Being an Author · Ramblings

20+ Book Ideas You Can Use for Your Next Book

(This post contains affiliate links, which means I may make a small commission at no extra charge to you if you click on a link and make a purchase. Thank you!)

I’ve come up with ideas for books while listening to my daughters, reading articles, watching TV, going for walks, talking to others, and on and on it goes.

Book ideas are literally all around us!

The idea for my book Pickles, Pickles, I Like Pickles began in my garden while picking cucumbers to make pickles. The book Aah! Blown Away, Crash! An Alphabet Misadventure, which I created with one of my daughters, started at a writer meeting I attended years ago.

Awesome Idea Syndrome

I don’t have any problem coming up with ideas for books. No, I’ve got lots of ideas! My problem is Awesome Idea Syndrome.

Even though Awesome Idea Syndrome is a term I made up and diagnosed myself with, I’m sure I am not the only writer to suffer from it.

The main symptom of Awesome Idea Syndrome is I am content working on a manuscript until…(insert page turn here) I see or hear something that I think would make an interesting book. Then, I get so excited about that idea that I start working on a new manuscript until…(next page turn) another idea comes to me.

And on and on it goes. (As a side note, the ideas aren’t always “awesome”, but it sometimes takes me a while to figure that out.)

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay 

I have suffered from Awesome Idea Syndrome for quite a while now. (I have a bin full of partially finished manuscripts to prove it.)

Thankfully, I have found a remedy that has helped me cope with Awesome Idea Syndrome. It’s my “Idea Box”.

I created my “Idea Box” last year with an old shoe box, some decorative card stock, glue, tape, and scissors. It’s not a complete antidote, but it has helped significantly reduce the complications of Awesome Idea Syndrome.

Now, whenever I have a new idea for a book, I write that idea on a library checkout card. Sometimes, I add additional notes to the card, but I limit the amount of time I spend on the new idea. Then, I insert the card into my idea box.

Of course, I could use pieces of paper, but I like the fact that library checkout cards relate to books (and I had been given over 100 of them for free, so I had them on hand already).

Too Many Ideas

There are definitely benefits to having an idea box. I haven’t started numerous random manuscripts over the past year. I have actually finished more writing projects. And I can see how “unawesome” some ideas are after having them sit for a while. (As another side note, idea journals are also helpful!)

A con to my idea box, though, is that I now have a box full of random ideas. Too many ideas for me to ever use in my lifetime!

So, just like I sort through and donate items in my home I no longer want, I have recently sorted through my idea box. And I am “donating” the ideas I no longer want to you.

You are welcome to use any of the following ideas in your next book project. Please keep in mind, I have not researched these ideas any further than what is listed below. As a result…

  • …they may not actually be awesome.
  • …they may have already been written about before. (But maybe they could be written in a new format/genre or from a different angle.)
  • …they may not be 100% accurate.
  • …they may not end with a book deal.
  • …they may or may not make sense.

And now, without further ado, here are 20+ book ideas you can use in your next book.

Nonfiction Book Ideas

  • Engineering design process compared to the writing process
  • Inventions or other things commonly thought to be created by someone or some place that didn’t actually create it first
    • Noodles were invented in China (not Italy or some other place)
    • Fortune cookies were invented in California (not China)
  • The year of 2 Thanksgivings
    • Canada and USA have two different dates for Thanksgiving
    • Grandpa could tell a story of when the USA had two Thanksgivings (1939)
  • Walter Hunt
    • Inventor
    • He owed a man money, so he created the safety pin (which he called a “dress pin”) and sold the rights to it for $400
  • Parachuting beavers
  • “Tom Thumb”
    • Possible legend?
    • Steam powered engine lost a race to a horse drawn train
  • Molasses disaster in Boston
  • Ship disasters that killed more passengers than Titanic
    • Wilhelm Gustloff and Lusitania
    • Historical fiction book: Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys (Penguin Books, 2017)
  • Peshtigo, WI fire vs Chicago, IL fire
    • Took place at the same time
    • More people killed in Peshtigo fire than Chicago fire
  • Invention of bubble wrap
    • 1957 Alfred Fielding and Mac Chavannes
    • “Trying to create a textured wallpaper”
    • Started with two pieces of plastic shower curtain
    • “Accidental invention”
  • “Accidental inventions”
  • History of the can opener and food in cans
    • Canned foods were invented 48 years before the can opener?
  • Bob Ross
    • American painter
  • Jesse Owens
    • American athlete
    • Won 4 gold medals in 1936 Olympics (shortly before WW2)
  • Ann Adams
    • Had polio
    • Learned how to draw pictures by using a pencil in her mouth
  • Duck, sheep, rooster first to travel in hot air balloon
  • When Alaska was purchased and the calendar changed (1867)
  • Odd true animal stories
    • Parachuting beavers
    • First hot air balloon ride
    • “Operation Cat Drop”
    • Dogs trained as parachutists
    • 1962 bear ejected at supersonic speed
  • Nubs the marine dog
  • Stumpton, IA
    • Town no longer exists, instead landfill
    • Across the river was a meat packing plant (called Sinclair Packing House) that is now gone
    • Sewage treatment plant build in 1936

