Author Jason Cook What does it mean to be a self-published author today?
The answer to this question largely depends on an author’s reason for self-publishing. Authors we work with have many good motives for choosing a self-published route. Some may be looking to help secure a publishing deal by offering a professional example to publishers of how their book could look and read. Others are wishing to become career authors and remain in control of their titles or simply to supplement an existing income with on-going royalties. Then there are authors on an adventure to complete a personal goal of simply writing and publishing a book or to compile a family history as an heirloom or gift.
Whatever the reason for choosing to publish independently, once you have made the decision to do so, you will be presented with a bewildering diversity of options, offers, packages and deals. Confusing times for all but the most experienced and, even then, the number of choices is growing. Choice is a good thing, if you really know what is on offer.
Recent events in the self-publishing industry have painfully highlighted the situation that many authors have found themselves in after becoming ‘self-published’. Authors who are contractually bound, intellectually and logistically, to self-publishing companies are increasingly realising that they are not necessarily self-publishing at all, but signing away their work for little return. Rather than finger pointing, we would rather seek to outline what we feel self-publishing should involve and, importantly, what true self-published authors should have the right to:
Fully transparent service
Value for money
No hidden costs
You only pay for the services you want – you can pick and choose what you want
Services tailored to your needs
Full intellectual copyright over titles
No middleman taking a cut of their book sales revenues
Top-level design that helps sell books
Someone to talk to about their project whenever they fancy
Advice about how to set up their own independent publishing name
Assistance to apply for your own, unique, ISBNs
Access to ‘big publisher’ services
Full control over digital storage of their book manuscripts and artwork
Specialist consultation services available to your self to achive your goals. Advice is given to help those who require various support and aspects covering Marketing 7 website design and promotion distribution.
Book cover design
Whatever your genre, you will be competing for sales and since your book cover is your shop window, it absolutely must be beautiful. Whether on Amazon, iBooks or in Waterstones, your book cover will be seen before a reader even gets to page one, so it needs to look like a best-seller. We will design your cover as you want it, your input is vital to get the best result.
To bring your book to the widest possible audience, you need to convert it to eBook and make it available to the online Kindle market and beyond. Our team of conversion specialists will make this a simple process. The conversion of text manuscript files into error-free, beautiful eBooks for Kindle and other eReaders is a process that requires specialist software, an eye for detail, and a thorough quality control process. Readers are used to viewing eBook titles prepared by publishers for professional authors and so it’s crucial that your eBook is up to that same high standard. Our eBook conversion team have perfected the process over hundreds of thousands of conversions, refining it to the point of obsession. We combine cutting-edge software that recodes your text styles and preserves formatting at over 99.5% accuracy, with the essential phase of quality control performed by a dedicated team of (human) proof-readers. We output the finely tuned files in both the formats (.mobi, .epub) you will need, simultaneously, so that the reading experience is nearly identical on all devices. There are different approaches and technologies involved in producing different styles of eBook. One thing that is common to all eBooks is that they must be error-free, true to the original content, and they must conform to the latest industry standards of eBook file creation. From .epub and .mobi, to reflowable and fixed-layout, (to name but a few key technologies) there are many technical considerations and it’s vital that this process is undertaken with the utmost care. Bug-ridden and glitchy eBooks will result in user complaints and, worse still, negative reviews. The Way Forward Publishing Services will take your edited manuscript and deliver perfect eBook files ready to be uploaded without a hitch.
Editing your book
Experienced authors will already understand the need for a thorough edit before publishing their work. A good story can be turned into a masterpiece when a professional editor takes your narrative and crafts it into a technically strong piece of writing, and this is what will give you those crucial positive reviews on Amazon, supporting sales and reinforcing your author profile. Although it can be difficult to hand over your carefully written manuscript to an unknown editor, most authors simply cannot effectively edit their own work. And while it may feel as if you’re allowing your voice to be changed, or that you just don’t need it, the opposite is almost always true. Our team of highly experienced editors work with your tone and style, and refine your work from a professional perspective. We have genre specialists on hand to ensure that no matter what the tone of your book, the right editor will be assigned to you. From thrillers to children’s books; sci-fi to biography, our team have the editing experience to support your creative flare. We use the ‘tracked changes’ method of presenting the edited files, allowing you to accept or reject changes as you see fit, and read the manuscript in either the fully edited or original state. This allows for a collaboration between author and editor, ensuring that your story is being told in the best way it can be; increasing your chances of five star reader reviews. Our authors are always very excited to receive their latest work in its fully edited state. It uncovers the true greatness of a great manuscript and prevents you from falling foul of mistakes that will later become evident and affect sales. We offer various editorial services to help you perfect your manuscript, from a light proofread to a full ghost-writing project.
