Tag Archives: publishing tips

Infinitas Publishing Status Report – November 2017

All right, this time I’m actually going to get the status report done early in the month…

Does mid-month count?

Anyway, October was busy, and the beginning of November was even busier, so I’ve got a lot to cover. Either way, it’s that time again–time for a status report! 😀

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

Pre-Writing Workshop at the CCCAC: I mentioned in the last status report that I was teaching a set of classes at the Copper Country Community Arts Center. I think it went well. My students all had great ideas they were fleshing out. I just wanted to give a shout-out to them and say, “Good luck with your novels!” 🙂

Glitch: I’ve gotten feedback from my second beta-reader, and today I start the process of incorporating that feedback into the final version of the mini-series. Once those tweaks are complete, it’ll be time to do the read-aloud (where Isaac and I try to catch awkward sounding sentences and anything we might have missed in the previous read-throughs).

After that, all that’s left is to prepare Glitch for publication. Formatting, finalizing book covers and blurbs… It’s just about done. Yay!

Fractured Skies: The huge overhaul of this manuscript has a been completed, adding in a whopping 40,000 words. The novel was 114,000 words before, and now sits around 155,000 words. That’s not including the scenes that we outright cut because they weren’t adding what we wanted. I think this version sounds a whole lot better. It fleshes out characters and goes a bit more in-depth as to what’s going on, and it connects the various plot pieces better.

Once I finish edits to Glitch, I’ll be re-reading through the revisions I made to Fractured Skies to make sure I like the changes and to see if there’s anything I can cut before I send it to beta-readers.

Distant Horizon: Like I mentioned last time, there’s a new cover in the works. Not much to update here, since I’ve been focusing on revisions of other books. I intend to have the new cover up before publishing Glitch.

The Multiverse Chronicles: On hold. I’m hoping to edit the various episodes during breaks between projects. Progress is slow, but hasn’t come to a complete halt.

Book Three of The Wishing Blade Series: I still haven’t come up with a name for this one. However, I’ve finished tightening the manuscript, so it’s ready for Isaac to read  once he has a break from his classwork.

I still need to outline book four, but I’ve got a pretty good idea of where it’s going. I just need to work out the details of how it’s going to get there.

Stone and String 2: I haven’t named this short story yet, but a little while back I started writing a rough draft for the sequel of “Stone and String.” I had to put it aside to work on other projects, but I’m now in the process of making revisions to what I’d already written. Once that’s complete, I intend to outline the rest of the story and complete the rest of the rough draft by the end of the month.

SBibb’s Photographic Illustration: A book cover here… a book cover there…

Game Development: On hold while Isaac is busy with his classes.

Marketing: This is a new category for my reports, but I thought it warranted a mention. I’ve been reading up various marketing strategies that are intended to help authors promote their books, and I’m hoping to develop a different newsletter for each of the different genres I write in (I’m currently thinking of having one newsletter for fantasy works, such as The Wishing Blade Series, and one for dystopian science fiction, which would encompass the Distant Horizon series and Glitch, and possibly the latest project I’ve been working on). That’s a development that’s still in progress, though, and I haven’t solidified these plans yet. (Though if you want to stay up-to-date with our latest book releases and promotions, we still have our overarching Infinitas Publishing Newsletter.)

NaNoWriMo Project: I mentioned in my most recent blog post about the Magic’s Stealing promotion that I had an all-new project I was working on for NaNoWriMo. My goal was to achieve 50,000-65,000 words in 12 days, writing in a world I hadn’t written before. Well, that’s been completed! (I’m hoping to have a more detailed post on that challenge soon).

General info… the novel (50,300 words) is a cyberpunk/dystopian retelling of Snow White from the point of view of the huntress (instead of the huntsman). The accompanying short story (11,600 words) is a cyberpunk retelling of Red Riding Hood.

I had fun writing it, and I’m hoping to start edits in December (after I finish editing these other projects). I’m hoping to write at least one more novel-length story in that series before releasing them.

*

Don’t forget, if you want to stay up-to-date with our latest book releases and promotions, sign up for our Infinitas Publishing Newsletter!

