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!
 

                                                    

Ernest Hemingway said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Well, sometimes it’s not always that easy. Even if you enjoy it, writing can feel like a laborious task. Here are some simple ways to get your productivity in check.

Set Deadlines and Goals

When you are starting a new project, have a game plan to meet certain goals in your progress.  Have a number of pages or chapters in mind for the day, week, or month, etc. This will help prioritize your writing schedule and give you accountability for staying on top of your book.  Even if you don’t always meet these benchmarks, you will at least have a clearer idea of where you’re at in your progress. Shorter deadlines and goals may be more encouraging and effective than long-term ones, simply because you don’t have to wait to feel a larger sense of accomplishment in your progress. Small wins!

Get Organized

Schedule: Going along with deadlines and goals, schedule blocks of time reserved for writing. This is especially important if writing is not your full-time job.  Everyone has outside responsibilities that can encroach on your writing. By sticking to a schedule, you will always have that time reserved exclusively for writing.  

Outlines: If you need some help with organization or haven’t fully worked out certain parts of your book, outlines are a great way to categorize characters and plot points or organize paragraphs.  Referring to these outlines will prevent you from getting stuck when you go to sit down and write.  

Routine: It’s proven that people are more productive when they get an early start in the morning, but this isn’t true for everyone. It may take some time to establish a routine that works for you. The time of day is just as essential as your environment. If you’re writing at home, curate a space that you can feel comfortable and successful in. Maybe you enjoy going somewhere public for a different kind of atmosphere. Try out multiple spaces and take note of where you have been productive when settling on a routine.

Free Write

Free writing is a prewriting technique of writing continuously without regard to proper spelling, grammar, or topic. You can choose to take an idea or scenario from your book or stray completely. The point is to prevent writer’s block, self-criticism, or lack of writing motivation. Even if the material is unusable, it may spark new ideas. If you need help getting started, look at different writing prompts online to follow or simply write whatever is on your mind as a stream of consciousness.

Take Breaks

When you’re writing, it’s important to avoid time-wasting websites or anything else that is taking over your attention. If you feel like you’ve hit some roadblocks, take a break. Read something completely different from what you’re working on, watch a mindless TV show, or go for a walk. Simply introducing a morning or mid-day walk can help get your blood flowing, increasing the oxygen to your brain.  Your mind needs tools to perform too.  Walking will help stimulate brain activity, putting you in a better position to focus and be creative.

Edit Later

Don’t feel a sense of urgency to polish your writing as you go. If you find yourself fussing over the same three paragraphs for a long time, make a note and revisit it later. First drafts are all about getting the story down before tackling the small details.

 


                                             

There’s a lot of moving parts as you embark on your self-publishing journey and getting organized can seem like the most daunting part; Writing the actual book is half the battle. Next comes formatting, editing, designing, printing, and marketing - oh my!   We’ve scoured the Internet and asked self-publishers for their go-to online resources.

Scrivener is a tool for writing novels, developed for writers by writers.  It’s a software program that allows you to organize your novel in one place. Think of Scrivener as one big project space where you can organize all of the elements of your book on a “digital corkboard.” Many writers like to compartmentalize different sections of their book before it all comes together; Essentially, Scrivener turns your organized chaos into a complete book, making the writing process easier. There are many different tools the software offers, which can seem overwhelming, but many writers use it for basic organization of notes, research, inspiration, and actual writing.  If you struggle meeting personal goals and deadlines, writers have found Scrivener helpful in achieving their word count goals for the day. When you’re ready to format your book in Microsoft Word, you can easily transfer your written pages from Scrivener to Word. This software does cost $38-45 and requires use of a Mac. You can find an overview of the different features at their website: https://bit.ly/2AGGXWi

Grammarly is a free browser extension that functions as an automated grammar checker. They do offer a more extensive version for $29.95/month. The premium version will check for plagiarism, strength of words used, genre-specific writing style checks, and more. The free extension simply provides critical grammar and spelling checks.  All you have to do is download the extension, upload your document, then correct the underlined mistakes. https://www.grammarly.com/

