Dear Self-Publisher, How Your Book Looks Inside Matters Too: Don’t Forget Typesetting

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
  • Adobe In-Design
  • Microsoft Publisher
  • 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.

Check out more Indie Author Basics Here

Introducing Buddah Desmond: Yecheilyah’s 5th Annual Poetry Contest 2022

BD

Today, we introduce you to Buddah Desmond, whose poem “Ghosts, Ghostbusting History + Visible / Invisible Lives (Freedom Is Ours)” won first place in our fifth annual poetry contest!

Buddah, Welcome to The PBS Blog!

What is your name, and where are you from?

My name is Buddah Desmond. I’m from the DC Metro Area. Currently reside in Alexandria, VA.

When did you first fall in love with poetry?

For me, it all goes back to music and lyrics. As a lover of music and words, I’ve always homed in on lyrics. Hip Hop was and still is a major influence. I learned early on how powerful words can be… Their impact… How they can move the masses. Songs like:

  • Eric B. & Rakim’s “I Know You Got Soul” and “Follow The Leader”
  • Salt-N-Pepa’s “Get Up Everybody (Get Up),” “Expression,” and “Blacks’ Magic”
  • LL Cool J’s “Rock The Bells” and “Around The Way Girl”
  • MC Lyte’s “Cappuccino” and “Poor Georgie”
  • Queen Latifah’s “Ladies First” and “U.N.I.T.Y.”
  • Kool Moe Dee’s “How Ya Like Me Now”
  • Big Daddy Kane’s “Smooth Operator”
  • Get Boys’ “Mind Playing Tricks On Me”
  • A Tribe Called Quest’s “Award Tour” and “Scenario (Featuring Leaders of the New School)”
  • Black Sheep’s “The Choice Is Yours”
  • Pete Rock & CL Smooth’s “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)”
  • De La Soul’s “Me, Myself, and I”
  • Public Enemy’s “Fight The Power”
  • 2Pac’s “Brenda’s Got a Baby” and “Keep Ya Head Up”
  • KRS-One’s “Sound of da Police”
  • Jody Watley & Rakim’s “Friends”
  • Run DMC’s “Down With The King”
  • Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s “Thuggish Ruggish Bone”
  • Outkast’s “Player’s Ball.”

This is a small soundtrack of what inspired my love of not only Hip Hop but poetry as well.

No you didn’t just give us a full playlist!

72146lol

When I first read your poem, I wrote “Top” on it because I knew it would be among the top five. Like, even if it didn’t win, I knew it would somehow be a winner. So, please tell us, what inspired this piece?

I’ve found that the experiences, stories, voices, and the true history, herstory, and theirstory of Black and Brown people continues to be silenced, censored, and ignored. Far too often, our contributions to history, society, and culture are embraced only when it’s convenient for the powers that be. And when we typically raise our voices, show up, show out, turn up, turn out, and redirect our buying power, that’s when we are blasphemed. Like “How dare they do such a thing?” When all we’re doing is fighting for basic, civil human rights. We’re only visible when they want us to be visible. Like we’re ghosts. When we raise our voices, they ghostbust. And that’s why we fight. Why we must continue fighting for and claiming life, visibility, justice, and freedom. So that’s the inspiration behind my poem.

BuddahDesmond_Prevail-Poems-On-Life-Love-Politics_Cover(20120611)

If you could have lunch with your favorite poet, living or dead, who would it be?

See, that’s not fair. You always get me with these questions. When you have more than one favorite poet, questions like these are always difficult. LOL! How about a luncheon with a panel of our favorite poets instead? LOL!

84029

My answer to this question will probably change depending on the day, lol! If I must choose, I’d say either Maya Angelou or Nikki Giovanni. Can you imagine?!! Not only would the conversation be out of this world, but the food would probably be unforgettable, too.

Awesome. What inspired your writing journey in general?

I started writing short stories around 7 or 8 years old. Song lyrics followed shortly thereafter. But it was hearing Maya Angelou’s poetry recited by Justice, the character Janet Jackson played in John Singleton’s classic film, Poetic Justice, that inspired my poetry writing journey.

poetic-justice-janet-jackson

Yass. That’s my movie.

I’ve said this before but, Maya Angelou’s poetry moved me in ways that I’m not sure I knew how to comprehend, let alone describe when I first heard it. One thing was certain—I wanted to do what Maya Angelou was doing, with the hopes of being able to write poetry that resonated with others the way Maya Angelou’s poetry resonated with me. She’s a poet’s poet. Her command of the language, her consciousness about the human condition… Her compassionate, soulful writing leaves you with a better understanding of yourself, others, and the world.

