Sunday, December 27, 2009

Book Street at Scottsdale Art Festival


Pictured here are some of the authors who came out to Book Street on November 21-22nd. Charles Burgess (Don't Say you do if you Don't) and Carolyn Ritacca (The Grayhill Spectre) came all the way from Wisconsin to be with us over the sunny weekend. So proud of them all.

Authors pictured standing in order from left to right:  Charles Burgess, Carolyn Ritacca, and Kenton Knepper. Shown sitting: Zoe Sherwood, Lynell and myself (Patti Hultstrand), all holding our books to show off. 

Shown here, Donald Jacques, President of Az Publishing Services, LLC, talking ebook formats with Bryan.

We welcome Lynell with her new book, which was hot off the press the day before this Book Street event and titled, "Dreams Among Nightmares." Lynell is pictured here with her first sales of her book.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Review for new book - The Grayhill Spectre

New Superhero - look out Spiderman !
Didn't think there would be a superhero that I'd like better than Spiderman or Superman, but here he is. The Grayhill Spectre is a complex character and likeable as a person in addition to the superhero side. There are a number of other interesting characters in the story, any one of whom could have a story of their own. This is a book you won't want to put down, and now I can hardly wait for the next one to be done. Apparently the author is writing another adventure (volume 2, I assume), this time set in Las Vegas. For light fantasy reading that will keep you turning the pages, this is a winner. Would absolutely love to see this on the big screen someday.

To order here is the link

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Interview and Review

One of our authors, Charles Burgess, author of "Don't Say you do if you Don't" was reviewed and interviewed recently on Follow the link to view this up and coming author's review from someone not related to him OR from his print publisher, since I'm clearly biased.

So proud of Charles for getting out there, making it happen!

If any other writer wants to know the biggest tip I can give to be successful with their books, it is really clear cut. The #1 tip is to CONSTANTLY put you and your book out in front of the public, getting interviews, getting reviews, leading people to where they can buy your book. But, above all, GIVE THEM SOMETHING instead of only taking their money for your book.

What do I mean?
Charles gives his Facebook group "Don't Say you do if you Don't", tidbits of philosophies in life and ways in which to live our lives, that if followed, make us happier, and make those around us easier to live with. Charles has hundreds of followers in Facebook (819 in about 5 months) because of these simple, life changing philosophies. These followers ask him for more when they notice he hasn't written anything for a few days. They need their thoughtful tidbit for the day. And Charles is that much more prolific when he writes every day, even when it's just a few paragraphs in this Facebook group.

I have a philosophy to add to his list. "A few paragraphs a day, makes Charles an overflowing fountain of words for his books." It is widely believed that 'practice makes perfect', but with books there is really no perfection, just great writing. You practice writing, and you will become much better at it and you will write more often. It becomes a compulsion, a need at times, to get those words out and onto paper or your computer.
On Ray Bradbury's view of the writing metaphore

So, my #2 tip for successful book writing is to write often and everyday is even better. Charles has two published books, another in final editing stage, two more he is currently writing right now, and several others he has talked to me about publishing for 2010 and (sorry to say) some will go into 2011. As his print publisher, I have to say, without question, that Charles has great potential to become a best-selling author because he has taken to heart tip #1 of giving them something for free in marketing to lead them to the sale, and tip #2 of writing often to make you a better writer.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Get Free Shipping NOW on our Books

Amazon won't let us give free shipping because they are controllers. So, if anyone wants a better deal on buying any book in Az Publishing's catalog, they can get it on our
Wigix storefront at


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

We now have 14 books on Amazon and Growing

Brand New Books from some new names in Urban Fiction, Fantasy, Adult Horror, Time-travel Romance and even a NEW Superhero book. Check it out all you book lovers!

New Ning Network Page

Come and join the new wave of writers, readers, and other weavers of dreams at the new Ning page.


Every family could use extra money in this tight economy. Your second job could be writing that book you've been thinking about. Don't know where to go to get the correct information you need in this fast changing face of publishing.

