Amazon's Createspace is the powerhouse of print on demand (POD). Everyone around the globe knows that now. Most authors are just coming to hear that there are other options out there, and some of them may actually be better. One of the most important things that other printers can offer, is a true distribution to retail stores.

Yes, Createspace says they have an Expanded Distribution option, although to get the full option you actually have to use one of their ISBNs, making them officially your publisher. Another aspect that may not be known, big stores like Barns & Noble won't purchase books from Createspace, because CS doesn't have a return policy. Due to space limitations, if a book isn't selling anymore, B&N need to send it back to make room for the incoming books.

Many authors are now coming to me and asking if I can get their books into the distribution. YES I can. I have actually been working with LightningSource, the publisher's side of IngramSpark for years now. Just today, I have had some reinforcement from a couple of my piers on why Createspace and Ingram should be utilized to expand your book's reach.

Visit my friend Sandra's site, where her guest blogger is another publisher who uses both, and offers her advice on which way to go if you really do want to make a choice between Createspace and Ingram. He true advice is actually to use both though.

Read the Amy Collins article Here...

Literary Agents

Finding a Literary Agent is the one last realm of my industry that I will freely admit I cannot fully help my clients. I looked into the process of obtaining a Literary Agent in early 2015. I read about 10 books, signed up for as many blogs, and after about 2 months of digging, I decided it was definitely not an area I wanted to jump into. I had been considering having Agents, although once I learned how the process worked I knew it would take me years to really be worth while there.

I live in Florida, and we have only a very small hand full of Agents here, and there is a reason for that. Florida is not where most of the publishing houses are, thus making it extremely difficult for an Agent to get cozy with publishers, and thus sell your book. It is just as long of a process for your Agent to sell your book, as it will be for you to find the correct Agent.

That being said, after all the research I did, I do actually know a little bit about obtaining an Agent for publishing your work. It is DIFFICULT!

How do you get a Literary Agent?

I am not one to try to recreate the wheel, so I am going to defer to one of our great resources, Jane Friedman. She has compiled a great article, littered with links to much of the content you will need, in order to answer this question for you and your book. It is a long arduous task to obtain a publishing Agent, and as Ms. Friedman says, "Not everyone actually needs one."

Check out her article here and see what is involved. https://janefriedman.com/find-literary-agent/

Your heading text

Many people ask this question, although the answer is often so complex, a publisher doesn't want to answer. Instead try answering the question, what makes a book make money?

In today's ever changing world of the publishing industry, this task is becoming a bit of a snaffoo for those in charge of choosing books to represent. If it is a big, well established publisher, with a large marketing budget, then everything is easier. Today though, there are dozens of "publishers" popping up every day.

  • Self-publishing publishers
  • Indie-publishing publishers
  • Vanity press publishers
  • Micro-press publisher
  • Traditional style publishers

Who knows what they all actually call themselves. It is a difficult industry to get into, although many authors jump into it to publishing their own book, not realizing the many hurdles. Then offer to do it for someone else. Suddenly they are a publisher needing a contract to offer.

I remember when I offered my first contract. I cringe at the thought of that author coming back to dispute it, he would win, hands down. I had no clue back then about contracts. I had been working in the industry for 8 years already. I had done everything EXCEPT offer a contract.

Today, I am regularly solicited for a contract and I can be much more selective about the quality of the book. But I still cannot answer that question... What is it that made you pick that book?

As an avid reader of many genre, I guess I would have to say it is just the story that grabs me. I'm not saying books that have come across my desk and been turned down were bad, it just didn't grab ME.

The biggest knife at my neck now is marketing. I won't even consider an author any more that doesn't have a website at least the in process of being set up, and some of their social media set up. I expect all of my incoming authors to assist in their sales. I hate to be more and more like the Big 5, but I have to, I'm just one of the small fries.

Publishing checklist
Jennifer FitzGerald

"My biggest desire is to publish truly great books that bring our readers back because they know we have quality reading."

