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Have you been putting off listing your title on PGDirect?  If so, we’ve made it even easier to list your book by automating our title upload process.  Now you can upload all your own information, right from the comfort of home! In a nutshell, it’s easy!

Start by registering on our site using this link: http://www.pubgraphicsdirect.com/getting-started/

Navigate to the Getting Started tab on pubgraphicsirect.com

Navigate to the Getting Started tab on pubgraphicsirect.com

 

Once you’re registered, navigate to the Retail License Agreement link, where you’ll enter basic info like name and address. As you’ll see, most of it self-explanatory.

  1. Contact name, email, address, phone number: So we know where to find you for mailing your royalty checks!  You’ll find our terms and conditions here, and you can also electronically sign and date this document.

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After you finish this form, you’re ready to enter your book information.  Go to the next link called: Upload Your Title Information. Again, this is pretty self-explanatory.

2. ISBN: Your book’s number identifier.  If you need an ISBN for your book, you can purchase them on www.bowker.com.  Another post that might help is: All About ISBN’s.

3. Title, author, publisher (if you are a self-publisher, enter your name), publication year.

4. Retail price: This is the retail price, set by you.  From this price, the production costs are taken out, along with a 25% commission to PG.  What is left is your PROFIT.  Many authors ask us how to establish the price for their books. This is tricky and totally up to you but you might want to Google the topic and read a few articles. Here is one that could be helpful:   https://www.shopify.com/retail/120028547-9-strategies-for-profitably-pricing-your-retail-products

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5. Size: This is the trim or final size of the book.  We need separate measurements for height and width.

6. Book format: The type of book binding—whether it is hard cover or soft cover.

7. Book Description: Write a synopsis that entices people to read your book!  Make it interesting!

8. Author bio:  All about you!  Same principle as above applies here.

9. Book Category code, or BISAC: Is your book findable on the internet?  BISAC will help. This is the subject or category that best fits your title. Go to https://www.bisg.org/bisac/complete-bisac-subject-headings-2015-edition. Click on the appropriate subject area. From there, find the 9 character code; it will look something like this:     PER017000

You’re on the homestretch now!  All that is left is uploading your files, one file for the covers, and one file for the interiors.  Remember, files must be in PDF format, print-ready.  Click on the Upload button.  That’s it, you’re finished!

Can’t complete it in one sitting? Save your work and continue later.

More perks:

A pricing calculator!  Now you can check the costs of manufacturing, on the spot.  This makes it easier for you to understand exactly what your production costs are and what profit margin to establish.

 

 

Here in the Midwest, we’re happy to see some COLOR finally reappear in the landscape. Color outside makes us think about color in books. Lately,  we’ve been printing a lot of great color in our books, and we do get loads of questions about this topic.

By now you’ve figured out that there’s lots of lingo to know in printing. Let’s start with the basics. One phrase you have probably heard more than once is 4 color process. The four color printing process is universally used in the graphic arts and commercial printing industry for the reproduction of color images and text.

Four-color process simply means that the four colors combine: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black, or CMYK for short. The K is Black. You can think of CMYK as building blocks because most of the color spectrum can be reproduced with just the four process ink colors.

 

CMYK, the building blocks of color printing.

CMYK, the building blocks of 4-color printing.

These four colors combine during the printing process to create the full color butterfly image, pictured to the right. Formerly, this was achieved with photographic film on a graphic arts camera, but it is usually done digitally with software now.Look at the detail view of the wing. It’s really just dots of CMYK, using filters and screens and combined, forming the final 4-color image.

So now you know what CMYK is and you’re ready to quote. You’re most likely going to run into some letter/number combinations that are confusing. Here are a few shortcuts you’re likely to see:

4/0:  It means:  4 color process on side 1, no color on side 2

4/4:  It means:  4 color process on side 1 and side 2

4/K:  It means: 4 color process on side 1, Black (K) on side 2

Color is one of our specialties at PG. It’s not just for covers; more and more, we’re seeing it used within text pages and insert sections.  We’re always happy to help you understand it and  utilize it in your titles.  To help you get inspired,  here are a few images of color books recently printed.

DSC_0846DSC_0813DSC_0835

 

Book spines

When books are stacked up on a shelf, what’s on the spine is the only visible information about the book. In a book store, the details on the spine are what initially attract attention.

Creating a book spine is a critical aspect of the book design process. Whether hardcover or softcover, all perfect bound books require a book spine. But all too often spine measurements are overlooked during the design phase, and you end up with problems. Too thick of a spine, and your book closes with a tent-like gap. Too thin, and your book won’t close at all.

