A team to pull your sleigh

You have a book that’s waiting…for you! It’s in your head. It’s in your heart. It’s in your bones. You can feel it wanting to take shape and become alive.

Purchase a journal, your future book. Now, pick it up. Maybe you’re apprehensive, wondering how you are going to fill these empty pages, how you are going to make a book that, next year, will have a place at the table of a book sale, a place in which others can peruse your book, purchase it, read it, benefit from it, and enjoy it. Now, relax a bit. Take a deep breath, because, like Santa, who is arriving very soon, you have a team that helps you carry the load. You have your very own Rudolph, your own Dasher, Dancer, Donder, and Blitzen.

You have Writer, Designer, and

Researcher, Reviewer, and

Editor, Publisher, and

Printer, Bookseller, and

As you may recall, you have

The most famous one of all

Your very own Rudolph, your Muse,

With a passion so bright,

Who guides your book to light.

In your journal, your future book, write Dedication at the top of one page; on another page, write Acknowledgments. Consider now the team pulling your sleigh, the team making your book real. Add their names to your book. Of course, this will change over time, but you don’t need to wait for your book to be complete to think about those you will thank, the contributors who will appear in your Dedication and Acknowledgments.

Let’s start with your muse. Who or what is inspiring you to write this book? Add the muse to the Dedication. When it comes to creating content for your book, who will do the research? Some of the content may come from your own life experiences; some may come from what others have written. Determine the source of your content. Consider the raw material needed to write your book.

Are you the writer? Who is helping you in this role, which also involves organizing your content into a readable, usable, interesting whole?

The visual appeal of your book is what attracts readers. If you have a traditional publisher for your book, discuss the design. Learn how much involvement you will have with the book size, the layout, the font, the artwork both in the interior and on the covers. If you are self-publishing your book, be sure to include a graphic designer on your team.

Reviewers include those who keep you out of trouble. They give you feedback and advice. Content reviewers check for accuracy. Legal reviewers check that you are not infringing on others’ intellectual property.

Among the reviewers are editors who check that the organization, the book’s architecture, is the best way to tell your story. Editors also check that you are using the language skillfully. Yes, that means correct grammar, capitalization, punctuation, word choice, spelling, and more. Your readers deserve, and are paying for, attention to every detail.

Who is the publisher of your book? What name, logo, and address will go in the front matter of your book? To have a traditional publisher or to self-publish? That is the question.

A traditional publisher takes care of printing your book. As a self-publisher, the option I selected was an on-demand printer. There are many, and you will want to compare their services. Create Space, which I use, has features I like, such as checking the book for printing problems, the ability to replace cover and interior files any time I uncover a glitch, 24-7 phone support, online tracking of sales, and deposit of royalties every month (a nice, passive source of income).

Now, who sells your books? In my case, both A Bisl of This, A Bisl of That: Eating Our Way and Career Success in 12 Easy Steps: A Journal are available at online retailers, such as Amazon.com and CreateSpace.com. Once purchased, the interaction between the buyer and printer is transparent to me. Of course, I can purchase books at a discounted rate from the printer and sell them wherever and to whomever I like.

Where do you find a Dasher, a Dancer, a Donder, a Blitzen, a Rudolph to pull your sleigh, to lighten your load? Do some research. You’ll discover many resources, both online and in print. Ask other authors for advice. And, above all, hold the reins on the services you purchase. Make a book that makes sense, both for your wallet and for you.

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