Damian Williams took over after lunch with his talk A Road Less Travelled: From Digital to Print (and back again).
He is going to talk about the process he went through with self-publishing. The origins were back when he was working on a Distance Delta course. It involved marking 100s of assignments as a local tutor. He found he was writing the same kind of thing in feedback on drafts and so rather than getting assignments in, writing the same comments 100 times and sending them back, it would be better to put the comments on the forum as tips. This became his comments bank – a word document. He could also copy and paste (and tweak) these for the essays he got in. Then he thought why not put it out as a book and decided to self-publish. His big fear was thinking something was brilliant on paper and then getting it out there and it’s not that good. So he went with The Round, where you submit a sample and people can comment it on it with comments and published authors with The Round also have a look and comment on it. Damian launched it just before IATEFL Harrogate and it has sold pretty well. Most of the sales came through Amazon, a few through Smashwords (good for places where Amazon doesn’t sell!) and a few in other places. 300 copies is a benchmark of selling well, his first year he managed 434, second year 338.
Next Damian decided he wanted to turn it into a print book. He wants to talk about going from Digital to Print because usually it is the other way, so this is a bit different. There are a few things to consider in doing this:
Are you going to with print on demand (POD) or traditional offset? The former it only gets printed when someone buys it, the latter means printing and storing a minimum of 1000 copies that then need to be stored. Traditional offset has a lower cost per unit (bulk) and a higher quality production (but most readers can’t tell the difference), you also have books on hand to give to people when you want to. However, POD has low start-up costs if you put the hours in yourself and is instantly available – once the manuscript is set up, someone can order it and get it delivered. There is less risk – minimal costs plus your time. With traditional offset if you get 1000 copies and only sell 30…!
CreateSpace and Ingram Spark are the main Print on Demand services.
In a simplified nutshell, CreateSpace is better if you are selling through Amazon/online. Book shops don’t like buying from CreateSpace, they prefer Ingram Spark so that is better if you are selling outside Amazon, something for a wider audience.
With a print edition you need to think about the back of the book and the spine as well as the front. The spine-width depends on how many pages and what type of paper. Trim size is another element. You also need to decide if you are going for black and white or colour. Colour can be useful for colour coding and illustration. If you use images (photos) they need to be high resolution. Ebooks need a font that plays well on different screens and formats, usually sans serif. Print books tend to be easier if they DO have serif. You could print out a single paragraph in different fonts and read through and see which feels nicest, get others’ opinions on that etc. Finally, do you want to do it all yourself or pay someone to do it for you? You can do it yourself but you need time and willpower! Damian paid someone. D.J. Rogers. email@example.com did all the formatting and putting the cover together in a few days for about $100.
Once you have your book – print book or e-book – you need to promote it. The first thing that springs to mind is social media. The thing about social media is that it is a great way to get to lots of people but you need to be a bit clever about it. You need to find the balance between using it to let people know about your book and using it to promote it all the time so that people get fed up with it. Damian set up a CELTA and Delta trainers group because he wanted to promote his book. The key is to find specific groups and market it to specific people. And to respond to people who contact you on social media. With a print book there are photo opportunities! If it is an academic book, get it on a reading list. You can also use promotional material e.g. posters, promise a free paper copy for every ten e-books bought etc, to market to schools. If you have a print book get it up on goodreads. Run competitions too. Get some ideas in and choose a winner.
Final speaker for the day (can you tell I’m getting tired – intros are getting brief!) is Sue Kay with Fifty ways to not turn your editor grey! So, another different angle for today, to keep our interest intact! The relationship between editor and author is the final focus (before the panel discussion!).
We will get 20 now and the remaining tips will appear on http://www.ELTTeacher2Writer.co.uk/50-ways. Why is Sue qualified to give this kind of relationship advice? She has been an author for 20 years and has worked with a whole range of editors. Most of them seem to have survived. She has (l)earnt(!) an enormous amount from these editors and is still learning. It is these lessons she wants to learn.
Be familiar with your working environment
The more efficient you are in your work station, the quicker you will work and the more likely you are to meet your deadlines and your editor will love you!
- Know your keyboard. E.g. taking a screenshot on mac that Kath shared earlier. Ctrl+Z=undo. Ctrl+A=select all. Ctrl+N=New page. Ctrl+G=Go to. Ctrl+K=insert hyperlink. Ctrl+Y (Ctrl + F4 on windows)=repeats the most recent action
- Know the difference between a hyphen and an en-dash. Hyphen is to hyphenate compound adjectives. En-dash is for ranges of numbers, dates, times. If we don’t use the right one, the editor will have to correct it when they get to it!
- Know how to create a shortcut! (In Word: “Customise keyboard”) http://www.screencast.com/MjjNSdjXPf
- Know how to use Jing or similar for making screencasts. Quicker than explaining what the problem is in digital materials, you can screenshot it and highlight the place.
- Use ‘split screen’ to create an answer key!! (So useful!!!)
- Find out how your editor likes to communicate and use that method (email? phone? Skype? face-to-face?) If you are using Skype…
- Set your webcam at a flattering angle! And be careful what is in frame. Have you brushed your hair?
- Be honest. If you are struggling with a deadline, tell your editor – don’t make excuses!
- Agree a method of file-sharing. Dropbox is easy to use. Publishers use FTP. We Transfer is for big files. Box is like Dropbox, more functionality but you have to pay. Google drive good for collaboration.
- Choose a good system for file naming. Keep it short, enough info but not too much. Start with a date – year month then day. Use v for version number. Use underscores rather than spaces. At a glance you can see which is the most up to date!
- Keep your editor in the loop. Don’t bypass the editor and speak directly to design. Don’t send an invoice until you’ve checked with the editor that the final draft has been accepted. Two examples of keeping the editor in the loop.
- Acknowledge receipt of emails!
- Respond appropriately to feedback. How? Don’t be defensive – try to get the bottom of the feedback is sending. Avoid binary confrontation. Choose your battles. If the editor likes one picture and you prefer another one, let it go. It’s not that important. Much less important for instance than how many vocabulary exercises you can get into your unit. Not worth the hassle, you won’t win, so let all but the most important battles go.
- What does the editor want? Same document with track changes or a new document? And know your schedule.
- Trust your editor. Their job is to make you look better. Don’t question every suggestion the editor makes. They are the objective eye that your material needs.
- Try not to pester your editor – batch your queries. They have lots of projects not just yours!
- Use minimal formatting: tabs not multiple spaces.
- Use Evernote to store texts from the internet – you can save as bookmark and have all the info your editor needs. ELT and Evernote=a match made in heaven: ELTJam.
- Know your idiosyncrasies. Apparently two spaces after a full-stop is wrong – why did no one tell me?
- Don’t write nasty things about people in emails… Be nice, show respect, spread the love.