Three top options for easy book printing

#15 Writing Tip: Three top options for easy book printing

Now, you’ve written your book and want to make sure it’s produced beautifully in printed form. [A future post will cover the ins and outs of e-book creation.]

Rhythms & Muse books

My first novel, printed on demand by CreateSpace. Almost all the authors I know — even those traditionally published before — are now using this Amazon company to produce their printed books.

So, where do you start? First, ask yourself some questions to help you decide between the three main options:

Option 1

  • Do you want your book publisher/printer to lend credibility to your book?
  • Do you want others to worry about publishing your book?
  • Do you want your book to appear on book store shelves?
  • Are you willing to give up most of the control as to the book’s content and design?
  • Are you willing to wait at least a year to obtain printed copies of your book?

If you answered yes to any of these, you probably want to go through a traditional publishing house that will print your book for you. These are known as the “Big Six.”

  • Hachette Book Group
  • HarperCollins
  • Macmillan
  • Penguin Group
  • Random House
  • Simon & Schuster

[Learn more about the difference between traditional publishing and self-publishing in my previous blog.]

Option 2

  • Do you want at least some help publishing your book?
  • Do you want a bit of control regarding the book’s content and design?
  • Are you willing to pay a few thousand dollars for publishing support?
  • Do you want a book within a few months?

If yes, you’ll want to consider an independent publisher, sometimes called small press, that will print your book for you. You might consider these publisher/printers as “self-publishing with support” I know authors who have successfully published books through:

  • AuthorHouse
  • Abbott Press (a division of Writer’s Digest)
  • CreateSpace (with a paid support package)
  • Lightning Source

My research into this area pointed me to Lightning Source, because other indie publishers outsource to them for printing, and they are affiliated with Ingram, a leading distribution house. But, I ended up going with Option 3 in the end.

Option 3

  • Are you willing to do most of the work to prepare your book for publishing/printing?
  • Do you want total control regarding the book’s content and design?
  • Do you not care if your book appears on book store shelves?
  • Do you want to publish as inexpensively as possible?
  • Do you want a book within a month or two?

Your option is a print-on-demand publisher that will print your book only when someone orders it. I went this way for my Rhythms & Muse novel, and enjoyed working with CreateSpace. This Amazon affiliate is also linked with Kindle. You can’t beat the cost [nothing until you order your book(s)], and they provide easy do-it-yourself (DIY) tools to help create books and other media. Upload, proof, print. Your book is on Amazon.

As a caveat,  I will add one additional option. You may want to find a printing house and work with them directly to create your book. I recommend this option if you fully understand the printing process, want to babysit your book as it goes through every step of the process, and have a very large bank account. [In other words, I don’t recommend this option.]

Tell us how you produced/printed your book and where we can find it!

…………………..

Write on!
Ann Narcisian Videan
Write • Edit • Self-publish • Word-of-mouth
avidean@videanunlimited.com

Authors, understand the legality behind your books, ALWAYS

TOPIC:
Do you know the legal ins and outs regarding your book? Let’s get together with Megan D. Scott with The Kleinman Law Firm, to learn more about keeping our content legal and protecting our work.

Josh Groban, Phoenix 2013

In your book, can you use photos of celebrities like the one my daughter took at the Josh Groban concert?
Can you even use their names? Can you use music lyrics and quotes?
Should you officially copyright your writing?
Find out by attending the Dec. 12 ALWAYS writers gathering in Tempe, AZ.

[In case you’re wondering, Josh is the guy in the shadows just to the right of the violinist
and behind the guy with his knee up.]
Photo: 2013 CEVidean

Next gathering:
Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013
11:30 a.m.–1 p.m.
(ALWAYS meets on the second Thursday of each month.)

Where:
DAVE & BUSTERS
(private board room)
Tempe Marketplace
2000 E Rio Salado Pkwy
Tempe , AZ – 85281
480-281-8456

back-up location:
Tea Infusion
2000 E Rio Salado Pkwy # 1064
Tempe, AZ 85281-4927
(480) 967-1141

Cost:
A writing tip, and your own lunch.

RSVP:
PLEASE show the consideration of reserving your spot at the table by:
• RSVPing through the “Join” link on our Facebook Event page
or
• Contacting Ann Videan, avidean@videanunlimited.com

If you’ve RSVP’d, please SHOW UP. If you run into a conflict, please let me know BEFORE the event so I can make the necessary adjustments for the group meeting. Cheers!
…………………………………………………………….