If you live in Arizona, you could participate in a free publishing seminar. The next one is February 6, 2010 from 12 - 4pm at St. Stephen's Renewal Center centrally located on 56th St. in Phoenix.
It's easy to sign up and you could be publishing in no time.

Even an experienced author may not know about all the changes that are taking place in the publishing industry right now. We go over the eBook market as well as print publishing. Don't know where to go to get the correct information you need in this fast changing face of publishing.

About the seminar location:

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


The current American economic climate has changed many industries, including the publishing companies. The major traditional publishers are having to make changes along side the small press companies or else face extinction. Many areas will be trimmed back to allow those who find new ways to print, market and distribute their books and magazines. While many believe these changes will increase the rain of crappy prose, there will be more unknown authors whose only delay in expressing their rainbows of words have been excessive costs in money and time that has become the broken record of the publishing industry.

This is where we start in our first three (3) book series on, "The Changing Face of Publishing." We have our first FREE SEMINAR on the changing face of publishing on Saturday, December 12, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona. We will bring this same seminar to other locations around the valley of the sun in the early months of 2010 and will be adding an additional seminar on the last three books in this series, with more details of marketing and printing suggestions for the new and upcoming authors.

Az Publishing Services, LLC has print published 18 books so far since May and foresee a possibility of another 10 before the end of 2009. We are constantly reinventing our strategy to meet the demands of this staggering growth potential. What works, we share with others, and what doesn't, we chalk up as experience we can offer as warnings to other authors and small independent publishers.

For Arizona authors or those who have a story idea and want to know what you can expect when you go to publish the work, sign up for this FREE Seminar. It's easy!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Intimate Book Signing Tonight

Will be at AZ/88 Restaurant tonight from 5:30pm to 9:00 for all you lovers of Books. Several authors will be on tap for autographing and talking about their latest books.

Az Publishing Services, Arizona's newest Small Press Publisher will have their gammet of books available in multiple genres and tastes. "We have everything any book lover would want including Urban Fiction, Poetry, Horror, Historical Fiction, Coming-of-Age Fantasy, and even Time-travel Romance."

Az Publishing's CEO and President will be available to talk to anyone about their book projects as well. So, any book lover, whether a Reader or a Weaver will enjoy this more intimate book signing experience.

Check out the link for more detailed info on AZ/88's location and directions.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Interview with Pat Bertram

Pat Bertram and I have a lot in common when it comes to our love for character and story driven books. What examples could you list as your favorites?

Staccato by Deborah Ledford, The Medicine People by Lazarus Barnhill, Lacey Took a Holiday by Lazarus Barnhill, Steel Waters by Ken Coffman, Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire by Malcolm R. Campbell, Heart of Hythea by Suzanne Francis. They are all different genres, but all have a few things in common—they are exceptionally well-written, a bit out of the ordinary (by that I mean they are not clones of books already on the market), have great characters I enjoyed spending time with. And the stories moved me.

What do you mean by "novels that can't easily be slotted into a genre"?

All of my novels have elements of intrigue, adventure, mystery, suspense, romance, history, and some have a touch of science fiction. A Spark of Heavenly Fire, for example, is the story of people who become extraordinary during a time of horror -- a bioengineered disease is decimating the population of Colorado, and the entire state is quarantined. One character is obsessed with finding out who created the disease, one couple tries to escape, one woman does what she can to help the survivors. And a thread of romance connects all the stories. All these different stories entwined into one makes it difficult to settle on a single genre. A Spark of Heavenly Fire is being sold as mystery/crime, but it could just as easily be mainstream or a thriller.

What are your favorite genres?

I like to read novels that have it all -- mystery, adventure, romance, a touch of strangeness, a bit of truth -- but since I can’t find that sort of novel very often, I settle for just about anything. Non-fiction, genre fiction, literary fiction, whatever is at hand.

Any favorite blogs you are following?

