Concierge of
Publishing Services:

Manuscript review

Editing

Cover Design

Book Design

Indexing

Printing

Distribution

Marketing

 

Writer's Resources:

Useful Articles

Favorite Books on Writing and Creativity

Worthwhile Links

WordPlay…just for fun

 

KeyNotes e-newsletter archive

Concierge of Publishing Services

The Silloway Press is a publisher and yes, we love words and books, still we charge for most services. The difference is that we only charge for what you need, and only after you've had a chance to choose what's right for you. 

We will certainly want to talk with each other about the specifics of your book. But here is an overview to give you an understanding of what we offer and whether it might be right for you.    

Manuscript review – the first step

How do you know if your manuscript is ready for publishing? We can help you decide, but there are some obvious questions to ask yourself first:

  • Has anyone else read it yet, and what did they say about it? (Note: your parents, spouse, and children are great, but you need other opinions, too!) Ask some people you trust to be honest with their opinions, and then listen to what they say.
  • How many times have you revised the manuscript since your first draft? If you haven't, then you are probably not ready to publish. "Writing is rewriting." You'll hear different versions of that saying, and it's true.
  • Is it the best you can make it? If there is anyplace in the manuscript where you said to yourself, "I'll let an editor fix that," you are not ready.
  • Can you clearly state why you are writing the book? If your purpose is to sell copies of your book, can you say who your target readers are and how you will reach them?

When you believe you have truly made it the best it can be, we'll look at your manuscript and let you know if we believe it will reach your market and if it's something we would be proud to publish. 

 How much will that cost? Nothing.

This is time we are willing to invest in finding the right projects for us. Please understand this does not mean we will necessarily read every word the first time through. Just as you can tell if you are going to like a new recipe by taking a few bites, we are able to make a judgment based on sampling.  

A word here about confidentiality and copyrights. Any manuscript we review is kept confidential. We will not show your work to anyone until and unless you authorize us to proceed with editing or other services. If we don't publish your work we will destroy any copies of your manuscript through shredded recycling of paper copies and/or deleting electronic files from our system. As for the copyright, you already own that as soon as you have a manuscript. It exists because you created the work. Filing with the U.S. Copyright Office is an additional step that we take when the book is published to further protect your work, but your rights in the book already exist.

Editing

Your cousin Sue has a degree in English and has already read through your manuscript. So why should you have a professional editor do it again?

Because every book needs professional editing. No offense to cousin Sue, but she was looking for spelling and punctuation. That's good, but only part of the process. A professional editor does the grammar/spelling/punctuation corrections of course. But more importantly, an experienced editor will improve your manuscript without changing your meaning or your unique way of expressing yourself (your "voice.") The editor will look for the flow – does one section flow easily and clearly into the next? It's not unusual for sections to be rearranged to improve the clarity and impact of the words. A good editor will point out inconsistencies and issues with logic.

The cost of editing depends on the number of pages and the condition of the manuscript, but you will know before the editing begins what your cost will be. 

Cover Design

What's the first thing you do when you pick up a book in the bookstore? You look at the front cover, of course. You want to know what the book is about and whether it's something you will enjoy reading. The images, the words, the colors all create an instant impression and are chosen to make you want the book. If it holds your attention for a few seconds you turn it over and look at the back. Again, the design, the words, the blurbs (testimonials) all are there to sell you on buying this book.

The design of your cover is the single most important feature of making your book sell. Your mother always said, "You can't tell a book by its cover." True, but that doesn't stop us from making decisions in those few seconds. Put two books on the same subject side by side, and you'll choose the one with the better cover.

Designing book covers that sell is an art and one that is worth investing in. Professional cover designers know the different styles that are appropriate for different types of books. Business books will have a different look from cookbooks or travel books, they'll have different colors and font styles.

The cost of a book cover design varies over a wide range depending on the book and the author's budget. We can use a cover design you already have, incorporate a favorite relevant image, or have a custom cover designed. As with all our services, you choose what's right for your book. 

Book Design

Just as you have a design for the outside – the cover – of your book, so there needs to be a design for the inside. Pick up any book and look at how the pages are presented. Where are the chapter headings and the page numbers? How does each chapter start? Is the font easy to read? Are the margins comfortable or do you feel as if the words are squeezed on to the page? All these are what we mean by Book Design, also called Type Setting or Typography.  

