FIVERR and those who offer Formatting, also known as Interior Book Design, through this platform can be awesome and then not so much. Authors, especially new ones, need to know how to research and get the best. It’s time for those questions again. All Authors need to know what questions to ask to find a good business to help them get the work done. The company also needs to know various things so they can get your Formatting correct without too many edits.
First thing. Remember how long it took you to write your novel! Well, Formatting isn’t done in an hour! I honestly wouldn’t touch any business who says they can format your work for $10 in an hour. There is bound to be something wrong.
Today I watched a video about Formatting. Some useful information, and with the book open on the screen, they showed the results. It was the results which caught my attention. Two things wrong from what I saw. First, the indents looked too big and secondly, the text wasn’t justified. Though, this doesn’t matter on eBooks, in PRINT it is a MUST…Go look at any traditional book, and you’ll see the right hand edges of the text are straight. If PRINT books aren’t Justified, they look horrible. I’m exceptionally fussy, and I won’t even read a manuscript unless it is justified. It’s the first thing I do on a clients manuscript. I will also teach a client how to do this, so they know for next time. You will also find 99% of what I write on my blog is JUSTIFIED. Those articles not Justified are usually SHARED LINKS. I think having your text makes it look nice and tidy.
If you are going to offer a SERVICE to an AUTHOR, please make sure you know what you’re doing. It’s a hell of a learning curve and, unlike many, I’m self-taught and learnt the hard way. I’ve learnt so much now that I’m updating my own books as well as past clients.
QUESTIONS to Ask an INTERIOR BOOK DESIGNER
1. What type of books do you format?
2. What fonts do you suggest for my genre?
3. What size fonts will you use?
4. Do you use the same font for Headings & Titles or blend fonts to work together?
5. What book size do you suggest for Paperback and hardback?
6. What is the best indent size?
7. Do you Justify text?
8. Can you do Contents pages and Linked Contents for eBooks?
9. Headings, Page numbers – Starting at Chapter One, Dropped Caps and Header information?
10. Can your format full-colour children’s books for Paperback and eBook?
11. Do you have samples of your work?
You could probably add a lot more to this list. Make sure you have a good look at the traditional books you see. They can give useful pointers in how you may like to have your text laid out.
QUESTIONS FOR CHILDREN’S BOOKS
1. Font and font size are important, depending on the age of your readers.
2. Do they have experience with Full-colour children’s eBooks and PRINT
3. Do they have experience with BLEED! Will your book have a bleed or not.
4. How do they turn a full-colour book into an eBook and PRINT, so it comes out correct.
5. Will they check the IMAGES are 300 DPI if need be?
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?
This once again depends on experience and what you want your book to look like. It can also depend on how long the book is. Is it a Novella, Novel or Saga? Is it a Children’s book and if so, what kind?
Once again, as with assisting new authors with bad work, generally from FIVERR Businesses is something we do at Plaisted Publishing House. It can be trying and tiring work, especially if it is a full-colour children’s book. I have assisted with two of these in recent months. If you only pay small amounts, it should clue you in, they may not be as professional or experienced as you might think. I dislike seeing people ripped off, especially if they are on a budget like most Independent Authors are. We’re not all rich, and many of us have jobs outside the home to pay the bills.
Don’t complain about paying someone either. A slightly higher fee could mean better work and that you’re less likely to need someone else to do edits. Remember you pay the plumber to do their job! I have seen bad work. I’ve seen good work. Please do your homework and RESEARCH before you hire anyone.
KNOW WHAT TO ASK, WHEN TO ASK AND MAKE SURE YOU SEE SAMPLES. IF YOUR INSTINCT SAYS ‘HELL NO’ THEN LISTEN TO IT. IT COULD SAVE YOU MONEY.
THIS IS AN EXAMPLE OF BAD FORMATTING FROM FIVERR FOR AN EBOOK. WHEN I WENT TO HELP THE AUTHOR, I LOOKED AT THE MOBI FILE, AND THIS IS WHAT I FOUND. I NEVER DID TELL THEM…TO HORRIFIED.
THIS IS AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT I DID TO MEND THE ABOVE FILE (DIFFERENT PAGE) AND MAKE THE IMAGE LOOK LIKE THE PAGES FROM A PAPERBACK BOOK.