When you’re building your files, the width of the spine must be calculated and that measurement must be built into your cover art.  Yes, there is some math involved, but it’s not difficult and after a few tries, you’ll get the hang of it.  Of course, with all math problems, there is an equation:

spine width

In short, take the number of text pages and divide by the PPI.

What’s PPI?  It stands for Pounds Per Inch.  All papers have a PPI;  you can ask your printer for the PPI for your paper stock.  The chart below lists some PPI’s for papers on our floor.

PPI's for book weights

Here’s an example: Say you have a 500 page book and you choose a 70# Natural uncoated paper for the text pages.  Using the chart above, the PPI is 385.  Your equation is: 500 divided by 385 equals 1.29870.”  Rounded up, your spine width is 1.30.”   Simple, right?

There are some tools and templates on the PG website Resources page to help you calculate spines:  http://www.pubgraphics.com/resource-center.htm

Lastly, keep in mind these important considerations:

  • for hardbound books, add an additional 0.14 to the width (to accommodate the boards)
  • The minimum width of a hardcover spine is .0375
  • Max spine width is 21/4″ or 1200 pages
  • Avoid imagery/copy in the gutter– keep it 2mm away–  as glue won’t adhere to the spine

 

How do I market and sell my book?  By far,  it’s our number one question from authors. So after connecting with Alexa Whitten I knew I found someone who could expertly answer that!  Alexa is a head book coach at the Book Refinery, where she offers help with writing and publishing services for all aspiring authors. Here are her proven strategies:

Writing a book is such a powerful way of showing off your expertise, but many fall at the last hurdle –

Download a handy infographic

Step by step guide to market your book

There is not much point in going to all that effort, if your marketing isn’t spot on, and you are not able to get your book into the hands of your targeted readers. Many people wrongly assume that if they list their book on Amazon, they will become wealthy – but unfortunately that is not true. Amazon has had some terrible press recently (and rightly so, in my opinion) as they expect self-published authors to give a discount on the cover price, and the actual money made, once they take their cut, is pennies. Amazon is more interested in getting books out FOR CHEAP – and they will browbeat the supplier (or author, in this case) for the privilege.

So, instead of turning straight to Amazon, give these 7 simple strategies a try – and get the maximum profit for the book you’ve worked so hard to produce.

Number 1: Create a landing page for your book. This is most effective, especially if you can obtain a URL that is close to your book title. It costs roughly $20 a year for a domain, and it looks really smart when you use the URL in your advertising. Then you create a simple landing page (check out this site for what a good landing page should contain) and have a clean, easy to use, system for people to buy the book.

Number 2: Your List. Now depending on what kind of book you’ve written, I am going to assume you have a list of people who you regularly keep in contact with. Don’t have a list? Well, start!  Begin  by getting people to ‘opt in’ to your business website by offering something of value for free at the front end. In fact, you could offer the first chapter of your book – ask your designer (or whoever created your book) to make a nice PDF version – that includes the contents and the first chapter – then offer it, for free, with no obligation. You can do this in print ads too. Once you have searched out and ‘found’ the people who are technically interested in your writing (by requesting the free chapters) you then know they are the figuratively ‘raising their hands’ for more info.

Number 3: Publications. So, where do your targeted readers hang out? What papers do they read, what magazines do they buy? If you know that, then test small ads (or better still, try and get an editorial piece in the publication itself) offering your book and sending them to your landing page. Do your research and find out what your readers read. Also, offer the publication something of value – a reader offer. It’s a win, win situation – the magazine gives something of value for their subscribers, you get to distribute your book to targeted customers.

Number 4: Book Launch. Now most book launches are very self-serving – they promote the book, with little take away value for the attendees. If your book is aimed to get leads (written to position yourself as an expert) then use your book launch to continue that premise. Here’s an author who did just that – you can read all about it here. It doesn’t have to be about just  ‘your book’. Try and step into the shoes of your attendees, and gain leverage on that audience.

Number 5: Social Media. Now this is a no brainer. No matter what book you’ve written, social media is a great way to advertise your book. But be careful, no one really cares about your book per se. They care about the RESULTS it provides, so make sure you communicate that in your posts. Make it about the reader, not about ‘selling your book’. Offer competitions, reader specials (first 10 responders get 50% off cover price) and engage with your social media followers. With so many other people vying for attention, make sure you come from a different angle, and highlight the benefits of your book.

