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

InstantPublisher Delivers High-Quality Book Publishing Services

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.

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.

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.