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Our Little Books is a full service publishing company taking you from your initial idea to a finished little book. In these pages, you will discover tips on finding your passion, determining your audience, setting your goals, developing your online presence, and writing and publishing your book. If you are thinking of publishing a book you will find the information and the help you need with Our Little Books.

 

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Thursday
Jan142010

4 Tips to Good Self Editing

Editing is a necessary self-evil. When you take the time to edit your work, it will look professional, without mistakes and reflect the quality of your services.

Here are some tips to help you become a great self editor.

1.  Know what you are trying to say.

If your writing tends to ramble, you will quickly lose your reader's interest. Make sure you know what the goal of your work is and write that down before you even start. Then when you are editing, take a look at your writing goal and see if your work follows what you set out to accomplish.

2.  Take some time away from your writing. 

It is highly recommended that you take some time away from working on your writing after it is done. This can be from a few hours to several weeks. This will make sure that fresh eyes will review the writing and things you did not see yesterday you will pop out today.

3.  Read it out loud. 

When we read to ourselves, our minds tend to gloss over mistakes. However, if we read what we have written slowly and out loud, reading every word, then it is amazing how we can catch errors that we may have never seen before. 

4.  Print it out so you are not reading it off a computer screen. 

Print out your work rather than trying to edit it on a computer screen. Using a hard copy allows you to mark it up and see what you have written. When you change the medium, your eyes get to see your writing from a different viewpoint. You are more likely to pick up errors, or see how you can make your work even tighter when you have it in hand. 

These are just 4 tips to help you get going in self-editing your work. Editing is not easy. It takes practice but the result will be well worth it when you see your published work.

Wednesday
Jan132010

4 Steps to Define Your Niche Market

If you are writing a book or developing a product you need to define your niche market. A niche market is a group of people or businesses that have similar interests that can be identified and reached. By defining your market you can determine who you are going to market to which will help determine how you couch your marketing and how you spend your marketing dollars.
 
Here's the process to find your niche business or book topic:

  • Find a niche product or service you are passionate about.

It is important to find a product, topic or service you are passionate about. If you are going to devote time and energy to develop your site, build traffic and generate money you will need to enjoy what you are doing.

  • Determine your target audience.

Do your homework. Make sure the product you want to promote has a big enough market to make it worth while. You do not want to have a topic too broad that you blend in with all of the other sites. For example, if you love animals you may want to narrow your market to dogs. You can even further narrow your dog market to small dogs. However, be careful not to go overboard in defining your market because if you narrow your small dog market to only pugs it may become too narrow. You need to find that one point where there is sufficient market yet not overwhelming.

  • Search keywords. 

You can search keywords to see how many people search for the niche market you are targeting. This also applies if you are trying to determine your book topic. You may be interested in women’s health. A niche market of just women would be overwhelming, but if you further narrow your niche to women approaching menopause, you have created a strong and powerful defined niche that will be filled with useful keywords.

  • Find out what your customer wants. 

If you already have a business or product you can take a survey to find out what your customers want. You can also test a product with your customers to see if it will be worth your time to pursue. If you are a business owner and want to write a book about motivation you might give a free tip sheet on how to motivate your staff. If it is popular it may be a good topic for a book. If you sell retail items and want to expand your product line, sell the product for a limited time to see what kind of response you get before you stock up on inventory.

What steps have you taken to define your niche? What makes you stand out from your competitors within your defined niche?

Monday
Jan112010

How to Instill A Love of Reading in Your Children

So many children today spend too much time in front of the TV either watching a program or playing a video game. They need more time expanding their mind with reading, exercise, or creative play. I will explore ways to increase their creativity through reading.     

  •  Lead by example. 

If you want your children to read more then they need to see you reading. Children like to do what their parents do. You can not expect to develop readers in your family if you do not even have a book in the house.

  • Set aside a special time to read.

If you have infants or toddlers, a great time to read is just before bedtime as part of the bedtime routine. With a small child, choose a book with colorful pictures and ask questions about the pictures. Soon they will start imitating you and begin to “read” the books as well.

At first you will need to read to your child. Eventually when the child begins read, he still will enjoy listening to a book that is too difficult for him to read. If you read a chapter each day he will look forward to finding out what happens to the characters in the book. If your child is reading independently, be sure you read a book you are interested in along with her. It can be for as little as 10-15 min a day.

  •  Go to the Library.