This service checks for errors of spelling, punctuation and grammar. It also highlights typographical errors, omissions or repetitions in your writing and points out any obvious breaks in the continuity of the piece. Basically, it finds mistakes before your book goes to print.
This service covers all of the above and more. It’s a sensitive service, designed to retain, and be true to, the author’s ‘voice’. As well as the aforementioned proofreading checks, copyediting addresses the flow and style of your writing. Is your writing clear, concise and unambiguous? Does it always make sense? Is the text organised in the most logical manner? Are there any inconsistencies in your use of plot, characterisation or dialogue, for example? Copyediting moulds your writing to make it the best it can be; it makes your book come alive.
Not everyone is equipped to be a writer, but that shouldn’t stop them from becoming a novelist. Some people have a great story in them, but not the time to get it written down. Others are simply unhappy with their own attempts to portray the story that they can see so clearly in their mind. The ghost=writing service offers a wide range of options to allow the author full control over their ghost-writing project. You can be as involved as you wish with this, and you always retain full control over the finished manuscript.
Would you like feedback on your manuscript? Our editing team has decades of experience working with manuscripts at all stages of development, and this service gives tailored feedback, designed to help you move forward towards the best writing of which you are capable. Our feedback can focus on characters, plot, themes, style, or anything that you want us to focus on.
The printed page delivers your story. Since the invention of the press, the presentation of words on paper has been refined to perfection. Your readers demand a comfortable experience and will immediately notice any layout issues. Our team will take your raw manuscript and turn it into an effortlessly readable book. If you’re writing your book in Microsoft Word or a similar software package, you’ll know that creating a great story and creating a great layout are two different tasks. Most of the self-published authors we work with have printed copies of their books available to buy, and so it’s essential that the page layout be created to a professional standard. To make a book comfortably readable, consideration needs to be given to text tracking, leading, font size, style, chapter breaks, contents, front matter pages, index, glossary, footnotes and not to mention graphs, diagrams, and illustration where necessary. What may seem like simple case of changing the page size to a standard paperback format, is actually a complex project in its own right. We are professional book designers and have the skills to transform your raw manuscript into a beautifully laid out book file that not only looks as good as any book in Waterstones, but is prepared for print in the right way. We work extensively with major print facilities for POD (print on demand) and traditional lithographic printing presses and so we have the experience to create a brilliantly designed book that passes all the pre-press checks and prints beautifully.
Print and P.O.D.
We have much experience in designing and printing books. This affords us access to not only the best print production teams operating in the world today, but also the keenest prices. From Print on Demand to large volume runs, we are the authority on quality and cost. The beauty of Print on Demand is that it completely removes the necessity of creating a bulk print run. As the name suggests. If you sell one book, then one book is printed and the order fulfilled. It’s the perfect format for new authors to test titles and experiment with marketing techniques without needing to invest in bulk printing. If you’re starting out and you just require a few copies of your book for family and friends or to start the marketing ball rolling gradually then this is the perfect, no-risk, option. If you’re a medium-weight author with a couple of titles and you’d like to get a better unit cost, then a short-medium digital run could be be exactly what you need. The quality of digital presses is so close to lithographic (traditional method book printing) these days, that the difference is negligible. We can advise you on the best option, based on your timescale and budget. Experienced self-publishers will often require larger runs to meet demand, and that’s where traditional lithographic printing comes into it’s own. With an overall lower unit cost (cost per book), the litho printed book is ideal for those authors who are looking for a larger quantity of books to fulfil forecast sales figures.
