every choice for yourself. Want your book to be produced with a leather-bound book binding? Done. Need your workshop’s notebook to have spiral-bound book binding? No problem. You can print your book in as many (or as few) versions as you wish.

4 – You Handle the Distribution of Your Book

Traditionally, this is one of the strengths of traditional publishers. They have connections to major book distributors and chain bookstores that most self-publishers don’t have. But as a self-published book author, you can sell your book however you see fit.

5 – You Handle the Marketing of Your Book

Most first-time authors get no marketing budget from traditional publishers. High visibility book tour and promotion budgets typically only apply to bestselling authors who traditional publishers see as a “sure thing.” As a self-published author, you set your own budget for marketing your book. You can have your own nationwide book tour, or simply promote your book sitting behind your desk, sending out newsletters, and doing podcast interviews about your book. The ways of promoting self-published books are almost limitless.

So, Are You Ready to be InstantPublisher’s Next Author?

Of course, you are. You wouldn’t be here if you weren’t interested in taking complete control of your writing career and literary efforts. And InstantPublisher is always standing by to help you reach your publishing goals. Give us a call at 1-800-259-2592, fill out our online contact form, or send an email to questions@instantpublisher.com to get the process started today.

15 Tips to Get Your Writing Project Started Right Now

With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging across the globe, many potential authors now have that time they always wanted to reach their goal of publishing a book. But facing the blank page (or screen) is intimidating, and even the most accomplished authors struggle to get a new writing project started. We here at InstantPublisher have been there. Here are 15 ways to get that writing project started.

1 – Write Fast

Natalie Goldberg, the author of the best-selling book Writing Down the Bones, recommends that you “keep your hand moving.” That is, don’t pause for inspiration, to find the perfect word, or give your brain time to slow down at all. Keeping your hands moving, whether this is writing quickly in a notebook or typing in a new document file, helps you get an uncensored version of your thoughts. So, write as fast as you can to get that rough draft down on the page.

2 – Use Timed Writing Sessions

Timed writing sessions are an excellent way to create a sense of urgency and help keep your hands moving. Plus setting a timer for 5, 10 or 15 minutes does not seem like a big investment of time, so writing won’t intimidate you. Even the busiest person can find 5 minutes at lunch or when they first wake up to get some writing time in.

Manuscript being edited for the proper book manuscript format

3 – Don’t Worry About What Others Will Think

Don’t censor yourself or worry about what other people might think if they read your words. Remember that this is the first draft, and chances are no one will ever see it. All writing projects undergo considerable revision with sections being written and rewritten several times. So, feel free to let it fly. Write the raw, unhinged words as they flow into your brain. Again, this will be easier if you use the “keep your hand moving” approach to writing. Writing fast tends to short circuit the part of your brain that worries about offending people or being afraid of looking stupid.

4 – Don’t Worry About Spelling, Grammar, or Punctuation

Spelling, grammar, and punctuation are all issues that can be fixed in later drafts. The goal right now is to get a first draft written.

5 – Ask Yourself – “What Am I Trying to Say?”

This is a good question to explore in a 15-minute timed writing session. Describe the “big picture” of your writing project. What is the big theme of the book or story? What important information should be included in it? What is your inspiration or the original spark that got the story started and growing in your head? Write down all of the details both big and small.

6 – Ask Yourself – “Why Should I Write This?”

This question is almost important as “what am I trying to say,” because it starts you thinking about the audience for your book. Why is this story or subject important to you? And, more importantly, why would someone want to read it? Another thing to think about during this 15-minute writing session is to think about why you are the perfect person to create this work.

7 – Create a List

Creating a list is a quick and easy way to capture any of the important information you would like to cover in your project. For non-fiction projects, this could be a list of questions that the book needs to answer, or information you need to research. For fiction projects, this list may include characters, setting, background information, plot points within the story, scenes, and much more. This doesn’t have to be in any particular order, this is just about getting important information about your project on the page.

8 – Break the Project Down into Bite-Sized, Manageable Tasks

Writing a book is a huge endeavor encompassing hundreds of hours of work. When you think of the hundreds (if not thousands) of tasks that need to be completed before you see your book on the shelf, it is easy to be completely overwhelmed. So, break the project down into simple, manageable tasks. These tasks can be about writing, research, marketing, or administrative tasks–such as selecting a book cover design, or getting the proper book manuscript format–that need to be finish before the project is complete. Once you have a master list of project tasks it is easier to manage them one task at a time.

9 – Write at the Same Time Each Day

Your brain likes routine. This helps it save energy by bringing predictability and routine into its awareness. And if you establish a regular writing time and stick with it, your brain will begin to help you by processing your thoughts about the project and often surprise you with good content when it knows it is time to write.

10 – Warm Up Before Working on Your Writing Project

Give your brain a chance to purge all of the distractions, recurring thoughts, fears, frustrations, and other minutiae that are rattling around in your head. Take 5 to 10 minutes each day to warm up, to get those thoughts onto the page, and out of your head so you can focus on more important writing project work.

