TEN SIMPLE STEPS TO BECOME A SUCCESSFUL PUBLISHED AUTHOR

You’ve finally written your masterpiece. You’ve done it. You’re an author… But how will people read it? Well, Red Raven Books can help. Maureen Shelley shares the final post in her Blog series “10 Simple Steps to becoming a successful published author.”

Here’s the final steps of what you need to do:

1. Call The Copy Collective and a Red Raven Books’ editor will be assigned to collaborate on your manuscript.
Select how much you want to spend, what you want us to do and what you are prepared to do for yourself. You can stage your process so it suits you and you can pay over a period of time as each service is completed.
This is a fee-for-publishing service. You retain final control. You keep all the proceeds of your sales.
2. Select your package – you can choose some or all. Packages start at $870 through to a full print production with assistance at every step:

  • Editing.
  • Proof reading.
  • Book cover design and selection.
  • Print-ready manuscript (editing and/or proofing & typesetting) + ISBN + barcode.
  • Digital-ready manuscript (for Amazon (Kindle) & iTunes (iBooks) & Google Play.
  • Book app – Android and iOS.
  • Print management – typesetting, printer liaison (Australia), proofs & delivery.
  • Registration and lodgement to comply with the Copyright Act (1968).
  • Marketing plan – social and traditional media, registration with book distributors.

3. Work with your editor during a 4 to 6 week period to complete your draft manuscript.
4. Get the technical bits right: typesetting and design, including digital file preparation.
5. ‘Print’ execution: send to printers or submit to publishing platforms.
6. See your book in print, in the App Store or on Google Play.
7. Manage your launch/celebratory event, first conference presentation or elaunch – including media coaching, photography and support.
8. Digital media campaign – microsite development, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google +, Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, TweetReach, CRM registration and HootSuite scheduling, plus eDM, GoodReads and genre sites registration and reviews.
9. Traditional media campaign: media releases, registration on news sites for Google News indexing, book tours.
10. Start working on your next manuscript.

Red Raven Books is the publishing and imprint arm of The Copy Collective. Find out how we can help you today.

You have written your book, it’s been published in print and you have 700 copies on a pallet in the garage plus you’ve just listed the book on Google PlayAmazon and in iBook’s. Now you are waiting for the sales and royalties to roll in – right? Ah, no – that’s not how it works.

As I tell our authors, writing and publishing your book is the easy bit, now the hard work starts with marketing.

Back in the day, authors had publishers who would take them on publishing tours and spend $30,000 on a marketing plan for each release. And that still happens. There are authors who have those services available to them. However, these days most authors do their own publicity, especially if they want to make any money.

If you’ve received a $15,000 advance for a 10,000 print run from a major publisher, congratulations and we’ll say good-bye here. If you’re still with me, let’s get down to taws.

I’m assuming you’ve taken my advice and have a good author photo, a readable blurb for your book and social media assets developed. If you don’t have social media assets let’s start with the basics.

Social media assets

You need a website dedicated to your book, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account as a minimum. Depending on the book (cookbooks – think Pinterest, young adult – think Tumblr, business – think LinkedIn) you will need other assets. Stay with the mainstream social media mentioned above and/or Google+Instagram, and YouTube because your time is limited.
You can only manage a certain number of accounts well with the time and resources you have.

Consider using Hootsuite to manage your social media so that you can automate the scheduling of your posts. Use the strengths of your social media assets: share links on Twitter (they get a greater click-through rate), pictures on Facebook and videos on YouTube.

Once you have your assets, you need to maintain them. Try to tweet every day, Facebook once a day, update LinkedIn twice weekly and blog once a week. Add your Twitter feed to your website, so the content is constantly being refreshed (Google loves fresh content).

Add a Google Analytics code to each page of your website so that you can track and analyse your traffic easily.

The great news about all these assets is that they are free to create and operate. You only start adding costs once you start advertising, which I recommend but only once you have all your social media and other digital assets working for you.

Social media is everywhere – so you can be too.