Educational Fiction Idea

  • Wizard of Oz fractured story
    • Takes place entirely underwater
    • Good witch could be angel fish
    • Dorothy could be Dorothia the mermaid
    • Toto could be Tortellini the dolphin (or spiny dogfish)
    • Tornado could be a whirlpool (maelstrom)
    • Yellow brick road could be yellow coral and/or yellow kelp
    • Monkeys could be flying fish
    • Sea stars and jellyfish have no heart or brain
    • Octopus have more than one heart
    • Heart reef – Great Barrier Reef
    • Two creatures with symbiotic relationships
    • Brain coral
    • Lion fish
    • Teach about underwater creatures and habitats (without feeling like being taught)

Fiction Ideas

  • Monsters telling campfire stories to each other about kids
  • First hair cut
    • Child’s hair grows just like he is growing
    • “snip, snip”, “clip, clip”, “buzz, buzz”
    • Feels like flying in chair – (going up and down)
    • Wearing a cloak so equates self to a super hero

Finished Manuscript

It’s amazing to me how one idea can be written in so many different ways. Different characters, different genres, different writing styles, different POVs, and the list goes on. That’s the reason ideas aren’t copyrighted but your actual stories are. I’d love to see your story if you use one of these ideas!

If you do complete a manuscript and are interested in publishing it, you will have to choose which publishing option you would like to pursue. (If you are confused about the different publishing options, make sure to check out the course Choosing the Best Publishing Option for You and Your Book: Traditional Publishing, Hybrid Publishing, or Self-Publishing?)

Choosing the Best Publishing Option for You and Your Book

The following resources may be helpful for you if you choose to try the traditional publishing route.

And here are a couple of resources if you choose to self-publish.

I still have more ideas in my idea box than I will ever use, but I’m not ready to pass them on just yet. Maybe I’ll get around to writing at least a few of them someday.

What About You?

Do you suffer from Awesome Idea Syndrome? If so, maybe this list wasn’t what you needed right now. Have you found anything that has helped you stay focused on your current writing project?

Will any of these ideas make it into one of your future manuscripts? I’d love to hear from you!

Being an Author · Courses · Ramblings

Learn Ways to Promote and Market Your Book (That Don’t Include Paid Advertisements or Social Media)

Are you preparing to launch your book into the world? Or have you recently launched your book?

If so, then congratulations!!! Creating and launching a book is a big accomplishment.

I’m sure you have put in a lot of time and energy to get this far. Unfortunately, simply releasing a book into the world will not result in people rushing to buy it.

So, what can an author do to help get their book into the hands of more readers?

Well, that is a great question! There are many authors who use social media and paid advertisements to sell books. But there are also quite a few other ways authors can market and promote their books.

And you can now learn more about those ways in a course I recently created called Book Promotion and Marketing for Self-Published Authors: Ways to Promote and Market Your Book Without Social Media.

Many resources provide information on using paid advertisements or social media to promote and market books, so I decided to create a course that does not include those options.

I’m not saying authors shouldn’t use paid advertisements or social media. Those work great for many authors and are viable options. I simply wanted to provide alternative options for authors to be aware of as they try to reach more readers.

So, Book Promotion and Marketing for Self-Published Authors: Ways to Promote and Market Your Book Without Social Media focuses on ways authors (or future authors) can promote and market their books in inexpensive and even free ways that do not include paid advertisements or social media. (A free Udemy account is required to take the course.)

This course is divided into a total of 23 videos including the introduction and conclusion. Each video is presented with a slide show presentation as well as a downloadable transcript for the convenience of the students. Handouts are also included with many videos to provide additional resources and information to help guide students with their own promotion and marketing journeys.

Taking this course does not guarantee you will sell thousands (or even hundreds) of copies of your book, but it will give you plenty of ideas that may help you get your book into the hands of more readers.

Before deciding if this course is right for you, please check out what is and what is not covered within this course below. You are also welcome to watch the course video, introduction, and the video about the realities of self-publishing before choosing if this is the right course for you over on Udemy.

To your publishing, promotion, and marketing success!

You can register for the course here.

Who This Course is For:

Authors/Writers with no previous publishing experience who want to learn about promoting and marketing books

Beginner self-published authors looking for ways to promote and market their book(s)

Beginner authors who have published through or who plan to publish through KDP Print or IngramSpark (Not Required)

Unpublished authors who plan to self-publish and are interested in learning ways to promote and market their future book(s)

Who This Course is Not For:

Anyone looking for a get rich quick plan

Anyone wanting information about paid advertisements

Anyone looking for in-depth information on using social media for book promotion

You can register for the course here.

