10 Tips for Handling Feedback from Editors

Writing/Editing No Comments »

About a month ago I distributed copies of my manuscript to the four people who are doing editing for me. A couple of them are focusing more on the “big picture” of the book – identifying gaps or concepts that need clarification and evaluating the overall feel of the book. The other two are doing detail grammatical and sentence structure work.

Since I distributed the manuscripts, I haven’t personally touched the book. I thought it would be helpful to step back and clear my mind a little so that I can approach it with a fresher perspective when I set about to incorporate the editorial suggestions. As I’ve begun getting feedback from my editors, I had to decide how to respond. Here’s the list I’ve come up with for how to handle feedback from editors:

  1. Listen.
  2. Humbly receive every comment and critique.
  3. Ask questions to clarify what changes they are suggesting.
  4. Take notes that you can refer to on your own later.
  5. Don’t become discouraged; remind yourself that it will be better in the end because of the contribution of others to the finished product.
  6. Re-evaluate what you want readers to take away from the book and what you want the overall tenor of the book to be.
  7. Wait until you have received complete input for the entire book and/or from all the editors before you begin implementing changes.
  8. Pray for wisdom and discernment.
  9. Determine what suggested editorial changes will enhance the message of the book and are worthy of implementation.
  10. Implement changes.

I’ve made it to number 7 thus far and am in the waiting stage. This has been a tough process, but I continue to learn a lot and am truly grateful for the friends who are expending their time and energy to help make Pajama School a success. I am clinging to the hope that it will all be worth it in the end!

Press Kits and Press Releases

Marketing No Comments »

Today I’ve been digging a little more into what Press Kits are and what they should include. The SPAN website (Self Publishers Association of North America) has some very helpful information and resources for self-publishers pertaining to press releases and press kits. In particular, I just finished scanning this handy e-book called How to Write Trash-Proof Press Releases. It is chock-full of examples, lists of what works and what doesn’t, and advice from those in the media industry. A great resource!

From reading over the information on the SPAN website page, I also seem to be getting the idea that, “Always include the book title, author, ISBN, format (hardback or trade paperback) and price on every piece of correspondence.” Maybe because they include that statement no less than five times throughout the page!

I knew I needed to start working on putting together a press kit, but I feel much more clear now on what it should contain and how it should be presented.

Getting Down to Business

Marketing, Networking, Reading/Researching 1 Comment »

Since my book is in the hands of editors right now, I haven’t been focusing at all on the writing aspect of the project. I finally sat down and made a list of the top things that I need to do right now business-wise in preparation for the launch of my book. These are things that will be necessary further down the road and I’ve been putting them off because, well, frankly because I didn’t want to do them. πŸ™‚

But last night I assigned numbers to the list so that I had an order to work from and this morning I set about to tackle the first item on the list: Research and set up affiliate program. I used the open source Joomla CMS to develop my website and have installed VirtueMart as my e-commerce solution. There is supposedly a built-in functionality for an affiliate program in VirtueMart, but it doesn’t work. So I’ve been scouring the forums and extension offerings for the past couple of hours trying to figure out if there is a solution that has been developed to handle an affiliate program. It appears that there is a lot of demand for such a product, but only a couple in development or available and I’m a little leery of forking over the money before I know for sure that the company behind it is legitimate and the product works as advertised.

So, I’m still researching. Some of the more well-known affiliate programs are exclusive to downloadable content, so that’s no good. The search continues and hopefully I’ll have this figured out soon so I can move to the next item on my list. That’s my favorite part – crossing items off my list! πŸ™‚

My First Interview!

Publicizing 3 Comments »

Last week I received an e-mail from a lady who writes a column for one of our local papers. She was interested in interviewing me about Pajama School and featuring it in an upcoming column! It was completely unexpected and I am praising God for what He is already doing to help me get the word out about my book! We just concluded the interview this morning and she said the article should appear in next Wednesday’s paper. I’ll be sure to post a link to it here when it’s available!

Book Registration for Self-Publishers

Referencing, Writing/Editing 1 Comment »

After running around in circles for a couple of days trying to figure out where to apply for what and in what order, I think I’ve finally managed to get some of this figured out! Here are some step-by-step instructions I’ve compiled to help other self-publishers navigate the various registration requirements in the most efficient order. I haven’t quite gotten through all these steps yet (and there are probably more yet to be discovered!), but once I have printed copies of my book in hand I should be able to finish up the last of these.

1. Go to the ISBN Website and apply for a block of ISBNs.

2. Upon receiving your block of ISBNs, follow the instructions in the e-mail to print and assign your book title to one of the numbers.

3. Go to the Bookland Website and use the free bar code generator to generate a bar code for your book. Download and save both the .EPS and the .PDF files to your computer. (Incorporate this into the final book design.)

4. Go to the Bowker Link Website and enter the username and password contained in the e-mail with the ISBNs. Once you are logged in, click the β€œAdd Title” button and enter the information for your book.

5. Go to the Library of Congress Website and apply to participate in the Library of Congress Preassigned Card Number (PCN) program.

6. Upon receiving the e-mail indicating that you have been accepted into the PCN program, go to the PCN area of the Library of Congress Website and login with the username and password provided in the e-mail. Complete the application process by filling in the forms.

7. Wait 2-3 business days and go back to Bowker Link and upload a cover image to the book information.

8. Upon being accepted into the PCN program, send a copy of the best edition of your book to the Library of Congress at the address listed in the acceptance e-mail.