Other digital assets

As an author there are some great sites devoted to books where you can create an account and get your books reviewed. In fact, there is an entire industry devoted to just that. GoodReads is essential. It’s free to create an account and you can add that great author photo, your bio and write a blog that could reach 30 million book lovers. There are other sites but GoodReads is a great place to start.

Your book’s website

Your website is a salesperson who works 24/7 and doesn’t take sick leave. It should be as slick as you can make it. Have a look at the sites of other authors in your genre for what works. Huffington Post surveyed its readers for their favourites and never underestimate the power of independent bloggers and reviewers – they will link to your website.

Blogging

Now that you are an author, you should make it a goal to write a blog post each week. If you have a WordPress website or blog site, you can put the goal in the settings and it will remind you to post a blog via email.

Content for social media and blogs

Clearly, if you have speaking engagements, book signings or launches you will write about these. You should also have a friend take photos of you signing books and speaking, so that you can include them in your posts.

But what happens when you run out of ideas? Firstly, sit down and write out 10 blogging topics and set yourself the task to write one a week. Next, use the tools built into HootSuite and other sites to curate content for you. Enter a list of key words and it will suggest content for your to post from others. Follow key accounts on Facebook and Twitter and repost and retweet their content: it gives you content for little effort and the other account may return the favour and share something of yours.

For your blog topics think about things that will interest your readers – where did your characters come from? How did you work out which topics to address in your business manual? What is it like being an author? People are interested in your story. So tell a story about writing the book or how you became an author or what prompted you to write the book. Use storytelling, similes (phrases that use the words ‘like’ or ‘as’), active language, metaphors and detailed examples. These techniques will make your posts more interesting.

Speaking engagements

Offer to speak at your local writers groupeditor’s society, service club or any other group you think might be interested in your topic. Contact your local council about “Meet the author” events at public libraries.
Visit your local bookshop and see if they will have you speak at one of their author lunches. Browse your local Meetups for groups that may like a guest speaker.

Try and line up at least 12 speaking engagements a year. Aim to sell a set number of books each time you sell. After a few speaking engagements, you will be able to gauge how many books you sell on each occasion. If you sell 20 books each time you speak, then you will need to have 35 speaking engagements (almost one a week) in a year to clear those 700 books out of the garage.

 

Join societies

In every state in Australia there are societies of authors and publisherswriting centres, book clubs and writers festivals. Get involved, take a stand or stall at any relevant conferences where you think your book might sell.

General publicity

Write a media release for your book launch. Send it to your local paper as well as the major metro dailies as well as bloggers and relevant sites for your topic. Provide professional photographs of you and images of your book cover. Use a wire service such as AAP Medianet or PRWire to distribute your release (this will cost money). If you don’t have a budget for a paid service use one of the free PR newswire services. At the very least, get your release indexed by Google News.

Knock on doors

It’s not very likely but you can try the direct approach to getting your book in bookshops. Try ReadingsGleebooksDymocks (try your local Dymocks first), and independent book stores (check the directories hosted by Australian Independent Bookseller and Danny Yee).

Use a distributor

If you have a print book, send your book to a distributor. Dennis Jones & Associates is the most used service in Australia but you can also try Macmillan Distribution Services, Australian Book Group and United Book Distributors. If you have a specialist topic that you can approach (like Koorong for Christian resources or Co-op for tertiary education).

If you have printed your book through a print on demand service such as Lulu or Blurb, they too will have distribution services that you can pay for.

Marketing calendar

Now you have all your assets developed, your distribution plan in place and a few dates for conferences and speaking engagements plus all those commitments to tweet, post, and blog and vlog (video blogging). Organise all your commitments into a Google Calendar (another free asset). Input your daily, weekly, monthly and ad hoc commitments. You will soon find that you have something pencilled in for most days/weeks.

That sounds daunting but if you aim to be a full time writer, then you’d better get used to putting yourself into the public gaze to vend your wares.

And the best-selling tactic?

