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Publish Your Way! BelieversBookServices provides professional publishing services for today's independent author.




Filtering by Tag: self-publishing

In the end, it's work.

andrew mackay

How about some good news? There's never been a better time in history to be a writer. That's truth. In fact, you can read lots of blogs and newsletters that will tell you just that. So, today, I'm going to give you the other side:

Successfully publishing is hard work.

You hear this less commonly, but it's no less true. It's simply hard work to write, market, and connect with an audience.

Sometimes we forget what success might look like. I was reminded of this while reading a blog post about hilarious stories from successful musicians. Success looks like hard work. Success sometimes carries tragedy and disappointment with it. Success often means hearing no a million times.

That's not failure. It's success. Failure:

Failure is the person who thinks, I should write, but never does.
Failure is the person who says, "The manuscript is in the drawer," and never gets it out.
Failure is the person who hears no once, and calls it a career.

Success, though:

Success means delivering great content, even if the audience is small.
Success means putting thought into each piece of writing.
Success means getting back on the horse after you're thrown off, especially metaphorically.
Success means hard work.

Here's to your success in 2016!

We love helping you publish. Merry Christmas!

Know Your Category

andrew mackay

Selling books in online environments means understanding and aiming for your audience. It's hard to understate the importance of placing your book in the right categories. Here are some reasons why:

- One of the worst things that can happen to your book is ending up in the hands of the wrong reader. Even a good romance won't thrill the heart of most sci-fi readers. You want to be in the right category. It does you no good to mis-label:

- Amazon and most other retailers often display results based on how the books that fit the query are selling. If you're selling well, for instance, in the Fantasy category, you'll show up higher in searches that fit that category.

- Some categories are pretty small. Others are huge. Knowing which category is the right fit allows you to be in with the "right kind" of books.

- On occasion, you might have a book that appeals across a couple of categories. Getting in front of those different readers matters.

So, when it's time to pick categories, stop; research; then make decisions. Don't rush!



How Much Should I Stress Over My Content?

andrew mackay

Okay, look: we believe in editing. When we meet an indie author who feels like their books are under-performing, the first question we ask is, "Did you have your book edited?"

We believe in editing. It's easy to get your head around the value of a great cover -- if the cover is bad, no one will pick the book up. But editing, what does it do for your readers? Here's how I explain it: an unedited or poorly edited book will almost never get a word-of-mouth recommendation. Good editing is the most effective long-term marketing strategy I've ever met. You can only expect to convince so many people to read your book. But if your book is poorly edited, those people won't ever talk about your book to anyone else.

So, how much should you stress over your content?

The only right answer is a lot. Too much.

Now, there's a caveat that needs to go here: It is possible to get frozen up about your content. It's possible to worry that it'll never be good enough. it's possible to lose your ability to separate yourself from the need for your content to be very good. So, you have to know when to quit.

But you cannot afford to go to market with unedited or poorly edited content. You've got to spend time on making it as good as it can possibly be. How can you do it?

- Hire professionals

We believe in the power of professional editors. An editor is someone whose bread and butter is helping authors create great content. They understand the market, they understand the rules and conventions of the market. And they come alongside and help you be better than you could ever be on your own.

- Crowd Source

I feel like this method is finally starting to get the credit it's due. More and more people are talking about beta readers, or using a group of readers to gather feedback. This can be tremendously beneficial in two areas. First, readers can help you identify "that doesn't make sense," problems in your story. Secondly, they can help you catch the dumb errors you'll overlook when you're reading the same content for the seven-hundredth time. Use your friends! Wait... that sounds wrong.

- Develop great instincts

Self-editing is really hard. In fact, I think it's dangerous when publishing professionals allow authors to think they can effectively edit themselves. You'll never be able to identify ALL your own blind spots. But you can learn to identify more and more of your blind spots. You do this by reading technical books about good writing and good editing. But more importantly, you do it by reading great books and developing an ear for great writing.

How much should you stress over your content? Lots. I promise, the remaining stigma around indie-publishing would completely disappear if every indie author decided to obsess over really great content.

The Quick Start Package

andrew mackay

The world of publishing feels like it's constantly changing. We want to be the kind of company that embraces that. It's easy to find constant change intimidating. But all that scariness is also an opportunity. It's an opportunity to do what we do best—to innovate and create great solutions that serve authors where they have needs.

We've been asked, repeatedly it feels like, about solutions for authors that keep costs to a minimum. We heard you. This is our answer!

The QuickStart package is another opportunity for us to serve you. At its core, it's a package of just the most essential services to get your book available for sale.

It doesn't include some important things: editing, eBook conversion and distribution, or marketing. It also reduces some of the other services: you'll get one cover concept instead of two and we'll use great templates instead of a purely-custom approach to interior formatting.

Of course, you need editing. You need a marketing plan. What we're hearing from authors is that they want to do those things themselves, through beta readers and hard work researching. If you want to launch a book to the market at a low cost, we're here to help. Of course we remain committed to excellence. We just understand that there are multiple ways to get there.

Some things never change: at BelieversPress, you are always the publisher. We always sell books to you at the print cost, never at an inflated price based on retail. We always work to ensure rational, real-world retail prices. And we'll always give you the best information and advice we can to help you succeed.

Check out the QuickStart package here. If you're serious about indie-publishing your book, we'd love to chat. You can get in touch with us here.

Best Of: Copyright Basics

andrew mackay

One of the questions that comes up over and over again among new writers is "How do I protect my work?" We're all excited about the writing we've done, we want to get it out there to readers, but we want to be careful about protecting the work.

The most frequent question in this realm is, "How do I copyright this work?"

The US copyright office defines copyright this way:

Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (title 17, U. S. Code) to the authors of “original works of authorship,” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works. This protection is available to both published and unpublished works. Section 106 of the 1976 Copyright Act generally gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to do and to authorize others to do the following:

• reproduce the work in copies or phonorecords

• prepare derivative works based upon the work

• distribute copies or phonorecords of the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending

• perform the work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works

• display the work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work

• perform the work publicly (in the case of sound recordings*) by means of a digital audio transmission

The thing to note about copyright is that it protects the fixed creative expression of your idea(s), not the ideas themselves. That means that you can write a book about a dystopian future in which the bad guys breath carbon dioxide and someone else can do the same thing. That's not infringement. It becomes infringement when they begin to copy your actual expression of the idea.

Copyright is automatically in effect from the time that you create the work in its fixed expression. So, your work is automatically protected. But... there are some good reasons to register the copyright with the US Copyright Office if you have concerns about infringement. Most importantly, timely registration (within 3 months of publication or before any infringement occurs) entitles you to statutory damages in the event infringement occurs. If you haven't registered before infringement occurs, you're eligible only for actual losses / damages. In publishing, that can be somewhat harder to prove (unless you have a runaway hit on your hands).

So, if you're concerned, go ahead and register your work with the US Copyright office ( It's $35 and some paperwork. We'll link to some resources below, but remember that we're not lawyers -- if you have questions, you should consider talking with an intellectual property lawyer to get thorough, accurate answers.

Oh, and a quick note about "the poor man's copyright" ... you'll find all kinds of crazy ideas on the internet. One of them is that you somehow prove something in court by mailing yourself a sealed copy of your manuscript. Nope! The reality is that there's no benefit to you from mailing yourself a sealed copy of your work. Register it with the Copyright office if you're concerned.