An ISBN serves the same purpose for a book as your name does for you- assigning an identity.

ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. This 13 digit number makes your book easily accessible in libraries and makes distribution hassle free. All you need to do is contact the ISBN issuing authority in India. It is not only free of cost but also gets you registered as an author/publisher with the International ISBN Agency.

Since an ISBN assigns an identity to a book, every new book you wish to publish needs to have a different number. That means every edition of a book, whether paperback, hardcover, epub, mobi or pdf, needs to have a different ISBN assigned to it.

isbn_blog - Copy

An oxymoron is a rhetorical figure of speech in which seemingly contradictory terms appear side by side. Writers often use oxymorons for a dramatic effect or to call attention to an apparent contradiction in the narration. They may also be used to add flavor to one’s speech or in an attempt to be cynical. On occasion. they also serve to make one stop and ponder.

Interestingly, the word oxymoron itself is derived from two Ancient Greek words oxus meaning ‘sharp’ and mōros meaning ‘foolish’, thus making the word itself an oxymoron. English oxymorons are rather humorous at times, given the absurdity of the pairings. Here are a few that caught our attention.

Oxymorons From Everyday Life

Sentence Examples with Oxymorons
Seeing oxymorons used in context often helps to provide a better idea of how and why they are used. Here are a few well-known sentences and quotations that make use of oxymorons.
1. “Destroy the old files, but make copies first.” – Samuel Goldwyn
2. “We had an unlimited budget and we have exceeded it.” – Anonymous
3. “Anyone who isn’t confused here doesn’t really know what’s going on.” – Anonymous
4. “Tell them to stand closer apart.” – Samuel Goldwyn
5. “I might be a superficial person, but that’s just on the surface.” – Andy Warhol
6. “We are not anticipating any emergencies.” – Anonymous
7. “I like humanity, but I loathe persons.” – Edna St. Vincent Millay
8. “Always be sincere, even though you do not necessarily mean it.” – Irene Peter
9. “I’d give my right arm to be ambidextrous!” – Anonymous
10. “Always remember you’re unique…just like everyone else!” – Anonymous

-Percy Parry

image credit: Jenisse Decker (flickr)

image credit: Jenisse Decker (flickr)

Writing a book spanning 1000 to 100,000 words was never easy. As you continue your work on your book, just like many other writers, you may suffer from a temporary condition wherein your brain shuts down.

When I say shut down, I mean that the you lose track of the stream of ideas that otherwise flowed smoothly into your head while you wrote your book. Its not a severe case, so theres no need to get paranoid. This case is called the ‘Writer’s Block‘-a temporary condition in which the writer finds it impossible to continue with the writing of a book, play or any other work. The main reason behind this? Stress! Which brings us to a whole new concept-‘Writer’s Stress’. While Writer’s Block is the problem that arises specifically with the writing part of a novel, Writer’s Stress is the problem one faces with the overall process of writing a novel, publishing and marketing it.

One of the biggest challenges a writer can face while working on his or her novel is not that they can’t think of any ideas, instead that they don’t have enough time to give to their work. There are so many distractions in your daily life that it is hard to keep your mind focused on writing. This can be a majorproblem. Giving around 10 to 20 minutes of your time to your book will push you along towards the end goal of having a completed book. But I understand for some writers this might be difficult because before they start writing they need to get ‘in the zone’.

Now writing a book when you have a full time job requires a lot of patience, not to mention a calm mind filled with perseverance and desire, and if you are writing a book just for the heck of it, it will never get done. Besides if you really do want to write one, then working on it at home will serve a better purpose simply because when at work your job requires your full attention, while at home you’re free from unwanted distractions.

Here are a few tips to help you write your book while you manage your full-time job.

1. Make time.

If you want to write a book despite your work hours, the only way you can do it is by setting aside blocks of time to work on your book. But how you ask? Well, the first thing on your ‘to do’ list is think of an idea or a story for your book. You can do this while you travel to your workplace, while cooking, doing the dishes, etc. have a brainstorm of ideas and see which if them is feasible. By doing so, it’ll be easier for you to develop the next scene and in what areas you need to do a research on. All this will help you create the motivation required to write your book.