The very best thing you can do to sell your first book is to write and publish your second. Think of it as renewing your product line. We all want the latest, the freshest and the most up to date; however, if we can get a bargain we might very well buy an older model. Game of Thrones didn’t become a hit in the first season. Some people are catching on now and Season 1 is selling well in iTunes.

If you’ve got this far, congratulations! You are well on your way to being a successful published author. We wish you all the very best and hope that you become a household name or at least sell all the books you have printed.

Red Raven Books is the publishing and imprint arm of The Copy Collective. Find out how we can help you today.

Maureen Shelley turns technical in Part 7 of Blog series “10 Simple Steps to becoming a successful published author”, on preparing your digital file.

The good news about digital files is that the eBook format takes care of all the extra formatting that is required in a print-ready manuscript. The bad news is that you have to take it all out: all those extra section breaks, footnotes etc. you put in for your print book – they all have to come out. This is where you will thank yourself for using the inbuilt formatting available in word processors.

Less is more:

Remove all section and page breaks, all footnotes and end notes, remove all underlining.

if you want to emphasise a point use italics, not underlining.

Remove the table of contents and page numbers.

Leave in your chapter headings.

Remove any hidden commands.

the long dash in Word is an example: some digital programs don’t deal well with these so use short dashes or change your punctuation.
Apostrophes are another punctuation mark that can cause issues. You may have seen a question mark in some digital files; it is usually in the place where an apostrophe would be.

Remove all blank pages. Remove all notes pages.

Your file should be continuous (no separate pages; the text should flow on) with your title page, frontispiece, the introduction and your body copy.
 
It may be tempting to save your file as a text file to get rid of all the formatting. This is a temptation you should resist, as it will only create additional issues, such as having to replace all the chapter headings’ format.

EBooks aren’t necessarily great places for tables and graphs. You may need to convert these to JPEG files. Then you will need to embed your images or convert them to outline files remembering to save them in the correct format if they are in colour. Your eBook platform will have specific instructions on each of these steps.

Hyperlinks need to be formatted differently for eBook versions, so if you include them read up on how to do it. There are plenty of digital publishing blog sites, so search and you shall find.

There are about 40 digital formats

An ePub is the most widely used. However, as a self-published author you will want to get onto Amazon and the Kindle uses proprietary software. Also, Apple’s iBook store uses a modified ePub (it has different cascading style sheets or CSS), so you may need at least three versions of your eBook.

Storyist is great publishing software that lets you create manuscripts (and screenplays) and convert them to popular digital formats. I recommend you investigate your options. When you upload your manuscript you will need two PDFs: one for the cover and one for the body copy.

There are dozens of eBook publishing sites and platforms. They will convert the file for you and publish to thousands of outlets. However, they will also manage your sales (which could be a good thing) and you will get the proceeds. Expect to receive between 30 and 50% of the RRP or recommended retail price.

Another way to publish is simply to use a PDF file, thereby avoiding formatting challenges. Scribd will publish PDFs and Scribd has a very large readership, or you could chose to have a downloadable file from your own website; that way you don’t share your sales with anyone.

You will need to decide whether it is better to have all the money and fewer sales or less money on more sales. If you have good traffic to your website – say 2 to 3 million visitors a month – then by all means publish only on your own site.
You will need a separate ISBN (International Standard Book Number) for your digital manuscript and a separate National Library entry for the digital format. You will not need a barcode. If you publish on Amazon, you will be given their equivalent of an ISBN.

 

A last word on digital files: use the strengths of the format.

You can add social media buttons and links, links to your GoodReads review page or Amazon listings for your other books – all from within your manuscript. It makes sense that if someone has just read your book, they may want more or they may tweet about it. Don’t stand in the way of your readers doing your marketing for you. Read up on the HTML codes to insert these buttons into your manuscript. It could be well worth it!

We will publish a list of sites for self-published authors at the end of this series or you could just Google it if you don’t want to wait.

Red Raven Books is the publishing and imprint arm of The Copy Collective. Find out how we can help you today.

