B.R.A.S.S. – The Basis for Success
What in the heck does sniping have to do with success in business, success in personal efforts and relationships, etc? Well, it’s not sniping itself, it’s the discipline, planning and techniques that snipers use that can help you be successful in life.
In all successful plans or efforts in life, there is a basis…something you base your actions or plans on. Good snipers are known for their focus on a successful mission, patience, planning and “making the shot”, regardless of the distractions or personal dangers involved.
In this first installment, we’re going to talk about the very basic technique that all Marines (and probably most military and law enforcement shooters), as well as the elite snipers use to “make the shot”. It is the acronym B.R.A.S.S. That is easy to remember for shooters, because the shell casing, or back part of the “bullet” that holds the powder is generally made of brass.
It stands for Breathe, Relax, Aim, Slack, Squeeze – B.R.A.S.S. I’m not going to go into an in-depth lesson on shooting, but a general overview of the basics helps form the very basis for the art of success.
When you are shooting, you have to be focused but relaxed, and completely intent on a successful shot – think of the “shot” as what you want to achieve in life. It can be a weight loss plan, a corporate merger, working on a long-term relationship, or anything else you want to do or achieve. We do that by focusing on B.R.A.S.S. – each individual technique in order, to achieve a successful shot.
Breathe: When you first start to take aim at your objective, there can be a lot of adrenaline and nervousness. Stop. Take a long, slow, deep breath, and exhale slowly to relax. Take another breath, and slowly breathe out (most shots take place about half-way through the out-breath, when your heart slows down and you are most relaxed). Even when I was a Firefighter/EMT, when I came upon the scene of a terrible accident or someone having a heart attack, etc., the first thing I did was briefly pause, take a breath, and assess the situation so I could give the most effective treatment for the patient. When your child is driving you crazy and goes over the line, and you know it’s time for punishment – stop. Take a breath and calm yourself (maybe have them sit and think about what they did for a moment) before you decide what punishment fits the misbehavior. When you spot your target (or determine an objective) and begin to take aim – pause for a cleansing breath, calm yourself, and line up the shot.
Relax: Relax into the shot. If you are tight and holding on with a death-grip, the rifle will pick that up, and will be hard to aim. Your heartbeat will transfer to the rifle, your tense muscles will cause the rifle to move and jump around (very slight movements, but that will cause a very large movement at the end of the shot, with your round or “bullet” missing the target). The longer the shot (or bigger the objective you’re trying to achieve) the more distance the round will have to miss the target. Take your breath, let it out to calm yourself, then consciously relax your body into a natural posture; controlled – but free from tension that can cause you to miss your objective entirely.
Aim: The first two techniques are internal. This is where you start to focus on the external. Aim at your target – your objective. With your “iron sights” (the basic shooting technique without a scope), you have to line up your front sight blade (the little sight blade or bulb sticking up on the end of your barrel) so that you can see it between the rear sight blades (the sights at the back end of the barrel, closest to you – shaped like a square “U”). You should be able to see the single front sight blade centered between the two rear sight blades, and the tops of all three sight blades should be even. When you have all them lined up, then you should center them on your target. Lining everything up – at the front of the barrel, the rear of the barrel, and the target down-range takes concentration and focus…and you must stay relaxed, or they will move out of alignment very quickly. This takes a lot of commitment to remaining completely focused on the target with the sight alignment centered on that target.
Slack: Most triggers have “slack”. That means that when you put your finger on the trigger, and begin to gently pull (or “press”) the trigger back, you will feel the first part of the pull that will not have much resistance. The trigger will move back for a very short part of the pull without feeling hard, but you will feel it pick up resistance part-way back as the trigger begins to engage. That initial part of the pull where there is no resistance is called “slack”. Don’t just jerk the trigger back or you will miss the target. You have to take up the slack until you begin to feel the pressure or resistance, before you start to smoothly pull the trigger back far enough to fire the rifle. Some triggers don’t have slack, but you still have to place your finger on the trigger and apply pressure smoothly until you get to the point where the trigger will “break over” or cause the rifle to fire. This is called trigger control, and if you jerk or snap the trigger back…or make a snap decision or don’t have a measured application of your plan, you can easily miss the target or objective.
Squeeze: The final part of the shot. A smooth, controlled pull of the trigger to fire the rifle – a controlled and deliberate application of your plan, a deliberate and purposeful effort to maintain a good relationship, achieve a goal – will give a much higher probability of hitting the target.
