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Advance Your Career Through Self-Publishing


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Writing a book gives you an opportunity to provide tangible value. It can establish your brand and increase your professional standing. Information professionals are uniquely positioned to take advantage of self-publishing because we already know how to transform source material to online and print materials and because we have editors, designers, and talented peer reviewers in our network.

While self-publishing is easier than ever, reaching your audience and making money from your book is harder for self-publishers; we do our own marketing and distribution so the audience can find our book.

Presented at :
- STC Silicon Valley (Feb 2017)
- STC Spectrum (March 2017)
- STC Summit (May 2017)
- AIIP Conference (May 2017)

Read the story behind the books I published:

Get the notes file:

Published in: Technology
  • The KINDLE book I mention on Slide #9 is no longer available on Amazon, but you don't need it. I captured the biggest items from it on the slide --- and it's all stuff that #techcomm folks know about already.
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  • @Tamara Harpster I'm going to do this session in the TC Dojo in May. I'm also doing it at Spectrum (Rochester, NY) at the end of March and at AIIP 2017 conference in May.
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  • Looks like this was a good presentation, self publishing is fun. I'm working with an assortment of software in order to publish PDF and ebook. Since I'm doing self publishing on the side, I'm slow, but I'm getting there. This is also a good reminder that I need to get a copy of your book so I can do a bit more with Arbortext. Good luck with your efforts, it's a lot easier when you have the technical side figured out.
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Advance Your Career Through Self-Publishing

