How to Prepare for Self-Publishing: Formatting for Hard Copy

Source: How to Prepare for Self-Publishing: Formatting for Hard Copy

Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.

self-publishing, authors, indie publishing, writingThis is part five of a six-part series.

Ebooks might be cheap to produce and distribute, but many authors still choose to do a short print run or make their books available in stores on a print-on-demand basis. Readers still like printed books—they’re not going away any time soon! And even if you don’t plan to make a fortune selling them, hard copies can be a useful promotional tool. They come in handy for book signings, giveaways, special events and for sending to reviewers.

You want to see your book in print, so how can you make sure it looks professional? A self-published book doesn’t have to look self-published. The reader is going to be drawn to your book because of its striking cover design and outstanding blurb; she isn’t going to turn her nose up at it because it isn’t published by HarperCollins!

Don’t go too far out

First of all, it might go against the grain for you as a writer and as a creative person, but the world of publishing is quite conservative. If you’ve written a coffee table book, or a book about art or craft or design, then there’s definitely a case for making the physical product look or feel unusual in a way that reflects the content, but this is going to be expensive and require professional input on the design. If that’s your book, this is probably not the article for you. But if you’ve written a novel or a non-fiction book that’s “wordy” rather than visual or tactile, read on.

The golden rule is, don’t try to be too “different.” You don’t want the look and feel of your book to get in the way of your readers’ absorption into the world you’ve created. If they’re going to admire something, you want it to be your writing skills, not the font you’ve chosen.

A good way to get started is to pick a book from your shelf, one that you enjoyed reading, and copy the design and layout. When you were reading it, you probably didn’t notice the fonts, line spacing, margins, page numbers and paragraph spacing. That’s good: it means the designer did her job well. That’s the kind of experience you want your readers to have.

Communicate with the printer

Ask your printer for their formatting guidelines—most will have something, even if it’s a just a basic list of dos and don’ts. Some may have templates you can use, which are really helpful. But bear in mind that, provided your file complies with their technical specifications, they’ll print whatever you put on the page. They won’t alert you if your text is hard to read or your colored graph makes no sense in grayscale.

Don’t cut corners

Don’t be tempted to make the type too small or the margins and line spacing tight in order to fit it onto fewer pages and cut costs. If your book is physically hard to read, people just won’t bother, and it will turn readers off as soon as they open it.

Choosing the right font

It might depend on the subject of your book. For example, a contemporary book about business may suit a sans serif font, but “old style” serif typefaces like Garamond and Minion are good choices, too. If you’ve written a non-fiction book, have a look at which typefaces are commonly used by published authors in your subject area. Which ones are easy to read and project a professional image?

Do your research

You might think that you know what a book looks and feels like. After all, you’ve read enough of them! But take some time to research into publishing industry standards and make sure your book conforms to them. Otherwise it will be obvious to professionals that your book is by an amateur. Pay special attention to the front and back matter (everything before and after the body of the book itself).

Give your book the professional touch

Make sure you’ve got a publisher name and logo, even if it’s just you acting as a “micro-publisher” for your own work. You don’t have to spend a fortune hiring a professional logo designer. Sometimes just the creative use of one or two letters from a more unusual font can be enough.

Don’t neglect the spine: the publisher logo should appear there, toward the bottom, as well as on the back cover.

Use the appropriate program

If you’ve got Adobe InDesign and can use it, it’s a good program to use for typesetting. Word is great for word-processing but notoriously difficult to use for design. You might find yourself struggling with page numbering, alignment, justification, widows and orphans, random lines that won’t disappear, and all manner of oddities. InDesign is far better suited for creating a book. You can export your file as a print-ready PDF. If you can afford it, get a professional designer to typeset your book for you; she will be able to get your book “looking like a book” for you.

To get all the ebook and digital publishing news you need every day in your inbox at 8:00 AM, sign up for the DBW Daily today!

What Self-Published Authors Should Know About Hard Copies

Source: What Self-Published Authors Should Know About Hard Copies

books, ebooks, authors, self-publishing, ebook conversionThis is part five of a six-part series.