Maureen Shelley turns technical in Part 6 of Blog series “10 Simple Steps to becoming a successful published author”, on preparing your book’s print file.

The least pleasant part of writing a book is preparing the file for the printer or digital publication. I recommend you save yourself a whole lot of pain and angst and send the file to a professional typesetter to do the job for you.

If you have budgeted for nothing else, budget for a typesetter. Google typesetters in your area and send off your file and get back a nice PDF that has everything done for you. Most authors don’t try to design their covers, yet many believe that they can do the work of a typesetter.

What you need to provide if you’re going to attempt it yourself:

  • You will need to provide two files to your printer – one PDF for the cover and one PDF for the manuscript itself.
  • If you don’t understand any of the points below, please consult Google as there are a myriad of resources available to the self-publishing author and most are available for free.

The Cover file for the printer:

  • Send the checklist of the printer’s requirements to the graphic artist who designed your cover.
  • They will follow the instructions and send you back your cover with embedded fonts or with the fonts outlined.
  • They will also supply the PDF in the correct format for printing, particularly if you have a full-colour cover. The details below are for the body copy file only.

The body copy file for the printer must have:

  • Embedded fonts – all fonts are to be embedded, this is why I recommend Times New Roman and the use of one font only
  • Mirror margins
  • If the book is more than 150 pages, the right margin wider than the left (gutters)
  • Manuscript margins (these are wider than standard)
  • The correct leading and spacing that is consistent throughout
  • The number of pages in the manuscript is exactly divisible by 16
  • If the pages aren’t divisible by 16 you have added blank pages at the end
  • If you have blank pages, there are fewer than 10 blank pages
  • If there are more than 10 blank pages, you have typed ‘notes’ at the top of each
  • The last page blank,
  • The introduction and the first chapter start on right-hand pages
  • The dimensions of the ‘pages’ are equal to a standard paperback form such as Trade B, B+ or C
  • All options of the ‘printing’ of the file to PDF are changed so the page size remains the same at Trade B or C or what size you have chosen
  • Section breaks, so you can change the page numbers before the Introduction to Roman numerals
  • Page numbers after the introduction or Chapter 1 starting with Arabic numbers
  • The file is ‘printed’ to PDF not ‘saved as’ a PDF from Word
  • Each page set so when the file is ‘printed’ to PDF the words don’t move to the next page – resulting in changes in format and more pages than originally desired
  • Standard headings used by your word processing program
  • A table of contents created by your word processing program
  • No extra spaces or paragraph marks – not one! Extra spaces and par marks can create havoc when files are converted to PDF and fonts are embedded
  • Word processing commands for paragraphs (Ctrl (or Ctrl) in Word on a PC) – not the ‘enter’ key hit twice
  • Uniform paragraph spacing – not the ‘enter’ key hit twice creating greater leading after 14pt letters as compared to 11pt letters
  • Consistent spelling – chose Australian English as the review language and apply it to the whole document; unless your market is the US and then apply US spelling to the whole document
  • Numbered chapter headings
  • Spell checked – one last time
  • A frontispiece – this sets out the requirements under

The Copyright Act (1968), provides details of the author, printer, publisher (if any), the ISBN, whether the book has been catalogued at the National Library of Australia, a statement that the author is asserting their moral rights, a copyright symbol next to the author’s name and details of the edition (1st, 2nd, Australian etc). Look at recent books in your genre to see how these are laid out.

Red Raven Books is the publishing and imprint arm of The Copy Collective. Find out how we can help you today.

Read on for six winning tips to prepare and draft your manuscript, in Part 5 of “10 Simple Steps to becoming a successful published author” blog series by Maureen Shelley.

1.How many words are enough?

Authors often ask how long their book should be; and it is true that once 52,000 words was a de facto standard. However, these days with self-publishing the norm rather than the exception what ever you write that covers your topic comprehensively and cohesively will work.

