About the blog: What Things Are Made Of


The United States relies on imports for dozens of commodities in everyday use. Often enough, that reliance is 100%. In this book I aim to provide awareness of the hidden geology and mineralogy behind common things, and to develop an appreciation for the global resource distribution that underpins our society. While concerns about oil import reliance are in the news every day, our needs for other minerals are comparable and are typically unknown even to technologically aware Americans.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Four Hidden Gems of Self-Publishing

This guest post from Nikolas Baron (Grammarly.com) is on self-publishing.

By Nikolas Baron

The Bible’s book of Ezekiel, completed around 591 B.C.E, uses the imagery of jasper stone to describe the glory of God. However, I have no idea of what jasper stone looks like. A precious piece of jasper stone could be lying in my backyard, and I would never know! This article discusses five hidden gems of self-publishing that reduce or eliminate costs. There is no need for digging; I have already uncovered their secret location! Keep reading to learn how to identify these helpful resources.

Gold: Copy Editing

Grammarly, the company I work for, provides proofreading on their website within moments. In my years of working there, I see an abundance of easy-to-correct mistakes suggested by the grammar checker. Save yourself time and money by finding and fixing errors before contacting an editor. Then, submit a finalized copy to a professional editor for one final edit. Copy editors carefully sift through the words of novels. They seek errors. Like iron pyrite, or fool’s gold, errors look fine to an untrained eye. Experienced editors find awkward phrases, grammatical errors, and unclear explanations. Before submitting work to a professional editor, perform a preliminary search for mistakes.

No Geodes Allowed: Cover Design

Geodes look plain and ordinary on the outside. However, inside these rocks are sparkly and colorful.  You do not want your book to be like a geode! From the cover, catch the eye of the reader with engaging art and an intriguing title. Be prepared to invest a significant portion of the budget on this aspect of your novel. Check out this Directory of Self-Publishing Resources. The website lists cover artists with experience working with self-publishers. The counsel that they provide is invaluable.

Diamonds:  Promotion

According to the Diamond Price Calculator found on the Washington Diamond website, the value of an internally flawless one-carat diamond is almost $17,000. However, the cost of an imperfect diamond is only about $1,300. The difference in cost reflects the difference in quality between an internally flawless diamond and an imperfect one. To the inexperienced eye, both diamonds sparkle but experts easily discern which diamond has more value. Advertisements on social media websites, such as Facebook, are flawless diamonds in the sense that they reach thousands of potential readers. The hidden gems are blogs!  Maintain a writer’s blog and promote your own novel. Use the successful blogs of colleagues and acquaintances. Offer to trade services:  “I will post your announcement if you post mine!” One article, “Top 10 Free Online Blogging Platforms”, compares a number of websites that host blogs at no cost.

Pearls:  Printing Advance Copies

To find a pearl, you open the oyster and look inside. To find a great deal on the printing of advance copies, you shop around to find the best prices. Advance copies, sometimes referred to as galleys, sell in lots. While prices are usually cheaper for larger lots, do not waste money printing hundreds of books that may never sell. Instead, estimate a reasonable amount of galleys to prepare or find a shop that will print samples in short runs. One company, Country Press, prints as few as 11 copies per batch!  If you are the handy type, attempt to make your own advance reading copy.

These jewels are within your grasp. Copy editing is unavoidable, so use online proofing websites to identify simple grammar errors. Do not underestimate blogs, which are invaluable in spreading literary news. If you do not currently write a blog, start one today! Avoid book covers that obscure the beauty of your writing. Invest money in an attractive cover that represents the content of your book. Finally, open as many oysters as possible. Shop around to find the best printing deals. Print in small batches. By taking advantage of these tips, your novel will be a jewel.

by Nikolas Baron

Nikolas discovered his love for the written word in Elementary School, where he started spending his afternoons sprawled across the living room floor devouring one Marc Brown childrens’ novel after the other and writing short stories about daring pirate adventures. After acquiring some experience in various marketing, business development, and hiring roles at internet startups in a few different countries, he decided to re-unite his professional life with his childhood passions by joining Grammarly’s marketing team in San Francisco. He has the pleasure of being tasked with talking to writers, bloggers, teachers, and others about how they use Grammarly’s online proofreading application to improve their writing. His free time is spent biking, travelling, and reading.

Image: The 182-carat Star of Bombay star sapphire, via Wikipedia.