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Author Feature: Terry Lammers: Helping Business Owners Through Acquisition and Exit Strategy Planning

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nonfiction writer tool

Nonfiction Writer Tool: Structure

There are a lot of things to think about when you start to write your nonfiction book, and one of them is its structure. Without structure you have chaos, and with chaos comes confusion. That’s why structure is such an important nonfiction writer tool.

Nonfiction Writer Tool-To become a nonfiction writer and not just someone who has a story to tell, you will need organization. Before you put pen to paper, your book percolates in your head and chaos reigns, doesn’t it? Unorganized thoughts, stray threads, and important principles are all slammed together without structure. You have something to say, but how will you communicate it?

Your job as a nonfiction writer is to communicate. You must lead the reader through your story, your concept, or your process and help them make sense of what you present.

In a sense, you are a tour guide. You are taking your readers on a journey, and it’s up to you to plot the route.

Start with your Purpose Statement.

The purpose is the final destination on your tour, and you want to take your readers along the path of least resistance to reach the ultimate purpose of the book. Don’t let your readers get lost!

A good nonfiction writer uses structure to keep their readers’ attention

I recently watched a brilliant preschool teacher move fourteen squirming, easily distracted, practically-like-puppies little ones down a hall, past a flight of stairs, and to the gym at the far end of the building without one child stepping out of line. Not even one.

How did she do it? She simply gave them something to grab onto. This brilliant woman had fashioned a six-foot piece of rope like a lion’s tail, and each child grabbed the tail and followed as she guided them along the path to the gym. Not one child let go, not even one.

Of course, your readers aren’t preschoolers. They’re intelligent men and women, but they, too, need something they can grab as you guide them to the purpose of your book.

They need to grab onto you for this journey. It’s your job to get them from point A to point B, and the best way to do that is to let them hang onto your tail.

So what is your tail? It’s your tale, your own story. Structure is the writing tool that will wrangle your readers and keep them following along with you. Your story is the tie that binds all parts of your book together, it’s you from end to end, and in the middle, too. Your book needs to be completely infested with your own story from start to finish. That’s what provides the structure for your book. It’s your story, and only you can tell it. Get organized and tell your tale.


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Client Profile: Craig Hughes – Teaching You How to Grow Your Small Business

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If you’re an entrepreneur looking to grow your small business, you’ll definitely want to read this book written by the owner of a taxicab company. We know what you’re thinking: Why would the owner of a cab company ever write a book, and what could I possibly learn from reading it? This man started out with a small taxi company and battled his way up to building a multi-million dollar business. Being an owner and manager of a fleet as big as taxis can require a lot of help and will need the right software for fleet safety, management, etc. this is why a company like Lytx who deals in this area, can be of service to business owners such as Mr. Hughes.

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The Importance of Reading: Celebrate Read Across America Day & Dr. Seuss’s Birthday

Today, March 2nd is Read Across America Day, as well as the birthday of the beloved children’s author, Dr. Seuss. It’s a great day to celebrate and discuss the importance of reading. We’ve written before about why good readers make good writers, but the importance of reading stretches to everyone, writers or otherwise. Reading is important throughout all stages of life, from childhood into old age.

The importance of reading for children

Read Across America Day was created to get more kids excited about reading. The idea behind the celebration was to create the same sense of enthusiasm for reading as schools do for sports and spirit weeks. It’s a wonderful initiative that shows children just how fun reading can be. Reading can be a challenge for some children, and that challenge can cause them to shy away from books and proclaim that reading simply doesn’t interest them. However, it is imperative that all children are given the guidance and encouragement they need to work on their reading skills.

For children whose minds are still actively developing, the importance of reading goes far beyond the enjoyment of books. Proper reading skills help children develop better communication skills as well as improved comprehension across all school subjects. Many studies show that children that read or are read to often in preschool and kindergarten perform better in other subjects such as math and science than students who have had less exposure to books.

Finding the right book is essential. Children need to have access to books that they enjoy, so that they can also come to enjoy the act of reading itself. Dr. Seuss books are a great place to start!

