Friday, 31 January 2014

Building a publicity website

I've decided to build a website using Gimp, BlueGriffon and an internet server company that is cheap and run by someone I know. The obvious alternative is to use Wordpress, which makes very good looking sites, or Joomla or Drupal, but these create Knowledge Management sites and are quite overglorified for my current needs.  I spent several months of spare time experimenting with Wordpress sites hosted on another host company last year and something always went wrong, so I think it is quite good to do a simple site that I have created myself from scratch (as I have done successfully in the past).

I am using this webtutorial in how to lay out a website using Photoshop (I will use Gimp which is pretty similar) because I like the look if the website that he is laying out. Once I have made the website components in Gimp I will upload them to my server site using either BlueGriffon or FTP, which are processes I am vaguely familiar with from last year (when I was using NVU, an older version of BlueGriffon). I might not need BlueGriffon at all in fact.

Amendum: After  debating this issue for some time I decided that I really needed professional help in designing a cover and a website and that paying for this would be money well spent. It is of paramount importance to have a professional looking cover and website. The current plan is that the web developer is going to follow a Joomla template.

ps In the end I decided that all this was a bit beyond me so I asked a friend to design me a site and he did and its brilliant. 

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Before you start: Consider Marketing and Distribution

From what I have gathered from my research, the secret of marketing a book seems to be to produce it in the right place to start from. It is really important that people know where to find your book, so it should be on Amazon, as well as listed on the bibliographical lists that libraries and bookshops use when selecting books.

If you want bookshops to stock your book really it should be available via a distributor: in the UK the two that all bookshops use are Gardners or Bertrams, and in the USA the company is Ingrams. So if you self publish, it is good to publish with a company such as Amazon CreateSpace or Lulu or Authorhouse who automatically make your book available via Amazon and get it listed in those important bibliographical databases (in the Uk the British National Bibliography and all books sold in the United States have to have a Preassigned Control Number which you apply for before the book is published and you can only apply if you have an address in America. So again, if you want Americans to buy your book, it is easiest to publish with a firm owned by Ingrams. see the Publisher Association's FAQ on the subject.

There are certain industry standards that all books must fulfil in order to be widely distributed by bookshops using the major distributing companys. Distributing companies list these on their websites but Lulu gives an example of such requirements.

If you publish with a company such as LULU they give you an ISBN so you don't have to worry about that, or they let you use a pre-existing one but that would not be included in their distribution listings so you would lose those benefits/gains.

I am going to a day conference: Troubador's The Second Self-Publishing Conference at the end of March [2014] so that may enlighten me further.

Alison Baverstock's Marketing Your Book: an Author's Guide, ISBN 0713659653 London, A& C Black, 2001 £9.99 may be a bit dated but I am reading it to be going along with. It
contains the brilliant quote:

"I don't read books: there's not enough space in my life.  When I have an empty space in my brain, it's cool, it's OK, I don't want to fill it with anything." - Celine Dion. Sunday Times Magazine, October 1999.

Which confirmed my suspicions.

One of Alison' suggestions is that the British Booksellers Association can provide a list of British Booksellers to whom to send publicity material.

Beginning to produce a book

I have been recently investigating self publishing a book in association with a small Irish scientific publishing house, so it seems sensible to record what I learn on the subject as I go along.

I studied a module entitled 'The Modern Publishing Trade' as part of my degree in Librarianship, and the subject of graphic design an interesting one and since then I have often played about with programs such as Gimp (a free version of Photoshop) and now PicMonkey.

At the moment my book is a huge pdf file created from a Word file, but it is apparently preferable to e a program such as Indesign or Publisher to create a finished document. A good book on InDesign is InDesignCS6 Visual Quickstart Guide by Sandee Cohen, Berkeley, Peachprint press, 2012 ISBN 9780321822536, $34.99 available on Creative Edge (which is a sort of online library that you can belong to for £15 a month apparently. I have a hard copy of the book that my friend lent me.

My friend swears by InDesign but I believe I have Publisher on one of our home computers so I will probably go with that and thus save myself £329.

Another book she has lent me is "Graphic Design School: A Foundation Course for Graphic Designers Working in Print, Moving Image and Digital Media" David Dabner, Sheena Calvert and Anoki Casey, Thames & Hudson, 2010 ISBN 9780500  28634 £14.95