Archive for August 22nd, 2011

Put Your Book on a CD: Fourth of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

We’ve been discussing 5 easy ways to give away FREE SAMPLES of your writing to readers and prospective readers. First, we learned how to create a zine. Next, we learned how to format your sample chapter(s) as an eBook. Then we focused on marketing options available on Amazon. Today we’re going explore the possibility of putting your chapter(s) on a CD.

As mentioned above, we already talked about how to format your sample chapter(s) as an eBook. This process of putting your chapter(s) on a CD will call on the PDF aspect of the eBook formatting.

The necessary supplies are a little more complicated, but easy enough to come by:

  • CD face labels
  • Blank CD
  • 8-1/2 by 11  OR 8-1/2 by 14 paper
  • CD or DVD case
  • CD burner on your computer
  • Scissors or paper cutter

Now, I won’t lie to you. This one is easy if you’ve got some basic design skills; if not, you might want to enlist some help.

Step 1

Start by translating some aspect of your cover to a CD face label. It can be as simple as using a postage-stamp image of the cover with the title and adding the word “eBook,” but you’ve got to make sure all of your graphics and text will fit on the printable portion of the label.

The easiest thing is to use a design program like Photoshop or CorelDraw, but you can also do this in a Microsoft program like Word or Publisher.

CD labels come two to a page. Determine whether the brand of labels you purchases lines up centered or off centered. The easiest thing for printing the off-centered labels is to print one, then flip the sheet over and put it back in your printer to do the second one.

The size of a CD label is:


Step 2

The next step is deciding whether you will use a CD jewel case or a DVD case. Although jewel cases are less expensive and easier to carry in your purse or backpack, a DVD case is a little more formal and may express a higher degree of professionalism.

If you use a CD jewel case with a solid back, you will only need to worry about transferring the front cover of your book. However, you can include a tray liner that gives you more room for branding and descriptive text.

You can print a jewel case cover and inlay card on 8-1/2 by 11  paper.

The dimensions for a jewel case are:

Bleed means that the image prints off the side of the page. Bleed dimensions allow a little extra for cutting.


If you use a DVD cover, you will need to transfer/create a front, back, and spine.

You will need to use 8-1/2 by 14 paper to print a DVD cover.

The dimensions for a DVD cover are:


Step 3

Once you’ve printed your cover, cut it to size and insert it into your jewel case or DVD case.


Step 4

In order to save your PDF file(s) to a CD, you will need a CD burner. Most newer computers come with this software already installed. Roxio is a burner that is commonly included on a fully loaded computer.

If your computer does not have CD-burning capabilities, you will either need to purchase the software or find a free version online. There are some decent ones available, but it may take a little digging through the Google to find them.

Save your PDF file(s) to the CD, and affix the label to it. Put the CD/DVD in the case and you’re good to go.


While the process is easy enough, it can be time-consuming, so I recommend you make a decent number of CDs at a time. By the way, this will also work as a way to sell/distribute your entire book. If you get to the point where you find yourself making a LOT of them, you might consider outsourcing this project to a company that will burn the CDs and make the covers for you. One benefit of  doing it that way is the option to have the CD label silk-screened onto the CD, which increases professionalism another degree.

One of the nicest things you can do with an eBook on CD is autograph it. Although there are interesting new technologies emerging to allow for digital autographs, with a physical product in hand, you can sign your John Hancock the old-fashioned way, with a Sharpie or a plain old ballpoint pen.

Make sure to check back on Thursday when we’ll be discussing Minibüks as a way to give away free samples of your work. 



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Thursday, August 18 Amazon’s Author Central: Third of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

Monday, August 15 How to Make an eBook: Second of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

Thursday, August 11 How to Make a Zine: First of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing


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