48 Hr Books Blog

We hope that the following blog entries will explain and simplify the process of turning your words into actual books. We'd love to hear from you, either with comments, or with suggestions for future blog posts. We're here to help!
 

The month of April is National Poetry Month!

Poetry books continue to be a popular genre printed with us, so we have gathered some tips on how to approach organizing and printing them!

Since poetry is a diverse form of writing, you really have the freedom to conceptualize your book in a way that best represents your collection of poems. This can range from structure and formatting choices to visual aesthetic.

There are multiple ways you can choose to organize your poetry book. Organization and structure can depend on whether or not you have an underlying theme to your poems. For example, you may organize your poems into sections based on the content and tone of select works. These sections can simply be numerical or be based on seasons, emotions, etc. For example, fall, winter, spring, and summer could be used to group your poems. You may choose a more traditional structure without sections, using a corresponding Table of Contents or Index.

 As with structure, you also have the ability to take liberties with formatting for poetry books. Formatting may sometimes differ from poem to poem. The way you format your poems can affect the way the reader interprets the meaning of a poem and just as importantly, how they read it.

Justifying your text may be a decision based on individual poems. If the way you justify your text on the page, (for example, choosing to center your lines), adds to the interpretation of the poem, then that’s fine.  If you want your poetry book to look more uniform, then you may choose to keep all your poems left justified, which is the cleanest formatting choice. Larger margins are also common in poetry books because of the way stanzas are condensed and formatted.

Regardless of the subject matter of your poems, poetry is a whimsical, evocative genre. Feel free to take creative liberties with your book.  We have seen poetry books that have collaborated with different artists in one book, ranging from abstract illustrations to photography. We have also seen anthologies with strictly text and no visuals, so really think about your approach to your work and how you want your readers to experience it. 

Finally, the cover of your book is what people are going to see first, so make it eye-catching. Whether you have a fully illustrated cover or solely text, there are multiple ways you can make your books stand out. Here’s a look at three different poetry book covers we have printed below!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reformatting

Cover Design

Unique Covers


Character development is not the same process for everyone. Depending on where you are in your writing process, what you’re writing about, and how developed your story is, certain aspects of your character may not be worked out yet. It’s okay if you don’t have a firm handle on your characters when you start writing. The development of a character may become clearer as you continue writing and evolve as you delve deeper into your story. We have outlined some tips and guidelines to follow for character development.

 

First off, naming your character can feel like the greatest challenge of all. You don’t want to pick something too generic, but may not want to choose something too outlandish either. This decision can depend on multiple factors, including the setting or tone of your book. If you’re writing about a woman from the Fifties, a name like Betty-Sue would fit better than if she were to be living in a post-apocalyptic world. It’s okay to give your character a filler name while writing until you decide. Like many other character traits, your protagonist’s name may come later as he or she becomes more developed.  

 

Some basic, initial questions you can ask yourself to get started are:

-Who is the speaker?

-Who are they speaking to?

-What prompted the occasion for speaking?

-What is their profession? Income?

-Do they have any skills, talents?

-What are their goals?

-Do they have a defined personality type?

 

You must be able to describe their physical characteristics:

-What kind of clothes do they wear?

-Do they have any quirky habits or mannerisms?

-Describe their overall appearance, using descriptive language

-Do they have any signature qualities or identifiers? (example: Holden Caulfield’s red hunter’s hat, Harry Potter’s scar, etc.)

 

Everyone has a history:

Characters must have context and a backstory. What happens before the story starts and after it ends? What happens in the background or between scenes? If your character has an extreme response to something, what triggered that? For example, if your character has relationship issues, it’s helpful to your reader to describe their past and give insight to why they struggle with this. Did they have trouble with their parents? A hard time making friends?

 

Characters are usually overcoming something:

-What are your character’s flaws or fears? (example: Robert Langdon is afraid of enclosed spaces because of a traumatic childhood memory)

-Characters don’t exist in a vacuum; They interact with others and respond differently to different people.

-Put your character in situations and use body language and dialogue to demonstrate how your protagonist responds. How do they react in a crisis? What are they like in a thoughtful discussion?

 

Geography and setting are important:

The setting of your book has a huge impact on your character. If you want to express that your character is anxious, the atmosphere they are in matters. What is the lighting like? Is there a lot of noise? Going back to physical characteristics, the setting can help you form what kind of clothes they wear, what dialect they have, and what words they use.  They have to navigate the world they live in on the page. It's a story about ALL of the characters, and the way they survive, express emotion, respond to different situations, and how they live their lives in general.  