Find your target in life, relationships, business, or any other effort. Take a cleansing breath. Relax into the effort to make sure you’re not tense or trying too hard, and so you have the energy to go for the long haul. Take deliberate aim with purpose and focus – consciously controlling all the moving parts that you have control over to align them with your target. Remove all the other distractions by taking up the slack, putting the things you don’t have control over out of your focus, and moving forward. When you have done what you can to line up your plans, relax into it and remove the non-essential from your mind – pull the trigger! Endless re-thinking, trying for a 100% solution, and perfecting your plans don’t get you there. When you’ve done what you can, and are fairly sure of at least a good 80% solution – go for it. You can adjust and refine as you go, but don’t just stand there…do it!
Next week we’ll move past the basics, and get to some sniper-specific advanced techniques, to see why they are so successful in hitting the target – and achieving their goals.
Commitment is a big word and a big responsibility. How committed are you in seeing your book come to life? Some of us sit on the sidelines wishing for things to happen. That will never work. To get things done, you need to have action along with intent. Only The Jerk and Forrest Gump fall into riches – it just doesn't happen in real life. You have to earn your stripes.
There is an old story about level of commitment: If you think of a breakfast consisting of bacon and eggs, which has the higher level of commitment – the chicken or the pig? The answer, of course, is obvious. The chicken contributes but the pig is totally committed.
The writing of such a large body of work as a novel and getting it to market means that the author needs to be fully committed. Others may have a stake in the game. They can provide support services such as editing, research, formatting, and business aspects of the publishing process but the author has the sole responsibility of being the creative person behind the keyboard. The author is the owner of their own destiny.
If you are that creative who wants to see their dream come to fruition, you have to build a reservoir of confidence and motivation that can keep you going when you don't think you can go any more. If you can learn a few things, they can keep you going when the path looks dark and dismal.
Much of your strength will come before the project has even begun.
1. Build A Habit
Habits are easy to form and really hard to break. Our habits come from the repetition. If you build the habit of playing the guitar every day for 15 minutes, that will become normal for you and you won't want to miss a day of it, because it centers you and makes you feel – well... normal.
Your habits, more than talent, more than vision, more than education, will be the determinant of your success. Practice habits that do not serve your goals and you will never get there. You can build a positive habit (reading, exercise, healthy eating) or you can build bad habits (smoking, over eating, laziness). So build the habits that will serve your purposes and not the habits that will inhibit your progress. Do the things that serve you and shun the things that do not serve you.
2. Don't Overextend Yourself
I have found that when I set an overwhelming amount of work in front of me, I am more likely to procrastinate, get discouraged, and not finish what I have started. Try to attack your task in smaller increments. We are always overambitious in anything we attempt. I know I am. I think I can get much more done in a smaller period of time. At first, I can attack the problem with guns blazing, and get running at top speed. The problem with that is that it's really unsustainable. I get really excited at first and that, at times, works against me.
So set yourself goals that you know you can sustain and reach. That will give you the confidence to keep going. If you find you can do more, by all means, do more. But start your production with a minimum sustainable level of effort. Your success, every day, will drive your habit and your habit will get your work completed. Always.
3. Keep Your Promises
The easiest person you can con is yourself. In the past, I would treat myself with terrible disregard. We break our promises to ourselves all the time. I quit smoking a hundred times before it finally took. I just kept trying.
Think about it this way: Take the word "try" out of your vocabulary. It is an insidious word that breeds failure. I have heard that if you say you're going to "try" something, it is like you’re saying to the world that you want credit for something that you have no intention of doing.
So, as it says in the Bible, let your yes mean yes and your no mean no. Make a considered decision as to your commitment before saying you will or won't do something. You will be a much happier person, because that "try" task will stick in the back of your mind for a very long time after you have really committed not to do it.
How many times have you put off that workout? How many times have you eaten more than you intended? How many times have you said you will try to do something and actually did it? Keep your promises and, most of all, keep your promises to you. This is very, very important. You have to believe that you are important enough to commit to.
4. Have A Fall Back Strategy
Things go wrong. Things always go wrong. As you've no doubt heard, they will go wrong at the worst possible time. Make the time to think of what you will do if you can't write today. Will you double your efforts another day? I wouldn't suggest that, because after a few days, you will be overwhelmed with the prospect of making up all that work. You need to know how to account for the time that you were unable to write.
