Lately I’ve been writing a few blog posts about my background and life experiences, some of which may be of interest to my readers. Today I’m going back to talking about books a bit, but I think this topic may interest both fellow writers and non-writers.

Of course, I’m referring to how a book is made. Hence the title, Book Projects: The Sausage-Making. (By the way, I had a heck of a time finding an image to go with this post. I’ve been a vegetarian for about 30 years, and that image of sausagesoof. It doesn’t exactly make my mouth water, but whatever.)

 

The Internals

First, I’ll get into a short overview of what I call the internals. These are matters more related to the manuscript than the actual physical book. And it goes without saying that every book should be professionally edited and proofread, so that’s a discussion for another time.

1) Copyright – Once you commit something to paper or hard drive, you own the copyright to that work. Unlike most other internals, you don’t really need to worry about this until closer to your publication date, though I understand some writers apply for copyright on books that are nowhere near completion. Either way is fine. 

2) The Manuscript (Duh) – Yes, you don’t have a book unless you’ve got a manuscripteither you write it, or pay someone else to write it.

3) ISBN – Your ISBN numbers are crucial, as they are the unique identifiers for ebooks and hard copies. ISBN is actually an abbreviation for International Standard Book Number. If you publish your own books, I strongly recommend buying a block of ISBNs from Bowker. Different versions of the same book have unique ISBNs. For mine, I used three: one for the paperback version, one for the ebook available via Amazon, and one for the ebook available via all other channels (Apple, Barnes, and so on).

4) CIP Data Block – CIP stands for Cataloging In Publication. A publisher can choose to purchase a CIP data block from a company such as The Donohue Group. The information conveyed in the CIP data block is used by librarians to catalogue an item properly. It’s safe to say that an advance publisher’s copy of a book will not be accepted by a library without a CIP data block.

 

The Externals

So you’ve written a great manuscript, it’s been polished, edited, proofread, and you’ve got all the above items in place for publication. Now what?

There are still three major issues to consider: cover design, interior design, and the particulars of the book’s size, paper type, and cover finish.

1) Cover Design – When your book is near completion, you can start shopping around for designers. You’ll want someone who can handle both ebook and paper versions. Keep in mind, they are professionals with clients already on the calendar. Some will need extra time to read part, or even all, of your book. Some will provide multiple options and multiple revisions. This all takes time. The cover will be your potential readers’ first impression of your work, so it’s crucial. You can see the covers for all my work here.

2) Interior Design – Not all cover designers offer interior design, though some do. The “one-stop-shopping” element of that may prove appealing if they do. My most recent cover, for Whizzers, was designed by Robin Vuchnich, who also created the interior design of the book. She was able to incorporate her design into the chapter headers, which made for a much more appealing internal look. In total, she designed the cover for both the ebook and paperback versions, as well as the interior design for both. I was very pleased with the results.

3) Book Size, Paper Type, & Cover Type – Your book’s size is directly related to the genre or type of book. For my paperbacksall of which are novelsI decided to go with the classic 6 X 9, which is actually 5.5 X 8.5 inches. It’s not a pocket book, but it’s not too large either.

Paper type is another matter: do you want acid-free, cream-colored paper? That will cost you a little more for printing, but the product will look just as good as any paperback in a store.

And finally, the cover finish, which is either glossy or matte. Like photos, the glossy cover will be shiny. You might love that, but remember, it won’t photograph well if anyone uses a flash. Matte is flatter but, to my mind, looks more elegant; however, it may scuff up more easily than glossy. Before publishing, I watched a YouTube video about the pros and cons of each, but I recommend going to the local bookstore and comparing and contrasting them. I thought I’d prefer glossy, and it turns out I much prefer matte.

That’s about it for the sausage-making process. For a deeper dive into ISBNs and CIP data blocks, check out my YouTube channel here. And I’d also love to hear from you in the comments below!

excellence

Literary Excellence and Why Writers Need to Be Readers

Back when I first launched my company, I often used the phrase literary excellence as part of my branding. The idea was that Sahno Publishing evolved out of the notion that literary excellence is more important than a financial formula. The company entered the...

Stormy Weather Ahead

It's Monday in Tampa Bay, and Tropical Storm Colin is bearing down on the Gulf Coast. Rather than writing, today would probably be a good day for me to shut the computer down, light some candles, and curl up with a good book. In fact, I just got a call from a web...
guest blogging

Guest Blogging: To Post Or Not To Post

So it’s Monday, and as always my calendar says “New Blog Post Due.” My mind, on the other hand, says, Add a quick blog post. This is slightly different, because I have a couple afternoon appointments, and not enough time to write a post between them. Can you say...

Who You Gonna Call? or Being Your Own Tech Support

I wrote my third novel between about 2007 and 2015. I can’t say it took a full eight years to write – I got stuck in the final third for a couple years – but it was an ambitious project. I’d gone from a third person novel to a first person novel, and now I was going...
deferred

21st Century Etiquette (Or the Lack Thereof)

"There are so many unreliable people now that being reliable in and of itself is a valuable rare trait." - Louis Leung I have always thought that certain bare minimum requirements for etiquette are particularly important in business. For example: "do what you said you...

How Authors Can Navigate Twitter

Way back in June 2016, I wrote a blog post about Facebook vs. Twitter. At the time, I had a whole six months of expertise as a guy running a business full-time, so no wonder I did such a great job! Well, okay, maybe I overstated my case. But the bottom line of that...
authenticity

Putting Yourself Out There

I see a lot of social media posts these days about "authenticity." The idea is that clients and customers, and potential clients and customers, really appreciate your authenticity—mainly because so many fake people have tried to sell them something they didn't want to...
holidays

Books: Great Holiday Gifts or The Greatest Holiday Gifts?

I saw a cartoon the other day that features a character who's starting to sing, "It's beginning to look a lot like..." A second character quickly and quietly puts the first character down, saying, "Shh. Sleep now." Dark stuff, right? But hey, these are dark times—in...
perils

Instafreebie and The Perils of Evil

Most of you who read this blog know that I'm not a big one on writing about the perils of evil...at least not at the same level as the serial killers or the kings of genocide. Sure, I've got some pretty bad people in my books: Johnny, the doper and rapist in Brothers'...
kicking that can

Kicking That Can Down the Road

When I started writing my upcoming novel, I didn't have an agenda or even a plan. The story of Whizzers came about very organically, though it has roots in my own life from many years ago. To understand how I evolved as a writer, you almost have to understand how I...