Self-publishing offers many options. Your book can be available in print, eBook, or another document version like PDFs. Which format do you choose?
The final destination of your published book will become the driving force behind how you prepare it for publication.
Where will you market the book? If you are a speaker, a printed version might work best. These books are fairly easy to transport and a beneficial addition to any product table. The one big advantage is that you are bringing your book directly to the consumer. No shipping. No waiting.
If your market is online, some kind of digital or downloadable version might work well. A point to consider if you are entertaining a digital format…not all eReaders are the same! And not all self-publishing formats can be read on every eReader.
So what dictates your formatting choice?
With several options available, there are a few questions to ask. Where will I market my book? Where will my eBook be available for downloading? Which device accepts that format? Which formats are the most popular?
To answer these questions, we will look at how formats work and then the most popular ones in self-publishing today.
If your book will be printed, the formatting choices are simpler. The author submits the text file according to each printer’s guidelines.
Every publisher has their own requirements as to font, layout, and margins. They may offer downloadable templates where you simply cut and paste your document into the format. Some will accept a .doc file while others prefer a PDF version. Check with your printer/publisher for their requirements and style options.
The format files for eBooks contain more than just text files. Instead of a fixed layout where the same words always appear on a specific page, most digital books have reflowable text. This means that for any given device, the text may be adjusted or will “flow” to fill the prescribed parameters of the eReader.
eBook files are a combination of many different types of files. The amount depends upon the complexity of the eBook. Within each .zip file that is uploaded to the publisher, you will find…
- A file that contains only the unformatted text. This is the basic text of the eBook.
- A file that tells the eReader how to display elements of the text. This file is the CSS or coding file which regulates how the type will be displayed. For example, in Adobe InDesign, the style comes from two sources. Paragraph Style defines how the elements of different paragraphs (margins, indent, spacing) will be displayed. Character Style influences the individual structure of each word. Will they appear normal, italic, drop cap, etc.? When the document is prepared for publication, there are files that reflect these selections.
- Other files that contain information, such as images, ISBN, and other elements of the eBook.
Popular eBook Formats
Every eReader has its own format preference. The following are the most popular in today’s digital landscape:
- Epub. The standard format for digital publishing is Epub. Most eReaders will accommodate these files. The devices which support Epub are Apple iPad and iPhone, Kobo eReader, Barnes & Noble Nook, Sony Reader, and Android phones.
- Mobi. Kindle readers will not work with ePub files. Instead, Amazon has developed its own version and called it Mobi. In order to read a book on Kindle, you must access it directly from Amazon and use the Mobi format.
- AZW. This is Amazon’s adaptation of the Mobi format for devices other than Kindle. An eReader may download the Kindle eBook Reader and access AZW files from the Amazon bookstore.
- PDF. The Portable Document Format has been around for years. It was developed by Adobe and is easily used on most any device. PDF files maintain the original format of the document.
If you write in MSWord, Pages, or OpenOffice, you will have to convert your book if you decide on a digital format. Again, even if the book will be in a printed version, some adaptation in formatting may be necessary. In order to reach the greatest amount of readers, publish in several formats.
In order to reach the greatest amount of readers, publish in several formats. Epub and Mobi are the most popular digital versions. But don’t forget that many still prefer the traditional paper and ink of a book.
What grabs the attention of an editor or potential client? How do newspapers sell millions of copies? What makes you open an email or read a blog post?
The main purpose of a headline is to grab the attention of the reader.
Headlines need to be accurate and consistent with the rest of the work. If you are writing a serious article, a humorous play-on-words is not in harmony with the rest of the writing.
Headlines should also be concise. If you are a blogger, you may have discovered a limitation to the size of blog titles. Learn to wordsmith a creative title with only a few words.
Use key phrases that sum up the rest of the piece. They are the hook that catches the reader and pulls him or her in.
