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.

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I Don’t Know Anything About Publishing
The Inside Does Matter
Does Your Passion Need a New Spark?

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Photos courtesy of Kaboompics.com and Cindy Lever.

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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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year

May your year be filled with peace,
prosperity and love. May God’s
blessings shower upon you and bestow
upon each of you a bright, healthy and peaceful new year.

Flash Sale!

I am offering a 5-day Flash sale on my book Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books!

Between today and January 6, 2020, you can order the print book for just $20.99 with free shipping. That is a $4.00 savings. Just click on the link below.

Sales Techniques to Help You Sell More Books

Check out my guest article on The Book Designer website today and learn four sales techniques that can help you sell more books.

You can read the article at:

https://www.thebookdesigner.com/2020/01/sales-techniques-to-help-you-sell-more-books/

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Resolutions Every Author Can Use
Book Publishing Trends You Need to Know for 2020

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Your Christian Book Is Crucial

The United States is steadily becoming less Christian and less religiously observant, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center.

Only 65% of American adults describe themselves as Christian today. This represents a 12-point decrease in the past decade. In 2009, 77% of American adults identified as Christian.

65% of Americans are Chrisitan

In this same period, those who describe themselves as having no religion, referred to as “nones” in the United States have grown. Currently about 17% of the American adult population identifies as “nothing in particular” when asked about their religion. This is up five points from 12% in 2009.

The Pew Research Center data shows a wide gap between older Americans and younger generations. More than eight out of ten members (84%) of the Silent Generation (born between 1928 and 1945) describe themselves as Christians, as do three-quarters (76%) of Baby Boomers. In contrast, only half of Millennials (49%) describe themselves as Christians, while four out of ten are religious “nones”.

The need for Christian witness in the United States in great. Christian books are needed today as much—if not more—then they ever have been.

Christian books are lights—shining beacons that accomplish two important purposes:

1. Christian books point people to God.

Studies show that Millennials read. In fact, adults aged 18 to 35 purchase and read more books each year than those in other age groups. Your Christian books can be a tool in proclaiming the Gospel and drawing people to God.

2. Christian books strengthen believers.

Christian books reveal truth about God’s Word to believers. Your Christian book serves to encourage and strengthen Christ followers so that they can shine the light of Jesus to the dark world around them.

Christian author, don’t give up. Your Christian book is needed in America today. Our country (and the whole world) needs to know God and his son Jesus.

My prayer is that your Christian books would touch people’s lives. I pray the Caleb Prayer for our country. I invite you to pray it with me.

O High King of heaven,
Have mercy on our land.
Revive your church;
Send the Holy Spirit
For the sake of the children.
May your kingdom come to our nation.
In Jesus’ might name.
Amen.

P.S. If you live in or around the Capital of our country, I invite you to join me at the Capital Christian Writers Fellowship Conference on January 25, 2020. I will be presenting a keynote talk on “What Makes a Book Christian?”

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Publishing Myths Busted!

Over the years, I have heard writers make some fairly outrageous claims like:

  • “My book is going to rock the Christian world.”
  • “Everybody needs to read my book.”
  • “I just write; I don’t read.”

These writers have bought into ideas that are not true. Sadly, there are numerous publishing and marketing myths that newer writers and authors often believe.

Publishing Myths Busted

In his new book, 10 Publishing Myths, W. Terry Whalin sets out to debunk 10 popular publishing myths while educating writers on the reality of book publishing and marketing.

This small book is packed with useful advice and resources for aspiring and new authors. For each myth, Terry provides an MBA—not a Masters of Business Administration—but a Myth Busting Activity for the reader to do.

Terry Whalin knows the publishing industry. As both an editor and a writer, Terry has written over 60 books and numerous articles. He has worked as a magazine editor and is currently an acquisitions editor. His advice is sound.

In debunking the “My Book Will Be a New York Times Bestseller” myth, Terry states:

With over 4500 new books entering the marketplace every day, it is a challenge for any author to find readers—and to find readers who will write a few sentences of honest review and post it on Amazon and Goodreads and other sites.”

I agree with Terry. The competition for readers’ time and money is stiff. Authors have to devote time and energy to promoting and marketing their books to reap sales. I have often said that book reviews are your second most important marketing tool—your book’s cover is your number one marketing tool.

In the “My Editor Will Fix All My Mistakes” myth chapter, Terry writes:

One of the ways we can grow as a writer in the knowledge of our craft is to read how-to books. Even though I have an undergraduate degree in journalism and have shelves of how-to write books, I continue to read books on the craft of writing. For years, I’ve read at least one of these types of books each month. New how-to books continue to be created and published—and I learn something from each of them.

Every writer and author can benefit from this piece of wisdom. There is always room for improvement, and there is always more to learn. As an author, you should follow Terry’s advice and encourage others to do so also. One way you can put this into practice is to gift Terry’s book or another book on writing or marketing to one or more writers in your life this Christmas.

Authors should be readers. Read books in your books’ genres and read books to improve your writing and marketing skills. I suggest that you start with this book and then read all the additional resources and books that Terry recommends in the book.

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What Are You Learning?
Book Reviews Are Social Proof

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Photo courtesy of Patrick Fore.