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Voices Silenced: 12 Authors Who Died in 2017

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This article originally appeared on Bookbaby.com

The list of notable authors, writers, publishers, and contributors to the written word who passed last year is far longer than anything we could include in one blog post, but let’s take a moment to recognize 12 authors who died in 2017. Please, populate the comments with tributes to those who meant the most to you.

 

Michael Bond, 91
authors who died in 2017 PaddingtonBorn: January 13, 1926, Newbury, UK
Died: June 27, 2017, London, UK

“If you really want something in this world, you’ll never get it by sitting down and waiting. But if you go out and do things there’s no knowing where you’ll end up.” —The Tales of Olga Da Polga

The creator of the Paddington Bear series of books, which were published from 1958-2018 (a new title is due on May 31st of the year), Thomas Michael Bond also created the Olga da Polga (guinea pig) and Monsieur Pamplemousse book series. Bond’s Reflection on the Passing of the Years, written after his 90th birthday, was read in 2016 at a service commemorating Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday.

Image via Shutterstock (editorial use).


Richard Adams, 96
authors who died in 2017 Watership DownBorn: May 9, 1920 in Wash Common, Newbury, Berkshire, England
Died: December 24, 2016 in Oxford, England

“The thinker dies, but his thoughts are beyond the reach of destruction. Men are mortal; but ideas are immortal.”

Richard Adams‘ first and most enduring work is Watership Down, published in 1972, which earned him a Carnegie Medal in 1972 and a Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize in 1973. Other novels by Adams include Shardik, The Plague Dogs, The Girl in a Swing, Maia, and Traveller.

Image by AndrewRH (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons


Kate Millet, 82
authors who died in 2017 Sexual PoliticsBorn: September 14, 1934, Saint Paul, MN
Died: September 6, 2017, Paris, France

“A sexual revolution begins with the emancipation of women, who are the chief victims of patriarchy, and also with the ending of homosexual oppression.”

A social activist, educator, and feminist author, Kate Millet is best known for her PhD dissertation-turned radical feminist text, Sexual Politics, published in 1970. Millet was also an artist and filmmaker, who authored 10 books between 1970 and 2001. She was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2013.

Image by Linda Wolf (Contact us/Photo submission) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Robert M. Pirsig, 88
authors who died in 2017 Zen and the Art of Motorcycle MaintenanceBorn: September 6, 1928 in Minneapolis, MN
Died: April 24, 2017 in South Berwick, ME

“The place to improve the world is first in one’s own heart and head and hands, and then work outward from there.”

A precocious student, Robert Pirsig suffered a nervous breakdown a decade before the 1974 publication of his literary touchstone, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values. Upon its publication, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, which propelled him to write Lila: An Inquiry into Morals, which was published nearly two decades later.

Image by Ian Glendinning, [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0, CC BY 2.5, CC BY 2.0 or CC BY 1.0], via Wikimedia Commons


William Peter Blatty, 89
authors who died in 2017 The ExorcistBorn: January 7, 1928 in New York City, NY
Died: January 12, 2017 in Bethesda, MD

“Would you like to hear a nice definition of jealousy? It’s the feeling that you get when someone you absolutely detest is having a wonderful time without you.”

A writer and filmmaker, William Peter Blatty is famous for writing the book and screenplay for The Exorcist, published in 1971. He also wrote Legion, a follow-up to The Exorcist, and The Ninth Configuration (also known as Twinkle, Twinkle, “Killer” Kane). Legion was adapted to film as the Exorcist III, which Blatty directed.

Image by jtblatty (Own work) [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons


John Ashbery, 90
authors who died in 2017 some treesBorn: July 28, 1927, Rochester, NY
Died: September 3, 2017, Hudson, NY

“I write with experiences in mind, but I don’t write about them, I write out of them.”

A surrealist poet who often stretched the bounds of the movement, John Ashbery was a prominent, controversial, and influential figure throughout his life. He earned 20 (or so) notable awards and fellowships, including a Pulitzer Prize in Poetry in 1976 for Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror. He published over 30 collections of poems between 1953-2016, including Some Trees, in 1956.

