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Here's a partial list of some of my favorite resources:
Writing and Editing
Getting the Words Right by Theodore A. Cheney
Woe Is I by Patricia T. O'Conner
What Would Your Character Do? by Eric Maisel and Ann Maisel
Your Life as Story by Tristine Rainer
Writer's Guide to Character Traits by Linda N. Edelstein
The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron
Line by Line by Claire Kehrwald Cook
The Forest for the Trees by Betsy Lerner
Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
The New Well-Tempered Sentence by Karen Elizabeth Gordon
Self-Publishing by Dan Poynter
Writer's Guide to Character Traits by Linda N. Edelstein
Story by Robert McKee
Dictionary of Concise Writing by Robert Hartwell Fiske
The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman
Book Design and Production by Pete Masterson
Book Design and Printing - Self-Publishing
The Book Designers - Alan Dino Hebel and Ian Koviak each have over 20 years in the publishing and book design business. Check out their blogs for tips on book layout and cover designs.
Reedsy.com - great place to find affordable book designers
48 Hours Books - Their site offers valuable information on Self-Publishing plus a a FREE Self-publishing guide! I used to print my books at a small press in Berkeley, CA, however, since Covid-19, they have been less responsive due to staffing issues. I've ordered several print runs of two of my titles from 48 Hours Books and have been 95% satisfied with the quality of the books. My one caution is that some book covers have arrived dented, which will be rejected by Amazon. I have found their account reps really responsive, so don't hesitate to call or email them. The unit price goes down with the number of books ordered. It's not the cheapest solution, but I wanted more control than going through one of the online booksellers' self-publishing programs. Also, I haven't had any hard cover books printed by 48 Hours Books, so I can't speak to the quality or cost of hard cover books.
We make self-publishing books easy, with help from start to finish on perfect bound, spiral, and hard cover printing. We've helped thousands of self-publishers just like you. We've got lots of helpful information on our website, or just give us a call. We're happy to answer all of your questions over the phone. Whether you're new to self publishing, or you're an expert self publisher with several titles already in print, we can help get your books printed fast.
Once you're finished writing your book, you may wonder, "What do I do now?" Not to worry! Below we've outlined some steps to take that will get you started in the self-publishing process!
Don't forget to proofread your book before you send it to us for printing! The best way to keep your costs low is to proofread carefully at every step. Your costs start to increase if we have to go back and forth with multiple revisions of your files. Try to give us trouble-free "ready-to-print" files from the beginning. We recommend reading and re-reading your book until you can't stand it any more ... and then reading it some more. Find family members or friends who are willing to look through your book for typos or grammatical errors. You can even hire someone to do the proofreading and editing for you if you'd like.
Editing your book is perhaps the most tedious part of the self-publishing process, but trust us, you'll be glad you did it! There's nothing worse than holding your own printed book in your hands and realizing there's a misspelling on the first page.
You may be wondering: What exactly is an ISBN?
An ISBN is a unique number that identifies a book. Many books have the same or similar titles, so bookstores and book distributors use an ISBN to be sure they're ordering the correct book. If your book doesn't have an ISBN, bookstores (including online bookstores) won't carry it.
Each version of the book (paperback, hard cover, ePub, MOBI, PDF, audiobook, etc.) has it's own unique ISBN. So you might need 4 or 5 ISBNs just for one of your titles. That's why it's best to order your ISBNs in blocks of 10, 100, or even 1,000. Keep in mind that once these numbers are assigned, they cannot be re-used.
At 48 Hour Books, we offer self-publish packages that include:
To make it simple? An ISBN is like a serial number that identifies the publisher, author, and title of a book (as well as other information). More than likely, you'll need an ISBN if you plan on selling your book (and you'll definitely need one if you plan on selling it in bookstores).
An ISBN is not the same as a bar code, although the ISBN is used to create a bar code. You must have an ISBN if you want a bar code on your book. (A bar code is like a price tag; it's the graphic with vertical lines that gets scanned whenever an item is purchased).
If you'd like to add ISBNs and Barcodes to your order, simply download our ISBN Application Form (USA), fill it out, and email it back to us. (This is only for the United States and its territories. Canadian customers should get their ISBN through CollectionsCanada).
Be sure to tell us in the "Comments" section of your order form, so we know to put the barcode on your book cover. And don't approve your book cover if it doesn't have your barcode. If you do, we'll print your books without a barcode. If that happens, the best we can do is to print barcode labels that you can affix to each book.
If you already have your ISBN, we can provide you with a bar code for $20 if you tell us your ISBN.