I follow the Second Wind Publishing Blog, Joylene Nowell Butler’s Blog, Malcolm Campbell’s Sun Singer’s Travels and about a dozen others.

What do you like to see covered in a blog?

Right now, I pay particular attention to blogs that focus on book promotion because that is my current concern. I also enjoy reading about how people write and how they overcome the problems they encounter.

Do you think you gain sales for your books through blogging?

I know I’ve made a few sales because of blogging, but I don’t think they are a particularly good sales tool. I do think blogs are wonderful for connecting with readers once readers have discovered you, they can be a great source for support and suggestions, and they are a way of meeting people who like the same things you do. Mostly though, I just enjoy blogging.

Tell us about your new book, "Daughter Am I."

Daughter Am I is a young woman/old gangster coming-of-age novel.
When twenty-five-year-old Mary Stuart learns she inherited a farm from her recently murdered grandparents-grandparents her father claimed had died before she was born-she becomes obsessed with finding out who they were and why someone wanted them dead. Along the way she accumulates a crew of feisty octogenarians-former gangsters and friends of her grandfather. She meets and falls in love Tim Olson, whose grandfather shared a deadly secret with her great-grandfather. Now Mary and Tim need to stay one step ahead of the killer who is desperate to dig up that secret.

What similarities if any between your other books and this one?

The unifying theme in all of my books is the perennial question: Who are we? More Deaths Than One suggests we are our memories. A Spark of Heavenly suggests we are the sum total of our experiences and choices. Daughter Am I suggests we are our heritage.

Do you sell or give away your new book as an eBook?

My books are all available for sale as ebooks, and the first 30% of each is also available free on Smashwords.

Where do you think the e-books are going in the future of book sales?

E-books are only 1.5% of the total book market, but e-book sales grew 125% overall in 2008. Interestingly, e-book sales grew 183% among seniors aged 65+ and 174% among seniors aged 55-65. It does seem as if they will be making an impact on readers of all ages.

What do you think the most influential change in book publishing will come from?

25% of the total production of books printed by the major publishing companies are pulped, which is an incredible waste, so I think more books will be digitally printed as needed. It makes sense financially, especially if the cost of production goes down. Ultimately, e-books will become the preferred format for "disposable" books from bestselling authors such as James Patterson and Nicholas Sparks, and Harlequin titles--books readers will only read once.

What has been your most effective marketing strategy for selling books?

Ask me that in a year! I haven’t sold a statistically significant number of books, so it’s impossible for me to draw any sort of conclusion about effective marketing strategies. I make use of all the usual online marketing strategies -- I blog, Twitter, have a presence on Facebook, participate in discussions -- but I don’t know what, if anything, is effective.

If you could give one tip for aspiring authors, what would that be?

Keep in mind that a book begins with a single word. Many novice writers get intimidated by the thought of writing an entire book, but all you ever need to write is one word. I know that’s not much of a goal, but in the end, it is the only goal. That’s how every book all through the ages got written -- one word at a time. By stringing single words together, you get sentences, then paragraphs, pages, chapters, an entire book. After that, who knows, you might even reach the pinnacle and become a published author. All because you set your goal to write one word.

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

I have a website -- -- where I post important information, including the first chapters of each of my books, but the best way to keep up with me, my books, and my events on a daily basis is by way of Bertram’s Blog.
All my books are available both in print and in ebook format. You can get them online at Second Wind Publishing, Amazon, and Smashwords.

Pat Bertram is a native of Colorado and a lifelong resident. When the traditional publishers stopped publishing her favorite type of book — character and story driven novels that can’t easily be slotted into a genre — she decided to write her own. Daughter Am I is Bertram’s third novel to be published by Second Wind Publishing, LLC. Also available are More Deaths Than One and A Spark of Heavenly Fire.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Book Design Tip #1

Interior book design tip:
Outside margins shouldn't be so large that you waste space = $
and risk not looking professional.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Milwaukee's Urban Fiction Festival

Picture of all the authors at Milwaukee's First Urban Fiction Festival. It was a successful day with 5 of our author's participating in the Festival and Charles Burgess of Underground Publications organized this event for everyone.
Congratulations: Cher-Rhonda Woodard-Lynk, Ceree Hall, Carolyn Ritacca, The Beaster, and Charles Burgess.

