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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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Our 2015 Portfolio has launched!

Portfolio-Mockup

Portfolio 2015 has launched and is now available for download!

This year’s portfolio has been filled with some old favourites as well as a range of images that have never been seen before this launch. As our birthday is just around the corner, we will be incorporating this new look into our new website when it goes live! Soon, www.kissedoff.co.uk will have a great new look as well as implementing a lot of tech behind the scenes to make it as accessible as possible for all.

Sneak Peek

Here’s a quick sneak peak (along with the slideshow above) of what you can expect in our new Portfolio…

Digital-Artistry
Digital Artistry, Illustration and Photography services

We offer a range of digital artistry, illustration and photography services. We’ve chosen just a small selection of our more popular images to represent this for our latest portfolio. We offer a range of styles, so contact us today to see if we can help you.

Branding
Corporate ID, Branding and Logo Design Services

We offer a range of branding packages to suit all businesses and products, but if you are looking for a more individual specification we also offer a full bespoke service that can include print, digital and social options.

Publishing-Cover
A range of our latest publishing projects

Our latest portfolio also includes examples of our most recent eBook and paperback projects as well as how those projects have developed into other literature and marketing materials.

To download your copy of our new Portfolio – follow this link Portfolio 2015

Can’t download? Then email us or call for your copy.

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How we tailor our eBook designs to your needs…

Affiliate eBook Introduction

Tailor your brief

Great design starts with a great brief.

Specification

One of the most important things to consider all the possible uses you will have for your eBook:

  • Will you want your eBook printed at a later stage?
  • Will it be printed on an office inkjet printer and how would you bind it?
  • If it could be professionally printed – how would you like it bound, are there any particular features and links that would need to change between versions?
  • How will your eBook be distributed? Will it be embedded directly into a web page? By email?

The answer to these questions will allow us to tailor the physical specification of your eBook to your needs.

For example, the eBook below has been designed specifically so that it can be printed on an office printer without showing to typical white border that features on so many inkjet prints.

LCT Accounting eBook
This eBook is designed specifically to allow for print borders common in many office printers.

As this could be used at trade events, it has been specifically designed for wire binding as well as allowing for economical and easy printing. This extends, not only to the client, but also to the end user who may not necessarily want to read your eBook on screen and would prefer to read it on paper. By tailoring your specification at an early stage, it allows your eBook to be flexible for alternative uses at a later stage without adding additional costs to your project.


Design

The briefing stage is also the time to specify any design requirements you have: branding, preference and target audience all have a bearing not only on colour scheme, but right through to accessibility options and font choices.

In the eBook below, the client had a very clear idea of how he wanted the eBook to look and gave clear examples. This has resulted in an eBook that was quick to conceptualise and is ready much quicker for publishing.

Affiliate eBook Detail
A clear brief led to an easy conceptualisation and approval stage
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How can an eBook market your business?

Concept stage

It seems everyone is now offering a free “eBook” about their service or area of expertise. These vary from a simple Word document through to an iPad app (and all points in-between). These range from a great use of the platform through to someone obviously producing it because they feel they HAVE to. However, with the right approach, an eBook CAN successfully market your business.

Types of business

Most businesses can benefit from an eBook to build an “expert” reputation, however I want to focus this post on those who can EASILY benefit from an eBook.

The visual business

So you’ve got hundreds of pins (and hopefully followers) on Pinterest – filled with your work, projects and products. An eBook can be a great way of drawing together visual media into one manageable package for distribution. A great way for reaching out to those who DON’T follow you on Pinterest, an eBook is more lasting than a tweet, instagram, snapchat etc and becomes a great way of informing your potential client. This could be an essential tool in your briefing process – “Is there a particular project or style you liked?”, “Could we apply this approach to your sector?” and so much more. It also becomes a great catalogue – include links to your online shop, your client’s products etc. and because its DIGITAL it can be quickly updated without the COST IMPACT of traditional printing.

The one touch business

For those who will probably only work with their clients 1-3 times, an eBook can be a great way to educate a client who may not understand the intricacies of your business. For example, an estate agent could take the reader through the process of selling their first home – legalities, checklists, essential actions, accepting an offer or asking for more. This type of eBook is great for the legal sector, weddings (for most 😀 … and divorce), pensions and investments, wills and probate, instruction services (driving, piloting, seamanship), estate and letting services and educational services.

The expert business

An eBook is a great way for building an expert reputation using your inherent knowledge of your sector, the services you offer and how they benefit your potential client. This is particularly the case for the professional services industry – architects, engineers, doctors, specialists and accountants. An expert reputation will help you to grow your business, both through your marketing but also by word of mouth where others can recommend you using your eBook to introduce you to potential clients you may not be aware of.

