Writing Tips: To Each His Own

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by David Rogers

When it comes to writing, the only rules are the rules you impose on yourself, those that work for you. If you search out writing advice from other writers — famous and lesser knowns alike — you will get varying and even contradictory information. Case in point:

“Cut out all these exclamation points. An exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke.”
- F. Scott Fitzgerald

“Laugh at your own jokes.”
- Neil Gaiman

Surely each piece of advice worked well for its respective author. We wanted to bring together a wide variety of writing tips here to illustrate how different advice is from every author, and maybe offer some ideas you can use.

Writing Tips from Elmore Leonard

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Digital vs. Offset Book Printing

by David Rogers

Vintage Offset Press

Nearly every new book released today was created on one of two machines: a digital press or an offset press. Naturally this leads to questions concerning the difference between the two, and which is better.

As you may guess since both kinds of printing are still used, neither method holds a clear overall advantage over the other. The choice of which to use depends on a number of factors concerning your particular book project, including quantity, content and budget.

Offset Printing

Offset printing has been around for well-over 100 years and is still the most popular method for high volume commercial printing. Here’s a simplified version of how this type of printing works:

The image (and/or text) to be printed is burned onto a metal plate – these days this is procedure is typically done using computers. This plate is then installed on a cylindrical roller in the offset press (labeled “Plate cylinder” in the diagram below), then ink and water are added. The ink adheres to the portion of the plate with an image or text, while the water – which naturally separates from ink – covers the remainder of the roll and acts as a film preventing ink from being transferred to a second cylinder that is directly under this cylinder (labeled “Offset cylinder” below).

This second cylinder in the chain is covered with a rubber “blanket.” Ink is transferred from the plate on the top roller to this blanket. The paper is fed directly under the roller with the blanket, so ink is transferred once again from the blanket to the paper. This is probably most easily understood with a diagram:

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Serif vs. Sans Serif: The Infographic

Getting ready to dive into your book cover design? Not sure what font to use for the text of your book? This infographic serves as a great intro into the world of typography with an extremely detailed explanation of serif vs. sans serif fonts, and was put together by the folks over at UrbanFonts.com.

Click here or on the image to see the rest of the graphic.

serif-vs-sans-serif-preview-big


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Are Books the New Vinyl (Or, Should Ebooks be Bundled with Printed Books)?

by David Rogers

trout-mask-replica-vinyl-sound-and-the-fury-book

Perhaps surprisingly to many non-audiophiles, there has been something of a vinyl album resurgence in the past decade or so. And during much of that period vinyl lovers had to make a choice:

1. Buy the beloved vinyl LP and tether yourself to record player and home.
2. Buy the digital file and be free to move about the world with your new tunes.
3. Shell out a somewhat absurd amount of money for both.

Being something of a vinyl enthusiast myself, I was extremely excited to see a new trend begin emerging circa 2008: purchasing a vinyl record also entitled you to a digital download of the same album at no extra charge.

I got the best of both worlds when it came to the listening experiences, and it didn’t cost the band (or record label) any extra to include a digital copy.

Now the question arises as to whether books could (and/or should) follow a similar path.

Book & Ebook Bundles Coming Soon?

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Which Crowdfunding Site is Best for Authors?

by David Rogers

best-crowdfunding-site-for-writers

It’s easy to see why crowdfunding has become so popular among self-published authors. Using donations to cover some or all book costs can be a way to turn a book project from a dream into a reality.

But still there are questions:

1. What is the best crowdfunding platform for writers?
2. How much money should authors ask for from their donors?
3. What kind of rewards should be offered?

Of course there are no one-size-fits-all answers to these questions. For this article we want to focus on the differences between several crowdfunding sites, along with the advantages and disadvantages of each. First up is Kickstarter:

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Important Numbers to Book Publishers: LCCN, ISSN, SAN, Printer’s Key

by David Rogers

lccn-san-issn-printers-key

For a world of words, there sure are a lot of numbers involved in the publishing and book printing industry. For instance, not too long ago we took a look at the somewhat complex (but very important) world of ISBN Numbers.

As a self-publisher there are quite a few others numbers you should be aware of, as well – including LCCN, ISSN, SAN and Printer’s Key. Not all of these will apply to every book, but it’s good to be familiar with them in case you ever need one or more for your works.

Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN)

The Library of Congress Control Number – LCCN – acts as a serial number for books published in the United States that may be added to the Library of Congress’ (LOC) collection. The LOC has served as the central cataloging organization for U.S. books since 1898. You should obtain your LCCN before you are ready to print, as it will be printed on the copyright page of your book.

How to Get a LCCN

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5 Creative Writing Tips to Overcome Writer’s Block

by David Rogers

An old typewriter on display

The phrase-that-must-not-be-named: Writer’s Block. Every author succumbs at one point or another, and a good part of the cure is to better understand your own writing process. Here we present five creative writing tips to aid you in your battle with what may well be a writer’s Dark Lord.

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Is Preflight and Prepress the Same?

by Shane Stedron

FSC-Paper-for-Book-Printing

Well, first thing’s first: let’s answer the title question.

Is Prepress and Preflight the same?
No, they are not the same thing.

That was simple, right? Of course, if you’re fairly new to the subject of preflight and prepress, you’re probably still looking for a bit more information.

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Book Printing: 8 Tips for File Preparation

by Chris Jamieson

Book Printing File PreparationIt’s time…

You’ve written your book (whew!), gotten your quote and it’s time to send us your files and finally print! However, prepping those book files can be a bit overwhelming.

Chris – one of our resident prepress experts – has shared eight tips for file preparation during the preflight phase of any book printing process.

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What is FSC certified paper?

by Valerie Williams

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certification on a log

As numerous types of businesses are “going green” these days, many in the print industry have been leading the charge to use recycled materials and reduce waste for some time now.

Many organizations are working to help the print industry go green as much as possible, and one of the most well-known organizations is the Forward Stewardship Council (FSC).

It should be noted that paper doesn’t have to be FSC certified to be environmentally friendly, and that there are many types of recycled paper available from a wide variety of sources.

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)

One of largest and most prominent organizations ensuring the conservation and responsible tree growth is the Forest Stewardship Council, commonly known as the  FSC. This council tracks and manages forests, milling, and manufacturing processes.

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