Official ReLAUNCH

This is the official RELAUNCH of "Publishing 101" blog site. Wanted to revamp our look and update our focus for this blog. Will continue to give advice on book or marketing material design for anyone following. Will also be using this blog to add news for Az Publishing Services, LLC, an Arizona book publisher.

Have added some BlogRadio interviews for everybody to listen to. These interviews will be continually added onto as we interview our authors and other professionals in the book publishing industry. The interviews are planned to coordinate with the blog and Facebook drawings.

There will be regular drawings in order to increase our traffic, obviously!
And part of our new platform is to focus on one book, one author per week. With 12 new books out since May, we have weeks just to catch up, so we may run 2 promos per week through end of November. These promos will be from our choice of imprint publishers currently signed under the parent publishing house, Az Publishing Services, LLC.


Record for books this week

Broke my record this week for books being worked on and printed. Have 5 new books I worked on this week and printed 2 more orders for other books. 7 BOOKS. Almost succeeded. This may be too many for me to handle. Don't think I need more hands, just another brain and a few extra bodies, so one of us can sleep.

Cloning anyone!?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

We're one button away from infinity

Join the new time-travel enthusiasts group on Facebook.

For all authors, science enthusiasts, science-fiction enthusiasts, or any multi-dimensional thinkers who believe in the time travel possibilities.

Happy Landing everyone,
Grand Tibetan Time Traveler

Thursday, September 3, 2009

DiscWorld from England to Arizona, USA

Az Publishing Services adds Blog Talk Radio show – KWOD RADIO
Check us out at:

We will be interviewing LIVE from North American DiscWorld Convention in Tempe, Arizona all weekend. 15 minute shows every hour on the hour, beginning at noon to 5pm Arizona time. We will talk about the changes in the publishing industry and how not to fall into the trap that so many authors have with these sharks on the internet. We will interview authors, including a few from the DiscWorld Convention.

FRIDAY – September 4

Noon – General Information about the DiscWorld Convention – Talk about upcoming shows all weekend.

1 pm - Changing Face of Publishing - Subject: Print-on-demand printing
with host Donald Jacques with guest PJ Hultstrand & call in with Charles Burgess in Milwaukee, WI

2 pm - Lee Whiteside & other con coordinators
Host: Donald Jacques and PJ Hultstrand
Subject: Why DiscWorld in North America and plans for upcoming LepreCons

3 pm - Author interview - host Donald Jacques
Interviewing Charles Lesher - Author and Imprint publisher

4 pm - Author interview - host PJ Hultstrand
Interviewing Donald Jacques – Author of Ancestors

5 pm - Author interview - host Donald Jacques
Interviewing PJ Hultstrand - Author of “Time Conquers All”


Noon – General Information about the DiscWorld Convention – Talk about upcoming shows all weekend.

1 pm - Changing Face of Publishing - Subject: Leeches and Sharks: You are Lunch
with host Donald Jacques with guest PJ Hultstrand & call in with Charles Burgess in Milwaukee, WI & The Beaster, author of our newly released book, “Miss Money Bagz”

2 pm - Author interview - host Donald Jacques
Interviewing – DiscWorld Author
3 pm - Author interview - host Donald Jacques
Interviewing Zoe Sherwood - Author and imprint publisher

4 pm - Author interview - host Donald Jacques
Interviewing one of Zoe's authors with Zoe as imprint publisher

5 pm – DiscWorld interviews - host Donald Jacques & PJ Hultstrand
Interviewing some crazy folks from this convention

