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Category: How-To

Publishing tips and tricks

There are many sources offering practical advice to graphic designers but there is more to good design than knowledge and technical skills. Masterful grid and finest type hierarchy can’t bring a book to life on their own. So where does that element of “magic” in design come from? Here are some my observations that I have made when designing, reading, collecting and making books.

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Most people involved in writing or publishing are aware of the phrase “white space” and realise that the visual impact of a text, whether on page or screen, can have a huge effect on how the reader perceives the content. The problem is that “white space” isn’t a particularly simple concept and a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.

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Have you ever heard the term “lost in translation”? What this commonly used phrase essentially means is that there aren’t specific words to describe the feeling, emotion, or sensation when you’re trying to translate it into another language. (It’s also a really great Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson indie film.) Although a lot of language is universal, some language is cultural and can be difficult to translate.

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Listed by the Observer as one of “Our top 50 players in the world of books”, Clare Conville previously worked as an editor at Random House, before co-founding Conville & Walsh in 2000. Between them Clare’s clients have won or been nominated for nearly every major literary prize in the UK including the Man Booker Prize, the Bollinger Everyman Woodhouse Award, the Whitbread First Novel Award, the Commonwealth Writers’ Best First Novel Award, and the Orwell Prize, the Guardian First Book Award and the Kate Greenaway Medal. Here, she discusses handling criticism well.

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There’s a lot of talk among editors and wordy wordsmiths about using macros to help efficiency when you’re working. Truth be told, macros can be scary and take a bit of getting used to.

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How to get GDPR-ready

Whether or not you’re ready, GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is coming. With only 26 weeks left before implementation there is much more that can (and should be) done by publishers and authors, not least mapping what ‘personal’ data you have. This can mean anything from actual names to associated data that can identify an individual. In over simplistic terms think three things that you should be able to answer if an individual or ICO were to ask you:

  1. What personal data have you got on each individual?
  2. Why have you got it?
  3. What are you going to do with it?

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I spend a lot of my time editing non-fiction; no matter how much I love fiction, the factual stuff takes up more of my time at the moment. And with factual editing comes fact checking.

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How we measure a ‘result’ can be perplexing.  With use of tools such as Google Analytics, there are seemingly endless ways to evaluate the performance of our digital content.  Fortunately, there are some universal steps you can take to increase the performance of your content, regardless of the measure you are using. Here is a quick rundown of some of the things you should bear in mind.

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I love reading, it’s my favourite activity and has led directly to working in publishing and bookselling.  Like everyone else, though, real life has a nasty habit of getting in the way of all the books I’d like to read. Like everyone else in publishing, my ‘need to read’ pile is huge and I don’t even get to pile up my ‘want to read’ books.

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Oh, no … You didn’t just ask your spouse, your mom, or your best friend to read your book and tell you what they think, did you? Every author needs test readers—impartial, unbiased test readers. As much as your squad may want to help, beta reading is one area where friends and family don’t qualify.

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If you are writing and managing a blog or website, you really need to get friendly with Google Analytics. Yes it can be a little bit of a head bend, BUT practice makes perfect and there are some simple things you can do to get more out of your analytics.

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Norah Myers is a freelance publishing consultant for BookMachine. She is currently writing a business book for a marketing company, practising Pilates, and eating too much flourless chocolate cake (and it shows). Her Twitter and Instagram handles are the same: @bookish_norah.

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