NEEDLESS TO SAY, IT CAN TAKE A WHILE TO SORT THINGS OUT. MAKING SURE IMAGES ARE THE RIGHT DPI AND SIZE – ESPECIALLY FOR PAPERBACKS.
One last thing. I’m still learning. I will always be learning my trade, updating how things are done as technology changes. I’m happy to learn the same as I’m happy to share the Pros and Cons of looking for the right contractor, be it an illustrator, editor or interior book designer.
PLEASE RESEARCH! NEXT TIME I WILL TALK ABOUT EDITING
We have NEW SUBMISSION GUIDELINES for clients and or anyone submitting work for an anthology at Plaisted Publishing (Author Assist).
THIS IS WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW!
All work needs to be automatically set up for when you write, this includes – Titles, Chapter Headings, Indents, Page Numbers, etc. You won’t need a Contents Page at this stage. Use Styles on your HOME tab on MS Word to set up the following.
- A4 size Manuscript
- 1 Inch Margins, Headers, and Footers
- Double Spaced
- Left Aligned
- Time New Roman, size 12
Make yourself a template to use with each manuscript you write or ask for a copy. We only give these templates out to clients and for our Anthology submissions.
IN THE HEADER, YOU NEED TO HAVE:-
- Author Name
- Email Address
- Book Title
- Word Count
- Page Numbers
BODY OF MANUSCRIPT:-
- Auto Indents – 0.3 – 0.5 cm (Never use Spacebar or Tabs it is unprofessional and your submission will be rejected).
- Automatic Titles and Chapters via HEADINGS 1, 2 & 3
- DON’T press ENTER for a new line, let it move automatically. ENTER is for New Paragraphs.
IF YOU DON’T KNOW HOW…PLEASE ASK! WE CAN HELP GET YOU SORTED AND WILL HAVE INFORMATION ON HOW TO USE STYLES TO YOUR ADVANTAGE.
As a Independent Publisher which is a Limited Company, I always tell my author friends and clients to make sure they don’t pay first and to look at prices…some are horrendous. A deposit is one thing, full payment…Hell no… they tend to be Vanity Publishers. Needless to say if you have a set of standards for one then you need them for authors as well. Not all authors are great to work with. I’ve had some damn right nasty ones who nearly made me give up helping others.
It does cost to get published. It doesn’t matter if you go trad or Indie. Traditional take part of your royality for the life of the book, which could be millions and they will only publish you if they can make a profit from you work. Also remember they have control of your manuscript – you don’t! Indie Publishers get paid a one off amount so if you make millions you don’t need to pay them anymore.
What I would like to see is a list of or group of Indie Publishers who assist each other like Indie Authors do. They must have at least five 5 star reviews/testimonials …remember we all have to start somewhere.
In fact, I’ll start a group on Facebook of LLC companies with 5 or more positive testimonials. Let people know and we will build this together for everyone to look at and use.
What information I will need.
Proof of LLC
Proof of your reviews and testimonials.
Genre you work with
Royalty Share – if you work that way
Deposit Amount – if needed
Companies without Reviews/Testimonals will be added as pending
when they start up.
I never name call anyone. I am always polite and rational with anyone with any discussion. If or when a person earns my ire I tend to grumble a lot, though I do step back and think about the situation which has arisen. I will help as much as I can or as the client will let me…One thing I am clear about is when a client has approved a final file then they will need to pay for extra work, whether the original job was a swap of skills, paid or a package.
2016 was a big year with a lot of changes. It wasn’t a good year on many fronts though I did have a favourite. Needless to say this year was filled with bullying clients and gossip in the local writers group which I didn’t know about for nearly two years. I was devastated by both of these. Luckily for me I have stong family support from my husband and children and some really great friend. Many of those friends were students from my Business Management Course and my Incubate Course.
What I wonder now is if the second book was better set out than the first due to the growth in my learning…Would you redo a client’s book for free because you’ve learnt more about interior design?
One thing I will advise everyone with a small business…
MAKE SURE YOU KEEP ALL YOUR EMAILS FOR EACH CLIENT SO THEY CAN’T BITE YOU ON THE BUTT/ASS AT A LATER DATE!!