Remember your spine width may be the first thing your audience sees, so a book with a spine width the size of the first joint of your thumb will present a nice wide ‘canvas’.

There are plenty of self-publishing websites that can help you calculate spine width, so enter a few numbers and work out what a realistic length would be to achieve your goals for your book.

2. Size matters

Remember the number needs to be divisible by 16 if you are going to print and the last page should be blank. Aim for 300 or so pages for a Trade paperback B+ size, if you are writing a self-help or business book. This size also works well for novels.

Say your aim is to write 300 pages on your topic.  If you write 10 chapters of 30 pages, then you have a good basis for your book. An A4 page of type may equate to up to three pages in a book, depending on spacing, margins and font.

3. A word on fonts

I would recommend you go old school and use Times New Roman. Use the same font for your title, chapter headings, any footnotes, page numbers, headers or footers, table of contents, glossary or indices. This will make life a lot easier when it comes to file preparation for your printer and preparation of your digital file.

4. Use a custom template

If you are using a standard word processing program use the book manuscript template. However, you will need to adjust the style to use the same font throughout. Once you have ensured you have used a single font for everything, save it as a quick style (in Word).

5. A beginning, middle and end

Many authors ask how to write their manuscript. If you are really unsure, then a writing course would help. However, if you have a reasonable idea of what you want to say then start with a plan.  If you are going with my suggestion of 300 pages in 10 chapters, then start outlining your chapter headings. What are the 10 essential messages, key points or events that you want to explore?

If yours is a cook book, then starters, entrees, main courses and desserts are obvious choices for chapter headings. You can divide up main courses into meat and vegetarian or beef, lamb and poultry – work out a plan and write to that.

If you are writing a business book, then what is the solution you are providing for the reader? In your introduction, outline the issue, your proposed solution and the steps to get there. Then sketch the conclusion. Chapter 1 sets up the issue; Chapter 2 addresses your proposed solution. Chapters 3 to Chapter 9 then cover each step, and Chapter 10 provides the conclusion and summarises recommendations.

If you are writing a fictional work, then think about the dramatic arc that your storyline will take. Plan your plot points and where they will fall in the narrative. Writer Blanche d’Alpuget says to tell the story to just one reader. Picture that person clearly and tell them the story so that it is engaging. This creates a virtuous circle between the author and the reader, she says.

If you are tackling a family memoir you have choices of periods – pre-war, war, inter-war, post war; ages – childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, marriage, children, old age; or you can go with themes such as hope and joy, loss and grief. Whatever framework you choose, map it out, write your chapter headings and then write to each chapter heading.

6. The art of writing is to write

Treat writing like a job. Decide how many hours a day/week/month you are going to devote, set up a deadline before you start – you want it on sale by Mothers’ Day, by October to capture Christmas sales, by Anzac Day if it is a war memoir – and work out the rate and frequency of your writing. DO NOT spend a decade writing a book – or two years if you are a child – because you will only need to rewrite it.
I used to own a block of polished wood that had chamfered corners that I called my writer’s block. When I sat down to write, I would have it next to me. Then I would move it away as the writing started to flow, I would toss it on the floor and ignore it when things were going well; only to pick it up and cart it around when I was stuck.

Two years ago, I moved from a house to an apartment and I gave my writer’s block away. Now, I don’t worry about writer’s block. If I sit down and can’t write I will literally start with “The cat sat on the mat”.

As long as you are writing, it doesn’t matter if it is a laundry list – the art of writing is to write. Write. Start now.

June is Author’s Month to celebrate the launch of Red Raven Books. Red Raven Books is the publishing and imprint arm of The Copy Collective. Find out how we can help you today.

From office printing to the rise of Managed Services, Rest in Print launches as an easy-to-read guide to help businesses reduce costs of their office printing. We speak to author Mitchell Filby, who draws on extensive industry experience as a global industry expert, keynote speaker and publisher to examine today’s office printing practices and current trends.


The office printing industry is under pressure.
Office printing volumes are in their greatest decline.
Quite simply, the office printing industry is facing its greatest challenge of the past twenty-five years. And the big question is, which brand or manufacturer will survive?