2. Let your family be aware about your work.

Your family, that is your spouse, children or parents might want to spend some quality time with you. Even if it means that you have sacrfice your day’s only free time for them. Tell your family about your wish to write and how important it is for you. Making them aware about your desire to write will not only help you get some free time for yourself, but they might also be enthusiastic enough to give you some ideas that might help you.

3. Over exerting yourself doesn’t help!

Writing continuously without a break for days together is not going to help. You’ll eventually start suffering from the writer’s block. What you need to do is give your self a break in between. Choose one particular day from the week, and on that day keep yourself away from any job that involves writing. Give yourself a chance to relax.

4. Have enough knowledge about something? Wrirte about that!

When your working a full time job, you’re not going to have enough time to dedicate to your book and the extra research associated with it. Choose a topic about which you have a considerable amount of information. It’ll help you cut down on unnecessary research and the time wasted on it. Spending less time on the net or in library stacks, will help you get far more accomplished.

5. Set your priorites straight!

You may not like this but you need to sort out your priorities if you are serious about writing. This will include giving up on the weekend trips to the mall with the girls. Or the big game nights out at the bar with the guys. Utilising this time to work on your book will give you more time for your work.

6. Set Realistic goals.

When you have a full time job, it’s going to be next to impossible to have a good finished novel within a few days or weeks. You don’t have to finish your novel in two weeks or so. Set a realistic target that you can meet. Try to finish three-four chapters every month. And somehow in the end even though it may have seemed like a very long time, you’ll have yourself your finished book.

7. Cut down on unnecessary breaks.

Full time jobs are tedious and time consuming, and I know I said take a day or two off, but that doesn’t mean you should quit writing for several days together. Getting back to working on the keyboard becomes difficult after days and days of putting off writing.

image credit: Synamingirl (flickr)

image credit: Synamingirl (flickr)

It is common for writers to go under a lot of stress while working on their book. Sometimes the stress really gets to them and they suffer from a serious case of writer’s block followed by anxiety and then depression. This will include changes in their eating patterns, sleeping patterns, the level of activities, etc. This means that you might be eating more or less than usual, sleeping more or less than usual, or feeling much more active or sluggish than usual. Typically, people who are feeling depressed tend to lose interest in activities and relationships they once enjoyed. They may isolate themselves, withdraw, and avoid social interactions. They may feel weepy, and cry easily, or they may feel very irritable, and express anger more often. They sometimes try to manage their anxiety and stress with medications, food or alcohol.

Aside from these symptoms, your progress eventually comes to a halt, and you start to become less efficient, less focused, and everything becomes much more difficult. You might feel angry with yourself, but then also hopeless of ever being able to make any significant and lasting changes.

The bad news is that you might be feeling this way. The good news is that you don’t have to.

The first step in overcoming this depression is recognizing that you feel this way. The second step is seeking out appropriate sources of help and support (which might include your spouse/partner, your friends, colleagues, your advisor, a counselor or a coach.) The third  is to take small guided and supported steps, to overcome the current routines in your life. You will get relief from a regular pattern of exercise, spending more time with your family and loved ones, and maintaining a proper diet. Regular aerobic exercise works to improve mood, sleep and appetite just as well as antidepressant medication. Until you have these basics taken care of, it makes no sense to try and write.

Once you feel better, you need to decide that you will finish, and to set a deadline for doing so. Then work hard towards that deadline, without any doubts about not meeting the goal. As long as you place one foot in front of the other, you are progressing. Sometimes people avoid setting a deadline, without realizing that this is one of the most powerful methods for regaining control of the whole process of completing your book.

It is easy to think that suffering is a must for a successful book, well this simply is not true. If you, or anyone you know is experiencing any of these negative symptoms, please take some action. All you have to take is the first step, and then the next, and so on.

Remember depression sometimes follows the writer’s block, but it doesn’t always have to.

 Percy Parry interns with CinnamonTeal Publishing.