*

That’s all for now. I hope you enjoyed this post! 😀

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Business Ventures, Writing

Thoughts on Publishing – Infinitas Publishing Status Report

It’s that time again! Time to evaluate the current status of Infinitas Publishing. 🙂

The Wishing Blade: Magic’s Stealing: As of Monday, the first book is complete. Done. Finis. I’ve finished proofing the print edition and approved it through Createspace. I’ve also uploaded the updated versions to Smashwords and Kindle. If it has the Cirenan map in the preview, then it should be the updated edition.

Magic’s Stealing is now available in paperback! 😀

The Wishing Blade: The Shadow War (Book Two): My NaNoWriMo goal of fully revising the first half of this book fell through, but I did get a bit further in on the edits. I’ve also been plotting a bit of backstory that may or may not make it into the final version. This book may take a bit longer to work through than its predecessor (It’s longer, for one thing. The rough draft is currently the same length as the first book), but now that my time is starting to free up again (Finished several book covers, just about finished with a surprise bit of dental work, and releasing the print edition of Magic’s Stealing) I should have more time now to actually proceed with writing.

The Multiverse Chronicles: Trials of Blood and Steel: I haven’t made a whole lot of progress here, either. Our beta reader has read the first four episodes, and I recently sent her the fifth episode. I’m hoping to work on the sixth episode in the next few days, and go from there. Our plan is still to release the first six episodes around the same time that we release Battle Decks: Trials of Blood and Steel, and then an episode a week after that.

Isaac has been making good progress on the rough draft of the second season, though. He’s currently on episode 19, and once all the episodes are complete, he plans to go back and do basic edits before handing them off to me. 🙂

Battle Decks - Steam Tank Preview Card

Battle Decks: Trials of Blood and Steel: We’re off our target schedule for this, but we have made progress. We’ve updated all the cards, updated the rules and glossary (which need to be proofread… one of our weekend plans) and we’ve finished the new Steam Tank card, which replaced an older card. (I’ve included a sneak peak of the game card… minus the rounded corners and general trimming). This weekend, our goal is to refit the box art to the smaller boxes, finalize the last few tweaks, and order a proof of the updated game.

SBibb’s Photographic Illustration: I’m finishing up the last of a string of covers I was working on last month, and I only have a couple covers slated for this month, which gives me time to catch up on some of my other projects. Of course, I’ll be posting the behind-the-scenes info as the publishers and authors release their covers to the public. 🙂

In the meantime, I have a manuscript that I need to beta-read for a friend. I’m hoping to finish my read-through in the next two weeks, in order to give her time for her own personal deadlines.

That’s all for now. I have a book cover to finalize tonight, and tomorrow I have a new cover proof to start before I get back to work editing The Multiverse Chronicles.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this status report. 🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under Business Ventures, Writing

Thoughts on Publishing – Infinitas Publishing Status Report

Wow, time flies. O_O

It’s time for another Infinitas Publishing status report!

The Wishing Blade: Magic’s Stealing (Book One) – I’ve just about got the print version ready. I’ve gone through the first proof and searched for typos, and one of my beta readers graciously agreed to look through it a (third? fourth?) time, and they pointed out a few grammatical suggestions here and there. I’ve made notes about which changes I plan to implement, and my next step is to apply those changes across the three files (print edition, Kindle edition, and Smashwords edition), then order a proof copy to make sure my formatting is still correct. Shouldn’t take too long, but I don’t want to rush and accidentally botch something.

Also, at the suggestion of my beta reader (and the encouragement of Isaac), I went ahead and polished up the Cirena map. So the print edition should have this map, and once I release the print edition, I’ll also update the ebook editions with it, as well. 🙂

SBibb - Cirena Map

(Read about my earlier map-making process here.)

The Wishing Blade: The Shadow War (Book Two)- I’m about where I was last time I wrote one of these reports (*Cringe*). However, my NaNoWriMo goal is not to complete 50,000 words, but to revise the first portion of this book, then finish writing the rest of it so that I can hand this over to beta readers. Let’s see if we can get this story on track.