ABOUT ALWAYS

• Need contacts to help your writing?
• Want advice about your writing?
• Like to hang with other cool writers?

If so, our tribe – the Alliance for Literary Writers, Authors & Yabbering Scribes (ALWAYS) – is the place for you. We’re an informal group of established writers looking for camaraderie, ideas, enlightenment and connection with writers, especially in the Phoenix metro area, to talk about our craft and businesses.

Any established writer can connect with us online through our ALWAYS Facebook page, get listed in our directory of writers on our ALWAYS LinkedIn page, or you can meet with us in person at a lunch meeting. We’d love to have any experienced writer join us at our next meeting … anyone who spends a significant part of his/her week writing, and wants to rub elbows with other writers.

Follow established authors’ tips to earn visibility online

ALWAYS authors:
Using Goodreads and other online resources

Do your social media work now. Find your book later in a library like UC San Diego's Geisel Library. This crazy cool facility in La Jolla, CA -- named in honor of long-time La Jolla residents Audrey and Theodor Seuss Geisel (better known as Dr. Seuss) -- houses more than 3.5 million books! Photo: 2013 CEVIdean

Do your social media work now. Find your book later in a library like UC San Diego’s Geisel Library. This crazy cool facility in La Jolla, CA — named in honor of long-time La Jolla residents Audrey and Theodor Seuss Geisel (better known as Dr. Seuss) — houses more than 3.5 million books!
Photo of Ann: 2013 CEVIdean

Topic for our gathering:

What is your favorite online tool for authors? Goodreads? Facebook? Pinterest? Blogs? Let’s get together and share what we know about making the best use of our time online for our books.

Next gathering:
THURSDAY, Nov. 14, 2013
11:30 a.m.–1 p.m.
(ALWAYS meets on the second Thursday of each month.)

Where:
DAVE & BUSTERS
(private room)
Tempe Marketplace
2000 E Rio Salado Pkwy
Tempe , AZ – 85281
480-281-8456

Back-up location:
Tea Infusion
2000 E Rio Salado Pkwy # 1064
Tempe, AZ 85281-4927
(480) 967-1141

Cost:
A writing tip, and your own lunch.

RSVP:
PLEASE show the consideration of reserving your spot at the table by:
• RSVPing through the “Join” link on our Facebook Event page
or
• Contacting Ann Videan, avidean@videanunlimited.com

If you’ve RSVP’d, please SHOW UP. If you run into a conflict, please let me know BEFORE the event so I can make the necessary adjustments for the group meeting. Cheers!
…………………………………………………………….

ABOUT ALWAYS
• Need contacts to help your writing?
• Want advice about your writing?
• Like to hang with other cool writers?
The Alliance for Literary Writers, Authors & Yabbering Scribes (ALWAYS) is an informal group of established fiction and nonfiction writers in the Phoenix area who want to support each other’s work, share ideas and best practices, and just discuss writing topics. I’ve led this group since 2006.
Any established writer can connect with us online through our ALWAYS Facebook page, get listed in our directory of writers on our ALWAYS LinkedIn page, or you can meet with us in person at a lunch meeting. We’d love to have any experienced writer join us at our next meeting … anyone who spends a significant part of his/her week writing, and wants to rub elbows with other writers.

Six Key Steps to Produce a Book

Writing Tip #12:
Six key steps to jump-start the production of your self-published book

Image

Don’t wait until the 11th hour to take care of book production details!
Photo: iStockphoto.com

So, you wrote your book, a professional edited it, and you’re ready to start the self-publishing process. But where do you start? What should you include? How do you cover yourself legally?

I self-published my first book Rhythms & Muse through CreateSpace (an Amazon company), but it took me years of research—online searches; conference attendance; and asking questions of other writers, editors and book consultants—to narrow down everything needed to actually get the book into printed form. I’m sharing my research here to make it easier for you, so you don’t have to spend all that time. I wish someone had done it for me, so I’m paying it forward.

To jump-start you, follow these six critical steps in the publishing process, and use the resources I provide as a starting point:

  1. Choose a virtual author’s assistant, if you want help
  2. Obtain an ISBN number
  3. Obtain a bar code
  4. Obtain a Library of Congress card number
  5. Find out if your content is legal
  6. Decide if you want to copyright your work

1. Decide if you want support from a virtual author’s assistant so you don’t have to do everything yourself.

This is someone who will do the legwork for the following few steps, and more. From my experience, you should expect to pay at least $65/hour for the services of a VAA. Because my novel included so much research on song permissions and royalties for lyrics, my quote from a VAA amounted to about $3,500. Standard novels without much legal research would probably cost much less.

