Book Creation

Understanding the Basic Sections of a Book

Does the foreword belong before the preface? When do the page numbers start? What’s the difference between a preface and an introduction? If you need answers to demystify the front matter of your book, read on.

Books are generally divided into three sections: front matter, principal text, and back matter. Front matter is the material at the front of a book that usually offers information about the book. The principal text is the meat of a book. Back matter is the final pages of a book, where endnotes, the appendix, the bibliography, the index, and related elements reside. Though the front matter may not be as sexy as the main text or as information packed as the back matter, it’s an opportunity for authors to set the tone for their readers’ experience.

How to Effectively Pitch Your Project

Any chance you have to get in front of agents or publishers and tell them about your book is a precious opportunity, no matter how brief the encounter. Don’t waste it. Make the moment memorable (for the right reasons) by crafting a series of brief, targeted talking points about your project.

Qualities of a Good Pitch:

  1. It’s brief: A good pitch starts with a single sentence, known as a logline or hook. Prepare one or two additional sentence-long talking points about your project based on the book’s synopsis.
  2. It gets to the guts of your book: By boiling your pitch down to a single sentence, you are forced to get to the heart of the story or message. The hook should be the book’s compelling central idea and will be used to sell your idea again and again.

How to Get Feedback on Your Manuscript

Writing a book can be a lonely experience, and you don’t want to completely isolate yourself during the writing process. It’s important to get feedback, especially while you’re developing an idea. Not only does this help motivate you, it also helps you catch issues and address concerns on the front end rather than trying to overhaul a manuscript after it’s already complete.

Book Printing: How to Avoid a Printing Disaster

Going to press is exciting. Lots of hard work is behind you, and the finished book is close to becoming a reality. But as you print your books, you should be aware of potential complications. Consider the printing of your book as a custom project. The jacket, covers, and text are unique–written, designed, and printed specifically for you as opposed to being interchangeable commodities to be pulled from a shelf.

That being said, it's difficult for a printer to produce the precise amount of books you request. When the printer orders materials for printing a book, he must allow for spoilage at each manufacturing stage. If production runs smoothly and spoilage is kept to a minimum, there will likely be higher yields of the final product. These extra books are referred to in the industry as "overs."

And here's where people tend to get confused: Your invoice will reflect the total amount of books shipped from the printer, meaning that if relatively few books have defects, you'll end up being charged for the total number of books shipped.

Talking the Talk: Publishing Terms and Jargon

"It’s all pounds, shillings, and pence to me, darling." —Absolutely Fabulous

Just like most industries, book publishing has its own peculiar jargon—a language that may be confusing to first-time authors. To minimize confusion and miscommunication during your book’s production, here's a list of some of the more common terms you might come across:

4 Ways to Select a Strong Book Cover

The cover of a book is arguably the strongest marketing tool at an author’s disposal. It is the element of a book that is most likely to get a reader to stop, look again, and pick up the book.

The cover is a chance for the author to convey the ideas found within the pages in one fell swoop. And I emphasize the word swoop, as readers that are walking past a bookstore shelf or scrolling through online search results are not spending time studying your cover – they are glancing at it. And a few seconds are all you get to grab their attention.

It is not enough for a cover to be beautiful – it must also be marketable. An author should think about several aspects when determining the best cover for their book – target audience, name recognition, branding – but the best way to start is by asking four important questions:

Spoken Draft Service

For many authors, one of the obstacles in writing a book is finding the time to put pen to paper (or nowadays, fingers to keyboard). Another obstacle is that although they can speak about their subject matter easily and professionally, writing can be considerably more difficult to manage. GBG’s Spoken Draft service is a hybrid of our Manuscript Development service, in which an editor collaboratively coaches the author through the writing process, and Ghostwriting, in which a professional writer works directly with the author, usually through interviews, to create the manuscript in the author’s voice.

This service is perfect for the author who doesn’t need a full-fledged ghostwriter, but does not have the time or skills to write, and needs more guidance from an editor. The Spoken Draft process is using done in four phases.

1. Defining promise, theme, audience, and market differentiation

To ensure that the final manuscript is as clear in its messaging as possible and has the highest potential in the retail market, we will begin by brainstorming with the author to clarify the core promise and themes to keep the book focused. We will work to define the audience and identify those aspects of the author’s content that can best be leveraged to build a strong foundation for market differentiation. We will also discuss the author’s platform and outreach efforts to ensure that the final book will be aligned with promotional efforts and broader goals.

2. Outlining

Once the focus, audience, and market have been defined, the editor will interview the author to refine the organization of ideas and content to ensure that the core message is clearly communicated. The goal is to create a clear arc for the book that helps the reader digest the content and build toward an identifiable end goal. The end result will be a detailed outline the editor and author can follow during the content creation phase. This outline will be very detailed, including headings, speaking prompts, and word count total goals for the author to use later to create the content.

3. Recording early content

Once the outline has been fully developed, the editor will interview the author for some early sample content. We will transcribe it and provide feedback on clarity, style, tone, flow, and integration of themes and ideas.

4. Recording a first draft

The editor and author will set up an interview schedule to record the rest of the book in sections. Prior to each interview, the author will prepare the upcoming research, case studies, and other content that will be discussed during the recording session. After transcribing, the editor will provide a notated, completed first draft that the author and subsequent editors will use as a base for the final retail-ready manuscript.

Once this process is complete, we expect that we will have a complete draft to work with. We will analyze this draft (perform a second diagnosis) to determine what further editorial work (at additional cost) would be required to get to a final, high-quality book that will be ready for market. This editorial work could include the following:

  • Developmental edit: An editor would collaborate with the author to restructure or reorganize content to improve the logical argument and arc of the book, would possibly add short passages of new content or rewrite current content for clarity and flow, and would prompt the author to address content issues that require subject matter expertise. This is focused on ensuring that the content is valid, complete, and well organized and that the book is marketable and meets the reader’s needs.
  • Copyedit: During this editorial stage, the editor addresses issues of style, clarity, and usage; improves sentence structure where necessary; and increases the overall readability of the text.
  • Proofread: During proofreading, we work to ensure proper technical style and correct grammar and punctuation. We also review the composed pages for any potential layout issues and work to ensure that the final product is high quality and ready for retail shelves.