 

Avoid stereotypes:

It’s not enough to position your protagonist as that down-on-their-luck, relatable person who came from nothing and defied the odds. We’ve all seen this. Characters need depth. Common tropes can only go so far to engage the reader. Submerge your character in difficult, intriguing situations and see where they go.  

 

Above all, do your research. Our imaginations can only take us so far. We can draw on our own experiences to develop characters, but at the end of the day, your characters are manifestations that are created and exist in a different context from you. For example, if you’re writing about someone who has PTSD, you will need to research what symptoms come with this disorder and how they respond to certain situations. You don’t want to make the mistake of giving your character a well-defined quality then not be able to portray is realistically.


 

 

We will always provide a PDF proof of your inside pages and cover that must be approved before your books go to print.  However, we also have the option of sending you a printed proof.  A printed proof is one hard copy of your book that we will overnight to you to view and approve before printing your full run. This option is great for a few reasons:

 

Color matching:

If you have a lot of color photos in your book, or “critical color” on your cover that needs to be matched perfectly, the only fool-proof way to check it is by seeing the color in person, printed out. Sometimes, the color you see on your screen is not 100% representative of how it will print. If for some reason the color on your printed proof is off, we can then match it to the color that you need before printing your full run of books! This will save you anxiety and money.

 

Proofreading:

Studies show that reading text on a screen tires your eyes faster than reading them on a printed page, so for many people, it’s easier to spot last-minute typos and miscellaneous mistakes by reading a physical copy.

 

Peace of mind:

We like to think of printed proofs as “book insurance,” meaning if you have any reservations about signing off on your PDF proof without seeing a hard copy, then a printed proof will give you the confidence to fully approve the product you are about to receive. We highly recommend printed proofs for first-time authors!

 

 

More details:

o   If you want a printed proof, you can request one on your online order form.

o   Printed proofs cost $40, which covers the cost to produce the book and ship it overnight.

o   In order for your printed proof to arrive the next day, you must approve your PDF proof by 2pm EST for paperback books.

o   Printed proofs for Spiral Binding must be approve by Noon EST and ship the next day, and hardcover books also need approved by Noon EST and ship in 2 business days.

o   If you have anything that needs fixed after receiving your printed proof, let us know and we will prepare another PDF proof for you to view and approve.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Tips for Promoting Your Book

February 28, 2018

Get Creative:

-Turn a reading into a collaboration with other authors, musicians, and artists to make it fun and interesting.

-Incorporate multimedia by looping your book trailer in the background or have visuals of your cover art displayed.

Social Media:

-Create an aesthetic that is interesting and consistent across your online platforms.

-Build up anticipation of your book release to create buzz.

-Tease the development of your book and its progress on your social media.

-Do an online Giveaway for a copy of your book to gain exposure and followers.

Get Involved:

-If you went to college, request to be featured in an alumni publication or on their website. Go to alumni events to network and plug your book.

- Search locally for book events at libraries and schools for readings and author showcases.

Research & Planning:

-Send preview copies to authors you know and try and gather some reviews.

-Get to know your distributor and who their vendors are. If you are selling exclusively through Amazon, research ways your book will be seen when it’s posted.

- Research groups, blogs, forums, businesses, and publications related to your book for exposure. People a part of these communities could read and contribute a review of your book.


Create-a-Cover

February 14, 2018

HOW TO USE OUR $100 ECONOMY "CREATE-A-COVER" FEATURE


STEP 1

Choose a general cover design

Here are samples of our "Create-a-Cover" choices. When placing your order (or just getting a quote for a custom printed book cover), if you select our "Create-a-Cover" option, you'll have your choice of any one of these cover designs. If the cover sample you select has a photo, you should provide us with YOUR photo to put on your cover. For example: design #9 has an S-shaped cut-away with a photo of a diamond ring and pages of a book. While your cover would still have the S-shaped cut-away, you would supply the photo that goes inside of it. 

To create a book cover, simply click the design that you like, and go to Step 2 to choose your colors.

 

 

STEP 2

Choose your primary and secondary colors

A thumbnail of the design that you chose in Step 1 will appear on the left, with a 'color picker' on the right. Choose two colors from our color picker. Slide the rainbow slider up or down to get to the approximate color, then choose a color from within the large gradient. Do the same for your 2nd color. We'll use our judgment in designing your cover with that color combination. But don't stress about your color choices when creating a book cover. After you see your PDF Proof, you can make one set of changes for free before completing the create-a-book-cover process.

