Publishing your book
I had a dream; it was to write and illustrate children's books. After two decades of rejection and thinking 'Maybe I'm just not enough?' I had a new thought; What if people don't care if that I'm not the best writer in the world, or the best artist in the world, what if all that matters are that they are My Stories? What if? And that thought changed my plan. I decided to give myself a chance to do the things I loved; painting and writing.
I wrote a book, then I wrote another and included my paintings, then I started several more, and now I'm in the process of creating and completing. Along the way I began my own publishing company so I could publish my books. I learned how to be a publisher, how to navigate a printer, booksellers, bookstores, editors, graphic designers and a whole host of new skills demanded my attention. It was fun, it was challenging, and it allowed me to create and expand in the way I wanted to.
Several friends have asked how I did this; so I wrote this blog detailing my steps in the hope of supporting other people to live their dream.
I wish you all the best on your journey, and if you also suffer from 'maybe I'm not enough' syndrome, then join me in letting that go. Remind yourself that all you need is you and your story. All that other stuff (the details) can be figured out. But never give up. You just don't know how your story will help others.
1 First step is to write your book (haven’t written one yet? Check out Scott Berkun’s blog on ‘How to write a Book’.
2. Edit your book. Cut out redundant words, check spelling and grammar. All writing is essentially re-writing. After I have written my book to the best I can, I send it to my editors; Jane Todd and Narelle Douglas (one at a time), and then use their suggestions to improve my work. Most Cities have a writing centre that can help you find editors and writing support.
3. If you are going with a ‘print on demand’ service, they will usually take your manuscript from here and offer the editing and graphic design stages, give you an ISBN, register your book and then that’s it! Your book will be printed as a customer wants it. If, however you want a thousand books in your garage to sell or give away, you can continue to take these steps from here.
4. To become a self-publisher you will need to buy an ISBN for your book. In Australia you register your publishing name and purchase your ISBN’s from Thorpe-Bowker and later, you register your book in the library catalogue.
5. While you are registering as a publisher, purchasing your ISBN (or a pack of them if you know you’re going to publish more books) you are still working on your editor’s suggestions, or creating/outsourcing your illustrations.
6. Your editor will send the book back with suggestions for lots of changes (don’t worry, this happens to everyone, it’s impossible for you to know exactly how your book looks to someone that isn’t in your head-understanding everything you’re trying to say).
7. If your book has pictures that don’t belong to you, you will need to ask permission to publish them. You can use your own photographs, but if you have used models they will need to sign a model release form. Read more about Australian copyright.
In Australia, all of your writing and art work is copyright without having to register it.
Although copyright protection in Australia is not dependent upon formal notice, it is best practice and advisable for copyright owners to place a copyright notice in a prominent place on their work. There is no set form of words for a copyright notice, but such a notice may state:
This work is copyright. Apart from any use permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced by any process, nor may any other exclusive right be exerci
sed, without the permission of [name and address of copyright owner and the
year in which the work was made.}'
From The Australian Govt. Guide to copyright
8. After you have created your own photographs, drawings, or paintings, they will need to be scanned or photographed and placed into the book. A graphic designer can help you do this. I used Jamie Palmer who, in my opinion, did a brilliant job of turning 'Yoga Bear' and 'Simply Yoga' into real books (he’s also a pretty good musician).
I've also worked with Jane Watt, who designed 'Yoga Diary 2012' and 'My Yoga Journal'. Both brilliant and well received publications.
9. Your book will now look finished. It is up to you the author and publisher to make sure there are no errors. Print out a copy and make sure it is how you want it to be. Check the placement of pictures, the flow, the spelling and grammar. From here you will make changes, edit more or add text. You might go back to your editor several times before you are happy. You might change the picture layout or combination several times.
When your book is ‘perfect’ it is ready for printing.
10. Your local printer will probably do an awesome job, especially if you are happy with black and white text and pictures. Call them and discuss your project and collect some quotes.
If you want colour, you can compare prices with your local printers or check out prices of printing in China or Malaysia or another country. I went through China, and I found my printer on Alibaba.com.
Choose the printer that has the right services and price for what you want. Check out your printers references and ask them to send you a sample. You will pay for postage for the sample.
11. You will need to know the size of your book (you would have worked that out with your graphic designer). The grams and type of paper you want your book and cover to be. Is your book colour, or black and white? What kind of binding do you want? I went to the library and looked at all the books I liked to choose my binding, paper type and weight and book size. Printers will send you samples of paper type, grams and binding.
12. Most printers will expect you to pay a 50% deposit to begin your job. If you are sending your job overseas, you will usually pay direct into their bank account which means you need to set up an account for international transfers. Some printers accept PayPal or Western Union. (I do bank transfers).
13. Ask the printer to send you a sample of your book before you say ‘go ahead’ with final printing. If you don’t have time to wait for the book to be mailed to you, have a Skype session and ask printer to show you the cover and each page to make sure they have printed on the correct side and everything is ok.
14. Shipping: Your printer can organise the shipping from their country to yours and then you will need to organise a ‘freight forwarder:’ someone to you’re your shipment through customs and either to their warehouse or your door. There will be extra costs involved like GST and customs. I used David Broughs in Brisbane to ship my book from China to their warehouse and then we picked them up ourselves (to save truck costs). They were fantastic and really looked after me.
Expect customs to cost more than the shipping and printing.
15. PARTY!! It’s Done! Right? Don’t relax yet. Now that your book is printed and on a ship sailing to you, you will be getting ready for your book launch (And that’s another blog).
Best of wishes for the success of your book.
I am a yoga teacher, author and artist.
Blogs by Monica
Growing Emotional Intelligence