The importance of reading for adults

A child’s mind needs stimulation in order to develop, and the same is true for the mind of an adult! Books can serve so many purposes for adults and can truly help expand their minds. Here are just a few benefits to reading:

Learn new things

Books can teach you so much, whether it be how to perform a specific task such as building your own furniture, or how to guide yourself through a difficult time, such as a divorce. There are direct ways of learning through books that are written with the intent to teach the reader a new skill, but DIY and Self Help books are certainly not the only types of books that can teach the reader something. The beauty of reading is that each reader experiences the book in his or her own way. You might read a novel and learn something new about yourself. Nonfiction books can expose you to a facet of history you didn’t know before because life is nonfiction, after all. Books make excellent teachers.

importance of reading

Relate to others

Reading books can also help you relate to others on a deeper level. While reading a painful story that was written with brutal honesty, you might start to see yourself within the pages. You may even feel as if the writer put into words what you yourself could not.

Of course, the importance of reading as a way to relate to others isn’t just about relating to people who have had experiences similar to your own. Stories, fiction or nonfiction, can allow you to see through the eyes of someone else and give you a better understanding of a situation, experience, or perspective that you had never explored on your own. Books expand your mind by allowing you to reach outside your own life and take a look at something new.

Get exposed to different experiences

You are only one person. You cannot see every place or experience every situation firsthand. You can, however, expose yourself to an incredibly diverse variety of people, places, and experiences through books. Reading may expose you to a hobby that you had never considered but, after reading about it, find that you might really enjoy it. Stories can give you some perspective when it comes to tough topics and choices that people are faced with every day, even if you yourself have never had to make those difficult decisions. Books expose you to worlds outside of your own, which is why reading is so incredibly important.

Read Across America Day may have been created with children in mind, but I urge you to honor this day by picking up a book and re-dedicating yourself to reading.

 


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How to write a nonfiction book

Nonfiction is Life

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… and Life is Nonfiction

Have you seen the movie Hidden Figures yet? I give this nonfiction movie 5 stars, and it exposed me to another angle of Black History Month. Until I saw this movie, I never knew that three female African–American mathematicians were instrumental in the early days of NASA. They weren’t just instrumental, they were crucial to John Glenn’s orbit around the earth! Why hadn’t I heard of this before?

This month gives us the opportunity to recognize and applaud the contributions that black men and women have made. From artists, to poets, to politicians, to religious leaders, to authors, to sports figures, to business men and women, to scientists, to everyday people, this is our appointed time learn more about these people and to celebrate their accomplishments.

black history nonfiction

Nonfiction sports history

My husband is a baseball fanatic, and we recently visited the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City. What a treat! Negro leagues were formed due How to write a nonfiction bookto segregation laws, and they ran strong from 1920 until they started their decline in 1945, when Jackie Robinson was recruited by the Brooklyn Dodgers. They produced strong players like Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, Roy Campanella, LeRoy “Satchel” Paige, and—of course—Jackie Robinson. Think any of these athletes made history? You bet your boots they did! They were a strong force in the civil rights movement, although all they really wanted to do was play baseball.

As I think about our effort to find 117 solutions to our most pressing problems in 2017, I’m drawn to the racial divide that has plagued our nation almost since its inception. It’s a big problem, and we need to find solutions.

Nonfiction contemporary conversations

I like what is happening in St. Louis, particularly through an organization called Mother 2 Mother, where 11 black mothers share their stories with “thousands of mostly white attendees…” Their purpose is to expose other women to the “dangers and realities of raising Black sons in America regardless of the socio-economic status achieved.”(source)

How to write a nonfiction bookI attended one of these conversations and was dumbstruck by the things these black mothers endure that have never been part of my life. Their sons are consistently pulled over for no reason and, in some cases, have been handcuffed and taken to the police station. One woman’s daughter was told to go to the back of the school bus by some teenage boys, who were never punished, and it happened in the priciest zip code in the St. Louis area. As I heard these mothers – doctors, attorneys, scientists, and professors at Washington University – talk about what they and their kids battle on a daily basis, I shrunk in my seat and thought, “There has to be a solution to this.”

