Monday, May 11, 2015

Five Steps and Tips to Publishing a Book

 by Frances Keiser
Used with Permission

Do you have an idea for a book? Turn your idea into a published book by following the 5 steps below and using the 5 tips under each step:

Step 1. REASON: 

Why do you want to write a book? Who is it for? What is it for? Knowing your reasons will help you with your writing, publishing, and marketing choices. Here are some possible reasons:

  • Memoir, family history, or family stories to pass on to family
  • To position yourself as an expert in your business or industry
  • To educate or help others
  • It’s something you always wanted to do
  • To leave a legacy
Reasoning Tips:

  1. Identify your target audience
  2. Do not think: “my book is for everyone.”
  3. Read the most popular books in your genre
  4. Family history: Ask family members what they most want to know
  5. Children’s book: volunteer to read to children at libraries and schools 

Step 2. WRITING: 

What is your writing style? Do you have a voice? Do you know how to develop characters? Pace a story? Write for a particular grade level or age group? Break up sections in a nonfiction book? No?Then get help here:

  • Online and College courses in grammar and writing
  • Continuing Education courses (check out the great courses here at UNF)
  • Writer’s Conferences
  • Writers groups and critique groups
  • Content and copy editors 

Writing tips: 

  1. Use the stylebook followed by authors: The Chicago Manual of Style
  2. Use a serial comma before the conjunction in lists. (Susie, Bob, and Sam) and only one space following a period
  3. Write your manuscript in Word using a common font such as Times New Roman
  4. Use Word’s paragraph styles
  5. Know the range of the number of words for your genre


There is more to putting a book together than a manuscript. You will need to get help with:

  • Design and layout
  • Typography
  • Illustrations and Photo editing
  • Cover
  • Front and Back Matter

Preparation Tips:

  1. Create a mock-up of your book
  2. Use a designer who is familiar with designing books and with the book industry standards (many graphic designers are not) 
  3. Decide on the shape and size of your book before hiring an illustrator
  4. Do not embed or anchor illustrations into your manuscript
  5. Have your book and cover text edited


There are more new printing technologies, software improvements, publishing options, and distribution channels than ever before. You will need to know about the pluses and minuses of each one for your particular genre to be able to make informed decisions on the best choices for you and your book.

  • Learn your publishing options
  • Learn your printing options
  • What is available for your genre?
  • What are the book industry standards?
  • How can my book be distributed?

Publishing Tips:

  1. Look at books in your genre in bookstores and see who published them
  2. Look at the size and shapes of the books in your genre
  3. Learn the price range of books in your genre
  4. Learn the publishing options so you won’t get trapped in a scam
  5. Research your intended readers to learn if they prefer print or ebooks


As an author, some of the marketing options that you may want to explore and embrace include:

  • Website and Social marketing
  • Book stores, specialty stores
  • Businesses and organizations
  • Speaking engagements, conferences, and tradeshows
  • Schools

Marketing Tips:

  1. Know who your target audience is
  2. Learn what blogs and sites are populated by your audience
  3. If you are not experienced in social media, hire an intern
  4. What markets (professions, locations, businesses) are mentioned in your books
  5. Explore retail outlets where your book might fit

Wherever you are in the process of turning your idea into a published book, take the next step in your journey. The University of North Florida’s Department of Continuing Education and the instructors and professionals who teach workshops and classes are here to help. Become informed, have fun, and reach your goals!

About Frances:

Frances Keiser is a book design specialist at Sagaponack Books and Design. She helps aspiring authors prepare and publish their books. ( She is also a partner at Get Book Savvy ( with fellow author Jane R. Wood( Join Frances and Jane on June 16, for their workshop on the ABCs of Publishing a Children’s Book. Learn more about this course.

Monday, May 4, 2015

NEW Creative Writing Workshops for Teens

"It is about the power of shaping your destiny no matter your age."
-Sharon Y Cobb
by Lynn Conradt-Eberlin

Teenage writers know there is no age requirement for good writing. Scripts and novels require imagination and the ability to communicate a good story. All they need is a chance to immerse themselves in the world of written creation, to understand the expected in preparation of unleashing your unexpected storytelling on the world. Prepare for the adventure of writing submersion, June 15-19, 2015 through the University of North Florida’s Division of Continuing Education!

During a full week of sessions dedicated to writers ages 13-17, you can pick up one workshop or choose to attend the entire week. 

The instructors are a successful scriptwriter and a published author. You will gain not just abstract theory, but what works for these creative professionals in the real world. You should know these are not “adult class light” workshops. Teenage writers are intelligent and driven. We believe you deserve the same intensive delivery of knowledge anyone else receives from UNF Continuing Ed. This is not just sitting in a room listening--but doing--with exercises and writing time that allows you to put your new knowledge to immediate use. You will have a week of living the writer’s life.


In an action-packed day, you will get an introduction to the three-act structure, details about creating movie characters and facts of film story and plot construction. 