Life has unexpected challenges and none of us are perfect. However, you can't use that as an excuse not to get things done. If you can't spend your allotted amount of time writing, then do at least something. I need to lay out for myself what that minimum amount of writing I can do each day. So, if something comes up and you can't do the one or two hours you were hoping for, you can shoot for that minimum writing time.
Today, I had an unavoidable distraction and I am writing in the front seat of a rental car to make sure I can get the time in that is necessary. Learn how to write wherever you are. You can grab 10 or 15 minutes anywhere you are. I use my iPad but a pen and paper work just fine. Steal every chance you get to generate words. Not all of them will be great but if you don't write them, they'll never exist.
5. Plan Time For Thinking
Writing is really heady stuff. Anything that gets into print had to exist in your mind before it came out in a cohesive well thought out form. But the seeds of germination take place in the down time while you're not writing. Plan some quiet time to let those thoughts take root and watch them grow.
Do not think that thinking time is the same as writing time, though. Thinking means nothing without action, and the action is the writing. While you're thinking, keep track of the ideas that come out of your head. Use an iPad, Smartphone or a pencil and paper. When you get an idea, write it down right away, because I can guarantee if you don't do something with the idea - it will be lost forever in the ether of your mind.
I make it a practice to spend part of the day sitting in silence letting the ideas flow through me like a river. When I think I have a good one, I'll write it down. I try to write down three new ideas a day. Not all will have legs but at least after I write them, I know they'll be there.
6. Review Your Progress Daily
You will never know if you're making any progress unless you devise measures for your success. It could be the number of words that you write or the number of dots you put on a piece of paper. The measurement is up to you. Make sure you have a clear goal in mind, take stock of where you need to be every day, and make it a point to check your progress at the end of the day. When you know where you are, you can set out the next increment of work ahead of you.
It's kind of like taking a trip from Dallas, TX to San Diego, CA. Get out a map and determine how much you want to accomplish each day. You may have expected to get to Albuquerque, NM the first day but you only get to El Paso, because the kids had too many bathroom breaks or you got side-tracked in the desert. So that night, you take stock. Maybe you drive straight through to Phoenix, AZ the next day or you can push on to the California border. You can make adjustments along the way. You need to take stock so you can make adjustments to your plan.
7. Get A Talisman
I don't much believe in hocus pocus, magic, or fanciful thinking. You absolutely need to do the work. What I do find helpful is to collect an artifact that can be a touchstone and remind you of the goal you have in mind. It could be anything from a rock, a stick, a lucky sombrero, a crystal, or a pet frog. It really doesn't matter what it is. You just have to make sure you can readily associate it with the project you're working on. Whenever you see it or touch it, you will be brought back to the determination, dedication and commitment you originally had for the project. We all need reminders and a talisman can be that reminder.
8. Learn The Process
I hear a lot of creative people deride processes. They believe the spirit must move, you must be visited by your muse, or you need to wait for your genie to appear. I've got news for you. If you aren't doing the work, your inspiration will never appear. Inspiration happens in the "flow" and you cannot get in the "flow"/"zone" without doing the work. So you should consider learning if there are any proven processes that can help you accomplish your mission.
There is a process to all things that we do. Whether you're washing dishes or building the next rocket ship that will save our species from ourselves. We follow processes, because they have been proven to work time and time again. If you learn the process, then when you begin to doubt your talent, you force yourself to progress anyway, or else you’ll start to wonder if you will ever create it. The prep work needs to be done before the implementation – only then can you make your masterpiece come to life. The process can show you that there is light at the end of the tunnel even when you can't see it. Learn a proven process and make it work for you.
9. Break It Down
Big things are really intimidating. They can get boring and tedious and unpleasant to do. If you break your project down into smaller chunks that can be accomplished in a day or two days, you will get to the finish line before you know it. You can put the intimidating behemoth aside and concentrate on only chewing the bite you have in your mouth. This will help you stay in the present moment and make the experience much better for you. Remember what you're trying to accomplish and that all of the steps along the way are necessary – even the unpleasant horrible steps. You can also alternate horrible steps with pleasing steps. That will give you something to look forward to.
You have to think summer all winter, and winter all summer. That is, when it's warm and nice, you need to gather nuts like a squirrel and build reserves for the cold dark months. When you're in the depths of a deep freeze, you can remember that the sun will again shine and your bones will again be warmed. Alternating your tasks can make life a lot easier.
10. Plan For Success
When I get into a project, it can feel like it will never get done. I can really get into a funk. That is detrimental to my progress and can potentially deride any forward momentum I have. Start from the beginning in a positive way by planning for success. Write, in a sentence, what you want to accomplish; then, a sentence why and when.
