With the traditional publishing industry in constant transition, more and more authors turn to smaller independent publishers or themselves to get their books into the world. A lot of regret might be avoided if such writers did sufficient research before spending a dollar. You don't have to make the same mistakes other first-timers make.

For instance, I used Grammarly to grammar check this post, because I was startled to learn that even I, a better proofreader than most, made avoidable mistakes in my novel manuscript.

Consider what you might learn from each of the following publishing-themed books.

The Book Publisher's Toolkit: Ten Practical Pointers for Independent and Self Publishers, Volume 1, from The Independent Book Publishers Association, is a straightforward just-past-beginners' guide that's only 57 pages (digital $2.99). It's aimed more at indie publishers but also helpful to authors trying to get a handle on the whole process. 

  • TIP: Set up Google Alerts for topics related to your book, then when a news item appears, write a comment or mini-op-ed that mentions your book.

The Kindle Publishing Bible: How to Sell More Kindle Ebooks on Amazon, by Tom Corson-Knowles, is an eye-opening look at the deceptive tactics used by some individuals marketing their books. That's followed by the author's prescription for selling more books in an ethical way. He discusses choosing your best title and keywords, designing your book cover to sell the most ebooks, a shortcut way to locate the most prolific Amazon reviewers in your subject area, and more.  

  • TIP: If your book isn't in the top 100 in your category, change your category to a less competitive one.

APE: How to Publish a Book: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur, by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch, spend the first quarter of the book on how to write a book in the first place. In Chapter 9 we get to the very important topic of how to avoid the self-published look for your book, complete with where to leave a blank page, the order of items in the front and back, and how many blurbs (endorsements by others) you should include (they say six is the max or it looks like you're trying too hard), and also, what aspects of marketing your ebook you might consider paying for.

  • TIP: Respond to comments on your blog within a few hours to show you're paying attention.


Naturally, you'll want to ensure that your book is as well-written, revised, and edited as possible before you begin thinking about publishing. To that end, here's a new craft book to consider: Blueprint Your Bestseller: Organize and Revise Any Manuscript With the Book Architecture Method, by Stuart Horwitz, a writing eacher, co-writer, and writing coach.

You need a manuscript in hand to begin Horwitz's method, because what he's teaching above all is revision of a first draft. You will need to have written, ideally, 150 pages of your book (more than 30,000 words). You'll be led to cutting apart scenes and rearranging them, as every scene must be one in which something happens, something changes, and that is related to the central theme of the book. Your theme needs to be about only one thing, a concept that can take some getting used to.

Horwitz's book is easy to read, and once you accept his clear definitions for scene, series (events or characters or relationships that repeat and vary over the course of your book), and theme, his suggestions become feasible. At the very least, reading this book will give you a clearer sense of what it takes to write a book where nothing is extraneous or boring.

Copyright (c) 2013 by Susan K. Perry   (Follow me on Twitter @bunnyape)

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