Book Beauty 101 for the Self-Published Author

Big publishing houses have editors, designers, illustrators, researchers, proofreaders, indexers and a slew of other professionals on staff to polish and shine your manuscript to immaculate eye-catching beauty. However, when you are the author and self-publisher, you will be responsible for all the beauty tricks yourself. You don’t want people to know your book is self-published simply because it “looks” self-published.Inner Book BeautyThe “meat” of your manuscript-the part that contains the main story-is just one part of your manuscript. There are also several sections that have nothing to do with the main content. However, they each serve a purpose, but not all are needed in your manuscript. You need to become familiar with each of them, and choose which ones you need to include in your book.If you thumb through the first few pages of a fiction book, you will often find fewer technical pages than in nonfiction. For example, a table of contents is often up to the writer in a fiction book. Are your chapters merely numbered, or do they have headings? If your chapters are titled, it would be wise to create a table of contents. Below is a list of other sections that may be included in your book.
Title page. The title page is the first page of the book. This page lists the title, author, publisher and year of publication. The back of the title page will typically provide copyright and publisher information, the ISBN and Library of Congress numbers, any legal disclaimers, and the place of production.
Introduction or Preface. This is a personal note from you to the reader. You can use this to tell the background of how the book came to be, or why you chose to write it and what you want your readers to gain from the book.
Acknowledgments. This is the place where you get to act like an Academy Award winner and thank everyone who assisted in bringing your book to life.
Dedication. A bit different from the Acknowledgment, this is where you can give homage to a person, group, organization or cause which has provided inspiration to you as a person.
Foreword. This is an introductory essay that discuss the content of the book, and why it needed to be written. This is typically written by someone else. Oftentimes authors will invite an expert in the field or a celebrity to write the foreword. The foreword can help add credibility to your book. If you decide to have this page in your book, it usually precedes the author’s preface.
Table of Contents. This includes chapter headings, subheadings and the corresponding page number.
Notes. These follow the main section of the book, and give credit to sources and reference material. Some authors will also include a few blank pages for the reader to make their own notes.
Appendix. This section at the back of the book includes supplementary material. It can include charts, directories, lists or other additional reference material.
Index. Not every book needs an index. However, it is advisable to include an index in a nonfiction book, particularly if your book is intended to be used as a reference or guide book.
A good editor will take out the rough spots out of your writing. Nothing screams poor self-published book like a bunch of typos. The editor will not only handle misspellings, they also handle the technical parts of editing that we all take for granted, like when to hyphenate a word or when the hell you’re suppose to use a semi colon.Getting a typesetter will format your book, adding the appropriate fonts, margins, line spacing and paragraph justification to make you book shine.Outer Book BeautyYour book’s cover is its prime real estate – the golden shores with the beach side sunsets, if you will. The information you include, particularly on the back cover, is as important as your business card. The front cover will lure the reader in. But it’s the back cover that will close the deal. So choose carefully how you build on this site. Some of your options for the back cover are:
Synopsis of the book, carefully written to excite the reader about its possibilities. Try to include what the reader will gain from reading the book or, more importantly, how reading the book will solve a problem.
Your professional photo. Notice I said “professional” photo. If you’re writing a technical and professionally driven manuscript, then have professional headshots taken. It would be best to avoid the glamour photos you had made ten years ago complete with hot pink feather boas. Avoid the family photos (cropped to include someone else’s partial shoulder), or pictures from the “drunken-frat-parties” you attended in college. You will also need a professional headshot photo for your future book promotions. So take the time to get professional, manuscript-specific photos taken.
A brief biographical sketch of your background, only as it relates to the book. If you are an unknown writer, no one cares about how many “adorable grandchildren” you have. Readers want to know how you are qualified to solve a problem, provide benefit to their life, rule the world or ease them into fantasy realms.
Testimonials from other authors or experts in your field are a fantastic addition.
Reviews that you have received from advance copies you sent to publications or experts.
Be methodical in developing your cover. It is important to hire a designer that understands your vision and possesses the level of creatively you need to have your book stand out. Make sure everything you see on the cover of your book is something to grab and pull the reader into their wallet. Top quality is worth its weight in gold.

Do You Want to Convert Your Book to Kindle or iPad? Book Scanning Is the Answer!

Kindle’s are doing for books what the iPod did for music back in the early 2000’s. They are revitalizing the industry and getting more people into reading and also back into reading by providing a useful interface that emulates a book near perfectly while being considerable smaller and thinner. Over 5 million Kindle’s have been sold in the last year and I myself have just purchased one.Although it hasn’t really been marketed too much, the iPad also have built in support for reading eBooks and also support the Kindle application meaning that you can read Kindle books on your iPad. The success of the iPad goes without saying, but both these extraordinary devices are single-handedly revolutionising many industries including computers and literature, and the fact is that thanks to these devices there has been a surge in book purchases and magazine and newspaper subscriptions. So if you’re an author or publisher you might have thought about getting your publications converted to the formats that are supported by these two devices as well as the other e-Reader devices that are out there.Book scanning is the only feasible way to make this happen, usually by sending your book(s) to a professional document scanning company, many of which have specialist book scanners made for the job which enable you to gain access to a PDF, ePub (for the iPad) and mobi file (for the Kindle), making them completely text searchable in the process and fully readable by their respected devices.Book scanning is usually completed by taking the book and either scanning it in at high quality in its current state or by taking it to pieces. If you’re willing to let the book be taken to pieces, this usually makes the job of scanning and conversion considerably easier and will take less time, hence the cost should be lower. However many books that come through for this process are rare and hard to find so are requested to be kept in their initial state. When the scanning itself is completed, the pages are then OCR processed. If you’re not aware of OCR, or Optical Character Recognition, this is the process of converting the scanned files, which at this point are effectively images, into fully text-searchable and computer readable files that can be used for searching and finding certain keywords or names within documents. The converted files are then usually converted to the required format and checked to make sure they are set our correctly and that the line spacing and other important elements are correct. This is done using industry specialist software.Once the book scanning is complete and the OCR, conversion and checking is done the files can be sent over to you to enter into the Amazon Kindle Store or to Apple’s iBook’s program.There have been a number of thoughts on this process over the last couple of years. Those who see books traditionally, see the likes of the Kindle as an inadequate replacement, not because they aren’t good at what they do, because books to many are sacred, and that’s up to the individual. However what isn’t arguable is that converting books to Kindle and other formats via book scanning breathes new life, not just into the book itself, but the entire industry. Progress will always happen and books in the traditional format will always be around to be read and treasured, but there’s no reason why progress can’t be allowed to happen at the same time.

