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Meetings are held at the Pyramid Pyramid Brewery & Alehouse, 901 Gilman Street, Berkeley, California. Registration starts at 8:30 am, the meeting starts at 9:30, and the program starts at 10:00. Pre-pay is now available using PayPal! Click the button next to the meeting and follow directions. Payment at meeting by cash or check is also still accepted. Members, please register by 5:00 PM the Friday before the meeting to receive the reduced rate. Drop-ins welcome on a first-come, first-serve basis.

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February 14, 2015 - Isobal Carr and Vanessa Kier
Formatting your Book
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Isobal Carr: Formatting Your Book for Print with Microsoft WORD or
Easy Book Design on the Cheap

There are plethora of people ready and willing to sell you a pricy "template" for your print book. There is no reason in my opinion to pay someone a hundred dollars (or more!) for a template, especially one that isn’t exclusive to you and wasn't designed with your particular book or series in mind! We all know that branding is important, so let’s go one step further and brand our book interiors, too.

Isobal's MFA has a concentration in book arts, so she spent several years studying their layout and design, their history and evolution, and what makes them beautiful and functional. She will share some basics of book design, along with some Microsoft WORD-fu, the combination of which should be enough for you to design an attractive, professional, and exclusive print book yourself in a relatively small amount of time and for little to no cost.

Isobel Carr is the best-selling author of the Georgian-set League of Second Sons series. She grew up participating in a wide variety of historical re-enactment clubs, which has given her an unusually personal perspective on history, along with a deep knowledge of the history of clothing. Currently, she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her Mastiff, Clancy, in a 1916 bungalow that she has no time to restore. More about her and her books can be found on her website:

Vanessa Kier: Using Scrivener to Format Your Book for Print

The popular writing program Scrivener comes with preset compile settings for exporting your manuscript as a print ready file. With a few tweaks you can customize these settings to give you an attractive, professional interior file that is ready for upload to Createspace, Lightning Source, or Ingram Spark. Vanessa will demonstrate how to go about this using the latest version of Scrivener for the Mac. Feel free to bring your computer and follow along. If you have a particular Scrivener print formatting issue you want to see addressed, please e-mail Vanessa your question at before the meeting so she can integrate your question into her presentation.

Vanessa Kier spends way too much time thinking up ways she can torture her characters. A worst-case scenario thinker, she's been creating stories in her head since childhood. Now she’s found her niche in writing romantic thrillers that combine intense emotion with action-packed plots. The author of six books in The Surgical Strike Unit series about a privately run special operations group, she has set her new series WAR in West Africa, where she lived for a time. For more about Vanessa, please visit her website

March 14, 2015 - TBA

April 11, 2015 - Joel Friedlander, Book Designer
How to Create Book Covers that Work

Your cover is the most important tool for marketing your book, and it has several important jobs to do. In this lively presentation we'll look at covers that succeed--and ones that fail. You'll learn to recognize the 4 common problems that doom many self-published book covers, and 3 simple conceptual tools that will help you get a book cover that works. Real-world samples and critiques anchor this presentation, so you can get real results.

Joel Friedlander (@JFBookman) is an award-winning book designer and blogger. He is also the author of A Self-Publisher’s Companion: Expert Advice for Authors Who Want to Publish and the recently published The Self-Publisher's Ultimate Resource Guide. He’s been launching the careers of self-publishers since 1994 and writes, a popular blog on book design, book marketing and the future of the book. Joel is also the founder of the online training course, The Self-Publishing Roadmap.

For a list of our Past Meetings, click here.