Noon - Changing Face of Publishing - Subject: Print-on-demand printing
with host Donald Jacques with guest PJ Hultstrand & Special guests from the convention

1pm - Author interview - host Donald Jacques & PJ Hultstrand
Interviewing a DiscWorld Author

2 pm - Publisher interview PART 1 - host Donald Jacques
Interviewing PJ Hultstrand, Charles Lesher, and call in publisher, or another publisher at con

3 pm - Publisher interview PART 2 - host Donald Jacques
Interviewing PJ Hultstrand, Charles Lesher, and call in publisher, or another publisher at con

4 pm - Publisher interview - host Donald Jacques
Interviewing Reason Productions as imprint publisher

5 pm - Author interview - host Donald Jacques & PJ Hultstrand
Interviewing a DiscWorld Author


Noon -- Wrap-up Show from the DiscWorld Convention
Hosts: Donald Jacques & PJ Hultstrand

Friday, August 7, 2009

New Feature on Amazon

Amazon has a new beta feature for book authors. They can add their bios and this will be a drop down on their books.

Take a look while Amazon still has this feature free. I'm quite sure they will find a way to charge for it. Still it is a plus while we've got it.

There is a catch for anyone who has their publishers put their works on Amazon, the author must initiate the new page, but the publisher has to verify the author is allowed to use this publicity page for selling their books.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Here a Tweet, there a Tweet, everywhere a Tweet, Tweet!
Here I Tweet! Tweet Tweet!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

On Amazon

We have 5 books on Amazon now for purchase.
Take a look everyone!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Finding Inspiration

Inspiration in writing ...
One doesn't get up in the morning and say, "Think I'll write today." A person becomes inspired by those around them or by what has been done to them. The teenager with too many emotions to handle, becomes inspired to put these thoughts on paper to get them out of their head before they explode. The mother writes something in between the potatoes and the pot roast on her organized grocery list because that inspiration is overflowing in her creative mind, spilling into this world in a need to get free. The tire&auto repair station attendant sits in the restroom stealing whatever moments he can to write just a few more lines on that short story he's been working on for months. And a lonely woman writes about a man; the man that never came to take them away from their lonely life.

It's said that everyone has at least 1 story inside them. You may want to let that story get out and put onto paper. You'll know its it YOUR inspiration!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Three New Authors being Introduced

WesterCon62 - FiestaCon helps introduce new publishing house and 3 of its new authors - All fans of space program should take interest

Apollo 11 book "Moon Walk Remembered" will be available to view and their will be some softcovers to purchase at the FiestaCon -- WesterCon62 in Tempe, Arizona over the 4th of July weekend. Az Publishing Services, LLC will be there with 3 of its first authors, offering book signings and showcasing their new books in print and over a dozen more coming out in 2009.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

New cover

Hey hey. Have been busy designing this new cover for "Time Conquers All," scheduled for release on May 29th.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Wondering what I have to do to get people away from the BLOOD SUCKING LEECHES in these publishing websites and get YOU AUTHORS to come OVER TO THE LIGHT.

Remember when you wrote that awesome scene in your book when you couldn't get the words out fast enough; they were flowing out so fast. And when you were done with the scene you were exhausted, but felt oh so EXCELLENT.

Find that feeling again by USING US at

Paste in a chapter of your book on the editor right on the first page of -- see how great it looks and how EASY it is to get in print publishing and e-book published. Right NOW!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Booklets vs Postcards

I had someone at the Open House I held this last weekend at the printing shop who prints my books and chapter booklets ask me if I thought postcards would be more effective and cheaper than chapter books.

My answer was: Postcards are also important to get the word out to groups that are at a distance from you and are cheaper to print and send. However, imagine the greater impact you'll have if you send or drop off some chapter books for people to take home with them. I, for one, find it very easy to throw away postcards even knowing how much they spent on them. But, I still have the chapter booklets I got years ago (truly years ago) from conventions and I made the effort to try out these authors because of this simple addition to the FREEBIE table. And I have learned something about marketing books in the process.

