Blog to Book Project — Quotes

There certainly is a time and place for quotes in your blog to book project.

An epigraph is a short quotation, proverb, or poem that suggests the theme of the book which is part of the front matter.

Sometimes the title of a book comes from the epigraph. Sections can be introduced with poignant quotes. A collection of short stories might have an epigraph for each one.

Quotes are often taken from famous literature, Shakespeare, the bible, the poems of Edgar Allan Poe, and so on. The goal is to pique the reader’s interest. It could be done with humor or as foreshadowing.

So many amazing things have already been written that there is bound to be a quote out there that is exactly right for your book. Your job is to find it.

Assignment:

Find an epigraph for your blog to book project.

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Blog to Book Project — Pressbooks

It’s time to share another writing tool! I know many authors utilize Word to craft their books then download a pdf file to upload to Amazon and voila but when I have attempted that process you wouldn’t believe the number of formatting errors that what to my wondering eyes did appear.

I was sure there had to be a better way. So I did a general search with my trusty friend Google and was nearly instantaneously presented with a list of book template sites. For whatever reason, I went with Pressbooks run by Book Oven Inc. Maybe I thought the idea of a book oven was cute. I can’t remember exactly what prompted me back then, but whatever the reason might have been, Pressbooks is now my book template of choice.

You can use the Pressbooks platform for free, which certainly fits a struggling author’s budget. When you are ready to upgrade there is a one-time fee of $19.99 per book to remove the Pressbook advertising from the EPUB and MOBI files. These files can then be uploaded to KDP, Kobo, Smashwords or any other publishing site.

If your book file (including images) is more than 25 MB, then you can upgrade again. You’ll get up to 250 MB of storage space and the PDF version of your book will also be advertisement free. I’ve only had to purchase the pro version once out of 9 books I have published. I’ve found that 25 MB gives you a whole lot of text and space for a few images to boot.

Pressbooks has made all of my blog to book projects so much easier. It takes just a minute or two to set up a new book. My catalog lists all the books I’m working on in one place. All my sections and chapters are easily arranged and rearranged. The front and back matter are appropriately formatted and numbered. There is even a glossary function that hyperlinks the word and sets up the glossary.

I can change the font and chapter introduction by selecting a new theme design. Automatically everything in the book is formatted to match the chosen theme.  If I don’t like the look of it, then I can change it again.

Setting up the copyright page is extremely simple. It is then inserted exactly where it should be in the text. There is even a cover generator, although I prefer the KDP cover generator.

I can view my book online similar to the KDP previewer. In this mode I can check my book for excessive white space, blank pages or awkwardly positioned images.

When I’m completely satisfied, I export the file and download it to my computer. Then I can upload it to the publishing site (I use KDP). If there are issues with image size or other problems with the text arrangement, I can edit the file on Pressbooks and export it again.

I can make sections of the book public and send readers to read sample chapters. Or I can make the entire book public online and ask Beta readers for their input.

So, to make your blog to book project that much easier, I suggest looking into a book template site like Pressbooks.

Assignment:

Check out different book template sites including Pressbooks.  

Blog to Book Project — Organize

While organization seems like a given, it actually can be quite tricky. There are so many rabbits holes you can fall down that before you know it, your blog to book project has been in the works six months or more with no end in sight.

Now, everyone will do things just a bit differently and that’s fine, but I’ll go through my general organization process when I am working on a blog to book project to show you what I mean.

  1. Decide on a theme for your blog to book project. (Example: Herbal Remedies in Mexico).
  2. Go through your blog posts and cull all posts that have something to do with the said theme. (Found 16 blog posts).
  3. Create a new book in Pressbooks and come up with a catchy title. (New book: Exploring Mexican Herbal Remedies) NOTE: We will talk about Pressbooks tomorrow.
  4. Copy and paste each post into a chapter in Pressbooks.
  5. Determine how many more chapters would make a decent size book. (I think 10 more chapters would be good).
  6. Write those and post them to your blog staggering the publication dates.
  7. Add the posts to your book.
  8. Move the hyperlinks to the endnotes or appendix.
  9. Rearrange, remove or reformat any images.
  10. Edit individual chapters.
  11. Write the introduction.
  12. Write a conclusion.
  13. Add the author page, acknowledgments, dedication, foreword, preface, or epigraph if applicable.
  14. Choose a copyright license.
  15. Add cover image.
  16. Check your book in Pressbooks viewer for formatting errors.
  17. Export.
  18. Download.
  19. Upload to the publishing site. (I use KDP)
  20. Check your book in KDP viewer for formatting errors.
  21. Fix errors. Export again. Download again. Upload again.
  22. Publish.