-Percy Parry

image credit: good stock

image credit: good stock (flickr)

Searching for a photo that you’d clicked some months back? It must be painstaking to go through all those photos on your laptop or smart phone, just to show some friends or family that amazing moment that you had captured through your camera. But alas, the moment you found it, the photo displayed on your gadget’s screen just doesn’t seem to have that spark in it anymore. What happened to the feeling ‘Oh that was an awesome moment!’ or ‘awwwww…that’s so cute!’ How is it, that it no longer is as exciting as it was the first time? Isn’t ‘Capturing the Moment’, and ‘Reliving it Later’ the whole point of clicking photos? Oh don’t pout…if you have been facing this problem like many of us eventually do, then I have two words for you that will definitely make you smile-Photo Books!

A Photo Book is generally a book in which photographs make a significant contribution to the overall content. And the best part about it? It’s your book and it can have as many photos as you want, of you or anyone else of your preference. The book is about you and your life!

Yes, you could make a scrapbook– printing out individual photos and storing them in files labeled by event and date, then scouring stores for the perfect papers, embellishments, and archival glue (and spending a fortune in the process), then blocking out time to painstakingly crop, round corners, arrange, and glue…and maybe in 3 hours you’ll have a beautiful 2-page spread about how you cried on your first day at the Play School.

But if you spend so much time and money on documenting every little moment, how do you plan on capturing the moments that are happening at this very moment right around you? There are always better ways to do everything and anything. So let go of that scrapbook! A Photo book is the ‘Better Way’!

There are ‘n’ number of websites out there like shutterfly, that will help you digitally create a photo book, print it, professionally bind it and then send it to you. Some even let you control the every minute aspect of the layout. Others have a “make the book for me!” option, where all you need to do is upload your photos and suddenly they’re arranged in a book, complete with backgrounds, borders, and a consistent color scheme.

Besides photo books take up much less space as compared to scrapbooks, are much more fun to go through than your hard-disk files and in case of any natural disaster or man-made (like a toddler tearing the pages or colouring it!), you can always have more copies made again and again.

Are you convinced yet? Well then now let’s see what we need to do.

Click photos: If you don’t want to use the old photos for your photo book and instead want to click new ones…then here are some tips on how to get the perfect snapshots.

·         Be Creative: Everybody has seen photos of Uncle John standing upright with Aunt Martha by his side, staring intently at the camera. That’s old school! Try something new! Yes, if needed you can take a ‘serious’ photo with mom and dad sitting, with everyone else standing around them smiling. But then after you’ve got this photo, why not play around and capture memories as and when they happen. Ask your family to pose in a manner than looks natural, and then ask them to talk, with small gestures here and there. So when you capture this image, it won’t look like a set up, instead it’ll look like they were having fun and were completely oblivious to the fact that you were clicking their photos.

·         Use Props or Family Activities: Props and Family Activities help in clicking candid photos, as people are less likely to be conscious of a camera when they’re busy with a prop or in an activity. E.g.: clicking photos of your family seated around a campfire with their marsh mellow sticks over the fire.

·        

image credit: Fovea Centralis

image credit: Fovea Centralis (flickr)

There is nothing wrong with a Silhouette: Silhouettes are a great way to show less but have the photo mean more. Let’s say you have a person who is not happy with their new hair cut or how dirty they got while hiking, if you shot a silhouette, those details won’t appear in the photo, leaving that person also happy.  Also families purchase the enlarged copies of their silhouette as they look good on their family room wall.

·         Take time to step Back:It’ll take a while before you get the perfect candid photo. Pretend to change your batteries or start up a conversation with someone to look busy and let them relax. Just when someone does something unique or different, capture that moment on camera and see how good it looks as a photo.

·         Let them Play:Clicking photos of toddlers or infants is like going fishing. Let them play around, you, can join them too. You’ll have to click ten different photos of them running around before you get the perfect one. This also helps in capturing their natural expressions and innocence on camera.

Now that you’re done clicking photos…

Choose your favourites:Some people NEVER delete a single photo, while some do it on a regular basis to save hard-disk space. For some people, deleting ‘not so good’ photos means saving the best 4 photos from any event. While for others, it means narrowing down 1000 photos to 150. What I’m trying to say is, JUST DO IT. You’re never going to enjoy 250 photos of your baby just sleeping on a blanket. But 3 or 4 with different facial expressions might be worth keeping.