Even in those days, I insisted all clients to proofread their own books for any formatting edits. Bits that need changing or taking out etc. This person approved the final file. Six months later they complained I’d left their home address in the back of the book and I have the synopsis in the back as well. EXCUSE ME…YOU APPROVED IT!! Fed up with the ongoing emails, I redid the formatting which was once again APPROVED.
Now we come to the end of 2016. They had decided to sue me…I presume at small claims court. They were going to win and take all my business/money etc.
WOW. Not only this, I had another client who disparaged my name (Yes I can still sue them for defamation of character) They contacted me for a meeting. I went into a deep depression and fog for three weeks…It was one of the worst time in the year for this to happen due to course work for Business Management along with trying to claw my way out of the fog and stabilise once more.
With the bully I was still getting emails. In the end I sent them an offer which most folks wouldn’t refuse. I got a unpleasent email stating I was to re-do the book, and upload it to createspace, and purchase 5 or so copies to be sent to them by a certain date. They had gone a step to far. I was now furious.
Offering them one last deal. It took several weeks to prepare and over $500 out of my business…which is still a loss to this day. I printed off all their emails I met with my business admin who I had to pay ($75) to go through them and advise me if I was correct with my assumptions. That was another $300. Yes I was correct. If they sued me I could prove they were in the wrong, not only that, I could re-sue them for defamation of character.
The email was sent. It wasn’t accepted. I still don’t understand why. The email was sent via my business admin. Their reply. “All I wanted was to have it edited”
If a client has approved a final file then they need to pay for any further formatting edits. They also need to use the final file I sent them. I have about 4 different files with different words counts on my computer…Which is the right one? Why should I continue to edit their work for FREE when they had approved final files.
From this time one I went quiet on Facebook which of course, affected my business badly. This person was still on my friends list and in two groups I ran. It wasn’t until mid 2017 that I finally deleted them, unfriended and blocked them. This was all thanks to another online friend who is like a sister to me. The relief was immense, though with them still living locally I was real nervous going up town. Call it anxiety of thinking they’d verbally attack me in the street. This is also another reason few of my friends online know I went back to England.
PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU KEEP RECORDS FROM ALL YOUR CLIENTS AND ALSO ALL YOUR REPLIES. IT MAY SAVE YOU ONE DAY.
This same person also emailed saying they had paid for a membership to the Chamber of Commerce…NOPE they didn’t because I have my receipt. However I still wonder today if they paid for a second year – without my permission due to the fact I still received post from this group. I have never been able to find out.
SAVE ALL YOUR RECEIPTS!
As for the second person…They are still in the background, pottering along with life, asking me for coffee…well until they found out I was back in the UK…
The strange thing is that the only clients I’ve ever had issues with were all local males to were I used to live. All my online clients have been amazing and I have loved working and growing with them.
As for the Writers Group. I gave the then chairperson – who is an Editor, a printed out copy of my book to look through and advise. She came back that it wasn’t her style and a bit rude. Ok yes she is an older lady. What I didn’t know was that she’d told the rest of the committee and god knows who else that I wrote Erotica. The book at that time was called Malachy’s Unit – it is now called Hidden Secrets. It is not erotica or even erotic. It is murder, mystery romance with a bit of spice.
Nearly two years later I took my children’s book in to sell and show to the writers group. Girlie and the War of the Wasps. One of the gentlemen who approached me to buy a copy said. “Oh, I thought you only wrote erotica.” to my reply. “I don’t write erotica.” Once again I was as mad as hell. I never went back to the group. The thought they were all looking at me a a nonsense smut writer (yeah they were that bad) was beyond a joke.
The Best Part…
The best part of 2016 was assisting a client with three children’s book. ‘The Pottontots’ is a set of three books with wonderful art work by the author. Keith Broad was awesome to work with and his stories are a great read for any child.
Here I was proud to be a Director of my own limited company. With a gentleman who was going to assist with Marketing in exchange for publishing a book and my daughter as a contractor to do Book Covers.
My daughters hobby business is Ceejay Designs. Claudia was studying Graphic Design after being trapped in our home with agoraphobia. This was her first step into the real world for two years. I was and still am so proud of her accomplishments. Today she still suffers from Anxiety, however she is braving the world, moving from New Zealand to England with her family to have time with her English grandparents.
