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Wednesday, April 23 2014 @ 01:55 AM CDT

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Adventures in Self-Publishing, Chapter 7: Designing the Cover of your Book

Adventures in Self-Publishing

 This series highlights aspects of my experience self-publishing The Alexandria Project.   If you'd like to read the book this series is based on, you can read the first three chapters for free here (just click on the cover of the book). And you can read a new chapter of its sequel every Monday here.

If your publishing progress has been keeping step with this series, you’ve now not only got the text of book all ready to go, but you’ve decided on how you’re going to bring it to market (POD, Google eBooks, or whatever) as well. So your next set of tasks revolves around this question: what would you like your masterpiece to look like? 

There are two main parts to this step: coming up with the cover design, and laying out the interior design. Those are both big topics, so this week we'll tackle cover design, and turn to interiors next time around.
 
So how do you go about coming up with covers that you can be proud of? Note that I say “covers,” because you’ll need up to three, depending on how many formats you want to bring to market. They are:     
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Adventures in Self-Publishing, Chapter 6: Profiling, Researching, Interviewing and Selecting a POD

Adventures in Self-Publishing

This series highlights aspects of my experience self-publishing The Alexandria Project.   If you'd like to read the book this series is based on, you can read the first three chapters for free here (just click on the cover of the book). And you can read a new chapter of its sequel every Monday here.

Pubic domain, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Livius_ed._Heusinger_vol._2_%281821%29,_marbled_paper_on_cover.jpgFor the last several weeks we've looked at how the various types of PODs differ in their business models and in the services they offer.  We've also looked at the importance of ensuring that your goals align as well as possible with the POD you eventually select.  This week we'll use that background to construct a decision tree and question list you can use to find the POD that's best for you.  I'll also suggest (from painful experience) how you can avoid some of the problems I've encountered.

As you'll recall, some of the ways in which PODs differ include price, personal service level, range of services offered, ability to place your book into all channels, and ability to make hard copies as well as eBook copies available.  If all of those capabilities are of importance you, then you'll want to look at one set of PODs.  But if not all of them matter to you, then you may decide to limit your review to a far smaller set of candidates.  Given how many businesses have jumped into this pool, anything you can do to narrow the field will be a time saver.

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Adventures in Self-Publishing, Chap. 5 Understanding POD Business Models (Part II)

Adventures in Self-Publishing

This series highlights aspects of my experience self-publishing The Alexandria Project.   If you'd like to read the book this series is based on, you can read the first three chapters for free here (just click on the cover of the book). And you can read a new chapter of its sequel every Monday here.

Photo courtesy of "Visitor7" at Wikimedia Commons.  Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 UnportedLast week we looked at how Amazon, Apple and Google make money by working with self-published authors, what they do for them in return, and what that means for you.  As promised, this week we'll take the same kind of look at the myriad POD outfits that provide a wider range of services.

As you'll recall, Amazon, Apple and Google each have quite different motivations, based on the significant differences in their overall business models.  One result of the fact that self-published authors generate a very small part of the revenues of each of these companies is that each offers very few services in return, and most or all of those services are automated.  Another is that none of the three companies has an incentive to make it easy for a self-published author to sell through any of its competitor.  Indeed, quite the opposite.

In contrast, for most POD publishers, helping you get your book to market in every logical distribution channel is their only business.  So that should be good, right?  Well, yes and no.  Here's why.

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Adventures in Self-Publishing, Chapter 4: Understanding POD Business Models

Adventures in Self-Publishing

This series highlights aspects of my experience self-publishing The Alexandria Project.   If you'd like to read the book this series is based on, you can read the first three chapters for free here (just click on the cover of the book). And you can read a new chapter of its sequel every Monday here.

Albion Press, woodcut by George Baxter, Courtesy of Wikimedia CommonsLast week I identified the different types of Print on Demand (POD) publishers that are active in the market today and provided tips on how to decide which type would best meet your needs.  Before we go on to talk about how to select a specific publisher, it's worth pausing to look more deeply into what each type of POD publisher actually does, and how it makes its money. 

Why?  Because knowing what a POD publisher wants to get out of your partnership makes it easier for you to pick one where your interests and theirs will most closely align.  That's what you want, because if the POD publisher wins, then you will as well.

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Adventures in Self-Publishing, Chapter 3: Selecting a Print on Demand Publisher (Part I)

Adventures in Self-Publishing

This series highlights aspects of my experience self-publishing The Alexandria Project.   If you'd like to read the book this series is based on, you can read the first three chapters for free here (just click on the cover of the book). And you can read a new chapter of its sequel every Monday here.

Like just about every other step in self-publishing a book, researching and selecting a print on demand (POD) publisher can be a time-consuming and even bewildering experience.  The problem arises not from a lack of choices, but just the opposite.  Today, there are scores of publishers to choose from, with significant differences among them in business model, cost, speed, quality and reputation.  The challenge is therefore to figure out which one is just right you.

The first step in that process is to understand the high-level differences between the alternatives available.  At the highest level of categorization, there are currently three models from which to choose:

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Adventures in Self-Publishing, Chapter 2: eBook or Dead Tree?

Adventures in Self-Publishing

This series highlights aspects of my experience self-publishing The Alexandria Project.   If you'd like to read the book this series is based on, you can read the first three chapters for free here (just click on the cover of the book). And you can read a new chapter of its sequel every Monday here. You can read a new chapter of its sequel every Monday here. 

  Medieval copy of a book by Gautier de Metz, "L'image du Monde" - Wikimedia, public domainIf you are of a certain age (and I, most regrettably, am definitely of a certain age), a book means a certain thing, and that is this: something that you can hold in your hands, keep on a shelf, pack up and carry in a box in move after move (after move, after move…), and generally treasure for life, if it’s a good read or a valued resource. Kept indoors and absent a natural disaster, it can – and does – live on for centuries, always there, patiently waiting to be discovered anew, generation after generation.
 
It should therefore come as no surprise that the book I wrote last year, The Alexandria Project, will soon be available in tangible as well as eBook form. This is not to say that this makes a terrific amount of sense, viewed from any rational economic point of view. After all, it’s not likely that any bookstore will ever stock it. Moreover, because of costs of production, it’s also not likely that many people will buy it in soft cover, as compared to electronic form, let alone hardcover.
 
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Adventures in Self Publishing - The Introduction

Adventures in Self-Publishing

This series highlights aspects of my experience self-publishing The Alexandria Project.   If you'd like to read the book this series is based on, you can read the first three chapters for free here (just click on the cover of the book). And you can read a new chapter of its sequel every Monday here.

Ever thought about writing a book?  Well, be sure you know what you're getting into first, because by the time you hold the finished product in your hands, you may have a long, strange trip to get through first.

If you're a long time reader of The Standards Blog, you'll recall that in the first half of 2010 I wrote a book called The Alexandria Project.  I posted a new chapter of that book here at The Standards Blog every Monday, and by the end it comprised 29 chapters, plus prologue and epilogue.  Somewhere between 3 and 4,000 people loyally followed that tale through to its conclusion, and you can still find that rough first draft here