A great resource to learn more about this: Jan B. King’s VAA Web site.

2. Obtain an International Standard Book Number (ISBN).*

The Bowker company sells ISBNs. A unique ISBN is required for each book format you use (hardcover, softcover, e-book, audio book, etc.)  One costs about $125. You may also buy blocks of 10 numbers for $250, a great value if you’re planning to produce your book in more than one format.*

3. Obtain a bar code.*

Bar codes are required, and are produced along with the ISBN number you purchase from Bowker. This small image encrypts the cost (which you’ll need to provide), ISBN, and other information about each individual book. Bowker will provide both an ISBN-10 and an ISBN-13 number. (An ISBN-13 is based on the ISBN-10, but with the prefix 978.)

* Note: Steps 2 and 3 are available for free when publishing through CreateSpace, and some other print on demand publishers. I know many authors who happily use CreateSpace, which enables do-it-yourself or with-help production and print-on-demand for books, CDs, DVDs, MP3 files, video, and more). Plus, they offer a very affordable broad distribution system.]

4. Obtain a Preassigned Control Number (PCN).

This is a unique number assigned to each Library of Congress catalog record (book). You need only acquire a PCN if you want your book available in libraries. PCNs are free, but you must apply for one, which takes about two weeks. For more details on applying, visit the Library of Congress PCN FAQ.

5. Obtain legal permissions, and licenses (for which you’ll pay royalties).

If you plan to use others’ works in your book—like quotes, lyrics, excerpts, and such—you must do three things to avoid legal issues:

  1. Identify if something is currently in the public domain
  2. Ask permission
  3. Pay the creator

I highly recommend talking with a copyright lawyer like Kevin Keener at Keener McPhail, LLC to make sure you’re in the clear using someone else’s words, images or other creative works.

6. Decide if you want to officially copyright your work.

This is optional, as anything you create is technically your copyrighted material already. But, if you’re paranoid about ownership, you can officially copyright the work through the U.S. Copyright Office. Just note that this can cost you a pretty penny.

These six steps serve as a good starting points. For my next blog entry, I plan to blog talk about design options for book production.

In the meantime, any other tips you’d care to share with other authors about the production of their books?

…………………..

Write on!
Ann Narcisian Videan
Write • Edit • Self-publish • Word-of-mouth
avidean@videanunlimited.com

Authors, generate outrageous readership-building ideas, ALWAYS

Celestial Seasonings tea bags create this dress and its accessories. If you wore this, would people talk about it? Duh. So, what creative idea can you come up with to get people talking about your book? We'll brainstorm ideas together at our next ALWAYS authors lunch. Photo: ©2013 ANVidean

Celestial Seasonings tea bags create this dress and its accessories. If you wore this, would people talk about it? Duh. So, what creative idea can you come up with to get people talking about your book? We’ll brainstorm ideas together at our next ALWAYS authors lunch. Photo: ©2013 ANVidean

Topic for our gathering:
“Marketing Outside The Book: Outrageous Ideas to Build Readership:” a brainstorming session

At our next authors’ Alliance for Literary Writers, Authors & Yabbering Scribes (ALWAYS) gathering in Tempe, AZ, I’ll lead a mini brainstorm to generate unique ideas to entice readers to buy your book. I’ve conducted thousands of hours of marketing strategy sessions with entrepreneurs and authors to generate “out-of-the-circle” ideas to make people want to chat you up. I assure you, you’ll leave the meeting with at least one powerful idea to use immediately.
– Ann

When:
Thurs., Sept. 12, 2013
11:30 a.m.–1 p.m.
(Due to a concentration of writers’ meetings the last week of each month, ALWAYS will meet now on second Thursdays.)

Where:
Tea Infusion
2000 E Rio Salado Pkwy # 1064
Tempe, AZ 85281-4927
(480) 967-1141
(I am taking suggestions for another meeting place at or near Tempe Marketplace.)

Cost:
A writing tip, and your own lunch.

RSVP:
PLEASE show the consideration of reserving your spot at the table by:
• RSVPing through the “Join” link on our Facebook Event page
or
• Contacting Ann Videan, avidean@videanunlimited.com

If you’ve RSVP’d, please SHOW UP. If you run into a conflict, please let me know BEFORE the event so I can make the necessary adjustments for the group meeting. Cheers!