117 Solutions in 2017

We are looking for solutions to problems like white privilege and the racial divide. How about you? What do you know, what have you been through, what have you discovered or developed that can help others? What inspirational nonfiction book could you write that will bring hope to others? Please join us in our effort to find 117 Solutions in 2017!

The purpose of 117 Solutions in 2017 is:

  • To create a groundswell of solutions to problems that have, until now, seemed too big or impossible to resolve
  • To unleash the answers that are trapped inside of people
  • To change lives, save lives, and transform society
  • To use your life and your gifts and your resources to MAKE THINGS BETTER. Not because you must, but because YOU CAN!

 


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How to Write a Nonfiction Book When It Hurts

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This year, our focus is to find 117 Solutions to our most difficult problems, an effort we call 117 Solutions in 2017. I’m encouraged by the response we’ve had, but I also feel humbled when I’m asked how to write an inspirational nonfiction book when it hurts. Not all stories are pretty, especially those about child abuse.

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Black History Month — Start by Celebrating National Freedom Day

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Today, February 1st,  is the first day of Black History Month. It is also National Freedom Day. With fun and silly National “something” Days like National Talk Like a Pirate Day and National Popcorn Day, it’s easy to overlook important commemorative days like National Freedom Day. This year, I want to appreciate National Freedom Day and everything it stands for throughout Black History Month.

National Freedom Day commemorates “the signing by Abraham Lincoln of a joint House and Senate resolution that later became the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. President Lincoln signed the Amendment outlawing slavery on February 1, 1865, although it was not ratified by the states until later.” (Source)

It’s an excellent way to begin Black History Month. It’s a day to celebrate freedom for all people, particularly for African-Americans. Black History Month highlights those who contributed to our nation, before and after the abolition of slavery. And what is history other than the stories of people who suffered, fought, and persevered? It’s a time to remember the incredible stories of those who helped make our nation what it is today. Stories are important. They connect one generation to another, and I particularly like the famous Black poet, Maya Angelou’s opinion about stories:

Do you have an untold story inside of you? Even if you’re not a writer, you can still tell your story. You’re the only one who has your story. You’re the only one who can tell it.

I’m particularly fond of Maya Angelou, partly because she was born in St. Louis, Missouri, where I live. But what really draws me to her is her wisdom. She has depth and speaks truth that we need to hear. This is one of my favorite quotes of hers:

“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”

Stories, more often than not, involve pain. Experiences are not always easy or pleasant, but they make us who we are. They shape us and the world around us. The world can be a scary place, but we can find comfort in shared experiences, shared stories. Stories build bridges and create connections.

I encourage you to spend National Freedom Day and Black History Month reading stories about black Americans and thinking about your own story. Your story could be the voice of hope and help that someone needs. Join us to find 117 Solutions in 2017 , so we can find 117 Solutions this year to some of our most pressing problems. It’s your story and only you can tell it.


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Vocabulary for Online Writing Classes

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Your manuscript is comprised of words, and the ones you select are critical to how well you communicate with your audience. The vocabulary you select will either make or break your manuscript. A strong and varied vocabulary is an important writing tool that all writers should strive to have.

We use words to communicate ideas, thoughts, and emotions. Sometimes our communication is successful, and sometimes it’s not. Your job as a writer is to select the words that communicate exactly what you mean, without the possibility of misinterpretation. A wide vocabulary allows you to do that. Without a good working knowledge of words and their meanings, your written communication will be muddied or poorly understood.

If you don’t have a strong vocabulary, one way to develop it is to use a simple but effective writing tool: a thesaurus.

Say you wanted to describe how you felt on the day your first child was born. You might use the word “happy.” However, we use the same word to describe a wide range of pleasant feelings, don’t we? I’m happy when I have a cup of coffee in the morning, but that’s not the same happy I felt the day my daughter was born.

I highly recommend a writing tool called Visual Thesaurus. Simply type in the word you want to replace, and the results pop up in mindmap format. Click on any of the displayed word options, and they will expand to give further meaning. In essence, you drill down until you find the precise word that means exactly what you want to say.