Choose a Theme for you Photo Book: Pick a theme for your photo book with the photos that you want to print in it. It could be like a ‘Family Year Book’ with all the photoss placed chronologically. Or maybe a trip to a Hill Station or baby Nadia’s first day at preschool. All you need to do is pick one. You can make the others later. Choose the one that means the most to you FIRST, It will help keep you on track.

 The Binding matters: Don’t forget to label your book’s spine. If placed on a shelf, you’d want to be able to find it easily from among the others, in case you wanted to flip through it. Make sure the label on the spine relates to what’s inside the book.

image credit: Richard.Fisher (flickr)

image credit: Richard.Fisher (flickr)

A killer cover: It will be your book’s cover that will arrest the attention of your family members while it is lying on the coffee table. Choose photos that will help make the cover look good. (Horrifying photos can do the trick too, but you don’t want your book to be remembered for the severity of its cover).

Let the Best Shine: You will want to include a lot of photos to help tell the story of that particular event. From amongst these, there will those photos which you love the most. Let these photos SHINE! Let each of these spread over a whole page. So the next time you go through the book you can linger over your favorites reliving the memory.

Be concise: I understand, you want to share all your personal experiences, memories and stories. But keep in mind, no one, not even you, would want to go through 30-40 photos of Aunt Phyllis posing with her nieces and nephews. It’s okay to make a collage out of SOME of these by cramming them together (in a neat manner though). Believe me, less is more in such cases.

Dealing with a series of photos: In case you’re dealing with a series of photos, you don’t have to force yourself to be choosy. If they are different enough and each of them have their own little thing going on, then don’t feel shy…put them all in. take the entire page if you like, spread them across to depict the chain of events taking place. Also, highlight your favorites, it’ll make the series look better.

Writing something isn’t mandatory: Just because every other person writes something about the photo, it  doesn’t mean that you have to do the same! The photo can speak for itself, after all it is worth a 1000 words right? If you’re really itching to write something then there is no harm. You can use texts to mark the beginning of months, or title special events, or maybe you could write down the family recipe and place it alongside a thanksgiving photo. It’s completely up to you.

Get it done: The final and most important step in getting your photo book ready?…Publish it! Go on, there are countless number of printing company out there who will do this for you. You’ll just have to pay a few bucks for the printing, and then some more for the shipping and VOILA! You’ve got yourself your own Photo Book. Complete with pictures of little Jeremy crying when he fell off the swing!

Things to ponder upon…

Remember, High quality paper is used in photo books. There is a variety of papers used, but most publishers use 100# paper stock in matte, glossy, or coated. Some of the higher end books will use 100# coated card stock (Digilabs) for a higher quality and thicker book. Use only such papers to make your photo book, it’ll help give your book a glossy shine and look better in terms of presentation.

For those who are still in two minds, here are some reasons why you should make a Photo Book.

image credit: (^-^) SUE (^-^) (flickr)

image credit: (^-^) SUE (^-^) (flickr)

It will make you happy! Isn’t that why you click photos?…reliving the fun moments from the past makes everyone happy .

Got nothing to do?…Flip through your Photo Book. It’s a fun pass time. Everyone loves doing this. Flipping through old photos…laughing at them with your family.

It helps tell your kids how there were when they were younger in a more interesting manner. Children love going through books which have a lot of pictures in them. So a Photo Book is a way you can get them to know things about themselves they didn’t know they did. They’ll ask you, ‘what was I doing here?’, and after telling them the story once or twice, they will repeat it to you the next time they open the book. This can also be an effective way to get them to know some of the family’s relatives. It’s especially helpful if your child is in the photo with that relative so that the child realizes that he has a connection with that person.

It’s more flexible as compared to a traditional photo album. How?

    • Photo books can store a lot more photos per page since page layouts vary.  Some layouts will allow photos as small as 1″x1″.  Traditional albums have preset photo sleeves.
    • Photo books can have as many pages as you’d like so you’re not limited to a certain number of pages like a traditional album.
    • Photo books allow you to change photos along the way. E.g.: what if you want to swap out a photo once you’re in the middle of your project?  If you already had print-outs, this means you have to go through the effort of getting another print-out. But if you are working with an on-line photo book it only takes a matter of seconds to upload a different photo.
    • Photo books allow you to change book sizes along the way.  For example, half way through your project you may realize you want to include more photos than you originally thought. Many sites will allow you to easily switch from a smaller book to a larger book.  You may have started with an 8″x8″ book.  With an online photo site you can change to an 8″x11″ photo book which has larger pages and can therefore hold more photos.
    • Some websites allow you to use personalization tools which help you be creative and design your photo book in a unique manner.(gimp, inkscape)

Percy Parry interns with CinnamonTeal Publishing.