ProWritingAid is another editing and grammar service that you can try for free but would need to purchase the software for continued use. They brand their service as “your personal writing coach” offering grammar fixes, style edits, and a writing mentor in one package to improve your overall writing. In contrast to Grammarly, ProWritingAid may be useful for a new writer still figuring out their personal writing style. https://prowritingaid.com/                   

Upwork is a great resource for finding freelance editors and designers. You simply post what service you need, include project details along with a proposed budget, then freelancers will contact you with a quote.  Once you choose a freelancer, the collaboration begins. https://www.upwork.com/

Reedsy provides a similar service to Upwork but has a clear target market of self-publishers. They market themselves as being “the home to the best publishing talent on the planet” providing editors, designers, publicists, marketers, ghost writers, and web designers. You simply browse profiles of freelancers, compare offers, then start collaborating.  https://reedsy.com/

 

We’re Here to Help

At 48 Hr Books, we understand how many steps self-publishers have to go through before the printing process begins. We’ve tried to make it a little more seamless for you by offering some additional resources and services.

Free Book Templates are available for download in four different standard book sizes. If you’re just getting started, you can open one of our templates in Word (or other word processors) and start typing. Have questions? We have a PDF right next to the templates to help you get started.

Underneath the templates, you’ll find cover size calculators for paperback and hardcover books. You can enter your dimensions and page count to determine the proper sizing and spine width to design your cover.

If you’re already planning on using our printing services and need some additional help, there are some options on your online order form you may want to consider, including reformatting, Create-a-Cover, and ISBN ordering.  


 

Everything You Need to Know About: EBooks

 

We will be breaking down everything you need to know about our eBook services. You can request an eBook as an additional option on your online order form and we will email you the files directly once they are completed. If you are not printing books and solely want to use our eBook services – no problem! Just call us and we will set up this order for you.

 

What is the cost for eBook conversion?

Our Economy eBook Conversions are $200. In order to be considered Economy Conversion, your book must be less than 200 pages (when set in 12-point Times in Microsoft Word), cannot have foot notes or end notes and contain 10 or less pictures, graphics, and charts. If any of these three conditions are not met, then your book may be a Standard Conversion, which is $350. In order to be considered "Standard" eBook Conversions, your book must be less than 400 pages (when set in 12-point Times in Microsoft Word), have less than 100 foot notes or end notes and less than 50 pictures, graphics, and charts.

 

What devices will your eBooks work on?

We'll provide you with two different formats: a MOBI file (that works on Amazon's Kindle devices), and an .ePub file (that works on iPad, Nook, iPhone, and virtually all other eReader devices).


What files should I send for conversion?

Word files are the best, but we also accept other word processor files, InDesign, and PDF.

 

How long does it take?

Usually 3-4 business days. All conversions are done manually by a qualified technician. More complex conversions may take a little longer, so if you have a deadline, just let us know!

 

What do you do to the files?

We hand-code all of the files (using HTML) into .epub and .mobi formats. We try to match exactly what’s in the existing document as closely as possible. We do not do any design or add to the existing formatting. When the conversion is complete, we send the files back to you to distribute as you wish.

 

What about the book cover?

If you send us a cover, we will include it on the eBook. This will show up on your device’s “bookshelf” with any other eBooks that you have on your device. If you want to include the back cover, we can add it as the last page in your eBook. Some eBook vendors require that you also upload the cover separately from your eBook to be included on their marketplace. We will provide you a correctly sized JPEG of your cover for this purpose if you need it.

 

Do you have any technical advice?

When it comes to eBook conversions from files formatted for print, there are three main elements that typically get adjusted: Fancy fonts, Text-wrapped Images, and Multi-column text.