I looked up the word happy because I wanted to describe how I felt when my daughter was born. Some of the selections included blissful, joyful, content, glad, bright, elated, euphoric, etc. The term that really struck me was blessed.writing tool

 

Next, I wanted to describe how I feel when I drink a cup of hot coffee in the morning. I don’t feel blessed, or euphoric, or bright, or gleeful, I feel content. I am content with my cup of coffee.

The words blessed and content are both variations on the word happy, and yet, they actually have different meanings.

A nimble working vocabulary allows you to say exactly what you mean and to be explicit, rather than vague. I caution you to choose words that your audience will understand. In other words, keep it simple. If the reader doesn’t understand your word choice, you may feel intelligent, but you will lose your audience, and that’s not good communication. A thesaurus is an excellent writing tool because it helps you brainstorm and then drill down to the perfect word, but you do not want your readers to need a dictionary just to get through a mess of overcomplicated words on each page. So when choosing your words, remember that you are writing to communicate your thoughts, ideas, and feelings.

 


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inspirational people

Making a Difference with His Nonfiction Book

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I hope you are following our mission to find 117 Solutions in 2017 because you will meet many ordinary, yet inspirational people, who are working hard to make this world a better place. Tom Hofmeister is such a man.

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Your Online Reputation And Author Brand

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This article was originally guest posted to BookBaby by Caroline Black

Your online reputation can be your most powerful marketing tool and beacon for your author brand, as long as it’s properly monitored.

Once upon a time, authors could hide behind the pages of their books with no one knowing much about them aside from the name on the front cover. We now live in a very different age.

Many readers want to know as much about the person writing the story as they do about the content. For better or worse, the Internet has provided a platform for exploration that makes it easy for fans to delve into your background, and if you aren’t properly vetting what a Google search of your name brings up, it could lead to disaster for your career. One way to take control of this is to get a RepCheckup account.

Representing your author brand

Representing your author brand covers more than just going on book tours and signings. A plethora of online platforms can be harnessed by authors as promotional tools. However, sloppy practices when producing websites, working on social media, or messaging your mailing list could cause more harm than good.

If a prospective new reader, or even a long-term fan, doesn’t like the way you present yourself online, it’s highly likely she won’t pick up another copy of your work ever again. The author brand you chose to promote is up to you, but there are questions every author should ask when considering his or her online reputation.

1. Are you marketable?

Even though the product you’re looking to sell is yourself – or at least your talents as a writer – it’s still important to consider the marketability factor of the personality you’re promoting. To begin with, it’s essential to have a comprehensive grasp of yourself as a writer; consider what themes, ideas or message you’re trying to portray with your work and what emotional response you’re trying to elicit.

After this has been established, it’s time to check whether your online reputation reflects these ideals. Consider colors, graphics and font type when setting up webpages, and be stringent about the wording and emotional weight of the things you post.

2. Are you authentic?

There’s no rule stating your online reputation has to be a positive one; plenty of public figures have found notoriety through controversy and scandal. However, if you are endeavoring to be a provocative online figure, it is important to ensure that your author brand has been properly planned and considered.

It might seem fun to play the femme fatale or outspoken critic on the Internet, but if that sort of personality is far detached from who you are, then it’s only going to be a matter of time before your readership sees through this. “Fake” is a buzzword that pops up regularly on the Internet, usually inspiring a cutthroat response.

While your online presence as an author may be more carefully fabricated than your personal social media profiles, you’re still trying to present an authentic front. Audiences want to know who you are, not who you are pretending to be.

3. Are you engaging?

It’s not enough to post a single tweet or only update your website around the time of your book release or other significant event. The key to growing a fan base is to provide regular, engaging online content. This is why so many writers have set up personal blogs.

Writing relevant posts about topics related to your work or your goal as an author means your name and face are potentially popping up in the feeds of your fans and new readers. Staying active in this way also does a lot to increase your Google ranking. Both of these things are essential to a good online reputation and continued success in your career.