Exactly. You hit the nail on the head with the human condition. Maya was all about that.

37212

I already know the answer to this question because you strike me as someone who speaks…you into spoken word?

Yes, I have. Many times. Performing for me, whether it’s poetry or music, is otherworldly. There’s something about it that transcends space and time. It’s like going to a higher place. When I’m really in my element (and not too much in my head), I lose myself in the performance. It’s almost like blacking out but in a good way. There’s nothing on this planet that compares to the experience of performing.

Shifting From The Inside Out Love Poems by Buddah Desmond (cover)

What does freedom mean to you?

I think my best answer to this question comes from a piece that I wrote entitled, “Finding Freedom.”

“Loving yourself and others unconditionally is freedom
Shaking bad habits is freedom
Holding on to your joy through it all is freedom
Standing in your light is freedom
Not being ashamed of your voice, your story,
and where you came from is freedom
Getting up even when everyone and everything
around you wants to keep you down is freedom
Building the life you want is freedom
Knowing better and doing better is freedom
Not letting your emotions influence every
action and decision you make is freedom
Exercising your right to choose is freedom
Saying NO is freedom
Being every bit of the FAB person you are is freedom

To find freedom
You have to be
willing to release
all that’s kept you
in bondage
To be free
you have to
free yourself
Free yourself
Free
Yourself
FREE.”

“Finding Freedom” appears in my forthcoming project, Everything I Miss(ed) At Home.

96275

Okayy. Go off then!

What advice would you give to people who want to pursue a career in poetry?

Read. Read. And READ some more! And not just poetry books. But all kinds of books. Reading opens your mind to possibilities beyond your current realm. So absorb, learn, and apply as much as you can. Follow the journeys of the writers who inspire you and learn about their process, who or what inspired them, and how they pushed their respective genres forward. Seek mentorship from writers who are in the process of getting to where you want to be or who have already achieved the levels that you desire to achieve.

Don’t be afraid to experiment and try different styles. Push yourself and your artistry as far as you want to go. There are no limits, other than the ones we place on ourselves. Be confident in yourself and who you are as an artist and poet. People are always going to have something to say. It’s your choice what you want to do with it. If it’s constructive criticism, take it into account and determine if and how you want to incorporate it moving forward.

And it goes without saying that rejection comes with the territory. Do not take it personally. It’s not a rejection of you as a person, your artistry, or your writing. What’s for you is for you. And it won’t be denied. Your job is to keep going. Keep writing! Don’t stop, keep on!

Loving the motivation!

58334

Please, tell us about your books/work.

BuddahDesmond_FromTheInsideOut_BookCover (1)

I write about the human condition, and the things I see in the world around me. I write in a way that is, at times, edgy, raw, and in your face. It can be prose-like. And there’s a musicality within it. My work is inspired by personal experiences and the experiences of others, current events, history, culture, and social issues.

Themes within my work include: home / belonging; personal + collective freedom + liberation; the transformative power of love; community wellness; legacy + living a good life (relationships + family + community + honoring our ancestors); personal empowerment (self-esteem + self-love + self-acceptance); the fight against oppression (police brutality + injustice + inequality + inequity + racism + homophobia + transphobia + sexism). The subject matter can get heavy, but there’s an underlying message of faith, healing, hope, optimism, persistence, resistance, and resilience.

Whew. Wait, hold on. Let us get our pencils and write this down!

73200

I released my first book Prevail: Poems on Life, Love, and Politics in 2012. A chapbook entitled, Exotic Shifter, followed in 2014. It served as a prelude to From The Inside Out: A Poetry Collection, which was released in 2020. After that, I digitally released a short collection of love poems entitled, shifting from the inside out, on Valentine’s Day in 2022. And my forthcoming book is entitled, Everything I Miss(ed) At Home. The poetry in Everything I Miss(ed) At Home dives into the meaning of home. The place(s) we call home. Those we find (or don’t find) within our families, friends, communities, within our intimate relationships, and most importantly, within ourselves. Release date is TBD, but it’s on the way! It’ll be published by Liquid Cat Publishing.

Where do you see yourself a year from now?

Promoting my forthcoming project, Everything I Miss(ed) At Home. More performing, on virtual and in-person stages. Participating in festivals, workshops, and author events. Getting more poetry published in online magazines and journals. Finalizing my next manuscript and preparing it to be published. And giving back in whatever way I can!

