Parts of a Book: A Glossary and Checklist for Self-Published Authors

You’ve manuscript is done and you’re preparing for publication. It’s time to think beyond the main body of your work and to compile the elements you need to create a finished book.

Title Page: As the metaphorical curtain opens on your story, the first thing your readers will see is the title page. The front cover may feature eye-catching elements, endorsements, and awards. The title page is the opposite of all the flash of the cover. It's the no-frills display of your title, subtitle, and author name.

Copyright Page: You may have heard, and it’s true to an extent, that your writing is copyrighted the minute it’s created. However, for the best legal protection against would-be plagiarists and pirates, it’s a good idea to register your work through the Copyright Office for your country. You can find out more about Copyright and other items to check off a legal checklist, as well as a sample copyright page, within this blog...

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Launch Your Self-Published Book and Reach #1 on Amazon

With this bestseller book launch recipe, you can boost your book sales and your visibility. This recipe has several ingredients, but each step is as simple. With this method, I'm going to cover how to use the five-day free Kindle promotion in the Amazon Kindle Store. Using this ebook giveaway, not only can you promote your Kindle but your paperback, hardcover, and audiobook as well.

Step #1: Have Access to KDP Bookshelf 

You need to have access to your KDP bookshelf, which is in your Amazon publisher account. You also need to join the KDP Select program to run a giveaway. This puts you in Kindle Unlimited. It will also limit your book sales to the Kindle Store for 90 days. After 90 days, you can stick with the Select program and the Kindle Unlimited program, or discontinue it if it's not working for you.

Step #2: Find 100 People Willing to Download Your Kindle 

The next ingredient is that you need access to at least 100 people who are willing...

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Why You Need an Advance Review Copy (ARC) for Your Self-Published Book

Before you publish, it’s common practice to give away pre-release copies of your book. These are called ARCs which stands for advance reader copy or advance review copy. These books allow fans to create a buzz by reading and reviewing your book before it’s released and prepares them to post a review on Amazon when the book is published. The more awareness you create around the launch of your book, the better your sales will be.

Who Do You Send Your ARCs To?

Advance copies of your book are sent to the press, your launch team, and influencers who can help you get the word out about your upcoming launch. ARC readers (excluding the press) are expected to write reviews, but they can do much more. For example, ask your ARC readers to:

  • Blog a review on their own website
  • Post a review as a guest writer on a relevant website
  • Film a video review for YouTube
  • Post a review to Goodreads or LibraryThing

To help your ARC readers (and yourself), it’s a good idea to create a...

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Self Publishing as Your First Choice - Indie vs. Traditional


Wondering whether you should self-publish or query for a traditional publishing contract? In this side-by-side comparison, find out if it's the best choice for you.

I am a self-publishing advocate and my company provides training, resources, and community building for indie authors. However, there are times when traditional publishing is definitely a better option. I’ll be comparing self-publishing to traditional publishing using six categories. They are: 

  1. Cost 
  2. Royalties
  3. Rights
  4. Creative Control 
  5. Timeline 
  6. Brick and Mortar Distribution

1. Cost 

If you are a self-published author you are going to pay all of the costs to produce your book. These expenses are on you. This includes editing, design, marketing, software subscriptions, and other various hidden costs. The price point ranges from one $1,000 to $20,000 and beyond. 

As with any other business or career, an investment needs to be made. At the minimum, you must contract...

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How to Work With a Book Editor: 7 Myths Debunked

editorial video Dec 30, 2020

Working with an editor is integral to the author’s job. Hopefully, whether direct or traditional, you have the opportunity to work with an editor, or at the very least, a proofreader. This is a milestone for the first-time author, and it is an enjoyable experience in most cases. The number of changes you get back on the first pass can be overwhelming, but like all parts of this journey, a step-by-step approach wins the race.

Before I ever worked with an editor, I had imaginings of what being an author was like. I got my ideas about what an editor was and how they worked with authors from a mishmash of Hollywood movies, romanticism, and books. Some of it was true, some of it wasn't.

The first time I worked with an editor, I was in for a major shock. I hired an editor for a nonfiction book on self-publishing. I submitted my manuscript to an editor. She returned the manuscript with hundreds of comments and markup. I looked at it and said, Okay, great. I hit accept all.


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How to Get Amazon Reader Reviews

Reviews of your book are one of the most important parts of your book marketing plan. There are several kinds of reviews—editorial or trade reviews that you pay for directly, reviews in consumer magazines and newspapers that you normally pay for by hiring a publicist, and reader reviews on sites like Amazon. No money changes hands for reader reviews. In fact, paying for reader reviews could get you suspended or banned from Amazon.

How NOT to Get Amazon Book Reviews

Not too long ago, gaming the Amazon reader review system was a very common practice. At the beginning of 2018, it was estimated the 30% of reviews on Amazon were not submitted by real buyers of books (or even real people).

Amazon has put a lot of effort into cracking down on these shady tactics.

Why would someone go through the trouble and risk to fake reviews? It’s a common belief that when a book gets 20 to 25 good reviews, Amazon starts to include the book in their recommended lists.  At between 50 and...

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Book Layout Tools That Make Your Self-Published Books Look Pro

Uncategorized Sep 22, 2020

When it comes to print, the difference between a reader enjoying your book and tossing it aside after ten pages has a lot to do with the book layout and design. If you think I’m overstating the matter, think again. The spacing between lines, the font, and how the text flows are all part of a subtle art that book designers know comforts the reader and encourages immersion in the text and story. Ragged ends, stacked words, weird breaks, lines that are too far apart or too close together, text on the wrong pages, all of these create distraction and anxiety. After a lifetime of reading, we expect a particular experience from our book layout.


Vellum does a fair job for print, but if you have any custom design needs or if your book layout is graphics-heavy, Vellum is not the tool for you. For ebook formatting, Vellum is king. This elegant software solution starts at $199. Simple to use, Vellum outputs files that behave properly across all devices.

Poorly formatted reflowable...

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5 Obstacles to Becoming an Author

beginners writing advice Aug 23, 2020

Self-sabotage, perfectionism, low self-worth; many writers struggle with a minefield of doubt on a daily basis. Whether you experience this particular list of obstacles or other forms of resistance and internal conflict, no author can fast forward ahead to the accolades and laurel lounging that are rewards for working through these psychological blocks.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you had complete faith that your success would be delivered to you? I’m prepared to promise you that. The caveat is that you have to put in the work, both personal and professional.

For many of us, devoting consistent hours to writing and having 100% faith in our triumph as authors ain’t no easy enchilada. This is especially true if you are struggling to feed and shelter yourself and your family with the income from your efforts. Doubt and criticism, from oneself and from outsiders, have probably killed more budding writing careers than any other factor.

For a little pat on your own back,...

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