Look into Google Adwords or other SEO strategies in order to better structure your blog posts to attract more traffic.

4. Are you trustworthy?

For anyone who religiously uses the Internet, there’s a constant balance of trust and risk. You’re sharing your personal information with people you don’t actually know, so, by default, a presumed level of faith between you and those you are interacting with has to be established. However, this is fickle and can easily be broken.

There are many harmless hacks that are common for regular users of social media and blogging platforms. Most often, they manifest as spam links sent without your knowledge to your followers. Although they pose no real threat, many Internet users will avoid an infected domain once they’ve seen a problem.

There are lots of simple strategies to overcome this – password management, use of secure networks, etc. – but by far the best solution is the use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Using a VPN that you can find on a website like CompareMyVPN can give you an unprecedented level of online security. As one of the leading security programs on the market, a VPN encrypts all of your data and makes it very difficult for hackers or malware to gain access to your accounts. Secure Thoughts provides reviews of some of the best options on the market for those who want more information. Using a VPN encrypts connections that protect data on the server, especially important if the business manages personnel or sensitive data and using a VPN can minimize the chances of that data being stolen. Depending on where the business is, a country-specific VPN could be more suitable. If in Canada, it would be much easier and more reliable to use a Canadian VPN, compared to a British VPN. It may take some time, but it’s vital that a suitable VPN service is found to ensure maximum security.

Setting up a VPN and connecting it to your internet router is relatively quick and easy, but you will need your router login details to complete the process. If you cannot remember these details, or if your internet router is not working as it should be, it might be necessary to restore your router to its factory default settings. You can learn more about restoring your internet router to its factory default settings here.

Your online reputation can be your most powerful marketing tool and beacon for your author brand, as long as it’s properly monitored. Ensuring you always have the questions outlined above in mind when setting up online accounts means you are positioned to get the biggest promotional benefit.

If you’ve had any insights related to an online reputation you’d like to share, be sure to leave a comment below. We’d love to hear your ideas!

About BookBaby

Based in the Philadelphia-area, BookBaby is a team of authors, poets, bloggers, and artists – so they know the thrills and challenges of bringing a book into this world.

Since 2011, BookBaby has helped thousands realize their publishing goals by offering the largest eBook distribution network, including Amazon, Apple, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and many other popular retailers in over 170 countries around the globe.

Learn more at www.BookBaby.com.


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2017: The Year of Solutions!

Feeling disturbed by the chaos in our world? You are not alone.

Look around you. We’ve been bombarded with problems that appear unsolvable, and many are in deep distress.

We have so many problems that we don’t even know how to name them anymore, but we do know what doesn’t work. Top-down solutions don’t work. Government can’t fix anything, organized religion hasn’t solved our problems, and we’ve tried to medicate our problems away, but that hasn’t worked either. In many cases, these attempts have made things worse and have spawned new problems.

2017: The Year of Solutions!

I believe that our problems—all of them—can be solved, and that the answers are trapped inside people like you. When you share what you know and what you’ve learned, you become the solution. The answers are inside of you. You ARE the solution.

There are two things that people cannot live without: HOPE and HELP. People need hope that things can and will get better, and they need help to get from where they are to where they want to be. When you tell your story, Nonfiction writing coachwhen you share what you’ve been through, what you’ve learned, what you’ve overcome, what you’ve developed or the path you took, you become the voice of hope and help.

There are people like you who have the answers, the solutions. And there are other people who, in some cases, are literally dying, waiting for those answers. You have what they need, and you can offer the hope and help that they crave simply by telling your story. You are the solution.

Think about what you’ve learned and how you can be a force that changes lives, saves lives, and transforms society. Don’t waste your pain and struggles. Put them to work in the world and let the mess become the messenger — the messenger of hope and help.

Maybe you’ve been through a painful time and fell like you can reach back and give others a helping hand. What do you know? What have you learned? What have you discovered or developed that can help others?