-Percy Parry

image credit: CubaGallery

image credit: CubaGallery

We live in an age where technology and its advancements have helped make our lives so much more easier and simpler. Printing or getting your book published used to be such a hassle back in the old days. But now thanks to technology and the easy access to it by the general public, one does not need to go through the ordeals of the past. Technology has brought up a whole new breed of publishing; Self-Publishing.

If you have a great idea for a book and good writing skills, you can have a book professionally published and made available to the general public. The process is called self-publishing and it’s an involved project. The following are the major steps involved with the self-publishing process. The type of book, your time and financial commitment, and the publishing process used will affect the order and time it takes for to you complete these main steps.

  • Start by developing an idea, an idea that will run the main story line of your book. Remember just because you know English doesn’t mean you can write a story spanning 1000-40,000 words. You have to be creative and must have knowledge about the matters associated with your idea. Half knowledge about anything can be dangerous, thus research is a full proof method that always helps get proper information if conducted mindfully from reliable sources. Do a lot of research to make sure that your idea is viable on a full length book.
  • Define your target audience.
  • Create a detailed outline for the book’s content.
  • Write the manuscript.
  • Get the manuscript proofread by professional proofreaders. It is next to impossible for us to proofread our own work because when we read we tend to read what we think we wrote, which makes it difficult to find our own mistakes. Thus it helps to have professionals proofread your work as they have trained in finding those common mistakes that we would otherwise overlook. If hiring a professional is not an option for you due to budgetary constraints, then you can ask some of your writer friends to have a look at your work. Hiring a professional maybe expensive but if you want your book to survive in the market out there amongst so many others then getting it proofread by a professional is totally worth the price.
  • Seeking blurbs: A blurb is a short summary or promotional piece accompanying a creative work. You can get one from a well known author or a public figure who works in a literary field. You will have to request two or more authors to read your manuscript and provide their feed-back. It is these feed-backs that will make up the blurbs for your book.
  • Choose a self-publishing option, such as offset printing or Print-On-Demand (POD), and then hire a printer and/or a publisher.
  • Apply for an ISBN: An ISBN is the unique identifier for your book. It’s possible to buy one ISBN number, and even possible to obtain a free ISBN number. But unless you’ve only got one book in you, or you want to only publish through Amazon, it makes much more sense to buy your own ISBNs and to buy them in blocks. Your ISBN number holds the title of your book and the required information about your book.
  • Obtain copyright and other book-specific information if necessary. (This step may be handled for you, depending on the publishing process you choose and the company you work with).
  • Set the cover price for your book.
  • Select a publication date.
  • Have the manuscript’s interior pages designed and laid out.
  • Hire a graphic designer to create your book’s front and back covers. If you’re not a designer or artistically inclined, I recommend working with a designer to create your cover. No matter how many times you say it, ‘Never Judge a Book by its Cover’ that’s exactly what readers do while purchasing books. It’s also a good idea to study the sub-genre you’re writing in to make sure you’re creating a cover in the style that will signal to your potential readers that this is a book they’ll like.
  • image credit: somegeekintn

    Writing the book’s jacket copy:

  • Designing the rear part of your book’s jacket is never easy. You have to a write a short description of your book, which is not so easy because you have to keep in mind the space available for the summary and the extra blurbs that you might sometimes receive. Remember the rear portion of your books jacket has to hold minimal valuable information about your book that will help the reader decide whether or not to buy your book. Minimal information because, while purchasing the reader will not have much time to go through a long description and will easily toss your book aside out of annoyance. This is why a short description helps. Believe me, this is the place where less is more.
  • Develop press materials for your book.
  • Plan and implement a comprehensive marketing, public relations, and advertising campaign.
  • Develop a Web site to promote your book. This can be done by creating press kits. A Press Kit is a single page that has a description of the book, a small image of the book cover, selected blurbs and reviews, the author’s picture and biography, purchase details, and contact information.
  • Begin pre-selling your book (pre-selling includes sending out press materials, promoting the book to distributors, lining up booksellers to sell the book, taking out ads, and so on).
  • Have your book listed with online retailers.
  • Publish the book and ship it to consumers, booksellers, retailers, and distributors (as appropriate).
  • Continue promoting and marketing your book as you take orders