  1. 1. Advance Your Career Through Self-Publishing Liz Fraley, Single-Sourcing Solutions
  2. 2. Who is Liz Fraley •BS Computer Science, BA and MA English •Founded two companies •Board member for 3 non-profits •Creator of TC Camp (unconference) •Creator of TC Dojo (user-driven webinar series), Arbortext Monster Garage (advanced techniques community webinar series), and an Arbortext On-Demand video series •Provides active support for the Arbortext user groups (Meetup, Facebook, LinkedIn) •Blog and podcast series •Papers and Books: – Beyond Theory: Making Single-Sourcing Work (ACM SIGDOC 2003) – Arbortext 101 (configuration best practices) – Arbortext 102 (stylesheet best practices) – Adding Custom Actions to oXygenXML Frameworks ● Scientist ● Investor ● Economist ● Enabler
  3. 3. Published Author Read the story:
  4. 4. Two retail books and one ebook published in six months I’d been thinking about writing a book about Arbortext for a long time. Then I saw a presentation by another technical writer about a book he self- published. The result?
  5. 5. As technical writers we are uniquely positioned to be Indie publishers
  6. 6. We have much knowledge • We already write books • We know what it takes to publish (to Print, HTML or ePub)
  7. 7. We have the right network We already know • Indexers (or how to index) • Editors (or how to edit) • Librarians (or how to construct metadata) • Production experts (or how to create deliverables)
  8. 8. We have the technology We already have the tools •We use them every day •We already deliver PDF, HTML, ePub (even Word can save as HTML or PDF)
  9. 9. Just under a year ago...
  10. 10. A dangerous combination I had motivation… ...and half a clue
  11. 11. This was the clue (From to Ben Woelk @ STC Spectrum 2015) Key Takeaways: • Assumes you’re using Word* as the publishing tool • Use Template Styles (not local formatting) • Create a TOC (so you get anchors) • No blank lines between paragraphs (use paragraph styles) • Insert graphics by reference (use a pre- created, finished graphic; do not use drawing tools) • No headers, No footers (this is for Kindle, remember?) • Page breaks signify divisions (like chapters) • Don’t forget your front matter! (copyrights, dedication, title page, etc.) * or OpenOffice or LibreOffice NO LONGER AVAILABLE (but I captured the major points for you on this slide)
  12. 12. Feeling pretty confident... That sounds easy!
  13. 13. We already know (most of) the process 1. Administration and setup 2. Develop the outline 3. Author the content a. Have it edited b. Incorporate Edits 4. Publish 5. Test and verify 6. Market and sell a. Send to reviewers b. Develop a campaign c. Develop a sales funnel d. What’s the ultimate goal? Familiar TW tasks A little less familiar (and maybe somewhat daunting) More work than you think
  14. 14. Step 1: Set things up on Kindle Direct Kindle Direct Publishing: • Product Page/book metadata –Title, subtitle, edition, volume, series –Description –Contributors –Publisher –Keywords –Categories –Age and grade range –DRM ? –Cover image (now or later) –Royalty plan, pricing, lending? Kindle Unlimited? –(Print) ISBN, UPC barcode, back cover blurb –Offer for presale?
  15. 15. P.S. All this stuff has sales, search, and marketing impact later….
  16. 16. Step 1 continued: Set things up for Print CreateSpace On-Demand Print Publishing: • All the same Product Page/book metadata • And more: –Physical properties ▪Trim size ▪Color or B&W text ▪Paper Color ▪Matte or Glossy cover finish –ISBN –Sales channels –Lots of other additional (and optional) metadata (You can set it to publish on Kindle from here, but they will build the ePub for you from your PDF copy)
  17. 17. Step 1 continued: What about that ISBN? In the US, you get your ISBN from Bowker: • All the same Product Page/book metadata as both Kindle Direct and CreateSpace • And even more - mostly more detail: –Copyright and publication dates –Format and size –Sales and pricing, regional differences –Lots of other additional (and optional) metadata –You can even upload the text of your book (but I didn’t) • You can buy a set of ISBNs or only one –Usually the epub gets one ISBN and the print gets a different one –Amazon wants the CreateSpace and the Kindle ISBN to match
  18. 18. The cover image is book metadata *Print edition: cover, spine & back with bleed. Can’t be created until you have final print PDF. BTW: No spine text if <100 pages
  19. 19. Step 2: Create the assets • Design the cover images • Develop the outline • Develop the publishing schedule –Amazon can decide this for you, if you’re not careful –Offering your title for preorder assigns a deadline –Don’t forget edit, production, and QA time • Do the writing –Don’t forget that front matter • Create the graphics
  20. 20. Step 3: Kindle Production • The Kindle book assumes you authored your book in Word: –Upload your Word document –Amazon builds the epub –Amazon has an online testing & QA • You can download the epub it creates and test it anywhere you want –And probably should... • You can edit the ePub and the upload it back to Amazon
  21. 21. Step 3: Print Production • CreateSpace offers additional services •And I’d seen stuff like this So, I talked to them to find out what they mean...
  22. 22. Step 3: Print Production What CreateSpace offers: •Creative team to build your cover (done ) •Editorial staff (done ) •Template and layout experts (done ) •Production experts (hey…) I realized that… •I already know how to do professional print publishing. •I have the network •I have the tools
  23. 23. Feeling pretty confident again... I can do that!
  24. 24. Here’s what I had in my back pocket • Completed internal copy (edited and proofed) • Expertise in authoring, styling, and publishing XML content • Tools I could leverage In my case, I had Arbortext Editor and Styler
  25. 25. For those who haven’t seen it: Arbortext Editor and Styler
  26. 26. What I decided to do • Convert the Word document to DITA – Required a second proof • Create a stylesheet that created a PDF that fit the trim size I’d chosen – Arbortext comes with a DITA default stylesheet – I imported it as a module and overrode any behavior I wanted to change – Took me about 4 hours to create (aka tweak, finesse, and finalize) the stylesheet • Published PDF and…. – CreateSpace didn’t like any of my graphics – Screen shots (edited with Paint) were too blurry for acceptable print publishing
  27. 27. Step 4: Fix... Graphics requirements for high-quality print publishing on CreateSpace: –PDF (best) or TIF format –300 dpi (I had to reshoot them all)
  28. 28. Step 5: Republish One-click republish! Arbortext Styler produced a perfect PDF acceptable for print publishing It’s not that this was unexpected (I use Arbortext all the time), but it was still surprising that it took as little effort as it did! “The promise we’ve been talking for about all these years is fulfilled! FINALLY!!”
  29. 29. Digital proof or hard copy proof from CreateSpace
  30. 30. Because it was so easy, I added two things... #1: A preview version of the book –Profiled content (DITAVAL) –A new stylesheet (new trim size) –Some new content (“Want the rest?”) –A delivery mechanism that didn’t cost money #2: Automated ePub publishing from my Arbortext stylesheet… –No more Word, right? –Required only minor styling alterations
  31. 31. Sometimes I just can’t leave well enough alone Calibre lets you build, edit, and finesse ePubs You can do things like: •Change the metadata •Tweak the TOC •Make a quick fix •QA the copy in a different environment •Build a other formats (like MOBI) Let’s talk about Calibre
  32. 32. Then I wrote more Bye, Bye Word! • Authored in DITA, published using existing stylesheets from 101 – I changed the trim size for 102, (some stylesheet work there) – OxygenXML ebook as well as 103 and 104 had zero stylesheet overhead • Published epub and print PDF • Uploaded to Kindle Direct and CreateSpace – (easier the second time around)
  33. 33. What are you trying to do with your book? Your sales and marketing strategy should tie directly back to your goal Where you go from here, depends on your goal
  34. 34. • Who are your readers? • Where do your readers buy their books? • How important is price? • How do they make their decision? (what is their conversion to purchase journey?) – Know the author? (series, characters) – Who recommends it? • How do your readers source their books? • Have you built a personal connection with them? BTW these are the same questions entrepreneurs ask Ask yourself
  35. 35. Lay out your plan • A book website, blog and author pages at Amazon and Goodreads –If you have a series, a goodreads librarian must create this for you •Advertising channels •Sales and marketing campaigns •Related material & up-sell opportunities
  36. 36. Giveaways, Reviews, and Extras
  37. 37. And Now I’m a Published Author Free ebook: First 2 Chapters Free: Full book on Amazon: Amazon: Read the story:
  38. 38. Join the TC Dojo Conclave When you’re all alone, sometimes you need to be able to call someone up and say, "I’ve got this problem, help me talk it through…Help me noodle." We all need that. This is where being a part of an amazing group of like- minded individuals can really help you on your journey. Harness the experience from fellow information professionals, communications leaders, and business owners. The TC Dojo Conclave is for professionals who want to advance their career, improve their personal skills, and enrich their business acumen—as they relates to the technical communications and content industries. Find out more:
  39. 39. Thank you for coming ! Subscribe to the TC Dojo YouTube Channel Join our mailing list so you never miss another session! If you need a master’s help, be sure to contact us! 408-660-3219 Liz Fraley @SingleSourcing Want time with the author? Book a mentoring session: