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Our Author's Guide

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    Monday
    Dec282015

    Printing Your Self-Published Book in Landscape 

    Are you thinking about publishing a family history, photography or children’s book on CreateSpace or Lightning Source? Have you thought about what size the book will be? Before you start working on illustrations or editing your photographs, it’s important to decide what size of book you’ll be printing and where you’re going to print it so the illustrations fit well on the page. You don’t want to have all the art finished and then find parts of the illustration are going to be cut off or you have to leave empty space at the top or bottom of the page to fit it all in.

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    Sunday
    Dec202015

    Deadlines for Self-Published Books

    One of the easiest and the hardest aspects of self-publishing is having no one to report to. You are the organizer, the lead, the boss. When you publish your own books, you are the one who calls the shots. This can be a wonderful gift as well as be frustratingly difficult, especially when it comes to deadlines.

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    Saturday
    Dec122015

    How to Hold A Launch Party for Your Book

    Your book is coming out after months and years of work and you’re ready to celebrate! It’s been a long journey but the book is finished and you’re ready to release it out into the world! As a self-published author, a book launch party is definitely in order. It’s a chance to showcase what you’ve been up to, to thank those who’ve helped you along the way, and to share your work with a wider audience. As fancy or informal as you make it, a book launch party can be tailored to you and the theme of your book—a fitting event to celebrate your accomplishment and share it with your readers and friends. Whether you are planning a black-tie affair or a relaxed gathering at a coffee shop, here are some specific things to keep in mind as you plan your important event.

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    Wednesday
    Dec022015

    Family History and the Art of Storytelling

    If you’re like most of us you have had children come to you and say, “Tell me a story.” That’s a lot like the position you’re in when you set out to write a family history. You need to tell your family’s story. That’s much different than simply recounting the information you’ve gathered about ancestors during years of careful research. You are the lens through which your reader will view your family. You need to reflect, evaluate, and make judgments about what you have discovered. What is important? What is not so important? What lessons are to be learned from the experiences of your ancestors? What might those experiences tell family members who are currently alive or in future generations about their own identities? Yours is the voice of the storyteller which draws meaning out of the experiences of those who have gone before.

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    Tuesday
    Dec012015

    A Bookstore For Independent and Self-Published Authors Only

    Frustrated by the lack of opportunity to display and sell her children’s books, Patti Brassard Jefferson, an award-winning independent author and illustrator, decided to change the rules of the game. This summer she opened P.J. Boox, described by Publishers Weekly as the “first bookstore dedicated to self-published authors.” P.J. Boox only sells books published by independent and self-published authors.

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    Sunday
    Nov152015

    How to Create an Author Newsletter

    Author newsletters are a great way to reach out to your readers on a regular basis and interact with them in various ways. Unlike social media, newsletters can be sent over e-mail and by adding a newsletter to your platform, you will not be dependent on another website for your contact list. If you really want to keep people familiar with what’s going on with your books, a newsletter is for you. Here's what you need to know about creating one.

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    Thursday
    Nov122015

    NaNoWriMo, You Can Do It! Ideas to Help You Succeed 

    We’re almost halfway through NaNoWriMo. How are you doing? Here are five great posts to help keep you on track and motivated as you press on to meet the NaNoWriMo challenge.

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    Saturday
    Nov072015

    A Lesson for Memoir Writers from Elvis Costello

    I don’t pay much attention to celebrity memoirs. They are usually ghost-written and convey little insight into their subject. But when Elvis Costello, a singer/songwriter I have enjoyed for years appeared at Washington D.C.'s Sixth & I to discuss his memoir Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink, I went to hear what he had to say. Costello is somewhat unique among celebrities. He actually wrote his own memoir. I hoped he would talk about his writing process. I wasn’t disappointed.

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    Monday
    Nov022015

    Planning to Self-Publish? When Is Your Book Done?

    Most people who read books have no idea of the lengthy discussions held about the tiniest little details. Do you capitalize the L for emphasis or will the reader think it’s a typo? That comma—is it in or out? Is it two sentences or one? Each of these questions can take several minutes to a good half hour to discuss, I kid you not. By the time the final edits are done, you are ready to scream and pull your hair out but you don’t because you care so deeply about your manuscript, instead, you take a deep breath, sit down with a bowl of ice cream (because by this point you need it), and take one more look before sending it to the printer. With all these tiny and seemingly miniscule edits one after another, how do you know when your book is done and ready to send? When do you leave well-enough alone and click the “submit” button?

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    Tuesday
    Oct272015

    Self-Publishing: Handling the Brand

    My book is going to the printer’s this week. Along with editing the interior, I’ve been busy designing new bookmarks and business cards to go with the cover as well as completely revamping the websites for the independent publishing company I publish under and the website for myself as an author, spiritual director, and speaker. I’ve been typing in my name a lot and seeing it all over everything I create. It’s gotten to the point I feel uncomfortable about it, it’s like being caught in the center of a large spotlight and being expected to perform onstage. Even though I’ve been publishing for over thirteen years, most of my adult life, I am still getting used to being a name, a brand, as well as a person. When did my name become a product and what does that mean?

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    Monday
    Oct192015

    6 Tips on Finding Time to Write

    It’s nearing the end of the week and I haven’t taken any time for my own writing. Left to whatever spare time I never have, the days rush by filled with work, errands, appointments, and household chores. My heart craves to sit down and write out all those great ideas flowing through my mind but the to-do list never seems to get there. Sound familiar to you? With a new book coming out along with needing to redesign my websites though, I need fresh content to promote my work. My schedule hasn’t changed, it’s as busy as ever, but yet I have to find the time to work on all those great ideas. After talking with an author friend who has the same problem, these are six of the solutions we came up with to make more time for our writing.

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    Wednesday
    Oct142015

    Finding Family History in Strange and Surprising Places

    A chance discovery of a piece of family ephemera accidentally hidden in a piece of furniture for almost 70 years opens up a series of insights into my grandmothers' life and times. The experience provides a good reminder to family historians that family stories aren't always where you might be looking for them. Think about what you might find among your own family's unexamined ephemera.

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    Wednesday
    Oct142015

    Tips on Taking Payments for Your Self-Published Book

    As authors, we typically prefer the writing aspect of our job over other areas such as marketing and selling. We love the creative process but aren’t big fans of selling the results. The ins and outs of taking payment can seem particularly hard to figure out. How do you take a credit card payment? What about keeping change? What do you do about making sure you have inventory around when you need it? There are some simple things you can do in your day-to-day life to help make selling your books easier.

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    Wednesday
    Oct072015

    Registering as a Business When Self Publishing

    When you’re getting ready to self-publish your first book, you have to decide whether to publish under your personal name or whether you want to create a publishing business. If you do create a business, do you choose to register it and go through the legal process of setting one up? Is that even necessary?

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    Monday
    Oct052015

    Beta Readers Help Fine Tune Your Self-Published Book

    Beta readers are an invaluable part of the publishing process and one not to be skipped over. Though it’s tempting to publish your manuscript as soon as you’ve edited every line within an inch of its life, handing your work over to beta readers to hear what they think before going to print prepares you for a wider release in a way nothing else does. Here are some tips on how to use beta readers effectively.

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