By now, we know how important it is to have a dope book cover for our Self-Published book.
But it’s not always the book cover that gives a book away that it’s Self-Published. Sometimes, how the book looks inside makes it look homemade.
Typesetting: the spacing between words and letters, the font type & size, the page’s trim size, margin, and overall layout.
Grab a book that has been traditionally published (or professionally Self-Published!) and look over the pages. Take note of how it appears on the inside. Look at how tidy the words are! How are the left and right edges aligned, the typefaces are the same, and the paragraph spacing is perfect? This is the result of expert typesetting.
Many Self-Publishers skip this stage. We don’t realize it because we submit the Word or PDF file we used to compose the book to our preferred print-on-demand.
But what’s wrong with that?
There is nothing wrong with that, except our manuscripts do not print exactly as we type them in Word, Google Docs, or Scrivener. The document requires proper typesetting and formatting for print and digital devices like Kindles and Tablets.
The cover of your book may suffer from a poorly formatted book. Take a look at book two in The Stella Trilogy, first edition.
I actually like the initial cover image. The problem is with the rest of the book.
Do you notice how the spine is twisted? Because the book was too short to have a spine, this occurred. Giving it one, nonetheless caused it to wrap around and face the front.
I didn’t realize the book needed more pages for a full spine because I’m not a graphic artist or skilled book cover designer.
While this cover image doesn’t pop as well as the first (IMO), the book is professionally bound. The alternate ending made the book long enough for a spine in the revised edition. The book features a more professional cover, professional formatting, and professional editing.
Recommendation. Before having your entire cover designed, wait until your book has been edited and properly typeset. Your graphic artist will require the precise number of pages and trim size to create a cover, back, and spine that perfectly matches the book.
Moral. Before hitting publish, make sure to hire a skilled typesetter to correct the placement of your text on the page.
If you want to try it yourself, here are some sources:
Reedsy Book Editor
Vellum *Fiverr. Note: Professional typesetters can be found on websites like Fiverr. Make sure they are typesetting rather than just typography, though. Typefaces and other decorative elements make up typography. That’s not typesetting. Additionally, if they are only using Vellum, you can do it on your own by simply purchasing it.
What would your perfect writing / reading room look like?
It’d be overlooking the Eiffel Tower and would have an inspirational quote on the wall, a chic, white leather couch, and a Frappuccino maker!
What do you hate most about writing advice? What do you love?
I hate when people give me ideas for stories because they’re usually pretty offbeat and aren’t suited to my style. I appreciate it, though, when others encourage me not to quit and when my mentors offer suggestions about plot twists.
In your own words, what is love?
I expressed that in my newest novel, Forgetting My Way Back to You. It’s living through and reflecting on the bad moments but wanting to be together, regardless. There are always problems, and relationships end because of them. It’s easy to give up on a fleeting feeling, but that isn’t the case with real love.
Does blogging help you to write?
It does keep my creative processes flowing and keeps me in shape, I suppose, but it takes away a lot of time from my usual writing. I guess it’s a love/hate relationship.
Blogging does take a lot of time. I get it. What kind of music do you like?
I enjoy almost everything from oldies to pop to (some) country.
In your own words, what is humility?
Humility is accepting that you’re flawed. You can still be proud of your abilities, but you have to recognize that others can and will be better. I think it’s also realizing that your ways and opinions aren’t law.
I dig it. Would you like to have children?
Yes, because they’re fun, genuine, and change your outlook on life.
Awwue. Right? Why is writing important to you?
Writing gives me freedom. Having Cerebral Palsy, there aren’t many things I can do on my own, but writing is one exception. Every idea and keystroke is mine alone—unless I’m on a deadline and need help typing. Plus, I’m free to create plot lines without being barred by reality.
That cover is so fun looking! What genre do you write in, why?
Though I’ve written love stories, I mainly write mysteries. I enjoy sculpting different twists and turns to make readers keep guessing. That said, almost all my mysteries have a romantic element to them because I “love love!” ♥
Outside of writing, what are some of your passions?
I’m a big baseball fan, and I also love shoes.
Thank you Karina for spending this time with us. We enjoyed you!