What is Not Covered:

Paid Advertisements, Amazon ads, or Social media ads

In-depth explanation of social media

What is Covered:

Section 1: Introduction

Lecture 1: Introduction

Reiterate the information found in the course description such as who the instructor is, what students will learn by the end of this course, who this course is for and who this course is not for, what is needed to complete this course, and an overview of what this course contains

Lecture 2: Realities of Self-Publishing

A few statistics on self-publishing and book sales and what this means for you

Transcript included

Lecture 3: Finding Your Why and Setting Goals

Questions for you to consider as you determine your “why” and set your own goals

Transcript and Assignment included

(Additional Note: Much of the information included within this video was discussed in the course Choosing the Best Publishing Option for You and Your Book: Traditional Publishing, Hybrid Publishing, or Self-Publishing? The included assignment is new for this course.)

Lecture 4: Marketing and Promotion

Brief explanation of marketing and promotion

List of the 5 Ps of marketing

Considerations before publishing a book

Considerations while marketing and promoting a book

Transcript and Additional Resources Handout included

Section 2: People

Lecture 5: Target Audience

Explanation of a target audience

Questions to consider when determining a target audience

Transcript and Assignment included

Lecture 6: Reviews and Influencers

How some authors get book reviews

Possible places for readers to leave reviews

Questions to consider when reaching out to reviewers

Brief description of influencers

Transcript, Additional Resources Handout, and Reviewer Questions to Consider Handout included

Lecture 7: Awards

List of possible benefits of book awards

Possible places to find award opportunities

Considerations when choosing to submit your book for an award

Transcript and Additional Resources Handout included

Section 3: Product

Lecture 8: Book Covers

Book cover tips and questions to consider

Parts to include on book covers with examples

Mention of a resource to possibly use to display book covers for promotional purposes

Transcript and Additional Resources Handout included

(Additional Note: Quite a bit of the information in this video was discussed in the course Self-Publishing 101: Things to Consider Before Publishing Your Book in Print)

Lecture 9: Interior Considerations

Overview of front matter and possible sections to include

Overview of body and possible sections to include

Overview of back matter and possible sections to include

List of additional interior considerations

Transcript and Additional Resources Handout included

(Additional Note: Quite a bit of the information in this video was discussed in the course Self-Publishing 101: Things to Consider Before Publishing Your Book in Print)

Section 4: Price

Lecture 10: Considerations When Choosing a Price

Questions to consider when choosing a price

One possible pricing technique some authors use

Brief overview of KDP Select

Possible ways to add value to your book (and potentially your brand)

Transcript and Additional Resources Handout included

(Additional Note: Quite a bit of the information in this video was discussed in the course Self-Publishing 101: Things to Consider Before Publishing Your Book in Print)

Lecture 11: Metadata

Brief explanation of metadata

Explanation of keywords

Book title considerations

Tips for writing a book description

Tips for choosing book categories

Questions to consider when choosing a publication date

An overview of free vs paid ISBNs

Transcript and Additional Resources Handout included

(Additional Note: Quite a bit of information in this video was discussed in the course Self-Publishing 101: Things to Consider Before Publishing Your Book in Print)

Section 5: Place

Lecture 12: Selling Online

Brief explanation of expanded distribution through KDP Print and IngramSpark

List of possible online retailers for print books

Brief list of distributors for print books

List of possible ways to distribute ebooks

Transcript and Additional Resources Handout included

Lecture 13: Selling Offline Overview

List of possible offline locations to sell physical books (not just in book stores!)

Explanation of 3 possible book delivery options to those offline locations

How to order author copies through KDP Print and IngramSpark

Considerations when ordering author copies to send them to offline locations

Transcript included

Lecture 14: Selling Offline Part 2

Considerations for selling to offline retailers

Considerations for contacting offline retailers by email

Considerations for contacting offline retailers in person

A brief explanation for and considerations for selling on consignment in stores

Transcript and Additional Resources Handout included

Lecture 15: Selling Offline Part 3

Tips for author business cards

Explanation of sell sheets (also known as sales sheets) with a sample

Explanation of what to do when receiving an order for books

Explanation of an order form with a sample

Explanation of an invoice with a sample

Explanation of a book catalog

A couple of examples of why having a website with contact information available is very important

Explanation of what the instructor does when someone reaches out requesting to purchase a large number of books

Transcript and Additional Resources Handout included

Section 6: Promotion

Lecture 16: Book Launch Overview

Explanation of what a book launch is

List of reasons to have a book launch

List of possible places to have a book launch party in person

List of possible places to have a book launch party virtually

List of possible people to invite to a book launch party

List of possible activities to do at a book launch party

List of things to bring to a book launch party

Considerations when choosing a time to have a book launch party

Considerations for the cost of a book launch party

List of what to do after a book launch party

Transcript and Additional Resources Handout included

Lecture 17: Author Website

List of reasons to have an author website

List of possible website platforms

Explanation of wordpress.com vs wordpress.org

List of possible hosting providers

Tips for choosing a domain name

List of pages to (possibly) include on an author website

Information about an About Page

Overview of email lists

List of possible email marketing providers

List of possible legal considerations for websites

Additional author website tips

Transcript and Additional Resources Handout included

Lecture 18: Offering Freebies

List of reasons to offer freebies

List of possible freebies to offer

Additional tips for freebies

Transcript included

Lecture 19: Presentations and Storytimes

List of possible places to speak

Tips for speaking engagements and presentations

Considerations for speaking fees

Transcript and Additional Resources Handout included

Lecture 20: Free Publicity Part 1

Tips for using themed festivals to promote your book

Tips for getting interviews

Possible places to be interviewed

What to do before, during, and after an interview

A brief explanation of HARO

An additional resource for free PR

Transcript and Additional Resources Handout included

Lecture 21: Free Publicity Part 2

Brief overview of Goodreads

Overview of an Amazon Author Page

Overview of Guest Blogging

Overview of Google Alerts

List of other possible free promotion ideas

Transcript and Additional Resources Handout included

Lecture 22: More Promotion Ideas

Overview of social media with some tips

Tips for using Pinterest

A list of a few additional promotional ideas

Transcript and Additional Resources Handout included

Section 7: Conclusion

Lecture 23: Conclusion

Congratulations!!!

Please remember…

Transcript included

You can register for the course here. (And if you still aren’t sure if it is right for you, click here to watch the sample videos.)

Aah! Blown Away · Themed Books

10 Fun Alphabet Books

(This page contains affiliate links, which means I may make a small commission at no extra charge to you if you click on a link and make a purchase. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. I greatly appreciate all purchases you make using these links. Thank you!)

I have had the pleasure of being part of a picture book group that meets once a month to discuss picture books. In the past, the timing of the meetings often didn’t work with my schedule, so I have missed many of the meetings.

Now that we have been meeting virtually, though, I have been able to attend more often. It is such a joy to catch up with other authors and talk about picture books together!

This month, it was my turn to pick a topic to discuss. And I chose alphabet books.

10 Fun Alphabet Books

Alphabet Books

Without further ado, here are 10 alphabet books listed in alphabetical order that I had the opportunity to discuss with the group.

Aah! Blown Away, Crash! An Alphabet Misadventure by Brigitte Brulz (author) and Alyssa Brulz (illustrator)

Aah! A bird is blown away and crashes on a deserted island. Will he figure out how to get off the island? And who – or what – is following him? Find out in this comical alphabet misadventure that has only one to three words per page.

FREE teacher’s guide, maze, shadow puppet printable, adding and subtracting practice, and alphabet match to go along with Aah! Blown Away, Crash! can be found on Fun Extras!

I published this one with my daughter (who at the age of 12 did all of the illustrations), so I’m not going to expand any further on it here.

A B See by Elizabeth Doyle (author/illustrator)

Each uppercase letter is displayed on a page and is filled with illustrations of objects that start with that particular letter. Full sentences appear below each letter starting with the letter A: “Alligator admires an apple.”

After the page for the letter Z (“Zebra zips a zipper on zig-zag fabric.”), the entire alphabet is shown across two pages. Following that, all of the items that are shown in each of the letters are listed. So, readers can play “eye spy” throughout the pages. There are even some unique pictures to find such as “xenia coral”.

Alpha Oops! The Day Z Went First by Alethea Kontis (author) and Bob Kolar (illustrator)

Starting with “A is for App!”, the letter Z quickly steps in to say he is sick of being last, so the alphabet should go backwards. So, Z, Y, X, W, and then P follow. Yes, P. The letter P complains that even if the alphabet goes forwards or backwards, he’s still stuck in the middle, which isn’t fair. From there, the letters continue in all sorts of order: O, N, H, S, I, V, J, E, and F. At which point, the letter V stops the alphabet because F had said he was for two things, which isn’t fair to all the other letters who only said they were for one thing. T, L, K, C go, but letter V tries to step in to say something else. Readers can find illustrations of a vacuum, valentines, violets, volcano, and a vulture on the page with the letter V, and letter G comments that “V is for violence”. Finally, R, D, G, and B get their turn. Letter B has a lot to say and makes quite the mess! Letters M and Q follow. As the letters discuss whether or not all of the letters have had a turn, they realize one letter has been in the bathroom the whole time! Once that letter gets a turn, letter A finishes with a lot of words including “alphabet” and “apology accepted”.

Dr. Seuss’s ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book! by Dr. Seuss (author/illustrator)

“BIG A little a What begins with A? Aunt Allie’s alligator…..A..a..A” This book offers a lot of repetition, both capital (“big”) letters and lowercase (“little”) letters, and words that begin with each of the letters. Have you ever heard of a Zizzer-Zazzer-Zuzz? Well, “you can plainly see” him in this book.

The rhythm of the book makes it easy to memorize after multiple readings – trust me, I know!

LMNO Peas by Keith Baker (author/illustrator)

The alphabet peas go through the alphabet of what jobs they have starting with “acrobats, artists, and astronauts” and ending with “zoologists”. A large letter on each page is displayed along with the peas acting out each of the jobs.