For example: I want to write a book about veterans and the different paths they take when leaving the service. I want to write the book to encourage new separating veterans make an easier transition from the battlefield to business and I want to finish by October 2015.
Write it down every morning before you start work on your project. It will only take a minute, but it will make sure you remain motivated and focused on the success you want to achieve.
All of these tips are designed to help you remain committed to your project, your book, or your masterpiece. If you practice at least a few of these strategies, you will be sure to make your vision a reality. Build your reservoir deep and consistently and use these tips along the way. They will have a profound effect on your progress and will reinforce your commitment to completing your project on time, on budget, and with the highest quality you can muster. So go forth and conquer the day. Day by day.
Bekker – the 10 Book Series
Hopefully you saw last week’s post “So Kuiken…What the Heck are you Writing About?”, where I talked about the first 5 books in the 10 book series I’m writing.
Briefly, I mentioned that what I’ve done with my life, and the experiences I’ve had actually form the basis for the series of historical fiction novels I’m writing, and that the series follows the main character, Ken Bekker, as he goes through multiple wars, first responder and government service, politics, danger and recovery.
As explained in last week’s post, the series is broken into two sub-series, as Bekker serves on active duty in the Marines, and then gets off of active duty, and goes through his civilian (mainly law enforcement) career…but periodically gets recalled to active duty, eventually serving in six different wars and conflicts. The Warrior sub-series follows him during each of his periods of active duty serving in those wars, and the Protector sub-series follows his adventures during his law enforcement career – between the wars.
Books one (The Making of a Warrior) through five (Tempering the Warrior) follow Bekker on active duty in the Marines in 1973 during combat at the end of the Vietnam War, his time as a firefighter/EMT and a sheriff’s deputy undercover with a violent Aryan biker gang, back on active duty in Afghanistan as an advisor in ’86, rising through the ranks of federal law enforcement on the southern US borders, and into the Gulf War, where he was seriously wounded in 1991.
Picking up where we left off in last week’s post, book six has Bekker coming off of active duty after recuperating from his wounds from the Gulf War, trying to fit back in to civilian life, and getting transferred to Los Angeles where he investigates and combats Counterfeiting, Street Gangs, Drugs, Organized Crime, and is eventually in charge of the District’s Counterterrorism squad as a Special Agent and Supervisory Special Agent …and then later receives a promotion to Washington DC (HQ) as a national policy writer for enforcement and intelligence operations.
Just as he is getting used to Washington, Bekker is recalled to active duty for Bosnia and then shortly thereafter, Kosovo (both in book seven, “Refining the Warrior” since they were so close and were back-to-back for Bekker). He calls these “the ugly wars” because of the terrible inhumanity and barbaric atrocities he witnesses there. Deeply affected, Bekker is again released from active duty, and returns to his federal law enforcement career, with a much heavier burden than ever before.
Shortly after returning to DC and his policy position in book eight, Bekker transfers from INS to the Department of Transportation, Office of Inspector General, with a promotion to Special Agent-in-Charge for the Mid-Atlantic Region. Back in the field again, he runs a multi-state region, working with the FBI, US Marshal’s Service, and multiple other federal agencies to go after corruption, and during his time right after 9-11, helps rebuild the Federal Air Marshal service, and create the Transportation Security Administration – as well as conducting under-cover security audits of many of the largest airports on the East Coast.
In 2002, Bekker is recalled to active duty for the final time (book nine, “Ascension of the Warrior”), and is slated and confirmed as the Sergeant Major for Marine Forces Pacific, the senior combatant command in the Marine Corps (in charge of 2/3 of the operational forces of the Marines) during the stand-up and deployment of the forces into Afghanistan during the start of Operation Enduring Freedom. This time, he sees war from the other end – as one of the most senior leaders, and experiences one of the worst days of his life…the day the first casualty report came across his desk as the first young Marine died in combat…
In the final book in the series (and the final Protector book), Bekker retires from the Marines, transitions from his agency into the Department of Homeland Security when it is created, where he becomes a Director in ICE, then Country Director and DHS Attaché in Iraq (2005-2006), and Regional Director for the Middle East and Africa upon his return to the US. He eventually retires from DHS, becomes a corporate Vice President and CEO, and later runs for US Congress in Texas, experiencing the inside of politics and political campaigns, with all the intrigue and dirty tricks, and the honor of true service.