We will be on the lookout for that book!

1399

Now let’s dig into the poem that snatched the number one spot!

pexels-collis-5346317
Photo by Collis on Pexels

Ghosts, Ghostbusting History + Visible / Invisible Lives (Freedom is Ours) ” by Buddah Desmond

Covered in the blood

Blessed

Praised

Adored with oohs and ahhs for what some
might call our supernatural powers and abilities

Yet, beneath the adoration—we’re deemed
disembodied souls

Ghosts

Immaculate for show and tell

For milking and misappropriation

For capital interests and bottom lines

Yet demonic and sacrilegious when we
demand the dignity and respect all beings
created by God deserve to receive

Dispirited

Ever ghostly

Most invisible

We rise up

And they ghostbust

To exterminate that which they don’t want to see

To disassociate from that which they can’t bear to concede

Ghostbusting is their band-aid

Their ego-stroker

Their power sustainer

As we know, without proper healing—sores and pain remain

And as we know, you can act like something

isn’t there all you want

But there comes a time when you can ignore it no more

History wasn’t meant to be comfortable

There were atrocities and inhumanities from

sea to shining sea that we can’t ignore

Some still happening to this day

And while some will proclaim it wasn’t all bad

We know it wasn’t all good either

pexels-oladimeji-ajegbile-2853664
Photo by Oladimeji Ajegbile

In the wrong hands, history is rewritten to

block out the true history, herstory, and theirstory that binds us

These hands set out to make our visible lives invisible

These hands ghostbust nonfiction

Turning it into the bestselling fiction that has so many

misled, pimp slapped, and hoodwinked today

These hands dare anyone to speak out and

criticize their recrafting of history

For punishment is swift, shameful, and at times, lethal

Forgive them father for they know not what they do?

Excuse me father, they know exactly what they’re doing

There’s a reason why ghosts and spirits roam

To right wrongs

To vindicate

To fight for justice

And they will not rest until their mission is fulfilled

For every uprising

Every protest

Every rally

Every boycott

Every march

Every sit-in

Every strike

Every campaign

Every cultural, political, and legal battle

Every BLACK OUT

We will not rest

Until our lives are no longer invisible

Freedom is ours for the taking

And our freedom—

Oh, our freedom—

We’re taking it!

BuddahDemsond_Headshot_cgp
Buddah Desmond

Buddah Desmond (aka BDez) is a writer / poet, artist, singer, entrepreneur, and health and wellness coach / advocate. His writing highlights the gritty side of life, while offering messages of hope, love, healing, and resilience.

He is the author of four poetry collections, Prevail: Poems on Love, Life, and Politics (2012), Exotic Shifter (2014), From The Inside Out: A Poetry Collection (2020), and shifting from the inside out: love poems (2022). His writing has appeared in numerous publications including MOOV, MUSED, MelaNation, Mixed Mag, LitMag 2020, No Line Left Behind, Osamasetorbest.com, and sana sana (vol. 1). He is a member of Gamma Xi Phi, and has served as a healing leader in the DC-based arts + faith + social justice organization, The Sanctuaries.

IMG_6409

His next poetry project, Everything I Miss(ed) At Home, is forthcoming.

Website: http://buddahdesmond.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BuddahDesmond/

IG: https://www.instagram.com/buddahdesmond/

Twitter: @BuddahDesmond

Wanna join the fun? Head over to yecheilyahsannualpoetrycontest.org and join the wait-list for 2023!

Introducing Rebecca Whitman: Yecheilyah’s 5th Annual Poetry Contest 2022

RW

Today, we introduce you to Rebecca Whitman, whose poem “Moment of Truth” placed fourth in our fifth annual poetry contest.

Rebecca, Welcome to The PBS Blog!

What is your name, and where are you from?

Rebecca J. Whitman, eastern North Carolina.

When did you first fall in love with poetry?

My earliest memory of anything I said I wanted to be was a writer. More specifically, I wrote that I wanted to go to college for a Bachelor’s degree in Writing. I was seven when I wrote that, and I did go on to accomplish it. I majored in Creative Writing with a concentration in poetry. I have been writing poetry all my life.

That’s awesome! “Moment of Truth” is a powerful poem. What was the inspiration behind it?

“Moment of Truth” is about a relationship where one person is always feeling a little more love than the other, and it traps them. I also challenged myself to use beach and water imagery because I live in a coastal state. I felt the beach imagery reflected the ebb and flow of their relationship as well.