Image by David Shankbone [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Judith Jones, 93
authors who died in 2017 The Tenth MuseBorn: March 10, 1924, Vermont
Died: August 2, 2017, Walden, VT

“Cooking demands attention, patience, and, above all, a respect for the gifts of the earth. It is a form of worship, a way of giving thanks.”

While an author herself, Judith Jones is perhaps most widely recognized for pulling two pivotal (and wildly disparate) books from slush piles of previously rejected works: The Diary of Anne Frank and Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Jones’ later work was focused mostly on editing and writing cookbooks.

Image sourced from the cover of The Tenth Muse.


Janusz Glowacki, 78
authors who died in 2017 CindersBorn: September 13, 1938, Poznań, Poland
Died: August 19, 2017, while vacationing in Egypt

A playwright and screenwriter, Polish-born Janusz Glowacki(pronounced YAH-noosh gwo-VATZ-key) turned a trip to London in 1981 into an eight-year exile, which found him relocating to New York City, where he maintained a residence until his death. His list of accolades and awards is lengthy, with Cinders, Hunting Cockroaches, The Fourth Sister, and Antigone in New York considered his most prominent works.

Image by Kontrola (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Brian Aldiss, 92
authors who died in 2017 Supertoys Last All Summer LongBorn: August 18, 1925, Dereham, UK
Died: August 19, 2017, Oxford, UK

“It is comparatively easy to become a writer; staying a writer, resisting formulaic work, generating one’s own creativity – that’s a much tougher matter.”

Recognized mostly for his science-fiction writing, Brian Aldiss authored more than 80 books, 300 short stories, and many volumes of poetry in addition to being recognized as an accomplished visual artist. His short story, “Supertoys Last All Summer Long,” published in 1969, was the basis for 2001’s Kubrick/Spielberg film A.I. Artificial Intelligence.

Image: Brian Aldiss at Worldcon 2005 in Glasgow, August 2005. Picture taken by Szymon Sokół.


Amy Krouse Rosenthal, 51
authors who died in 2017 ordinary lifeBorn: April 29, 1965, Chicago, IL
Died: March 13, 2017, Chicago, IL

“It often feels like I’m not so much living for the present as I am busy making memories for the future.” ― The Book of Eleven

The author of more than 30 children’s books, including several that were New York Times best sellers, Amy Krouse Rosenthal also authored Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life, a memoir fashioned in the style of an encyclopedia. In addition to that, Rosenthal made short films, worked with WBEZ (NPR Chicago), and was a contributor to the TEDActive conference. She also published essays, including “You May Want to Marry My Husband” in the New York Times 10 days before her untimely death from ovarian cancer.

Image sourced from Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s YouTube page.


Richard Wilbur, 96
authors who died in 2017 Beautiful ChangesBorn: March 1, 1921, New York City, NY
Died: October 14, 2017, Belmont, MA

“Writing poetry is talking to oneself; yet it is a mode of talking to oneself in which the self disappears; and the product’s something that, though it may not be for everybody, is about everybody.”

A two-time Pulitzer Prize winner (for poetry in 1957 and 1989), Richard Purdy Wilbur was appointed as the second United States Poet Laureate in 1987 and was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Bill Clinton in 1994, among a long list of awards and achievements. 1947’s The Beautiful Changes, and Other Poems was his first published collection of his poetry, and he published 10 other books of poetry, the last being Anterooms in 2010.

Image sourced from the cover of Let Us Watch by Robert and Mary Bagg


Sue Grafton, 77
authors who died in 2017 A is For AlibiBorn: April 24, 1940, Louisville, KY
Died: December 28, 2017, Santa Barbara, CA

“Thinking is hard work, which is why you don’t see many people doing it.”

Sue Grafton, best known for her “alphabet mysteries,” died one letter short of completing the book series. The first of the series, A Is For Alibiwas published in 1982; the latest, Y Is For Yesterday, was published August 2017, and continued the quest of the series’ female protagonist, private investigator Kinsey Millhone. Grafton got her start in Hollywood, writing screenplays and television scripts. According to her husband, Grafton knew (for years) that the final book in the series would be titled Z Is For Zero, but her battle with cancer prevented her from beginning it.

