Sunday, 12 April 2015

Springtime Books Re-Launches Summertime Titles

Book launch for @Home in Dubai at Central Perk, Dubai (2012)

I'm writing a bit of a different blog today that puts the spotlight on the publisher of my first book, @Home in Dubai - Getting Connected Online and on the Ground. Jo Parfitt of Summertime Publishing was among the first to see a proposal I had written for a book I had in mind called 'A Year in Dubai'. I'll never forget the rush when she told me she thought I had a great idea and then how my bubble burst when she suggested I shelve it! She quickly brought the light back when she asked if I would write about life in Dubai from a bit of a different perspective... more of a 'how to' peppered with my personal experiences and interspersed with interviews with other expats and lots of links to online resources. The contract was signed and @Home in Dubai was born! And, Jo and I have since become great friends and collaborators ;)

Expat Books
Fast forward four years and Summertime Publishing has continued to grow in leaps and bounds, publishing books that focus on expat living and advice, including a few very poignant memoirs and some fiction thrown in for good measure. Recently, a decision was made to split the collection and create a sister publishing company called Springtime Books. I was notified that my book would be one of the books that would make the move and that I would be continuing the marketing and distribution collaboration with fellow Summertime author, Jack Scott (Perking the Pansies), who would head up the new entity.
Jack Scott, head honcho at Springtime

I'm in the company of some of my favorites and in celebration of the launch of Springtime Books we'll be doing some give aways on Goodreads from April 18th to May 17th. The books that will be participating so far include:

@Home in Dubai
Fly Away Home
Bitten by Spain
Passage of the Stork
Sleeping People Lie
From Barcelona

About Springtime 

"Springtime Books brings a fresh approach to publishing, offering the best in mentoring, planning, editing, polishing, designing, producing and distributing books and e-books for worldwide sale. We keep our standards high by publishing fewer than ten titles per year. We're interested in a range of genres but are particularly keen on hearing from writers who have something new to say about travel and expatriate life.

As a partner publisher, we charge a fee for our services. In exchange, our authors receive an exceptional royalty of up to 60%. These days, a book’s success is dependent on the proactivity of the author and so we believe he or she deserves to take most of the profit. Our authors understand that social networking is an important component of any marketing plan which is why we also a provide a range of social media services." Jack Scott

Ready for Change?
Any change can be scary but Jo and Jack have made the transition not only seamless, but they've also put together a fantastic re-launch plan to reinvigorate the titles that will now be promoted and distributed by Springtime Books. I'm excited to be part of the plan.

Give Away!
Feel free to share the news about the Goodreads give away and enter to win! Each book requires an entry so click on all of the links above (if you haven't already), save the page links and schedule a reminder to enter anytime between April 18th and May 17th. I'll be sending out reminders too so stay tuned!

If you’d like to receive book launch announcements or information on upcoming writing retreats, go ahead and sign up for my newsletter. When you sign up you’ll also receive a free copy of my ebook, 10 Steps to a Successful PR Campaign – a Do-it-Yourself Guide for Authors.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Tools of the Self-Publishing Trade

Now with three self-published books under my belt I thought it might be a good time to share a few of my favourite self-publishing tools that I have in my repertoire. There are hundreds to choose from and these are a select few that keep cropping up each time along with a couple new ones I found (or that just evolved) as I prepared to publish Deep Deceit
Photo of me and Burj al Arab in b/g by Katie Foster,
book covers all designed by Creation Booth

Kindle Formatting Template from Shelley Hitz

It was about three years ago that I started following Shelley Hitz and getting her newsletter, participating in her ebook publishing webinars (Get Your Kindle eBook Done!) and reading her books. Since then she has partnered with Heather Hart and they continue to offer great resources to indie authors through their company Training Authors. I still pull out her template and re-watch the video each time I get ready to convert my manuscript into a Kindle ready document for upload to Amazon.

Interior Book design templates from Joel Friedlander

I found these after I had uploaded my print file to Create Space but will definitely use one of these next time. I did have the interior layout of my first novel done professionally but decided to try a template for Deep Deceit as my budget was a bit tighter this time around. There’s nothing wrong with the 5x8 book layout template I used in Microsoft Word (take a look at the ‘look inside’ option on Amazon and let me know what you think) but I’ll do the header differently next time. Maybe I’ll even change it and re-upload the file… one of the many benefits of self-publishing J After getting Joel’s newsletter for a while now, I’ve decided to give his templates a try next time. They just have that little extra flair that really sets a book apart.

Cover Design by Creation Booth

Many indie authors choose to design their book covers themselves but I prefer to hire a professional to make sure that the first thing someone sees, my book cover, is the very best it can be. The nuances that make the difference between bad and good and good and great are difficult to accomplish without the right training and expertise of a graphic designer. Can you create something that’s ok using a template? Sure. But, it won't stand out among the crowd. And, it’s finicky work. If you don’t like the thought of spending hours choosing exactly the right font, moving graphics around millimeter by millimeter until you have the perfect balance, combing image catalogues to find exactly the right ‘look’ for your book, then hand it over to a professional and get back to writing.

Canva for Graphic Design

I used this free web-based design tool, ‘evangelized’ by Guy Kawasaki, to create the headers for my social media (Twitter and Facebook) and the image collage for this blog. There are many more options, including book cover design, posters, presentations and more. There are loads of free images to choose from along with paid offerings, which only cost $1 per image as well as the option of uploading your own. 

30-Day Book Marketing Boot Camp

Just as I was closing in on typing ‘the end’ on Deep Deceit, one of my favourite self-publishing gurus, D’vorah Lansky, launched an online boot camp for book marketing, which is something that us self-published authors cannot avoid, unless you have a big bankroll or an angel investor. I jumped in with both feet and, even though I spent 20 years in PR and marketing and have been building my author platform for a few years now, it was still a fire-hose of information that I eagerly absorbed as best I could, taking notes and highlighting the things I hadn’t tried as well as a few things I forgot to include in my launch plan. There's even ongoing support on the Facebook group of the same name for those who survived 'boot camp'! I have great hopes this year of creating my first webinar, which was one of the more advanced strategies, so stay tuned! D’vorah’s trainings and resources are targeted mostly towards non-fiction but there is still relevance when marketing fiction. The elements are basically the same, with a slightly different approach.

I could go on but this post is getting a little long so I’ll save some for next time. If you have any self-publishing tools that you’ve used and would like to share your experience (good or bad) please feel free to leave a comment.

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