It used to be that when an artist asked me “what’s the best way to promote my opening?” We would have a discussion of press releases, postcards, email blasts, and phone calls. My answer was always the same, “What do you do? All of it.”. If you want to get the word out, it is incumbent upon you to use all the avenues available. If you don’t, and you don’t get the results you want, you don’t have to look any further for the cause.

Now there is the same issue with on-line marketing. You can post an announcement on your website, send out personal emails, make an event on FaceBook, and create a Constant Contact (or equivalent) newsletter. What do you do? All of it. Now we put the event on our website first, write a e-newsletter announcement second. Post the e-newsletter to our blog. Put an event announcement with a blog link in Face Book. And finally, start sending out personal emails to our close constituents and friends.

This is even before we start press releases, PSA’s, Postcards, and phone calls. Marketing is a lot of work, but the alternative, as far as I can see, is to get a job. If getting your work out to the public in a remunerative manner is important to you. You have to be prepared to do the work.



My main goal with a self-publishing project is that the book not look self-published when it is sitting on a shelf, or someone is holding it in their hand and turning the pages.

I am no great designer, but I have some facility with InDesign and I usually can see when something looks bad. So, my first step is to go to a bookstore and look at books of the approximate size and style I am producing. Once I have one in I like, I buy a copy and use it as my template.

I have already decided I like the way this book looks, so, I measure the margins. I count the lines per page. I note the way the headers and footers are populated with author names, book title, and page number. I estimate the font size. (it will surely be between 8 pt and 12 pt) I look through the front matter. (everything before the actual book) I look at the back matter.

Before I go to InDesign, I prepare the content in Word. It is an easier program to work with for things like spell check, inserting page breaks, and editing. I don’t “place” my content in an InDesign document until I have a pretty clean copy of the text. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but if you do major edits in InDesign, you may find it throws your formatting off, so, I like to get most of the work done in Word first.

Now, I create an empty InDesign file of the appropriate size (6″ x 9″ in my case), give it the correct size margins (inside 1.1″, top 1.25″, bottom 1.75″, outside 1″ in my case).

I then go to the master pages and insert my headers and footers, just like in my template book.

Now, I go to Page 7 of my InDesign Document, leaving six blank pages for “front matter”. I “place” my word document at the top of page seven, holding down shift, so that InDesign automatically creates enough pages and text boxes to fit your manuscript and populates the book with the text.

Now, if I have created my Styles in Word, (see my post Preparing a Word Document for Publication) my Chapter Headings are in one style, my body text is in another style, if I have any “special styles” for poetry, quotes, captions, etc. those pieces will automatically be imported in the correct style.

Now before you do anything else, go through the whole manuscript and see that everything is basically how you expect it. Check that everything is there, start to finish, and that all the styles are correct.

I will describe finishing touches in a later post.