11 – Write the Easiest Parts First

No one has ever said that writing has to be done in strict sequential order–beginning with the first word on page 1 straight through to the words “the end” on the last page of the project. Most authors hop around a lot throughout the writing process. Many mystery writers draft the ending to the mystery first so that they know where the story will end and then construct the rest of the story to help get to that reveal on the last page. So, if you get stuck anywhere in a writing project, don’t spend a lot of time worrying about it, just skip to the next section where you know what needs to be written and go back to that other section later.

12 – Describe the Writing Project to a Loved One or Close Friend

Another approach to take–if you get stuck–is to step away from the project and describe it, as well as the part that is vexing you at the moment, to a sympathetic ear such as a close friend or loved one in the form of a letter. This helps your brain look at the project from a different point of view and may help you break through your writer’s block.

13 – Allow Yourself to Write Garbage

According to William Faulkner, you simply need to “Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.” You need to give yourself permission to write crap. Words that are full of typos and misspellings and awkward phrasing. Just get it on the page. You can always make it better later.

Man writing for a self-publishing book printing project

14 – Focus on Progress Not Perfection

The goal when working on the first draft of any writing project is to get it down. Don’t judge your first draft by the quality of the manuscript, but by the progress you make each day. Track the time you spend working on the manuscript, or better still, the word count of your project. That will help keep you motivated and moving forward.

15 – Start Right Now

The best way to get that writing project underway is to simply start working on it. Right now! Begin typing and see where it goes.

Is Your Manuscript Complete? Take Advantage of InstantPublisher’s Discount for First Time Customers

When you are ready to publish your book, contact us here at InstantPublisher. We are here to help you reach the goal of seeing your work in print.

InstantPublisher is here to encourage potential authors during this difficult time. Helping them get those books written and into print as fast as possible. We have printed over 11 million books since our start in 2001, and help authors achieve their self-publishing dreams, and create something positive out of this crisis.

To facilitate this, InstantPublisher is offering a limited-time 10% discount for first-time customers on any book publishing package if the order has been placed by July 1st, 2020. Use the coupon code: print-2020. If you have any questions at all, please give us a call at 1-800-259-2592, fill out our online contact form, or send an email to questions@instantpublisher.com.

InstantPublisher Offers COVID-19 Writing Advice and Book Self-Publishing Services Discount

According to 2002 study popularized by Joseph Epstein of the New York Times “81 percent of Americans feel that they have a book in them — and should write it.” This equates to roughly 170 million adults over the age of 18 out of the entire United States population alone, a conservative number of potential authors. Maybe you are one of them.

Stack of books hot off the press from InstantPublisher, the premier self-publishing book company

COVID-19 Has Created Time for Writing That Book

During the unprecedented COVID-19 outbreak, many people have been impacted by the stay-at-home orders requested by state and national leaders, and many have had work hours cut severely, been laid off, or released from jobs completely all waiting for the COVID-19 crisis to pass. With these stay-at-home orders keeping many social and entertainment venues closed, many people find themselves with a lot of free time on their hands, and the “someday” that many of us have stated as the day we will find the time to write that book is “today.”

But writing a book is just half of the battle. The next step is getting your book into the hands of readers. Many authors long to get a lucrative book deal from one of the Big 5 book publishers such as Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, and Simon & Schuster, but landing a publishing contract with one of these companies is highly competitive and takes a lot of time and rejection before you find success. This leaves many authors looking for an alternative way of getting their books into print–an alternative way such as using a self-publishing book printing company.

The COVID-19 outbreak has also unleashed incredible demand–and corresponding sales–for cookbooks, self-improvement books, and binge-worthy novel series, just to name a few. So, how do you, as a potential author, take advantage of this demand? Write that book now and get it in the hands of a high-quality self-publishing book printing company such as InstantPublisher.

InstantPublisher Offers a Discount for First Time Customers

To help potential authors reach the goal of seeing their creative works in print, InstantPublisher is offering a limited-time 10% discount for first-time customers on any book publishing package if the order has been placed by July 1st, 2020. Use the coupon code: print-2020. We also will be running a series of blog posts over the next 3 months dedicated to guiding the author along the writing process and educating them about the numerous benefits of self-publishing your own books.

InstantPublisher is here to encourage potential authors during this difficult time. Helping them get those books written and into print as fast as possible. We have printed over 11 million books since our start in 2001, and hopes to help authors achieve their self-publishing dreams, and help create something positive out of this crisis.

Join the Ranks of Our Self-Published Authors Today!

InstantPublisher.com is the short-run printing and book publishing division of Fundcraft Print Group located in Collierville TN. We are a third-generation family owned publishing conglomerate with 7 divisions specializing in all types of print from family history books to long-run commercial print jobs. The InstantPublisher division launched in 2004 has helped thousands of authors self-publish and print their own books.

Join the ranks of our self-published authors by calling 1-800-259-2592, filling out our online contact form, or sending an email to questions@instantpublisher.com. Let us help you begin fulfilling your dream of seeing your own book in print today.

Custom Book Covers Vs Premade Book Cover Designs

It is an unfortunate fact that readers do judge a book by its cover. Having the right cover will catch the eye of potential buyers and make them check out what your book is about. Equally, having the wrong cover on a book can lose potential sales. There are a variety of choices in book covers for self-published authors and making the right choice can be the difference between success or failure.

