Feb 26

The Front Matter – Before the Story Text Begins

Your book's front matterI get lots of questions from my clients as to what comes after the story is written.

While a lot of the questions are about illustrations, what’s been coming up more and more is about the pages that come before the story text begins. The pages before the story are called the front matter.

Just this week, someone asked me about a Dedication Page.

So, here is a list (in order of appearance) of the pages that will or may come before the first page of your story. Some examples are included.

1. Half title page – this is a page at the very beginning of the book that has ONLY the title of the book. It’s usually only used if pages are needed to thicken the book.

2. Frontispiece – this is a page that is an informative or decorative illustration that faces the book’s title page. It appears on the opposite page of the title page. This page is optional.

3. Title page – this is the page that lists the title, subtitle, author, and publisher. I may include the publisher’s location, year of publication, a description of the book, and either the cover illustration or other illustration.

4. Copyright page – this is the page that lists the copyright notice and the “All rights reserved” warning. It should also include the publisher’s name and address; printing details; the edition of the book; and the ISBN(s).

It may also include ordering information, your website URL, disclaimers, and the CIP Data Block from the Library of Congress.

In regard to the CIP Data Block, Kindlepreneur.com explains:

The Library of Congress issues a CIP data block to you. It is not something you can create for yourself. However, if you’re a self-publisher, you are not even eligible to have a CIP data issued to you by the Library of Congress.

You can, however, pay to have a P-CIP (Publisher’s Catalog-in-Publication) data block generated for you, if you truly desire. Having P-CIP data can make your book look more professional. It costs anywhere from $60-$100, and can be done by Quality Books, Inc. or CIPblock.com. (1)

5. Dedication – this is a page that explains the author’s source of inspiration and/or who she is dedication the book to. It can be a single name or it can be a paragraph or two. This page is optional.

6. Epigraph – this is a page that includes a quotation, sentence, or poem. It can face the Table of Contents or the first page of the text.

I’m currently working on a 10 book series that will have an epigraph in each book.

Epigraphs can also be used at the beginning of chapters, on the same page the chapter begins or on a separate page opposite the beginning of each chapter.

According to LiteraryDevices.com:

An epigraph can serve different purposes such as it can be used as a summary, introduction, an example, or an association with some famous literary works, so as to draw comparison or to generate a specific context to be presented in the piece. (2)

This page is optional.

7. Contents Page, also known as the Table of Contents – this page lists each section and/or chapters within the book. It helps the reader navigate the book in longer works, like middle grade and young adult stories.

You would not use a Contents Page in a picture book.

8. Foreword – this page has a short piece written by someone other than the author. Its purpose is to introduce the author and the book. It most often includes the writer’s name and signature.

Usually, the writer of the foreword is noteworthy.

This page is optional.

9. Preface – this page is written by the author and usually tells about how and why the book came to be and the process. It may also include what the book is about and why you think it’s important. This page is optional.

10. Acknowledgments – this page lists the people or entities the author is grateful to for help in the creation of the book. This page is optional.

11. Introduction – this page discusses the purpose and goals of the book. This page is optional.

12. Prologue – this page sets the scene for the fiction story. It can include backstory and should be told in the protagonist’s voice. This page is optional.

13. Second half title – this page helps set off or end an extensive front matter. As the name implies, it’s identical to the first half title page and is added before the beginning of the story text. It is used when needed.

Other pages in the front matter that you may find in some books are: List of Figures and List of Tables. But, for the majority of authors self-publishing children’s books they aren’t needed.

I just want to note here that most of the front matter isn’t necessary until after the story is written. And, if you have a picture book, it won’t be needed until after the illustrations are done.

You’ll need it when you’re ready to upload your book to sites like CreateSpace or when you’re ready to hand it over to them to upload it for publication for you.

That’s about it for the front matter of your book. The story itself is considered the ‘body of the book.’ When I get the time, I’ll write about the ‘back matter’ of your book.

Hope this is helpful in your self-publishing journey.

