We recently sat down with Stephany Greene, Author of Stephany’s Style Secrets: 7 Steps to Live and Dress Your Best. Stephany has been active in the fashion industry for over 25 years. Her background includes positions with the National Football League, BET, and Essence Magazine to name a few.
With her help we were able to create this “How-To List” for writers looking to put their publication on overdrive. Stephany was able to get her book published and printed within a year! She shares “Print My Book” story with us here:

  • When you give yourself a deadline, tell people.

This way someone can hold you accountable. Stephany Greene had a special case, but it got the job done. She received a call one day to speak at a conference on blogging and they also wanted to give her the opportunity to discuss her upcoming book. The problem was she wasn’t finished her book. Greene explains more:

“I was blogging for Essence Magazine at the time. It was great, because I was getting a lot of followers that way. A few months into writing, an international stylist organization heard that my book was coming out. They asked me to speak before an audience of about 300 people.
This meant that all of a sudden I had less than five months to finish…it forced me to have to finish the book and have to really, really put my writing into overdrive.
I spent about a month while working full time basically writing all night, every single night, until I would basically fall asleep at my computer. That’s when my side of the writing was finished, probably about a month and a half before the actual event.”

In Stephany’s case she was held accountable by over 300 people, which was the driving force to her all-nighters that led to completion.
Another takeaway: If you have an internet following, use this as leverage to get your audience excited and interested in your upcoming book.

  • An agent doesn’t always speed up the process; be choosy.

Having an agent can be great. They already know the industry and usually have efficient contacts; they can lead you down the right path to make the right decisions. However, be choosy and make sure it is someone you trust. Stephany was forced to jump through a lot of hoops as a result of selecting the wrong agent, and it had a negative impact on the process.

“…through industry contacts, I was introduced to a book agent. She said she loved my book, and then she left that agency, went to another one, and asked if she could take me and my book with her.
I was very flattered at the time. About a year into that process, I didn’t look for another agent at all because I was remaining loyal to her. She ended up saying she was overwhelmed with her new position and she couldn’t continue to take my book on.
I was devastated. She dropped it.”

Many authors experience this with book agents. It is not uncommon for an agent to stop contact without explanation. Save yourself the heartache and time. Talk to other authors, ask them who they’ve worked with and go from there. More often than not, this is why most people have resorted to self-publishing. To put the success of their book into their own hands, they often look to themselves for the “Print My Book” solution. On this particular project, Stephany had to abandon the book altogether, because too much time had passed, and the topic was no longer relevant.

  • Be wary of DIY Publishing Online

Stephany explains more:

“They say we’ll get you the Library of Congress number at a low cost, and it’ll take a few weeks to give you that. They offer convenience of retrieving your ISBN and Library of congress numbers, which you need to sell your book.What they don’t tell you is that number one, you can get those things yourself, and number two, if they’re the ones that assign you your ISBN number and Library of Congress number, then that means they own your title. They become the publisher.
If you want your book to be published by Stephany Green publishing house, or ABC Publishing House, or named after your company’s name, then you have to own the ISBN number and the Library of Congress number in order to put your name on it.”
  • Save time by not letting your ego get in your way

Greene had to face her ego when she decided to ditch a concept she had been working on for 15 years. She had to be upfront with herself that her topic was dated. It took so long to get published, due to her up and downs with multiple agents, that by the time she decided to take the self-publishing route her topic was no longer going to hold an audience. By realizing she needed to move on, it led to the completion of her latest book.

“That’s when I decided to write about ‘Stephanie’s Style Secrets: 7 Steps to Live and Dress Your Best.’ I decided just to make it an easy to read book that could give very valuable and useful, friendly information with a nice girlfriend perspective.”

Know when to let some ideas go. Always be honest with yourself. Don’t wait until you’re down the rabbit hole writing a book that won’t give you the satisfaction you desire, or the audience information they can.

  • Keep formatting in mind.

Remember formatting is an important part of printing, and not all printers will help you out.

“It took a while, but luckily Gasch, it was great because I could work in person with them, and also over the phone and through email. When I sent the manuscript to Gasch though, they had mentioned that the formatting of the text wasn’t really right. It was kind of boring.I’m really, really glad that, I think it was Jeremy talked to me about that, because it hadn’t even occurred to me that the manuscript needed to be specially formatted to make it visually appealing. It’s supposed to look almost exactly like the final printed book would look.
Instead of expecting a Word document to be sent to the printer to edit and format, unless you pay an extra fee, you have to submit it to them exactly how it’s supposed to look. Then that took a little while because I had to find someone who is a really good editor, and they edit it down to a really beautiful and easy to read layout.”
  • Become best friends with a good designer.

Don’t be nervous, you’re a charming author. You can easily make friends with a designer.
Keep in mind that your illustrator/graphic designer can be your biggest asset to your book, or your biggest mistake. Choose carefully. Just because someone says they can work Photoshop doesn’t mean they’re what you’re looking for. However, there is another side of that coin as well: they do this for a living; just because you’re an awesome writer does not mean you know best when it comes to design.
Picking the perfect designer might take a while. Have patience with each other and nurture that relationship because whether you like it or not, people do judge books by their covers.

“Self-publishing takes a lot more than just writing. I contacted my graphic designer who used to be my graphic designer when I worked for BET. That’s Black Entertainment Television, and I was the design director for their clothing line with the National Football League.
He and I remained friends for years. He’s really, really, really talented. I contacted him and supervised the whole directing of the graphic designer part to design the book cover.
…It was important for me that the book looked just as professional as any competitor’s book on the bookshelves at Barnes & Noble and Borders at the time. I didn’t want my book to have that amateur, homegrown look that a lot of self-published authors sometimes were stereotyped by.”
  • Find an English Major and hire yourself a proofreader.

As the author, you cannot be the sole proofreader of your book. It needs a fresh set of eyes. Usually, English majors are looking for experience anyway, and they will be a little bit cheaper. Stephany went this route, and had amazing results.

“I found a proofreader who was a PhD candidate at a local university.
The proofreader was amazing. I don’t know how she read all my pages and proofread them so well. It took her about a week, and it took the graphic designer probably a little less than a week. He’d already designed the front cover early, early on, when I knew I was writing a book. That’s what I used to promote the book.”
  • Take the time to drink it in. We asked Stephany what it was like to see her book in print for the first time, and she answered:
“It felt amazing. It was so much fun. It was by far, because it was a lifelong dream of mine, I’ve always loved writing, and I always knew I wanted to write a book one day. I’ve also had a few people, including a few family and friends, say that my dream was a pie in the sky idea.When my book was finally published and printed, it was like I’d proved them wrong and I’d really fulfilled my dream. Also, Gasch could’ve mailed the books to me, but I really wanted to pick them up in person and thank them in person also.
Luckily one of the many reasons I chose them is they’re only 45 minutes away from where I live, so I took my son, seven at the time, with me to pick up the books. I wanted him to see in person what that process is like, what the factory looked like. Then he could maybe understand what his mother had been doing when he’d wake up and find me sleeping on the sofa in front of my computer, or at the table in front of my computer.
It was by far one of the best career experiences of my life to actually pick up that book and see it in hard copy. I thanked Jeremy, Terry and Joe at Gasch, but when I got into the car I was shouting with happiness in the car. It was just so fun to finally have that book in front of me. It was great, really, really great.”

We would like to thank Stephany Greene for her interview and working with Gasch.