Write your book and birth your baby. That’s actually what it feels like when you have finally got your very first book in your hands. It’s like you have birthed a child, only that child happens to be in book format. No, I’m not comparing a baby to a book, I’m comparing the experiences. I know all about birthing babies, I’ve had three of them, so I can truly relate to that. And when you create a book it can be a similar experience.
When you have a child, you find out you’re pregnant and the excitement starts to build. You look forward to the baby arriving and becoming part of your life. When you finally decide to write your first book, a similar thing happens. You find out you are really going to do it and you start to look forward to when the completed book arrives.
During pregnancy you may or may not have morning sickness. You may or may not have aversions to some foods. During my middle pregnancy I could not stand the smell of bacon cooking and I love bacon. I also could not eat anything with tomatoes and I love them too! There were some blips along the way that made the pregnancy interesting, to say the least.
When I was writing my first book there were also some little blips along the way. When I was baking to test recipes, I always forgot to time things once they went in the oven. If I was making cookies, I’d bake the whole batch and then realize I still had not remembered to time one batch at least. So I’d end up having to make another batch. Hey, my kids and all the kids in our neighborhood loved it! They got tons of cookies!
Then there was the question of photos. Finding the props and getting the freshest food for the pohto shoot was an experience all in itself. I certainly learned a lot about food photography, some of which was pretty gross. It truly was an educaton, but one that I found fascinating.
By the time you are around 4 1/2 months pregnant, you begin to feel little stirrings in your stomach and you have a more real sense of the life you are carrying. By the time I got to the four month mark of writing the book I too was beginning to feel stirrings – a recognition that the book was moving forward and would eventually see the light of day. It reminded me of when I first felt my babies kicking in my womb.
As my pregnancies progressed I got more and more excited as time went on. I waited, sometimes impatiently, for the time when this new life would make an appearance in the world. With all my children, I prepared in advance, setting up the crib, getting the room ready, buying clothes and other necessities. When I was waiting for my book to be printed I did similar things. I arranged interviews and book signings, contacted stores to request that they carry my book, wrote press releases and did other behind-the-scenes activities that would help promote my book once it had arrived. And I waited, often impatiently, just like I waited, often impatiently, when pregnant.
Finally, after nine months of growing and preparing, you go into labor and produce a baby. That was a difficult experience for my first child, but my second and third ones were a breeze. This is where I think there is a difference between having a child and creating a book. There was no pain or struggle to create the book, or to hold it in your hands. It was just a matter of patience, and waiting for the publication date.
However, hen you hold a baby for the first time, the feeling of awe, commitment, love and joy is profound. And when you hold your first book in your hands for the first time, that feeling is similar. No, the book has no value compared to a child. But it is something you have created and brought to life and it feels very similar to birthing a child. It is an awesome feeling! And just as I felt reverence when I held my children for the first time, I felt that same type of reverence when I held each of my books for the first time as well.
So I encourage you to get busy and write your book. You will grow as a human being from doing so. You will fulfill one of your life-long dreams and in doing so you will become a more rounded human being. And you will experience again the joy and awe of creation. It’s so worth the effort. You’ll be glad you did write your book.
Createspace and Lulu are, in my opinion, the two best print-on-demand companies available for anyone wanting to write a book and get it published. Most of the other companies out there have fees that make them prohibitive for most people. Additionally, they will try to get you to purchase editing, promotional, marketing and other packages that come with a hefty price tag. You don’t need to do this. You can do this yourself.
As I said in my last post, I’m probably the most technically challenged person out there and I learned to use Createspace so I know that anyone can. Yes, it will probably take you a little bit of time but it’s worth it. Especially if you just can’t afford to pay for those formatting and uploading services. However, Createspace does offer a very basic formatting and uploading package that you might want to consider if you really just don’t want to do that yourself.
With Createspace you can get their help with formatting the text for $99.00 and for cover for $149.00. On Lulu if you want their help they charge $129.00 for covers and $295.00 for text assistance. However, as I said, you can do the job all by yourself.
I must admit I have not used Lulu’s services and have not published a book with them. However, I have gone through their process and it seems to be fairly easy. With Createspace, they have a step-by-step process you go through to get your book created. You do Step 1 and then move on to Step 2. It really is that simple. They also have a means of contacting them so you can get help if you need it.
Both Createspace and Lulu provide you with already formatted templates for the size of book you have decided to publish so you don’t even have to set up your Word document, you can use their formatted templates. It really is easy to do that. Even I didn’t have any problem using them.
Once you have your book all uploaded and it is ready to go live then you will have to purchase a proof copy so you can see the actual book in print and approve it before it is posted for sale. It usually costs somewhere between $3.00 and $5.00 for a proof copy, depending on the size and price of your book. You set the price, by the way, so that is a decision that is entirely up to you.