Number 6: Radio. This one can be really effective, as long as you approach it in the right way. Firstly try and get the names of the people at the local radio station – dealing with the right person holds lots of credit. Make sure you pitch your ‘talk’ or ‘interview’ as a benefit to their listeners. Again, people don’t want to hear you prattling on about your book…however, they would love to hear you talk about how you can help them in the area that your book is covering. Make sure you convey this to the radio station – and I’m sure they will be biting your hand off for you to come in and fill in a half hour slot. Make sure you advertise your books landing page when giving out details. (This is where having a URL with your book’s title is very effective, makes it much easier for the listener to remember.)

Number 7: Affiliates. In any line of business, you will have companies that offer parallel services to yours, and it’s these people you can approach to offer a special deal to their customers. This could be a very effective way of getting in streams of new clients and even if you offer your book for free, look at the revenue that could be gained from the back end. One new client could easily pay for the free books you might give away. Your joint alliance partner will also be offering their customers a great deal, as they are offering something of value – for free. It really is a win win.

You can find out more about Alexa and her company on her website: www.thebookrefinery.com

Visit pubgraphics.com for more information.

Have you written your book? Are you ready to start marketing?   Now comes the hard part:  building an author or book website to promote your book. Creating a website can be fun project, but it’s often easy to get caught up in the bells and whistles of web technology and forget the real purpose of a website.

In this post I’m interviewing Brandon McDonald, a graphic designer who has built a thriving business that helps small business, non-profits, and entrepreneurs. He’s designed many websites and has several suggestions that can help you tackle this time-consuming project and improve your web design experience.

It seem like websites have evolved from being art projects to becoming more of a marketing tool. What trends and changes have you noticed in website design?

Over the past 15 plus years, I have witnessed website design shifting from the hands of developers to designers and marketers. With this shift websites are generally more attractive and are often first approached from a marketing perspective. A great-looking website is often rendered useless when the needs of the target market aren’t considered from the very beginning of the plan. Great websites have carefully considered design, development, and marketing—all working in tandem.

What’s the most important thing that clients can do to work with website designers to make their websites more effective?  

Have a plan. Know what you want to accomplish. Who is your market? How are you different than your competitors? What makes you special? Effective designs come from effective plans. Many designers are great out-of-the-box thinkers. Including your designer early in the process can help shape a more effective end-result.

Is blogging worthwhile? Should a blog be part of a website?

Blogging can be very worthwhile. Adding valuable content on a regular basis will keep people engaged and give a reason to continually visit a site. More content also means more organic search results, which are very helpful with search engine optimization (SEO). Sharing expertise and knowledge is a good way to add value for readers and solidify a reputation as a leader in a particular field.

Blogging can also be a liability. When blogs aren’t updated regularly or contain little to no value it can make the company or person look lazy, disengaged, disingenuous, or otherwise bad.

Ultimately, it is up to the person or company to consider whether or not they can keep on top of the blog. If so, go for it! If not, maybe consider a different route, such as social media.

What else can authors/publishers do to make sure they’re on the right track?

Google Analytics and other site measurement tools are invaluable for data collection. With this data, you can see what is working and what isn’t. You can see where your site traffic is coming from: search keywords, links from other sites, etc. With this information you can better craft your next steps. The web is ever-changing, so adapt your strategies.

Don’t forget traditional media and promotion tools. Many businesses focus so heavily online that they neglect more traditional delivery methods, such as print. Print, coupled with web, can be more effective than either alone. Human beings enjoy the tactile. Targeted mailing to existing clients or serious prospects can be that extra thing that sets you apart from the competition and ultimately wins you a person’s business. A great designer will ensure that your online presence and printed materials match and create a cohesive brand.

Do you think social media can be used effectively to promote a book or author?

Social media is just another media to connect with an audience. It ideally is part of a larger promotional plan. It can be a highly effective sales tool for folks that can keep up with it. Check it often and always respond when a reasonable question is asked. It is a lot like customer service mixed with a fan club. Used in conjunction with a website containing a stellar blog, look out!

 

 

Lauren Pizza is an author whose memoir Meant to Be, was recently picked up by a publishing house.  When I met her last year at the Frankfurt Book Fair, she was there checking out the publishing industry.  Lauren’s story illustrates how important it is to stay the course and use every contact and promotional tool at your disposal.  Here is her inspirational story:

I never dreamed that I would walk into a bookstore and see a book that I wrote on the shelves. Not only was it available in the “New Releases” section, but my book was surrounded by other fabulous memoirs like Lea Michele’s Brunette Ambition and Robin Roberts’ inspiring Everybody’s Got Something.

Little did I know the amount of work that needed to transpire beforehand. So after my experience, I’ve come up with a few tips to help writers just starting out.