This could be a great addition to a theme on community helpers.

The Messy Alphabet Book: An ABC Book by Sesame Workshop

This book begins with Oscar the Grouch, so it gets messy pretty quick. He tells the reader to turn the page if they agree that it is time for a MESSY alphabet book. Cookie monster joins the fun for the letters A through H. “A is for applesauce dripped down the wall.” Then, Elmo joins in to make more of a mess for letters I through P. The mess continues as Ernie covers Q through T. Another Sesame Street character (Abby Cadabby according to my search) takes over for U and V, but she is quickly stopped by Oscar for not being messy. All of the characters complete W through Y together. Of course, after all the messy fun, it’s time for a nap…Zzzzz. Now, who is going to clean up the mess?

Oops, Pounce, Quick, Run! An Alphabet Caper by Mike Twohy (author/illustrator)

This book is a story about a dog and mouse told in alphabetical order with only one to two words on each page. The pictures tell a lot of the story. For example, the first page begins with “Asleep” and shows a mouse sleeping. From there, the words and illustrations take the reader through the alphabet following the antics of the dog and mouse. Will they become friends by the end of the book?

Pirates Stuck at “C”: An Alphabet Adventure by Brooke Van Sickle (author) and Gabriela Dieppa (illustrator)

Arrr you looking for an alphabet adventure? Pirates Stuck at ‘C’ may be the book for you. “Arnold dropped the anchor to hold the ship in place…” beginning the adventure of the pirates searching for treasure. Does X really mark the spot? Follow along with the pirates adventure until the zany pirates zig-zag back out to sea. Yo ho ho and a book filled with laughs! (I was part of the launch team for this book, so I had received an advanced reader copy of it.)

If you want to watch Pirates Stuck at “C” read by author Brooke Van Sickle, you can here.

The Three Bears ABC: An Alphabet Book by Grace Maccarone (author) and Hollie Hibbert (illustrator)

Children who know the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears may enjoy this alphabetical version. It begins with “Alphabet”, “Bears” (the characters), “Cool” (the porridge) and continues all the way until Goldilocks zips away.

Z is for Moose by Kelly Bingham (author) and Paul O. Zelinksky (illustrator)

A is for apple, but D is not for Moose. The impatient moose desperately wants a turn in the alphabet, which creates some comical moments. Finally, it’s time for the letter M for…Mouse? Oh no, Moose is not happy and tries to take over the rest of the letters. When Moose realizes there is only one letter left, he gives up in defeat. Surprise! Z really is for Moose – in a way. You’ll have to read this funny book to find out how.

Bonus Alphabet Books

Here are some additional alphabet books others had mentioned at the meeting (and three other alphabet books I remembered after the meeting).

Alphabet Boats by Samantha R. Vamos (author) and Ryan O’Rourke (illustrator)

Alphabet Trains by Samantha R. Vamos (author) and Ryan O’Rourke (illustrator)

Alphabet Trucks by Samantha R. Vamos (author) and Ryan O’Rourke (illustrator)

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. (author), John Archambault (author), and Lois Ehlert (illustrator)

Mouse by Zebo Ludvicek (author/illustrator)

Q is for Duck: An Alphabet Guessing Game by Mary Elting (author), Michael Folsom (author), and Jack Kent (illustrator)

Z is for Zebra: A Mosaic Menagerie by Judith Caseley (author/illustrator)

Alphabet Match Printable

The alphabet printable is available below for you to download, print (on cardstock for sturdier cards), cut out, and have some alphabet fun!

(One way to have alphabet fun: Create an alphabet scavenger hunt by hiding the alphabet cards around the house and matching them together when found.)

What is your favorite alphabet book?

Being an Author · Writing Appearances

You Can Publish a Book!

(This page contains affiliate links, which means I may make a small commission at no extra charge to you if you click on a link and make a purchase. As an Amazon Associate and Udemy Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. I greatly appreciate all purchases you make using these links. Thank you!)

Yes, it is possible for you to publish a book! But will you? And should you?

There is A LOT to consider when publishing a book. I have spent many, many hours learning about publishing over the past few years.

I’ve attended writing conferences and webinars, read countless blog posts and books, joined SCBWI and a monthly writer group, submitted manuscripts to literary agents and editors, and self-published multiple journals and three picture books. All three of my picture books received a Readers’ Favorite 5 Stars review, and my book Pickles, Pickles, I Like Pickles was chosen for the 2019 Read Across Connecticut program.

Through it all, I have learned a lot! I am excited to share what I have learned with you to save you countless hours of research.

Choose a Publishing Option

Of course, in order to publish a book, you must first write a book. But once you have completed your book, what should you do to get it published?

Many years ago, anyone who wanted to publish a book had to submit their manuscript to literary agents or editors who then had to accept the manuscript in order to be published. Writers can still do that if they would like, but there are now additional publishing options available.