Of course, your work as an author is not finished by a long shot. You still have to get people to actually buy and read your book. So marketing would be another organizational aspect that we won’t get into just yet.

Assignment:

Make an ordered list for your blog to book project.

Blog to Book Project — Numbering Pages

Numbering the pages in the book is not as easy as 1, 2, 3 unfortunately, unless you are creating an ebook. Then there are no page numbers! An electronic book (ebook) is designed to be fluid text to accommodate different ereaders. So if you are only making an ebook, then numbering pages is a no-brainer.

However, if you are creating a print edition of your blog to book project, then let’s break it down.  

Front matter uses lower-case Roman numerals (xi, v, i ). If you remember, front matter includes Title Page, Copyright Page, Dedication, Acknowledgments, Table of Contents, Foreword, Prologue, Epigraph, and Reviews. Page numbers are only visible on these pages Acknowledgments, Dedication, Table of Contents, Foreword,  Prologue, Reviews even though all of the sections of the front matter are included in the page count.

Pages on the left side should have even numbers. Pages on the right should be odd-numbered. Page numbering always begins on the right. Your book should end on an even numbered page, even if that means adding a blank page or end sheet at the end. The title page and any blank pages do not have page numbers although they are included in the count.

If you have different sections, the page count continues but the page number is not shown on the section page. Everything after the front matter uses Arabic numbers (1, 2, 3) as a numbering system.

You can position your page numbers in the header or footer of your margins. Header page numbers are 0.125 inches above the text and often have a running header. Page numbers have left alignment on the pages on the left and right alignment on the right-hand pages. Footer page numbers are centered 0.125 inches below the text.

Assignment:

Check your numbering in your blog to book draft. Are all sections of the front matter numbered using lowercase Roman numerals? Does your first page number begin on the right?

Blog to Book Project — Maps

Maps! Yes, you can include maps in your blog to book project.

If you are chronicling your travels in the jungles of  Asia, why not include a map that highlights your adventures? If you are writing about herbs, you could include a botanical map. A book about the Mojave Desert might have a geologic map. A backpacking through Europe book could feature a road map. If your book focuses on finding the best place for expats to retire in Mexico, a climate map is an excellent addition.

If you dedicate a section to a particular theme that would do well to have a map for visual clarification, go ahead and create a map. There are several free map creator sites available online.

You can even find historical maps at Old Maps Online. Most of these maps are public domain images and free to use, but be sure to check the copyright information when using a map created by someone else.

Are you compiling a collection of Viking myths and need a map of Valhalla? You wish is granted with these fantasy maps generators.

Maps are fun to create and add a unique visual element to your final blog to book project. Make sure to save your map as a jpg or png image.

Assignment:

Find a section of your book that would benefit from a map. Create it!

Blog to Book Project – Lists

You may want to include some very specific lists in the front matter of your blog to book project. All of these are optional.  

If your book includes a number of unfamiliar abbreviations, a list would help your reader make sense of the text. The list should be alphabetized by the abbreviation, not the full meaning. Thus U.S.A. instead of the United States of America would determine where the abbreviation falls in the list.

A list of contributors is where you can include the names and a brief bio about the people who contributed to your blog to book project. This is not the same as the acknowledgments page although you are acknowledging the contributions of these people. A list of contributors includes relevant biographical information, like membership in certain organizations, current position demonstrating expertise in an area, academic affiliations or published works. Contributors are listed in alphabetical order by last name but written in standard order. So Henry S. Pingleton is not written Pingleton, Henry S. in the contributor list and comes before Johnny Quimby and after Yori Oliver.

If your text has a multitude of visuals including figures, diagrams, drawings, photos, charts, tables, or maps, you might want to include a list of figures, list of tables or list of illustrations.  Capitalize the figure titles in the list. Use a highly descriptive title. Table 3 is not as informative as Table of Live Birth Rates in Mexico from 1887 – 1997.