Brilliant. I love the risk you took in putting a twist on the theme. It’s like the person yearns for freedom but can’t quite grasp it. What went into your decision to end the poem the way you did?

I love poetry that has unexpected endings and lasting imagery. I also wanted to stay true to what happened to the characters in real life. They remained friends but only as long as the one (speaker) silenced her own feelings about the other. She thought freedom was tied to him loving her, but that was something he could not give. She could only find freedom when she stopped expecting him to love her in return, but that also was her prison.

Wow. Powerful. If you could have lunch with your favorite poet, living or dead, who would it be?

I love a lot of different poets, old and new, but I think the one who changed me the most was Michael Ondaatje. He was my first experience with mixing non-fiction and poetry. He also left a lasting impression with the depth of sensory detail in his imagery. If I could, I would love to sit and talk to him about his work.

Nice. What inspired your writing journey in general?

As cliché as it sounds, reading inspired my writing journey. I have been exposed to some amazing writers and traveled through time and space with their words. No other occupation ever seemed so magical and weighty to me as that of a writer.

I was in love with reading too so I feel you! It is definitely the driving force behind the first study of writing for many.

Are you into spoken word?

I have read my poems before a live audience, and I have recorded readings in the style of spoken word. It was intimidating, but it also freed me up to explore the work in a different, empowering way.

Yes indeed. Rebecca, what does freedom mean to you?

Freedom is both a right and a privilege. When I think of what it means to be free, I think it means the ability to have equal opportunity in life. In America, we talk a lot about freedom. We say it is a right our forefathers fought for, but it is also a privilege. Not everyone can freely say and do what they wish the way Americans do.

What advice would you give to people who want to pursue a career in poetry?

I have never seen poetry as a career–it is more a form of expression as near to me as breathing. I can’t write at all without eventually coming back to it.

Being a published poet is a game of endurance and persistence. You need to be willing to put in the work to master your craft. It takes time to find your voice and perfect it. You also need to be open to sharing your work and gleaning from criticism. Some of my best advice came from peers in writing circles in college when I was too scared to share my heart on paper.

Get involved in as many contests and publication opportunities as you can because poetry publication is all about getting your work seen. When you are ready, pursue opportunities to publish whole collections of your work.

Please, tell us about your books/work.

I write regularly on my blog, The Bohemian Princess Journal, at rebeccajwhitman.com. There are over 150 posts there intentionally designed to inspire and build community. I am also working on poetry, short stories, and non-fiction for publication locally and internationally.

Where do you see yourself a year from now?

As a writer, I hope to see more work published diversely as it is now. I would like to see growth in how many readers I have around the world. At last count, I had readers in over 70 different countries.

I know that’s right. Now, let us dig into this poem!

Photo by Tuấn Kiệt Jr.

“Moment of Truth” by Rebecca Whitman

I let you lead me across salt-cured planks

of yellow wood, greyed by time in the sun.

I walk on water, yet oceans stand

between your heart and mine.

How long will the wind

be more curious to play

with my hair than you are?

How long will you hold my hand,

Tell me your secrets, and

Deny me your name?

Am I still a departure

from everything you think

you want for yourself?

Is loving me still an anchor

pitching you overboard

from your freedom?

I look up at you with angst,

longing to be the girl who lives

in your shadow, and warms

your bed.

You squeeze my hand and smile,

refuse to say the words

that will make us more.

I build sand castles

around my heart and live

barricaded.

20220707_115057
Rebecca Whitman, 2022.

Rebecca J. Whitman is a high school English teacher by day, and a local news reporter by night. Though that sounds like a super hero bio, she believes the real power lies in developing work/life balance and enjoying her life. She lives in Eastern North Carolina with Bachelor and Master’s degrees in English and Writing. She shares her writing regularly to an international audience on her blog. When not working, she enjoys travel, art, writing, and quality time with loved ones.

Websitehttps://rebeccajwhitman.com/

Instagram: rebeccajwhitman

Bloghttps://rebeccajwhitman.com/the-bohemian-princess-journal-2/

Are You A Poet Looking for More Exposure? Go to yecheilyahsannualpoetrycontest.org and join the wait-list for our 6th Annual Poetry Contest 2023!

Winners: Yecheilyah’s 5th Annual Poetry Contest 2022

22 Dope Participants
4 Dope Winners!!!

Winners_5

Today, I introduce you to the four winners of this year’s poetry contest followed by their Instagram handles. Get on over there and follow them neoww.