Sources:

(1) https://kindlepreneur.com/book-copyright-page-examples-ebook/
(2) https://literarydevices.net/epigraph/

Additional Sources:
https://wikipedia.com
https://www.thebookdesigner.com/2012/02/self-publishing-basics-how-to-organize-your-books-front-matter/
https://www.scribendi.com/advice/front_matter.en.html

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

10 Tips to Hiring a Children’s Ghostwriter
5 Top Fiction Writing No-Nos
Writing a Book – To Traditionally Publish or To Self-Publish

Need Help With Your StoryLet me take a look at it. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and editor. I can turn you story into a publishable and saleable book.

Shoot me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com (please put Children’s Writing Help in the Subject line). Or, you can give me a call at 834—347—6700

Nov 20

Book Marketing – The Foundation

Book marketing starts with a quality productEvery author has thought it, said it, and heard it: promotion is the roll-up-your-sleeves and dig-in part of writing. It’s the much more difficult and time consuming aspect of writing that every author needs to become involved with . . . if she wants to sell her books.

To actually sell a book, you need to have a quality product. This is the bare-bottom, first rung of book promotion . . . the foundation.

The Foundation – Create a Quality Product

The very first step in book promotion is to create a quality product. Hopefully, you noticed I said create a quality product, not just a good story. What this means is that all aspects of your book need to be top notch.

A. The Story

To start at the very beginning, the first factor to be dealt with is to be sure your story has all the essential elements. According to Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, there are five major elements of a story: characters, setting, plot, point of view, and theme.

All the elements of a story should complement each other, should move each other forward, draw the reader in, and end with a satisfying conclusion. They should work together to create a story that will be remembered.

Suppose your story is action packed and plot driven, but it lacks believable and sympathetic characters – it will fall short. The same holds true if you have a believable and sympathetic character, but the story lacks movement. Again, it will be lacking.

As with all things in life balance is necessary, the same holds true when writing a story.

Here are four articles that will help you in this area:

Being a Writer – Learn the Craft of Writing
10 Rules for Writing Children’s Stories    
Writing for Children – Character Believability and Conflict
How to Write a Story

B. Join a Critique Group

Yes, this is part of creating a quality story.

Even experienced authors depend on the unique perspective and extra eyes that each critique member provides. They will help find: grammatical errors, holes in your story, unclear sentences and paragraphs, overuse of particular words, and weak verbs, among other elements.

They will also provide guidance and suggestions.

C. Editing

Yes, again, this is a necessary step to take to ensure your manuscript is in the best shape possible before it becomes a book.

Look for an experienced and qualified editor to help tweak your manuscript. But, before you send it off to be edited, self-edit it first.

There are a number of articles out there in cyberspace on self-editing. Take the time and read a few, then go over your manuscript.

D. Cover and Design

This step is more relevant to those who decide to self-publish or use a Print-on-Demand (POD).

The cover (including the back cover) is the first impression a reader will usually have of your book, next is the interior design. These aspects are just as important as the story itself.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the expression that you only get one shot at making a good first impression. Well, you can relate that to your book cover.

Don’t skimp on time, effort, or money when coming up with your book’s cover and design.

Tip: If you are writing a children’s book, do not do your own illustrations unless you’re a professional illustrator.

Let's talk about your children's writing project
Let me take a look at it. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and editor. I can turn you story into a publishable and saleable book.

Shoot me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com (please put Children’s Writing Help in the Subject line). Or, you can give me a call at 834—347—6700

Sep 11

Writing with Focus

Focus in your story writingYou have a wonderful idea for a story. Maybe it’s a mystery novel, a children’s middle grade story, or a picture book. Maybe it’s a young adult. You know what you want to say, or convey, and you start typing away. This is the beginning of every story.

But, we should backtrack a moment and go back to the idea. The idea: your protagonist has a problem or conflict. Delving a little deeper, you can see how each chapter or section will be worked out.

You are sure you can bring your idea to full fruition—without the use of an outline. Okay, that’s fine. Many writers use the by-the-seat-of-your-pants (pantser) writing method. So, off your mind and fingers fly . . . creating something from nothing . . . well, not exactly from nothing, from an idea.