You will learn how to write a logline, synopsis and beat sheet. Get ready to launch into the world of Hollywood and Indie movies with this introductory workshop taught by a professional screenwriter who has sold pitches and scripts to studios and who has had films produced. 

Tuesday, June 16 WRITING FUNNY
Creating comedic moments may come naturally to some writers, but it is a skill you can learn as well. You will get the basics of creating funny characters and constructing a comic storyline. 

You will be creating comedy from character opposites. Learn the comedy rule of three, slapstick vs. satire, dark comedy, humorous story construction and more. Writing exercises will be used to demonstrate techniques. Join us to learn how to write funny. It will be a hoot! 

Focus on what you want in your life. Get rid of worries that are counterproductive and sabotaging your power to attract the positive. Learn a life imagery technique similar to visualization exercises Olympic athletes use before entering competitions. 

Learn to use the law of attraction to manifest what you would like to attract into your world. Start a gratitude journal. Participate in a short meditation that may change your life when often practiced. Get affirmations and find resources to enhance your ability to create abundance on a daily basis. 

How did "Star Wars" became such a worldwide sensation? Writer/Filmmaker George Lucas readily admits that he used the concept of “The Hero’s Journey” to structure his iconic story. Based on the highly acclaimed works of mythologist Joseph Campbell, "The Hero’s Journey" breaks down character types and plot points to their most human elements. 

This interactive workshop helps aspiring writers discover how to utilize mythic structure to formulate masterful stories populated by universally recognizable character archetypes. We will discuss examples from admired fiction such as "Harry Potter," "Lord of the Rings," "The Hobbit," "The Wizard of Oz" and "The Hunger Games." 

Teenage writers who want to become professional writers will get a jump-start on pursuing one of the most rewarding creative endeavors imaginable. Learn how to unlock the potential within you to tell unforgettable stories about characters so real they come to life on the page. 

Using in-class exercises, participants discover how to fine-tune the elements vital to the craft of writing. You will have the opportunity to write and get feedback on your work. Bonus, you may come away with a story that you can continue writing once the workshop is over. 

Instructors Sharon Y Cobb and John Boles will be leading the week.

Sharon Y. Cobb is an active member of Writers Guild of America. She has sold a dozen projects to Hollywood including Return of the Sweet Birds to Fox 2000 (Danny Glover and Babyface Edmonds). Her British film Lighthouse Hill was released on DVD after premiering at film festivals and being broadcast by SkyTV worldwide. Sharon’s action movie “On Hostile Ground” was broadcast on TBS and worldwide.

John Boles is a professional writer, book editor, script doctor, and writing coach whose work received more than a dozen awards. As an educator, John has taught writing and film courses. He has led both creative writing and screenwriting critique workshops for over a decade. John has mentored hundreds of authors, a number of them award-winners in their own right, and he is a popular workshop presenter at writers' conferences and film festivals.

Are you ready to register? You can sign up online or call our friendly Customer Care Team at (904) 620-4200, M-F, 8-5. If you plan to attend one or two workshops, the price is $89.00 per class. Or, register for three or more days, the cost is $79.00 per workshop. All workshops will take place at the Adam W. Herbert University Center on the UNF campus. Each class meets from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. There is a one-hour, bring-your-own lunch break each day. Food is also available for purchase.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Tool: How to Get Unstuck and Get Going!

by Barbara Pratt

Whether you work in the project world or not, from time to time everyone comes up against problems or opportunities that stump them… even if the stumpage is only temporary.

For many, a problem solving tool that takes you through a logical sequence of thought which results in super-quick clarity, understanding and control can help you break through the quagmire. 

Years ago I worked closely with McKinsey & Company consultants (McKinsey & Company has been voted number one in the "The Best Consulting Firms: Prestige" list of the career intelligence website consecutively each year since 2002. The firm currently serves two-thirds of the Fortune 1000.). After much pleading and wheedling, they finally revealed the elegant 6-step process that underlies literally every service McKinsey consultants provide for clients.

My company paid millions for this expertise; this well-tested tool contains the 6 process steps plus a case study example within a simple 1-page, 2-sided PDF you can download here for free.

This easy, downloadable tool is for you IF:

You have a problem or opportunity, you find yourself thinking about it a lot, but you are not getting anywhere with it

You have a problem or opportunity so big you don’t know where to start

You have a problem or opportunity and you don’t see the solution yet

All you need is 30-90 minutes (depending on the size of your problem or opportunity), some paper and a pen. As you will see in the tool, we also recommend you try to get one or more people to do this with you – it’s certainly more fun, and almost always creates better quality results. Good luck, and do let us know how this tool works for you!

 Barbara Pratt is a respected and personable author, trainer, speaker, facilitator and business leader. With more than 25 years of experience helping Fortune 1000 companies globally, and small business CEOs locally, Barbara is proven as a skilled and speedy hands-on consultant and problem-solver. For more information, please visit: and

Barbara serves as a Project Management Adjunct Instructor for UNF Continuing Education. Find out about all of the PM courses and programs available to you at the UNF Continuing Education Project Management Central Webpage.