I was really glad I got the proof copy for my book for two reasons. First of all, I found two typos I had overlooked previously, so I was able to correct those. And secondly of all, my book had a black and white photo as a background on each page and when the original proof came I realized that it was way too dark. So I was able to submit a new version of the book with that graphic much lighter. I then ordered a second proof copy of the book and was well satisfied with it. In fact, it was perfect. Once that was done then the book was put up for sale on Amazon.
When working with Createspace they will provide you with an ISBN (International Standard Book Number), which you will need so your book can be published and have a bar code on it. There is no extra cost for this service. However, if you want to use your own ISBN you are free to do so. However, in the USA it does cost to purchase a block of ISBN numbers. In Canada, where I live, we are fortunate that we can get a block of ISBN numbers at no cost. However, there is no reason not to use the Createspace ISBN number.
At the beginning of this post I started out by comparing Createspace and Lulu. However, while there are some differences, overall I think that they are very much alike and both are solid companies and are easy to work with. So if
There is no good reason today why anyone who really wants to write and publish a book should not do so. If you want a paperback, or even a hard cover book for that matter, it is a simple matter of creating your book and having it printed by a print-on-demand publishing company.
So to help with understanding the print-on-demand (pod) process, here’s the scoop. If you use a pod company, you provide them with your book and it sits on their computer. When someone orders a copy of two or three of your book, the company simply prints out the number of books ordered and ships them to the person who placed the order. It really is that simple.
However, there are some caveats you need to be aware of. There are many, many pod companies out there and many of them will offer you all kinds of services over and above just printing your book on demand. For example, there are packages for getting your book edited, getting a cover created, and all kinds of marketing and promotion packages. You can actually end up spending thousands of dollars on these packages. But the trick is to use a service where you can do all the work yourself and it doesn’t cost you a dime.
There are two pod companies that offer the opportunity for you to write your book, format it for printing, upload it to their site and create your own cover. These are Createspace (which is owned by Amazon) and Lulu.com Both are excellent. Both have similar pricing, although I think the pricing at Createspace is a bit less expensive than at Lulu.
And if you read the instructions at both Createspace and Lulu carefully and follow them to a “T”, you can create your own book and make it available for sale. Over the coming weeks I will be writing about the various components of this process you will need to master and how they work and how to go about them. For example, I will be posting about how to format your book and how to create a winning cover, editing, marketing and more. For right now, in this post, however, I want to stick to a discussion of the general topic of pod.
Listen, I am the most technically challenged of humans. I can do some things really well, create recipes, cook, write, and a few other things. However, when it comes to anything technical or mechanical I am truly lost. And even given that, I was able to create my book, upload it, create a cover, edit and do all the other things I needed to do to produce a good quality book. So if I can figure it out so can you!
So in my next post I will be talking more about Createspace and Lulu and comparing them. So, until next time.
This will be the first in a series of posts that deal with the changing face of publishing and how authors can now get their books in print easily and for little or no money upfront.
When I first started writing books back in the early 1990s there was no such thing as print-on-demand nor ebooks. If you wanted to get a book published you either had to find a publisher willing to take you and your book on or you had to self-publish your book. Neither prospect was very attractive. Publishers offered authors little or no advance and low, low royalty rates. On a paperback book authors typically would get 6% for the first 3,000 books, 7% for the next 2,000 books and 8% thereafter. So if your book sold for $10.00 you ended up with anywhere from $0.60 to $0.80. Not very much, for sure.
On the other hand, if you wanted to self-publish your book you had to purchase several thousand copies to make it worthwhile. Having only a few hundred books printed made it cost-prohibitive to do so. Even to publish a book that was strictly black print on white paper cost quite a large sum of money in those days. And if you used color inside your books it got really expensive.
When I published my first cookbook I did so with a company that was well-known and well established in the cookbook industry in Canada. They had produced many successful, best-selling cookbooks for other authors and they also helped with marketing and promotion of the books. That meant that they had a good track record and that I was taking a lot lower risk than if I went with some other company who didn’t have the same background.
To be able to make my books reasonably priced I needed to have 10,000 copies printed. They cost me $3.00 a book plus I had already spent $3,000.00 for photography for the books. So I invested over $30,000.00. That’s kind of a scary thing to do! I was fortunate as it did pan out and I sold all those books and more.
