It’s a beautiful day to squat in the backyard…

…the sun is shining, the hummingbirds are visiting the feeder, and the temperature is warm and lovely.

In between trips to my backyard, it’s time to plan the next steps for my blog, my editing business, and the spring garden.  I’ve done a little spring cleaning around Mindflight, reworking the banner and updating the pages.  I hope you enjoy them!

New updates include a page just for authors, editing and proofreading services, and a new book all about self publishing!  It’s available as we speak for only 99 cents.  Mindflight is here to support creativity.  I love my fellow authors, artists and creators, and I want to help them by offering resources.  This book does all that.  Feel free to check it out, or check out the new author page!

Happy Spring!

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https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/squat/

 

New eBook: “Self-Publishing Made Easy.”

Within the next few days, my new eBook will be available.  In it is all the material on the “Self Publishing” tab on my main site, plus a lot of additional information, clarification, and suggestions.  I hope everyone likes it and finds it useful.  It’s short, easy to read, and to the point.  Best of all, it’ll be sold for only 99 cents!

Stay tuned, I’ll make another announcement when it’s available for everyone.

 

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Welcome to 2017!

Well, we’ve made it.  Most of us were probably at least thinking about our New Year Resolutions.  At the end of the second week, it may be at that point where we’re flagging, starting to forget about them, and getting wrapped up in everything else we have to do.  So, here’s a little help for anyone who might want to inspiration for goal setting or need a kick in the pants about just how to drop those holiday pounds.  I hope you enjoy them and I wish everyone a bright New Year.

 

Seven Strategies for Getting Things Done

How to Win at Losing Weight

Success – Step By Step

3 Root Causes Behind Food Cravings and How to Beat Them

For everyone who had writing as part of their resolution, I have a whole new page for you on the ins and outs of self publishing!

Self Publishing

 

Self Publishing – Selling Your Work

Now that you have a book, you want to sell it, right?

CreateSpace does some limited marketing even if you don’t pay for the marketing package. I remember how happy I was when I had just bought some Joel Rosenberg books and got an email saying “If you liked Joel Rosenberg, you might like The Dice Of Fate by Rohvannyn Shaw!” That was truly awesome.  Recently I randomly found an ad for my new comedy book on a Hubpages post about customer service!  Not sure who put the ad there, Amazon or the writer, but so far it’s found me about ten customers.  If you put your work out there, it’s entirely possible that others might find it and decide to promote it.  There’s a lot you can do to improve those chances.

 

Basic Marketing Steps:

Announce on your social media.  That one’s pretty easy to guess.

Create a website or put a new page on your website for your book/s.

Fill out your author page on Amazon, or your profile on Lulu.

Join Goodreads, get an author page, fill it out.

Blog about it if you have a blog.

If you join Goodreads, check out the author communities. Often you will find people willing to host author interviews or feature new books on their blogs.

Do a promotion – CreateSpace lets you make coupons and do giveaways.

Don’t stress over reviews too much, but if you can get them, great.

You can do a Goodreads Giveaway too, they are pretty helpful. They only cost the price of whatever book you are giving away, plus postage.

Make little placards and leave them up places where readers gather. Bulletin boards at coffee shops, libraries, bookstores, etc. I make mine when I see those promotions for penny prints at Snapfish, Shutterfly, or similar photo sites.

Buy a few books and sell them on Ebay or Etsy. You might be surprised at who wants one, and it helps put them in front of more people.

Go to craft fairs or holiday bazaars with some copies. There aren’t many authors at craft fairs, so you will have less competition.

 

Note about blogging:  If you have a big following, it can be perfectly fine to say “hey, I have a new book, come check it out!”  But if you’re still trying to attract new readers or you’re starting out, try to think of some really interesting angle to write about.  Offer a chapter of your book, write an article about something you learned while writing it, something like that.  Give people a reason to click into your blog and then let them know the book is available within that posting.  Let them see why they should put down money to read more of your work.  It really helps!
There are a thousand other ideas out there, some of them quite creative, but I think you get the idea. Notice that most of these ideas are cheap or free!

Check out my page “self publishing” for the other parts to this series, and more.

Self Publishing: Formatting and Covers

It’s not nearly as hard as it seems to get your book ready to be published. The main thing is to have decent software for it. I believe Word can do most of the things I talk about, but personally I use Libre Office. It’s free, stable, works on nearly any computer, has no adware or spyware, and has a lot of people who use it. LibreOffice also lets you convert things to PDF, which will be important.

 

The Basics

The main thing with getting your book ready to print is converting it to the right size. Many of the books you will be making are nine inches by six inches, and you can go into your page settings and just set the file for that. 11 or 12 point font is about right for many books, though you might want to go a bit smaller depending on the story. Georgia and Times New Roman are good fonts for readability, I really don’t recommend Arial or other sans serif fonts. Still play around and see what you like.

LibreOffice lets you add page numbers too. It’s a fairly simple process to add a header to the top of your document, and create a field so it will automatically number them. LibreOffice’s excellent help files will take care of that, or I could create a tutorial if enough people have trouble. Basically, the idea is that the numbers take care of themselves.

 

Some tips:

Make sure you have all starts of chapters on odd numbered pages. That way they will be to the reader’s right when they come to them.

Same with important pages like author notes, forwards, acknowledgements, frontspieces, tables of contents, etc.

Don’t forget to have a copyright page – CreateSpace lets you get your ISBN before uploading your work, so you can stick that in your copyright information. If you need a good example of what that looks like, pick up any novel and flip to the front.