Rest in Print – A guide for survival

Author Mitchell Filby calls for a transformation of the office printing and document-imaging industry through his new book Rest in Print. The book will help companies reduce their costs and burden from office printing, and help the overall office printing industry adapt from the printed page to digital content.
“I want to help businesses save thousands of dollars simply by following a few simple industry best practices,” Mitchell said, “while at the same time discover insights of how the industry has and continues to engage with its customers.”
“Rest In Print provides unique insight into the challenges, and the opportunities available, as print volumes decline and the industry transitions into a services-led model, such as Managed Print Services (MPS).”

So what makes this book unique?

Rest in Print launches as the first ever book to delve into the past twenty-five years of the print industry and examine how businesses will fight to stay relevant despite customer, market and technological changes.
Mitchell Filby has seen firsthand what companies will do to survive, and what happens when they don’t, from his time working and consulting for companies like Oce, Kodak, Fuji Xerox and Canon.
The book will give readers:

  • A useful, easy-to-read guide to understanding today’s practices and current trends.
  • Five factors businesses need to know in order to understand Page per Print contract and take control of printing spend.
  • How to improve business appeal so that customers fight harder for their business.
  • Up-to-the-minute tips to help spot sharp sales practices that cost money.

 

Who will read it?

Rest in Print was written for decision makers across both corporate and government businesses that actively have to engage, manage and require an insight of the print, copier, and document-imaging marketplace.
However it is expected the largest target market will be the copier, print and document imaging industry including many of the related industries that connect into or are now integrated into the print/copier industry, such as toner & ink supplies businesses, the hardware and software financing industry, IT distributors and resellers and the vast array of printer/copier sales channels and dealerships around the world.

Get your copy today

Rest in Print launched last month and was edited by our expert team at Red Raven Books, The Copy Collective’s new publishing, and imprint service.
Order your copy today.

About the author, Mitchell Filby

Mitchell is the founder and Managing Director of First Rock Consulting, Australia’s leading and most recognised independent Business Consultancy, IT Advisory and Media organisation. The business was specifically shaped and fashioned around supporting and servicing all the elements that interact and grow out of the office printing and document imaging industry in Australia.
Mitchell is also a media journalist, active industry blogger and a keynote speaker at numerous global managed print services conferences around the world.
Mitchell’s passion is to transform the office printing and document imaging industry but at the same time keep it accountable for its actions. His vision and goal is to help big business manage and bridge existing paper-based output content to a more effective and efficient digital content format.

June is Author’s Month to celebrate the launch of Red Raven Books. Red Raven Books is the publishing and imprint arm of The Copy Collective. Find out how we can help you today.

Michael Hamilton converts his finance and telecommunications experience into the launch of his first book IT Should Just Work – Customer Satisfaction and the value of Software Testing. Here we unpack his passion for working with businesses to deliver working outcomes for a positive customer experience.

Ever been in a position when you can’t access your internet banking for an entire 24 hour period?
Or
Upon checking into your airline flight you find out the booking system has crashed with no notice of when the system will be operational again?

It should just work, right? The reach of Information Technology (IT) now impacts every facet of business.
That’s why software testing and quality control procedures exist in today’s world to avoid these types of catastrophic events.

Software testing and customer satisfaction – what do they have in common?

Michael Hamilton, an IT Software Testing professional, has witnessed the dramatic transformation of the IT industry during the past 11 years and he has worked with local and international software vendors for clients such as Telstra, Optus, & NAB.
He knows that customers just want the software to work the first time and operate as expected, every time.

IT should just work – Customer Satisfaction & the value of Software Testing

That’s why he wrote IT should just work – Customer Satisfaction & the value of Software Testing edited by Red Raven Books, The Copy Collective’s new publishing and imprint service.
“I wanted to educate both technical and non-technical executives, business owners, and IT Managers on the benefits of employing an integrated software testing and customer focused strategy,” said Michael.
“The book motivates the reader to implement software testing practices not only within their IT strategy but in their day to day business practices as well.”