Throughout your text, the figures should be numbered in Arabic numbers consecutively as they appear.  Otherwise, you can use a chapter – number system to keep track. For instance Figure 8-2 would be the second visual in chapter 8.

In your ebook, you will hyperlink the figure title to the figure in the text. In a print book, listing the page number is sufficient.

Although most often found in fiction books, you may also want to include a list of characters in your blog to book project if it would be hard for the reader to keep track of the people and relationships in your story without a guide. You can organize the list by order of appearance or family groups or overlapping relationships, whichever would be most useful for the reader.

A reference list is found at the end of each chapter in an ebook. Here you would include all works that are cited in the chapter. This list may also be called endnotes. List the entries alphabetically unless you are using a numbered citation system in the chapter.

Assignment:

Decide if your blog to book project needs any lists. If so, make it so.

Blog to Book Project — KDP

Kindle Direct Publishing for eBooks

I have used Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) for all my books. There are other self-publishing sites out there which may be just as good, however, I am not as familiar with the process and you would do better to get information from an author who has used those publishing sites.

With KDP you can publish an ebook or print book to Amazon in under an hour, depending on the number formatting errors you have. And, if you edit or add sections to your book, all you have to do is upload the manuscript again.

So here’s how it works. You can sign in with your Amazon account here. You do have an Amazon account, don’t you? That will take you to your bookshelf. You’ll see a section that says Create a New Title. I always create my ebook version first because I find there fewer formatting errors for me to fix.

Ebook Book Details

Language

Choose the language your book is written in.

Book Title

Type in the book title and subtitle if you have one.

Series

If your book is part of a series, you’ll enter that information in this section

Edition Number

If you are creating a new edition of a book, you would include that information next.

Author

Add your name as the Author as you wish it to appear.

Contributors

Then list any contributors you would like to appear in your title and on the cover. This is a little different than your contributors’ page in the book itself.

Description

Your book description should be a short blurb intended to get people interested in your book. When this is displayed on the book page on Amazon, only the first few lines will be visible without having to click on Read more, so you’ll want to concentrate on making the introduction reader worthy.

Publishing Rights

The next category is Publishing Rights. As this is a Blog to Book Project, you will choose “ I own the copyright and I hold the necessary publishing rights.” Unless you take your blog posts down before uploading your manuscript, you may get a notification from Amazon saying that the content of your book is already freely available on the web. That’s perfectly fine. You just have to resubmit the manuscript verifying that you are the author of those freely available posts.

Keywords

You should spend some time listing the most relevant keywords next. Amazon gives some great tips for choosing the best keywords here. In general, you want to pick keywords that a reader might use to find your book’s topic. So if you write about zebras bred in captivity you might include zebra, zebras in zoos, zebra babies, animals bred in captivity, zoo babies and so on. Doing searches on Amazon for books similar to your own will also help you decide which keywords will get you the most readers.

Categories

You can choose two categories to help classify your book. Spend some time looking through the lists. Do another search and see what categories those books that are like yours are using. Try to be as specific as possible. Nonfiction > Self-Help > Death, Grief, Bereavement is more specific than just Nonfiction and a better category for your book about how you coped with the loss of your beloved pet.

Age and Grade Range

If you like, you can choose an age or grade range. Doing so is completely optional, but if you think it would help readers find your book, certainly do so. If you aren’t sure about the grade range, remember Hemminway will give you an approximate level for free.

Pre-Order

The last section on this page is to choose whether your book is ready for publishing or if you would like to generate some pre-order publicity hype first. It’s entirely up to you. Then choose Save and Continue to move along to the next step.

Once the new page opens up, you’ll see a check mark next to the work Complete if you have correctly added all the required fields.

Ebook Content

Digital Rights Management (DRM)

Digital Rights Management restricts readers from giving their copy of your ebook to someone else. Enabling it doesn’t prohibit someone from lending your ebook to another person for a short period of time or giving a copy of your ebook to someone else as a gift after purchasing.