When you have everything perfect, use the handy Convert to PDF function in LibreOffice. Take a look through and make sure it all looks good. This “locks in” all your careful formatting so it can’t move around.

A note: if you convert your book over to a Kindle version, it’s best to save a copy as a .doc file. Luckily, LibreOffice can do that too. Anybody who’s stuck can feel free to message me, though LibreOffice is really easy to use.

 

Your Cover

When it comes time to create your cover, there are a lot of ways to do it. If you’re like me, you will paint something and put it in GIMP, another free graphics program, and add all your own text etc. Pixabay is actually an awesome resource if you need photos. I prefer GIMP because it lets you work in transparent layers – great because you can have a text layer, a background layer, and more, and when you have to fix something on one layer you don’t have to change the others. For example, I can paint something, take a picture of it, put it into GIMP and make that the background layer, then arrange the text on top of it. It gives me tremendous flexibility.

For those a bit less comfortable with graphics, there is also the option to use a cover creation program. Both Lulu.com and CreateSpace have those integrated. So it’s perfectly possible to make a nice cover without having to hire anybody. If you need ideas, go online and look up other books in your genre. You can learn a whole lot by looking, noticing what you like and what you don’t, and maybe taking a few notes. Cover design is a fine art but you can do some nice work if you pay attention to what is effective in other covers.

If you’ve created your cover in another program, convert that over to PDF too. GIMP does that so you don’t need a fancy converter. Make sure you leave space on the back for the barcode, it’s about 440 pixels wide by 354 pixels high, which works out to about an inch and a half wide by just over an inch high. Your cover should be saved at 300 dpi if you make your own.

Go to CreateSpace and follow their publishing wizard. It will literally walk you through the process, explaining everything as you go along.

If you have more questions, of course I’m here, and my material on under the authors links and publishing links to the right of the page is still there too.

A note regarding ISBNs: There is no need to pay for them, and no need to submit works to the Library of Congress either. Both Lulu.com and CreateSpace will give you an ISBN for free and your copyright notice suffices for protecting your work. If someone tries to charge you for either, run away.

Self Publishing: Step By Step

Whether you have a novel, a collection of short stories, a poetry book, a manga, a collection of plays,  a group of nonfiction articles, a memoir, or a children’s book, there’s an option for you. It’s very possible to publish both print books and ebooks yourself, without paying a single cent.

There are many good and reputable sites out there – Lulu.com, CreateSpace, and SmashWords, just to name three. My advice when starting out is to steer clear of any place that makes you pay for services.

There are also free ways of getting cover art, formatting your book, designing your book, and everything else. This is true even if you don’t have an artistic bone in your body!  An eye for design helps, but even that isn’t entirely required.  I’ll be going into more detail in other posts. All the different publishers work pretty much the same way – you format your book, upload it and the cover, wait a few days for it to be looked at, approve your proof, pick your pricing and territories, then click submit. You will usually do most of your own marketing unless you buy a marketing package.

For these examples, I’ll be using CreateSpace. They have great free options, allow you to easily port your work over to Kindle, automatically put your work on Amazon, and actually do some promotion for you. I’ll never forget the day my novel was suggested to me by Amazon! Altogether, it’s a good deal. They will give you a percentage of each sale. Right now I get about $2 for a $7 book. Not bad, really, considering I do no shipping or handling of money.

Have I done this?  Several times.

Have I made fat stacks of cash?   Not yet.

I have certainly gotten a lot of satisfaction and am proud of what I’ve done, and I have gotten my books into several hundred peoples hands so far.

Future posts will delve more into different aspects of the publishing process and will be linked from here once they’re written.  Some material has been seen in other similar posts but I want to have all the information in one place, for everyone’s convenience.

Here’s the link to all related posts:  https://mind-flight.org/self-publishing/

Lifesaving Tips for Self-Publishers

Here are some hard-won lessons I’ve learned and want to share with you.  They will make your life much easier!

Make your work available as an e-book. This can be easy if you use an outlet like Lulu.com or CreateSpace. Some places, like FastPencil, will let you create and edit online so you don’t even have to stay at home with your word processor.

Price your e-book fairly low.  Remember that you don’t have to work at all when you sell one.

Be aware of current costs of books and don’t price too much below or above the going rate. Above and people won’t pay, below and they’ll say “what’s wrong with it?”

Use a beta reader. The more eyes, the better. You will ALWAYS find something that needs fixing.

When formatting, use full justification when you write. If the print lines up nicely on both sides of the page, it will give a cleaner, neater look. If you don’t know what this means, find out.

When submitting your work, pay attention to the final size of the page and pick a font size that will be readable.  Also, pick a font that is easy on the eyes, such as Times New Roman. A common size for books is six inches by nine, it helps to set your page that way in the beginning so you don’t have to make a bunch of changes later.

Use good word processing software so you can make your work look its best, such as Libre Office. That’s free to anyone with an internet connection.

If you are designing your own cover, avoid clutter and make sure you use an image that is high enough resolution to look good in printing. The company you are working with will tell you the minimum resolution required for images. There’s free image editing software out there, it’s called GIMP and it’s excellent. Like Libre Office, it’s open source and virus free. Both programs come in Windows, Mac, and Linux versions.

Don’t forget to leave room for the barcode and ISBN on the back of your book, if you design that space in, it will look much more finished.

Write what you love, write what you know, and never ever write something you don’t know about without expert help. That is, talk it over with someone who knows the subject and then listen to what they have to say!

And finally, don’t pay for any services unless you know exactly what you are getting!