The Multiverse Chronicles: Trials of Blood and Steel – I’ve given the first thirteen episodes their basic revisions, and I’m currently polishing episode five, including the end scene. In addition, I’ve been sending these off as I finish them to our beta reader for this series, and she’s been giving us good notes that I intend to implement. Then Isaac will go over them one more time to make sure any revisions I made fit with his vision, and afterwards, we’ll start releasing them. The goal is to release the first six episodes at one time, with one episode a week following that. We still need to make tweaks to the Multiverse blog site, and the release has been put on hold until we have our Battle Decks game ready.

In the meantime, Isaac’s NaNoWriMo goal involves writing the rough draft for season two of The Multiverse Chronicles. 🙂

Battle Decks: Trials of Blood and Steel -We’re off schedule on this project. Got the latest proof in, found a few minor edits to tweak, but then we had a friend come over who pointed out a lot of things that could help make the game stronger. As such, Isaac adjusted one hero character card into a basic reinforcement card, brought in a new hero card (he already had the sketch completed, but I need to clean it up in Photoshop and color it). Plus, Isaac’s changed a few stats and abilities on the other cards, and changed what certain abilities actually do. As such, this game is going to be released later than planned. Hopefully next month, if we’re able to get a new proof ordered in the next couple weeks. Not only that, but we’re currently considering offering two editions–one that has dice and tokens and a full, easy-to-read set of rules, and one version which only has the cards and a single sheet of rules (harder to read, but we’ll have the rules available for free online), which should also be a bit easier on players’ pocketbooks.

Phalanx – Won’t be released for a while, but this is a board game Isaac put together based on a game that’s mentioned in one of the Multiverse episodes. Something like a cross between Chess and Tetris. Look for more details in the upcoming months. 🙂

SBibb’s Photographic Illustration – Working through book covers, per usual. Finalizing a couple and working on the proof of another.

Lesson to be learned?

Give yourself plenty of time to complete projects. Count on needing to make more revisions than planned. Come out with a stronger product in the end…

And try not to pull out your hair in the meantime.

I hope you enjoyed this post. 🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under Business Ventures, Writing

Thoughts on Publishing – YA Paperback Prices

In my last post, I discussed my thoughts on pricing an indie card game. That got me thinking back to pricing paperback books. I’ve already determined that I’ll probably sell the paperback edition of Magic’s Stealing for $7.99. It’s an odd price, but a compromise since there weren’t a whole lot of YA novellas in paperback that I could find to reference, and the ones I did find were by well-known authors, and therefore priced higher.

Since there’s a slight possibility that Magic’s Stealing may appeal to the upper range of the middle grade audience, I referenced the $7.99 price point of similar-sized books. Here, AR quizzes can be of use determining word count.

However, I’ve now been thinking about Distant Horizon (a 97,500 Ya/NA science fiction novel), and wondering how I want to format the print edition. Granted, it still needs to be proofread, and Isaac and I are quite a ways from releasing it, but I like figuring out these things.

The print format that I used for Magic’s Stealing won’t work… we would end up with a huge page count, which means that the production costs would be too high to bring the book into local stores.

Createspace gives us the option to compare basic book costs, shipping, and royalties. With a quick check of the Distant Horizon file in the same format as Magic’s Stealing, I found that the initial page count was 450. That’s not including getting the chapter spacing formatted to look nice.

But let’s plug that into the calculator and get some numbers.

For a single copy of a 5.25 x 8 book, black and white pages with bleed, we’re looking at $6.25 for the book and $3.59 for standard shipping. $9.84 per book.

Let’s take a look at volume discounting for a moment, since that’s what makes it possible to get these books into stores.

If we buy 25 copies of the book, we pay $156.25 plus $15.50 for shipping, for a total of $171.75, or $6.87 per book. Notice how much the cost per book went down? If we buy 50 copies of the book, we pay $312.50 plus $23.00 shipping (be sure to adjust your quantity value in both calculators). That’s $335.50 total, or $6.71 per book. A slight difference from 25, but not so different that we couldn’t purchase the smaller quantity of books if funds are tight.