Image by Mark Coggins from San Francisco (Sue Grafton Uploaded by tripsspace) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Read “Musicians who died in 2017” on the Disc Makers Blog.

 

The Complete Self-Publishing Package: Literally everything you need to publish your book


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What’s the best time to publish your book?

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This article originally appeared on BookBaby.com

Here’s a little-known fact for aspiring self-published authors: The holiday season is not the best time to publish for new, self-published authors.

Excerpted from BookBaby’s latest guide, 5 Steps To Self Publishing, Part IV of our series addresses why NOW is the best time to publish.

Q: What’s the best time to publish your book?
A: Now!

Here’s a little-known fact for aspiring self-published authors: The holiday season is not the prime selling time for new, self-published authors.

Think about it: Established authors target holiday sales’ periods because it’s a safe, easy gift choice for a lot of folks. The same can’t be said for most self-published authors. These relatively unknown authors’ books need to stand out and attract the interest of potential readers. This kind of discovery and browsing usually doesn’t take place in the hectic holiday time frame. As a result, they’re often disappointed with holiday sales efforts.

So when is “prime time” for new authors to release their book? Just about any other time than the holidays, starting with the beginning of the year. People are going to have more time to spend reading during the cold winter months, and it’s a fact that book sales soar during January and February. Thousands of new eReaders and gift cards given during the holidays need content; there’s no reason why it can’t be your book!

Many authors think the enrtie first half of the year is a perfect time to launch and promote self-published books because of another major book-buying season that happens during that time. Do you know what the biggest selling season is for books? Fair warning: It’s probably not what you’re thinking.

Most people will say: Christmas. Sure, the holiday season is important for every retailer, including book merchants. But they would be wrong.

The summer time reading season is the top selling season for books. There are over $3.4 billion in sales over the long hot summer, according to industry sources, compared to about $2.9 billion spent for holiday gift giving.

But in reality, there’s really never a bad time to release a book. One idea may be for you to follow the patterns set by the book publishing trade. Traditional publishing houses have a rough calendar by genre for their release dates:

January–April

  • Romance
  • Self-help
  • Business
  • Cooking
  • Design

May–August

  • Adventure
  • Fantasy
  • Travel

September–November

  • Academic
  • Horror
  • Paranormal

December–January

  • Children
  • Cookery
  • Illustrated
  • Quiz and Novelty books

The bottom line is, don’t worry so much about “when” you publish. In fact, the worst thing self-published authors can do is not publish their book because of some perceived timing advantage. It is often said that self-publishing is a marathon and not a sprint, and authors shouldn’t worry so much about the placement of the starting line. Just publish it!

10 ways to make the most of your eCommerce book page

Selling direct to your readers will maximize your profits and readership.

Just like a realtor trying to attract house buyers, you need to consider the “curb appeal” of your direct-to-reader selling pages. Your efforts will be far easier than remodeling a bathroom or applying new paint. In fact, setting up a sales page can take just a few hours of work. It’s an investment in time that will surely pay off.

Here are many simple ways to boost your potential book sales.

1. Link to your sales page. Every time you mention your eBook or Print On Demand title online (in your email newsletter, on your website or blog, via social media), make sure you include your website address and a link to your sales page.

2. Tell your readers you’ll make more money. Be direct and tell your readers why it’s important to buy your books from your own pages. Don’t worry: your readers don’t mind learning this. In fact, when you share such details, readers will be even more engaged with your work. If people love your writing, they’ll want to help support you by purchasing your book from whatever outlet benefits you the most.

3. Same low prices! To support the above point, it’s also worth mentioning to your fans that they’ll pay the same price whether they buy your book from a store like Amazon or from your own page, so they might as well buy from the outlet that most benefits you.

4. Give your readers format options. If possible, you should offer your eBook in as many formats as you can. That includes print, eBook files (.mobi for Kindle, ePub for all other readers), or a simple PDF file.

5. Link to other retail sites. If someone already has an account with Amazon, they may prefer to just buy your book from there instead of going through a brand-new check-out process. If that’s the case, you don’t want your page to be a dead end.

6. Make sure your book cover is a sales magnet. Your site should feature an oversized image of your book cover. Of course, if your book cover is going to be big, it had better be great. Otherwise your visitors will assume that the writing matches the poor quality of the cover design.

7. Write a catchy book overview and description. Here’s your chance to grab a reader’s attention, but you only have a few sentences to win them over. Invest the time to make it persuasive so your readers are drawn in from the very first word! Feel free to pepper your book description with positive quotes from reviews if you have any.

8. Use your author biography to intrigue your readers. It’s time to tell the world about you! What is it about your own life experiences that will make your book worth reading?

9. Use accurate metadata to aid search. What’s metadata? It’s the basic information about your book that’s used in online searches. Your metadata will include things like genre, subgenre, ISBN, publication date, language, and page count. Make sure this data is accurate and you may just boost your traffic from people searching on Google.

10. Encourage your readers to use the social sharing function. Most selling pages will include simple social media icons for sharing. That makes it easy to show the page address on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and many more. Be sure to ask your fans to help you spread the word.

This post was excerpted and adapted from 5 Steps To Self Publishing: All the essential information you need to go from manuscript to marketplace. Download your free copy today.

 

Find your way to self-publishing success in just 5 easy steps with this 62-page book. Yours absolutely free.

 

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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Book Formatting and Cover Design Make Your Manuscript… a Book

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This article originally appeared on BookBaby.com

Excerpted from BookBaby’s latest guide, 5 Steps To Self Publishing, Part II of our series addresses your book cover design and how book formatting makes your book… a book.

Download your free copy today!

You can create a beautiful book, inside and out. Once you’re finished with your content, you need to make sure your book looks as good as it reads.

The cover is a make-or-break sales tool for your book

The average online book buyer will spend less than a second scanning a single cover image during the average browsing session. How will your book stand up to this near instant “yes” or “no” buying decision?

Book covers aren’t just important to authors in hopes of gaining sales. They’re important to readers, too! According to Deloitte’s research paper, Technology, Media & Telecommunications Predictions 2015, “A key value of print books appears to be their cover. Covers have been shown to drive sales; but they also send a message to those around you about what you are reading and what kind of person you are. As has been noted, ‘the act of reading a book in public conveys important information to other readers.’”

A great cover design can also speak to fans of a genre and tell a little (or a lot) about the style of writing and the genre your book fits into. Here’s a gallery of some of the standout book covers designed by the professionals in the BookBaby Design Studio.

Selling your book starts with an eye-catching design

Many authors believe that your cover is your very best sales tool. We humans are a visual species, stimulated by compelling graphics and imagery. The virtual online bookshelves are crowded, making it all the more important to stand out when it comes to your cover. And that goes for both eBooks and printed books available via Print On Demand. If you captivate readers from the outset – with the outside of your book – they’ll be drawn to find out what’s inside.

Here are three tips suggested by the BookBaby Design Studio for creating an eye-catching cover that sells:

    1. Be unique. It’s important to stand out. If you are choosing images yourself, make sure they are distinctive in their appeal. Take a look around Amazon and check out all of the other covers in your genre and make sure yours is different. Keep to one theme and don’t over-clutter. Think about what the driving message of the book is and use this as the focus of the design.
    2. Be bold, use color. Color increases readers’ attention span by 82% and makes an impression that is 39% more memorable. Strong, contrasting colors are likely to have the most impact and be the most readable.
      book formatting 80x115 thumbnail

      80×115 image

    3. Think about your thumbnail. Online retailers will usually display your book cover as an 80 × 115 pixel thumbnail, so it’s important to make sure your cover design is clear and readable at different resolutions. View your cover image at varying image sizes and make sure it looks good when it’s small.

It’s the little design touches that make a book… a book!

What makes a book a book? It starts with words. Lots of them. Tens of thousands usually. Or pictures. Or both.

Next you have to have a cover and a back cover if it’s a printed book. But beyond that, well, it gets a little hazy. Should we create a Table of Contents or a Title page or The Foreword?

For a book designer like BookBaby’s Becky Rodriguez-Smith, what goes into a book is dozens of different things, large and small, that comprise the finished product. “What we do is turn a double-spaced manuscript, given to us in a Word document, into a real book,” says Becky. “And when I say ‘real book,’ I mean we make it look professional, it can be compared to any other on the shelf of a book store. You can look at it, open it, feel it, and it looks like it was done by a major publishing company.”

That professional look is usually accomplished by a service called book formatting. But what exactly is book formatting? Let’s ask the expert

“Actually it’s hard to explain sometimes to clients what they really get from it, especially brand-new authors,” says Becky. “But once they see the finished product and see the difference in appearance, it’s very easy to understand. It might not seem like much is happening, like applying a different style to chapter heads, designing copyright pages, and maybe running headers and footers. But it’s all those design details that really make a book a book!”

Becky and the other BookBaby designers format the books and then send the author a PDF proof of his or her book for review. This gives the author a chance to make corrections and provide comments to improve the final product. “We’re not formatting in Word or using any kind of template,” explains Becky. “We use design software developed specifically to produce beautiful-looking books.”

“The designers here at BookBaby have been around for a while. This is what we do, and we want authors to trust us to create a beautiful book. We’re not going to put something out there that doesn’t make them look great!”

“We’ve learned over the years and through experience what is going to grab the attention of readers and keep it.”

This post was excerpted and adapted from 5 Steps To Self Publishing: All the essential information you need to go from manuscript to marketplace. Download your free copy today.

Find your way to self-publishing success in just 5 easy steps with this 62-page book. Yours absolutely free.

 

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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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.

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). 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.

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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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. 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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How long should your book be?

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This article courtesy of BookBaby.

There’s nothing quite like escaping to your favorite book. In just a matter of pages you’re transported to a new world, sympathizing with some characters, despising others. Yet sometimes, even when you have the best intentions, a book will sit on your table untouched because it’s long, difficult, or otherwise intimidating.

To motivate you to pick up that classic you’ve never read – or reread your favorite book – Personal Creations put together this infographic detailing how long it takes to read popular books, based on an average reading time of 300 words per minute. Though you may like to read at a more leisurely pace, reread difficult sections, or indulge in passages you adore, it’s still a useful comparison of how long various books and series – from To Kill A Mockingbirdto The Odyssey to the Harry Potter series – might take to read.

Take a couple of minutes to read it, then shut down your device and go read a book!

publishing-writing-book-length

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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10 tips to help writers stay focused

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In the lead up to National Novel Writing Month, BookBaby crafted this incredibly simple but powerful infographic to help you do the little things to stay focused on writing. Print it out and tack it to your wall, make it your laptop wallpaper, or add your own contribution in the comment section. Then stop dawdling and write!

10 Tip to Help Writers Stay Focused

10-Tips-for-Writers-Writing-Process-Focus-BookBaby

 

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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ISBN Author Self Publishing

Your ISBN: Answers to New Authors’ FAQs

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ISBN Author Self PublishingOf all the mysteries surrounding the process of self publishing, the book ISBN ranks among the most intimidating to many new authors. We’re here to allay your concerns and give you answers.

This week Steve Spatz of Book Baby helps to answer one of the burning questions for new authors about the self-publishing process. Make sense of the Library of Congress’ numeric system for books nationwide. 

The ISBN. Seldom have thirteen little digits been so misunderstood. Our BookBaby publishing specialists field calls all day long about the International Standard Book Number – also known as the ISBN. Let me take this opportunity to field a few of the most common questions.

  • What is an ISBN? It is a numeric identifier that is used around the globe by book stores, publishers, and just about everyone in the publishing industry. ISBNs have either 10 or 13 digits (all ISBNs assigned after January 1, 2007 have 13 digits).
  • Am I required to have an ISBN to sell my book? If you plan to sell your book in bookstores, to libraries, or through most online retailers (with the notable exception of Amazon.com), you will need an International Standard Book Number.
  • Does Amazon use ISBNs? Yes, and no. Amazon ignores the ISBN you assign to your Kindle eBook and instead assigns its own identifier, called an ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number). This ASIN is what you and the public use to identify your Kindle eBook on Amazon when linking to the book. However, if your book does have an ISBN, that number can be used as a search term on the Amazon website.
  • I’m doing a print book and an eBook. Do I need two ISBNs, or can I use the same one?  You will need one number for each format, one for your eBook and another one for your printed book.
  • Do I need a separate ISBN for my hardcover and softcover version of the same book?  Yes, you need a separate identifier for each edition, to identify each volume for anyone who might want to find it in directories, catalogs, and databases.
  • If I get an ISBN, does that mean my book is automatically copyrighted? No. Copyright is administered by the Library of Congress and is an extension of intellectual property law. Understand that common copyright law states that the moment your work is in tangible form – once you commit words to paper or save to a digital file – it is protected under intellectual property law without any formal registration. That applies even if you do not use the copyright symbol in your book. However, registering your work with the Copyright Office allows you greater power to litigate if needed in the future and is the most definitive way to protect your work from theft or plagiarism.
  • Who can purchase an ISBN?  A self-published author is considered as a publisher, so you purchase a number like anyone else.
  • How do I get an ISBN? When you publish your book through BookBaby, you can purchase an ISBN for eBook and printed versions of your book. If you prefer to purchase this directly from Bowker – the company responsible for ISBNs in the United States – you can go to myidentifiers.com.
  • What do ISBNs cost? BookBaby sells ISBNs for $29 each. If you go direct to Bowker, a single ISBN costs $125, while 10 ISBNs cost $250. I should note, there is no difference in the ISBN purchased from BookBaby vs. one bought from Bowker. BookBaby purchases blocks of ISBNs from Bowker to provide to our authors.
  • I live outside of the United States. Can I purchase an ISBN? If you do not reside in the USA, you may purchase yours through BookBaby. There are over 160 ISBN Agencies worldwide, and each ISBN Agency is appointed as the exclusive agent responsible for assigning ISBNs to publishers residing in their country or geographic territory. Bowker is the only source authorized to assign ISBNs to publishers supplying an address in the United States.
  • I have my own ISBN number. Can I use that? Yes – as long as your number has not previously been used for a print or digital book. ISBNs that have been assigned to books should be reported to Bowker as the database of record: book titles can be registered at www.bowkerlink.com.
  • If I make minor revisions to my book, do I need to give it a new ISBN? No. If you aren’t making substantial changes to the text, it is not considered a reprint or a new edition. Let me add that the degree of changes that require a new ISBN can be a very subjective issue. The ISBN guidelines state that the inclusion of substantially new material, a major revision, or the addition of completely new elements would be defined as substantial change. Conversely if elements are deleted from the original book, this would also require a new ISBN. In addition, publishing a book in a different language also requires a unique ISBN number. Anything that makes it a new and different book from the original volume is likely to create a new edition.
  • Does changing the cover constitute a significant change? Will I have to get a new number? No, you do not need a new ISBN if you are just changing a cover. You can continue to use the same ISBN, since the text has not changed.

Still have unanswered questions? You can search for more answers on the BookBaby FAQ page in the help section at www.bookbaby.com, go directly to Bowker on the ISBN website, or reach out to our publishing specialists at info@bookbaby.com or at 877-961-6878.

Image via ShutterStock.com.

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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The First Word from BookBaby

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completing a book

The First Word

Guest post by Steven Spatz
President, BookBaby

Every journey starts with the first step. Every story starts with the first word. Then it’s just a matter of completing a book.

When I wrote my first book, The End – Now What? – 6 Steps To Take Your Manuscript To The Market Place In Six Weeks, I didn’t have any kind of plan or blueprint to guide my journey to completing a book. I pretty much just relied on my home grown “ation” strategy.

What’s my “ation” strategy? I’m glad you asked.

  • It has to start with inspiration. Creating the content that interests me – and hopefully potential reader.
  • The job of writing takes perspiration. It’s work – damn hard work at times.
  • I recognize that I’ll have periods of exasperation when I’m just sick and tired of that whole damn thing and I take (brief) breaks from the process.
  • Ultimately it requires determination. Keep your eyes on the prize.