 

STEP 3

Upload your photos and/or type

After your order is placed, you'll be able to upload the wording you'd like, and any photos or clipart that you want included on your custom printed book cover. We'll put it all together for you, and send you a PDF proof to look at. Minor corrections to the proof are free, and you'll get a great-looking, inexpensive book cover.

NEED MORE THAN A BASIC COVER DESIGN?

If you have more complex requirements, Our 'Custom' Cover Design is a little more elaborate. One of our Graphic Designers will give you a call to discuss your book cover. We'll get your input, then create a couple of rough drafts of covers. Simply let us know what you like or dislike about each of the rough drafts. We'll make whatever changes you need, and create a book cover design that you'll be happy with.


 

We’ve all heard the idiom, “don’t judge a book by its cover.” Unfortunately, when it comes to selling books, these are not words to live by.  

After the hardest part is behind you (writing your book), you then have to start thinking about designing your cover. Whether you design it yourself or hire a professional, it’s important that a concept be readily established to guide the process.

 Depending on book genre, your cover may have a pre-established aesthetic to follow. It’s helpful to look at books you own or go to the bookstore to examine different covers from your genre.  This can give you an idea of what you like or dislike about cover design.

It’s exciting to see the different design routes taken to convey the contents of a book. Think about some of your favorite classics and their different covers.  What stands out to you?  Take Animal Farm by George Orwell, for example.  While there have been many versions printed, most of the covers depict its allegorical figure, the pig, “Old Major.”

In many cases, book covers do not follow a design pattern to reflect its contents in a literal way.  Choosing instead to focus on typography and color scheme, this approach can still be an effective and evocative way to sell books by simply creating a feeling.

Regardless of genre, covers are meant to entice the reader to want to know more.  Whether you go for bold graphics with more design elements or minimalistic lines and text, your cover should be eye-catching.  

 

Once you have a design concept in mind, then you just have to execute it!

 If you’re designing your cover on your own, image quality is extremely important.  A lot of graphics found online may be low-resolution. If you want the graphics to print clearly and look professional, the DPI (dots per inch) of your images should be at least 300 dpi! 

No matter what design approach you take, you may want to think about highlighting different elements to make your book stand out even more. There are many ways to do this - here’s where we can help:

Foil stamping & Embossing:  Foil stamping is the process of using a copper die to highlight specific text or images on your cover.  Gold or silver foil adds an element of richness and professionalism. The shimmer from the foil is definitely eye-catching!

Diamond 3D Printing: Our newest cover option is a personal favorite and will quite literally make your books stand out.  The 3D printing creates a raised, glossy coating that accentuates the color underneath.  This option looks especially unique when paired with our matte covers.  

Now more than ever it’s important to put time and thought into the execution of your cover.  In a competitive market, it’s necessary to stand out and create an identity through not only your words, but the quality of your product. An enticing cover can be the best marketing tool you have to sell your books.

For more information on our services, explore our website!


Editing

It’s important to have your book thoroughly edited before taking the next step to print and publish. As much as we want to believe our writing is perfect, it’s imperative to have a professional at least proofread your book for spelling errors, punctuation, sentence structure, and flow. It’s hard for the reader to view you as a credible source of information, or even a good storyteller, if mistakes are overlooked and end up printed for everyone to see. You want to be proud of the product you have worked so hard on!

A common mistake we have seen is using the spelling of “Forward” instead of “Foreword.” Spelling this heading incorrectly is telling of bad editing, which makes your book look less professional and makes you look less credible as a writer. This section is located at the beginning of your book, so spelling Foreword wrong is not a good way to set the tone of the reader’s experience.

 If your book contains a table of contents section, make sure all of your page numbers align properly with each corresponding section or chapter. If there are errors in your table of contents, it inconveniences the reader and makes your book look less professional.  If you ever make changes to your book, make sure you double check to make sure the changes do not result in changes to your table of contents. This step can often be overlooked by writers.

Formatting

Just like editing, messy formatting is another common mistake that can make reading your book more of a labor. If you are formatting your book yourself, do some research beforehand to see if there’s a basic formula to follow based on the genre or content.  For example, if your book contains a lot of dialogue, the formatting is going to be different compared to a normal body of text. A string of dialogue can be isolated on separate lines, rather than contained within a body of text.

A common formatting error we see is not justifying text. Text should be justified on both sides so that the edge of the text lines up smoothly, rather than left-aligned, which creates a ragged right.  This is also important to follow on your back cover if you have text displayed.


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