Treat Your Book’s Author Like Your Best Client.

I got to model for VavaVroom - a company that sells great gear for motorcycling women. I was wearing their shirt that Jonny bought me!

I got to model for VavaVroom – a company that sells great clothes for women. I was wearing their shirt, “I’m One Of Those Girls” that my husband Jonny bought me. See below.

Some people have asked me how I published The Mom Who Took Off On Her Motorcycle. I checked out some independent publishing companies but in the end I decided to use Createspace. Full disclosure: This blog is not sponsored by Createspace. If it were, I’d be richer. It is not but  I am rich in happiness.

So I used createspace because they offer print on demand through amazon. My paperbook is always in stock. Because there is no stock! I’m not taking down any trees until someone wants to read my book in their hands.

How do you figure out what size paperback you want?

At the time, I was reading Just Kids by Patti Smith. I loved the book. I loved the writing, the aching, the commitment to art, the dedication, the love, the loss, the introduction to a world I knew little about. I also liked the size of the book, too. I was inspired. I measured the book and chose that size (5 x 8 inches). So, first tip: choose a standard size book.

Best thing for you to do: Go to your bookshelf. Look at your paperbacks. I hope you still have those things. Those things called books. One of my friends said they cluttered her apartment and only reads ebooks. I love her but I was sorry to hear her say that because she was also the first person I knew who had a C.D. I heard one first at her house. I told her I would never get rid of my vinyl records. So here we are. I’m still holding out on my books.

Then I chose a font and a size for my book. I chose the Createspace template which sounds more complicated than it is. Once you get an account at Createspace, you are led through the process, like line dancing with a cute guy in suspenders callin’ out the moves and telling y’all what to do. It’s simple. You download this template and then you cut and paste your book into it. (If you need help on this, give me a holler!)

I printed out a sample page and cut it to the size of the paperback. I stuck the piece of paper into the book to see how my font and size would look. This was helping me to feel that it was a “real” book.

I had to work like my own publishing company and make esthetic decisions. The Mom Who Took Off On Her Motorcycle was my first self-publishing venture (I’d already had one book published by a traditional publishing house) and I treated myself as my first and most important client. I wanted to make sure the book was as professional as it could be.

In the end I went with Garamond 11.5. You can experiment with what you think looks like a good fit. It was recommended to me by Catherine Ryan Howard to go with a simple font: Book Antiqua, Garamond Georgia or Times New Roman. I didn’t have any fancy graphics. I would have liked to include some photos and maps of our trip but this would have made my book more expensive to produce. I wanted to keep it simple.

The only thing that was challenging was the ISBN numbers and I will write more on that later. This post is to encourage you to take your time with self-publishing. Don’t rush through it. Once your book is out, it’s out and there’s no way to reel it back in.

As for the above photo, I am winding my way through marketing my book. Full disclosure: It was my husband, Jonny’s idea to contact VaVaVroom. Denise Maple, the owner, suggested I take a photo of myself wearing the shirt that Jonny had so kindly bought for me. This is a powerful example of something you can do to get the word out about your book. Thanks, Denise!

Self-publishing tip of the day: There are millions of books out there. To the world, this is just one book. But to you, this book is the world. Treat your book — and your client — in a professional manner.

 

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About dianabletter

Diana Bletter is a writer living in northern Israel whose novel, A Remarkable Kindness, is forthcoming from HarperCollins in August. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, tabletmag, and other publications. Her first book, The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women (with photographs by Lori Grinker) was nominated for a National Jewish Book Award.
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10 Responses to Treat Your Book’s Author Like Your Best Client.

  1. Great post, Diana. I’ve been told by others to use CreateSpace for my next book. I’m still dragging my feet, but your experience sounds very positive. I’ll look forward to your post on ISBN etc.

    • dianabletter says:

      Thank you, Marilyn. I can understand why you’re dragging your feet…It is overwhelming. But do a little bit at a time!

  2. Hi Diana,
    First, you are one cool motorcycle mamma. Love the shirt
    Your concern and care to help other writers like myself comes through loud and clear in this post. Thank you for that! 🙂
    Can’t wait to read more. Keeping this post 🙂
    Tracy

  3. Great picture, Diana, and you ARE one of those girls on a motorcycle! This would make an excellent promo picture next to the cover of your book. Very effective.

    • dianabletter says:

      Thank you, Marylin! I appreciate, as always, your comments! You’re my ideal reader, after all. Diana

  4. janet says:

    Diana, I’m with you 100% on the value of physical books. People absorb information in different ways; some from words, others from pictures, others from physical touch. For me it’s all three. From early childhood I loved not only the words, but the visual and tactile pleasures of reading ‘the old fashioned way’, running my hands over words and illustrations and cloth bindings, and spending a long time with their photos and illustrations.

    Production methods and materials have changed, but it’s significant that there’s room for the self-publishing author to make critical aesthetic choices.

    I hope down the line you’ll be inspired to produce a companion book of the photos from your journey. – Janet A.

  5. janet says:

    (Oops – make that words and pages 😉 )

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