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Email orders *Important Update*

Following the receipt of several email orders based upon content on this site, we have decided to unilaterally stop accepting these.

Bulk orders can be processed via Nielsen for most of our titles, and some of the orders featured nonsensical amounts of our other packages. Package orders purchased through this site will continue to be dealt with in the same way – 14 day cooling off period with cleared funds through PayPal or other gateways permitted. Book orders to private individuals again will be processed and dispatched as per our stock levels.

For bulk orders, please go through Nielsen only and our pages will be updated to reflect this shortly. To order our packages “white label”, please email us to book a meeting.

We will no longer be offering international shipping or services except from previous clients or by recommendation to their contacts.

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The importance of imagery within your social marketing

Visual Social Media

Social Marketing: Click on the image above to visit the full story over on Adobe Slate.

This week’s blog post covers social marketing for non-visual businesses. Just because you don’t have a product to “tweet”, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be including imagery within your posts. Imagery has become such a strong force within social media, that plain text posts often go ignored no matter how good the content! Learn how to approach your social feed differently to make the most of your business and maybe even attract a new audience to what you have to offer.

There are now so many options for creating images and “memes” for social media that the focus is now on your creativity rather than your ability. Personally I have a thing for Adobe Post – its a great way of creating imagery quickly either based on your photos or public domain imagery for a variety of purposes – from website mockups to blog headers! For those who don’t feel they can see a solution for their feed, we can help! We can supply either full social marketing campaigns or a single image (and all points in-between). You can find a little more on this service here.

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Blending two different cultures: a Branding Case Study

Blending brands

Branding our differences

We published a story on Adobe Slate yesterday about our process for a particularly tricky project – marrying two different businesses and product styles for a new joint venture. Click the image above to read the full article over on Adobe Slate, as well as visiting Plannercraft on Instagram and our Facebook page for more in progress shots.

There were a number of challenges we faced in blending two distinctly different branding styles for the businesses alone (see Relax & Grow and All Sorts of Performing Arts). This was before we even consider the joining of very different dance styles.

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Why a second opinion is important for self-publishers

Your Book Designed

So you’ve decided to go it alone and self-publish – but a second opinion is still crucial to your success and not to be underestimated! As a hybrid publisher, I’ve been astounded at the number of seminars touting that self-publishing for free is the RIGHT if not ONLY way to get your book out into the public domain. Sadly, this approach has not only impacted on individual authors, but also on the view of self-publishing as a whole. It has only served to undermine what was already a route that was considered in negative terms.

When a second opinion is critical

As an author, you are too closely related to your content to review your work objectively. A second opinion can help your work to be viewed better from a reader’s point of view, and this will help you improve your title and your reader’s experience. This second opinion can come in many forms; a friend, a family member or colleague could help you gauge your reader’s understanding of your content. However, a second opinion can give you so much more information and aid when it is given by a publishing professional.

The following questions are the ones you need to consider when going through a second opinion process.

Content value

  • Is your book of value to your reader?
  • Can your reader easily understand and implement your content?
  • Have you removed all of the jargon that your reader may not understand?

Content accuracy

  • Has your book been checked for spelling, grammar and use of terminology?
  • Have your sources been correctly identified and credited?
  • Have any tutorials been thoroughly tested by someone with few skills in the topic you are covering?
  • Have you included references to research to support your points?

Reader impressions

  • Is your cover easily legible at thumbnail size?
  • Is your book’s design relevant to your content and audience?
  • Could your book be better designed and help your user access your content easier?

Ways that Kissed Off can help you

We offer a number of services that help authors with all manner of second opinions. From design services through to editing and review services we can help your book be a high quality self-published title.

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Why Hire an Editor?

Editor blog title image

There has been a lot of chatter online recently about the growing number of poor quality titles being released through self-publishing. Amazon has been tightening up on compliance with its own guidelines, however there is little governance over content.

Currently, when you publish directly through Kindle, CreateSpace or other online publishing options, the content check merely covers a basic spell-check and a copyright check for unique content. This is why you should, at least, consider hiring an editor or independent proofer.

When a computer can’t see the error

We all use text shorthand frequently; when we are in the throes of creative inspiration, we want to get our ideas down as quickly as possible. However, certain words would not be spotted by a computer spell-checker. As an example, if we were to use “no” for “know”, “u” for “you”, and so forth, a computer would be unable to spot an error. I’m sure we’ve all done it by accident at some point and then had a “Doh!” moment.