Once your manuscript is finished it's time to create the files that will go to the printer. The pages will be set up in the final size of your book, the font will be one that is appropriate to your subject and tone but also easy to read, the space between lines of type (the "leading") will be set to enhance readability. The chapter headings and subheadings will usually have a different font but still appropriate and in a size that will help your readers as they go through the chapters. If there are illustrations in the chapters, they will be set to the right size and location. And the whole thing will be packaged in the right form for the printing method and printer you have chosen.

Who knew it could be so complicated? Actually, it isn't, but like anything else the first time you go through it, there's a lot to think about. If you're good with desktop publishing software such as Adobe's InDesign, you might be able to handle this step yourself. But if not, we can help you make the decisions and create a design for the interior of your book that will make it attractive to your market. Like most things having to do with getting your book ready to publish, the cost depends on the number of pages you have and the complexity of the design and images you want included.

Indexing

You've written a book about your family's journey from Ellis Island to the governor's mansion. Your father's cousin's son eagerly opens the book and looks for his name. But where?  The index, of course. And if he doesn't find his name there, you know you will hear about it!

Non-fiction books almost always require indexing. It's not only your father's cousin's son who will be annoyed if he can't find his name. Your readers will be looking for specific answers, and an index will make their search easier. And after the front and back covers, it's one of the first things a prospective buyer will look at.

Indexing is one of the last tasks before your book goes to the printer. Every other change to the manuscript, including the typography, needs to be completed first so that the indexed page numbers do not change. The cost of indexing is based on the number of indexable pages.

Printing and Fulfillment

It's finally here – the day you send your book to be printed. All the prep work is done and now all you can do is wait, impatiently, to hold your "baby" in your hands.

As with so much else in publishing, you have choices to make about printing. The first choice is whether to use traditional offset printing or go with digital printing. With the advances in technology, digital printing is very close in quality to offset, so the decision is usually a financial one. 

Offset printing has a relatively low cost per copy but a relatively high setup cost. Digital printing has a lower setup and higher cost per copy. How do you decide which one to use? By the number of copies you want to print, and by how you will distribute your books.

For a book with a full color cover and black and white interior pages, if you are going to print fewer than 700 copies, it will generally be less expensive to use digital printing. For 1,000 copies or more, it will generally be more economical to go with offset. Once you decide the number of copies you want to print, we help you choose the best printer for your particular book. 

There are other choices that can affect the cost of printing such as your choice of paper. To some people, using recycled paper is an important choice even though it may cost a bit more per copy. Adding color to the interior pages with illustrations also increases the cost. There are good choices available for any combination of needs including full color photographic quality printing for coffee-table books.

In any case you can choose to store the copies in your garage or basement, or you can usually store them at the printer for an additional charge. Many printers will provide fulfillment services (storage, order taking, shipping), and the choice you make is whether it makes sense to take your time to package and ship books or to subcontract that out. Again, we will help you understand the alternatives and make the right choice for you. 

Marketing

Say "Marketing" to most authors and you get a shudder or a groan. "I'm a writer, not a peddlar!"

The truth is that you need to be both a writer and a marketer if you hope to have financial success with your book. Even if "financial success" just means recouping your costs, you have to let your market know about the book so they can buy it. 

This is where we can help a good deal. We can provide you with a basic marketing plan that will get you started thinking about how to spread the word about your book. But more importantly, we can help you customize the plan to reach your goals for your book. This can include:

  • Creating a website for your book including writing the content
  • Setting up the links to online marketplaces such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Powell's, etc.
  • Identifying outlets for your book and sites that can help you publicize it
  • Designing promotional materials for your book such as bookmarks and post cards, and deciding if they are a good investment
  • Identifying reviewers for your book
  • Identifying websites and forums that can help promote your book
  • Identifying parts of your book that can be published as articles.  
Effective marketing takes time and effort, but the investment is well worth the return you can see in sales of your book.

Putting it all together

We're here to help you make the right choices for your book and for your definition of "success." Give us a call – isn't it high time you published your book?