• Should You Pay for Professional Book Reviews? - As we’ve discussed in previous blog posts, getting your book noticed is one of the biggest challenges of the publishing process. Book reviews are a critical component in a book’s marketing efforts, and can be one of the best ways to get a book noticed. Reviews provide authors with content for their website, social media and email marketing, their Amazon author page, and on book covers themselves. In this blog post, we’ll focus on the pros and cons of paying the pros for book reviews. Paid and Traditional Reviews Traditional, free book reviews, such as those by Publishers Weekly (free) or the New York Times, can surely help authors make a big splash. Whether it is a review in PW, intended for the trade audience, or a NYT review that can reach thousands of potential customers, these heavyweights can help an author make a big splash. However, these publications receive thousands of review requests, and they simply do not have the manpower to review everything that comes their way. There are plenty of other small- to medium-sized book review blogs out there offering reviews for free, but again, they can’t always review every book they receive, nor do they always have Continue Reading
  • Do Not Capitalize Internet and Do Not Hyphenate Email – Plus Other Updates from the 17th Edition of the Chicago Manual of Style - The Chicago Manual Style (CMOS) has long been considered editors’ and writers’ go-to guide on writing style.  Recently, the American Copy Editors Society (ACES) announced that the CMOS will be getting its first update in seven years, and this time it is addressing changing technology and social norms as part of its update. The new, 17th edition isn’t expected to be released until September, but some of the changes you can expect to see are outlined below. Social Changes Recognizing that the move to genderless terminology continues to grow, the CMOS will provide advice on the singular use of “they.” Many writers have been moving away from traditional use of “he/him,” and “she/her” for the sake of inclusion. This next edition will also add “cis-” to its list of prefixes for hyphenating compounds. In an interview with ACES, the CMOS’ Style Online Q&A editor, Carol Fisher Saller, discussed the reasoning behind some of these changes.  She stated that in the last decade or so, the need for genderless grammar has grown. I can vouch for that. This is something we are seeing more and more of in our editing and reading practices. A Wall Street Journal article in 2015 tackled this Continue Reading
  • eBook Distribution through Smashwords - Self-published authors who are looking for help with book distribution may want to check out Smashwords, the world’s largest distributor of independent ebooks. With over 440,000 titles in its catalog from over 120,000 authors and small publishers, Smashwords is a free, easy service to use, allowing authors to distribute their books to major retailers and thousands of libraries.  Smashwords also provides free tools for marketing, metadata management, and sales reporting. If you are wondering whether this service is right for you, continue reading! How it Works From a nuts and bolts perspective, Smashwords is very user-friendly. Once you have an ebook ready for distribution and you’ve set up your Smashwords account, it’s as simple as uploading the epub and cover art, and then choosing your distribution channels. If you want to have a one-stop distribution shop, you can choose all channels Smashwords has to offer. This includes everything from iTunes to Kobo to Amazon. It’s completely customizable. YOU get to decide where to sell your book. Creating your author presence on the website is also very easy. You have the opportunity to post author interviews along with author profiles and photos, blurbs about the book, and other features that will Continue Reading
  • R.P. Ruggiero Author Interview – Brushfire Plague - Kennebec Publishing – Author Spotlight – March 2017 interview This author interview features RP Ruggiero who is the author of the Brushfire Plague trilogy, a chilling account of society’s collapse after a deadly virus wipes out a large percentage of earth’s population. RP, a writer who pursued the traditional publishing approach, talks to us about his experience as a writer and a published author. How long have you been a writer? I’ve been writing since elementary school. Heck, I even won a few writing awards back then! As an adult, I became seriously devoted to the craft around 2010. The spark for me was reading Novelist’s Boot Camp. That book changed my life! Why do you write? To tell a story. Writing is the ultimate act of creativity. As an author, you are able to invent a world, fashion characters from scratch, and sketch a plot. The most amazing thing is throwing all of this together and you seeing what happens! Inevitably, it all—the world, the characters, the plot—goes in different directions than you originally thought. I can’t describe the excitement—the rush—you get from that as a writer. How much time do you spend writing each week? Writing is not Continue Reading
  • NetGalley Basics - One of the biggest challenges authors face is how to get a book noticed. This is especially challenging if you are a new author and this is your first book. The market is so saturated, and it often seems that unless you have unlimited time and money, your book is likely to get lost in a sea of new titles. In recent years, various web services have popped up to help authors gain traction and build a buzz before their book is released. One such service, NetGalley, helps promote and publicize forthcoming titles to reviewers, bloggers, journalists, librarians, and booksellers, among others. NetGalley can be a cost-effective way to reach a growing community of “professional readers” who can read, review, and recommend your title(s). The website also offers an array of marketing opportunities, furthering your potential reach and visibility. How it Works After setting up an account and creating a NetGalley presence, authors and publishers upload their titles, along with associated marketing materials, and get their books in front of readers and reviewers with just a few clicks. Reviewers can then provide feedback (reviews, ratings, and more) about the book. While this is predominately done before a book is published, Continue Reading
  • Typography 101 – Formatting a Book in Word Using Kerning, Leading, and Tracking - The formatting process is one aspect of book publishing that can be frustrating for self-publishers, and when that time comes, you need to get it right. The last thing you want is for your book to LOOK like it was self-published. Adobe InDesign is a better program for formatting than Word, but most self-published authors don't have InDesign and they don't know how to use it, so they default to Word - which is entirely fine for most books containing largely text, i.e. fiction. When using Microsoft Word to format your book, it is not uncommon to come across challenges related to the typesetting, especially once you drop your manuscript into a book template. This is when things can get funky and can cause the book to look a little too amateurish. For this blog post, our three areas of focus are kerning, tracking, and leading, which can help improve appearances. Unless you began your writing career on a typewriter, there’s a chance that these terms are new to you. Maybe we can help. Kerning increases or decreases the spacing between certain pairs of letters. Take the letters AV for example. They look better if their edges overlap slightly. It Continue Reading
  • Traditional, Self-Publishing, and Hybrid – What Model is Best for You? - So, you’ve written a book. Congratulations! The hardest part is over… mostly. The next step is figuring out how to publish your book. In this digital age, getting a book published is much easier than it was ten or fifteen years ago, as many authors are choosing to forgo traditional publishing routes and try self-publishing. It is important to note that both publishing avenues have their unique benefits and drawbacks, and deciding how to proceed is an individual decision with many factors to consider. Additionally, in the last few years, we’ve seen growth in “hybrid publishing” arrangements, which feature components of traditional publishing and self-publishing. Which option is right for you? We’ve provided an overview of the different options to help you make this important decision. Traditional Publishing This model is what comes to mind when most people think of publishing. Usually an author, or his/her agent, will formally pitch a book (the manuscript itself or the book’s concept) to a publishing house. If the pitch is accepted, the publishing company purchases the rights to publish the book and enters into a contract with the author, which includes a royalty arrangement and, often, an advance, among other fine points.  The Continue Reading