Read This Before You Work Any Further On Your Book

By on January 11, 2014
Debbie Elicksen 2014

By Debbie Elicksen. You’re thinking about writing and publishing a book and you’re not sure what’s involved. Here are some questions you need to ask yourself before you make another move.

Before, during, or after your manuscript is finished, no matter how it will be published:
1. What is your book about? Describe it in one sentence.
2. What is your purpose for writing it? Your purpose is the key to your marketing strategy
3. What is your connection to the story? In your marketing strategy, you will be asked this — so what gives your book its credibility?
4. Who is your target reader? Everybody is not an answer. Who and where are the people who will be most connected to your topic?
5. How do you plan to market it? If you don’t have a marketing plan, don’t expect to sell any books.
You decide to self-publish and you don’t want it to look self-published:
1. Is your manuscript finished? Don’t bother trying to solicit quotes for editing, printing, etc. until it is.
2. If finished, how many words or Microsoft Word pages is it? This helps an editor give you an accurate quote.
3. How do you envision the final product? (hardcover, soft cover, workbook, ebook…) (trim size) (special features) (illustrations) You need to know this before you solicit a quote for graphic design and printing.
4. If the book is not already laid out, do you already work with a graphic designer that you are comfortable with? If you do, first see if they are able to do the job (i.e. they work in InDesign and are comfortable with book layouts, which is quite different from creating a brochure).

Confirm these specs before getting a print quote:

self-publishing-cover-large1. Page count (in layout).

2. Trim size (take a look at the books on your shelf to see what you like and just measure the outside).

3. Quantity — Offset presses print several pages on one sheet two-sided, then trims and puts into binding as a “signature.” Digital is sheet fed, so those pages are put into the binding individually. Not as much setup is involved in digital. You would only offset if you are printing 750 or more books.

4. FOB — where you want delivery and if the delivery is a commercial drop or residential (they tack on more for residential but overall, delivery is cheap like borscht, might be around $350 for a residential drop of 1,000 books)

5. Binding – Most soft cover books are perfect bound (glued). If sewn binding re hardcover, note that there will be a minimum spine for the sewn binding, which means there is a minimum page count to accommodate that. Thickness of paper stock also comes into play here.

6. Cover — Recommend full color front and back with no printing on inside if paperback. Color processing, even if cover is black and white, looks more professional and is not that much when factored into the whole cost. Matte finishes are more – are a richer smooth look, but they do tend to scuff more than gloss finishes. Hardcover with dust jacket — you’ll be asked re coloring of lettering on cover cloth — if any — and what color of cover cloth.

7. Paper stock — best to use the in-house stock to save here, unless you have a specific stock in mind, like parchment; for full color text pages, inside stock should be at least 70 pound. For black and white, average text stock is 60 pound and 50 pound. Any lighter and you can see through the page.

Books are not just published in print form anymore. There are numerous options. But if you do print, the above points will save you a ton of time, and money.

Debbie Elicksen is a transmedia strategist and producer, content creator, community manager, and the co-host of Virtual Newsmakers on Google Plus/YouTube. She is the author of the bestseller Self-Publishing 101 and is currently penning Publishing and Marketing in the Digital World.

About The Editor

Mike spent 20 years in the newspaper business as a journalist, editor, sales manager and publisher before moving into public relations and business consulting. In 2008 he became founding editor of the Abbotsford Post and he is co-owner of Today Media Group. Mike graduated from the University of Alberta in 1970 with a BA in Political Science and Economics and has since pursued graduate studies in both Federalism and Journalism. He has a Diploma in Web Design from Academy of Learning.