I would still have a challenge today for a book with photos in it. Print-on-demand is not set up to accommodate color inside the book and is very expensive. I checked it out and if I wanted 6 photos in my books I would have to pay something like $38.00 a book. Not good. However, I published a book of Christmas Quotes in black and white and that was really reasonable. It also turned out to look really excellent and I’m very happy with it. It cost me around $3.50 for one proof copy of the book. Of course the proof copies are less expensive than the book once it is completed.That is so I could insure that the book was properly formatted and there were no spelling or other errors. Not bad, for a book that I am selling for $14.95. And now, when someone orders a book, Createspace (owned by Amazon) just prints it and ships it directly to the person who ordered it. No money out front, no 10,000 books to worry about, no need for a place to store books, none of the typical hassles of self-publishing. It’s great!
Tomorrow I want to chat a bit more about print-on-demand and then I will take a look at Kindle publishing.
If you’re going to write your book one of the websites you need to know about is www.books.google.comGoogle has set up a program where you can have them place your book on the Internet for free. Then, when someone is searching for a keyword phrase that matches the major theme of your bok, it will come up as part of the search results they get.
This program protects your content while still displaying such things as your link to your book on Amazon next to the table of contents and index so that viewers can go on over to Amazon and purchase the book should they desire. It’s a great way to generate visibility and additional sales for your book. If you self-publish you can sign up yourself. If you have a publisher, they need to sign you up. You can find out more at www.books.google.com
Before you write your book you need to get some idea of why you’re writing it. This will help you to figure out what direction to take. For example, are you writing because you want to become a published author? Are you writing for a family keepsake? Are you writing for money?
So why do people write books? Why are you writing your book? There are as many reasons as there are people, but here are just a few:
To become known as an expert
Because you just MUST write
To make money
For a family heirloom/keepsake
Because you know you can do it
To share your knowledge
To share your experiences
To learn things (it’s amazing what you learn as you write!)
As part of a product line
To be able to say you’re a published author
There are no right or wrong reasons to write; only reasons. Let’s take two examples. Suppose you want to write to become known as an expert in your field. You’ll then need to figure out how to do that, which would be totally different from someone wanting to write a family keepsake. Writing to become an expert requires a professionally written book and you will need to spend time, effort and energy in promoting and marketing your book. If, on the other hand you want to write a family keepsake book, you won’t need to be very concerned about marketing at all.
That’s just one example of the many different roads authors travel. Those who are writing novels have a different path than those who are writing non-fiction. While many things are similar, there are differences and you need to be aware of them.
So take time to identify the reason or reasons you want to write your book. Once you’re clear on that, you can move forward knowing the direction you want to take and you will be one step closer to getting the job done!
One of the things I think you’ll discover is that just the thought of writing a book can be daunting! That’s a huge undertaking and often, we just don’t know where to begin. So in this first post we’re going to talk a little bit about that. There are as many ways to begin as there are people but here’s what worked for me:
I was rather overwhelmed by the thought of writing a whole book, so I created a quick outline. I knew what types of recipes I wanted to include and broke that down into what would be chapters in a book. You can do that too. If you’re writing non-fiction, get an outline of what information yo want to cover and work from that. Don’t think about writing a whole book…that’s too huge! Think about writing one chapter, then about writing one page of that one chapter. Do that and then think about the next page.
If you’re writing a novel, create an outline, get a feel for your characters and use that as a guide to starting your book. You may find as you develop your book that the characters take on a life of their own and your outline is no longer of much use. That’s okay, it got you started, didn’t it? It served its purpose. If your characters want to take the weight of developing the plot as they want it, let them go at it! You’ve now got some powerful allies in writing the remainder of the book.
I know this might sound simple, and it really is. Break it down into managable chunks and you’ll be able to start, and that’s the most important thing…to start. So let’s get at it and get something down on paper today, the beginnings of an outline, the beginnings of a plot, anything to move you forward with your dream of writing your book.
Glad you dropped by. This blog will provide loads of information related to how to write a book and get it published. I’ve done it…several times. When I first started there was no such thing as print-on-demand and when I wrote and published my first book I had to print 10,000 copies at a hefty price tag to get my book out there. It was worth it, in the end, but it’s scary when you have to put out that much cash. I was a self-published author by choice, I never did go after a book publisher. I knew of a company that published books for authors and that’s how I wanted to go…and I did.
Since my first book came out in 1992, the whole publishing world has turned upside down. Now you can write and publish a book and make it available to the public and it only costs you the price of a proof copy of your book (usually under $20.00)! And there are so many new tools to help promote and sell your book as well.
We’ll talk about all of them here on Write Your Book. I’ll share all the latest and greatest methods of publishing and promoting a book and also get into the technicalities of writing. We’ll talk about copyright and what it means and how to avoid any challenges with that. I’ll be happy to explore topics that are of interest to you as they relate to the writing and publishing business so if you have any specific areas you’d like to get information on, let me know.
Now, enough about all that…the next post we’ll get started on the good stuff…the facts!