Do you know the differences between the different publishing options? And do you know which publishing option is best for you and your book? If not, you may be interested in the course Choosing the Best Publishing Option for You and Your Book: Traditional Publishing, Hybrid Publishing or Self-Publishing? (A free Udemy account is required to take this course.)

Choosing the Best Publishing Option

There are pros and cons to each of the publishing options. In the end, it is up to you to decide which option is best for you and your book.

If you are a children’s book author interested in publishing through a traditional publisher, make sure to check out this list of 37 children’s book publishers accepting unsolicited submissions.

If You Choose to Self-Publish

Literally anyone can self-publish a book these days. In fact, my daughters self-published their own journal last year at the ages of 12 and 13.

write, draw, believe journals

Authors who choose to self-publish don’t have to worry about their manuscript being rejected by literary agents or editors. But, their books could be rejected by their potential audience if not created well.

Do you want to learn more about self-publishing a book in print, so you can one day see your book for sale in online places such as Amazon and barnesandnoble.com? Are you interested in self-publishing a book but have no idea where to begin with the self-publishing process?

If so, the course Self-Publishing 101: Things to Consider Before Publishing Your Book in Print may help guide you in the right direction to reach your publishing dreams. (A free Udemy account is required to take this course.)

self-publishing 101 Course Available

As I had said before, there is A LOT to consider when choosing to publish a book! Instead of spending countless hours aimlessly searching for information about self-publishing, this course is designed in an easy-to-follow format to guide you in the right direction. And it doesn’t matter if you write books for children, middle grade, young adults, or adults.

Divided into a total of 33 videos including the introduction, each video is presented with a slide show presentation as well as a downloadable transcript for your convenience. Handouts are also included with many videos to provide additional resources and information to help you with your publishing journey.

You are welcome to watch the course video, introduction, and the video about print-on-demand publishing (found here) before choosing if this is the right course for you.

Enroll here now or continue reading to see what information is covered within the course.

What is Included in Self-Publishing 101 Course

Section 1

Lecture 1: Introduction

  • Expansion of information presented in the course video
  • Brief introduction of instructor
  • List of what students should learn by the end of the course
  • List of what this course will not teach
  • List of who this course is for
  • Reference to the course Choosing the Best Publishing Option for You and Your Book
  • Brief overview of the publishing options: traditional publishing, hybrid publishing, and self-publishing
  • List of what is needed for this course
  • Some additional publishing tips
  • Break down of this course
  • Disclaimer and copyright information for this course
  • Information about the included handouts

Lecture 2: Print-On-Demand Publishing

  • Overview of print-on-demand printing
  • Pros of print-on-demand
  • Cons of print-on-demand
  • List of print-on-demand companies
  • Brief discussion of offset printing
  • Handout with Additional Resources Included

Section 2: Copyright and Legalities to Consider

Lecture 3: Copyright

  • What copyright is
  • How long copyright lasts
  • How to register for copyright
  • What may not be copyrighted
  • How to show copyright
  • Handout with Additional Resources Included

Lecture 4: Other Legalities to Consider

  • Explanation of disclaimers with samples
  • Being an authorpreneur – business considerations
  • Taxes and permit considerations
  • Keeping records considerations
  • Mention of one resource all self-published authors should consider having
  • Handout with Additional Resources Included

Section 3: Sections to (Possibly) Include in a Book

Lecture 5: Sections to Include in a Book Overview

  • Brief overview of front matter sections
  • Brief overview of body sections
  • Brief overview of back matter sections
  • Handout with Additional Resources Included

Lecture 6: Front Matter Part 1: Title Page

  • What is included on a title page with samples
  • What is included on a half title page
  • Handout with Additional Resources Included

Lecture 7: Front Matter Part 2: Copyright and Dedication

  • What is included on a copyright page with samples
  • Explanation of a dedication with samples
  • Brief explanation of a CIP data block

Lecture 8: Front Matter Part 3: Table of Contents

  • Explanation of a table of contents with samples
  • Tips for creating a table of contents
  • Video with Step-by-Step Instructions for Inserting Table of Contents Included

Lecture 9: Front Matter Part 4: Accolades and Reviews

  • Explanation of a foreword with a sample
  • Explanation of accolades with samples
  • Brief explanation of an advance reader copy (ARC)

Lecture 10: Body Overview

  • Explanation of an introduction with a sample
  • Explanation of a prologue with a sample
  • Considerations for the main text of a book
  • Explanation of an epilogue with a sample
  • Explanation of an afterword
  • Handout with Additional Resources Included

Lecture 11: Back Matter Part 1: Author Bio and Choosing a Name

  • Explanation of an author bio with samples
  • Explanation of an illustrator bio with samples
  • Considerations when choosing an author name
  • Handout with Additional Resources Included

Lecture 12: Back Matter Part 2: Acknowledgments and Additional Options

  • Explanation of acknowledgments with samples
  • Explanation of a promotional page with samples
  • Explanation of a glossary with sample
  • Explanation of an index with samples
  • Explanation of a bibliography with samples
  • Explanation of permission information with samples
  • List of extra back matter ideas
  • An additional tip in place of back matter