The lifestyle business

From cars to five star hotels, these are the businesses that people aspire to as a lifestyle choice. An eBook in its truest form can utilise many of the latest technologies to really showcase your brand to its best – from video through to interactive diagrams, there is a visual way to show your product to it’s best.

A well-designed eBook can help you market your business better – whether you choose to give it away, or if you decide to offer it as part of a bigger service. We can help you produce an eBook to promote your business from as little as £75.

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Why an eBook isn’t just a PDF!

Female Fat Free Club eBook series (iPDF only)

Recently, there has been a proliferation of “digital publishers” that will convert your brochure to a page flipping PDF. These are great for those who want a literal translation of their documents for reading on several platforms. However, this approach fails to make the most of what the technology has to offer.

What can’t a PDF do – and why would I want to create something new?

A PDF in its traditional format was designed as a way to transport static documentation that could be guaranteed to look the same on all platforms it is viewed on. This was a great leap forward when it was invented back in the late 1990’s when it meant that you didn’t all have to be running the same software to preview files or send hard copies to clients – and I even remember creating animations of flipping pages in the early 2000’s. However, a traditional PDF such as those utilised by many page flipping companies, software and plugins rulers out what is best about the eBook platform.

Media Support

In 2015, we can now add videos, audio and animations to our eBook formats (i.e. ePub 3.0 which is utilised by iBooks and many other readers). These are true eBooks that take full advantage of the media available to further explore, express and convey the content of your book. These are great for “How To” topics as well as taking the reader on a tour behind the scenes, for additional content on a subject that they want to explore further. Imagine how much books have changed in last 20 years – especially for the education and manual arena. Now most books that teach us about or how to do something have lots of visual imagery to support the text. eBooks enable us to take this to the next stage – especially for complex subject matter.

Interactivity

Now reading a book doesn’t have to be a passive experience. We can now add interactive features such as puzzles, workbook sections and more that can enhance a book’s content and help the reader engage with the content more. Think of the fun you had as a child with a pop up book – now this is the adult equivalent where learning can be fun for adults too!

iPDF

Now an iPDF allows you to do some but not all of these things… however support for interactivity across all PDF readers is not yet stable. Even simple interactive features such as buttons are not supported within the iPDF framework. This is why as ePub 3.0 support widens, we encourage our authors to go down this route instead. iPDF is great for all platform coverage currently, but ePub 3.0 will only continue to grow and it will change how electronic publishing functions.

How can I utilise interactive features within my eBook?

This is the easiest bit for the author – simply give us an idea of how you want the interactivity to work and we will do the tricky bit. So if you want a diagram that the reader can label, we can do that and more using interactive fields the reader can fill in, and then “reveal” the correct answer.

Also, by having a video or animation, you can start to grow a following on YouTube, use the video in your social media and more. Book trailers are now seen as a key way to draw in new readers.

But you haven’t mentioned Kindles!

The Kindle (as in the older paperweight versions NOT the Fire tablets) can’t handle interactivity or moving imagery. But what it lacks in tech, it more than makes up for in accessibility! A large population of readers can ONLY read on Kindles due to visual impairment. It is a common misconception that blind people use Braille books to read, yet with the non-glare surface of the Kindle it is ideal for those suffering problems with their eyesight. Someone in this situation would be unable to read the PDF flip books (and would find the animation more of a hindrance than a benefit), and would therefore be unable to engage with your content.

This is why Kissed Off create more than just PDF formats of books, and as a registered publisher we have knowledge that stretches across all print and digital platforms.

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Publish Your Book with Kissed Off

Portfolio-Mockup

Publish your book with Kissed Off easily. Here is a quick overview of our process of publishing your manuscript to book and/or eBook format. We will be releasing more detailed videos for each section of this video – from our manuscript template to publication and beyond.

To find out more how we can help you publish your book, visit our Design & Publishing Packages, or for more information on our service and our portfolio visit our main website. Your dream of being published is only a couple of clicks away – whether in print or in a digital format… or even both! Some of our books have made it on to the market as quickly as two weeks, and our latest book debut launched at #2 in its respective category!

Start your own publishing journey today by purchasing our Publishing Base Module and we can guide you on your publishing journey. We can publish to all major formats – paperback, eBook (on all major platforms) and audiobook.

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Book Writing for Non-fiction – Setting up your manuscript hierarchy – Part 2

A drop of ink can make a million think

Part 2 – Setting up your manuscript

If you have already read Part 1, you will want to start to prepare a draft manuscript.

Having developed a skeleton manuscript in Part 1 including detailed writing of the first 4 sections, now we need to start to prep your manuscript to a more readable format.

Hierarchy

You need to consider your content in forms of an hierarchy. I’m going to use web terminology here as it is the easiest to refer to between software programs.

