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How to Make Excerpt Booklets at Home

Hello, everyone!

Not to stress you out, but it’s October, a slippery slide to the holidays and the new year when we make resolutions about conferences and promo. In an effort to prepare and plan, I have perused swag sites and read views on author swag to increase sales. 

Although there are a lot of fun swag ideas out there (which I also use), I’ve read on several author loops that book excerpts are more likely to lead to a sale than, say… a pen or koozie. Since I don’t have the funds to have mini-books made professionally (which are gorgeous), I began to look into how to create my own excerpt booklets. Big exhale.

Booklet Ex1

There are several sets of instructions online using MS Publisher, which I do not have and can’t afford to buy. So…I had to make mine in MS Word. It took me an entire weekend to create my templates for 8, 12 and 16 page booklets. And since I am a wonderfully nice person (because I’ve recently had my caffeine), I am going to share them with you.

So what if you aren’t an author or don’t want to share excerpts of your book? You can use these little booklets for lots of things: family cookbooks, how to clean each room of the house, tips on surviving chemo (which I plan to write), and phone numbers or birthdays for everyone you know. Your kids could make little books or lists of likes and dislikes. The possibilities are endless.

So here’s what you do:

1. Decide what excerpt you want to showcase. It could be first kisses from each book in your trilogy or the meet scene or first chapters if they are short. I used two excerpts in my 16 page booklet (a pivotal scene and the first kiss).

In the 4 ¼ X 5 ½ inch booklets at 11 point Times New Roman font, I can fit about 240 words on one page. If you take the page numbers out of the template, you can fit another line on each page (but I like page numbers).

2. Choose a template below (I have 8, 12 and 16 pages. Personally I like the 16 page one.) Click on the link and choose to open it. It should open in Word. It will look stacked until you click Enable Editing. Then it should open so you can start inputting your own words.

3. Copy and paste your book cover or booklet title Booklet Title page. Copy and paste what you want on the back on the Back of Booklet page (maybe your back cover blurb).

4. Start filling in your excerpt, single spaced, following the page numbers I have on each page of the template. Yes, they look like they are everywhere, but this is what I spent all weekend figuring out. It is a little tricky figuring out how much you can fit on each page. If the page numbers at the bottom are missing, you can add them in little text boxes.

5. To draw a text box: go to Insert, then Text box, and click draw text box. Then click and drag to make the box where you want it. Once it is there it is hard to move. If you want to move it, I recommend deleting it and drawing a new one where you want it. You can then insert pictures or page numbers or words into the text box.

Fill up your booklet with excerpts, contact information and maybe some fun stuff. I have a cookie recipe in the back of my baking witch book, BROKEN.

Booklet Ex2

 

 

 

6. Now to print. Try this with one copy first. Set the printer to duplex printing, turning on the long side. I printed in grayscale until I knew it was how I wanted it, since color costs. Sometimes you need to go back and tweak the size of the text boxes or margins.

7. Pick up your two double sided sheets (for the 12 and 16 page booklets, only one sheet for the 8 page booklet). Without separating them, cut them down the middle. When I have a hundred of these to do I use a large cutter to speed up the job and keep things straight.Booklet 7

 

 

 

 

8. Fold both sets in half and insert the middle into the outer pages. Staple the edge using a stapler that can reach the middle (after checking to make sure the pages are aligned sequentially). For the 12 page booklet, leave out the blank pages.

Booklet6

Booklet 5

 

 

 

I am considering printing book cover stickers to put on the front to make the cover look fancier. I may put some gold stickers on the front of each with any awards the book has won or “Excerpts” to draw attention. Some authors buy glossy, professional postcards for the covers, and make their own interior pages. I hope to do this next time.  

Even if the booklet is obviously made at home, it still gives potential readers a sample of my writing, something that will entice them to buy the whole book (hopefully). I give them out at conferences and to librarians. They give much more information than a bookmark, and I can make them at home.

 

 

So here are my templates so you don’t have to yank your hair and curse like a seaman.

Booklet Template 8 pages

Booklet Template 12 pages

Booklet Template 16 pages

Anyone else have pointers for creating these cute, easy to carry booklets? Also, if anyone has a great idea for author swag that you’ve seen increase sales, by all means, share : )

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