 It may seem like a daunting task when you start, but taking all these steps will give you a much better chance of making yourself successful in the new world of self-publishing. There are tons of great writers out there who have made quite a lot of money by taking the self-publishing route, but it won’t happen to everybody! So set yourself up for success and it’s a lot more likely to come your way.

Percy Parry interns with CinnamonTeal Publishing.

 

-Percy Parry

photo credit: alicemariedesign

photo credit: alicemariedesign

Watching the book you’ve worked so hard on finally get printed is a whole different feeling by itself. It‘s not like the feeling that you get when you hold in your hands a recently purchased book. No, it’s like holding a new born, your first born! The feeling is incredibly satisfying.

But getting this far was never easy for those who had gone about getting their book published  the traditional way, and neither will it be easy for those who want to get their book self-published. The process of getting mere concepts and ideas in the print form may look like a painstaking process, but with the right help, from the right people, at the right time this complication can be taken care of strategically.

To achieve the best possible results for your project, it’s often best to assemble a team of writing evaluators. You may be tempted to skip through the whole process of editing and proofreading, and so you use self-publishing as an easy ticket to fame. But even if you are an excellent writer, it is next to impossible to proofread your own work. This is basically because we tend to overlook our mistakes when we read our own work, as we tend to read what we think we wrote, which in the case of an experienced copy-editor these mistakes are hard to miss.

Here is a list of the things Janice Campbell, Director of the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors says, you ought to do before jumping into the process self-publishing your book.

  • First choose a good story from a range of interesting topics. This will include the main plot, the characters, etc.
  • Remember, ‘Half knowledge is MORE dangerous than ignorance!’ So do a research to find possible resources who can give you proper and reliable information about the matter you want to write about. Research can also give you a brief idea of possible competitors.
  • Plan your book, using a developmental editor or writing coach for structural help.
  • Outline the text, chapter by chapter, backing up your files regularly to a flash drive.
  • Draft each chapter using clear, vivid language. TIP: If you will be using a program such as InDesign or Quark to lay out the pages of the book, compose the text in a generic text editor such as TextEdit or TextPad. This will eliminate formatting-code problems in the page layout stage.
  • Spell-check the entire document.
  • Have your writing coach or developmental editor read through the completed manuscript draft and offer suggestions to enhance organization and clarity.
  • Consider the coach or editor’s suggestions, and make changes to the manuscript.
  • Spell-check again.
  • Repeat steps 7-9 until you have reached a satisfactory final draft.
  • Turn over your final draft to a copy-editor for mark-up.
  • Incorporate the copy-editor’s corrections into the document.
  • Flow text into your page layout software (or turn the book over to a book designer).
  • Print hard copies of the manuscript and have a proofreader go over the completed, laid-out text.
  • Make corrections, and proofread again, both onscreen and on a hard copy of the draft.
  • Generate the bibliography and Table of Contents.
  • Have an index created by a professional indexer or use your page layout software to create an index on your own. Be aware that a professional indexer can probably do the job much more quickly and efficiently than you can, and a good quality index can be a valuable asset to your book.
  • Put the completed book aside for at least a week, then proofread it again and make final corrections.
  • Have a sharp-eyed layperson read through the entire book. It’s not likely, but they may spot an error that all the pros have overlooked!
  • Send your completed manuscript to the printer of your choice.

 

Now remember, writing a book and getting it published either way is hard work. There are no shortcuts. Self-publishing is not a solution, to the problems that writers have been facing with traditional publishing. You are bound to make mistakes that most authors do when they are in a hurry to get their book self-published.

These are top five mistakes that Kristen Lamb says are killing self-publishing authors.

