Stretch Your Content: How to Get Your Paperback a Spine

print book spine snake-955331_960_720Print books are a different animal than eBooks in many ways. For one thing, length matters very little for eBooks; you can upload anything to KDP, from a pamphlet to a short story to a 200,000-word historical romance, and the only thing that matters to them is the size of the electronic file (and that’s only so they can ding you for transmission costs).

Print books, however, have certain other considerations when it comes to length. For one thing, if your book is shorter than 130 pages, CreateSpace won’t let you put any text on the spine.

I ran into this when I published A Billion Gods and Goddesses last year. The first draft came out to only about 100 pages. I was dismayed. What’s the point of having a brag shelf if your name isn’t on the spine of every book, right? Anyway, I asked for advice in a writers’ group on Facebook, and got a ton of great suggestions. Then I thought up a few more. And oddly enough, the changes don’t scream, “Added to pad out the page count!” In fact, they make the book look more like…a book.

A few of my solutions are only applicable to nonfiction. But if it’s your novel that’s a little thin, read on – you can adapt most of these ideas to fiction, too. Continue reading “Stretch Your Content: How to Get Your Paperback a Spine”

How Long is a Piece of String?

Graeme K. TalboysIn the distant past when typewriters still roamed the earth, people would ask me: “How long should a book be?”

Being the contrary soul that I am, I would answer: “How long is a piece of string?”

Annoying as it was (and it led to people searching out bits of string long enough to strangle me), there was a truth there. A book, any book, needed to be just the right length to complete your intended narrative in the exact amount of detail appropriate.

Observant readers will notice that last paragraph is in the past tense. Personally I would still say a book needs to be just the right length to complete the narrative, but I’m just a writer, so what do I know? Continue reading “How Long is a Piece of String?”