Why did I keep these booklets?
I kept them because they were miniature books to me. Someone gave me a piece of their book to try out. It felt more professional while still being personal. And honestly, having been a graphic designer for so many years, I appreciate the effort and extra expense it took to give me this piece of their book.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Book Reviews and Review Copies

I think any publisher in this information age who doesn't embrace web-based reviews is critically cutting their potential customer reach. As an author and a publisher I can speak from both sides of the brain and say that an author should NEVER rely completely on the publishers to market them online or otherwise. Writing the Book is just the beginning and it is within the author's best interest to grasp the online marketing potential of free networking sites.

About Review copies -- I think the time of printed galleys is over. Rather than galleys, I use chapter books as give-aways and pre-sales materials. I would however highly suggest paying the extra (as long as it's within reasonable amount) for several review copies printed before running the regular run of your book. There is NO greater way to catch mistakes and problems with the print run than when you get the book in your hands. I would suggest 3 copies at least and expect them to be written in by those you give to review the book. Also, once you get a review copy you will be very motivated to make those changes that will make your book more outstanding.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Taking Pre-orders on New Book

We are reducing prices for the Pre-sale from now until the book is ready to ship. Publishing date is planned for April 15th. The book is being published in hard cover which would make for a really beautiful remembrance and an awesome coffee table book.

If you or your group would like to be included in the quotes in these book fund raiser for the Moon Society of Phoenix, please include your answers here on the blog.
1. What were you doing during America's First Moon Walk?
2. What is your opinion of our future in space?
Please keep these answers to 2-3 paragraphs

Looking forward to being a part of this project.
PJ Hultstrand
AZ Publishing Services, LLC

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The GUTS of book design

I have had a few questions about the inside book page design recently; here are some of your answers.

1. Who has the say on where your page numbers go, what's on your header, font type and size?
ANSWER: The publisher has this right to set up your pages to their defined specs. Look at some other books this publisher has printed. Do you like their inside page layout? Then, you'll be happy with what they do for you.

If you are printing your book by POD and that printer has no pre-defined specs, then define them or choose them yourself. Here are some basic general rules: Headers are for Author's name and Book Title set by right facing and left facing pages. Page numbers at the bottom footer can be either placed in center or outside corner.

2. FONT TIP: If you have a BIG book that you need to pull down in page count (less page count equates to LESS COST to you), then use Times Roman/Times New Roman because this font kerns tighter than most other serif fonts. KERNING is the space between letters where LEADING is the space between sentence lines.

Times New Roman is also very readable and that's really the name of the game people. Can your readers read your work?

COPYRIGHT PAGES: The other important page of anyone's book is the copyright page. There are certain things that MUST BE on this page, including the copyright word and symbol, year published, publisher imprint (logo), name, address, and anything else required by the publisher because they are forking the bill. The main must have on a copyright page is the ISBN number.

There are a few other items I would put on any copyright page: The author's website (because this increases future sales from your website), cover designer credits (because they are artists, so like their egos stroked), inside content designer credits (same reason as cover artists), photo credits can go here if there aren't many to list, otherwise put on one of the back pages.

TABLE OF CONTENTS: Typically, if your book is a work of fiction, you won't include a table of contents. This is included in a work of non-fiction so reader's can sift through your work to find the chapters that interests them most.

BACK COVER SUGGESTIONS: The second most important sales tool for an author or publisher is the back cover. Think about it! We, as readers pick up a book based on cover and titles, then we immediately flip over the book to read the back cover. Even before the reader judges your writing, they have gone over 3 other hurtles, getting them to the meat of your book. The reader will not sit down to feast on your book until you have teased them sufficiently to get them to your table.

Now, what to put on that prime real estate; the back page?
If you can, GET HELP with this!! Traditional publishers have a department of copy writers to do this all important job. Teasing the public is a full time job.