Every author needs an online presence. If you’re selling a book online at Amazon or CreateSpace, existing and potential readers need to know that you are a serious author with a strong brand and established identity. Your website communicates your personality, genre and style. It’s an extension of your writing and is therefore one of the most effective marketing tools you can have. As an author, you will rarely be around to convince thousands of potential readers of your writing prowess, explain your style and influences or tell them what titles you are working on and, regardless of whether you are planning to sell your book directly from your own site or by using third-party selling platforms such as Amazon, your book sales success will be affected by how your potential readership perceive you. That perception is shaped by your book cover, book reviews and your profile or ‘author brand’ as presented on your website. If an Amazon customer reads a glowing review for your book, but they cannot find out who you are to reinforce and validate their decision to buy, they may not commit to the purchase. It’s not their financial investment that is the deciding factor as much as the time investment that they prepared to make into a serious author’s work. Your website fulfils this need for communication and will be used by you to host a blog, redirect readers to the retail outlets for your work and, crucially, to make you searchable online. This may sound complex, but we create sites in Wordpress or Joomla, which are Content Management Systems designed to allow you the freedom to update and maintain your site without needing any programming knowledge. We also build in a modular fashion. This means you can start with the basics such Home, Books and Contact pages, and then as time and budget allow, you can add on the various extras such as a blog, shop, news, and multimedia items like a gallery and video adverts for your titles etc. Once you have a book or two online, traffic will begin to flow to your site, and this is when you have a chance to really impress your potential readership and turn them into loyal fans.
ISBNs and barcodes
ISBNs and barcodes are essential basics for any self-publishing author. Linking into a system introduced in the early 70s, an ISBN is your book’s unique identifier and it allows you to take advantage of the internationally recognised cataloguing system. It’s easy to get one via The Way Forward Publishing Services. An often overlooked item, this 13 digit number is your ticket to retail accessibility, so it’s important that you allocate one for each of your print editions and of course your eBook versions. It may not seem too important to begin with, but as your book sales grow, your ISBN will be used by the book trade and public to identify and differentiate your books in all of their editions, check stock levels at retail outlets and perform library searches. Your ISBN is linked to all of your book data, making it a useful piece of information to help catalogue and map your products and presence as an author. You may already know that ISBNs are also used to generate the barcodes for each of your printed editions. We assist many self-publishers in the application of their allocation of ISBNs, which are available in blocks of 10, 100 or 1000. By applying for these, you become an independent publisher and all searches performed via any of your allocated ISBNs will return results bearing your chosen publishing name. At The Way Forward Publishing Services, we create publishing brands for independent authors who are looking to self-publish in the truest sense. Our clients tell us that there’s something incredibly satisfying about choosing a publishing house name, applying for ISBNs and seeing their own, independent publishing label’s logo on the spine of their latest title. So acquiring ISBNs is not just a box-ticking exercise, but also an essential and pleasing part of the creative process which ties your titles, your author profile and publishing label together.
Our distribution package covers all of the major retail outlets and devices for eBooks, including Amazon (.com and .co.uk) Kindle, Apple iBooks and iPad, Kobo, Nook and also print-on-demand distribution for paperback copies to CreateSpace store and Amazon. Once you have written your book, had it edited, converted to the relevant eBook formats, a beautiful cover designed and prepared for print, how will you best bring your creation to the millions of potential readers that are eagerly awaiting the next, newest reading sensation? Our clients approach distribution in a multitude of ways. A proportion of them choose to take 100% ownership of the process, creating individual accounts with the various retail outlets and print-on-demand facilities and manually driving traffic toward these locations. While it is true that one of the great things about self-publishing is the that you are able to take complete control of your marketing and retail opportunities, it must also be acknowledged that it can be a protracted process, especially since understanding the technical aspects of eBook creation and uploading and the standard requirements for successful, smooth printing are professional skills. The Way Forward Publishing Services offers seamless preparation and distribution of your eBook and print files to all the major retailers, affording you the time to concentrate on authorship and reducing the need for time-consuming troubleshooting during the upload and distribution process. Call us to discuss how we can help you not only to distribute your book quickly and easily, but how we can give you all the tools you need to begin driving traffic toward your retail pages, increasing sales and creating exponential marketing growth.