What exactly is a copyright?
Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works.
According to the Library of Congress, your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. Basically, once you've written your book, you are automatically the copyright holder. So go ahead and put your information on the copyright page.
However, you may want to register with the Library of Congress if you want to be able to file a lawsuit based on the infringement of your work (if you want your copyright to hold up in a court).
It can take several months for a copyright application to be approved, so we recommend researching this as early as possible! Many authors do choose to get their book printed while they are waiting to hear back from the copyright office.
All of this information and more can be found on www.loc.gov.
Next you'll need to decide how you want your book to look. What size do you want it to be? You may want to visit libraries or bookstores to get an idea of what size books similar to yours usually are. We have four standard sizes available (4.25 x 7 inches, 5.5 x 8.5 inches, 6 x 9 inches, and 8.5 x 11 inches) but we are able to trim to almost any custom size (we can even print books as large as 12 x 12 inches)!
Once you decide on a book size, you'll need to format your document to that size. If you're not sure where to start, check out our Free Book Templates. We've also written a blog post that describes in great detail how to layout your book in Microsoft Word. Click here to read it. (It will open in a new window, so you won't lose your place here.)
Every book has a front cover and a back cover, no matter how simple you want your book to look. When you submit your files for printing, you'll need to send us files for both the inside pages and for the cover. When it comes to designing a book cover, you have a few options:
Once the design work is done, and you're sure that your pages are the proper size, make sure all of your files are print-ready. We require PDF files for printing, so you'll want to convert your document into that format. You can convert your files to PDF by choosing "File > Save as > PDF" if your computer offers that option. If you don't see that option, you can try downloading our free PDF converter). Or, if you're a new self-publisher and don't want to mess with it, just send us your Word files and we'll convert them for you for $50.
After you save your file as a PDF, be sure to check the PDF file CAREFULLY before sending it to us for printing. Any errors on your PDF will show up on all of your books.
Your book cover can be in PDF format or can be saved as a .jpg, .jpeg, .jpe, .gif, .png, .tif, .tiff, .bmp, or .eps file.
Finally, a simple step! Our Cost Calculator makes it easy to determine how much printing and binding your book will cost. Fill out the cost calculator, and if you're ready to place an order, simply click the big red button. Our online ordering is fast and easy ... of course, if you have any problems you can give our customer service reps a call and they'll be happy to walk you through the process!
After your order is placed you'll be prompted to upload your files directly to your order.
We will send you PDF proofs of your files to review before we print your self-published books. This is your absolute last chance to catch anything that you want to change before we print your books. Remember, we are book printers; all of your proofreading and editing should already be done long before you send us your files. However, we know the editing process is never truly over, so we like to give you a chance to triple-check your work.
We'll send you proofreading instructions along with your proof files. Be sure to review them before signing off. They'll give you some help in proofreading your files, but they can summed up in two simple rules:
Open your files and proofread them carefully. They should open in Adobe Acrobat or the free Acrobat Reader. Please pay special attention to make sure everything is exactly the way you want it. If something doesn't look right, contact us.
READY TO SIGN-OFF? When you are finished proofreading, log into your 48 Hour Books account, click on the "Signoff" link, and either "Approve" or "Reject" your proofs. But please remember, once you sign off, your self-published books go into print. You won't be able to make any more changes.
Once you sign off on your proofs, we'll start printing and binding your books! Now all you'll need to do is wait (this may be the toughest part of all)!
Here is where the "48 Hour Books" clock starts ticking. Keep in mind, we don't count Saturdays, Sundays or Holidays, and each day's cut-off is 5:00 pm EST for Standard Production, 3pm EST for Rush, and noon EST for SuperRush. Any approvals after these cut-off times will be counted as the following day.
Example: If you OK your proof Monday at 4:45 pm EST, your books will ship Wednesday. But if you wait 20 minutes longer and don't OK your proof until 5:05 pm EST on Monday, the approval will be counted as Tuesday, so your books won't ship until Thursday.
Perfect bound books will ship in 2 days, coil and casebound books will ship in 5 days. Don't forget to add shipping time! Our standard shipping method is UPS Ground from Akron, Ohio so keep in mind that it may take several days for your books to ship. Be sure to contact us if you have a specific need-by date and our customer service reps will work with you to find the most cost-effective way to get you your books on time!
While we don't offer marketing or distribution services at 48 Hour Books, we do know this is one of the most important steps in self-publishing a book. How you market yourself and your book will determine how well your book will sell ... and how much of a profit you'll make! Below are some tips and tricks for marketing and distributing your book:
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