9. Go to the U.S. Copyright Office Website and you can either fill out an electronic form or download and complete a print form to send in to the office along with two copies of your printed book. (Based on Morris Rosenthal’s experience with the on-line registration process, I may just fork over the extra $10 and go the paper route.)

If anybody knows of anything I’m leaving out so far, please let me know and I’ll update the list!

Making Your Self-Published Book Look Professional

Writing/Editing No Comments »

Now that I’m nearing the final stages of preparing Pajama School for publication I’m trying to make sure that every element of the book is as professional as possible. I just came across this page of Common Typographical Errors on the Aeonix Publishing Group website. The article identifies numerous typographical errors that make a book look unprofessional. Many of the items listed are small details, but they make a big difference in the overall look and feel of the book. Every self-publisher should carefully study this list and make every effort to avoid these errors in their own work so that the finished product looks professional.

Announcing…Pajama School!

Announcing, Marketing, Writing/Editing 1 Comment »

After many hours of writing, researching, praying, and collaborating with friends I am finally ready to announce the title of my upcoming book. Many of you have expressed your support and encouragement as I have tackled this endeavor and it is exciting to be at this point in the process! So, without further ado, may I introduce to you my book:

Pajama School – stories from the life of a homeschool graduate

Pajama School is currently in the final stages of editing. Once the edits have been implemented and the interior design completed, I will be doing a small print run and sending the book out for reviews and endorsements. If you or someone you know would be interested in receiving an Advance Review Copy for review and/or endorsement, please e-mail me for more information. Lord-willing, Pajama School will officially be released and available for purchase in March, 2009. In the meantime, you can find more information on the Pajama School website and stay up-to-date by checking back regularly for progress reports.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support!

BTW, you can also click here to become a fan on my Facebook page. πŸ™‚

Purchase ISBN Block – Done!

Designing, Reading/Researching No Comments »

Thanks to the very prompt and gracious advice of Morris Rosenthal of the Self Publishing Blog, I finally felt some semblance of confidence to make the next step – purchase a block of ISBNs. I knew that Bowker was the place to go, but when I went to place my order, I had the option to also purchase an EAN Bar Code through them and an SAN, which they say many retailers and wholesalers require you to have. There were additional fees, of course, to add these items to the order and I had no idea whether I really needed them or not. Here’s what Mr. Rosenthal has to say:

Run, do not walk, from all additional Bowker offerings, beyond the basic ISBN block. Self publishers do not need SAN numbers, and I’m darned if I know who does:-)

Finally, I felt like I was getting somewhere! The only other thing I wanted to know before proceeding with my order was what other options I had for getting an EAN Bar Code. This was Mr. Rosenthal’s response to my query:

I’ve been using Milgram’s free barcode generator since 2002 (I really owe him a donation now that I see he’s finally put up a donation button:-)

The only trick is you want the EPS (Embedded Postscript File) but it comes without a preview, so when you stick it in your cover design, it will probably show up as a rectangular block without showing the barcode. But as soon as you generate the PDF, the barcode will appear.

It’s here: Bar Code Generator

Yes! That’s what I needed to know. So, thanks to Mr. Rosenthal’s timely assistance and an unexpected and generous contribution from a friend, I was able to place my order last night. As soon as the ISBN blocks arrive I will be able to move to the next step of generating a bar code and applying for a Library of Congress number. I’ll keep compiling a step-by-step list as I go to hopefully spare others from having to engage in the same extensive searching and subsequent head-banging as me to figure all this out. πŸ™‚

Announcement Coming on October 7th!

Writing/Editing 1 Comment »

Almost four months after officially launching this journey, I am excited to announce that I am ready to reveal the title and cover of my book. Next Tuesday is the day. The moment I just know you’ve all been waiting for. πŸ™‚ I’ll be announcing the title and subject matter, presenting the cover design and providing a link to the official website. Thanks for your patience and for those of you who have offered prayer support, helpful advice, and even financial contributions toward this project. I still have a long ways to go, but I trust that the Lord will continue to direct each step of the way. It’s exciting to at least be at this point!

[Not] Making Sense of All These Forms and Applications

Reading/Researching 2 Comments »

My brain hurts. I’ve just spent the last several hours pouring over website pages and downloadable files trying to figure out what forms I need to file, what bar codes I need, in what order to make applications for the numbers, etc. The evening started with a simple plan to purchase my block of ISBNs. Haha. It was anything but simple. Now I have to decide: do I want an EAN Bar Code? Is a UPC also necessary? Should I add an SAN to the order? It says it’s 50% off if I order it when I order my ISBN, but do I really need it? Numerous on-line searches yielded little in the way of helpful advice.

Since I was stuck, I moved on to the next task – figure out what exactly I need to do to register here in the state of Kansas. I know that if I set up the publishing company as a sole proprietorship (which is the most logical step at this point) that I don’t need to register the business with the state, but since I’ll be selling products, I’m pretty sure that I need to register something in order to pay sales tax on those orders. So, is that the Business Tax Application that I found and downloaded? If so, the application form indicates that I need an FEIN from the IRS. But the IRS information leads me to believe that perhaps an FEIN is not necessary after all. And just being on the IRS site reminded me that I’ll have more bookkeeping and tax filing to do with the formation of this new business, providing I can figure out when and what to file and whether I have to send in quarterly reports or payments, etc.

If I sound confused, it’s probably because I am. Tonight’s hours of work yielded far more questions than answers. But I’m determined to sort through all of this and put together a step-by-step guide for self-publishers covering all these things once I’ve got it all figured out. And if anyone knows of such a guide already in existence, please have a heart and tell me where I can find it…then perhaps I can still preserve a measure of my sanity. πŸ™‚

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