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posted: 10/22/2012 6:00 AM

Palatine author shares e-publishing tips with business owners

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A book that brings instant credibility to you and your business can be an extremely effective marketing tool. Just ask Russ Riendeau, head of East Wing Group Inc., a Barrington executive search firm; Aurora marketing executive Jackie Camacho-Ruiz, JJR Marketing; or Kathy Graham, head of the HQ family of companies in Naperville.

Turning your idea into a book -- especially an e-book -- is a process, however. That's why it's nice to know Palatine author Susan Kaye Quinn.

Quinn, who has three engineering degrees and once worked for NASA, the space people, and NCAR, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, doesn't write business books; she writes science fiction novels for the young adult and middle grade markets.

More importantly, Quinn sells a ton of books, partly because she has mastered the realities of e-publishing. If you'd like to incorporate a book into your marketing strategy, then Quinn's willingness to share her experience is good news.

Start with Quinn's website, Scroll down to "Self-Publishing Basics Series" on the right; also check out the "For Writers" tab at the top. Read and think.

Keep in mind that Quinn's site is written is for writers; but if producing a book that will draw attention to you and your business is the goal, a writer is what you'll be -- at least temporarily.

You may need a ghostwriter to help create a book that reflects well on your business. Even if you're a good writer, your book will need editors -- a developmental editor who, Quinn says, knows the subject matter; a line editor who can make certain your text is cohesive; and a copy editor for grammar and typos.

You won't be writing a dictionary-length piece, Quinn says. Instead, she suggests, your book should be "under 200 pages." Even at that, Quinn recommends hiring a professional formatter, someone who will take your text and make it look like a book, and a cover designer.

That adds cost, but formatting and the cover matter. Charts and tables complicate the format, Quinn says, and different e-readers require different approaches. The format that works on Amazon's Kindle doesn't work on the Barnes & Noble Nook.

In addition, designing the cover "is not simple," Quinn says. There are programs that will help, but "People look at your title and cover. If your book looks schlocky ..." Quinn trails off, leaving the implied message that a poor cover reflects poorly on a book.

There are various ways to turn your manuscript into a book, with a difference, Quinn notes, between easiest and best. Easiest, she says, is to "Upload your manuscript to a book packaging service that will do it all. But they'll charge you a lot of money, and you'll lose control."

Best, Quinn says, most often includes Amazon's CreateSpace, which prints on demand; Kindle Direct Publishing, which turns out e-books; or PubIt, Barnes & Noble's e-publishing source.

• Jim Kendall welcomes comments at

2012 121 Marketing Resources Inc.

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