Take a trip to the library every week. Your child can then find books that interest them. If your child is interested in dance or soccer encourage her to get a book on the subject. If art is an interest there are numerous books on great artists, works of art or art techniques. You want to make reading fun and interesting.

  • Pick books that are attractive to your child.

For example, if your child has a short attention you may want to pick books initially that have lots of pictures and just talk about the pictures. Ask questions about what you have just read to them. Get an audio book along with the book in print so that your child can listen and read at the same time.  Keep it simple and fun

  • Increase the time you spend reading.

After you have read consistently for 4 weeks for a certain time each night, you might be able to increase the time you spend reading. If your schedule allows, try reading more times per day. Make sure you have books available near the TV for the children to pick up as an alternative to watching TV.

  • Take a book everywhere you go.

Keep books available in the car and read if you are waiting for one of the children. Make sure they take a book on long trips, on vacation, or when they visit grandparents.

  • Don’t get discouraged.

It may seem that your child is not as interested as you want them to be. Over time, if you do the actions outlined above on a consistent basis, they will have the habit instilled in them.  

What have you done to instill reading in your child?

Wednesday
Jan062010

Tips for Designing a Great Book Cover

Once you have finished your manuscript one of the first things you will do is work on your cover design. This is my favorite part of publishing a book because it   brings life to your book. Your book cover can make or break your sales so it is important to find a good designer.  The prices can range but price should not be the main factor when choosing a designer. Here are a few things to consider when choosing a designer.

First, you may want to start looking at book designer web sites to find out what font and book style appeals to you and who will be able to convey the message you want. You may want to interview the designer to make sure you can work together. It is important that you can easily communicate with the designer and that they understand your target market and the message that you want the cover to convey about your book.

You will need to provide a picture of yourself on the back cover on inside the jacket. How do you want your name to be written? Will you use your full name with middle initial, first and last name or first initial and last name. What picture will convey the image you want your readers to see? You will need a short bio for the back of the book.

You may want to suggest pictures for the front cover that you feel convey your message. Most designers will show you 2 or 3 different versions of the cover for you to choose, but it will help if you have some idea of your likes and dislikes before starting the process. If you self publish or co publish  your book you will have more say over your book cover than if a traditional publisher publishes your book.

Does the cover convey your message?

Will it appeal to your target market?

Does the cover incorporate the books theme?

Does the cover stand out on the shelf?

 

Enjoy the process!

 

 

Tuesday
Jan052010

What to Look For When Looking For an Editor

If you  are publishing a book or submitting articles on the web you should seriously consider having your work edited after you have edited it yourself. Even experienced authors have their work edited. If you ask people with successful blogs they will admit that they often have their work edited. It is much easier to identify errors in someone else’s work than in your own.

There are several types of editing and it is important that you understand what kind of editing you need before getting a quote from an editor. There are three types: Developmental editing, Copy or line editing, and Proofreading.

  • Developmental Editing.

A developmental editor looks at the manuscript as a whole. They will make sure that it flows easily, has good structure and organization. They will make sure the tenses and tone is consistent throughout the manuscript. If you are stuck on your manuscript a good developmental editor can develop your ideas in the manuscript to the next level.

  • Copyediting or Line Editing

Line Editing or Copyediting is what most of us think of when we think of editing. It is what we do to our own pieces. These editors correct errors in usage, spelling, style and punctuation. The editor will give feedback and suggestions for improvement, such as recommendations for adjusting the format, reorder of material, identify material that should be cited, inconsistencies in the text that may need clarification, and suggestions on restructuring sentences to smooth the flow.    

  • Proofreading or Basic Editing

Proofing is the lowest level of editing and the last thing that is done just before it goes to print.  The editor will review your manuscript for technical elements such as grammar (possessives, tenses, subject/verb agreement), spelling ( including words with similar spellings such as there and their, affect and effect, principal and principle), and punctuation (such as hyphenations, commas, run-on sentences, sentence fragments, quotations, etc).

The level of editing depends on what stage your manuscript is in. It is important that the editor you choose knows something about the subject. Depending on what type of editor you choose, if you are writing a manuscript on microbiology you wouldn’t want an editor that specialized in business terminology!

To find a good editor you can search the directories at  Book Editing Association and Editorial Freelancers Association. Another way to find a good editor is if you know a published author. They can recommend an editor that will be good for your genre. You may want to try a test edit to make sure you can work together with your editor as all editors are not the same quality.

Check out the editorial services at Our Little Books. We have many types of editors on staff to help with what ever kind of editing you need.