Can you find two mistakes in the sentence below? Scroll to the bottom of today’s post for the answer.
We’re going to give the house a through cleaning before grandma comes for Christmas.
Today I’m going to talk about my current publishing project. But my sneaky agenda is to review some publishing principles you should know if you’re hoping to publish a book of your own.
In 1998 the University Press of Florida issued a scholarly book I’d written about Bernard Shaw – Pygmalion’s Wordplay: The Postmodern Shaw. Twenty years have gone by, and my book is now out of print. That means the publisher is no longer stocking and selling it.
The contract I signed in 1997 stated that the UPF owned all the rights to my book – until it went out of print. Then I could ask for them to be returned to me. (I had to make the request in a letter.)
While the book was still in print, the copyright belonged to the UPF. That meant nobody – not even me! – could copy significant chunks of the book. So – for example – I couldn’t issue an ebook version of my book, even though I was the author. I had signed those rights over to the UPF.
But now they’ve come back to me, and I am indeed republishing my book as both a paperback and an ebook (two ebooks, actually – one through Kindle and one through Smashwords).
Here are some facts and thoughts about re-publishing:
- A print book like mine needs to be digitized first (turned into a Word document) so that you have a file to work with. You can pay a service to do this for you. I was fortunate that my friend Gustavo A. Rodríguez Martín did the job for me.
- When you convert a digitized file, many mistakes can creep in. Allow time to fix them!
- Because I now own all the rights to my book, I can do anything I want with it.
- I made a few changes and corrections and added a new preface.
- I completely reformatted the book. That meant converting the digital file Gustavo sent me into a .txt file to clear the old formatting. Then I converted it again – into a Word file – and chose a different typeface, new headings, and so on.
- Georgia is my favorite typeface, and I often use Calibri for headings. But because I wanted a more academic look, I chose Century Schoolbook for this book and Baskerville Old Face for the headings.
- Most scholarly books use a small typeface. But I like readability, so I chose a larger size.
- I often quoted word-for-word from plays, essays, and books by Shaw. Many are still in copyright, so I had to get permission from the Shaw Estate to use them. In 1998 I paid a fee to do that. This time the Shaw Estate generously waived the fee. (It helps that Shaw’s works will go out of copyright in 2020!)
- Books don’t go “out of print” anymore. Publishers use POD (print-on-demand). That means instead of storing physical books in a warehouse, they just print them as needed. The only storage needed is space on a computer for the digital file. So publishers keep books indefinitely.
- One advantage of digital files is that it’s easy to update them. In the old days, you couldn’t make a single change when you republished a book – changing the plates (as they were called) was too expensive.
- I’m using Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) for my paperback. I endlessly tell writers not to pay anyone to publish their work. You can do it free on KDP, and the services are excellent.
- “Vanity presses” are pay-to-publish companies that will do editing, formatting, cover design, and marketing for you. But you’re better off finding freelancers to do those tasks (or you can do them yourself, as I do).
- I used a free cover template from KDP.
- Through Google Images I found a free picture of an Edwardian lady for the cover. (I gave a small cash gift to the artist.)
- I’ll be issuing the book in two ebook formats. KDP will publish it as a Kindle. Smashwords will publish it in multiple electronic formats so that anyone with a Nook or another device can read it.
- The book is automatically copyrighted. All I had to do was put a copyright notice in the front of the book: © Jean Reynolds 2018. For extra protection, I can register it with the copyright office – instructions are posted online.
Instant Quiz ANSWER
Don’t confuse thorough (“complete”) and through. And today’s sentence needs a capital G on Grandma. Why? This is a sentence you might hear in a family setting, and Grandma is a name.
We’re going to give the house a thorough cleaning before Grandma comes for Christmas. CORRECT
Jean Reynolds’ book What Your English Teacher Didn’t Tell You can be purchased from Amazon.com and other online booksellers.
“A useful resource for both students and professionals” – Jena L. Hawk, Ph.D., Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College
“Personable and readable…Jean knows her subject forwards and backwards.” – Adair Lara, author of Hold Me Close, Let Me Go