Another type of error the computer definitely can’t see is when it auto-corrects our typing. This feature, while on occasion useful, more often than not drives me bonkers when trying to type anything that contains technical terminology. Medical terminology is the obvious culprit in this case, but you would be amazed at the other sectors that are affected by this.

Back to human error, computers can’t always see when we use the wrong word but it has been spelled correctly. There, Their and They’re are the obvious culprits – but there are numerous less obvious examples. This is particularly true if your book has been created using dictation (soundex) or using character recognition from our handwriting (optical errors).

In these examples above, you will always be better to have a human proof-reader, even if not necessarily an editor.

A fresh pair of eyes

While a human touch is essential for high-quality proof reading, there is another element that is, I believe, essential; independence. When we create anything, we are too close to it to judge it with an objective eye. When we have written content, we see what we are intending to say, rather than focussing on what our written text may convey to its reader. In the early stages of creation, this view is perfectly adequate; however, as we move towards publishing, a fresh set of eyes may be just what the Doctor ordered.

I have been this set of eyes for a wide variety of authors and genres, and from experience I can say that ALL books need this in some form. From accessibility of content through to simple terminology errors; when we are removed from the content, they all become much more obvious.

Pitching to your audience

Many manuscripts that cross my desk have a very strong author voice. For some genres this is great (fiction, biography and inspirational), however some manuscripts are not focussing on their target audience. For example, if you are trying to encourage trust and respect from your reader there are several do’s and don’ts.

Professional audience

If your target readership already has knowledge in the area you are covering, you should never talk down to them. I have seen this happen in some titles, and it really grates with your reader and you lose their respect very quickly. Likewise, check you use the correct terminology and that your content follows current best practice.

Leisure/hobbyist audience

While this audience is less demanding than that of their professional cousins, you still need to find the right voice. If you are too informal, it cheapens your content and may lead to mistrust in its accuracy. However, if you go too far the other way, the formality may lead your reader to believe your content is above their level of understanding.

There will be a more in depth blog post covering this at a later date.

Go with the flow

A professional editor can help you not only find your voice, but also help your content to flow. Although, your work may not be fiction, your book is still telling a story. Even a reference book should flow from A to Z, even if your reader might dip in to D-G. This is through both the use of flow between chapters and clear segregation of content. Think of your book like a journey, with your topics being destinations along your route. While you can reference a destination briefly in another locale, any major discussion should occur in its relevant location.

Indeed, this is where and how you should consider using an editor – not as a proof-reader, but as a book-reader. Is the voice right? Does my content say what I want it to say? Does it read easily? Does it aid or achieve higher understanding of my subject? Only by considering all of these questions, do you end up with a high quality book.

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Stand by Me RP exceeds expectations!

Stand by Me RP by Dave Steele

Only one week into launch and Stand by Me RP has already sold over 100 copies, made back its production costs in royalties and launched on Kindle. This has been a great title to work on for Kissed Off Creations Ltd.

The book was created to raise awareness of RP, as well as helping those who have been diagnosed with the condition.

As a first time author the publication of my first book was something I was very nervous and excited for. Natalie and all at Kissed Off Creations put me at ease straight away guiding me through every step of the process whilst showing a real care and understanding for the content of my work. From editing developing the structure and content of my book to designing the cover, Natalie made each step stress free and exciting as we moved closer to the release date. My Book entitled Stand by me RP has been out for only a week and has already been noted as the number one European poetry release by American Amazon and with the support of Kissed Off Creations it looks certain to go from strength to strength. I plan with following it up with an audiobook and other versions with Natalie’s help in the near future.
Kissed off creations have made a dream come true and this is just the beginning of a long and successful relationship.
Dave Steele Author of Stand by me RP

Stand by Me RP

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Deadlines: Why write NOW for Christmas?

Get writing to meet Christmas deadlines

Christmas sales are the main target for some titles (cookbooks, children’s titles and more), as well as some titles focussing on New Year release. However, production of these titles starts many months before, with our busy time typically being in summer. Last year, we had a few authors that wanted their books published for Christmas that simply left it too late. So to avoid that this year here’s a breakdown of deadlines for you.

When to order my publishing package for my pre-Christmas publishing date?

We would advise letting us know about your book at the earliest possible date. If you are purchasing our Write module, you should be telling us NOW about your book. This is due to the additional work required prior to design. Curate should be notified to us by the end of March/early April, with a list of sources available for us to start on. Titles that you would like us to proof read and Edit should be available to do so end of May/early June. For all other books, we recommend getting these to us by the end of June. These guidelines would then lead to your book being published in September to maximise the number of pre-Christmas sales.