So what makes this book unique?

This is the only book you’ll read that sets out the impact of software testing and how it affects your brand loyalty, customer satisfaction and brand reputation.
And a few more reasons:

  • It’s a practical guide to implement software testing into your IT strategy
  • It cuts through the tech jargon with business friendly language and no assumed knowledge required
  • Learn from relevant examples from customer centric organisations and the key business decision makers employing an IT strategy
  • You can self-assess your business with a health check of your current IT practices

Who will read it?

  • All organisations whose core business is customer satisfaction and brand loyalty
  • Companies’ currently employing software testing in their IT strategy and wanting to improve their results
  • Companies’ not employing software testing at all. This book demonstrates the correlation of how below standard software performance has a direct impact on customer loyalty, customer satisfaction, and brand reputation.

Get your copy in July
IT Should Just Work – Customer Satisfaction and the value of Software Testingis a step-by-step guide for organisations where the customer is the central part of their business.
“I have shared my personal experience, knowledge and industry interactions which define the difference between success and failure for any customer-focused organisations,” Michael said.
“If you are serious about driving your business to the next level or establishing a new business take this step with me. It is a journey that will benefit you and especially your customers.”
The launch date will be announced on Michael Hamilton’s LinkedIn Profile.
About the author, Michael Hamilton
Michael Hamilton is an IT Software Testing professional with first-hand experience and knowledge from working with a variety of strategic corporate projects during the past 11 years in finance and telecommunications.
Michael has the ability to turn complex problems into conceptual & simple strategies to ensure your next project is a successful one. Michael simply ensures your IT systems deliver a consistent outcome, customer satisfaction, upholds employee morale, supports customer loyalty and most importantly achieve profit through innovation.
June is Author’s Month to celebrate the launch of Red Raven Books. Red Raven Books is the publishing and imprint arm of The Copy Collective. Find out how we can help you today.

“10 Simple Steps to becoming a successful published author” continues with the importance of the author’s photograph, by Maureen Shelley.
The author photo is the most important piece of your marketing material. We recommend that you use a professional photographer. A professional portrait will range from $150 to $400, depending on the photographer.

What you’ll need:

  • You should ask your photographer to take portrait and landscape photos with a headshot, mid shot and full length.
  • You need to have these with a formal and informal look.  In one, wear a suit jacket and, if appropriate, a tie. The other can be more informal but should still be professional.
  • If you are writing a specialty book such as a cookbook, family memoir, children’s book then you may need different photo choices. You should discuss this with your editor, graphic designer or writing mentor or group.

Can’t afford a professional?

If you haven’t budgeted for a photographer, you can use a digital camera or phone camera to take the shot. Ask someone to take the photo for you or use a tripod. You can improvise a tripod using a flat surface.

Don’t take a selfie but you can use the controls on your headphones to give you a ‘remote’. Remember, to leave about 1.5m to 2m between you and the wall behind you, so that you control the shadows.

Also, if you can use multiple lights (standard lamp, desk lamp on the floor behind you – but out of shot), then do so. The more professional you can make the photo look the better.

Planning is essential

Multiple photo choices gives you more options for your book cover, marketing materials and digital assets such as website and social media pages.

Planning your shoot and thinking about your photograph options can ensure that your book looks like a professional production.

If you’re looking for professional help. In Sydney, we use Toby Zerna Photography, Asterisk Photography or UberPhotography. Any of these studios will produce a great shot at a reasonable price. Mention Red Raven Books and they will look after you.

June is Author’s Month to celebrate the launch of Red Raven Books. Red Raven Books is the publishing and imprint arm of The Copy Collective. Find out how we can help you today.

Maureen Shelley continues with Part 3 of “10 Simple Steps to becoming a successful published author” series, on crafting a cover as good as your content.

Although we say “don’t judge a book by its cover” everyone does. That makes the selection of the design for the cover of your book the most important decision you will make – apart from choosing the title.