For royalties on Amazon (not looking at any expanded distribution options), we start making a profit at $10.99 (34 cents), $11.99 (94 cents), $12.99 ($1.54), $13.99 ($2.14), and $14.99 (2.74). Books printed in Great Britain need to be priced higher than the converted $12.99, or they lose money, while books printed in Europe need to be priced higher than the converted $10.99 or they lose money.

Keeping in mind that we can adjust those prices separately, I’m not worrying about non-US prices right at the moment.

However, without knowing how to format the book, it’s hard to say what the right price point is.

So I decided to run over to Hastings and take a look at their YA section. Figured I’d take twenty minutes to do some quick research.

One hour later…

*Ahem.*

Anyway, I came up with a list of various young adult books across different genres. I noted their title, my best guess at their genre (I referenced Goodreads for a few of them), their page count (by last page of the story, not including front and back matter), line count per page (unfortunately I didn’t think to count the average words per line), price (there may be some variation here due to price stickers covering the price listed on the book), and book size.

I found that, overwhelmingly, the young adult paperbacks were 5.25 by 8 inches, or very close to that size (some variations from printer to printer should be expected). In general, if they came from a traditional publisher, they were 5.25 x 8. Keep that in mind if you’re self-publishing, and you want your book to “look” professional. On the other hand, I briefly skimmed the adult section with the 6×9 book, and there were several more instances of the 6×9 trade paperbacks available. At some point I would like to go back and check the adult book price points and line counts and such, since I think my previous research has suggested that the average adult trade paperback would sell for roughly $14.99.

Keep your target audience in mind, and research similar books to get a feel for how to format and price your own book.

This is the list of YA books I compiled at Hastings.

Michael Vey: Rise of Elgen (Science Fiction) – 6 x 9 – 335 pgs – 35 lines per page – $10.99

Hush, Hush (Paranormal Romance) – 5.25 x 8 –  391 pgs – 25 lines per page – $11.99

Perfect Chemistry (Contemporary Romance) – 5.25 x 8 – 359  pgs – 29 lines per page – $9.99

Barely Breathing (Romantic Thriller) – 5.25 x 8 –  502 pgs – 32 lines per page – $9.99

Perfect Ruin (Dystopian) – 5.25 x 8 – 356 pgs – 29 lines per page – $9.99

The Jewel (Dystopian Romance)- 5.25 x 8 – 359 pgs – 30 lines per page – $9.99

Beautiful Creatures (Paranormal Romance) – 5.25 x 8 – 563 pgs – 30 lines per page – $9.99

Eye of Minds (Science Fiction) – 5.25 x 8 – 310 pgs – 30 lines per page – $9.99

The Dark Is Rising (Complete Sequence, Fantasy) – 6 x 9 – 1082 pgs – 30 lines per page – $16.99 (The Amazon edition is different than the edition I found)

The Hunger Games (Dystopian – Original Edition) – 5.25 x 8 – 374 pgs – 29 lines per page – $8.99 originally. Now has sticker that says $10.99

The Hunger Games (Dystopian – Movie Edition) – 5.25 x 8 – 374 pgs – 29 lines per page – $12.99

The Hunger Games (Dystopian – Shiny Gold Edition) – 5.25 x 8 – 436 pgs – 27 lines per page – $12.99

City of Bones (Urban Fantasy – New Cover) – 5.25 x 8 – 485 pgs – 30 lines per page – $13.99

The Sight (Fantasy) – 5.25 x 8 – 464 pgs – 33 lines per page – $8.99

Graceling (Fantasy) – 5.25 x 8 – 471 pgs – 28 lines per page – $8.99

The Demon King (Fantasy) – 5.25 x 8 – 506 pgs – 29 lines per page – $9.99

The Testing (Science Fiction Dystopian) – 5.25 x 8 – 325 pgs – 29 lines per page – $9.99

The Darkest Minds (Dystopian) – 5.25 x 8 – 488 pgs – 30 lines per page – $9.99

(About here I discovered that Dreamland is out. *Squee!* I’ve been wanting to read that since I read the first few chapters… *Ahem.* Back to cataloging…)