Section 4: Editing

Lecture 13: Editing Overview

  • Possible reasons to have an editor
  • Explanation of developmental editing, line editing, copy editing, and proofreading
  • Tips for self-editing
  • Handout with Additional Resources Included

Lecture 14: Finding an Editor

  • Explanation of alpha readers, beta readers, and critique partners
  • Tips after having your work edited or critiqued
  • List of possible questions to ask yourself when deciding to hire an editor
  • List of possible places to find an editor
  • Explanation of the cost of an editor
  • Explanation of what to do if your book is published with errors
  • Handout with Additional Resources and Handout with Questions Included

Section 5: Illustrations, Photos, and Fonts

Lecture 15: Illustrations, Photos, and Fonts Overview

  • Brief explanation of copyright issues
  • Examples of when the instructor has contacted others for permission
  • Explanation of the difference between black and white interior vs color interior
  • Explanation of bleed and no bleed

Lecture 16: Illustrations Part 1

  • Tips before hiring an illustrator
  • Information about dummies
  • Possible places to find an illustrator
  • Questions to consider when choosing an illustrator
  • Additional tips and considerations with illustrations
  • Handout with Additional Resources and Handout with Questions Included

Lecture 17: Illustrations Part 2

  • Explanation of illustration notes
  • A break down of the instructor’s experience with the illustrator of her first two picture books

Lecture 18: Illustrations Part 3

  • A break down of the instructor’s experience with the illustrator of her third picture book

Lecture 19: Photos

  • Possible places to find photos
  • Additional tips and considerations for photos
  • Handout with Additional Resources Included

Lecture 20: Fonts

  • Brief explanation of fonts
  • Possible places to find fonts
  • A possible place to create your own font
  • Tips for having fun and being creative with fonts
  • Additional tips and considerations for fonts
  • Handout with Additional Resources Included

Section 6: Metadata

Lecture 21: Metadata

  • What metadata is
  • Considerations/explanations/tips for choosing keywords, book titles, categories, price, and the publication date
  • Tips for writing and formatting a book description
  • Handout with Additional Resources Included

Lecture 22: ISBNs and Barcodes

  • Facts about ISBNs and Barcodes
  • How many ISBNs you need
  • When a new ISBN is required
  • Where to get an ISBN (in the United States)
  • Whether or not you should purchase your own ISBNs
  • Handout with Additional Resources Included

Section 7: More Details

Lecture 23: Trim Size and Additional Considerations

  • Explanation of trim sizes
  • Tips for choosing a trim size
  • Explanation of additional interior considerations such as paper thickness, paper color, running heads, running feet, and page numbers
  • Handout with Additional Resources Included

Lecture 24: Book Covers

  • Explanation of book cover considerations such as hardcover vs softcover, matte vs glossy, and cover consistency
  • Tips and resources for creating your own cover
  • Handout with Additional Resources Included

Lecture 25: Self-Publishing Expenses to Consider

  • Explanation of cost to self-publish
  • List of expenses to consider when self-publishing
  • List of ways an author can save money when self-publishing
  • A break down of the cost to publish the instructor’s most recent book
  • Considerations about profiting on a self-published book

Section 8: Publishing with KDP Print

Lecture 26: KDP Print Overview

  • Brief recap of print-on-demand
  • Overview of KDP Print
  • Handout with Additional Resources Included

Lecture 27: Expanded Distribution with KDP Print

  • Explanation of expanded distribution through KDP Print
  • A break down of possible book royalties through KDP Print
  • Handout with Additional Resources Included

Lecture 28: KDP Print Tips

  • Tips for using KDP Print
  • Explanation of proofs
  • Handout with Additional Resources and Handout with Step-by-Step Upload Instructions Included

Section 9: Publishing with IngramSpark

Lecture 29: IngramSpark Overview

  • Overview of IngramSpark
  • Handout with Additional Resources Included

Lecture 30: Additional IngramSpark Information

  • Explanation of wholesale discounts
  • Brief explanation of publisher compensation calculator and print and ship calculator
  • Handout with Additional Resources Included

Section 10: Using Both KDP Print and IngramSpark Together

Lecture 31: Using Both KDP Print and IngramSpark Together

  • Tips for using both KDP Print and IngramSpark together with examples
  • A break down of author copy costs
  • Handout with Additional Resources Included

Section 11: Even More Information

Lecture 32: E-books and Audiobooks Overview

  • Overview of e-books
  • List of possible benefits of e-books
  • List of possible options for publishing e-books
  • Brief explanation of KDP ASIN
  • Brief explanation of DRM
  • Brief explanation of KDP Select
  • Brief mention of audiobooks
  • Handout with Additional Resources Included

Lecture 33: Just a Few Marketing Ideas

  • List of a few more considerations before publishing a book
  • List of nine inexpensive publicity/marketing ideas
  • A reminder as the student moves forward with own publishing journey
  • Thank you!
  • Handout with Additional Resources Included

Who This Course is Not For

  • Someone expecting to get rich fast by publishing a book
  • Someone expecting to learn writing techniques
  • Someone expecting to learn specific book formatting techniques

Take the Next Step

Like I said, there is A LOT of information to consider when self-publishing a book. Are you ready to take the next step to reach your publishing dreams? Enroll now in Self-Publishing 101: Things to Consider When Publishing a Book in Print and learn at your own pace.

