The Ericksons

Category Archives: Self-Publishing


It’s the 1st Wednesday of the month again. That’s when I take part in Alex J. Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group. I encourage you to check out their website and even sign up for the IWSG Newsletter. Today I’m going to explore self-publishing with print-on-demand, as I answer the #IWSG question for September –What publishing path are you considering/did you take, and why?When I first decided to write my book, Facing Cancer as a Friend, I felt as though I was looking at a timer, counting down the amount of time I had to get a platform set up and some words on the page. It was a midlife realignment of my goals. I had always wanted to be a writer, but I let life get in the way and stopped writing for a long time.Print-on-Demand Services changed all thatSelf-publishing prior to print-on-demand was often called vanity publishing, and with good reason. Prior to this evolution in the publishing industry, writers would pay publishers to print a certain number of books. Most often the author was stuck with hundreds of unsold copies by the end of their lifetime.  It was an unappealing notion. Print-on-demand potentially meant that the only thing you risked Read more…


beta readers

Most authors use beta readers to help them prepare their book for publication. It’s extra work and takes more time, but this is a step you won’t want to skip if you want your book to be as good as possible. How do you get beta readers? What do they do for you?Beta readers go by several different namesBeta readersStreet TeamAdvance ReadersLaunch TeamBook CrewReview CrewI call my beta readers “Advance Readers,” because they read my book in advance of it being in its final form (more about that later).What do Beta Readers Do?Authors not only use a variety of names for their beta readers, but they utilize their beta readers in several different ways, depending on what they need most.Do you :Need feedback to help you decide what to cut and what to keep?Welcome proofreading from those who excel at spotting typos?Have specific questions you need to have answered?I personally have my team of Advance Readers read an early version of my book. I ask for feedback, both specific and general and make a lot of changes based on their responses. Then, once the book is ready to publish, I send my beta readers a final copy of the book Read more…


Formatting your Ebook

There are several things to keep in mind as you approach formatting your ebook. An ebook isn’t just a paperback that you can read on your e-reader. It has distinct properties that make it not only different but in some cases, better than a print book. After all, a paperback can’t transport you to a linked website. You also can’t change the font style and size nor have a linked table of contents in a paperback. These unique aspects of an ebook bring with them some, “side effects” if you don’t format your ebook properly.For example, because the reader can change the font style and size, your book won’t look the same on the reader’s device as it does in the paperback. Bullets and lists could end up out of whack. Page numbers are irrelevant. So is anything else you have in your headers and footers.Take OutTo start out on the right foot, when formatting your ebook, begin with a “stripped” copy of your print book. Hopefully, you have formatted your print book properly from the start, using the preset “Styles” from the “Home” tab in Microsoft Word. It will be very important when it’s time to create your Table Read more…


Amazon Author Page

Today I will be exploring Amazon Author Central. What is it? How do you set up an Amazon Author Page? What can it do for you and your audience?Let’s start with Amazon Author Central. What is it?Amazon Author Central is your go-to place as an author who is selling books on the world’s largest online bookstore. There, you can find links to tools you can use as an author to write your books and sell them on Amazon. You can find the reviews people have left for your books as well as your sales statistics. I think the most interesting and useful thing on Amazon Author Central is your Amazon Author page. Here is an overview of what you and your readers can find on your Amazon Author Page.Readers will find:Your profile, including your profile picture and your website address(es). You can also include video, such as a book trailer if you choose. There is also a follow button so that your readers can get your latest posts and be notified when you publish a new book.Your books and their prices. These are found at the top for quick reference.Your Blog Feed. Yes! Your posts (or at least the first couple Read more…