Upload Ebook Manuscript

If you are sure you’ve done all the formatting correctly and have your ebook saved in one of these formats (.doc, .docx, HTML, MOBI, ePub, RTF, Plain Text, and KPF.) you can upload your ebook now. You can also download Kindle Create to format your book correctly. Doing so might save you some time and frustration in the long run because you just can’t publish until the formatting it right.

Amazon will also do a spell check for you. Since I use a number of Mexican Spanish words in some of my books, sometimes these words get highlighted as misspelled when they aren’t. It doesn’t hurt to double check the words Amazon finds because I guarantee you that no matter how many times you have proofread your manuscript, there are always a few that escape notice.

Kindle eBook Cover

If you have a cover design already, you can upload it at this point. I always use Cover Creator because tech savvy I am not. As we talked about in Judge Your Cover, the options are limited but you are assured that everything is the proper formatting size.

Kindle eBook Preview

Even if you think everything is good to go, you can not continue until you preview your cover and manuscript. There may be image issues, or you may find that one page has a huge amount of white space or some other issue. Amazon highlights certain issues for you to check, does some fiddling with a few things to help you out, but you should go page by page and check how your book looks on a tablet, phone or e-reader.

Kindle eBook ISBN

Kindle eBooks are not required to have an ISBN but if you have one, you can enter it here.

Save and Continue.

Kindle eBook Pricing

KDP Select Enrollment

You can enroll at KDP Select in the first section if you like. Benefits include being able to promote your book with free book promotions or countdown promotions. Drawbacks include not being able to publish your book at any other sites while it is enrolled.

Territories

Since you are publishing your blog posts in book form and you hold the copyrights to them, you can choose All Territories (worldwide rights).

Royalty and Pricing

KDP Pricing Support (Beta) will give you an idea of what to charge for your ebook based on the prices of books similar to yours. You can use the figure Amazon provides (they generally know what they are talking about) or you can choose another price.

You can choose either 35% or 70% royalty commission percentage. Based on which you choose, Amazon will give you a minimum-maximum price range for you to select from. You can change the prices in other marketplaces either higher or lower if you like.

Matchbook

If you’d like to offer your ebook for free or at a reduced price to people who buy your print book, you can enroll it in Kindle Matchbook. It’s optional.

Book Lending

If you would like to allow your readers to lend a book to someone else after purchasing it for 14 days, you can enroll in book lending.

Terms & Conditions

If everything looks good after reading the terms and conditions, you can go ahead and click Publish Your Kindle Ebook.

You’ll receive a notification that your book is undergoing review and another email if there is something that needs to be fixed or that the book is available for purchase. You did it!

Assignment:

Upload and publish your ebook using KDP.

Blog to Book Project — Judge Your Cover

Your cover has one job, to get people to read your book. Yep, that’s it. In order to do that, there are some components you should consider when designing your cover. (Yes, you can design your own.)

Does the cover portray the genre of your book? If you are writing a homesteading book, maybe a bodice ripper scene on the front, although certainly intriguing, wouldn’t accurately represent the information you have inside.

Who is your book written for? Your cover design should appeal to that group of people. A teen vampire love story will have a very different cover than an erotic romance between a vampire and mortal. Maybe a bodice ripper scene would work here?

Is the tone of your book represented? If your book humorously retells your backpacking disasters in Europe, a scene at the top of the Eiffel Tower, although picturesque, doesn’t scream funny, unless of course you’re dangling off the side.

What is your book about? You have to get the theme across to your potential reader in one way or another. If you book is about how to train your pet gerbil to bring in the newspaper, maybe there should be a gerbil someplace on the cover. Just saying.

There’s a lot of competition out there these days. Your cover should be memorable and unique to your book. If you have a series, or books that are related enough in topic, you might consider designing similar covers to tie them together.

Take some time to look at the covers of other books in your niche. How do you feel when you see them? How would you improve them? How can you use them as inspiration for your own cover?

If you want to include images or artwork, make sure you have permission to use them on your cover. I have an artist friend draw stuff for me. I pay her for her work and gain full rights to use them for my covers. I also make sure to include a big thank you and how to contact the artist in the back matter section, in case anyone else wants to avail themselves of her talents.

Unless you are tech savvy with experience creating covers, I suggest using the cover generator available from your publishing company. Since I publish on Amazon, Kindle Direct Publishing lets me design a cover with whatever images I want to use after I upload my book to the platform. Granted, the template options are limited. One day I may splurge and have all my books’ covers redesigned by a professional, but for now it works.

