Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Book Designing

The Most Helpful Book I’ve Ever Read About Self-Publishing . . .

It sure can seem like a lot of the info on self-publishing is generated primarily to make money, not to help folks really learn what they need to know.

In fact, many sources of “expertise” are misleading and aimed right at our bank accounts.

This is my 85th post on Self-Publishing—many about my own experience and many about what I’ve found that makes sense, and has a sense of service about it

It’s also my 31st post featuring Joel Friedlander—usually about posts on his blog, The Book Designer. JoelsBook

I just finished reading his book A Self-Publisher’s Companion: Expert Advice for Authors Who Want to Publish.

In the book, Joel says:

“Instead of a how-to book, I decided to create a kind of ‘why-to’ book.”

“I went through the archives of my blog looking specifically for articles that contained my best advice for new self-publishers. I ignored the articles that dealt with specific tools like writing software or page layoutsI wanted to find, and to offer to you, the articles that would come together to give you an overview of the self-publishing possibilities we have available today, to warn you of mistakes that are easy to avoid if you only know about them, and to encourage you to use these tools to pursue the publication of your ideas, your history, your dreams, and your personal story.”

On the site Wordpreneur they say this about Joel:

“The man knows his stuff. He won the AIGA ’50 Books of the Year Award’ for his work at Aperture Publishing. And the Printing Industries of America Gold Award as well for his book design and production. Born in the Bronx, New York, and educated in Buffalo and Danbury, Connecticut, Joel now owns and runs Marin Bookworks in San Rafael, California.”

My own first impression of the book was that it definitely “has a sense of service about it”

Here’s an excerpt that exemplifies that service-attitude:

“Each author who decides to self-publish has a logic all their own. Some books may be more profitable than others, but in my experience this is not what moves authors to publish. The more you understand your own motives and goals, the more likely you are to succeed in self-publishing, because you will more accurately define that ‘success’

And, there are many comments that reveal his motivation for being so involved with the Book-World, like this one:

“I love self-publishing because of the absolute finality of the process. At the end, you are left with a book in your hand, one that will probably outlast you and most of the people you know.”

And, combining his service orientation with his own experience:

“When you self-publish, you get to define success, to set goals for your own publication. In a way, you’ve already won.”

Then, there are the warning statements, like:

when authors go looking for a way to get their book into print, all too often they are seduced by misleading or downright fraudulent advertising by the industry that’s sprung up to sell services to these authors.”

And then, the abundance of sage advice, like:

“Avoid overwhelm, burnout, and weeping in frustration. The solution is to approach your new business as . . . a business! Do what you can do well, and the things that you are interested in.”

“Leave the rest to the many skilled practitioners who are only too happy to help.”

Last, a summation of the book itself, about three-quarters of the way through:

“Think about what you know that others might find interesting. Know your niche and how to market to people with similar interests. Create a quality product. Take one step at a time and build credibility, leveraging into larger and larger networks. Take the long view, seeding success tomorrow by your actions today.”

I should add that he gives an even-hand to fiction and non-fiction writers.

This is an extremely valuable book, written in a voice that makes consistent sense, based on hard-earned experience.

Here’s his table of contents:

A Self-Publishing Orientation

Why Self-Publishing is Entering a Golden Age
“I Want to Be a Book Publisher”
Two Kinds of Self-Publishers ~ Which One Are You?
7 Scenarios for Successful Self-Publishing
The Self-Publisher’s Self-Questionnaire
Four Ways to Publish Your Book
5 Good Reasons to Self-Publish Your Book
What Hasn’t Changed in Self-Publishing
5 Things That Shouldn’t Surprise You About Self-Publishing
8 Answers That Help Self-Publishers Get Up and Running
What Does It Take to Make a Publishing Company?
Is It Time to Kill “Jerry”?
How to Get Unstuck
Top 10 Worst Self-Publishing Mistakes ~ Explained!
The Secret to Successful Self-Publishing
Things I Love—and Hate—About Self-Publishing
26 Ways to Win at Self-Publishing


Does Book Design Really Matter?
Book Design Tips for Authors
Cover Design Tips for Self-Publishers
3 Ways Self-Publishers Fail at Cover Design
What Book Designers Do to Get Your Self-Published Book Into Print
The Death of Book Design
Designing Books

Social Media for Authors

Rise of the Content Creators
The Hub & Outpost Method to Organize Your Social Media Marketing
How to Get Started on Twitter
Self-Publishing Pro and Con(temptuous)
17 Ways for Writers to Publish Their Content
Why Authors Shouldn’t Blog Their Books
The Big Problem With Blogging Your Book
Self-Publishers and the Social Media Divide

The Ebook Revolution

The Problem With “E-Books”
Is the Paradise We’ve Lost the Beautiful Page?
Less Expensive, Bite-Sized, Available for Take-Out: The Book of the Future
EBooks Today: Futility or Utility?
6 Keys to Self-Publishing Success in the Age of the Ebook

The Electronic Life

Why Self-Publishers are Exhausted
I Am My Keyboard
Frustrated Self-Publisher Escapes DIY Trap
The 5-Million Word Typewriter and How to Stay Focused
Two Things All Content Creators Can Do

You Are the Market

How I Sold 10,000 Copies of My Self-Published Book
What Writers Need to Know Today
Why Self-Publishing Is a Long-Tail Business
Author Branding: The You That Is Everywhere
Author Platform: What Are You Waiting For?

Read it—Come back here—Tell me what you think :-)
Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
* Google Author Page

Book Designing ~ Content Becomes Form

Putting words together can create Forms in a reader’s mind.

Yet, before the reader’s mind creates the Forms, the words are Content.

Reader’s would like to get a feeling of what the Content can potentially Form in their mind.

The cover of a book is the first connection between the author and the reader.

Book design is about covers but also about the typography—the Forms the letters take on the page—and a number of other design considerations.

The best space on the Web I know of to study all this is Joel Friedlander‘s The Book Designer.

A writer, even a self-published one, may not be the person who designs a book but they should certainly understand something about the process

The quickest and most humorous way to grasp the essentials, that I’ve found, is to watch this video :-)

Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
* Google Author Page

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