Jennifer FitzGerald has been designing books and marketing for over 15 years. She expanded into a Micro-Press Publishing company in late 2014 and currently has four imprints and over two dozen authors.

If you have paid attention to the media in the publishing industry over the past few years, you got super excited when you saw authors go from rags to riches on the spine of a book or two, and you thought to yourself, "Hey, I can write a story too. One that will knock their socks off!" So you set yourself to the task of writing.

It may have take you a year or more to get to The End, and now you are a self-published author. If you are like most Indie-Published authors, you have a book (or two or three) sitting on Amazon, yet your monthly royalty check amounts to a cup of coffee. You spent tons of time writing, even more time editing, then finally producing...and nothing.

Where are all the sales? Why isn't your book doing well?

You are not discouraged though. Let me guess...

-- You know your story is great

-- You can see it in your mind up on the big screen

-- The quality of your writing is far beyond that of some of the famous authors coming into the market these days

-- And you are willing to do whatever it takes to get your book widely circulated

So now you are looking around for the answer to this new question, "What am I missing?" You may even be hearing all the other authors asking the same thing. Some people are giving out a couple of reasons, but none of them seem to be giving anything out that will solve the issue.

I'm not only going to cover the Top 4 Indie-Publisher Mistakes, I'm also going to give you a complete check list of what needs to be done, which will help you get your book on the profitable side of the fence. Yes, that's right, there are actually more than four things that you need to do to publish successfully. We will discuss a couple here now, and then you can go download my complete publishing check list. Time to dig in and get serious about it. This industry is grueling and only those willing to 'give it all they got' are going to make it to the top.

So what are the Top mistakes?

#1 is the book cover.

I know you are hearing about this everywhere. It is the subject of many posts and articles, the necessity of a professionally designed versus amateur designed book cover. This really is the first thing a reader sees, and in many polls across the internet, people agree that the cover plays a huge roll in whether they pick up the book to begin with. So getting a professional book design from someone who understands the market is essential. That last is of utmost importance here. A great graphic designer is not the same as a designer who knows the book industry. So do some research into who you choose.

All of my designers go through a series of Q&A with the author to determine broad category all the way down to targeted niche category for the book. Then with some research online we find the author's targeted audience and determine what they are looking for, both with imagery and words. With that information, we design the best cover that will grab the attention of the readers right away, and lead them to the next step.

#2 is the sales copy.

Many of my clients didn't fully understand what this even meant when we first discussed what should be on the back cover. Back cover text is simply a short synopsis of the book, right? Wrong!

The back cover text needs to be compelling sales copy. This is your first time of connecting with a potential buyer, someone who is actively looking to buy a book, and they need to know the reasons why your book is the one they should choose. What emotional highs and lows are they wanting to connect with? How will you convince them that THIS book will not be a waste of time? Yes, the synopsis must be intertwined within this text, but more importantly, you need to show what benefit they will get out of this reading.

Our marketing team uses target market research to develop the correct words and strategy for getting our now intrigued readers to open the book. That first nudge toward a sale has been set.

#3 is the editing.

This one is also being shouted by the masses, and if you see who the majority of those demands are coming from, you will take note that they are the readers. They are your audience, the people who will pay you money if they like what they see. They will continue to come back to your books if you have done them right. Just as the cover design and the sales copy are essential to get a potential buyer to look at your book, if they open to the first page and are affronted by basic grammar mistakes, they will be done with you forever and move on to the next.

As a publisher, I never want to see editing mistakes within our books. Thus, I developed a system where each of our editing clients goes through a set of editors. Not just one person editing, because one person never finds all the mistakes. We manage to keep expenses down and yet provide a much higher quality of editing. This leads to greater sales because we don't lose our sales due to editing.

An author who understands all the steps necessary to publish a great book is going to outsell the authors who don't. Even if you need to hire service providers to fulfill some of the requirements, knowing what is needed is half the battle.