Karina Bartow grew up and still lives in Northern Ohio. Though born with Cerebral Palsy, she’s never allowed her disability to define her. Rather, she’s used her experiences to breathe life into characters who have physical limitations, but like her, are determined not to let them stand in the way of the life they want. Her debut novel, Husband in Hiding came out in 2015 and was well-received by readers. Her second, Forgetting My Way Back to You, was released in October 2018 by Vinspire Publishing and has been praised by reviewers. She may only be able to type with one hand, but she writes with her whole heart!
Today, I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Larry Garner. Let’s get started!
What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Larry Garner, and I’m currently living in a small town called Hooper in the south-central Rockies in Colorado.
Cool beans. Larry, tell us, what would your perfect writing / reading room look like?
I like a warm, cozy room with barn-wood panels on the walls, hardwood flooring, and southwestern area rugs. A nice old roll-top wooden desk and a word processor hooked up to WiFi would make it complete.
Sounds comfy! Are you employed outside of writing?
I am retire, but still keep busy with various endeavors to make some extra money for my old car addiction. I paint signs, do some welding, have even built a food truck and a taco wagon.
Nice. What was your childhood dream?
I’ve been crazy about cars and speed since I can remember. I always wanted to be a race-car driver. I’m lucky enough to have been able to fulfill that dream.
Okay. When did you publish your first book? What was that like?
I published my first novel, D-E-D, Dead, in late 2012. It was a crazy adventure. I had been told for years that I should write a book about all my stories I tell, but decided to go full-on fiction, and that allowed me the freedom to just let it flow. I’ve had no formal training, don’t use an outline, just let the characters tell me what’s happening. I didn’t even plan to publish, thinking I’d pass the manuscript around to friends and family for fun. My wife said it needed published so that was a whole different set of things to study and learn. I’m glad she persisted until I got it published and shared with a broader fan base.
Who is your favorite writer?
I read three or four novels a week. I have many favorite authors, but my all-time favorite is Robert McCammon. His body of work is eclectic and always leaves me happy I read it.
Three or four novels a week? You better gone and read then! Lol. Are you married Larry? Children?
I am married to a wonderful woman named Marcia. We will celebrate our thirtieth anniversary in January. We have 29-year-old twin sons.
Get outta here Larry. I’m a twin too! And congrats on the 30-year anniversary. That is amazing! Now, Larry, what takes up too much of your time?
It depends on who you ask…but I feel I spend too much time worrying about things I have no control over.
Ooh wee. I think we can all relate to that one. What kind of music are you into?
I’m a rock lover, mostly hard rock. I like the old stuff, but also listen to current artists like Disturbed, Volbeat, Halestorm, and others. I also really enjoy southern rock and especially Blackberry Smoke while I’m writing.
What’s the most difficult thing about being a writer? The most exciting thing?
To me, the most difficult thing about being a writer is making sure I give the reader the best story I can produce, something they will appreciate. The most exciting thing is having readers take the time to contact me and tell me they enjoy my writing.
I love that. Why is writing important to you?
It probably sounds cliched, but I feel it’s important to give back, to provide more material for constant readers like myself. I have enjoyed so many hours of reading since the age of five that I honestly feel a compulsion to make a contribution to the books available for others to pick from.
Well said. What do you love / don’t love about yourself?
Probably the fact that if I decide to do something, I just do it. I don’t listen to the nay-sayers and critics. I do things my way, and feel that if I am pleased with the result, that’s what is most important. I have a tendency to feel that my opinion is the only one that matters. I’m working on changing that, but progress is slow.
Ha! You crack me up Larry. What genre do you write in, why?
One of my novels was a finalist in the Colorado Book Awards in the Crime/Mystery category. The second novel was a finalist in the CBA’s as a Thriller. I call them action-adventure or action thrillers. I write as I do because it is the style of writing I most often like to read. Lots of action, unforgettable characters, and very little fluff.
Outside of writing, what are some of your passions?
Family first. Friends a close second, followed by community. Then there are the cars, the motorcycles, racing, driving fast, and generally anything that turns money into noise.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Climb down, don’t jump!
