Design and Imprint

These past two weeks I have been working non-stop on the recommended edits for my manuscript, hoping to bring Diving for Pearls: A Thinking Journey with Hannah Arendt into the world some time in the fall. As I near the end of this process, my attention turns toward the production angle of independent publishing, and has me thinking more and more about what to do to make my endeavor successful. todolistTO DO...

The first thing is tofinalize the design of my book. This includes both the cover and interior design.

COVER: I asked folks to respond to the cover options, and several subscribers did, but I am still looking for more feedback. (If you can look back to the previous post and see what you think of the options, sending me your votes—either as comments to the posting, or a separate message to me, I would appreciate it).

INTERIOR: Having selected a trim size (likely 5.25” x 8.00”), conforming to industry standards for memoir or literary non-fiction paperback titles, I’ll want to decide on fonts and layout. For that, I will likely turn to the services of a book designer, using one of the available templates to transform the WORD document of the manuscript into the required format for digital printing. Working with a designer will help insure layout and formatting are the most professional they can be.

DISTIBUTION: After much consideration, I’ve decided on Ingram’s Lightning Source for print-on-demand distribution. Lightning Source stood out for me as the best option for distribution, preferable to Amazon’s CreateSpace, because of the paper, trim size and cover design options (I wanted creme paper and a matte finish) Lightning Source offer. And if all this is sounding boringly technical to you, it’s just part of what you have to learn when you take on independent authorship. Which brings me to the main topic for today and something I’d like your input on.


To distribute a title as an independent author I become a publisher, and that means creating my own imprint. So, I need a name for my press!

The first thing that came to mind, given my Arendt interests, is to call my imprint SELBSTDENKEN PRESS.  The German word “selbstdenken” will be recognizeable to some of you; it translates into “thinking for oneself,” and was a watchword for Arendt’s conceptualization of thinking. Still, it might strike some folks as, well, a little odd. So for an alternative, what do you think about the inexact but more felicitous (to English speakers) THINKING PRESS?

Or, perhaps you have a name to propose? Comment or send me your suggestions as a message.

Another reason why the name of my imprint is important is my aim to publish more than one book, and not only my own titles!! YES! Since I am going to all this trouble gaining knowledge about publishing, I thought, why not offer a service to others, who might have books looking for presses?


The focus of my press will be on “historical and contemporary women’s stories with a personal is political slant,” which is the description I use on my Twitter account, but it also very much represents the focus of my own writing BellaWomenBooksover the last thirty years or so.

This new imprint might appeal to a number of folks who have fiction or non-fiction works on this theme that they’d like to see in print, but who don’t want to take the time and energy—and face the often inevitable frustration—involved in searching for a traditional publisher, or even take on self-publishing. Some academic writers who have books that fall outside the narrower and narrower considerations of even academic presses might find my press an appealing option, assuming certain obstacles can be overcome.

More and more academics are looking for ways to get their creative research and other writing available and into print without having to deal with increasingly bottom-line decision-making being displayed by just about every publisher today. (See this recent article discussing the interest). For academics, and even some non-academic writers, having a proposed book vetted or peer reviewed in advance of publication is a necessity. Without that, an independently published book might not be considered part of one’s professional profile or C.V, even if it’s popular and sells well.

My press can fill this gap.

It will be a small enterprise of two to three books a year. To address the “peer review” issue, I plan to create a “board of advisors” made up of researchers and writers I know who would be willing to read proposed manuscripts and evaluate them for publication, much as many of us already do for traditional or university presses. (Any of my writer friends out there who want to volunteer, you are welcome to be considered!)

I'll keep you posted on the press's development.


Once again, please send ideas for PRESS NAME, advice on COVER DESIGN for my new book (see previous posting) and any other ideas/responses you may have in relation to my new project.

Enjoy the remaining months of summer!!