#4 is lack of a great hook.

The first few pages of a book are often what a buyer will read before they make that final decision to buy. Yes, they read the synopsis before the hook, and don't get me wrong, that must be great too, but if the back cover got their interest peaked, they will flip through the first few pages next. So even if you did everything else here, yet you didn't make sure the beginning was perfect, you will lose the sale.

Many authors get caught up in this area because:

-- My friends and family love my book

-- I have a degree in writing

-- I have published books already

While it is awesome that you have a support team, and you learned in a classroom setting the ins and outs of writing, and that you already have some experience in this industry

  • Audiences have changed…
  • Attention spans have changed… (Thanks, Netflix.)
  • Technology has changed…
  • Customer buying habits have changed…
  • Presentation practices have changed…
  • And the competition has grown by 400,000 new book titles every year!

In today's world of publishing all the rules are different. Writing in a classroom is not the same as writing for a large audience and books that were published just 5-years ago might not make it as far today if published in the exact same way.

Today it is about integrating marketing within your plan of writing and publishing, so when you do release your next book, you have an engaged audience waiting to receive it.

Keep reading...now that you know the top 4 mistakes, I've created a COMPLETE check list of what to do to get the best possible book published.

In fact, I actually created you a 2nd check list that goes beyond the production of your book and lays out everything you need to do for marketing your book.

My wish for you is to sidestep the countless things that authors don't know that make most Indie-Authors epic disasters, and instead learn how to create a masterpiece.

I've been designing books and helping authors publish for 10 years now and I've made MANY mistakes along the way. You don't need to do the same! I've compiled a list of everything you need to do to be a successful, money making author.
Click here now to get both of these checklists!

Hard to believe I haven't left a post here in a year. You can actually check out all the great stuff I wrote over the past year on another great site, OurWriteSide.com. They have a collaboration of many authors, editors, and me. lol

Just search my name on their site and you will find all the stuff I wrote over there.

Well, back to my blog now. This year has started off with the explosion of fireworks and the sparkles are still raining down upon us here at Mother Spider. One of the first things I will mention is, we are changing our name slightly–removing the word 'Designs' and replacing it with 'Publishing.' We feel, now that we are truly doing more than just designing books and websites, we needed to expand the name as well.

You can go all the way from author coaching and editing, through the production of a book, and on into the marketing side. We offer designs for all printed materials you might need, business cards or book marks, banners, and even printed or digital press kits to offer on your website.

Our web design and development team has been buffed up. We now have many author specific websites under our belt. Not that we didn't know how before, we have been designing websites since before books. Now we are just much more well versed in what is needed for an author website. Check out some of those in our portfolio section.

We have a new marketing department that is just beginning now too. We developed a quick training series for authors who want to understand how to use their WordPress site, and our marketing team is developing a package that authors can utilize to really sell their books.

So take a look around. Things are changing here on a daily basis.

I read an interesting article today, an interview with Stephen King's cover designer, Jeff Huang. He gives all cover designers a target to shoot for when judging their abilities, for sure.

I have often had the paradox he speaks of, as to price range for my clients. I give 200% of my efforts to my clients, yet I can't count how many times people have not used my services because they feel the price is too high. Unfortunately, as Jeff Huang hit on this subject, Indie (self) Publishing is causing this. So many authors are opting not to get a great cover due to the expense, yet the cover really is the first step in selling a book.

I'm not saying I will be raising my prices into the thousands of dollars, like Jeff Huang. I definitely must consider the amount of time I want to spend on a cover, and weigh how much my time is worth.

In the mean time, maybe giving your cover designer a few more pats on the back, and truly appreciate the time that goes into one. It is not just an hour or so to design a cover. We look into the words used, the overall idea of the book, searching for stock images to keep your price down, and then all the actual design time. That doesn't even account for the years of training on software and learning all the intricacies of marketing in the book industry.

To read more from Jeff Huang's interview, visit Reedsy.