But, if you can't pay a pro, then solicit someone who edited your book to REWRITE what you wrote for your back page. The author typically sucks at this back cover text. What the author writes for their book cover describes the book just fine, but this doesn't sell books. Even better than that editor who helped you with the inside text would be a marketing professional. They may not even need to read your book. Give them your description and see them turn it into something that makes the reader open the book or out right buy it!

WHY A MARKETING PRO you may ask:
I heard an appropriate story at the Tucson Wrangling with Writing conference last year. Hope I got this right:
A marketing man came upon a blind man with a box that had a bit of change in it and a sign which read, "Please help me-I'm blind." The marketing man picked up the sign and wrote on it, took the change in the box and left.
The blind man knew what the other man had done, but people would even steal from a blind man so he stayed where he was and ended his day with his box overflowing with money. The blind man was astounded for he had never done so well.
The next day, the marketing man came by to see how the blind man was doing. The blind man recognized the sound the marketing man's shoes made, so he asked, "What did you write on my sign to make me so much money yesterday?"
The marketing man said, "I just rewrote what you said to read 'It is a beautiful day today, and I won't see it!'"

Now, I would have added to this story to finish with:
The blind man remained thoughtful for a few moments and then stated, "Then your work here was money well spent."

You are an author, and in most cases, not a marketing pro. Pay for one along with a decent book editor and cover designer. You will be happy with the results.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009


A NEW PUBLISHER IN TOWN: AZ Publishing Services, LLC under the management of PATTI HULTSTRAND

As an author, investing your money to hire a professional designer to assist you with your book design is the most important decision you can make. People will judge your book by its cover even more than how you write because if they never open your book, you never touch them with your story or your writing. A good designer will do a professional job for you while saving you time and money.

Patti Hultstrand has over 18 years experience as a graphic designer and has over 14 years in the publishing industry. Let her bio and websites she has worked to produce speak for themselves. She freely shares her knowledge as an author and publisher. If you are interested in having her as a guest speaker at your group, please contact us at

Monday, January 26, 2009

Why the last entry enraged me

Thank you Chuck Lesher for bringing this juicy morsel to my attention. (Writer of "Evolution's Child")

Ok--How greedy does a company have to become before the community of authors say "enough is enough already!!"

I was asked last week, whether I think author's shouldn't be selling on Amazon? People assume I am totally against them since I mention their business antics on occasion. I do get on my soap box at times. It is only fair that I explain my point-of-view.

Monopolies are not good for the economy and to small businesses who are struggling to stay afloat, especially now in this tough economy. The publishing industry is hard to break into if you try the traditional mold. The small publishers and print-on-demand businesses have grown. Do I need to remind everyone that Amazon has make mega $$$ on the independent author market. So, is it really good business practice to kick around your cash cow?

Last Spring the word spread that Amazon was threatening to turn off the independent publisher's BUY button on their website. And most of the small publishers and printers turned around and took it in the backside. Then, their were a few wonderfully passionate souls who decided that this was NOT OK with them and pushed back through the court system. As far as I know, we're still waiting on this outcome.

Honestly, I didn't think even Amazon had the balls to kick sand in the face of Microsoft and Adobe by pushing out these companies' readers from their e-book customers. If I were a cartoonist, I would draw 3 fighting logos in the wrestling ring, all fighting for the dwindling reading market customer.

All I have to say about this is, "To your corners gentlemen and at the bell ring, come out fighting!"

This is just too important to ignore

Amazon To Drop Microsoft, Adobe e-Book Formats
By Calvin Reid -- Publishers Weekly, 1/26/2009 7:08:00 AM has notified its publisher and author clients that it plans to cease offering e-books in the Microsoft Reader and Adobe e-book formats. In the future, the online retailer says it plans to offer only e-books in the Kindle format (for wireless download to its Kindle reading device) and the Mobipocket format, both of which are owned by Amazon. The online retailer’s note asks publishers and authors to make sure that Amazon has written permission to offer their books for sale in the Mobipocket format.