Mistake #1 Publishing Before We Are Ready:

When we are new, we often fail to understand what we do know and what we don’t know. Just because we know English, it doesn’t mean that we qualify to write a book spanning 60-100,000 words. There are countless writers out there, who refuse to read fiction, refuse to read craft books, but only go to pitch agents when they attend conferences at the expense of attending the craft sessions.

Additionally, too many new writers do not properly understand the antagonist. They don’t grasp three-act structure which has been around since Aristotle, and there is a lot of evidence in neuroscience that suggests that the three-act structure is actually hard-wired into the human brain. Thus, when we deviate too far from three-act structure, it confuses and frustrates readers. Stories have clear beginnings, middles and ends. Without a clear story objective, it is impossible to generate dramatic tension, and what is left over is drama’s inbred cousin, melodrama. Yet, many writers start off writing a book without properly understanding the basic skeleton of the story.

photo credit: brody4

photo credit: brody4

Writing fiction is therapeutic, but it isn’t therapy. Yes, characters should struggle with inner demons, but that does not make a plot. Struggling with weakness, inner demons, insecurity, addictions are all character arc, not plot arc. There should be a core story problem that we can articulate in ONE sentence. The plot arc should serve to drive the character arc. If the character does not grow and change she will fail, but it is the core story problem that drives this change. Without the problem, there is no crucible. The better we are at the basics, the better we know the rules, the more we become true artists.

Mistake #2 Jumping in Before Understanding the Business Side to the Business:

A lot of writers rush into self-publishing without properly preparing to be a small business, even though that is exactly what they are. When we self-publish, we take on new roles and we need to understand them. We need to be willing to fork out money for proper editing, cover design and formatting.

One of the benefits to traditional publishing is they take on all the risk and do the editing, proofing, etc. When we go at it alone, we need to prepare for some expenses and do our research. We can be told a million times to not judge a book by its cover, yet that is exactly what readers do. Additionally, we may need to look into becoming an LLC. We need to set up proper accounting procedures and withhold the correct amount of taxes, unemployment, state taxes and on and on.

Mistake #3 Believing that, “If We Write it They Will Come”:

There are a lot of writers who mistakenly believe that self-publishing is an easier and faster way to fame and success. Self-publishing is A LOT of work. Not only do we need to write good books, but we also need to write prolifically. We also need to work our tails off on social media. When we self-publish, we need a much larger platform because we don’t have New York in our corner. This is one of the reasons self-publishing isn’t for everyone. We need to look at how badly we want the dream, and then ask how many hours are we willing to work and what are we willing to sacrifice?

Mistake #4 Misusing FREE!

There are a lot of problems with giving books away for FREE! We shouldn’t be giving away our work unless it serves some kind of a strategic advantage. There are ways to effectively harness the power of FREE! But too few writers understand how to do this and they just end up giving away their art for no tangible gain. This goes with the above point of us needing to understand the business side of our business. When we do choose to give away stuff for FREE! It needs to serve longer-term business goals.

Mistake #5 Shopping One Book to DEATH:

One of the BIGGEST problems with self-published writers is that they publish one book and then they focus every bit of energy on selling THAT ONE book. Self-publishing, in many ways, just allows us to accelerate the career path of the author. Even in traditional publishing, it usually takes about three books to gain traction. In traditional publishing, this takes three years because we are dealing with a publisher’s schedule. In self-publishing, we can make our own schedule, but it still takes THREE BOOKS AT LEAST. There may be exceptions, but most self-published successes hit at about book three. The ability to offer multiple titles is a huge part of why John Locke became successful.

This is why it is critical to keep writing. Not only will writing more books make you a better writer, but once people discover they love your writing, they have a number of titles to purchase. Being able to offer multiple titles is how we make money at self-publishing.

Self-publishing is a wonderful alternative. Just because we self-publish doesn’t mean we cannot publish other ways, too. Sometimes there are reasons we are being rejected and we need to take a hard look and be honest. Self-publishing is suffering a stigma from too many writers publishing before they are ready. The ability  to self-publish is challenging all of us to come up higher. We are striving to be better writers, to be better entrepreneurs, to get better at organization and time-management and to write more books and better books. If we can learn from these mistakes and grow, then the future is ours for the taking.

