Do You Have the Proper Margins?

Have you ever read a book or document that ran the text right up to the edges of the page?

Do you have the proper margins?

Did you notice that looking at such a book or document made you tense and possibly left you feeling overwhelmed?

Margins are important—both in books and in life.

1. Proper margins in your book allow readers to absorb the information.

Margins on a page or screen are the white space that surrounds the printed content. Each page or screen has top, bottom, and side margins. These white spaces are meaningful and serve several purposes.

  • Enhance Visual Appeal

White spaces on the edges of text on a page create balance. They give our eyes a place to rest.

  • Improve Readability

Margins provide a contrast to the printed words on a page. Words within a frame help the eyes focus better.

  • Provide a Place for Notes

Some people like to annotate their books. Margins in a book or document allow readers to record their thoughts as they read to enhance their retention of the material or take notes for later reference.

  • Create a Buffer Zone for Manufacturing

Whether you are printing a book on a large printing machine or printing a document on a home printer, margins leave room for error. Adequate margins make sure that words do not get cut off in the printing process. Thus, white space ensures that you have a readable product.

When designing a book, don’t skimp on the size of the margins. Yes, you can cram more words on a page and have a shorter book if you have small margins. Sadly, if you choose this route, your book will not be as attractive or readable, resulting in fewer sales.

God speaks in the stillness and quiet

2. Proper margins in your life give space for Jesus to show up.

Books need margin, but so do lives. If you run your life up to the edges, you will not be as effective or happy as when you allow margins.

If you want God to show up more in your life. If you want to feel his presence, see him at work, or feel that he is using you, then you must allow the time and space for this to happen. Time and space where you are not busy, but can rest, relax, and sit quietly.

When Elijah went to Mount Horeb to meet with God (I Kings 19), he did not find God in the mighty wind, the earthquake, or the fire. Instead, God showed up and spoke with Elijah in a soft whisper.

We need the margins to be able to hear God’s whisper both in books and in our lives.

Related Posts:
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The Inside Does Matter
Does Your Passion Need a New Spark?

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Photos courtesy of Kaboompics.com and Cindy Lever.

Does Your Book Need an Update?

This summer, two houses on the block where I live were put up for sale. Both houses were built about the same time. They are comparable in size. The asking price for each house was similar.

In selling, presentation makes all the difference!

One house sold in three days! The other house is still on the market six months later.

Why did one house sell so fast while the other still languishes on the market?

A quick look at their online listings gave me the answer. The house that sold in three days sported an updated look. The inside was pristine! The kitchen sported a modern look. The house had wood floors throughout. In addition, it was clearly staged with just the right kind and number of furnishings.

The house that is still languishing on the market sits empty. There is no furniture in the house. The inside sports a mix of old and new. The kitchen has new counter tops, but the cabinets are dated. The house has new carpet, but only some of the floors are hardwood.

In selling, presentation makes all the difference. The same is true for books.

Are you struggling to sell your book(s)? Are you taking out Amazon or social media ads, but not having much success with sales? Maybe it is time to refresh and update your presentation.

Refresh Your Presentation

Ask yourself these questions:

Book Cover

  • Does your book’s cover need to be refreshed?
  • Is your book cover accurately reflecting the genre of your book?
  • Does your book’s cover sport a similar look to other books on your subject matter or fiction genre?
  • It your book title and subtitle easy to read in a thumbnail sketch?
  • Does your book cover’s color send the right message?

Book Description

  • Does your book description page on Amazon need updating?
  • Are you using the best keywords?
  • Do you need to try new Amazon categories for your book?
  • Have you optimized your Amazon Book Page to utilize all the options available for giving the best information to hook people into buying your book?
  • Does your book description answer the “What’s in it for Me?” question?
  • Are you using bullet points in your book’s description for easy scanning?

Book Reviews

  • Do you need more reviews of your book on Amazon for better social proof to convince readers that your book is worth their time and money?
  • Is your book’s overall review rating four stars or better?

Publisher RocketSince about 50% of PRINT books and 80% of EBOOKS are sold via Amazon, keeping your Amazon listing updated is essential for selling your book.

Members of Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) now receive a 30% discount on Publisher Rocket. This software helps authors and publishers pick the keywords that readers frequently use and the best book categories.

Related Posts:
The Importance of a Cover
Is Your Book Cover too Cluttered?
Book Reviews Are Social Proof

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Are You Familiar with TikTok?

Do you write books for Middle Graders or Young Adults?

 

If you answered yes to this question, then its time to familiarize yourself with TikTok.

 

TikTok is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms: The app’s monthly installs

surpassed those of Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat last year. Experts predict that TikTok’s popularity will continue to grow.