…………………………………………………………….
ABOUT ALWAYS
• Need contacts to help your writing?
• Want advice about your writing?
• Like to hang with other cool writers?
The Alliance for Literary Writers, Authors & Yabbering Scribes (ALWAYS) is an informal group of established fiction and nonfiction writers in the Phoenix area who want to support each other’s work, share ideas and best practices, and just discuss writing topics. I’ve led this group since 2006.
Any established writer can connect with us online through our ALWAYS Facebook page, get listed in our directory of writers on our ALWAYS LinkedIn page, or you can meet with us in person at a lunch meeting. We’d love to have any experienced writer join us at our next meeting … anyone who spends a significant part of his/her week writing, and wants to rub elbows with other writers.

#5 Writing tip: Writing is not a solitary sport

Writers at Virginia Piper Writing House

Actual writers look like this. Kris Tualla, Tisha Pelletier and Laurie Fagen at the Virginia G. Piper Writer’s House at Arizona State University. ©2010 ANVidean

Picture a writer.

Do you imagine a frazzle-haired, pajama-clad recluse sitting at odd hours and brooding over a computer screen, fiendishly snacking or imbibing caffeine? Perhaps she paces the floor, or maybe bangs her forehead on the desk, until inspiration hits. She might spend long hours taking guidance from characters who “tell her what to write.” She may even pour through defunct manuals explaining all the nitpicky grammatical rules no one pays attention to any more in this day of abbreviating and texting?

Yeah, that’s how the movies depict us. But, in real life, writing isn’t effective in solitary. Great writers get out and explore life, listen to conversations, try out experiences, and share their craft.

Sure we sit in the quiet when we’re actually putting words together, but most of the writing takes place mentally and experientially before we sit down at our computer or notebook. At least it should.

It doesn’t matter if you’re writing fiction, nonfiction, or business memos…input from external sources encouraging emotional phrasing and storytelling gets your words read. Here are some ideas:

• Sit in a coffee shop to listen to conversations and watch mannerisms.

• Try doing something new, perhaps even something your book character or employees do, and note your emotional and mental reactions to include in your writing.

• Join a writing association. It can help you, even if you’re not writing books.

• Meet with a critique partner or group.

• Form your own writing group like my Alliance for Literary Writers, Authors and Yabbering Scribes (ALWAYS) tribe.

What do you do to garner input and experiences for your writing?

Share your best writing tip and get featured: ALWAYS

• Need contacts to help your writing?  • Want advice about your writing business?  • Like to hang with other cool writers?
If so, my tribe – the Alliance for Literary Writers, Authors & Yabbering Scribes (ALWAYS) – is the place for you. We’re an informal group of established writers looking for camaraderie, ideas, enlightenment and connection with writers, especially in the Phoenix metro area, to talk about our craft and businesses.
Any established writer can connect with us online through our ALWAYS Facebook page, get listed in our directory of writers on our ALWAYS LinkedIn page, or you can meet with us in person at a lunch meeting.
……………………………………………

ALWAYS gathering
May 8, 2012

Topic:
Share your best writing tip and be featured in my Words•Music•Village blog

Expect an informal, let’s-help-one-another lunch gathering. Come ask questions, gain resources and meet other freelance writers. We’ll share our own best writing tips and hear what works for others. I’ll gather the tips and write up each one,  along with background on you and your writing, as an entry in my new series of writing-tip blogs.

Also, if you have something noncommercial you’d like to showcase — a tool, a resource, a tip — please contact me and I’ll slot you in for 15 minutes of our undivided attention at the meeting.

Next gathering:
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
11:30 a.m.–1 p.m.
(Freelancers typically meet for lunch on the second Tuesday, and authors on the fourth Tuesday of each month.)

Where:
T.C. Eggington’s
1660 S. Alma School Rd., #129
Mesa, AZ 85210
(Just one block south of I-60 on the west side of Alma School Road, toward the south end of the strip mall)
480.345.9288

Cost:
A writing tip, and your own lunch.

RSVP:
PLEASE show the consideration of reserving your spot at the table by:
• RSVPing through the “Attending” link on our Facebook Event page
• Emailing Ann Videan with “ALWAYS May 8” in the Subject line

If you’ve RSVP’d and run into a conflict later, please let me know before the event so I can make the necessary adjustments for the group. Cheers!
…………………………………………………………….

We’d love to have any experienced writer join us at our next meeting … anyone who spends a significant part of his/her week writing, and wants to rub elbows with other writers.

Please do add a your best writing tip in the comments below, but I will feature only those who attend the meeting in my blog. I’m encouraging face time here, wordsmiths!