What if I decide to go Print-on-Demand instead?

Print on demand titles and electronic titles can be provided to us a little later. Please note: this will require you to proof your book digitally, as printed proofs take additional time. Final deadline for sign off of artwork for print on demand would be 15th September.

What if I miss my deadline?

Although we will try our best, you may prefer to choose to change to a print-on-demand or digital only release.  The absolute cut off point for these is the start of September.

How can Kissed Off Creations Ltd help me meet my deadline?

We offer two content creation modules for those who are struggling to find the time to write their book. We also have some great writing blog posts that can help you when you have a blank page moment. We are also developing several writing aid tools to help you that are due to be released this year.

We also maintain a schedule of releases, so we can ensure that your launch does not clash with any of our other titles.

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Cover image: the Importance of a Great Cover!

Portfolio-Mockup

This month we have seen a number of cover issues arise. I thought this week’s blog post could be a way of covering these frequently asked questions to help you get your book right first time.

Can I use a cover I’ve already had designed?

Our packages all include cover design, however some authors come to us having one “ready to go”. In some cases, we are approached as “I’ve had this designed for me by [my daughter, my neighbour, a uni student, my dog]”, and while we celebrate creativity in all its forms, great cover design is key to good sales. People unfortunately DO judge books by their covers, and when its shown at 2x4cm on Amazon it needs to make an impact!

I’ve even received covers from other graphic designers that don’t meet the basic standards! Artwork not in the correct ratio, let alone the correct size and resolution for print. A few have even come with licensing issues (and therefore fall foul of our terms and conditions).

Cover guidelines for designers

If you are going to use another professional designer and/or illustrator to design your cover, then we recommend the following…

  • Add on extra design for bleeds as well as any formatting issues that may arise through changes in your book. We would recommend a 9th of your cover design size all the way around – too much is a lot better than too little.
  • Make sure artwork is supplied in a vector-based format PDF, with fonts embedded.
  • Any images and fonts used must be supplied with appropriate proof of licences.
  • Do not provide spine artwork with text unless your title is over 130 pages.
  • If your design has an underlying texture, provide this as a separate file.
  • Ensure your cover is legible when viewed at thumbnail size.
  • Mock book covers are unacceptable.

What we do with unacceptable designs

Where we are provided with unacceptable covers, we either ignore the file provided or use it as a base concept (depending on the issue).

A recent example used a strong concept, but all the images used had licensing issues. Instead, we used the basic concept to create a stronger, impactful cover that works much better on the platform.

Where this is not possible, we will ask you about the file you have provided in order to get a brief for your new cover.

Our usual process for cover design

Where we are left to do the cover design as included with your package, we simultaneously design your cover to fit your book’s specification as well as viewing it at thumbnail size. Our vast experience in cover design has been honed across many platforms, so we can deliver cross platform success.

Our cover development stage occurs towards the end of our process. Once, your book inners have been completed, we can ensure the perfect design including any spine that may need to be included. Before the sign off of your inners, this cannot be guaranteed. So by this time, we thoroughly know your book and its intended/likely audience, sales platforms and production methods.

We develop 3 initial concepts for your book outer as well as how the back of the book would work. It’s easy in these times of online book buying to underestimate the importance of your back cover. You can then choose your preferred concept, mix and match or we can create a new concept based on your feedback.

Once you are happy with your book design, we also develop a mock up book for social media and other marketing strategies. That way, you can market your book before its even out on Amazon. We encourage our authors to build their following throughout the book publishing process. If you want to ask your followers about your book concepts that is fine, and we can even help you by supplying social sized images.

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FTP: Terminology Explained

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. In the days when email could only carry very small attachments, large files could be transferred by FTP. However, these days the technology is only really used for bulk uploading of websites.

What are my FTP details?

These would be setup with your web hosting through your online panel. Usually you can find the format of these in their help files, but you will have to setup a password. In some cases, this would be your usual domain logon details. There will usually be an icon in your main control panel for accessing these settings (not to be confused with DNS settings).

If you don’t have hosting for your website, this is something we can help you with.

FTP is used when we code or design websites using HTML rather than WordPress based sites. If we ask you for FTP details, typically this would be for a managed site service where we would be updating the website for you.

Once you have the details, we would then enter this into our software for upload. At which point, the details become stored as part of your site file. These would only need to be updated upon software updates or due to changes made by you. Files are then transferred by our software direct from our web design software to keep your website secure.