Lol. Okay. Thanks so much for joining us Larry!
Larry “Animal” Garner is a lifelong gearhead, an avid reader, and author. A U.S. Navy veteran, Garner has worked as a welder/fabricator, auto body repairman, custom painter, farm mechanic and farm equipment designer/builder, and sign painter among many other jobs over the years since his fourteenth birthday. He has designed and built custom cars, motorcycle, race vehicles, and farm equipment. Garner has founded three different charitable organizations involved with raising money to help families of sick or dying children and other community projects. A talented fund-raiser and promoter, he is well known throughout the areas he’s lived. Garner’s first novel, “D-E-D, DEAD“ was a finalist in the 2013 Colorado Book Awards in the Crime/Mystery genre. His second novel, “DED Reckoning-Vengeance takes a road trip“ was published in October 2016 as the second book in the “Hammer” series of action novels. It was named as a finalist in the Colorado Book Awards in March 2017. The third novel in the “Hammer” series will be published in early 2019. Larry is a Colorado native and still lives there with his wife Marcia in a mountain valley in the south-central part of the state.
I’ve actually ordered her book, which should be here pretty soon.
African American writer Ann Lane Petry is said to showcase the range of the black and white experience in her novels, short stories, and other works. The Street, her most famous novel (the one I’m anticipating to show up with the mail man on my doorstep) is said to be a social commentary on the despair of black urban life in the 1940s. Published in 1946, the novel sold 1.5 million copies and brought Petry to national attention as the first black woman writer to sell a million copies of her book.
Twenty years ago, a book followed a routine process: You poured your heart and soul into a manuscript, and when you finished it, you started calling agents and editors who most likely told you to send them a query letter.
The next step is the book proposal and a few sample chapters. Then the waiting game started, usually ending with disappointment.
On the other hand, the option to Self-Publish was there, but it had a certain stigma that, thankfully, has waned in this digital era. That stigma can be identified by statements such as, “Your book isn’t really published because you couldn’t get it accepted by a ‘real publisher.'”
However, being a Self-Publisher only means you are in charge of the direction of your book. The publisher (in this case, you) is the one who puts up the money. If you invest in your own printing, you are a Self-Publisher. If you begin to take in manuscripts, you are a small publisher. If you grow, you become a large publisher. Still, many Self-Publishers still wear this “badge of shame” for choosing not to go the traditional route, as if they were the scarlet woman or something.
This list can help clarify and simplify things for you.
4 Common Sense reasons it can benefit you to Self-Publish
Self-Publishing can be the road to your independence. Do you dream of being your own boss? Do you desire more personal freedom? You can turn that dream into a reality. You own all rights to your book as a self-publisher, whereas a traditional publisher would likely own the rights. If they lose interest in your book, you cannot print additional copies unless you purchase those rights. Traditional publishers often require you to purchase your book from them to do any promotion you choose to do for your book. As your own publisher, you print as many books as you need. Here is a dynamic, proven way to shape your own destiny.
Traditional publishers work on a long production cycle. They often plan a year to a year and a half—or even longer—to get a book out. As a Self-Publisher, you can do it in a fraction of that time. It’s your material, your career move – you can take control of when you want to publish.
• Increased Income
Self-Publishing offers the potential for huge profits. When you use creativity, persistence, and sound business sense, money is there to be made. Most publishers require their authors to do their own promotion, but if you have to do your own promotion, why not Self-Publish it anyway and make more money? Even if you don’t make much, Self-Publishing allows you to get back what you put in. If you set a plan and work hard at it, you’ll be “making it rain” in no time. Or, you can work hard for some big-time publisher to tell you that you’re just not good enough.
Self-Publishing gives you the final say on the direction of your book. It reflects your vision and not someone else’s. You can personally guide every step or hire professionals to be on your team. You can choose the cover you like, the typeface, and the title you want. You maintain absolute control over your own book.
Whether you publish Traditionally or Self-Publish, completing a book is a great accomplishment. As to whether or not you’re making money from it, that’s up to you. So go ahead, finish that masterpiece, self-publish if that’s what you want to do, defy the stereotypes, and live happily ever after.