  1. Enjoy the process of writing (while you can): I fell in love with the creative process. It was truly a therapeutic experience, and I reveled in the idea that my work would reach others. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would write a memoir, let alone that people would actually buy it.
  2. It truly is all about who you know (and trial and error): Like any other 21st century human, I Googled how to get my book published. I came back with Nicholas Sparks’ agent among others. I figured going straight to the top would work out fabulously. The name of Sparks’ agent would have been great if I actually knew someone who could introduce us. Upon this realization— as well as no responses from
    POD book printing, short run book printing

    Jersey Girl, Lauren Pizza

    those top literary agents— I then began asking everyone who might know someone in the publishing world. I was even brave enough to email the entire manuscript to James Patterson (well, I emailed his wife, and I am still waiting for that reply).

  3. Be prepared for change: Not only did the title of my book change throughout the process, but so did the focus of my book. I finally found a successful person in the publishing world when I asked my husband’s lawyer if he knew anyone. The lawyer knew someone who had written two books, yay!   But, the process certainly didn’t stop there.  
  4. Sometimes, it doesn’t hurt to take others’ advice (especially regarding something you don’t know anything about):  I sent my manuscript to the publishing lawyer and heard nothing for five weeks. By that time, I was planning on self-publishing or just shelving the manuscript and calling it a day.  Then, I received the email that changed everything.  Meeting this man was like magically finding a goldmine. He told me that I write better than Norah Ephron and that I reminded him of Erma Bombeck. He also said I had the complete wrong list of literary agents and handed me a new list, told me who to call, and what to say.  He also encouraged me to learn as much as possible about the publishing industry, and I would give the same advice to any aspiring writer looking to get published.
  5. Marketing is everything (and never-ending): When Skyhorse Publishing agreed to meet with me, I was thrilled! After 45 minutes of an amazing performance on my part, the owner of the Publishing Company said: “Yes, I will publish your book!”   From that point on, marketing took over. You can write the greatest book ever, but if it doesn’t reach anyone, then what is the point? I began by hiring a publicist and working with a PR firm. We called radio stations, recorded a song as the soundtrack for my book, and even created and distributed 30 second commercials to various networks that played during prime time viewing. All that work was maybe even harder than writing the book!
  6. Establish a “brand” along with your bookI did that with my last name. Some people might try to hide a last name like “Pizza, but since I’m from New Jersey and we take pizza very seriously, why not sell that? I sent my book and promotional materials out in a pizza box. The magazines and media companies on the receiving end loved it. After all, wouldn’t you remember a book sent to you in a pizza box? Getting noticed is about selling what is unique about you as a writer. And by getting that noticed, you get remembered. I also went all out on Social Media reach with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, U –Tube, Linkedln , etc.

What is my best marketing tip?   Marketing will always be one of the most essential parts of your writing career.   So pretend you are running for office and sell your book that way, (maybe without kissing babies and all that).

 

 

By Katie Owens, PG customer service

A lot of authors create their content in Word documents.  There’s nothing wrong with that, but like most digital printers, PG works in a PDF workflow, so final files must be submitted in that format.

So how do you convert your Word documents to PDF’s?  It’s easy!  Just follow our step-by-step guide:

Step 1:  On the top bar of your work document, you will see multiple tab options. Click on PAGE LAYOUT.

On the top bar of your work document, you will see multiple tab options.  Click on PAGE LAYOUT.

Step 2: Once you are on the PAGE LAYOUT tab, click on the drop down option for SIZE. Next select MORE PAPER SIZES. 

Once you are on the PAGE LAYOUT tab, click on the drop down option for SIZE.  Next select MORE PAPER SIZES …

Step 3:  Go to the PAGE tab and you will enter in the WIDTH and HEIGHT of the book you want.

Step 3

Step 4:   The final step is saving your Word document as a PDF – see below for more detailed instructions.

Step 5

TIP:  Before proceeding, save a copy of your files, just in case something goes awry!

Go to “File”

  • Save As
  • Save As Adobe PDF
  • You will see a pop up notification from Acrobat PDF Maker: “Do you want PDFMaker to save the file and continue?” Click YES
  • Next you will see a new pop-up menu to save you file in a specific location and to name your file.

Make sure under the FILE NAME, you enter in the SAVE FILE TYPE AS and select PDF

  • Select OK and your Word file will be converted to a PDF.

That’s it!  Now you can rest easy knowing your files are set up in the proper format for digital production.

As always, you can give us a call or  visit pubgraphics.com.

 

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