Ebooks might be cheap to produce and distribute, but many authors still choose to do a short print run or make their books available in stores on a print-on-demand basis. Readers still like printed books—they’re not going away any time soon! And even if you don’t plan to make a fortune selling them, hard copies can be a useful promotional tool. They come in handy for book signings, giveaways, special events and for sending to reviewers.

You want to see your book in print, so how can you make sure it looks professional? A self-published book doesn’t have to look self-published. The reader is going to be drawn to your book because of its striking cover design and outstanding blurb; she isn’t going to turn her nose up at it because it isn’t published by HarperCollins!

Much more.


How to Prepare for Self-Publishing: Marketing

Source: How to Prepare for Self-Publishing: Marketing

Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.

self-publishing, authors, indie publishing, writingThis is part six of a six-part series.

You’ve written your book, had it edited, sorted out the formatting and typesetting and done everything you can to make sure it’s as good as it possibly can be. Your cover design makes your book stand out to potential readers and you’ve polished the blurb until it gleams. So what can you do to get it in front of as many people as possible and get those sales rolling in?

Getting your book reviewed

It takes a long time to review a book. Reviewers often have a backlog that they’re working through, and naturally you want them to read the whole thing and give their considered opinion. You need to plan your campaign well in advance and start much earlier than you might imagine. If you want national publications or well-known/tastemaker bloggers to review your work, you’ll probably need to allow four to six months’ lead-in time, and remember that it’s likely they’ll want hard copies.

Plan ahead and get creative!

If you’ve written other books before, you should already have been using these as a platform to generate excitement among your readers and get them anticipating your next one. Even if this is your first book, you should always try to create a buzz on social media. The more resources you are able to create, the better your campaign will work. This could even include writing short stories based on some of the characters in your book. Try some point-of-view changes, experiment with pre-releasing a prologue, write a poem, start a story and invite your readers to finish it as part of a competition—this is your chance to really get creative!

Social media

It’s better to use just one social media platform well than to try to do everything and not get the results or engagement that you’re looking for. We recommend Twitter and Facebook as starting points, but if Pinterest, Instagram or something else is your thing, then go for it.

Every platform has its benefits and reaches a different audience, so it helps to know who your target audience is beforehand and to determine which platform they are likely to be using before diving in there yourself. It’s important to be enthusiastic about the platform you’re using rather than seeing it as a chore; this will shine through in the way you use it. You can use a scheduling tool like Buffer and then plan some time in your schedule to create your updates all at once rather than letting it eat away at your writing time. Try not to use formal language (unless it suits your target audience), and don’t forget to check back on your notifications and to respond to your followers!


Lots of self-published authors recommend free giveaway periods to generate interest, get further up the lists that matter (recommended reads, etc.), gain reader reviews on sites such as Goodreads and then start gaining some traction elsewhere on the web.

Save your money

Be cautious about going for paid reviews. They aren’t necessarily bad, but the general consensus by both authors and tastemakers is that they aren’t worth the money or the effort. Reader reviews have a more engaged reader base behind them and are more honest, therefore perceived as more trustworthy and of greater value.

Keep the momentum going

Think about how you are going to sustain interest for more than just the initial release period. You might want to plan some longer-term projects to keep the enthusiasm going, or look at how you can use this book to start marketing the next! Keeping your fanbase engaged over a long-term period is the key to a successful writing career. Is there an aspect of your life or a theme in your book that you can use to connect more personally with fans and use as leverage in your marketing?

If your main character is a baker, for example, and this is important to the story, why not target baking or related trade magazines and see if they’ll give you an interview or feature? If a character has a health problem, would a related charity like to collaborate with you to raise awareness of what they do? Whatever the theme, create content based around this and start conversations on a regular basis; this can be anything from blog posts or Q&As to a mini video series.

In the real world

There is a wealth of information about how you can promote your book online—use it to your advantage. But don’t neglect real-world promotion as well. Bookstores are often keen to promote local authors and may be able to help you stage events like book signings. Libraries might welcome the chance to get more people through their doors, too.

Don’t use social media as your sole method to drive sales online. Try some old-fashioned promotional tools like bookmarks and flyers as well, and try to get people back to your own website and to join your mailing list. Remember that you don’t own your fanbase on Facebook/Twitter etc. The network does, so by converting likes and followers into mailing list sign-ups, you have more ownership over their contact details. You can then use this to create higher engagement and better relationships with the people who are genuinely interested in your writing.

