3 Reasons Everyone Should Write Their Memoir Now

Vanity book printing has made it possible for everyone to tell their stories. There has never been a better time for people to write their memoirs than today. Memoir writing doesn’t take the same skills as fiction writing. There is no plot to develop, characters to create, or magic systems to develop. Memoirs are as easy as sitting down at the keyboard and telling your story.

Here are three reasons everyone should write and self-publish their memoir now:

1. History

If you are reading this article within 50 years of its publication, you will probably agree that life has been, for lack of a better word, interesting.

It is likely, that, even if you are reading this article one-thousand years past its publication, you are still living in interesting times. This is because one of the best methods historians have for understanding different times in the history of humankind is the written word.

Faces of different individuals representing their unique stories for memoir book printing

History isn’t always in the distant past. The next generation has different life experiences than the one before it and can benefit from hearing the tragedies and triumphs from the perspectives of those who lived it. Memoirs help us preserve our part and perspective in that story for the future.

Printing a book with your story assures your story isn’t lost or discarded, as diaries often are, once the creator can no longer care for it. Lucky diaries find their way into the hands of historical societies, but there have been many people’s stories lost in the annuls of time.

Digital printing services are available to memoir writers, though it isn’t wise to exclusively depend on digital versions of any media. Technology is rapidly changing, and it is difficult to determine whether machines that exist in the future will continue to be able to decipher the words of today. It is always best to have a printed book with a digital copy.

2. Unique Experiences

Everyone has different experiences in life, and those differences become vaster as we move forward in history. There are millions of jobs and hobbies modern people invest their energy in. The life of a plumber has different stories than the life of a social worker. Yet, both stories give value to the world.

Personal triumphs and tragedies can be shared through memoirs.

Every person on the planet is living a different life. Writing a memoir helps explore the uniqueness of individual stories.

3. Self-publishing a Book Has Never Been Easier

Current technology has brought down the cost of publishing a book so much that custom printing services are within the means of everyone. At the time of this writing, InstantPublisher’s cost per book to print starts lower than a gallon of gas in the USA (when you print 25 books or more copies).

InstantPublisher has a team of experts offering a variety of book printing services. In addition, they provide interior book design, premade book cover designs, and ghostwriting services for those struggling to turn their story into a memoir by themselves. Call today at 1-800-259-2592 to learn more about the wide range of services InstantPublisher offers.

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.

9 Ways to Beat Writers Block

Every author has struggled with writer’s block at some point during their writing life. It is one of the most common issues encountered by both amateur and professional writers everywhere. In order to see your book end up in print, you must be able to smash through writer’s block.

1 – Establish a Writing Habit

Pliny the Elder said it best, “Nulla dies sine linea.” Translation: “Not a day without a line.” Even as far back as the early days of the Roman Empire, when Pliny the Elder lived, writers understood the importance of a daily writing habit. The only way to be sure that you find the time each day to write is to do it every day. And don’t miss days.

Breaking writer's block is key to self-publishing a book

In modern times this works just as well. Jerry Seinfeld, yes that Jerry, made a habit in his early career to write one new joke every day and had a calendar next to his desk where he drew a big red X over that day after he completed his joke each day. He did it the next day and the next day, creating an unbroken chain of days where he wrote every single day. The more days you write and keep the chain intact, the more pressure you have to keep your streak alive. This is the essence of creating a writing habit.

2 – Write at the Same Time Each Day

This method is related to method #1 above. Your brain is wired to love routine. Routines and habits mean the brain expends less energy to operate, and the brain likes that. So, writing at the same time each day reinforces that writing habit.  Having a daily writing ritual is a way to prime your brain and let it know that it is time to write. This is a prevalent habit for almost all successful, best-selling authors.

3 – Set a Strict Deadline

Nothing inspires creativity like a rigid, tangible deadline. Did you ever have a paper due that you knew about weeks in advance, and you couldn’t even think of a topic for the paper, let alone write the paper itself, until the night before it was due? Suddenly, fueled by adrenaline and panic, a great topic presents itself, and you plow through writing the paper in one marathon session. The problem with writing for yourself is that you do not have anyone giving you deadlines (most of the time), and you need to do this for yourself.

4 – Free Yourself to Write Badly

No writers write pretty first drafts. This is the truth about the writing life. So you need to permit yourself to write the worst crap on the face of the earth–just as long as you write something. Most of the hard work of writing happens when you fix up that terrible first draft.

5 – Warm Up Before Each Writing Session

An excellent way to start each writing session is by having a short 10 to 15-minute freewriting session where you write about whatever is on your mind or bothering you that day. This helps get those thoughts and worries out of the way so you can focus on the real work of writing.

6 – Write the Easy Parts First

Getting stuck in the middle of a writing project is never easy. Many people think you need to write sequentially, beginning with page one and not stopping until you reach the words “The End.” But who says that you must write this way? If you find yourself stuck and don’t know what you will write next, skip ahead to the next part where you know what you need to write about. There is nothing wrong with writing a story out of sequence. In fact, many–if not most–writers write out of sequence. So don’t be afraid to skip to the next part of your manuscript where you know what needs to be written next and go back and build the connections from the previous scene to the next scene at another time.

7 – Work in a New Location

Sometimes all it takes to break through a writer’s block is a change of scenery. Going to a coffee shop or the library might be enough to kick your mind into gear just because of the novelty of the change. You can do this at home by writing outside or in a different location within the house. If you are stuck, give this a try.