A custom book cover design created for a self-publishing author.

What is a Premade Book Cover?

A premade book cover is a generic book cover sold by graphic designers to which the title and author name will be added. Typically, a designer will have a gallery of covers to select from. There will be tabs on the gallery page with pricing, customization offers, rights, and delivery information.

Pros:

  • The author can see the cover before they buy it.
  • The cover can be purchased immediately and is usually received within 48 hours.
  • Cheaper than a custom book cover.
  • Good at displaying the genre of the book.

Cons: 

  • Not personalized for a specific book.
  • The cover may not be a perfect fit for the book contents.
  • Alterations to the cover can be costly.
  • Premade covers may or may not be sold exclusively to one author. This means there is a risk of another book having an almost identical cover on the market depending on the terms of sale.

What is a Custom Book Cover?

A custom book cover is a cover that is ordered from a graphic designer personalized to the book. Typically, an author seeks out a graphic designer and explains what they are looking for. Designers can be found on freelance sites as well as online art platforms.

The designer gives the author a quote and draws up a contract that explains the fees, rights, revisions, and timeframe for delivery.

Pros:

  • They are customized to individual book.
  • Alterations are usually part of the purchase package.
  • Authors are able to provide input about the cover at every step of the process.

Cons:

  • Custom book covers often cost more.
  • The author’s vision for the cover may not represent the genre of the book as well as a generic premade cover.
  • Authors have to manage a relationship with the designer over the course of the project.
  • Finding the right graphic designer can be tricky.
  • It can take a long time for the cover to be made.
  • The cover may not turn out how the author envisioned and, depending on the contract, the author may still owe the designer for their time.

Image Rights

The creator of an image owns the rights to its use so authors must be sure to get clarification on whether the cover can be used for promotional material and who holds the rights to the images. If the designer created the cover from scratch, such as an illustration, they typically own the rights to the image and may or may not be willing to sell the author those rights. If they do not sell the rights, they can use the image for other covers and the author’s usage of the image may have a limited scope.

Some designers buy the rights to use an image from a stock image company. The rights they buy may affect the author’s use of the image and may specify the number of physical copies of a book that can be printed or otherwise limit the way those images can be used.

Need a Cover?

InstantPublisher offers a variety of inexpensive premade book covers for self-publishing authors who use their print service. InstantPublisher can also work with the author to make a custom book cover to suit the needs of any book genre.

If you would like more information on InstantPublisher’s personalized book printing services call 1-800-259-2592, fill out our online contact form,  or email questions@instantpublisher.com.

How to Prepare Your Book Manuscript Format for Self-Publishing Companies

Proper book manuscript format assures that a book looks professional and is easy to read. Each book printing company will have certain rules about the format they want your manuscript submitted in. The manuscript may need to be submitted as an RTF, DOC file, or printable PDF. The book printing company will have specifications about page size and margins. Digital printing services will have different requirements than softcover book printing services. Such specifics can be provided by your selected book printing company.

The interior book design suggestions below are universal and should be followed regardless of what book printing company you use.

Title Page

Every book should have a distinct title page which should include the title, author name, and publisher, where applicable.

The title page should always appear on the right side of the finished book. This is the side where the odd-numbered pages should be.

An open book to show proper interior book design.

Typically, the copyright page should appear after the title page and include the written ISBN number, the name of the intellectual property holder, and the year. Often, there is also a note about the limitations of use such as a notice that no one may copy any part of it without permission. Additionally, any other notices such as the work being fictional and any similarities to real entities being unintentional and coincidental can also be on this page.

Chapter Breaks

Most books are broken into chapters. Every chapter should start on its own page. The chapter header and any chapter numbers should be capitalized along with the chapter title. These should appear approximately 1/3 of the way down the page. Like the title page, new chapters should appear on the right-side page of an opened book. The title headers should also be in a larger font and/or set in bold to be easily recognizable to readers.

Scene Breaks

In works of fiction, scene breaks should be clearly indicated. These can be one to three centered symbols on a page. Most commonly these are asterisks or hashtags but some people use decorative symbols that are book-specific such as a sword in a fantasy novel. In a printed book, a scene division can also be three entries of the return key to create a three-line gap.

If the goal is eBook publishing, you should use a visible symbol because line breaks can be harder for readers to see on an e-reader than they are in a print book.

Miscellaneous

Paragraphs should be indented in a fiction book. In non-fiction, paragraphs may be indented or line breaks can be used to divide paragraphs. All books should be printed using a standard, easy-to-read font.

Typically, books should be printed in 12-point font. Large print books should have between 16- and 18-point font sizes, and may need to follow different guidelines for spacing, contrast, and images within the book depending on the target community.

InstantPublisher Can Help

InstantPublisher is a book printing company that is easy to work with and eager to help with all your book printing needs.

We offer a wide range of services for self-publishing authors including layout and typesetting services. Our expert staff is available to assist you at 1-800-259-2592. Call today, fill out our online contact form, or send an email to questions@instantpublisher.com.