Percy Parry interns with CinnamonTeal Publishing.

 

CinnamonTeal Publishing has launched a new distribution service that will cater to electronic books alone. This service primarily targeted for the distribution of books in Indian languages will allow CinnamonTeal Publishing to leverage its association with several ebook distribution services around the globe and ensure worldwide visibility and availability for its titles. In addition to its revamped website dogearsetc.com, ebooks distributed by CinnamonTeal will also be available through smashwords.com and globalebooks.es, allowing its titles to be purchased on more than 100 websites and a wide range of devices.

CinnamonTeal believes that this service will allow publishers to make their books available worldwide without the extra hassles of printing and physical distribution, in a medium that is increasingly gaining currency among readers. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that ebook sales are increasing worldwide and while CinnamonTeal Publishing already provides ebook development services, this new distribution service will supplement that service and ensure that the produced titles are also now easily available to buyers. For new authors, especially those who wish to self-publish, this service provides them the low cost option of doing everything electronically and altogether rejecting the option of producing copies in print.

This service will be available for all languages and books will be produced in EPUB, MOBI and PDF formats, which, together, can be viewed on most of the e-readers available in the market. For more details, do write in to contactus@ cinnamonteal.in

After your book has been written, edited and laid out and ready to be printed, you need to start thinking about ways to market it so that people know about your book and set out to buy it. Book marketing, perhaps, is most ignored by authors when they could themselves be the most passionate salesperson their book could have. While we do provide a wide range of marketing plans, here’s a list we put together for our authors to do themselves. Perhaps something you could borrow from?

Online promotion:

1. Have bloggers review your book. Choose relevant bloggers. For example, if your book is on science fiction, send it to bloggers who are sci-fi aficionados

2. Add a “signature” to your email. Signatures should be brief and “punchy”. Add a link to information about your book if possible

3. Get friends to add your link to their email signatures

4. Create a free website (blog) for your book. These are free and easy to set up. For blogs visit http://www.blogspot.com/ or http://www.wordpress.com/. For websites, visit www.weebly.com. Alternately you can contact us and we will set up one for you. When you set up one, make sure it is easy for people to find ways to contact you.

5. Post extracts of your book on your website or blog. Although this may see counter-intuitive, posting such free content allows your book to come up during search results. It also makes readers want to read more

6. A download of a few chapters of the book along with a discount coupon for purchase of the entire book. Or an online game where the winners get a discount on purchase of your book

7. Comment on other peoples’ blogs, especially those on topics that match that of your book. Comment intelligently and don’t brag. Sign off with your name and with a link to details of your book.

8. Guest blog on other sites that will allow you to.

9. Invest in social media such as Twitter, MySpace, Facebook and Orkut. The investment is of time, not money. This is a whole new beast called “social media marketing” and if you are here, you have probably heard of it already

10. Send out free press releases. Google “free press releases” and you will find many such services. Your press release should be brief and should contain the words users might search for.

Offline promotion:

1. Invest in getting your book edited and in getting a good cover designed for your book. Nothing turns readers away as much as an error-riddled book does. Similarly, an attractive cover can help market your book.

2. Dig into your mailing list – email every contact and tell them about your book. Ask them to promote your book in turn.

3. Similarly phone your friends and tell them about your book.

4. Contact your local newspaper. Ask them to do a review of your book. There is a certain prestige that comes with being a reviewed author. Give free copies away for reviews

5. Contact your local FM station and ask them to do an interview. Promote your book there

6. Make post cards for Diwali, Id or Christmas. Promote your book on it and send it to friends and acquaintances

7. If your book is on a niche subject, offer your services as a speaker when a seminar or conference is held on that or on an allied subject.

8. Promote your book at social meetings and gatherings.

9. Depending on the audience for your book, keep your book for sale in “unusual places” like coffee shops or supermarkets. People who frequent these places often have time to spare and money to spend. An attractively placed book might just trigger an impulse purchase

10. Arrange for readings and book signings if your environment allows it. Have them in prominent bookstores in your neighbourhood. In places like Bombay and Bangalore, weekly bingo is a common occurrence. Have your book launched before or after one such or similar meet. Cafes are another place where you can promote your book