CIP, LCCN, PCN, PCIP – what are they and does the indie author really need them? (Part II)

There is a great deal of misinformation and misunderstanding about what Cataloguing in Publication (CIP) entails, what is or is not conferred by a Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN), the nature of the Library of Congress’s Preassigned Control Number (PCN) Program, and the for-profit Publisher Cataloguing in Publication (PCIP) services offered by freelance cataloguers. Worse still is the myth that the author whose book does not contain CIP data or a coveted LCCN cannot sell their books to libraries. This is simply untrue: all that a CIP data block Read More …

CIP, LCCN, PCN, PCIP – what are they and does the indie author really need them? (Part I)

There is a great deal of misinformation and misunderstanding about what Cataloguing in Publication (CIP) entails, what is or is not conferred by a Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN), the nature of the Library of Congress’s Preassigned Control Number (PCN) Program, and the for-profit Publisher Cataloguing in Publication (PCIP) services offered by freelance cataloguers. Worse still is the myth that the author whose book does not contain CIP data or a coveted LCCN cannot sell their books to libraries. This is simply untrue: all that a CIP data block Read More …

Five steps to reduce your editing costs

As an indie writer, chances are you’re on a tight budget, and editing can be a major expense, in some cases the biggest expense you will incur as a self-publisher. Luckily, there are ways for you to lower that bill without compromising on quality. Editors charge either by the word or the hour, but either way the more work they have to do, the more you pay. I charge by the word, but I will adjust my fee based on a sample edit of your manuscript; the worse shape it Read More …

How to avoid embarrassing errors in your manuscript

As both a writer and an editor, I often find manuscript errors created by inconsistency in mechanical conventions. Some common errors are: Chapter headings that use numbers (Chapter 1) at the start of a manuscript but then are inexplicably spelled out later on (Chapter Ten). All caps are used to illustrate a raised voice (“GET OUT!” she screamed.) in parts of the manuscript, but italics (“Get out!” she screamed.) are used elsewhere for the same effect. The author uses an en dash surrounded by spaces (“I wish you wouldn’t” – Read More …

Styles are the foundation of best book practices

Most authors who use a word processor do not use custom styles; instead, authors are in the habit of using the default Normal style and using the tab key and the formatting toolbar to customize headings and paragraphs. Unfortunately, this is a bad habit that will come to bite you later if you want to turn your manuscript into a print or ebook. It is much better practice to control the formatting of your manuscript through styles. Styles are the foundation of best book practices, in particular ebooks: when your Read More …

Creating a custom lexicon in Word for PC

We all have certain words that we continually misspell but which are nevertheless proper words in themselves, such as typing in form instead of from. Then there are the words where multiple spellings are correct — judgement versus judgment, for example — and which thus make consistency of use difficult. One way to circumvent this problem is to build a custom lexicon that will ignore Word’s default dictionaries and treat any word you add to the lexicon as misspelled. Unfortunately for Mac users this only works in PC. The first Read More …

Kobo join the print-on-demand game — but should you play?

Many Kobo Writing Life authors recently received an invitation to take part in a beta print-on-demand program at Kobo. Not all Kobo authors received this invitation, myself included, because the program is a subcontract to the POD manufacturer Lightning Source International (LSI): if you already have print books distributed by Ingram, the print distributor and parent company of LSI/Ingram Spark, and if your print books’ ISBNs are in Kobo’s system, then there is no point in them contacting you. For this new POD service, Kobo is charging authors USD $25.00 Read More …

The Perils of Using Song Lyrics in Your Book (and how to do so anyway)

Many indie authors ask me if they can use song lyrics in their books, and if doing so constitutes fair use or if permission is required. The short answer is this: yes, you can use lyrics, doing so might or might not fall under fair use, but in the end that is irrelevant because copyright of most lyrics is aggressively defended by powerful licensing agencies who can make your life miserable if you fail to pay for permission. So forget fair use: you can’t afford it. Permission to use song Read More …

How digital printers are misleading indie authors

Print on demand (“POD”) is the buzzword of the day, and many commercial printers are losing a chunk of their business to print on demand manufacturers such as CreateSpace and Ingram Spark (Lightning Source International). The result is a plethora of short-run digital printers doing their best to masquerade as true POD printers. A short-run digital printer will often advertise themselves as print on demand, claiming that their system is such because they can print one book or a thousand “on demand,” that is, without having to set up the Read More …