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Paperback VS eBook

The pros and cons of the two publishing mediums

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How to Create a Book Box Set

Impress your readers with a cool package

Photo by Author

Recently I set about creating a box/slipcase for my Infini Calendar series to show off/sell at events. After some trial and error, I now have my box and it looks great.

What I did was, I looked on Etsy for people who can make these things. I ended up going with Jim Arner ( Before contacting anyone, you should get the combined measurements of all the books you want to put in the box. I only had three books to put in mine, so it ended up coming out to 5.5 x 8.5 x 1.3.

You should also have an idea of how you want it to look. If your books have an aesthetic theme, you should recreate that on the box. Mine don’t really have an overarching theme, so I just winged it.

The process itself is actually very easy. The only major hurdle is the price. For mine, it came out to about $115 with shipping. This makes it very difficult to mass-produce, and I only plan on having one or two at a time. Honestly, I think the best use for these is to make them event exclusives. My intention is to charge somewhere around $50 and just take the loss. Maybe sign it. Hopefully, the interest I build will make up for it.

Edit: I’ve been toying with the idea of listing it on Amazon but I’m not sure how that would go.

Originally published at on December 31, 2019.

How to Create a Book Box Set was originally published in ILLUMINATION on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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Self-Publishing Marketing Tips

Here’s how you can get noticed.

Photo by Campaign Creators on Unsplash

So, you’ve written a book and you’re pretty proud of it. How can you bring that same joy to everyone? There are a number of things that do and do not work well, and I’m here to share them with you.

For starters, you need to get serious about social media. Get on Twitter and participate in what are known as writers lifts. Essentially, someone basically calls for a show of hands and wants their fellow writers to answer. You’re expected to respond and follow everyone else who responds. To put it simply, you’re giving your fellow writers a platform to get noticed by others. Feel free to do your own Writers Lift.

But don’t just follow. Be sure to interact with the people you follow to give them a reason to keep following you back. Give advice, encouragement, or thoughtful comments. It’s not all about everyone else, though. You’ll want to share updates from your own writing, whether you just finished a manuscript, are running a sale, or have recently published something you want others to read or buy. By following other people with similar interests, you’ll build your own following much faster than if you didn’t.

Whether or not you choose to use other social media platforms, I recommend prioritizing Twitter.

Here’s why.

I never found success with Facebook because, for the most part, my friends and family aren’t super interested in what I do. Also, I’ve learned to be wary of friend requests from complete strangers. They often turn about to be weirdos. True story: I recently accepted a request from a stranger. He turned out to be a weed dealer and wanted to sell me his goods.

Edit: I’m currently testing Facebook Ads. I may write about my experience later.

I never got many sales from YouTube, either. People say you should do book trailers. But even when I uploaded them and paid money to promote them, that translated into views but not sales. People will watch your video and then move on to something else.

Okay, so I’ve listed some things that work and a few things that don’t. Here’s the one strategy that has, by far, been the most successful for me. Make the first book in your series free by publishing it as free on Barnes & Noble’s Nook. Now, ask Amazon to price-match it. You’ll have to do this because you can’t publish your books for free on Kindle initially. It’s not guaranteed to work — they have no obligation to help you out here — but as long as your book is free on Nook, Amazon will most likely grant your request.

Now that your book is free on Kindle, it’s time to promote the hell out of that fact. Go to here and begin listing your book on those sites. Some cost money while others are free. I’ve found the paid ones give you the best return. It’s time-consuming, but the more sites you put your book on, the more downloads you’ll get. Oh, and plug it on Twitter.

Here’s my proof that it works. I used this strategy for my novel God School and it paid off. And I didn’t even submit my book to very many sites. I did have to pay a few hundred dollars to a select few, but I feel it was worth it.

Originally published at on October 21, 2019.

Self-Publishing Marketing Tips was originally published in ILLUMINATION on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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How to Publish Your Book on Amazon

It’s easier than you think.

Photo by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash

Are you writing your first book and considering self-publishing on Amazon but don’t know how to do it? Fear not, for I am here to show you.

The first thing you’ll need to do, obviously, is finish your book. Get it good and ready. Clean it up as best you can before sending it off to an editor (I strongly recommend hiring one if you can afford it). Make sure it’s thoroughly proofread (hint: I can help with that).

Okay, so now that you have it done, it’s time for the fun part. Head on over to and create a Kindle Direct Publishing account. Once you do that, you’ll have a dashboard where you can manage all the books you put on there. You can even save books as drafts before publishing.

You will enter your book information into these three pages

Next, click on “Create a New Title” and choose “Kindle eBook.” You can also choose “Paperback” if you want. More on that later. Anyway, it should bring you to the above screen. Here, you’ll have to fill in the various fields. The first page is for metadata like book title, series title, category, keywords, and so forth. The second page is for the actual book content such as the manuscript itself and book cover. The third page is for pricing and royalties selection.

For the eBook version, the hardest part will be formatting it to look good on a Kindle reader. I recommend using Calibre. Alternatively, you could pay someone on Fiverr to do it . If you go that route, I recommend the seller “iamgigpower” as she’ll get it done right for cheap. Now, with Calibre, you have a bunch of different options for which format to book your book in. I normally go with a mobi as that works pretty well most of the time. However, you can’t preserve Asian characters in a mobi file, so keep that in mind.

The other part that might cause you trouble is the cover, although an eBook cover is a hell of a lot easier than the jacket you’ll have to create for the paperback version. You can upload your own cover or use Amazon’s cover creator. I’ve done this a few times, and while you can get a decent cover out of it, I highly recommend commissioning a custom cover. You can find plenty of artists willing to take on the job at DeviantArt. See Amazon’s own guidelines for submitting a cover

Once you’ve verified it looks good on the previewer Amazon provides for you, and the cover looks good, and you’ve got all the details entered, you’re ready to publish. Hit that “Publish” button and the book will be sent to Amazon to be reviewed before they put it on the Kindle store. This usually happens within a day barring no problems.

Now, let’s talk about the paperback version. Many of the steps are the same aside from the manuscript and cover. For the paperback manuscript, you’ll want to save your Word file as a pdf. I use PDF Architect. To save as a pdf, you go to print it but choose PDF Architect as your printer.

Finally, we need to discuss the jacket. This is the single hardest thing you’re likely to encounter in all of this. Amazon is very strict about this. Be sure to get Amazon’s cover template.

My latest cover for reference. Design by Ramon Macairap (

After you submit your jacket, you have to use the previewer to make sure everything fits. See that red dotted border? No text or graphics can extend beyond that. Also, if your back doesn’t include a bar code, Amazon will add one for you. Make sure you leave room for it. It can take many tries to size your jacket correctly if your cover artist can’t get it right. Here’s my method. 1.) Get the template 2.) Re-size image to match template 3.) In PDF Architect, go to Create → From Any File and choose the jacket. It should create a pdf of just the right size for Amazon.

Once you’re ready, hit “Publish” and the book will go to Amazon for a review. If there are serious problems, you’ll have to fix them before they’ll let you publish.

Whew. That took a while to write. I hope it helps!

Originally published at on October 9, 2019.

How to Publish Your Book on Amazon was originally published in ILLUMINATION on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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