8 – Get Active

Sometimes the best way to deal with writer’s block is to move your body by taking a walk or working out. Moving helps wake up your body and mind, and doing something other than writing might be just what you need to get a breakthrough.

9 – Change Your Tools

If you usually write by sitting in front of a computer and typing into your word processor, try writing long-hand in a notebook or sketching out scenes in a storyboard format. If you usually write using a ballpoint pen, try using a fountain pen or even crayons to change up the process and approach.

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.

What All Self-Publishing Authors Should Know About Copyright

Copyright is one of those confusing gray areas in the world of self-publishing surrounded by misconceptions, but the whole process is quite simple.

What is Copyright Protection for a Book?

A copyright protects an author’s work from being stolen, reproduced, and sold without your consent. This protection establishes you as the author of the work and declares it to the government—namely the U.S. Copyright Office. A copyright mark claims the right to make copies, distribute, create derivative works, or display or perform your work publically. These rights are yours until you decide to sell them. For example, when you publish a novel or short story, you are not selling the story itself, but the right for the publisher to print and distribute your story.

Copyright symbol for self-publishing a book

How Do I Get a Copyright for My Work?

It is very simple. You already have it. From the time you begin filling a blank page with words until 70 years after your death your words are protected. Even though there is a severe taboo within the publishing industry for stealing another author’s work, to be fully protected, you need to register your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office.

Unfortunately, this process costs money. The cost of filing an electronic copyright claim is $35 at present. You can register it at the copyright.gov portal. This certifies you as the owner of a written work, and provides you legal protection against copyright infringement, and allows you to sue for up to $150,000 damages and attorney fees if someone tries to violate it.

Do I Have to Register My Copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office?

No. But you do not get the legal protections mentioned above if someone steals your work to claim it as their own.

How Do I Present the Copyright on My Book?

Simply type the word “Copyright” insert the copyright symbol—that weird symbol with a small c in the middle of a circle like this ©. This can be found under the Symbol function on most word processors. And then add a notice of what rights you are reserving for yourself. Most people simply enter “All Rights Reserved.”

Example Copyright © 2021 Jane Doe

There are more extended versions of copyright statements that you can use if you wish. Just pull a book off the shelf and flip through a few pages in the front of the book until you find the copyright page. Replicate what you see there, find a copyright page template online, or allow your book publishing services company design it for you as part of the book manuscript format.

InstantPublisher Delivers High-Quality Book Printing and Binding Services

What good is filing a copyright without a book? InstantPublisher is a full-service book printing and binding company serving 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.

15 Elements of Front Matter to Consider When Setting Up the Book Manuscript Format

What is front matter exactly? In the publishing industry, the front matter is the content in the front of the book before the book’s main content begins.

Why is Front Matter Important?

Readers expect every book to include appropriately formatted front matter. Failing to include the front matter for a book signifies that the author is an amateur or merely unprofessional. When designing the final draft of your self-published manuscript, the best approach is to design the front matter the same way that traditional publishers do it. To do this successfully, you need to know what each section of the front matter does and what it is used for.

Front matter book manuscript format

1 – Praise for the Book or Author

In almost every book printed by a traditional publisher, the first page inside the front cover is a page of pull quotes praising the book. The praise page is something many readers will look at before deciding to purchase the book. This is why getting blurbs or quotes praising the author or the book is so important. This page provides “social proof” about the book or author.

2 –About the Author

Front matter does not always include an About the Author page. Sometimes this page is not included in the front matter and gets moved to the back matter. But if it is placed upfront, it appears on the flipside of the Praise for the Author page.

3 –Other Books by Page

If there is no About the Author page, then the Other Books By page is on the flip side of the Praise for the Book or Author page. This lists the other books the author has published.

4 – Title Page

This page lists the title and author’s name for the book–usually in large print in the center of the page.

5 – Copyright Page

Also known as the Imprint or Credit page, this page contains the book’s copyright notice, publication date, edition number, publication information, catalog data, legal notices, and ISBN. This page also may include credit information for design, editing, illustration, and production (when applicable).

6 – Dedication

Not all books have them, but when they do, they are typically on the page opposite the Copyright page.

7 – Epigraph

The epigraph is a quotation that the author includes because it has some special meaning to the book or the author. It is usually inserted on the page opposite the Table of Contents or opposite the book’s first page.

8 – Table of Contents

The TOC is a list of all the chapters or major sections of the book, commonly used in non-fiction works and occasionally in fiction works.

9 –List of Figures

Occasionally included in complex non-fiction books, the List of Figures provides the titles and page numbers for each illustration in the book.

10 – List of Tables

The List of Tables is similar to the List of Figures above. It lists the page number and title for any reference tables included in non-fiction books.

11 – Foreword

A Foreword is a letter of sorts about the book (or author) written by someone else.

12 – Preface

Prefaces often are confused with Forwards, but the main difference between them is that the author writes the Preface for the work.

13 – Acknowledgments

The Acknowledgments page is where the author thanks those who helped with the book’s creation and production.

14 – Introduction

An Introduction provides a high-level overview of the book that often includes its goals, context, and organization for the reader.

15 – Prologue

A Prologue is like an Introduction to a work of fiction. It often sets the story’s scene or provides critical background information about the tale from a character’s point-of-view within the story itself.

Providing properly formatted front-end matter is what readers expect when opening a new book, and with high-quality manuscript

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InstantPublisher has been a leader for independent, self-published authors for many years now. We know how to print your book so it is indistinguishable from a traditionally published book. Our years of experience with book printing services allow us to print high-quality books for your readers. 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 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.