Back to my Publishing Company…
It was the end of 2014 beginning of 2015 and I had a few articles in the Newspaper about my business, me as an author and my first client (exchange not paid). This bought in three more clients over 2015. It was great. A small amount of work, though I was still learning the ropes. This helped me grow at the rate I needed to. Those clients were – Norman McClean, Captain B M Commons & Bob Sutton, the last two have since passed away.
The other course was a Certificate in Small Business Management, Level 4 which I studied one night a week at Te Wananga o Aotearoa which is a Maori College. I met some amazing students there who are still good friends today. The third course was a diploma in Small Business Enterprise, Level 5. Both of these taught me a lot of different skills which I needed to run a successful business. However, I also needed publishing skills. How to format a book to look professional.
What did I do…?
Research, which is something all authors need to do if they wish to be proficient and successful. This is where the library and the local book stores come in handy. You can look at books and see how they are set out. It is mind-blowing how much work goes into creating a book. As many say – ‘Writing the book is the easy part’. Not sure I would always agree with this, however I now know the ropes to help my clients get the best formatting around. Yeah, I am proud of myself and what I can do.
Some of the things you need to learn as a publisher…!
What does a paperback book page look like?
Where does the Copyright page go?
Do you need a Contents Page?
Do you need a Contents Page?
Acknowledgements & Dedications?
Where does the Author Biography go?
Author Links? How do you make them and where do you put them
Then you need to style the paperback pages…
Headers for paperbacks
Fonts Style – Which are the best to use?
Footnotes & Endnotes
Criteria for Distribution Websites
What about ebooks…?
No Page Numbers
No blank pages
Remembering we read an e-book as if it is a scrolling document. You don’t need to choose a font or font size, the distribution websites do this for you. A reader can change the size and font to what they wish once the book is downloaded. This is unless you embed the fonts you are using
How do Children’s books Differ…?
Artwork & Illustrations.
Full Colour or Black & White
Bigger Font Size
Different shape and size books – paperbacks.
What you need so you can turn your manuscript into a product people will buy…
Book Cover Design
Editing and all the different types a writer may need
Contacts & Connections
The list goes on and I continue to learn something new every few months. I will probably talk a bit more about my learning curve and how or what I had to do to get the job done.
Towards the end of 2015 Plaisted Publishing House made their first Anthology. There were so many entries that two books were made with about 600 pages in each one. These Anthologies were made in conjunction with the Awethors Group on Facebook. They were to be used as a marketing tool for the authors who participated. The e-book would be FREE and the paperbacks – due to being so big, were $25 a piece. It took months to organise with many of the group volunteering their services with Beta Reading, Editing and Checking. I was in charge of the formating and publishing. What a learning curve that was.
We had a huge release day over several continents and if I remember I think I stayed up for 17 hours posting on my website about each and every author who filled in an interview form. Of course in those days I was new to WordPress as well. If I knew I could schedule posts, I probably would have gone to bed a lot earlier.
During the Event several of us did Take Covers on various blogs. This was my post as an author. The characters take control…LOL. This was posted on Northern Witch Books
My Muse Attack
All in a day’s work
by Claire Plaisted
“Claire what on earth are you doing to Fabia, who’s attacking her?” demanding Zoe, flying through the door, Jagan (thank the lord) a small drag on her hand blowing fire.
“Slow down Zoe, and please tell Jagan to stop his fire, I don’t want the fire alarms or sprinklers being set off again,” I told her sternly.
“Jagan,” she scolded.
“Sorry, it’s such fun,” he sighed, curling up to go to sleep.
“Fabia will be fine, she is allowed to have an adventure too.”
“I don’t want her getting hurt.”
“I won’t get hurt Zoe,” said a smiling voice from the door.
“Fabia, she squeals, shoving Jagan in her pocket.
They ran to each other hugging, both talking at once.
“Girls, will you either calm down or get out of my office.
“Sorry Claire,” they grinned.
They sat on the sofa, clasped together giggling when Tristian from ‘Fred the Evil Incarnate’, walked in, they gawked, eyes wide.
“What did you do with my son?”
“He went exploring.”
“Please find him.”
