1. ISBN Barcode Generator
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Over the past couple of years, I've been sharing my self-publishing journey.
Although I've published 16 activity books to date, built a website to promote them, and created a social media following, I'm not an expert! I wanted to stipulate that upfront.
This article addresses some of the questions I had about ISBN Numbers and Imprints and what I've learned firsthand.
After checking out this article, you should google this topic; there are so many incredibly qualified professionals on this subject.
During my many hours of research, this is one of my favorite articles on the topic of Imprints - worth the read.
Canadians are very lucky; ISBNs are free through the Government of Canada (ISBN Canada, also known as Library and Archives Canada). Sign up here, create an account, get your numbers, follow the instructions, and best of all, the customer service is fantastic!
For those in the United States, you can get them through a company called Bowker. Unfortunately, they're not free, not even close to free. As of this date, one ISBN can cost approximately $125 and ten ISBNs are $295. You can view their pricing page here.
4. Where to Create a Barcode to Upload Onto Your Book When You're Providing Your ISBN?
The Barcode is pretty easy to create. This is the website I use to create my barcodes.
5. Use Amazon's Template Generator to Figure Out Where the Barcode Goes When Creating Covers
Here is a link to Amazon's template generator. It creates a template you can put over the top of your book cover, so you know the margins and where the Barcode goes.
*TIP* If you're using Canva to create book covers, drag the template over the properly measured custom design and increase the transparency so you can see through the template.
6. What is an Imprint? This confused me the most!
Amazon asks for the 'Imprint' information when you're providing your own ISBN.
I will not attempt to give you an in-depth explanation of Imprints because, honestly, I could never do it justice!
Provided below is a summary and a link to an excellent article from Ingram Spark about Imprints:
According this Ingram Spark Article: "The Imprint Page is the page that appears on the back of the Title Page. It contains everything we need to know about who wrote the book, who the publisher is, how we can contact them, where the book was printed, what the ISBN is"
7. Choosing An Imprint Name
There are so many things to consider when choosing your imprint name. Yikes. That's a whole other topic.
Famous publishing companies have multiple Imprint names. For example, Penguin House has nearly 275 independently published imprints.
From what I've read so far, an Imprint doesn't have to be a legally named identifier. However, for goodness sake, don't pick a name that could be a copyright violation against another company!
With ISBN Canada, where I register my ISBN numbers, there are alternate identities (besides my own name) that I can list that relate to my book(s).
Since I built a website called StumpedRiddles.com and feature all my activity books there, I added "Stumped Riddles" to my ISBN Canada profile as an identifier attached to my name. I use Stumped Riddles as my Imprint name.
You can get creative with your Imprint identifier that goes inside your book.
If you're in the USA and using Bowker to get your ISBNs, I'm sorry I can't help you with whether you can list alternate identities for the purpose of Imprints associated with the ISBN.
8. Did You Know You Can Search for Any ISBN Online?
There's a website called ISBN Search that allows you to enter the ISBN for any book to help you find it.
Ok, that's enough for today; self-publishing is a constant learning curve!
Additional Self-Publishing Articles:
Most of you who know me know that I have a goal of publishing 100 activity books.
Although this goal is ingrained in my being, I had no idea how to achieve that milestone.
Since 2019, I've published 14 activity books and 1 poetry book for a total of 15 books. That figure includes the newest book "Easy Sudoku for Adults." I've been stuck, and it is absolutely part of the process.
"The How Breakthrough"
I'm not one to wallow in problems. Without a doubt, finding solutions is part of who I am. In the case of finding a way to publish 100 activity books, I've had to think and think and think!
There are numerous 'how-to' videos on self-publishing; I've watched many of them. The guidance is out there; however, finding what works for you and how to implement suggestions is hard.
Most importantly, many how-to's include an automation process that isn't personal.
Automating is essential, but not at the expense of your product's quality or personalization. Having said that, I've found an efficient way to automate WITH personalization.
So, in summary, work as hard as you can to automate and duplicate, but still, keep your books personal to you. In other words, don't just upload auto-generated activities or content, but do find a way to generate them so you can personalize them!
Never Compromise Quality
Additional Self-Publishing Articles:
|A Review of Newbie TikTok for Business Tips|
In my last post, I talked about how I was just starting out with my plunge into the world of TikTok.
Today's post will expand a bit further on some of the additional things I've learned.
Many who stay away from TikTok for Business do so because they don't want to put themselves on video.
Most of us small businesses can't afford to hire companies to create videos, so we believe TikTok is not a viable business tool.
I was like most everyone: I thought TikTok only worked for video creations. Having said that, uniquely interesting, useful, and even funny video creation is the best way to market for business on TikTok.