An ebook only has a front cover. The title, subtitle, author and some eye catching design are all you need. A print book has a front cover, spine and back cover. The front cover is very similar with perhaps some additional restrictions on text size and image dimensions. The spine has the title and author running sideways so you can see them when a book is placed on the shelf. The back cover might have a space for a blurb about the author or the story and a space for an image or two. The bar code is also someplace on the back.

Getting everything just so is far beyond my abilities, so I use the template. Using the template means that everything fits into the appropriate slot, and all the dimensions are hunky dory which is especially important when creating a paperback cover.

If you want to play around with color and images, Canva has a book cover template you can work with. Keep it mind that the dimensions may not be the same as those that your finished book require though.

Assignment:

Design a potential cover for your book. Does it have all of the above components? If you were a reader, would you pick a book with that cover up to read? Why or why not?

Blog to Book Project — ISBN vs ISSN vs ASIN

ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number and is used by publishers, booksellers, libraries, and internet retailers to identify your book. It’s either a 10 or 13 digit number found on the copyright page and on the back cover near the bar code for print books.

Each version of the book has a different ISBN assigned. Your ebook will have a different ISBN than your print book. Black and white versions will have a separate ISBN from color versions.

You need an ISBN to sell your book online, in a brick and mortar store or donate to a library. Many on-demand or self-publishing platforms will provide you with a free ISBN, including Kindle Direct Publishing, Create Space, Draft2Digital, Smashwords, IngramSpark and Lulu.

Sometimes the ISBN is not transferable between sites. For example, if you get an assigned ISBN through Draft2Digital but want to sell your book on Amazon, you may need to have another ISBN assigned by Amazon. Then you have two ISBNs for the same book.

You can buy your own ISBN from Bowker or Neilson. If you live in the United States, you’ll need to get an ISBN from Bowker Identifier Services. If you live outside the United States, check International ISBN Agency for the local agency responsible for assigning ISBN numbers.

ISSN is the International Standard Serial Number. It’s an 8-digit code used for newspapers,
annual publications, journals, magazine, databases, websites and blogs. If your book is part of a series, you may have an ISSN.

You’ll find the ISSN on the upper right corner of the printed cover or wherever the editorial information is listed, probably on the copyright page. If the ISSN is for something that is considered electronic media, you’ll find it on the homepage or on the main menu.

The ISSN classification is divided into electronic (e-ISSN),  print media (p-ISSN) or series (ISSN-L). Many direct publishing sites will take care of obtaining an ISSN for you if needed. If you wish to request your own, visit the ISSN International Centre here.

You may have both an ISBN and ISSN for your finished Blog to Book Project.

ASIN is an Amazon Standard Identification Number for ebooks published through Kindle Direct Publishing. It is 10 characters made up of letters and numbers.

The ASIN is not the same as an ISBN. If you are publishing a book and have an ISBN (either one you purchased or one assigned to you by Amazon) the ASIN may be the same as the ISBN, which makes it confusing. However, the ASIN is used by Amazon internally to track products and the ISBN is used to identify your book across international borders.

So let’s look at some examples. One of my Blog to Book Projects was published only at Amazon. Amazon assigned me an ASIN for my ebook (ASIN: B07BD474SQ).

When I released the print version of the book, Amazon assigned what looks like two ISBN numbers, one with 10 digits (ISBN-10: 1980535515) and one with 13 digits (ISBN-13: 978-1980535515). In fact, the 13 digit number is the ISBN. All ISBNs since 2007 have 13 numbers. The 10 digit ISBN is actually the ASIN. Since my product is a book, the two are the same minus the first three digits.

Should you buy your own ISBN number or use a free one? That’s entirely up to you. As my budget is pretty tight, I opted to go with the free ISBN and it hasn’t been an issue for me because I only publish on Amazon. Maybe one day, when I make it big as a best selling author and have publishing houses lined up at the door to sign me up, well then maybe I’ll reconsider.   

Assignment:

Investigate your ISBN options and prices for your country. For U.S. resident: Bowker Identifier Services For anyone outside of the U.S.: International ISBN Agency