Children’s Writers: Minor Mistakes that can be Disastrous

Children’s Writers: Minor Mistakes that can be Disastrous

Tip #1:  Do Not Reuse ISBN

An ISBN is a unique identifier for a book. Once a book is assigned an ISBN, it is stored along with all other information about the book in all relevant databases and the connection between this code and the book has been cemented. It is the standard ID number used to identify books by booksellers, libraries, book wholesalers and distributors. In order to provide for sale and distribution without confusion, the ISBN which has been assigned to a book should never be reused.

Tip #2:  Beware of Copyright Issues

Copyright laws protect the creative output of an artist. It is illegal to use lyrics of a song or to quote from a book without the artist’s or writer’s permission. In case you do so, you could be sued for a significant amount or have all your books destroyed as penalty. Legal action could help you but would eventually kill the profits from your venture.

Tip #3:  Keep Print Resolution in mind (when using photos in print format)

A picture that looks great on the screen may appear fuzzy with jagged edges when printed. For a clear print image, the screen image must have a resolution of at least 300 dpi. To check this, zoom in on your image until 600%. If the image is clear, it will be fine when printed. Also avoid using very bright colors since the colors in print may not always match the colors as they appear on the screen.

Tip #4:  Choose Fonts with care

Nothing gives the impression of a shoddy self-publication like the wrong choice of font. Some fonts are not appropriate for books since they don’t set properly or can’t be embedded into a reproduction-quality PDF. So choose the font for both cover and text with care. Get help or do research online when making a decision about the right font for your book.

Tip #5:  Don’t put Odd-Numbered Pages on the Left

Pick up a few books and check the numbering of the page. The first page in the page is always a right-handed page. Since page number 1 is always on the right, books never have odd-numbered pages on the left. If you need to have any blank pages, it should be left-hand pages, never right-hand pages.

Tip #6:  Over-the-top Book Cover

When it comes to book covers, less is more. Keep the book cover simple. Do not clutter the cover by adding too much of images or text. Shrink the image and text of the book cover down to the size seen on the search results page at e-retailers like Amazon. Make sure that the important bits are still clear and visible at this size. The book cover should convey they mood and style of the contents. 

Tip #7:  Follow the Established Conventions Books Publishing

There are certain conventions that have been established in the publication industry for a long time now. Many of these are simple formatting rules regarding page numbering, running heads, paragraphs setting, margins etc. Don’t ignore these basic layout conventions because readers like the familiarity of a standard book and veering away from the known might put off your readers. Browse carefully through your bookshelf and you will be able to spot the basic rules of layout and formatting.

This is another reason to bring in the professionals wherever you have the budget for it. It prevents you from making the basic mistakes a novice self-publisher might make. But whether you do-it-all-yourself or get help, as a self-publisher you need to know the basics of the publishing process for a successful self-publishing venture.

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