However, because I write Riddle Books featuring my own written riddles, I found myself potentially being an exception to that rule.
Using TikTok to feature my riddles is an excellent marketing tool.
I upload my created graphics for each riddle, then enhance their interest with special fun characters and music.
Do you have interesting images you could enhance and promote on TikTok?
You can enhance your photos with:
- Text to Speech
- Voice Over (if you want to use your voice)
- Special Elements (funny icons etc)
- Background Music
Did You Know There Are Places Online to Get Royalty Free Video?
I hadn't really thought about it before ... that I could access royalty-free video just like we access royalty-free photos.
The two places I've used so far for photos and videos are Pixabay.com and Pexels.com. Be sure to check the commercial license use for each image and video.
When you select a video for TikTok, use a vertical video.
Newbie Ways to Use TikTok for Your Small Business - Ask Yourself These Questions:
1. Do you have premade, attractive graphics that people would find interesting to look at?
If the answer is yes, consider TikTok. Enhance that photo with special elements and background music.
2. Do you have text that you've incorporated on your photo?
If the answer is yes or no, consider TikTok. With TikTok, you can add text to your photos, so there's no need to make photos with text if you prefer not to.
Here's one of my riddles on TikTok with a plain photo background, text entered from TikTok, with text-to-read activated, directly on TikTok:
3. Would adding text to a stock video be appealing for your product or brand?
If the answer is yes, consider TikTok. I'm currently experimenting with this by putting riddle text typed onto the background of stock videos. It's working artistically so far.
Here's an example of one of my riddles on TikTok using a stock video.
4. Are you able to make short videos from your cell phone?
If the answer is yes, consider TikTok.
These videos don't have to be fancy.
Just panning my backyard, I was able to put a short background video together.
I uploaded that short backyard video to TikTok, and commenced the creative journey. You can view that riddle here.
Here's an Example of One of My Riddle Graphics Used on TikTok:
I reluctantly took the plunge into the TikTok marketing world.
Out of pure stubbornness, I vowed to avoid that particular social media platform. However, I had a come-to-reality moment, encouraged by my son, that my riddle business would be served well by that platform.
In quite a short time, my son has nearly 27,000 followers and over 263,000 likes, all with approximately 40 personal video uploads. That's not easy to do and quite impressive!
His TikTok handle is @charles.mackenzie if you want to take a peek. Just an added note, in all fairness to us mere humans, my son has a knack for being in front of the camera. However, as I detail below, you don't have to be on camera to benefit from TikTok.
Since I'm a newbie, I can't give you any big secret tips, but I can provide those of you with a business, some of the things I've learned so far as it relates to my own riddle business:
|5 Free Self-Publishing Tools|
My entire self-publishing process was self-taught, so let me stress that I'm not a "guru."
I've learned the self-publishing process and shared various articles over the past several years. Today's article is a brief list of a few of my favorite tools for writing books.
First, let me stress I'm not an expert on every aspect of the tools I use. The best way for me to work is on a need-to-know basis.
If I tried to learn a program or tool from top to bottom, I'd never have time to write or publish.
I use these tools in the limited scope for the task needed to complete. When needing to learn more about the tool, I then educate myself further. I learn in compartments, that's what I like to call it.
1. Canva - A Free Online Web Publishing Tool
Canva.com is an online web publishing tool. Over the past two years, I've come across numerous articles and videos mentioning Canva. In 2021, after reviewing and comparing, I decided to give Canva a try. I use this program to create word search books. Of course, it doesn't make the puzzles; rather, I use it as a glorified word processor. Canva does umpteen additional things, and I hope to expand my knowledge of Canva as I continue along my self-publishing journey.
Note that there is an upgrade to a paid version for Canva; however, I'm still using the free version only.
There are numerous free Canva tutorials on YouTube; here's one that's quite extensive for beginners.
2. Finding Related Words - Free Online Service
Along with using the free online service, Thesaurus.com, I recently discovered another handy free site called relatedwords.org. The broad range of word suggestions provided by relatedwords.org is excellent, especially when creating activity books. Using both Thesaurus.com and Relatedwords.org provides even more word replacement choices.
3. Adobe Express - Free Online Service
I've been using Adobe Express to create book covers, banners, website graphics, and more for years. I'm quite familiar with it, and for that reason alone, I haven't taken the plunge to learn another program to create graphics.
Case in point, Canva.com (mentioned above) has an excellent graphic-creating aspect to it, and I've yet to take the plunge and try that website for graphic creations.
There is an upgrade for a paid Adobe Spark version; however, personally, I haven't found the need to upgrade.