Mortal Gods (Mythology Fantasy) – 5.25 x 8 – 366 pages – 33 lines per page – $10.99

Never Fade (Dystopian) – 5.25 x 8 – 507 pages – 30 lines per page – $10.99

Fourth Comings (Contemporary Romance… looks New Adult) – 6 x 9 – 310 pages – 31 lines per page – $13.99 (Amazon has the list price at $15.00, so I think this may technically be categorized as an adult romance, though it was in the young adult section)

IMPORTANT: Some of these numbers may be incorrect due to my notes having tiny handwriting. I’ve linked to the books in the Amazon store where available, and those may have product details for the print editions that include the front and back matter. As another note, you could probably do a lot of this same research on Amazon by checking the scratched-out list price when you have the paperback edition selected.

I also found that hardback books tend to lean toward the 6 x 9 mark, but they completely vary as to the exact size, and some are considerably smaller. Also, font size and line spacing varied from book-to-book, so when formatting your own book, be sure to take that into account, and study your favorite books in the genre of the book you are formatting.

Now, let’s do the same categorizing for Magic’s Stealing that I did for the above books.

Magic’s Stealing (Fantasy) – 5.25 x 8 – 158 pages – 28 lines per page – $7.99 (once the print edition is available)

Based on the above list, most of the YA books are sized 5.25 x 8 inches, typically range around $9.99 to $10.99, higher if they’re a well known book. Based on this sampling, there aren’t as many at $11.99 as I originally thought, though more research may be needed regarding specific genres. The biggest benefit to this list that I see for Distant Horizon is that a large number of those books allow for 30 lines per page, which can significantly decrease page count. Additionally, something I didn’t check for at the time is the average word count per line, which would give a rough font size estimate.

Let’s go back to our Distant Horizon book and see what happens. I lowered the font size (which isn’t the end-all answer, but this is a rough estimate), which brought the line count to 31 lines per page (a little high, but still acceptable), and now only have 370 pages. Let’s round this to 400 pages, since formatting changes could increase the count.

With those variables, a single book is $5.65 plus $3.59 shipping, or $9.24 per book. A volume purchase of 25 books would be $141.25 plus $15.50, for a total of $156.75, or $6.27 per book. 50 copies would be $282.50 plus $23.00, for a total of $305.50 or $6.11 per book.

At the common price points, a 5.25 x 8, 400 page book would profit on US Amazon at 34 cents ($9.99), 94 cents ($10.99), and at the uncommon prices $1.54 ($11.99), and $2.14 ($12.99)

Let’s say that we want to take this into local bookstores. We choose to pick up 50 books to start with, so each book costs us $6.11. At the high end, a store asks for a 40% discount, which doesn’t work at all for the $9.99 book, but yields about 50 cents for the $10.99 book, or $1.09 for a $11.99 book.

So… it is possible to sell the book to stores at a 40% discount, though the profit wouldn’t be high. The profits would increase as the store’s requested discount decreases.

Alternatively, we could hand-sell the book at conventions, keeping all profits for ourselves (minus sales tax… and the cost of a booth), earning $3.88 per $9.99 book. Potentially, we could list it as $11.99, and still have room to discount it at conventions. However, it’s still not the best price point available, and I’d need to play with formatting to get the lowest number of pages possible, while still keeping the book as readable as possible.

Remember, poor formatting can drive a reader away from a book without them ever knowing why, while good formatting can help them ease into the reading experience, so make sure your book is readable to your target audience.

I hope you enjoyed this post, and these are just a few things to consider when you’re preparing to format your book. Good luck. 🙂

2 Comments

Filed under Business Ventures, Writing

Thoughts on Publishing – Serial Publishing Methods

I recently got back notes from our beta reader for The Multiverse Chronicles, and one of the questions we asked her was whether or not she would read it in serial format (in this case, one episode a week). We want to make sure that when we release the episodes that the method of release will work well for readers.