Book launch videos
Video is increasingly becoming a staple of online marketing. Nothing encapsulates the tone and content of your book as powerfully as a short video with a well written and beautifully spoken voice-over or stirring soundtrack. It may sound unachievable, but with The Way Forward Publishing Services, it’s not. The exponential increase in online video promotion has been phenomenal over the past two years. The reason for this is simply that it works. We’re spending more time online, which means less time watching commercials on TV. The result has been that companies are adjusting their budgets to include online video advertising. But when was the last time you saw an online video advert for a book launch? We would suspect, never. However, this is due to change since the potential marketplace that you can reach with a video advert is huge. By simply placing your video advert on platforms such as YouTube and Facebook and then Tweeting links, you could start an awareness campaign about your book that could go viral. The Way Forward Publishing Services believes in pushing self-publishing boundaries, and we now offer a video creation service that will give your book a powerful and professional advantage when it comes to sales promotion. A professionally produced video advert with music, a professional voice over and, of course, featuring your book cover. Your promotional advert can be used in hundreds of ways, from creating your own YouTube channel to sharing on Facebook, Twitter and your other social media. Your potential readership are a legion of book-hungry and media-savvy browsers who are becoming increasingly receptive to video promotions which means now is the time to get ahead of the game and embrace this blossoming media opportunity.
The rising popularity of companies such as Audible, Overdrive and of course Amazon and iBooks’ audiobook download options means that your potential readers are very much accompanied by potential listeners. Commuters, gym-goers, children at bed-time and Sunday afternoon relaxers are waiting to listen to your next title. Make it available with The Way Forward Publishing Services audiobook creation service. From your manuscripts we create wonderful, professionally narrated audiobooks, ready for distribution to all the major outlets. The enthusiasm of audiobook aficionados cannot be denied. Those who love consuming books in this format often do so exclusively, claiming that the listening experience is superior in every respect to that of reading. It is said that the immersion achieved by cutting out external sensory pollution; noise and light, and plunging yourself into an audiobook is deeper, better and more engaging than reading from the pages of a standard printed title or an eReader device. The popularity of audiobooks is growing quickly - arguably because they are the most portable of book formats. You can listen to an audiobook anywhere with a pair of headphones and even engage with them while doing other things (not driving, naturally), so they are the perfect way to consume new titles if you are short of leisure time, space, or even if you don’t like reading. Book lovers all over the world are taking more and more notice of this rather underused format. Since Amazon acquired Audible in 2008, audiobooks sales have steadily increased, and the trend is looking set to continue. At The Way Forward Publishing Services, we cater to all of the needs of modern independent publishers, and as such we take the production of audiobooks very seriously. Our team of experts can lead you through understanding the particulars of audiobook creation, from choosing the most appropriate actor, to understanding file formats and technical issues, to distribution and sales. We can also offer recorded actor samples and can even create auditions for reading excerpts of your book. At the end of the process you will be in possession of a stunning version of your book which anyone can enjoy anywhere.
Not every self-published book is a novel, and the sheer diversity of titles on which our clients ask us to work is necessarily accompanied by an extensive range of book specifications with specialist binding, paper stocks, custom sizes and finishes. From cookery books and portfolios to coffee table books, reference books, manuals and more, our print teams and designers are happiest when working on unusual books which take independent publishing in new and exciting directions. We love producing novels, and a significant proportion of our clients are amazingly talented story-tellers, however, we also work with authors who are interested in self-publishing more unusual titles. Our vast experience in traditional publishing means that there is nothing we don’t know about producing titles which are bespoke, unique and beautiful. A ‘specialist book’ might be described as any title which falls outside of the spectrum of the ‘standard’ specification of novels. Often these will be non-fiction, since informational titles typically require a bespoke design and print to accommodate their particular content. Cookbooks, portfolios, photography books, memoirs, coffee table books etc. are all items which we supply to our clients and each one is a work of art. If you are a professional with visual or informational content which could be made into a book, then creating a specialist publication could be exactly what you need to showcase your talents and demonstrate the world that you are the authority in your field. Perhaps you are an architect, poet, photographer or landscape gardener; whatever your profession, a book which beautifully presents your expertise and experience is the perfect sales piece to pass to your best prospects, and is fast becoming one of the most popular forms of self-promotion in professional industries.
