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.