In his book Advertising Headlines that Make You Rich, copyright expert David Garfinkel states that 75% of the buying decisions are made at the headline alone. According to Garfinkel, there are the three main underlying causes of headline problems:
1. The headline doesn’t pass the “So what? Who cares?” test. It needs to have relevant emotional power.
2. The headline is cute, clever, or obscure. While it may titillate the reader, it does a poor job of capturing them for the rest of the content.
3. The headline means everything to the business but nothing to the prospect or reader. Words are meant to target an audience wherever they may be.
How do you write a good, powerful headline? Garfinkel offers his 10 Golden Rules:
- Make it conversational. Use everyday language and make it engaging for the reader.
- Enter the conversation already going on in the reader’s mind. In other words, start where they are at not where you are.
- Remember V.E.R.V.E
Visceral…physical and immediate
Emotional…appeals to feelings
Resounding…the reader hears you
Visual…reader can picture what you are saying in their mind
Empathetic…reader feels you understand how he or she feels
- Walk the fine line between fact and hype. Don’t be timid but don’t over-exaggerate either.
- Understand the ultimate purpose of your headline is to get the reader to the next line of copy. Create curiosity and desire.
- Don’t be clever. Be straightforward.
- Don’t be boring. You don’t want a yawn.
- Don’t assume your reader knows what you know. Meet them at their level.
- Don’t focus on your process. Focus on the benefit to the reader.
- Don’t merely try to arouse curiosity. Make sure you stimulate desire and intrigue.
Headlines are the first words that your audience reads. Make them concise, meaningful, and consistent with the rest of the composition. Headlines can be the difference between connecting with a new reader or losing them forever.
What method do you follow when writing?
Are you someone who writes spontaneously letting the words flow onto the page? Do you prefer to work off of a detailed outline? Most authors have a particular style which works well for them. You may even switch methods based on whether you are writing fiction or non-fiction.
However, when writing persuasively (and many of us are doing that through blogs, books, and products), Ray Edwards has an approach that is simple to implement and easy to remember. He calls it the PASTOR framework for copywriting.
If you are unfamiliar with the term copywriting, it is words used for the purpose of advertising or marketing. Copywriting is written content published through online media and print materials.The words are used to persuade a person or group as well as raise brand awareness.
As an expert copywriter and someone who worked in marketing, Ray honed his skills in persuasive writing. He explains his framework for writing copy using the acronym PASTOR.
The PASTOR Method
A Pastor takes care of his flock. He cares for the sheep providing nourishing food and clean water to drink. A pastor also makes sure his sheep are healthy and led to green pastures.
As writers, we, too, care for our readers. We want to lead them down pathways that will benefit their lives. Pastors are not pushy or sleazy. They are honest men and women who try to make a difference.
It is this same philosophy that creates a framework for copywriting. We may be selling an idea or even a book or product, but how we present the material makes it either palatable or distasteful. If we choose to be a shepherd with our readers, we always have their benefit in mind.
Here is Ray’s method:
P…There is always a person, a problem, and the resulting pain. In other words, what are you solving? What pain are you going to relieve?
A…Amplify the problem. What will happen if it is not solved? What will be the ramifications if the book is not written? What are your aspirations?
S…Tell the story and how you struggled. Why was it tough? What was your solution? Did you develop a system of solving it?
T…Give your testimony and let others share their stories of success. How did they use your system and find a way forward? What was the resulting transformation?
O…Make an offer. What do you have to sell? How much does it cost? Use only 20% of the time or wording to talk about the product you are selling. Take 80% of time talking about transformation and what happens when a person buys into the product.
R…Request a response. Ask for the sale.
The PASTOR method of copywriting works for writing sales copy, sharing a belief, or selling people on what they should do. It is a universal framework for writing persuasively. Our job is to lead people down a path beneficial to their well-being. If we write according to Edward’s method, the journey will be a pleasant one.
If you have always wanted to attend a writer’s conference but lacked the finances, opportunity, or time, get ready for the perfect fit. The 2016 Self-Publishing Success Summit is right around the corner. Beginning this Sunday, the summit runs from June 12-22, 2016. The price of admission? Your email address!