 

Since eReaders can only display a handful of fairly generic fonts (Arial, Times, Calibri, etc.) most fonts throughout a book will be converted to one of these. That being said, font styles, such as Italics, Bold, and Underlined text will all carry over, no matter what font is being used.

 

Many eReaders do not have the ability to wrap text around images, so any image that appears embedded within a paragraph will need to be moved either above or below said paragraph. If this isn’t adjusted before the conversion happens, our eBook technicians can automatically replace the image to the proper spot.

 

Most (if not all) eReaders display text in a single column. Sometimes, it’s best to think of an eBook like a website or novel rather than a magazine or textbook. Because of this, any multi-column file will simply be converted into a single column, with all text remaining in the same order as in the original file.

 

 

Do you provide proofs?

While we do not send a “proof” file like we do with printed books, we don’t consider the conversion complete unless you’re 100% happy. Please let us know within 20 business days (4 weeks) if there are mistakes in the conversion that need fixed or if you have questions or concerns about how your eBook looks.

 

What if we have changes once the conversion is done? Can I edit the files?

All proofreading and editing should be finalized BEFORE you send us your files to convert. We’re happy to fix any of our mistakes free of charge as long as we’re notified within the 4-week time period. If you find other edits that you’d like to make (typo corrections, text edits, or additions), please send us a detailed list of edits corresponding to page numbers in the original file & we can make the edits for an hourly rate of $75/hour. We do not recommend editing an .epub file on your own and can only guarantee that the files will be valid and that they will display properly if you do not edit them yourself. 

 

Do you provide “fixed layout” eBooks?

If your book needs to have a fixed layout (so that images and text stay exactly in place - usually relevant for art books or children’s books), you will need to send us your file to determine if we can create an eBook file for you. Fixed layout files are not available at this time.

 

What if I don’t have an eReader? Can I open the files on my computer?

You will not be able to open the files that we send you on your computer. These files are formatted specifically for eReader devices. If you absolutely cannot access an eReader device (Kindle, Nook, iPad, tablet) to view your files, there are two free preview programs that can be downloaded to preview your files, but they will not be very accurate representations of how your eBook will look on an eReader.

·       For .epub files, you can use Adobe Digital Editions

·       For .mobi files, you can use Kindle Previewer

 

Do you have any advice for distribution and next steps?

We recommend selling your eBook through as many vendors as possible, including Apple’s iBookstore, Barnes & Noble’s Nook marketplace, and Amazon. We can provide limited information on how to do this, but it’s best to contact those specific vendors directly to discuss their process and requirements. Here are links to those sites to get you started:

·       Barnes & Noble: www.nookpress.com

·        Apple/iBooks: www.itunesconnect.apple.com

·       Amazon/Kindle Publishing: www.amazonkdp.com

 

How are you different from others?

Some companies may offer lower-priced eBook conversion, BUT they require that your document first be formatted perfectly using their specific requirements. They simply run your file through an automated process and spit it out. This takes a lot of extra work up front for you, resulting in a final product that may not match your original formatting and contain errors. We hand-code every part of our eBook files, compare them to your original document along the way, and personally review the eBooks on actual eReader devices before sending the converted files to you. Plus, if you have questions, we’re always here to help via phone and email.

Email: info@48hrbooks.com

Phone: 800-231-0521


Memoirs are books that tell stories from certain points in your life. This makes them different from autobiographies, which are chronological and contain a whole lifespan.  Memoirs are great because they do not necessarily abide by a certain format, allowing for more artistic freedom. Memoirs are personal, so it is important to use narrative speech to actively engage the reader.  Your stories must be worth telling.  The reader should be personally invested, re-living these moments with you.

 

Format and Structure:

It's important to determine what stories you are going to tell, what you want to convey to the reader, then formulate the organization around it.  For example, if your first story is an important lesson you learned when you were young, it might be a good idea to end that chapter or section on a story or situation that makes them reflect back to what they learned when they were the same age. Remember, you do not have to put your stories in chronological order, so once you start writing, see how everything flows and go from there!