To get all the ebook and digital publishing news you need every day in your inbox at 8:00 AM, sign up for the DBW Daily today!


Fiction Writers: A Simple Approach to Build a Better Email List


Source: Fiction Writers: A Simple Approach to Build a Better Email List

You likely know that getting more people to subscribe to your mailing list should be one of your top priorities.

Failing to do so would be a huge business mistake. Besides, as a fiction author, email marketing is one of the best ways to cultivate a readership.

The problem? It’s easier said than done.

You have to get people to subscribe.

You have to send out engaging emails.

You have to compel your audience to support you.

These are huge marketing challenges. And while improving your persuasion skills is a good idea, there’s another adjustment you can make that’s also effective.

Best of all, it’s simple to do.

The surprising benefits of choosing a smaller target audience

Let’s start with a brutal truth: People don’t like giving out their email addresses.

That means it’s hard to get a signup from someone who isn’t already enthusiastic about your work. And even if you do, it’s challenging to hold their attention with the emails you send.

So what if you focused your email marketing on people who have enjoyed at least one of your stories?

This is a different mindset than trying to get anyone with some interest onto your mailing list. Targeting readers who have experienced and liked your fiction writing makes your email marketing choices clearer. By tailoring your actions to a very specific group of people, you’ll increase the chances they’ll positively respond.

The areas of your email marketing that will benefit include:

Attracting subscribers

The magnet for fans is your storytelling. Offering free eBooks is great as a lead generation tactic as well as an incentive for email list signups.
It’s clear that asking for a subscription to your mailing list at the end of each of your fiction pieces is one of the best places to do it.
You know if you’re not getting more subscribers, it almost always comes down to one of two reasons:

your fiction is not yet seen by the right people,
or, your writing needs additional refinement

Sharing content that engages

Once you know you’re emailing fans, then coming up with ideas for your emails should be a lot easier. If you understand why they like your storytelling, then you can figure out ways to elevate their enthusiasm.
Remember that existing readers have a certain level of interest and familiarity with your work. You can make references from your world that outsiders wouldn’t get. The engagement level is high.
You can show your appreciation by giving stuff that you know will be valuable to your fans. Maybe that’s your time by responding with a personalized email, or your writing by sharing some flash fiction.

Presenting desirable offers

If you’ve done the hard work of finding and engaging people who like your fiction, then you shouldn’t have to make any hard sells. Your offers are geared for an audience who want them.
You’re also in a position to ask for non-monetary support such as book reviews and spreading the word on social media.
If you track your analytics, you’ll see open and conversion rates that are reflective of a true readership that you’re connected with online.


The post Fiction Writers: A Simple Approach to Build a Better Email List appeared first on The Book Designer.

An Intro to BookBub Ads (Insights From NINC 2016)

Wanting to dabble in BookBub Ads? This is a great article from this year’s NINC. Enjoy!
NINC Master Class - BookBub Ads




BookBub’s partners know us in the context of Featured Deals. But BookBub now offers more than just a single marketing channel to our author and publisher partners. In our workshop at this year’s Novelists, Inc. conference (slides below), we focused on explaining the differences between Featured Deals and BookBub Ads in order to help our author partners determine when, why, and how they should think about using each marketing tool. Our new BookBub Ads platform is not yet available to all our partners, but it will be in the coming months, so we hope this information is helpful even for those of you still on the waitlist.

Featured Deals provide authors with predictability. Most of you are familiar with the Featured Deals process: We decide which books get selected (and have strict requirements for what can be submitted), we determine the category (or which readers you’re reaching), we choose the timing, and we quote you a price. Having this control allows us to fairly accurately predict how Featured Deals will perform. We’re able to charge fees intended to generate positive ROIs, and we know the majority of partners will be successful.

On the other hand, BookBub Ads provide authors with flexibility. We’ve heard from partners for years that they want to reach BookBub’s audience with different kinds of book content, and we launched Ads to address this pain point. With Ads, you can advertise whatever book you want. It doesn’t have to be discounted or meet any of our other Featured Deal requirements. You decide what runs, when it runs, how often it runs, what your ad looks like, which readers you’re reaching, and how much you want to pay. That’s a ton of control.