Front cover design

Graphic Designer: You should definitely budget for a graphic artist to specifically design the cover for your book. Although it will cost you between $250 and $500 it will be the best single investment you make in the creation of your work. Your designer should be able to offer you three choices of design. You will need to tell them what the book is about, who is the audience and what target market you are seeking. Your designer will know what are the current and upcoming trends in book design (yes, book covers have fads and fashions) and the colours that will appeal to your market segment.

Marketplace designs: If you really can’t afford a graphic designer, then consider running a competition on www.99designs.com.au and set a budget for what you can afford. Please don’t be too mean and please provide a reasonable budget for the competition. After all, if you are joining the creative community you need to respect your fellow creatives and provide fair compensation for their efforts.

Do-It-Yourself (DIY): If you really, really can’t afford a designer then you could publish your book through a self-publishing website that offers standard book templates for your cover. This is the least desirable option but still at least gives your book a professional look. Try www.lulu.com or www.blurb.com.au for examples of book packages that can deliver a good quality result and a range of publishing options.

Back cover elements

Testimonials or endorsements: Once you’ve got the front cover design sorted, the back cover is the next important project. It is important to have organised your endorsements from people who have read your manuscript.

The blurb: You also need a good blurb of about 150 words that really encapsulates your book and its aim. Take time and care when writing this and ask someone else to read it for you before submitting it to your designer.

ISBN and barcode: If you are going to print your book, you will need an ISBN and a barcode. In Australia, the site to go to is Thorpe and Bowker at www.thorpe.com.au and they can supply both ISBNs and bar codes. However, if you use a site like Lulu or Blurb your package may include a barcode and ISBN.

The spine

Some people will first see your book as the spine on a bookshelf, so it has to work for you too. Before commissioning your design, study the shelves of your local bookshop and library. See what appeals to you. Look at other books in the same genre as yours – what elements do they include? You will most likely only have room for the title, your name and your publishing imprint logo.
This is where the title of your book has to do the most work, so ensure that your title sums up your book or is engaging or intriguing or all three. The width of your spine will depend on how many pages are in the book. If yours is light on, consider asking your typesetter to increase the spacing or the type size or the margins. A book that might be 60 pages of A4 text can turn to 300 pages in a Trade B paperback if the correct font, spacing and margins are used.
The wider the spine, the brighter the cover colours, the greater the contrast of type to cover, the more eye-catching your book’s spine will be.
June is Author’s Month to celebrate the launch of Red Raven Books. Red Raven Books is the publishing and imprint arm of The Copy Collective. Find out how we can help you today.

The Copy Collective’s resident wordsmith Maureen Shelley begins her new blog series: “10 Simple Steps to becoming a successful published author.

Today she unpacks the curious concept of proof reading.

What is proof reading anyway?
Proof reading is when a manuscript or other written work is submitted for checking of semantics, grammar and typographical errors.

This can be done by a proofreader or editor or, if you can’t afford a human, you can use online programs such as Grammarly. We use Grammarly to check for originality to ensure that work submitted for proofing or editing by us isn’t plagiarised by the writer.

So what are you trying to say? 
What programs such as Grammarly can’t do for you is actually understand what you are trying to say when your subject and object aren’t clear and then to suggest appropriate edits.

If as a writer you can’t even afford Grammarly, then you should at least use the spell checker in your word processing program.

Tips for top-class grammar when using Word:

  • Set the language to your choice first – Australian English, UK English or US English – they will all give slightly different suggestions for spelling of words. Then do a “select all (Control A in Word on a PC) and then F7 for a spell check. Do this repeatedly – you will be amazed at how many errors you find.
  • Turn on recommendations for grammar as well as spelling. It will come up with a few suggestions that you will need to ignore but should find most glaring errors.

June is Author’s Month to celebrate the launch of Red Raven Books. Red Raven Books is the publishing and imprint arm of The Copy Collective. Find out how we can help you today.

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