Book marketing package
Book marketing is a many-faceted thing. The first thing to know is that marketing begins and ends with a high quality product; your book. No matter how connected you are, these connections are only ever as good as the book you are leading people to, so make sure that is taken care of before you start Tweeting. Then, it’s time for social media, websites, distribution, press-releases and events. There are many articles which explore the marketing and promotional approaches of our authors - many of whom are selling very well indeed - and the main point which can be distilled from everything we have learned over the last two decades, is that marketing is effective when it leads people to a good looking, well-written book. So, once you have this cornerstone in place, how do you send people to it? Modern authors have a multitude of options available to support and accelerate the sales that will occur ‘automatically’ by having a great cover and some good reviews on the online retail outlets. So, what should you do first? Potential readers often want to know a little about an author to give be reassured that their potential investment of time will be worthwhile. To this end, open social media accounts, make them look good and allow readers this opportunity. From Facebook and Twitter, a website should be linked so people can go a little deeper into you and your titles and sign up to your mailing list. Your distribution setup is also crucial for visibility - making the right keyword choices for your Amazon account can enable you to tap into genre fans’ searching habits, while pricing your book correctly and having a great product description are ‘shop-window’ essentials. A press-release will help to give your launch some impetus and will be a good thing to have handy when you approach your local independent book-sellers. When you set up launch events, such as a book reading or signing, be sure to have business cards, postcards and posters handy to make a visual impact, and make people remember your title. While most self-publishers are responsible for their own marketing, all have different specialisms and skills. We know many authors who are great at setting up meetings, selling face-to-face and getting their books into local retailers, but cannot easily engage with online promotion, while other authors are more than comfortable blogging and Facebooking, but are not as good at representing themselves away from the screen. Whichever camp you fall into, we are able to supply the tools and advice you need to complete your marketing repertoire. We deliberately don’t offer ‘one-size’ packages but will speak to you in person to find out what you require in your own unique self-publishing situation. If you simply require assistance with distribution, or setting up with social media platforms, then we can help. If you need an entire suite of marketing tools, we can do that. We’ll create a bespoke marketing package suited to what you actually need.
We at The Way Forward Publishing Services have worked very hard to offer you, the author, a comprehensive, affordable and quality alternative to the all too often frustrating world of conventional publishing. We offer the following services to enable you to realise your dream of becoming a published author.
For a standalone fee:
Consultation with a member of the team or Jason About how to publish and get your book ready. Speak to one of our team and get all the answers before making your decision. £25
For just £705 you will receive all of the following or you can pick and choose which elements you want.
Full text typesetting of your manuscript Professional typesetters will manually layout your book in high resolution, ready for print.
Design your book cover You can design your own cover online by choosing one of our images or your own design, and then add your text over the image.
Editing and proof-reading your book
We will edit your book making sure the story flows correctly without continuity errors. We will also check for grammatical and punctuation errors. £60
Hi-Resolution typesetting of your text & cover Your book cover front, spine, back, and inside text, will be typeset in high resolution ready for print.
A PDF proof copy of your book e-mailed to you prior to final printing Once we have finished typesetting your book, we will e-mail you a proof of it for approval prior to going to print.
Upon receipt of your approval, your book will be sent to press and one book will be with you within 2 weeks.
An ISBN number and barcode – (International Standard Book Number) Your book will have its own ISBN number assigned – this will enable you to sell it via any bookstore or internet site.
Internet distribution via Amazon.co.uk We will register it on Amazon, so that it will be available for you or anyone to purchase via this site.
ebook conversion We will convert your book ready for the digital market for sale on Amazon and other similar sites. £20
Wholesale distribution via Bertrams, Gardners and Nielsons throughout the UK Your book will be available from these companies for maximum UK distribution coverage. Your book will be available to be purchased online from stores such as Amazon, WHSmith, Foyles, Waterstones, etc. £20
· Book/author websites We will set you up with a website for your books, you will have your own domain name £20 · Book launch videos We will make a video for you to either put on Facebook or on your website £30
Placed on legal deposit with UK National Libraries You have to submit your book to at least one of six main libraries – this is also included for you – but we submit to all six national libraries in the UK.
£15 Spend over £300 and get a review for you book cover from a published author.
For an additional cost
· Audiobooks Using a local company we will convert your book in to an audiobook market making it accessible to a wider audience. Please contact us for details · Ghost-writing Professional ghost-writers offer an experienced, high calibre services. If you have a story to tell but do not feel able to write it yourself then a ghost-writer is the way to go. Please contact us for details
Ability to reorder your book - Print and P.O.D Print on demand allows you to order a book, one at a time if you like, from our website – simply log on, and place an order.
Marketing is the key to let more people know about your book the more people that know about your book the more sale you might make. We will help you with you marketing for 2 months and will give you plane and contacts for the book to help you marketing can be very expensive but we give you some tools and guide you to help you achieve this on your own £350.
We wish you good luck there are many routes to take to success depending the success you want. Please contact us for details firstname.lastname@example.org