The downside to flexibility is that the onus is now on you to make your campaign work. Flexibility means Ads won’t work for everyone. It will work best for partners willing to test and optimize their campaigns. We will continue to evolve the product to help you run successful campaigns, but Ads will always be more hands-on and more variable than Featured Deals.

The value is that you now have another marketing channel in your toolbox, and when BookBub Ads work, they can be enormously powerful. You’re now able to reach BookBub’s millions of active, engaged, hungry book buyers with any book you want to promote. The power is in your hands. Now, as Tim Gunn would say, it’s up to you to “Make it work!”

The presentation below is from the workshop we gave at NINC on how to run successful Ads campaigns. Browse through the slides for some key takeaways, and please remember that BookBub’s Partners team is always available to help. We’re here to work with you on your marketing strategy and help you get as much value out of our partnership as possible. So please feel free to email us at [email protected] any time!

Note: If you’re interested in running a BookBub Ads campaign, you can join the waiting list using the form at the bottom of this article or on the right side of this page. We’re only able to support a small number of advertisers at this time, but we’re busy expanding capacity, and in the months ahead we’ll gradually invite members of the waiting list to use the tool.

Instagram Zoom: How to Get the Most From Instagram’s New Feature (Plus Inspiration From 10 Awesome Brands)


Is your demographic on Instagram? If so, and you are using Instagram, this is a great primer on using one of the features – Zoom. Very cool! Although the examples are not bookish, your creative side will help you think of similar examples for your work, I’m sure!


Over the past six months, Instagram has released some exciting updates, from a new logo to longer videos and even a new way to share everyday moments with Instagram Stories.

Recently, Instagram announced another interesting (and long-awaited) feature: the ability to zoom in on photos and videos.

Instagram users can now pinch photos and videos to zoom in and take a closer look. This update has been released for iPhone users and Instagram says this update will be rolling out to Android over the coming weeks, too.

As with any new feature, this opens up a ton of opportunity and some more flexibility with the types of content we can create on Instagram.

We decided to dive in at the deep end and take a look at how this feature works, what brands are already doing with zoom, and how you can use it as well.

Let’s get started.

How to Zoom on Instagram

To zoom on Instagram you simply need to pinch the screen.

The pinch to zoom expression has been a feature on Facebook, Twitter, and many other apps for a while now, and it’s also a common practice within the iPhone camera roll, so it feels like a natural expression for Instagram’s users to adopt.

Here’s a quick example of Instagram zoom in action from PetaPixel:

When you pinch to zoom, the photo or video expands in a lightbox and moves out of the original frame to take over the rest of your screen.

Instagram images are still uploaded at around 1080px in width, so if you zoom in too far the content may look a little grainy. Here’s a quick breakdown of the sizes Instagram uploads photos at:

Square Image: 1080px in width by 1080px in height
Vertical Image: 1080px in width by 1350px in height
Horizontal Image: 1080px in width by 566px in height

(Here’s more info on ideal image sizes for Instagram and all other social networks.)

Why zoom opens up new content opportunities

As marketers, we’re always on the lookout for new ways to create and share engaging content with our audience, and Instagram’s zoom feature provides a great opportunity to do just that.

Zoom allows us to get a little creative with our content and also makes Instagram posts a little more interactive. Instead of simply viewing an image or watching a video, users can now zoom around and choose to focus in on certain aspects of our posts.

Some content will naturally entice users to zoom; a beautiful beach scene or a shot of a well-known landmark may pique curiosity, for example. But in most cases, we’ll need to give users a reason to take a closer look at our content. Zooming can be a way to enhance your Instagram content, create fun competitions and games and also encourage Instagrammers to pause and take a moment to engage with your posts.

Here’s a quick look at how 10 brands have already started to use Instagram’s zoom feature within their content.

10 Examples of brands using Zoom

Note: We’ve tried to illustrate how the zoom feature looks with each example. If you’d like to check them out on Instagram, we’ve linked to each post in the accompanying descriptions. Click on each link from a mobile device, open it in the Instagram app and then pinch and zoom across the screen.

