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Publishing a Book – How to Do It Yourself

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To begin: Write your book. Get a tough editor to go over your work and tell you where you need to do more. Expect to do this at least twice. I generally rewrite my books 5-7 times before they are published. I put 5000 hours into writing the Breast Health book; my editors put in another 5000 hours!! You can get started on the first three steps (below) while you are still writing.

Step 1a: Register your new title with Bowker/Books in Print

You will receive an ISBN number. This is absolutely necessary. Your book must have a bar code and the ISBN is on the bar code so you have to have one. There have been some changes this year (2001) in giving out numbers and you may have some difficulty completing this task.

Step 1b: Register your book with the Library of Congress

You will receive an LCCC number. This is optional, but strongly recommended. There will be no problem; everyone who asks gets a number. (And when the book is printed you can send in a copy and it will be placed in the Library of Congress. Wow!)

Step 2: Design your book

  • Will it be paperbound or hardbound?

In general, you will want to go with a paperbound book.

  • What size will it be?

Stick to standard sizes for economy’s sake.

  • What type of binding?

Most paperbacks are perfect bound. Avoid spiral bindings.

  • What typeface will you use?

There are books of typefaces you can look at. Fancy books often say on the copyright page or the last page what typeface was used.

  • What size margins will you have?

Smaller ones waste less paper. Larger ones drive up the cost of the finished book but some people really like the way they look.

  • Where will the page numbers be on the page?

Up, down, to the side, in the middle.

  • How many pages will it be? What graphic elements will you use?

The spiral in Healing Wise and the circles in the Breast Health book are design elements.

  • What kinds of illustrations? And how many illustrations?

You can hire a book designer to do this. They generally charge $5000 and up for their services. Spend some time in a bookstore looking at books that you are attracted to and noting how they are designed.

Step 3a. Design the cover

  • Full color or only a few colors?

Two-color covers are quite a bit less expensive and altogether easier to do. The covers of Menopausal Years and Childbearing Year are done with only two colors. Healing Wise and the Breast Health book are full color.
  • Simple design or complicated? Drawings or photos?

You will most likely want to hire someone to actually create the cover for you on a computer in Quark or PageMaker or Photoshop. The more information and vision you can share the better. Expect this to take many months.
Step 3b. Get a printer

I use Central Plains. Any “short-run printer” will do. The printing price of your book is one of the most critical parts of your success or failure. Spend some time with this. The cover price of the book is set by multiplying the printing price by ten. That’s right: if you pay $2 per book for printing, you will have to charge $20 for the finished book. Shop around and get the best price you can. When you request an estimate from a printer, they will want to know how many pages in your book, what kind of paper you want, what kind of cover you will have, and what kind of binding you will use.

Step 4. Layout the book

In PageMaker or Quark, flow your text onto the pages. Leave room for your design elements and illustrations. You may be able to do this yourself, although the software is rather complicated and you will need to learn about leading, kerning, runarounds, and other technical stuff. You will want to send sample pages to your printer to be certain that their computers interface with yours.

Step 5. Prepare front matter and back matter

This includes your title page, copyright page, acknowledgements, table of contents, and foreword (front); appendices, glossary, and index (back). You will probably want to hire someone to do the index for you, but you may want to give that person some specifics on what you want. Expect to pay $3-$5 per page (pages of the book) for the index.

Susun is one of America’s best-known authorities on herbal medicine and natural approaches to women’s health. Her four best-selling books are recommended by expert herbalists and well-known physicians and are used and cherished by millions of women around the world. Learn more at http://www.susunweed.com/

Publishing a Book – How to Do It Yourself
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About Susun Weed
Susun is one of America's best-known authorities on herbal medicine and natural approaches to women's health. Her four best-selling books are recommended by expert herbalists and well-known physicians and are used and cherished by millions of women around the world. Learn more at http://www.susunweed.com/ WebProNews Writer
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