Click here to register if you are ready to take the next step.

Conclusion

Simply learning about publishing will not get your book published. You will have to put in the effort to actually move forward with your publishing journey.

To your publishing success!

Ramblings · Writing Appearances

2020 End-of-Year Writing Update

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As 2020 comes to an end, I find myself reflecting on what I had posted last year for my 2019 end-of-year writing update and 2020 writing goals.

In that post, I had written:

I think it’s beneficial to have some kind of an idea of goals for the upcoming year, but things happen, plans can change, and ideas may lead in a new direction. I don’t know what the future will hold, but I have found it to be more beneficial for me to create monthly (and even daily) goals with a few long-term goals still in mind.

Well, this year was full of plans changing and things happening! It certainly did not go the direction any of us had originally planned.

I had no idea at the end of 2019 that my family would be dealing with COVID, numerous cancellations, an inland hurricane that unexpectedly tore through our area on my birthday leaving us without power for eight days and without internet for three weeks, and multiple other events that had happened throughout 2020.

I’m sure you can relate to how unexpected things have been this year!

Besides numerous cancellations that affected my family personally, I was disappointed about the cancellations of pickle festivals, the local farmers’ market, and other in-person events for my writing adventure. Those cancellations made it more challenging to sell my books and journals this year.

Through it all, though, I am grateful for all the blessings our family has had even when things didn’t go as originally planned.

My 2020 Writing Adventure Accomplishments

This year became my “year of learning about writing” since I had the opportunity to attend multiple writing webinars, a nonfiction conference, an SCBWI spring conference, and the Northwestern Christian Writers Conference because they were all virtual. In fact, I filled an entire binder with all the notes I typed from these various virtual learning opportunities!

As a result of a one on one virtual meeting with an editor through the Northwestern Christian Writers Conference, two writings of mine (so far, at least) were accepted for publication in a children’s magazine (scheduled for 2021).

I created and published four journals. I was hoping to use the field trip journal quite a bit this year since I was organizing monthly field trips for a homeschool group I had started a couple of years ago. But that didn’t happen. Interestingly, our last field trip as a group was in February at a local airport.

I also published a hardcover version of Pickles, Pickles, I Like Pickles and created and published a picture book with my 12-year-old daughter called Aah! Blown Away, Crash! An Alphabet Misadventure. As a result of that publication, my daughter and I had a few interview opportunities. I really enjoyed working on that project together.

I created one course for SchoolhouseTeachers.com, two courses that I published on Udemy, a class that I taught at a local community college in October (since the class was cancelled in May and July), and a webinar that I presented at the KidLit Indie Publishing Summit.

I continued as a monthly contributor for Hands on As We grow and other writings of mine were published in various places online and in print. I also wrote a couple of picture book manuscripts, which I have submitted to a few places.

How to Raise Entrepreneur Kids Contributor

I was hoping to reach out to state parks and airports to try to sell my Adventure Writing Prompt journal, but I didn’t. I figured they would not sell well with all of the restrictions and cancellations for travel this past year. I was able to sell my Reading Journals to an educational resource supplier, though.

I’ve continued volunteering as a Regional Social Chair for SCBWI IA/MN, and I am still leading monthly writer meetings (albeit virtually instead of in-person). I also had the opportunity to attend a few virtual picture book meetings, which I hope to continue in 2021.

Finally, I joined Twitter and edited a book for a publishing company located in Iowa.

My 2021 Writing Adventure Goals

I am not sure what 2021 will bring especially with my family expecting some big changes in the upcoming year. But I do intend to continue my writing adventure.

Here are some things I am planning to do in 2021:

  • present a webinar hosted by SCBWI IA/MN at the end of January (more info here)
  • continue writing monthly posts for Hands On As We Grow
  • create and present a webinar hosted by Journey to Kidlit
  • teach at the local community college
  • create and publish at least one more course on Udemy
  • edit some more books (I have 5 tentatively scheduled for 2021)
  • decide what to do with a manuscript I have written (submit or publish)
  • research and explore the possibility of writing a book (or a series of books) based on an idea I have (and then start writing it)
  • look into work-for-hire opportunities and decide if it is something I want to pursue

Last year, I had also written something else that still resonates with me.

As Proverbs 16:9 says, “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” I am excited to see where this writing adventure will lead next.

Yes, I have some plans but I don’t know exactly what will happen in the upcoming year. My writing adventure continues to be a part-time endeavor that I hope to continue working on when I can.

What About You?

I have rambled on long enough. Did you accomplish any of your 2020 goals? What are some goals you are hoping to reach in 2021?

Happy New Year!