Amazon did not specify how long the Adobe PDF and Microsoft formats will continue to be available. A search of the site turns up mostly technical works and e-docs in PDF form and very little in the Microsoft format. Amazon offers tens of thousands of titles in the Mobipocket e-book reader software, which allows e-books to be read on a wide variety of handheld mobile devices. The company said it will now be urging customers to buy e-books through Mobipocket. Amazon also sells more than 200,000 titles for use on the Kindle.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Building a Publishing House Series #2

Since the first book we produced was a book from hell, it can only go up from here. The only good things that came out of it was we learned a lot from the experience and we finished it!

The cover was designed by someone who was new to cover design. They hadn't followed the size specifications. Usually I would give any designer the benefit of the doubt, newbie or not, just because I have been a designer for 19 years now. But there were just too many things gone wrong. We didn't get the cover until deadline night and there were spelling mistakes. Just couldn't let it go to print like that, especially since it was our first book out. So, we made the call.

The designer was in, thank goodness. He made the change and resent, but then we noticed the cover wasn't the right size, so we made the call again. The designer said he had the right size even though I was looking right at the print out. He supposedly made the spec change, then resent. Then we had things missing from the file; like the author's picture and the bar code/ISBN number. Both were too important, so we made the call again.

By this time it was after 9pm and I still had the inside of the book to finish preparing to get printed. I don't think it was just the time of night, but when the designer stated he's been designing for 8 years and have never had mistakes and lost pictures on his files before, I seriously wanted to say I doubted this statement and that he should add another decade to his experience then call me again.

FOUR times -- it took four times to get the cover reuploaded. And "NO" we didn't get everything. I finally said to just email us the missing logo and author picture and I had a copy of the barcode.

What happened, you probably want to know? After some digging with the designer, it was figured out to be due to Adobe Illustrator's artboard. If you specify the file to the size of the cover and add crop marks, then the file will be too small, especially if you needed the file to bleed around all edges.

This same designer designed the second book we produced in December. This was someone else's book. Again, the size was wrong and this one was a larger book. The publisher attempted to make that call, but couldn't get thru. Not that it mattered, in my opinion. It was much easier to just copy the file onto a new Illustrator file and make the size change myself. The publisher asked me to do what I could to fix it, so I did.

I will never divulge the designer, because that's just not cool. BUT, this designer had turned around and slandered me and my company to the publisher, saying he had to help us get the cover printed and that we didn't know what we were doing! Now, I am going to say one thing about all this. Never burn a fellow designer because this business is not as large as we think. And from now on, we will not trust any file given to us by this designer.

Recommendations to all designers or authors about book covers:
First of all, authors should ALWAYS spend the extra money to have a designer do the cover for their book. The book will be more professional if a desinger designs it. Those two covers I mentioned before were both nicely designed, so these books will inevitably make more money. Books are judged by their covers first, the writing second.

The other point is that everyone HAS TO follow specs or it will cost you more to publish. If someone at the printer needs to fix something, then it will fall back on the author and publisher. If you are both the publisher and the author, then this will be an important thing to remember.

If money is really tight -- as it is for most people now days -- I can't stress enough, DO NOT CUT THE BUDGET WITH THE COVER DESIGN.

How much should you be spending? The minimum cost should be about $250-300 for a cover design with ONE edit. If you haven't thought out your text for the cover, do so BEFORE you pay the designer to start your cover. REMEMBER -- more changes cost you more $$$. A mock-up, hand-written is fine, is HIGHLY recommended before talking to a designer.

A custom cover with special artwork that needs purchased should be agreed to by the author and designer because they will need to charge you for this. So, the $250-300 cost just went up.

"Can't I just give the designer the cool artwork I found on the internet?"
Most of the time, no, because most internet artwork is set at a VERY LOW resolution; 72 dpi, when the print resolution needs to be 300 dpi. I could talk more about this internet and print resolution problems in another blog.

NEXT ISSUE: Inside book formatting.