What Is the Self-Publishing Success Summit?
The Self-Publishing Success Summit is an online event created to give writers a complete skill set. Hosted by Chandler Bolt, the summit teaches aspiring and seasoned authors successful habits, techniques, and practices for today’s self-publishing landscape. During this virtual summit, some of the top self-published and traditionally published authors impart their knowledge and business secrets to writers at all levels.
Advantages of Attending the Summit
1. Reduces the learning curve. Shorten the time it will take to get the results you want. Experience is a great teacher, but learn from others mistakes and successes! Let their experiences be your teacher.
2. Watch from the comfort of your home. No plane tickets to buy, hotel rooms to rent, or conferences fees and meals. The Self-Publishing Success Summit is accessible on a variety of electronic devices and streamed directly to you.
3. Watch at your convenience. Listen and watch live or access the talks for 72 hours after each speaker…all free! Plus you may purchase the All-Access Pass and get unlimited access to all interviews and bonus material forever. Only $97. That’s a bargain!
4. Top-notch speakers. Over 40 of the best and most successful authors and entrepreneurs will be speaking at the summit.
5. For all levels of writers. Whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or advanced writer, the summit promises to have quality training for everyone.
Who Are the Speakers?
The summit features more than 40 bestselling authors and entrepreneurs sharing the secrets of success. The speakers fall into one of three categories: Writing, Marketing/Publishing, and Monetizing. The lineup includes:
- Gretchen Rubin, author of blockbuster New York Times bestsellers Better Than Before, Happier at Home, and The Happiness Project.
- Gary Vaynerchuk who signed a 10-book deal with HarperStudio for over $1,000,000. His first book, Crush It! Why Now is the Time to Cash in on your Passion, reached #1 on the Amazon Best Seller list for Web Marketing books, opened at #2 on the New York Times Hardcover Advice bestseller list and #7 on the Wall Street Journal Bestseller List.
- James Altucher is the author of 17 books, including best-sellers The Power of No and Choose Yourself. His book I Was Blind But Now I See reached #1 in Amazon.com’s motivational books.
- Barbara Corcoran’s ABC’s Shark Tank star and New York Times best-selling author. Her latest book, Shark Tales, is a national bestseller.
Other names you may recognize are successful bloggers and authors Michael Hyatt, Jeff Goins, Pat Flynn, Joanna Penn, and several up-and-coming authors.
On a personal note, I have watched several of these speakers in other webinars. Their inspiration and information is excellent. Last year I purchased the All Access Pass to the 2015 Summit. I was not able to watch each speaker live or even within the 72 hours, so I opted to get the permanent pass. It was well worth the price.
I encourage you to register for the Self-Publishing Success Summit now! All it takes is your email and the investment of a little spare time. Give yourself a gift and build a sound foundation for your future as a writer.
(Information about the summit taken from marketing material by Chandler Bolt)
If you are a self-published writer, it’s important to understand all of the marketing options available. You may decide to just print your book. But if you have gone the eBook route, educate yourself to the many distribution companies that can increase your book’s exposure in the marketplace. This includes book aggregators and distributors.
For a short primer on the current leaders in the industry, take a look at this information-packed post from Author Friendly:
Book Aggregators and Distributors: A Short Primer
If you are a self-publishing author, you have probably seen various strategies for launching a book. 5 Days to a Successful Book Launch. Book Launch Check List. How I Became a Kindle Best-Seller and so on.
These approaches have many great things to say about marketing your book. I am not downplaying their merits in any way. But I also want to consider an alternate strategy for the release of a book. My thoughts took me on a journey back to the creation of the New Testament. God scripted an eternal story, published it, and then marketed its message.
His plan was simple. It contained many of the same elements that others currently recommend. But God’s methods relied heavily on a more natural process…word of mouth and an enduring, timeless message. When God launched the New Testament story, he fashioned a pattern that is still relevant today. (more…)