The result was a 50,000 word nonfiction book cranked out in fits and starts over an eight month period. I learned a lot about the book writing process during that experience. I’ve learned even more from talking to BookBaby authors about how they covered their own journeys. This time around I’ll be better equipped to do the job.

Here are some of the writing tips and ideas I’ve collected over the last year:

Location, location, location.
Find your writing place. Sure it’s possible to be creative anywhere – sitting on the subway or standing in a line – but for the long haul and more consistent creativity, your best work will come out in a space where you regularly write. That primes you to get into the right frame of mind as soon as you sit down. Or maybe it’s more than one place. I have three: a secluded corner in a local library and two different coffee houses. Set aside a particular place that you do nothing but write or create and you can jump start your creativity.

What time is good for you?
Even more important than “where” is “when.” For me it’s probably going to involve getting up 45 minutes earlier and writing a few paragraphs before work. Forcing yourself to write at 5 am isn’t the solution for everyone. It works for me because I have nothing else to divert my attention in those early dawn hours. There are all types of writers – after-hours writers, lunch break writers, mini-block writers, etc. Track your time and energy for a week or two to find what’s best for you – and then block out that time on your calendar as an appointment with yourself.

Add interval training to your writing
Some writers I know incorporate these short sprints into their writing routine. Here’s how: Use a simple kitchen timer to force yourself to just flat out write. Set it for five minutes to write as much as you can. You’ll likely censor yourself less if you can just write whatever comes naturally and edit later. It’s not about quality during this brief burst of keystrokes. Give yourself permission to write a few lousy paragraphs or pages. You’ll have plenty of time to go back and edit later.

Read if you’re not writing
Like many writers, I feel inspired when I’m playing the part of reader. Instead of turning on the TV when you’re on a break from writing, spend your time reading the work of others. The more “I wish I had written that” pieces you come across, the better your work will be and the more motivated you may be to produce something worthwhile. Some authors find other arts to be inspiring – paintings, movies, photography, and so on. Soak up all the creativity you can when you’re not actively writing.

Don’t break the chain
His television show was “about nothing,” yet legendary comic Jerry Seinfeld’s method for success is very much something – and visual. Each January, he hangs a large year-at-a-glance calendar on his wall and, for every day he wrote new material, he earned the right to draw a big red “X” over that day. Drawing those Xs got to be pretty fun and rewarding, so he kept doing it. Eventually, he began to create a chain of red Xs. The idea was to never break that chain. This simple pleasure can turn into a surprisingly powerful motivator.

Never miss twice
If you don’t have the luxury of Seinfeld’s free time, you can give yourself a very small cushion and still be successful. Let’s say you have your new routines and habits in place, your alarm set to signal your writing time… But one day you wake up and simply don’t feel like writing.

So don’t. We all slip up now and again. Don’t beat yourself up, but also don’t slip twice in a row. It’s inevitable you’re going to miss a writing session, but use the “never miss twice” mindset to get back on track.

Be flexible
Your writing schedule might change – often. Life events will throw wrenches in your plans, but you can plan a new schedule. And then stick to that.

Write or die
If all else fails, you can always resort to using the app WriteOrDie, With a tagline of “Putting the prod into productivity,” this program is absolutely diabolical!

Here’s how it works: First, you configure your writing period, word goal, and your preferred punishment should your fingers stop typing. Once the setup is complete, you’ll need to type continuously; otherwise there will be consequences, in varying levels.

  • The gentle mode is quite forgiving. When you pause your writing for a set period of time, a box will pop up, gently reminding you to continue writing.
  • In normal mode, if you pause, you will be played a very unpleasant sound. The sound will stop if and only if you continue to write.
  • For the true author-masochist, there’s Kamikaze Mode: You must keep writing or your work will un-write itself. Simply disappear from the beginning of the passage! Talk about writing with a gun to your head!

As for my own system, I have one more of my “ation” strategies to think about: The exhilaration of finally finishing that book!


Steven Spatz, President of BookBaby

Steven Spatz is an author, marketer, and the President of BookBaby.


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