There are no set guidelines on how to format a memoir. First, you should decide whether you want to organize your book into chapters or sections. If you are going for a more “novel” look, chapters may be the best way to go. If you start writing and find that you are telling stories based on specific topics, it may be easier to divide your book into sections as you see fit.

 

Pictures:

Pictures are not necessary to include in a memoir, but since you will be telling personal stories, you may choose to include some photos for reference. A popular way to feature photos in a memoir is by placing multiple pages of pictures in the middle or middle-end of the book, with corresponding captions, dates, and a photo description. 

  

Book Size & Binding:

Memoirs do not abide by an industry standard for size, however, they are rarely larger than 6 x 9 and usually fall within the 5.5 x 8.5 realm. Perfect bound (paperback) books are great for memoirs because they keep the cost down, but still hold up well over time. If you want to print a case bound (hardcover) book, you may want to consider pairing it with a dust jacket – an option that seems popular for memoirs. The option to print on the inside flaps on the dust jackets makes it a versatile choice.

If you are having a hard time deciding on a size and type of binding, visit a local library or book store and look at some published memoirs to get an idea of how you would like your book to look!

 

Cover Design:

The cover is the first thing the reader sees, so you want to make sure that it catches their attention. Choose an interesting graphic or font. At 48 Hr Books, all of our covers are printed in full-color at no extra charge, so liven your cover up with some color! Come up with a good cover that is not only eye-catching, but also conveys the purpose of your book quickly and easily. A potential buyer may only have a couple of seconds to glance at your cover - make sure they can tell immediately what your book offers. 

Since Memoirs are telling stories of your life, it makes sense to include your picture on either the front or back cover, along with your title and your name. However, if you want to take a different approach, design something that embodies your book, based on the stories you have told or the overall tone.

For something more attention grabbing, we offer foil-stamping, dust jackets, and 3D Diamond printing.

 

Getting Started with 48 Hr Books:

Book Templates:

We offer offers Free Book Templates that you can use to format your book. They'll open in Microsoft Word or just about any other word processing program, and they come in four standard sizes:

4.25 x 7     5.5 x 8.5     6 x 9     8.5 x 11

You can type your book directly into the template and set it up any way you choose. Be sure to choose the right page size, and when you're done formatting, simply convert the file to PDF format, and the resulting PDF file will be ready to upload to us. You'll upload your files directly to your order, so you'll need to place an order first on our website. If you get stuck or have any questions, remember, we're just a phone call away: 800-231-0521.

 

Covers:

If you need help constructing your cover, you can use our Create-a-Cover option for $100. With this option, you can choose a general layout, a background color and texture, and any additional instructions and photos you want included. Upload all the photos to us, and our prepress technicians take your options and assemble your cover using these elements. The $100 is a one-time fee, so if you receive your cover proof and decide you want to change an element on it such as the background color, this is no problem. If you have InDesign, you can use one of our Cover Templates to design your own cover.


By Kevin Hoover

The rise in popularity of digital media over the last several years has proven to be both a boon and a burden to the entertainment industry. As digital sales have increased, the number of trips that we as consumers have to make into stores has gone down. CD’s, video games, and movies have all given up their shiny disc ghost almost to the point of having very little footprint in brick-and-mortar shops anymore.

On the one hand, it’s great having a favorite song or movie available right when you want it, not to mention the accessibility of enjoying it on everything from your home TV to the phone in your pocket. But on the other, it’s a telling sign of a huge shift in the way we consume media, and one arena that’s been dealt the harshest of blows is that of print. 

 

Print Isn’t Dead

Print media speaks to our desire to hold something physically. The feeling of walking into a book store and poring over shelf upon shelf in shelf in search of your next great read. It’s leafing through the first few pages while being introduced to new settings and characters, all vying for attention while trying to earn their place in your home library. The experience is an immersive one that’s a sum of all parts involved, equating to something much more memorable than just grabbing a new book.

Physical is also more than an antiquated way for li