Heading 1

This will be used for your Chapter headings. Your chapters could be numbered or simply word based but in terms of your hierarchy you would keep this all as one style. If you can name this style, call it “Chapter Heading”.

If numbers feature in any of your Chapter headers, we would advise not numbering your chapters. For example, if your chapters go Intro-How to-Part 1 etc then labelling them Chapter 1 Intro-Chapter 3 Part 1 would become confusing. On the other hand, if your book is a linear format then we would recommend numbering the chapters to help maintain the readers connection with the content.

Heading 2

Dividing your chapters into manageable chunks for the reader is a great way of maintaining the reader’s engagement with your content. You could do this by using a Q&A format if it suits your subject, or use it to divide your chapter’s subject into its composite parts. It could be for an instruction book you form it out of “What do I do to get here”, “How do I do it” and “What have I done”, or it could be “Technique A”, “Technique B” and “When to use each technique”.

Heading 3

You would use Heading 3 as a title for a breakout box or a workbook section or similar – this can be a good way of re-iterating the content to the reader as well as bringing in deeper engagement. You could also use this header for captions for images and charts also, or to create steps in a How To.

Paragraph

This is your main text style for your content, and at this stage you will want to create a basic draft of your content. Moving forward you will want to create several character styles including bold and italics that will be used either for highlighting key phrases, or for emphasising words within a sentence.

In Part 3 – continuing your writing

In the next part we will be focussing on developing your manuscript for your remaining chapters.

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Book Writing for Non-fiction – Part 1

Write

This is our first post in our “How To” series, and focuses on the first stages of writing your non-fiction title.

Once you’ve decided to write your book, and after the initial brain storm phase, you will want to start focusing on how to structure your book. For a longer title, you will want to break your content down into chapters, but this tutorial will cover the initial stages of your book writing journey. Dividing your book’s content this way will help, not only with breaking down your writing into manageable chunks, but also will help when your book is transferred to electronic formats. For a shorter eBook or leaflet, it could be you break your book down into individual pages of content.

Planning and writing your first four sections

Preface

  • What is your experience in this field? – If you are writing in an area of new expertise, or if you feel the subject may impact negatively on your profession, you may choose to leave this section out.
  • What led to you writing this book?

Introduction

  • What is your book about? – summarise what you are going to say.
  • Who will find you book interesting and useful? – set out your audience and tone of writing.
  • What is your book going to say that no other title does? – why would someone buy THIS book?

Chapter 1: Getting Started

  • What is the starting position of your most basic reader?
  • Where do they need to get to to start using the book? – it could be your book is aimed at an advanced level, but you need to establish a common starting ground. Are there particular skills they need, additional material to cover a subject more in depth?
  • Step by step guide how to get there.

Chapter 2: First steps

  • What journey are you going to take the reader on?
  • How do they start implementing the first part of your “arc”?
  • What benefits will they see?
  • What help will they need to achieve this first step?

These questions will help you to form the content for your first four sections as well as establishing a “voice” for the book. Next you will need to consider additional content you may wish to include – images, charts, links to web content are all best considered at this early stage. Another key point for consideration is if you will be including snippets of information, highlighting key points or having some sort of interactive layout/worksheets.

Now you have a framework for your content, time to start fleshing it out into the book it will be. Consider bulleted and numbered lists – especially in the “Getting Started” section. It could be equipment lists or a brief overview of the points you are going to cover in the section. Could an image express an idea better than words alone? If you need prior knowledge to understand a point, where would you go to? And later on in the book, if you wanted to find out more on a discussed topic where would you go to?

In Part 2 – Setting up your manuscript

In developing the points above, you will want to start to prepare a draft manuscript. This will include chapter headings, key points, image references and at this stage you may have quotes and other relevant references you may wish to include. This will still be a long way before you are ready to hand us your manuscript. In our next How To, we discuss how your manuscript will develop from a skeleton script through to a workable manuscript. This will setup good habits ready for the next chapters of your book in Part 3.

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Where’s the Kitty?

Cavalier Capers Flash Screen LITTLE READER

Hello Kitty by Grandma Sysum

In the third installment of the Cavalier Capers series the Pups have been listening in to Grandma Sysum’s telephone conversations. We all know what trouble comes from listening in to one end of a telephone conversation. When will Jessie be coming and why is she bringing a Kitty with her? Doesn’t she know Pups don’t like Kitties? Will Grandma replace them all with kittens and cats?

Cavalier Capers is aimed at young readers with each book being aimed at a particular age group. Hello Kitty is aimed at the 5-7 year olds with bold illustrations and a great storyline.

Each book comes with a collectible character card for you to copy, fold and laminate. This book features Josie, and Hello Kitty is available in paperback here.

The Cavalier Capers series is written by Grandma Sysum and is illustrated by Natalie Ballard. You can see the Cavalier Capers website here.