The Answer: 117 Solutions in 2017

It’s time for us to take the reins and solve the problems that surround us. In 2017, we are going to find 117 solutions to the problems that plague us. Every week we will focus on 2 specific problems and ask for your help to solve them. Perhaps you have a solution of your own, or maybe you know someone else who does. Introduce us to one another.

You can share the problems you’ve encountered and the solutions you crafted to offer hope and help to this chaotic world. If not you, then who? If not now, then when?

When you tell your story and what you’ve been through, what you’ve discovered, what you’ve overcome, or what you’ve developed, you become the voice of hope and help.

The purpose of 117 Solutions in 2017 is:

  • To create a groundswell of solutions to problems that have, until now, seemed too big or impossible to resolve
  • To unleash the answers that are trapped inside of people
  • To change lives, save lives, and transform society

Call to Action:

You can’t sit around and hope that things will change. If you want change, you must be the solution. Be the one who offers hope and help and write your high-impact nonfiction book that can save lives, change lives or transform society. Click the button to get involved:

Write a nonficiton book

The Problems:

We have a lot of problems, and here are a few to consider. What do you know or what have you learned about these problems that could help others?

Immigration Reform
Refugee Crisis
Church-State Separation Tension
Eroding Middle Class
Government restrictions on small business
Suicide
Drug Abuse
Capital Punishment
Misuse of social networking
Animal abuse
Homophobia
Poverty
Women’s Rights
Domestic Terrorism
Religion-based Discrimination
Organ & body donation
Human Rights Violations
Environmental Pollution
Children’s Rights
Corporate Downsizing
Defense Spending and Preparedness
Euthanasia & assisted suicide
Eating Disorders
Unemployment
Homelessness
Racial profiling
Welfare
Recycling and Conservation
HIV/AIDS
Civil Rights
Genetic Engineering
Consumer Debt and Bankruptcy
Obesity
Terrorism
Judicial Reform
Censorship
Violence
Academic Freedom
Gun Control
Gender issues
Environmental issues
Single Parenting
Child Labor
Tobacco
Nuclear Proliferation
Ageism
Stress
Cancer
Prostitution
Education
Health Care Reform
Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Child pornography
Sex Trafficking
Refugee Crisis
Data Security
Use of Drones
Violence through indoctrination
Child Neglect
Child Abuse
Juvenile Offenders
Child prostitution
Information Overload
Instability of the EU
Gender Wage Gap
Child care alternatives
Lack of human connection in over-connected world
Over-stressed parents
Under-served populations
Reliance on government programs rather than self
Effects of childhood traumas
Teen heroin use and overdose
Polarized political parties
Crippling anxiety
Traumatic brain injury
Living with chronic disease
Overcoming childhood abuse
Racial reconciliation
White privilege
Failure of the education system – elementary
Failure of the education system – secondary
Tort reform
Eroding middle class
Domestic poverty
Child-on-child crime
Polarized societies
Alcoholism
Eating disorders
Bullying
Date rape
Cyber bullying
Domestic violence
Gang violence
Classism
Climate Change
Cloning
Colorisim
Cloud Hacking
Computer Hacking
Corporal Punishment
Disaster Relief
Drinking and Driving
Identify Theft
Legalization of Marijuana
Hate Crimes


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Seven basic – but important – questions about eBooks

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This article was originally posted to BookBaby.

Even though they’ve been around for almost 10 years, a lot of folks are still trying to understand the world of eBooks. Our BookBaby publishing specialists field dozens of questions about eBooks every day, and any question, no matter how basic, deserves a good answer.

“There are naive questions, tedious questions, ill-phrased questions, questions put after inadequate self-criticism. But every question is a cry to understand the world. There is no such thing as a dumb question” –Carl Sagan

Even though they’ve been around for almost 10 years, a lot of folks are still trying to understand the world of eBooks. Choosing an e-book service can be hard, and our BookBaby publishing specialists field dozens of questions about eBooks every day.