“Da da, I’m going to have an awesome adventure.”
Tristian’s youngest boy rushed through the door, his dark hair and grey eyes alight with excitement.
“Where too young man,” he said crouching down.
“Into the other worlds beyond the edge,” he replied.
I cringed, waiting for the explosion of temper, before he could Abraham from GIB walked in, his hands in his pockets. He looked tired and on edge.
“Abraham,” I murmured standing up and approaching him. “What’s wrong?”
“The world is going to go to hell!” he said looking down at me.
“What do you mean?”
“I met…oh never mind, just get ready to die, the world…” sighing he walked out again.
“What was that?” said Zoe?”
“That was Abraham, he works with Garrett Investigation Bureau,” I replied frowning as I sat back at my desk.
“What was he on about – the world going to hell stuff,” said Fabia. “Our world went to hell and is on the brink of returning to near normal again.”
“Tristian, meet Zoe and Fabia, best friends from a book called “Princess of the Earth.”
“Hi,” he smiled down at them kindly. His son tugged on his dad’s hand. “Yes son?”
“Who’s that in the doorway?”
“Hey Cera, solved anymore riddles lately,” I grinned.
“No,” she scowled. I can’t find…”
“You can find anyone.”
“Those dratted faeries took her, I lost her track,” she snapped.
“Well get the heck out of here and find her and hurry up. I want your novel on sale by this coming Christmas at the latest.”
“Charming, has to be my fault.”
“Well you’re the one with the magic powers Cera the Black Cat.”
“Whatever,” she said as she changed into her cat form and padded out of my office, the others with their jaws dropped open.
“Get outta here you lot and go do your thinking, I need to get some of these draft stories finished.
There was a knock on my window. I looked out and nearly screamed, when I realised it was Paul the Moa with David his best friend. Quickly I jumped up and flung the windows open.
“Oh my, it’s two years since I last saw you two, how you’ve both grown.”
“Yeah Paul is quite scary now he’s twelve foot tall,” laughed David, with a cheerful grin.
“So you must tell me your adventures, last time I was writing about you, Paul was only a baby and fast asleep.”
“We’ll stop by soon when you’re not so busy,” he replied.
Pulling on the bridle, Paul pecked me, making me laugh then lifted his head away and off the ran over my back garden, I looked now at the rather large footprints Paul left behind and winced, my gardener was not going to be pleased.
“What the hell was that thing, it looked like an overly large Ostrich,” gasped Eilish Garrett, who’d entered my office while I was chatting with David.
“That’s a Moa, a native New Zealand bird which was thought to be extinct.”
“Maybe I’ll introduce you one day. Meanwhile, everyone out, I need my office back so I can finish at least one novel.
“Grumbling the left, though I knew I would be disturbed again soon. It was always the same with my muses. God help me when the Gothixies finally put in an appearance.
The door crashed open.
“When are you publishing my story?” demanded Jones.
“Another few weeks, now get out,” I was getting aggravated with them all.
“Touchy aren’t you,” he grinned and slammed out again.
“Just one more interruption and I’ll scream,” I muttered as I began to type once more.
Since this was blogged. Jones’ story has been published, the world hasn’t ended and nor has Abraham’s book been finished so you still have time to prepare for the end of the world. The other lovely characters and muses have draft books still pending.
Back to the Event…
What I didn’t realise at the time, was this event would increase not only my knowledge but my connections as well. We enjoyed the event so much, we also did an Anthology in December. Religion sort of got in the way, however my daughter came up with the book title ‘December Awethology’. Once again there were two books though much small this time.
In Part Three I will tell you about the difficulties I had…Publishing isn’t all easy, sometimes Clients can misbehave and I’ve had several.
Now my issue was just with those clients and friends who had XTRA ISP Accounts. The email was stopped at the border and rejected. I suppose it is a bit like people being told they aren’t fit to enter a certain country.
Anyway, this client is now sorted. All my others – I have since noticed – still reject at the border. Some clients have luckily had other email addresses they could use like Hotmail, Yahoo and Gmail. Others haven’t so until I can get this sorted yet again…it looks like info sharing will be on Facebook, which isn’t always ideal.
Yesterday I replied to another client with her own personalised email address. It was fine. Checking emails today I found another message and replied. Damn it – it was rejected as SPAM. What the heck is going on.