Brand Book: Build a Consistent Brand Around Your Company Logo

Let’s say you have decided to start your own business, or you thought of upgrading or reinventing your brand. One of the first order of things you would be doing is to design a logo for your business. Your logo would have to say it all about your brand: your color scheme, font styles, feel and so on. But sometimes, the whole thing would just seem to be quite off, and you can’t figure out what is wrong.This kind of situation is the reason why you need to have a consistent and strong brand identity. Especially in today’s modern market trend, when tiny details make or break you. Not only does it makes your brand look firm but it would build your credibility, as well.So here’s the big question: How? – Well, enter the brand book.What is a Brand Book?A brand book is a set of rules and guidelines for the use of your brand. A standard if you must. A style guide, in a designer’s context. It basically explains how to properly make use of elements to make sure that it is consistent with your brand.Why create a brand guide for your business?Having a brand book makes it easier to do a project. Example: if you decided to do a packaging for a brand product, presenting the brand book to the designer would make things easier to select font styles, colors, and whatnot and output would be consistent with your brand.Makes you look professional. Being consistent with your marketing tools and outputs makes you look professional. Like everything’s planned out to be the way they are.You will have control of your brand. Having standardized brand gives your control of any loose ends. If something is not working – a look or feel – you refer to your trusty old brand book.Never a cheap moment. When you have a brand that’s solid in all corners, your brand would avoid looking cheap.You enhance your brand. With your brand’s style regulated, it makes you progress into a finer and solid brand. You are put onto a perspective where you see your brand’s untapped potential and develop changes for its betterment.What to Include in a Brand Book?There are several components to include in a brand book. Here are the basics and must be included.BRAND OVERVIEWAs much as possible, this should be brief. In little words as possible, make sure that the concept for the design of your brand is clear. A designer should likely read this very important part of the brand book; it should tell what the brand is aiming to be, its look and feel.LOGOSA logo is the brand’s key component to its strategy; therefore, it should be taken seriously. The brand will likely revolve around the logo concept BUT the logo is not your brand alone. Make sure there are many logo variations for certain styles and backgrounds, and clarify minimum sizes.INCORRECT LOGO USAGERemember when I said, a detail can make or break your brand? Here’s a common mistake in the branding world: logos are used and stamped upon on almost anything. Your brand has to look professional, and you should know not to mess around with it. If you do, you’re basically messing with your reputation. You have to be careful to make sure that designers or anyone that would make use of your brand logo understands what they can and cannot do with it.FONTSFont is crucial. It also affects your brand’s feel. You have to define what kind of typefaces to use. More so, their size, colors, headline and body typeface. Do not forget to include web and non-web fonts.COLORSSince your brand revolves around your logo, and your logo revolves around a particular color set, it is imperative to make sure that the use of colors is specified. Specify primary and secondary colors – when and where to use them. Include color palettes, as well as, formats for both print and web end.COPY AND TONE OF VOICEThink of this as another key component to your brands personality. It’s how you would want them to “hear” or “read” you – your character. Defining the way you deal or sound like, especially in the social media, is a great way to be consistent. When there are several people writing or doing the copy in their different ways, your brand would seem to have several personalities. That is why it is key to have these laid out properly.ICONOGRAPHYSpecify what size, spacing, and where to use icons is significant to promote consistency.OTHER COMPONENTS THAT CAN BE INCLUDEDThere are still several components that you can integrate in your brand book. It’s really up to you and up to the industry your business is in. Some components that you could consider include:
Photography style
Supporting graphic elements
Design layouts and grids
Social media profile page applications
Brochure/flyer layout options
Website layout
Signage specifications
Advertising treatments
Merchandising applications
Who makes a Brand Book?Usually, brand books are developed by an experienced graphic designer. Sometimes, the agency where your logo is made could do this for you. Even if you already have a logo, you can always hire someone to make your brand book. But of course, it’s better to have the one who made your logo do the brand book for you, as well, to ensure that it flows well with your logo.It is always better to have a PDF format brand book for you, aside from it being printed. It’ll make things convenient especially during a project where you can always send it via email.The Bottom LineYour logo is a significant component of your brand. Several aspects of your business revolve around it, especially in the modern branding world. But your logo alone is not your brand. It’s just a part of your strategy to be identified with. How your logo is treated and used is where your branding unfolds. By having a brand book, you can ensure that everything works consistently to have a strong and solid brand.