Putting Your Best Font Forward

In today’s post, I will be giving you a behind-the-scenes look at me putting together my next book, Facing Cancer as a Parent: Helping Your Children Cope with your Cancer. Today, it’s all about making your book look good with the right formatting.Making Your Book Look Good starts with no formatting at allI’ve found this to be incredibly important. To help you see the transformations process that happens when you are making your book look good I have taken some screenshots of my manuscript along with some hints.Putting Your Best Font ForwardWith print projects, I often forget about the importance of font until it’s time to publish. Then I scramble to make it more visually appealing. Originally the paragraph font was Courier New, 12 pt. with the lines at 1.5. The chapter headings were 20 pt.It was boring and screamed, “self-published!” So, I decided to play around with it. I recommend looking at other professionally published books in your genre to see what they are using.After a little trial and error, I decided that Cambria was the font to go with for my non-fiction book. This change, alone, made a big difference.I then decided to change the font to 11 pt. and chapter Read more…


editing your manuscript

In this post, we are going to look at editing your manuscript. When people think of editing, they tend to have flashbacks to their 4th-grade grammar class when they were parsing sentences and ensuring the spelling and punctuation was correct. We have moved up to the big leagues now.Editing your manuscript has gotten a lot more complicated. For one thing, there are different types of editing. Whether you hire an editor (recommended), have a smart friend help, or do it yourself, you will need to be familiar with the various types. Because of everything involved in editing your manuscript, I will be giving you a broad overview of the process. Even if you are self-publishing, you can (and should) hire an editor to do any of these tasks that you are uncomfortable doing. If it is cost prohibitive, and it can be, consider which part of editing your manuscript can be best done by a professional and then just hire that one out.Manuscript CritiqueBefore you get into the task of editing your manuscript, you will want to have someone take a big picture look at what you’ve written. In traditional publishing, a professional editor will do this. As a self-published Read more…


outlining your non-fiction book

I am big on using an outline in my writing process. Since (for now) I would like to avoid the whole pantsers vs. plotters debate, I will focus this post on outlining your non-fiction book. There are several reasons I recommend outlining your non-fiction book …Outlining your non-fiction book will help you come up with ideasThink of it as a method of brainstorming. You are getting all the ideas that have been swirling around in your head, out and onto paper. Some of these ideas will work and will be worth exploring deeper. Others will seem disconnected from the group. Maybe you can use them for another project, but they really don’t belong in this particular book. You can identify these easily because they don’t fit anywhere on your outline.During this process, you can see what decisions you need to makeFor example, in Facing Cancer as a Parent, I included a section called Ages and Stages. In it I cover how children from 0 to 26 years old react to, and cope with, a parent’s cancer. That’s a big span of ages! So, I broke them down into brackets: Infants, Toddlers and Preschoolers, School Age, Preteens and Teens, and Young Read more…


Style Guide

You’ve written your book proposal and decided that your idea for a book is definitely worth pursuing. As a self-published author (or an independent blogger) you will want your content to look as professional as possible. This means doing some of the same things professional publishers do. In this “Behind the Scenes of Self-Publishing” post, I will be sharing why it’s important for every self-published writer to have a style guide.Create your style guide, or adopt one that someone else has created, early on in your writing process (the earlier the better). In your style guide, you will answer questions about how information is presented. You can then refer to your style guide throughout your writing and publishing process to keep your content consistent.Because of issues that can arise when you actually publish your book, you will want to wait to implement fonts and formatting until you get to that point. I’ll give you the low-down on that in a later post.First, consider style choices for your content.For example:How will you handle capitalization and numbering of titles and headings?What types of words will you hyphenate? For example, I hyphenate ages like this: “thirteen-year-old.”Will you spell out numbers in full, or not? Read more…


Book Proposal

According to one survey, 81% of people believe they have a book in them.  Unfortunately, most people don’t[i].  They might have a story in them, but a book is another thing, entirely. A book is written for an audience. In the past, publishers have asked the questions that ensured whether or not a book would likely sell. Writers answer these questions in the form of a book proposal. With the ability to self-publish, no one is asking these questions.Today, most writers:Don’t know what sellsOverestimate the demand for their book idea in an already saturated marketOverestimate their ability as a writerDon’t realize how much time it takes to write, edit, format, publish, and market their bookAre often too satisfied with a low-quality bookHow can you know whether or not your idea for a book is worth pursuing?Start where traditionally published writers do, with a book proposal.When someone is attempting to traditionally publish, they don’t invest the time and energy into writing a book until they know someone wants to publish it for them. So they write a book proposal to answer two questions a publisher will ask:Why should I publish this book?Why are you the person to write it?As a writer Read more…

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