The response was:
550 This message contains a known spam email address.
My next step is contacting the SPAM People and hopefully I’ll be able to clear my email address from their SPAM list etc. Fingers crossed.
What an amazing journey it has been so far. Three years of learning the ropes – and there is so much more to do to extend our skills and prove we are an awesome small publishing company.
We do things differently here at Plaisted Publishing House Ltd., We don’t take your copyright off you, nor do we work via royalties. In fact the most important thing is the CLIENT. You are in total control of your book at all times. You have to approve the work we do in a final document prior to paying us a one-off fee. This means if you become a rich and famous author – we don’t make any more money off you. It’s all yours with our best wishes.
This all may change in the future as our knowledge base, strength and business grows. There again it may not. Nobody can really see what the future holds.
At present we have had a total of thirty individual authors through our books. Plus those who have joined our Anthologies. This would give us a list of over 100 authors, if we added them all together.
I would like to thank each and every Indie Author I have worked with. You have all been and are, amazing to work with – even with a few minor hiccups which all businesses have. We have pulled through, helped more and put our skills on the line to show you our professionalism.
Due to this incredible journey we have helped hundreds of Indie Authors, many aren’t even clients. These authors have been assisted via our FREE Marketing Magazine – Indie Publishing News & The Journal of Sins & Secrets (R18), Anthologies – Ghostly Writes & Childrens Fairy Tale Anthology. Last but not least our Sponsorship Program which was for Fantasy Authors this year. We will be announcing the Winner on the Tenth of August.
Since we are doing so well, I’ll be introducing you to our four new contractors who assist us helping Indie Authors get the best. So watch out for Mike Elliott, Claudia Plaisted, Mara Reitsma & Joanne Ruth.
Reflections of the past twelve months. What have we done. The highs and lows. The requests and even the chat.
I have met some amazing people over the last twelve months. Many who have helped to improve my love of learning, friendship, sisterhood and much more. With business growing I find it is now time to thank everyone who had helped make this a great year. Thank you for your comments, chat, shares, reblogs and support. Without you I would not be where I am today. A fine spot with more highs than lows. THANK YOU
Clients of 2016
We have assisted EIGHT AUTHORS with NINE books – ebook and print. We have also assisted these authors along with another FOUR to learn the ropes of Publishing. Some wish to do as much as they can, others like assistance each time. Some of these authors have several more works to be published and we are looking forward to working with them again. We have also worked with twenty-five authors for our Anthology…More on that later.
We set up a Sponsorship earlier in 2016. Our WINNER was J B TAYLOR with his Sci Fi novel called DISCOVERY. J B Taylor was Awesome to work with. We’d also like to thank Limelight Literature and Fantasia Covers for been part of this Sponsorship.
Indie Publishing News
Last month we introduced the Roving Reporter idea. This is for those who write or find interesting articles they wish to bring to attention of other Indie Authors and supporters.
As from January 2017 we will have a BACK PAGE ADVERT. For next year this will be Advertising GOINDIENOW an wonderful company who supports Indie Authors with marketing and video discussion – plus much more.
Anyone who else who wishes to support the Magazine to keep it FREE is welcome to place on-going adverts (the same one each month or bi-monthly for a small fee. This Magazine is not out to make money! It is there to help. However at 40 plus pages it takes time, so assistance is always welcome.
Ghostly Writes Anthology
Join the Group today: – Ghostly Writes Anthology Group
On going Training
As the Director of Plaisted Publishing House I have continued my Business Training with a Diploma in Small Business Enterprise – Level 5. I graduate in 2017. I will continue to grow and learn to make my company one of the best, if not the best out there for Indie Authors. I love being a Small Press Publisher. I love to chat and see how I can help. Please dont’ hesitate to contact us.
There have been a few lows, through seeing people in a positive light and them coming back to bite you due to living in a negative world and thinking they know what we should be doing as a company. Even we are still learning the ins and outs, though there are many out there who know – WE KNOW OUR JOB. I’d like to thank those who have given us the love and support we have needed, mainly from friends and clients worldwide – we are proud to say we pulled through – taking the bull by the horns and growing stronger than ever before.
WATCH OUT 2017