#1: Buddah Desmond

“Ghosts, Ghostbusting History + Visible / Invisible Lives (Freedom is Ours)”

(@buddahdesmond)

#2: Daphne Ayo

“Uncaged”

(@dee_.vox )

#3: Renita Siqueira

“Allowed to Exist”

(@renitasiqueira)

#4: Rebecca Whitman

“Moment of Truth”

(@rebeccajwhitman)

97024

Congratulations!!

And congratulations to everyone who participated! There would be no contest without your support.

This is the first time we’ve had such a diverse group of winners!

We even have winners from India and Nigeria! Can you guess who it is?

31393

We ultimately chose our winners for receiving high scores in several areas, including beauty, power, education/message, originality, creativity, how closely they followed the submission requirements, and overall impact.

I am incredibly proud of what they will bless you with in these coming weeks!

74738

I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a special thank you to my team!! Thank you for recommending poets, posting the flyer to your social media, providing feedback, and all that good stuff!

8308

Over the next few weeks, we’ll spotlight each of these poets individually on the blog and social media. We’ll dig deeper into what inspired their poem, read the winning poem, and understand their writing process.

Please go to my Instagram @yecheilyah and @yecheilyahbooksllc and show them some love!

  • Follow the Poets
  • Save the post
  • Share the post
  • Like the post
  • Comment a “Congrats” on the post
  • Did I say follow the poets? 🙂

Here are the links to all our winners from years one through four!

Yecheilyah’s 1st Annual Poetry Contest 2017
Yecheilyah’s 2nd Annual Poetry Contest 2018
Yecheilyah’s 3rd Annual Poetry Contest 2019
Yecheilyah’s 4th Annual Poetry Contest 2021

Wanna join the fun? Head over to yecheilyahsannualpoetrycontest.org and join the wait-list for 2023!

Throwback Thursday Jam – You by Jesse Powell

Yep. Throwback Thursday is baacckk.

It’s so sad that Jesse passed a day after his birthday at just 51 years old. This is another example that life is short so live it and dance to this jam while at it.

American History by Michael S. Harper

As we get closer to September and the close of this year’s poetry contest, I will post more poems from other artists to help spark creativity. I hope you will use them as a guide as you write your own.

This year’s theme is Freedom, so we will focus on poems that are relatable to the topic.

Today’s featured poem is “American History,” by Michael S. Harper. Enjoy!

Photo by Emmanuel

Those four black girls blown up
in that Alabama church
remind me of five hundred
middle passage blacks,
in a net, under water
in Charleston harbor
so redcoats wouldn’t find them.
Can’t find what you can’t see
can you?

Source: Poets.org.


Don’t Know About the Poetry Contest? Click the Link Below to Enter for a Chance to Win Promotion, Interviews, and Cash Prizes.

Click Here!

Yecheilyah’s 5th Annual Poetry Contest 2022 + New Website

Blog(1)

Yecheilyah’s 5th Annual Poetry Contest 2022

Theme: FREEDOM

Submissions Accepted:

Thursday, July 7, 2022 – Friday, September, 30, 2022

Winners Announced:

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

About.

Yecheilyah’s Annual Poetry Contest is an online national and international poetry competition established in 2017 by award-winning author, book blogger, and poet Yecheilyah Ysrayl. The contest’s purpose is to find and celebrate the work of dope poets while raising awareness about the power of poetry.

Now in its 5th year, this is a contest essential for those serious about literary excellence.

We are now open for submissions.


Since 2017, we have hosted this contest right here on the blog. We will continue in the tradition of providing updates, author interviews, and all that jazz.

But as for the rules and guidelines, the contest now has its own website!

We accept poems (written, audio or video) from now through September 30, 2022. Our theme this year is FREEDOM. Head over to the website, subscribe to the list, and email your freedom poem before the deadline.

To learn more and to enter to win please visit us at www.yecheilyahsannualpoetrycontest.org/

spoken word(1)


Let’s GOOO!!

IMG_3346

Deadline to Submit is 9/30/2022

Winners Announced on 11/1/2022

Check out our past winners!IMG_3347

Yecheilyah’s 1st Annual Poetry Contest Winners 2017

Yecheilyah’s 2nd Annual Poetry Contest Winners 2018

Yecheilyah’s 3rd Annual Poetry Contest Winners 2019

Yecheilyah’s 4th Annual Poetry Contest Winners 2021