This is the beginning.

You type a draft of your story. How long this process will take depends on how long your manuscript will be—whether a novel, short story, or children’s story. Take note though . . . even if your story is as short as a children’s picture book, you still need focus in your writing.

Writing Focus

Focus is the path from point A to point B. It’s the path from beginning to end that keeps the story together and wraps it neatly up.

An example might be an ice skater whose goal is to become good enough to get into the Olympics. His focus will be to train vigorously to accomplish his goal.

Another example might be that of a school bus on its route to pick up children and bring them to school. The shop is where the bus begins, point A; it will end up at the school, point B. But, between point A and point B, the bus must deviate from the direct path to pick up each child.

The same holds true for your story. There is a path the story needs to follow to accomplish its goal. If you deviate too much from this path your story becomes diluted or weak. This is not to say you cannot have subplots, it means everything needs to be tied together moving forward on the same path toward the same end.

Using an outline can often help with maintaining focus, even with a short story. It’s kind of a writing GPS that guides you from point A to point B. It allows you to stray here and there with the comfort of knowing that you need to be at certain points throughout the manuscript. It’s a reminder to keep you focused.

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

Writing to Get Published – 5 Power Tips
The Author Website – Keep It Simple and to the Point
Writing a Book – To Traditionally Publish or To Self-Publish

Aug 28

Submitting Queries – Be Specific and Professional

Be specific and professional when submitting queriesAll writers face the dreaded query. Did I put enough information? Did I put too much? Did I have a great hook? Am I submitting to the right publisher or agent?

These are just a few questions that run through a writer’s mind when mailing or clicking the send button for the query. So, how do you answer these questions and the many others that go along with the job of crafting a query?

Well, the first simple response to this question is to READ the publisher’s or agent’s guidelines.
Okay, that’s not accurate-you need to STUDY and FOLLOW those guidelines precisely.

Items to watch for when reading those guidelines:

1. What genre does that particular publishing house, agent, or magazine publish?

2. Does the publisher/agent accept simultaneous submissions?

3. Is there a specific word count involved if querying for articles?

4. Does the publishing house accept unagented queries?

5. Does the magazine only accept specific themes, if so, is your article on target?

This list is not complete, there are obviously more items to watch out for. So, we go back to the main rule for querying: FOLLOW the GUIDELINES!

But, following the guidelines is just part of the querying process; you also need to know some inclusion essentials.

Six rules to use that will help you create a winning query:

1. Be professional. Writing is a business just like any other – it’s important to treat it as such.

2. Be sure to include your contact information: address, telephone number, email address and website.

3. If you were referred by someone, include it in the query. Every little bit helps, but be sure it’s a referral from someone the editor actually knows.

4. Write tight – be specific and jump right in. You want to provide enough information to motivate the editor to want more, but you need to keep it to one page.

5. The first paragraph is explaining that you’ve visited the company’s website and found they are accepting your genre. Or, you might simple state that you are submitting your manuscript for her review.

In this paragraph you can include the genre and the word count. And, it’d be a good idea to mention a published book that it might be similar to.

EXAMPLE:

Dear [Editor’s Name],

I’d like to introduce my 15,000 word fantasy chapter book, WALKING THROUGH WALLS, for your consideration. It is in the flavor of A SINGE SHARD by Linda Sue Park.

6. The second paragraph is the pitch. Within a couple of sentences you need to hook the editor or agent. Give a brief description of the story – just the essentials.

EXAMPLE of a first sentence for this paragraph:

In 16th century China, Wang works in the rice fields with his father, but this is not the life he wants.

In just one sentence, the time period is established along with the setting and conflict.

7. The third paragraph is about you. Again, keep it brief and include your credentials. Limit personal information unless it adds to your credentials as a writer qualified to write for this publisher or agent.

This is also the place you’ll briefly mention your marketing platform.