 

TikTok allows users to create and share micro-videos—up to 15 seconds long—and enhance those videos with songs as sound effects. Video content is extremely popular with Generation Z—the generation of digital natives.

 

Check out this infographic to familiarize yourself with this important platform for reaching your target audience.

 

 TikTok Infographic

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Two Truths You Should Know about Social Media
Are You Using the Right Social Media Channel?
How to Improve Your Social Media Success

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Are You Leaning into Your Authority?

One of the best ways to be seen as an authority in a subject is by writing an excellent book on the topic. So, once you publish a book on a given topic, people perceive you as an expert.

Leaning into Authority

In fact, research from The Visible Expert by Hinge Marketing shows that books deliver the highest overall impact for building visibility and authority. This research shows that books have a greater impact on perceived authority on a given topic than:

  • keynote addresses
  • company websites
  • blogs and articles

As an author, you can parlay your authority on your topic to gain more visibility for your book and to help people improve their lives. The perceived authority you possess allows you to speak on your book’s subject to numerous audiences via:

  • Podcasts
  • Radio
  • Television
  • Journalists
  • Articles
  • Speaking engagements

The media will interview you because you are an author. Magazines and websites will print your articles because you are an author. Event coordinators will book you to speak because you are an author.

The question to ask yourself is: Am I leaning into this authority? In other words, are you taking advantage of the opportunities that being an author brings?

man speaking

You wrote a book because you had something to say on your book’s topic. Your desire was that what you had to share would impact and change people. Now that your book is published, you can use your author authority to continue to influence people.

Lean into your authority and seek opportunities to share. Where can you find these opportunities? Here are a few ideas:

  1. Use the Christian Writers Market Guide to find magazines accepting articles on your topic.
  2. Find resources for guest blog posts in my book, Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books.
  3. Become a Member of Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) and use our big list of podcast and radio shows interviewing authors to secure media exposure.
  4. Attend a Christian Writers Conference and gather ideas and resources from the workshops and attendees.
  5. Step out of your comfort zone and contact local organizations about speaking—churches, senior centers, schools, libraries, local clubs (e.g. Lions Club and Rotary), etc.

There are so many possibilities for leaning into your authority for more exposure and influence. Make a list, then get to work.

Related Posts:
You Are More than an Author
Are You Sharing Your Story?
Social Proof Can Help You Sell More Books

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My Checklist Fiasco

I recently purchased a used car. The old vehicle my teenagers have been driving is on its last leg, so another one needed to be found.

It has been years since I purchased a vehicle from a private seller rather than a dealership, so I tried to do due diligence to make sure we had all the paperwork required by the state I live in. I looked on the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website and found a list of paperwork needed when purchasing a car from a private seller. I felt prepared. The purchase of the vehicle was painlessly completed including a trip to the bank to have the car title transfer notarized.

My next step, after purchasing the vehicle, was to make a trip to the Division of Motor Vehicles to have the title transferred and to register the vehicle. Just to make sure I had everything I needed for this trip, I checked the DMV website again. This time, I found a list of the paperwork needed to brought to the DMV to transfer the title of the vehicle.

Lo and behold, this list had two forms on it that the first list I used did not. It turns out I needed two more pieces of paper. One needed the signature of the seller, and the other one needed to be notarized. This meant that I had to get back in touch with the seller and make another trip to the bank. The whole process was quite frustrating.

The DMV is not the only place where people run into issues with finding out that they do not have all the information they need upfront. It often happens in the publishing world also.

Vehicle

Last year, I talked with an author who told me that, when he was publishing his book, he had to complete four revisions before the book was right. This was four revisions after he had already uploaded the book to IngramSpark for printing and distribution.

At the time, this gentleman was not a Member of Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA), so he did not have the Member benefit of free uploads and revisions with IngramSpark. He ended up paying over twice the amount an annual membership with CIPA costs just to print and distribute his book.

This author reported that he kept finding out about things he had missed putting in his book that are standard for books (as well as some mistakes). While you might be tempted to judge this gentleman for not doing his due diligence prior to uploading his book, I feel sympathy for him.

There are many elements that go into making sure a book is industry-standard. New authors and publishers can easily miss one or more of these elements because finding a complete list in one place is not easy—just like with my DMV experience.

Because we understand the process for new authors and publishers, Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) has developed checklists to help. Two checklists the Association offers to ensure you have all the elements you need prior to uploading a book for print and distribution are:Checklist

  • Checklist for Creating a Professional-Looking Book
  • Metadata Checklist

Members of Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) can access these checklists as part of their Membership. If you are considering publishing a new book this year, I encourage you to join Christian Indie Publishing Association so you can be better prepared.

Related Posts:
Are You Paying Attention to Details?
Does Your Book Have a Firm Foundation?
You Have to Spend Money to…

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