Though she said that she enjoyed the episodes that she read, she also said that she personally wouldn’t read it in the serial format. She explained the reason was because the first two episodes (two weeks of content) had a lot of characters to keep track of, and given that the episodes alternate between two groups, that was a long time to wait to find out what happened to the main character from the first scene.

As an alternative, she suggested releasing several chapters at once, but at longer intervals, so that readers would have a chance to get grounded in the story before having to wait for the next installment.

In a sense, this is what I’m doing with The Wishing Blade series, but with a several-month interval. Technically, each book will fit together as one larger, complete book, though each one is meant to have a semi-complete story on its own.

Our beta reader suggested looking at Stephen King’s The Green Mile as an example of releasing several chapters at once, a serialized novel that was released monthly in 1996. From what I gathered during my (Wikipedia) research, The Green Mile was released in six parts, once per consecutive month, each paperback book around 100 pages until the last book, at 144 pages). Later the publisher released a compiled edition.

Now, I haven’t read the book, so I’m not sure how complete each part was, (though I did try to skim through a few reviews to get a feel for it, and I’m still not sure), so I don’t know how much of a cliffhanger each episode may or may not have been. Click here for more information about the original release of The Green Mile books.

But this research did lead me to thinking about the various options involved in releasing a serialized novel.

Originally, Isaac and I had intended the Multiverse episodes to be stand-alone short stories that fit a larger story arc, but the story arc took over. and now we have a serialized novel on our hands.

The options (with variation, depending on the author) are generally to release episodes or chapters every few days, once a week, every few weeks, or monthly/bi-monthly.

Due to time constraints, Isaac and I decided not to release episodes more than once a week. Otherwise there would be a long span of time between the beginning and end of each “season.”

However, if you have a complete novel, or if you want to write daily and release the new parts as their written, a faster release schedule may be the way to go.

Releasing weekly or every few days could work great if you have cliffhangers and an audience who is excited for the anticipation of waiting for the next episode. Here, having a story that hooks the reader and doesn’t let go, but demands a faster release schedule, may work well.

Though I haven’t read it personally, I found one example to be Worm, a completed web serial by Wildblow. In their case, they released chapters twice a week (sometimes three times, if donations met a specific goal). Also, The Legion of Nothing, which (according to the info at the top left corner of its home page) updates twice a week.

Interesting side-note: According to Merriam-Webster.com, bi-weekly can either mean “twice a week” or “every two weeks.” Gotta love the consistency there.

Releasing every few weeks might work better for stories with larger episodes, where the author wants time to make edits before the release, or for writers who are writing the story as they go, but want time for feedback to develop, and time to implement that feedback.

Releasing monthly or even bi-monthly seems like it would work better for longer episodes or short books that have a reasonably complete story arc, however, my current research suggests that stories with strong cliffhangers can work well at this extended rate, too.

One romance series I’ve heard has done well, Renee George’s The Lion Kings, (according to its description/reviews, since I have not read this series, either) has each book as a fairly short installment that involved cliffhangers, where the author released the books on Kindle at around a month or so apart. Of course, audiences preferences may vary between genres.

Then there’s The Martian by Andy Weir. According to Smithsonian.com, The Martian was released on his blog at the rate of one chapter every six to eight weeks, though it does sound like he made adjustments per reader feedback. I’m not sure how long each chapter was, though, and since I haven’t read it, I’m not sure what specific part of the book may have drawn in the large audience that it did. (The Business Insider suggests that the author’s enthusiasm for science attracted a lot of other readers who were also interested in science, which helped propel its popularity forward. The eventually release of a Kindle edition continued to boost its popularity until it was picked up by a traditional publisher).

I haven’t tested out these methods myself, but I wondered if Isaac and I could mix a couple of these ideas together.

In this case, we’re thinking of releasing six episodes (chapters) to start with, which should give readers time to get familiar with the characters and the world, but also leaves off at a major turning point for the story. Then, a week later, we’ll start releasing one episode a week until the story is complete.