I agree with the opinion of that famous astrophysicist – any question, no matter how basic, deserves a good answer. In that spirit, let’s go to the most basic level of eBook knowledge, starting with:

1. What is an eBook?

Electronic books – or eBooks – are digital versions of a manuscript. An eBook can consist of text, images, or both. An eBook requires special dedicated files to be created from digital files like Word or PDF. (See below for more information about these eBook files.) eBooks have been around since 2007, when Amazon introduced the Kindle, followed by the Barnes & Noble Nook and the iPad from Apple.

2. How do people buy and read eBooks?

eBooks are downloaded directly to all kinds reading devices. They can be read on almost any modern computing device including dedicated eReaders like the Kindle or Nook. These devices are mainly used to buy and read eBooks. Many people read eBooks on smartphones – all iPhone and Android devices have eBook reading apps available as downloads. Others use multipurpose devices – tablets like the iPad and Surface – to consume eBooks.

Readers can buy eBooks from thousands of online retailers around the globe, including Amazon. The Kindle BookStore is the world’s largest online eBook store, with hundreds of new titles added each day. Other popular eBook retailers include Apple’s iBookstore and Barnes & Noble. In addition, authors can sell eBooks directly to readers from their own websites.

3. How do I turn my book into an eBook?

It starts with having your content on one of the popular digital file formats, such as Word or a PDF. These source documents will then be converted into two special eBook files. One file type, .mobi, is used in the Amazon Kindle device. The other file, called an ePub, is used in all other eBook reading devices, apps, and programs.
Some authors can convert their files themselves using third-party software applications. But for most writers, eBook conversion is a complicated process and can be difficult to do correctly. The coding can get very intricate and complex.

That’s why many authors turn to a company like BookBaby for professional eBook file conversion. At BookBaby, we inspect your Word or PDF document to make sure it conforms to eBook file specifications and then convert it into both .mobi and ePub files for all eReader types. BookBaby then sends a format proof of the eBook files that you can load and view on your own device. At this stage you can still make changes or corrections to your book.

4. What kind of books can be eBooks?

Just about any kind of book can be made into an eBook. Most text-based books work very well as eBooks because they have a simple layout. This is called a “dynamic” layout, because the book’s appearance will change depending on the screen size of the eReader. (More information here and below.) Books that have a lot of pictures or graphics often need a different conversion process, called “fixed layout”. We recommend this kind of conversion for children’s books, cook books, photography, and art books. (Note: BookBaby performs fixed layout conversions for books destined to be sold in Apple’s iBookstore only. For more information about what kind of conversion you’ll need, go to the BookBaby website.

5. Will my eBook read and look just like my printed book?

All of the content of your printed book will be in your eBook, but it won’t look exactly the same. Why? Think of it this way: A printed book stays in one format, for instance a 6×9 trade book. Each page stays exactly the same – forever! But an eBook page can and will change based on several factors including the screen size of the reading device being used and the reader’s personal preferences. For more information about why eBooks don’t look like printed books, I invite you to read “Why Doesn’t My eBook Look Like My Printed Book?” on the BookBaby Blog.

6. How long will it take to create an eBook?

There is no simple answer to this question, it all depends on your book files and the time spent reviewing your eBook proof. Here’s the process:

  • When you send your Word or PDF book file to BookBaby, we’ll inspect all of the contents to make sure everything is right.
  • Next we convert your file into both a .mobi and ePub, and send you a digital proof. Your first proof will arrive in about 6-8 business days.
  • Then the ball is in your court! You’ll need to review your proof and contact BookBaby with any changes. This can take five minutes… five days… or five weeks.

Most eBook conversions take two rounds of proofs. How long does the “average” conversion take? You can generally expect this part of the eBook creation process to last between 12-15 business days. Please note: If you’re doing both a printed book and eBook at the same time, BookBaby will work on your printed book file first and then your eBook. That way we make sure both versions of your book are exactly the same.

7. What do I need to do to get started on my eBook?

First, you should have your book professionally edited. That goes for any kind of book, printed book or eBook. There’s just no substitute for another set of eyes combing your manuscript to eliminate typos and grammar issues.

