A Closer Look At Paperbacks In The Publishing World

writing1111After writing a book, many people want to know how one goes about publishing a book. A well-known author once said recently that “it’s no great feat to get one’s book published—it’s no great mountain to climb.” He is right, but his opinion is subjective. To you, reading this blog, it is a huge mountain to climb to get your book published. There are many paths you can take up that mountain, but it is still a huge feat.

Have you been thinking about putting a paperback onto the market? In the modern publishing world, it has become common for authors to forget all about paperbacks—but whatever form of publishing you take, the good, old-fashioned paperback will be available to you. Let’s take a look at two of the major platforms.

Createspace

Createspace is actually the easiest platform you can use to get paperbacks onto the market for free. All you need to do is carefully look at their formatting guidelines and follow their cover design rules. It is possible to upload your book to Createspace within a few hours and have it on the market 12 hours later. The book will be made available on Amazon worldwide, and the quality of Createspace books rates well. Createspace also take care of ISBNs and barcodes, so you won’t need to buy them separately. It is possible to print picture books using Createspace, and through creative formatting, you can find a template on Createspace to fit almost any style of book you can think of.

IngramSpark

A more difficult platform than Createspace, IngramSpark allows you to upload your book, and for a fee, you can make it available for purchase through a multitude of platforms. Ingram is one of the easiest of the professional book platforms—but people new to it may want to track down a formatting expert to help them upload their book. With IngramSpark, you will need to purchase your own ISBN and your own barcode. Books cannot be published without them. You can do a variety of books through Ingramspark including picture books, cook books, and their image print quality is extremely high. One of the major downsides to Ingram is that you will need to pay a fee each time you re-upload the book, so it is advisable for you to carefully check your book before you upload it so you don’t incur more fees than necessary.

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Are You Using #Hashtags? A Guide To Hashtags #1

typeIf you’re a social media novice, hashtags — those short links preceded by the pound sign (#) — may seem confusing and unnecessary. But they are integral to the way we communicate online, and it’s important to know how to use them (even though some people, like Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake, are not the biggest fans). Plus, they can be a lot of fun.

On Twitter, the pound sign (or hash) turns any word or group of words that directly follow it into a searchable link. This allows you to organize content and track discussion topics based on those keywords. So, if you wanted to post about the Breaking Bad finale, you would include #BreakingBad in your tweet to join the conversation. Click on a hashtag to see all the posts that mention the subject in real time.

The hashtag’s widespread use began with Twitter but has extended to other social media platforms. In 2007, developer Chris Messina proposed, in a tweet, that Twitter begin grouping topics using the hash symbol. Twitter initially rejected the idea. But in October 2007, citizen journalists began using the hashtag #SanDiegoFire, at Messina’s suggestion, to tweet updates on a series of forest fires in San Diego. The practice of hashtagging took off; now users and brands employ hashtags to cover serious political events (#Cairo) and entertainment topics (#MileyCyrus) alike.

In this first email we will take a look a look at #hashtags and learn what they do!

Which characters can you include in a #hashtag?

For starters, spaces are an absolute no-no. Even if your hashtag contains multiple words, group them all together. If you want to differentiate between words, use capitals instead (#BlueJasmine). Uppercase letters will not alter your search results, so searching for #BlueJasmine will yield the same results as #bluejasmine.

Numbers are supported, so tweet about #50ShadesOfGrey to your heart’s content. However, punctuation marks are not, so commas, periods, exclamation points, question marks and apostrophes are out. Forget about asterisks, ampersands or any other special characters.

Keep in mind that the @ symbol does something completely different. Using @ before a person’s Twitter handle will tweet at him directly, letting him know you have written to him via the @Connect tab. A hashtag will not. Sometimes users will hashtag a celebrity’s name instead of using her Twitter handle — it is acceptable to tweet #Lorde or @lordemusic. But if you are trying to reach someone directly, don’t use a hashtag.

There is no preset list of hashtags. Create a brand new hashtag simply by putting the hash before a series of words, and if it hasn’t been used before, voilà! You’ve invented a hashtag.

Most major social media platforms support hashtags. These include:

Twitter: Twitter is the birthplace of modern hashtag usage — as such, its hashtags are more versatile than other sites’ (see “Tone & Voice,” below). Twitter hashtags are mainly used to denote specific topics of conversation; the “Trends” sidebar of your Twitter feed curates a list of hashtags you might be interested in, based on your tweets.

When you search for a hashtag on Twitter, there are three ways to filter the results. The “Top” option displays the most relevant and popular posts, including those from users you don’t follow. “All” shows you every tweet that uses the specific hashtag in real time, and “People you follow” will only display results from users you are following.

The British Vampires

vampires

The British have only recently been fascinated by vampires. There are few stories of note prior to the 18th century—but what caused them to start fearing the undead?

In the 18th century, fear of vampires ran riot in Eastern Europe, with regular hunting and staking of vampires. Two specific cases did the most to bring vampires to the British Isles: those of Arnold Paole and Peter Plogojowitz.

Plogojowitz died in his 60’s but came back after his death several times asking his family for food. When his son refused to feed him, the son was found dead the following day. Then Plogojowitz came back and attacked others, many of whom died from a lack of blood.

The case of Arnold Paole is also a strange one. He was a soldier-turned-farmer who claimed to have been attacked by a vampire many years previously.  When he died, there were a rash of deaths in his vicinity, and he was said to be the one who had returned to kill his former neighbors.

Since these two stories were extremely hot news at the time and their stories told from person to person, the vampire “scare” grew—not to the lengths of Eastern Europe where villagers would dig up bodies and claim to have killed a vampire on a monthly basis—but it was still a great fear.

It took a French theologian, Dom Augustine Calmet, to get people thinking rationally again. When he wrote a respected document that stated vampires didn’t exist, it was listened to; and when Austrian Empress Marie Theresa passed laws prohibiting the desecration of graves and bodies, the vampire craze died down across Europe and vampires became the creation of authors…

 

The Importance of Book Covers: Is Your Cover Right?

typeAfter writing a book, many people want to know how one goes about publishing a book. A well-known author once said recently that “it’s no great feat to get one’s book published—it’s no great mountain to climb.” He is right, but his opinion is subjective. To you, reading this blog, it is a huge mountain to climb to get your book published. There are many paths you can take up that mountain, but it is still a huge feat.
This week we are going to look at some pointers about cover design. Covers are a selling tool like no other. They are usually the first thing people see, and they are usually the thing that makes someone buy or not buy. Covers capture interest—so it’s important for you to have the right one.

The wrong cover can be devastating to your sales. A poor cover can turn off readers and can even cause your book to be returned by customers. Bad covers can also lead to poor reviews. But what do I mean by a bad cover? Let’s look at the four biggest problems we see on covers. You can see covers that have these problems all over Amazon.

• Spelling errors on the cover
• Poor punctuation
• Pixelated images
• Poor name and title placement

But these are not the only things you have to think about when putting your cover together. You also have to become an ad-man and create a cover that looks good as a thumbnail. I bet you didn’t think about that! Yes, your cover has to stand out as a thumbnail on Amazon. So keep that in mind and test your covers. Shrink your cover in size and spend some time looking at it. Can you still make out the image on the front? Does it still look as attractive? Would you buy that book?

Give it a try—and see for yourself!