We already know that we’ll have at least 28 episodes, and since we originally planned on a six month schedule of weekly releases, offering the first six episodes to start with would help keep this plan on track. Not only that, but it would give readers more reassurance that this will be completed, since they can begin to see how the story will progress. As a bonus, leaving off the first week after the sixth episode would give readers a bit more idea of the conflict that our Battle Decks: Trials of Blood and Steel game (which influenced the story) is about.

So now I just need to see if I can get all six episodes edited before the release date. If so, then we may give this method a shot.

If that doesn’t work well, we can always switch it up later.

The main thing is that we’re trying to go for consistency, that way potential readers know what to expect.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. 🙂

Have you found any serialized novels or blog serials that worked well in terms of how they released each segment?

Related Posts:

Thoughts on Writing – What Does A Serial Episode Need? (The Multiverse Chronicles)

Thoughts on Publishing – A Novel or Three Novellas? (The Wishing Blade series)

Leave a comment

Filed under Writing

Thoughts on Publishing – Magic’s Stealing – The Paperback Proof Is In!

Today I’m going to interrupt my usual post with an announcement: I have received my paperback proof of Magic’s Stealing!

It came in a small, cardboard wrap (not quite a box, but not a bag, either), and was delivered to my front door. Upon opening the package, I took a few pictures. 😀

SBibb - MS Proof(( Please ignore the various HeroMachine pictures and cool artwork in the background… those aren’t our personal works (Though if you want a good way to organize the general look of your characters, HeroMachine is quite fun. There’s a whole row of pictures off the frame that we based on one of our campaigns). ))

SBibb---MSproof2

Fancy Title Page

Anyway, this book has 158 pages of content, plus additional pages for the front and back matter, and it clocks in at 170 pages long. Here you can see the the title page (there’s a few pages before it), and further down this post are samples of a chapter page and a regular, full-text page. You can click the images to see them at a larger size.

I did all the formatting in Microsoft Word 2007, and I hope to do a post later on some of the fun tools you can use to add a professional touch to your books. Once I tested a few pages out on my printer for various fonts and sizes and line spacing, I saved this as a PDF, and checked it in the digital proofer on Createspace. Once that looked good, I ordered the print edition.

This particular book is 5.25 x 8 inches (based on a few of my favorite books with easy-to-read formatting), which uses the same dimensions as a 6 x 9, so the cover converted easily. Glossy cover and black-and-white, cream pages. I chose the “bleed” option so that I could use the full page image treatment (pulled from the background of the cover) for the chapter intros and title page.

SBibb---MSproof3

Page Full of Text

I did notice that the words got a tad bit close to the gutter, so that’s something I’ll have to keep in mind for future series, but it’s still readable. Of course, I also justified the text.

This is the end result, and I’m now reading through the book to make sure the formatting is correct before I release the print edition (Amazon only, for now).

I’ve found a couple typos, which I’ve made note of, but if those are all I find, I will most likely let those slide for now so that I don’t potentially mess up the formatting right before ordering a large number of books. If I find a large number of typos, I may go ahead and do the initial revision now.

Though that one I’ve found may keep pestering me…

I don’t know. Maybe I’ll order a second proof, that way I can be sure the formatting looks right and that there are as few errors in the print book as possible.

Anyway, regardless of what I choose to do, I plan to go back and revisit both the print and ebook editions at some point for typos, but I’m considering doing that all at once, when more typos have inevitably been found.

In the meantime, look forward to the paperback edition, coming soon! 😀

SBibb---MSproof4

Sorry, this photo got a little blurry…

I hope you’ve found this post helpful. 🙂

Have you had any experiences with proofing a print edition of your book? How do you decide when to update for typo corrections?



 SBibb --- MS Proof  SBibb---MSproof5 

6 Comments

Filed under Book Covers, Business Ventures, Writing

Thoughts on Publishing – The Excerpt at the Front of a Print Book

I’m in the process of creating a paperback edition of Magic’s Stealing. I’ve got most of the formatting complete, save for a couple blank pages, and I’m currently focusing on adding an excerpt at beginning of print book. The idea is that as soon as a potential reader opens the book, the first thing they see is a teaser that makes them want to read more (and encourages them to be patient if that scene takes time to reach).