I had a client, who at the time she was querying agents, had around 45,000 Facebook followers and around 15,000 Instagram followers. She also had a website. These are things that are definitely worth mentioning!

Publishers and agents appreciate when authors already have an author platform up and running. In fact, if a contract is between ‘platformless’ you and another author who is equally qualified, but does have a platform in place, guess who’ll get that contract.

8. The fourth paragraph is your conclusion. Thank the editor/agent for his time and mention if you are enclosing a SASE (self-addressed and stamped envelope) and if the query is a simultaneous submission.

A good way to practice for queries and pitches is to write a one sentence ‘out of the ball park’ description of your manuscript. This will help you to think and write tight and choose the perfect words to hook the reader and convey the essence of your story.

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

Self-Publishing: 3 Tips to Help You Avoid the ‘I Want It Now Syndrome’
Writing Rhyme in Children’s Stories
Is Your Manuscript Ready for Submission?

Need Help With Your Story

Let me take a look at it. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and editor. I can turn you story into a publishable and saleable book.

Shoot me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com (please put Children’s Writing Help in the Subject line). Or, you can give me a call at 834—347—6700

A version of this article was originally published by Karen Cioffi at:
http://EzineArticles.com/?id=3836899

Aug 21

Writing a Book – 6 Tips to Hiring a Freelance Editor

Six tips to hiring a freelance editor for your manuscriptWill hiring a freelance editor ensure you pitch the perfect game? In writing terms, will it ensure you get published? Do you need an editor?

There are a number of pros and cons related to whether you should hire a freelance editor. Some writers benefit greatly from the experience while others have a difficult time and may even get insulted.

Six Points to Examine Before Hiring a Freelance Editor

1. Can you handle it?

One of the most important aspects of hiring someone to critique or edit your work is to be open to criticism. If you do not have the personality to handle constructive criticism, suggestions, and/or edits, then you shouldn’t hire a freelance editor.

2. Learn the craft.

Before you contemplate hiring a freelance editor, get your manuscript in the best shape possible by learning the writing craft.

What this means is you should know your craft or be engaged in learning it. You should obviously belong to a critique group that focuses on the genre you write. This group should have new and experienced/published authors in it. This will help you to hone your craft through the critiques you receive and the critiques you give.

There are also a number of fantastic free online writers’ conferences that will help you hone your craft. There are usually workshops offered covering just about every writing genre, plus freelance writing and marketing. AND, at some of them, you will have the opportunity to pitch to publishers. Between the networking and learning, it’s not something you should lightly pass on.

Next up on the road to learning your craft is to join a couple of writing groups – again be sure they have new and experienced writers. You can even look into a writing coach or instructor.

3. Self-edit, self-edit, self-edit.

Before you pass your manuscript off, be sure you’ve gone over it meticulously. Make sure you’ve gone over all the tips and tricks to have your manuscript in ‘good’ showing form.

Editors frown upon authors who send sloppy, error-filled manuscripts.

4. There are NO guarantees.

Hiring a freelance editor to go over your manuscript will not guarantee it will get published, even the best in the field can’t promise this. What they will do is help you to get it in the best shape possible. But, whether or not you take their advice is another story. And, again, even if you do, there are no guarantees.

This holds true everywhere in the writing world. After your manuscript is polished, you may send it to forty publishers and agents, and get forty rejections. Then, you send it to one more and it happens, this publisher was looking for just what you’re offering. They were looking for your story. Time and chance, my friends . . . and more importantly, perseverance.

But, it’s a sure bet if you’re manuscript isn’t polished you won’t ever get that far.

5. Ask around.

If you did your best to get your manuscript into what you think is publishable shape and you
want an editor to give it a final once over, be sure to ask for recommendations from other writers.

6. It ain’t over till it’s over.
Although you may spend money to get your manuscript edited before submitting it to publishers or agents, once it’s given a contract, it’ll be back to editing again – this time with the agency or publishing house.

Keep this in mind, so when it happens you’re not taken aback. It’s just the way it works.