When you send us your edited book file in Word or PDF format, I recommend you keep everything very simple. Because there are so many kinds of eBook readers and devices, a simple book file is best for the sake of consistency. Avoid any kind of special fonts or type treatments. Remember It’s the content of your book that’s most important – not a fancy typeface. For more instructions how to prepare your file, download BookBaby’s free guide, Preparing Your Document For eBook Conversion.

About BookBaby

Based in the Philadelphia-area, BookBaby is a team of authors, poets, bloggers, and artists — so they know the thrills and challenges of bringing a book into this world.

Since 2011, BookBaby has helped thousands realize their publishing goals by offering the largest eBook distribution network, including Amazon, Apple, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and many other popular retailers in over 170 countries around the globe.

Learn more at www.BookBaby.com.


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Gifts to give others: time, authenticity, and focused attention

Now that the holiday season is in full swing, gifts are certainly on your mind. As you rack your brain for the perfect gift ideas for everyone on your list, remember that the best presents aren’t flashy and expensive. The most memorable gifts involve giving your time, authenticity, and focused attention. The best gifts show that you put time and thought into the selection and had the receiver’s unique personality in mind.

gift for writers

Gifts for writers and readers

These are just a few ideas for the writers and readers in your life. Be creative! Remember, the true gift is your time and attention. It is not simply about the act of giving, but also about being present in the moment. Give the people in your life the gift of your time and company and your gift will surely be well remembered.

Personalized pen

A pen may seem like a boring gift, but it could make the perfect gift for writers. There are many ways you can personalize this standard item. You might purchase a wooden ballpoint pen with a quote from the writer’s favorite book or author. You could also get the writer’s name engraved on a metal pen. If you know the receiver is prone to misplacing their pens, buy them a pack of pens in bulk and dress it up with ribbons and a hand-written note about never having to search for a pen again! One bonus tip. You can customize just about anything these days. Why not treat the writer or reader in your life to a custom bobblehead made in their likeness to watch over them? To Design Your Own Bobbleheads, go to bestcustombobbleheads.com

Journal or notebook

Writers need to write somewhere! While many writers do the bulk of their writing on a computer these days, a small journal or notebook is a great thing to keep around in case inspiration strikes them while they are away from the keyboard. Many writers also find that scribbling things down on paper actually helps them clear their head and narrow in on good ideas. You can further personalize this item by inscribing it with a heartfelt note that encourages the receiver to keep writing, no matter what. Take the time to show the writer in your life that you value their words and ideas; that you believe in the story they need to tell. A personalised mug from somewhere like Personalisierte Foto Tasse would also go very nicely with a notebook. Nothing better than a cuppa whilst taking notes!

Coffee and Tea

Readers and writers alike can find comfort in a mug of hot coffee or tea. Writers might keep the coffee pot on while they do some late-night writing and readers can sip on a cup of calming tea while they unwind with a good book. A set of great coffee and/or tea flavors is a great gift for writers and readers, especially if you package it in a cute mug. You can further personalize this gift with custom photo mugs that include the receiver’s favorite photo of family and friends, for further inspiration when writing.

Books

What encompasses the gift of time, authenticity, and focused attention better than a handpicked book? A book is an obvious gift for writers and readers, but it’s important to keep the receiver in mind when you choose the book. The book you choose should say something about the receiver or perhaps your relationship with them. You could give them a fictional world to lose himself or herself in or a nonfiction book to inspire them. Take the time to picture the receiver reading the book and imagine the emotions it will inspire. Find a book that will make it onto their list of all-time favorites to make your gift a memorable one.

Something handmade

Handmade gifts show that you took the time to create something with the receiver in mind. Hand-poured candles are a great gift for writers who might enjoy some calming scents while they work. Bath bombs are a great gift for readers who enjoy hot baths paired with a good book. If you are handy with wood and a hammer, you could build a small bookshelf for your favorite reader’s book collection. If you are not a particularly crafty person, try something simple like a handwritten letter that shows the receiver how much you love and appreciate them. You could also dedicate time to the receiver by sending them a handmade invitation to join you for coffee and your undivided attention.

Give the gift of your time and you are sure to give memorable gifts, year after year.


Learn How to Write a Book