Keep in mind, when a reader is browsing a book store or examining a book at an author’s table, they will likely look at the cover, then at the back cover blurb, then at the excerpt on the first page of the book. The goal is to draw them in more and more until they choose to buy the book.

This is how I ended up buying The Girl with the Iron Touch by Kady Cross (and ultimately loving it) at a Barnes and Noble. I’ve seen other books do the same. Adding the excerpt provides a teaser so that the reader knows what to expect.

(You might see another form of this on a hardcover book, but the excerpt may be on the back cover, usually something of action or intrigue, with the blurb inside the cover flaps).

Let’s take a look at Magic’s Stealing and see how this compares.

Back Cover Blurb:

For centuries, ribbons of magic have provided the kingdom of Cirena with light, healing, and protection. Then, in a span of minutes, those ribbons fly from their masters, stolen, save for the magic of a few chosen mages. One of these mages is Toranih, a young noblewoman who would rather have a sword in her hand than use her powers to heal or throw fireballs. As a result, her magic skills are lacking. But with former mages dying from magic withdrawal, and the looming threat of an army of shadows who are impervious to mortal weapons, she must either embrace the responsibilities of a mage or watch her home perish.

Whatever excerpt I choose, the excerpt should enhance the understanding of the content inside the book.

These were the two excerpts I’m considering:

First Excerpt

Toranih cast a glance toward the distant mountain and shivered. The closer they came, the more her unease grew. It wasn’t her usual dislike of magic. As close as they were now, the magic inside the forge glowed like a star. Yet the whole place was shrouded with a thick fog, a veil that kept the magic hidden from the distance.

She frowned.

She could almost see thin filaments weaving through the fog, like the shadows of strings from a poorly played puppet theatre. The filaments lashed out in different directions, disappearing as they touched bright, sunlit sky. She tilted her head and squinted, but the strings vanished altogether.

She shivered and returned to picking at the soft innards of her roll.

There was something different about that magic. Wild. Unsteady. Like a foal that hadn’t been broken, and might never be. The magic was curious, like a dark storm cloud spewing cracks of thunder and lightning when the rest of the land was gold.

Toranih shivered.

All this magic was bound to cause strange visions.

So why was she drawn to follow?

In this excerpt, we get a glimpse at shadow magic, a sense of eeriness, and a taste of the writing style. There is a also a question at the end, which would hopefully draw a reader’s attention. However, this scene doesn’t jibe with the back cover blurb. We have a mountain forge, shadowy, string-like magic, strange visions, and some kind of call to follow that magic. While the scene should be intriguing in itself, it doesn’t mesh well with the blurb.

Second Excerpt

Toranih could actually see faint ribbons in the distance, rising from their masters. The ribbons streamed into the sky, a dazzling array of colors, then fled east, away from the city in a glaring river.

She looked at the bowl again and blinked her eyes to clear the spots. She had to know what was going on. The liquid had gone milky-white, but if she could see what was happening . . .

She ran her fingers along the strings at the top of the water. One here, one there. The tips of her fingers tingled as lavender wisps flooded the bowl. The image swirled, faint. The mountain forge reappeared. The man held his sword fixed between both hands, raised to the sky. His feet were spread strong under his shoulders. Ribbons streamed to his sword from across the kingdom. The sword glowed bright and brighter, and as the screams outside died into a disjointed murmur, the sword faded and the image darkened.

The water was clear now, devoid of life.

Everyone’s magic had fled into the stranger’s sword.

First, this excerpt shows the ribbons mentioned in the blurb. Second, we see Toranih using magic (which conflicts with her dislike of magic, but the blurb does say she must embrace the responsibilities of being a mage). Third, we see a bit about the antagonist. Fourth, we see the event that the blurb mentions, and the end of the excerpt sets the problem up further.

Ultimately, I’m thinking the second excerpt is a lot stronger as a potential hook, especially when paired with the back cover blurb.

I hope you find this post helpful. 🙂 Have you considered adding an excerpt to the front of your book?

Leave a comment

Filed under Business Ventures, Writing