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Ordering Your Book’s Front Matter and Back Matter

No one ever got into book publishing for the love of designing a copyright page. But the front matter and back matter have to get done. Fortunately, it’s easy. Publishing with Another Company When you publish your book through another company you don’t think about designing the copyright page or assigning an ISBN. Those tasks fall to the publisher, who also arranges for the book to be copyrighted, whether in the publisher’s name or yours. You’ll write your own author’s introduction (also called preface); the dedication, to whomever or whatever inspired you during the writing of your book; and the acknowledgments page, where you thank everybody who gave you support and encouragement along the way. You’ll format the table of contents. And you’ll track down and invite someone with credibility […]

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Traditional Publishing: Obsolete or Still Viable?

In my last entry, I noted that we are in a Golden Age of book publishing. The technology revolution has made it easy and inexpensive for anyone to become an independent publisher, including you. Is traditional publishing obsolete? Advantages of Traditional Publishing Of course not. Publishing with them still has advantages: They pick up most of the costs for editing, design, typesetting, printing, fulfillment, and distribution. They can attract big-name endorsements for their books (but so can you if you know how to locate them, ask them, and not give up if you don’t hear back). You have a better chance of getting an advance — which in the academic market is often more than all the royalties you’ll ever receive. They are more likely to get their books translated […]

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Independent Publishing: Are You Ready to Own Your Destiny?

Now that your book is nearly finished, you need to be thinking more about publishing. Do you go the traditional route and give your book over to an established publisher? Or do you take advantage of current technology and publish it yourself? I’ve gone both routes. Each has pros and cons. In this entry, I’ll talk about independent publishing. In my next entry, I’ll give my take on traditional publishing. Independent Publishing While You Sleep We are in a golden age of independent publishing. Digital technology is everywhere. It’s easy to learn. It’s inexpensive. In the pre-digital age, you had to print 3,000 copies of your first edition in order to get a good unit cost. Today you can print out one book at a time and get comparable prices! […]

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Peer Reviewing with Honesty and a Base of Goodwill

I was first drummer in my junior high school band. Every year we participated in competitions with other schools in the area. Impartial judges graded each band with some variation of “1” for the highest grade and “5” for the lowest. They were supplemented by individual comments from the judges. Mr. Hollander Thinks He’s Being Nice On our bus ride home from one competition, our music teacher, Mr. Hollander, read aloud the judges’ comments. All were surprisingly positive. But he didn’t say anything about the drum section, which consisted that day of me. “What did they say about the drums?” I asked. Mr. Hollander didn’t respond. I asked again. He looked away as if he didn’t hear me and began talking to another student. I asked a third time. He […]

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The Best Prose Is Poetry

The best prose is poetry. The good news is, turning your prose into poetry isn’t an onerous task that you complete at the last minute, like a college term paper. It’s a process you begin while you’re reviewing your first freewrite. It’s what you do in those five-minute bursts when you don’t have time to develop a new thought; or at the end of a long day when you’re too tired to write anything new. That’s when the artistry happens. Make Your Prose Flow Like Poetry Here are twenty ways to make your prose flow like poetry: Any “Thing” Goes 1. Search for and replace every use of “thing” with a concrete noun. If a word means everything, can it mean anything? 2. Search for and replace variations of “There […]

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