If you'd like to understand some of the fundamental differences and similarities between Spark versus Canva, here's a short video from YouTube that sums up some of the key features.
4. LibreOffice - A Free Online Word Processing Download
For writing my riddle books, I use Libre Office Writer. I don't own the paid version of Microsoft Word, and I needed a word processing program to write my riddle books.
As mentioned above, I use Canva to write my word search books; however, having Libreoffice for my other books is handy, and I'm more familiar with it simply because I've been using it longer.
Be aware there is a learning process with Libreoffice, and I did have to have my mouth washed out with soap a few times while educating myself.
5. GIMP - A Free Open Source Editing Software Program
I use GIMP for one specific purpose; to convert my graphics to the minimum requirement of 300dpi that Amazon Publishing requires for photos in books and/or book covers.
After researching what DPI is and how to convert photos to the correct DPI for uploads to KDP Publishing and pulling all my hair out in the process, I found GIMP to work best for my needs.
Here's a quick tutorial directly from GIMP's tutorial section on how to change the DPI using this program.
Apparently, Canva will also convert images to 300dpi, but I haven't used that feature yet.
Additional Self-Publishing Articles:
I'm not a self-publishing guru, just someone who decided to jump in with both feet and give it a try.
In October of 2019, I self-published my first book on Amazon. The book features a collection of 50 years of my personal poetry.
After that, I went on a tear and self-published seven more books in approximately twelve months; two are sayings for cards, and the other six are personally written riddle books. I'm currently writing my seventh riddle book. When I look back, I still can't believe I accomplished all that in such a short time. I get tired thinking about it!
My self-publishing journey involved teaching myself every step along the way. It wasn't easy.
After writing a poetry book and two books about "What to Write in Cards," I decided that I needed a niche topic. Since I have this crazy ability to write riddles, I decided riddle books would be my niche. However, if you're a fiction author, you can write a series or individual books.
Of course, you can write on any topic and self-publish on multiple topics. That's perfectly fine. However, I wanted to select one area to build a website and social media platform to tie into that topic. For fiction writers, an author website is all you'd need, no matter the variety of topics you write about.
I chose #Stumped Riddles, which I use in some form or another on all social media sites. I found it best to tie everything together.
Check out the links:
Unless you already have a huge fan base or following, you'll need to advertise. I use KDP Advertising and Facebook Advertising at the moment.
Do you want to build traffic to your website or simply sell books? I send my advertising links to my website, and from there, customers can link over to the associated amazon page. I choose not to link directly to Amazon as my goal is to build authority and traffic to my own site.
I post individual riddles on my website and all my social media links. The riddle answers link back to my site. When people take a guess at the answer, I always respond to each person who posts. When the volume becomes too much, I plan to get a helping hand in that area.
I read multiple negative reviews on books like mine. Those comments give me ideas on what to avoid and add to my books to make them better.
Based on input from others, or sales volume, don't get stuck with a design that turns out to be ineffective. I redesigned my books at least three times before settling on the final layout and content structure. I'm currently revamping all of the riddle eBooks.
Pretty much all the gurus stress one particular point over and over ... 'Hire a professional to design your book cover." Of course, I didn't listen, lol. However, I did re-do my covers multiple times and do have a knack for creating graphics. If cover design is not your thing, consider paying a professional to do it.
There are many self-publishing gurus (actual gurus) who create useful instructive videos. I've probably watched 35 videos or more. You'll pick up little tidbits here and there from each one of them.
|Review of a Pinterest Tool That Predicts Future Trends|
Most of us don't choose what to write about based on what is popular. However, there are specific exceptions. For example, if you have a Home Decor website (as I do), you may want to feature trending products or ideas that are projected to be the current year's rage.
I have to admit, I rarely approach selecting a funky home decor item to write about based upon its popularity. However, I also don't just select items willy-nilly either.
When I'm featuring a product on Funkthishouse.com, it's because:
|His Gift Was Knowing - A Short Story by Barbara Tremblay Cipak|
|Why I Love Grammarly Premium|
|Self-Publishing Tips for Newbies|
Let me start by saying that I'm NOT a self-publishing guru. I'm just a work-from-home-self-taught woman who decided to jump in and tackle some of those dreams left dying on the table.
I've written quite a bit here on ReviewThisReviews about self-publishing books. You'll find a list of the links below.
To date, I've self-published eight books and am currently writing the ninth.
The topic of the books are Riddles, Poetry, and Sayings for Cards. Currently, I'm focussed on building a series of Riddle Books. There are five riddle books in the series and the sixth should be published in one to two months.
|#Stumped - Riddle Book - First Volume|
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