1. British Airways


British Airways shared this lovely photo of Berlin as a way to start a discussion around city breaks in the German city. By zooming in, users can check out some of Berlin’s most popular sights and landmarks.

The airline also made good use of the caption to encourage zooming:

#Zoom in for a closer look. Where will your next #CityBreak be? Whether it’s iconic #sights, the buzz of a traditional market or the best in local cuisine, city breaks are one of our favourite journeys.

2. Bud Light


Bud Light turned to Instagram to reveal the flavor of one of their new beverages. Using clever copywriting in the caption “Our new flavor is just a pinch away,” the brand encouraged users to zoom in and discover their new flavor.

3. Primark


Primark used Instagram’s zoom feature to showcase its latest product releases. By zooming in, Instagram users can scan through the products and take a closer look. This was a fun and unique way to let followers check out their latest stock and made great use of Instagram’s newest feature.

4. BMW España


In this Instagram post, BMW shared a photo of a driver at the wheel of their new M4 model. The caption asks, “How fast is our #BMWM4 going through the circuit? #Zoom to guess.”

5. FedEx


I’m a huge fan of FedEx’s Instagram feed. They use the platform to show FedEx’s delivery drivers, vans, and planes out delivering parcels and giving followers a behind the scenes glimpse of how their parcels arrive. In this example, FedEx gave followers a view out of a plane window and allowed them to zoom in on the sunset and a view of another FedEx plane.

6. General Electric


General Electric shared this photo from Pulitzer prize-winning photographer, Vincent Laforet. It features a bird’s-eye view of GE’s Tier 4 locomotive as it snakes along the Transit Test Track at the Transportation Technology Center.

In the caption, GE asks Instagrammer’s to take a closer look and asks: “How many rail cars can you spot?”

7. Reyka Vodka


Icelandic brand, Reyka Vodka, used zoom to celebrate some of its country’s most famous landmarks. The beautifully put-together illustration features a small map of Iceland, which when zoomed, reveals the landmarks and one of Reyka’s branded bottles.

To encourage users to zoom, Reyka turned to the 🔍 emoji and also used the hashtag #instazoom.

8. The Cheesecake Factory


The Cheesecake Factory used zoom as a way to turn an Instagram post into an interactive game. The post features 12 images of various desserts available at the Cheesecake Factory and asks viewers which cheesecake is featured twice. By zooming, users can take an up-close look at each cake and see which one features more than once.

9. Noosa yogurt


Noosa Yogurt used zoom to reveal the words hidden within a speech bubble. This post is captioned, “What do cows say when they play hide-and-seek? Hint: pinch and zoom to find out.”

10. MorningStar Farms


Instagram also allows you to zoom in on video content and this example from MorningStar Farms is one of the first I’ve seen where the brand encourages the user to zoom on a video. The video itself is a short animation of the crop growing up from a seed, and it’s captioned: “Zoom in to see how a something small can make a big impact. Like this small seed.”

How to use zoom in your content: 3 best practices

As the above examples illustrate, zooming can be a really fun, creative way to make your Instagram content stand out. But how can you use it in your day-to-day social media schedule? Here are some early thoughts:

1. Use it sparingly

New features tend to be overused at the beginning, and if every post you share asks users to zoom in, the novelty may wear off. However, when used sparingly, it feels like zoom will be a great tool to have in your arsenal.

Be sure to experiment with various types of posts, like some of the examples above, and use your creativity. But be careful not to overuse this feature and instead only use it in special instances.

2. Give your followers a reason to zoom

“With the zoom feature, there needs to be some inherent reason to look at an image closer to discover something, but that action of discovery still needs to connect to the brands messaging in some way or it’ll just feel like a gimmick,” Steve O’Connell, ecd and partner at Red Tettemer O’Connell + Partners, explained to AdWeek.

When it comes to planning the types of content you’d like to encourage users to zoom on, give clear thought to the “why” behind it. Why will a user want to zoom? How can we entice them to stop scrolling their feed and spend some time with our content?

3. Stay on brand

Jumping on the latest trends and updates can occasionally lead to content that goes off brand and moves away from a business’ overall social media strategy. The FedEx post included in the list above is a great example of staying true to your brand. FedEx’s Instagram is built around taking followers on a journey and sharing how their parcels go from A to B. If FedEx were to jump into a scavenger hunt with a parcel hidden somewhere in the post, this probably wouldn’t feel true to their brand.

Over to you

Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear your thoughts on this much anticipated Instagram feature. Have you used zoom much to get a closer look at any photos or videos on Instagram?

I’d also love to discuss the opportunities their feature presents to brands as well. Have you created any content specifically with zoom in mind? Are there any more great examples of brands using zoom that we have missed?

Feel free to jump in the comments and I’d be excited to chat with you there.

Source: Instagram Zoom: How to Get the Most From Instagram’s New Feature (Plus Inspiration From 10 Awesome Brands)

Now You Can See Your Goodreads Friends’ Updates – Right in Kindle for iOS (U.S. Members)


Ed Note: Since I’m Canadian, I can’t see this feature. For those of you in the US – can you? And what do you think of it?

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
Rainer Maria Rilke, “The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge”
Are you a Kindle reader? We have more good news for you! Today, we’re introducing Goodreads Updates inside Kindle for iOS. Seeing and discussing what your friends are reading is now just one tap away in the same app where you read your books.Books, Books, and More Books!With Goodreads Updates in Kindle for iOS, you can see your friends’ latest updates about books they are reading and want to read, reviews and ratings of books they’ve read, quotes that were significant to them in the books they’re reading, and more.Want additional ideas on books to read? (And why wouldn’t you?!) Right underneath each update, you’ll also see the other books your friend has added to that same shelf. For example, if your friend just marked a new book as “Want to Read,” you’ll see and can quickly swipe through the other books she wants to read. It’s all designed for serendipity – helping you find more delightful moments when you discover a book you might have missed, or are reminded of a book you’ve been meaning to read.

Spark a Discussion with Likes and CommentsNotice a friend has started reading one of your favorite books? Like it and let her know. Use the comments to ask questions, share a different perspective, or have a “you too?” moment with your friends.

Instantly Start ReadingWe often hear from Goodreads members that learning about new books from friends is one of the top ways they discover new books to read. Has a book your friend is reading caught your interest? With one tap you can download a free sample…and then just start reading. ☺Tip: When using Kindle for iOS, remember that you can’t buy books directly inside the app. Here’s a handy reminder on how to buy Kindle books on your iPhone or iPad:1) Open the Kindle Store in Safari ( Better yet – save it as a bookmark on your home screen.2) Search for your book3) Tap “Buy now with 1-click”I want to use it now! How do I get it?1) Download the latest version of the free Kindle for iOS app.2) If you haven’t already, link your Goodreads account to the app by going to Settings in the app. Alternatively, click here to go to, and scroll to the Amazon section to connect your accounts. 3) Open up the app and click on “goodreads” in the top navigation bar to see your Goodreads Updates.Didn’t you just add some other new Goodreads + Kindle features last month?Yes! This is the latest in a series of new features making reading with Kindle even better for Goodreads members. Check out Auto-Updates on Kindle for iOS and Kindle Notes & Highlights on Goodreads—stay tuned for more to come.How does this work with the Goodreads app?Both apps work in harmony with each other. Just as we’ve done with Kindle E-readers and Fire tablets, we’re bringing the Goodreads features most closely associated with reading right into the Kindle for iOS experience. When you want to use more of the rich set of features Goodreads has to offer, just open up the Goodreads iOS app. Remember that to access Goodreads features on Kindle for iOS, Kindle E-readers, and Fire tablets, you need to link your Goodreads account to Amazon. To do this on, click here and scroll to the Amazon section.How do I control what my friends see from me in their Goodreads Updates?As always, you have full control over what you share on Goodreads. Books, quotes, reviews and other items only appear if you decide to share them. And any time you want to double check what you have shared, you can go to your Goodreads profile on the Goodreads apps or on You can find more information here.When will Goodreads Updates be available for Kindle for iOS users outside the U.S.?We will announce additional marketplaces as we roll them out. Currently, Goodreads Updates is available for U.S. customers who have an account and have linked their Goodreads and Amazon accounts. (You can link them here.)When will Goodreads be integrated into Kindle for Android?

Source: Now You Can See Your Goodreads Friends’ Updates – Right in Kindle for iOS (U.S. Members)