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

Writing a Book – To Traditionally Publish or To Self-Publish
The Writing Elements Mix – Is There a Right Balance?
How Do You Build a Successful Writing Career? (3 Tips)

Need Help With Your Story

Let me take a look at it. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and editor. I can turn your story into a publishable and saleable book – into a book you’ll be proud of.

Shoot me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com (please put Children’s Writing Help in the Subject line). Or, you can give me a call at 834—347—6700

Nov 01

Children’s Ghostwriter Fees – Does Price Equal Quality?

Fees for ghostwriting a children's bookAs a ghostwriter for children’s books, I get a number of queries each month. And, interestingly, I never know if the potential client will think my prices are too high, too low, or just right.

It seems that around $15000 is the norm to ghostwrite a middle-grade book of 35,000 words. To me though, that seems like a lot of money. There are people out there who long to ‘write’ a book, but don’t know how or don’t have the time – that’s where a ghostwriter comes in.

According to Writer’s Market 2017, the lower-end pricing to ghostwrite with NO credit is $0.50 per word. The higher-end is $3.00 per word.

But, how many people can afford $15000 or more to fulfill a dream?

Pricing is too low.

Because of this, I try to keep my fees affordable, within the reach of more people.

The same goes for writing picture books.

I’ve actually had potential clients call and question why my fee for ghosting a children’s picture book was low. And, I know I’ve lost a few projects because of this – I could tell they equated price with quality.

The same has happened with middle-grade projects.

So, what’s a writer to do?

While I have upped my fees, they are still extremely reasonable and under what other ghostwriters are charging.

Pricing higher will kill the dreams of those who want a quality book, but just can’t afford it.

Pricing is too high.

Yep, there is a flip side.

I’ve gotten queries from people who want to have a book written, but once they hear the price (the price that is too low for others), they can’t afford it.

But, getting back to the title question: Does price equate to quality?

NO! No, it doesn’t.

Over the years, I’ve ghosted 70+ children’s books and gotten excellent testimonials from those who don’t mind sharing that they used my services. And, I have repeat clients. I currently have three clients who have each hired me to write a series of books. And, one of my prior clients had interest from MADD based on a story I rewrote for her.

So, again, price does not equate to quality . . . at least not with some ghostwriters.

Sure, I can up my prices. But, again, those who can’t afford it wouldn’t be able to hire a quality writer.

I’ve written for people all over the world: Jordan, United Kingdom, Scotland, Saipan, United Arab Emirates, and many states within the United States. These people now have the satisfaction of being a ‘children’s author’ of a quality, publishable, and saleable book. And, I’ve gotten to help them achieve that particular dream. That makes me smile.

How do you know who you’re hiring?

I know I said price doesn’t equal quality, but you do need to know who you’ll be working with. Here are a few tips to help you determine the quality of the writer:

1. Check out the ghostwriter’s testimonials, website, and blog.
2. See if the site and everything on it looks and sounds professional.
3. See if the blog posts give you an idea that the writer knows what she’s talking about.
4. You should also check out the About page. Learn who the writer is affiliated with and other tidbits of information.

Hot Tip: You should also do a Google search. That’s how most of my clients find me. Google goes for quality. They won’t put a ‘scam or shabby’ website in their results for a search query. This is a great test for quality, especially if the results (the link shown) isn’t a paid ad.

Summing it up.

As a writer for hire, there is no ‘magic’ pricing point. You have to charge what you and the clients who hire you are satisfied with.

Don’t always equate price with quality. Do some research into the children’s ghostwriter you’re thinking of working with. Using the tips I have just above, you should be able to determine if that writer knows her stuff.

MORE ON WRITING

What Makes a Good Story? Plot Driven vs. Character Driven
Editing a Children’s Book – 10 Tips Checklist for Authors
Being a Writer – Learn the Craft of Writing

NEED HELP WITH YOUR CHILDREN’S MANUSCRIPT / STORY?

Let me take a look at it. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and editor. I can turn you story into a publishable and saleable book.

Shoot me an email at: kcioffiventrice @gmail .com (please put Children’s Writing Help in the Subject line)