I hope this week’s and last week’s posts help answer some of the many questions I’ve gotten about this series of books – and I’m really looking forward to offering a few free samples for you to check out and share very soon!
I remember when I was in school and we had an assignment that included some kind of writing exercise. We would always ask, “Does spelling count?” I guess, as kids, we were always looking for the easy way out. In those days, we had pencil and paper and teachers would usually want assignments written in ink. Now, we have all kinds of tools to keep us from making errors. These tools are a blessing and a curse.
If we are talking about publishing an article, a novella, or a novel, it is important that the work you produce is as high a quality as you can possibly achieve. This is especially true when you’re trying to self-publish.
Spelling mistakes and errors in grammar are dead giveaways to readers. They show you don’t care. Readers scratch their heads and think, ‘Why didn’t they at least spellcheck their copy?’ You can really turn readers off with simple blunders. What can you do to make sure your copy reads well and you’re not going to turn off your readers? Here are a couple of tips that will help you get to a clean copy and you don’t turn off your readers with your ineptitude.
Read Your Copy
What sounds good in your head doesn’t always sound good out loud. One of the best things that you can do to make sure your copy reads well is to read it out loud. Read it word for word and make sure you are reading the words on the page and you aren’t just saying what you think you wanted to say. If it doesn’t make sense, change it.
Edit on Paper
Print out your copy to read it out loud. When you read something from the screen on your computer, it’s easy to try to make changes while you’re going along. Though you can do that, and you may be able to do it successfully, you will be much better off if you print it out and mark it up on paper. Then, you can go in and make the changes in the electronic copy all at once. This will force you to go through the whole article, chapter, or section. It is easier to do all at once rather than piece by piece.
Rhythm and Pace
Check for rhythm or pace in your writing. While you’re reading your copy out loud, you can check that it reads properly and the pace and rhythm makes for easy reading. When it sounds good coming out of your mouth, it will make much more sense to the person reading it. When somebody is reading your work, you don’t get a second chance to explain yourself. You have to make sure it makes sense to you so you can be sure it makes sense to somebody else.
Don’t Try to Be Clever
Not everybody is a scholar. Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, “If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.” This is absolutely true. If you try to make yourself sound smart, you’ll actually be proving that you don’t understand your audience or your subject matter. I used to love essay questions in school. I could write a ton of stuff and just hope some of it stuck. When you are trying to attract and keep an audience, don’t bother them with things that you may think sound smart. Make it straight forward and easy to understand. Your audience will tire quickly if they don’t understand the point.
So, in short
Keep is simple and remember that spelling, grammar, clearness, and tempo count for a lot when you’re trying to get your point across. Take advantage of all the tricks you can. Then, when you think it’s really really okay - get somebody else to edit your work. I’m not the best judge of my own writing and I am sure you aren’t either.
You should never take the easy way out. Do the work. Make the effort and do the absolute best you can. Only then can you be considered a professional at your craft.
Image Copyright: abluecup / 123RF Stock Photo
Bekker – the 10 Book Series
I can’t tell you how many folks have asked me what I’m writing about…but it’s been a lot.
It usually starts out something like “Hey, you’re a retired Marine Sergeant Major, retired federal law enforcement Director, former corporate executive, and even a former candidate for US Congress…now you’re a writer? Isn’t that a bit outside your area of expertise? Why would you want to be a writer?”
Well… I want to be a writer to tell the stories, and no, it’s not outside my area of expertise. In fact, what I’ve done with my life, and the experiences I’ve had actually form the basis for the series of historical fiction novels I’m writing! The series follows the main character, Ken Bekker, as he goes through a gritty, gut-wrenching series of adventures ranging from the battlefield to border security, the mountains of Idaho and streets of LA to the Iraqi desert, and from corporate conference rooms to a US Congressional campaign trail…
I will be sharing more detail about each of these books in future posts, but for now – to answer many of you that have been asking – here is a brief overview of the book series. It is broken into two five-book mini-series, as Bekker serves on active duty in the Marines, and then transitions from active duty to the reserves, and goes through his civilian (mainly law enforcement) career…but periodically gets recalled to active duty, eventually serving in six different wars and conflicts. The “Warrior” mini-series follows him during each of his periods of active duty serving in those various wars, and the “Protector” mini-series follows his adventures during his law enforcement career – between the wars.
Bekker quit college in 1972 and joined the Marines, out of old-fashioned patriotism and a desire to serve his country during the end of the Viet Nam war. As a son of a career military man, and having two grandfathers that served during one or both of the World Wars, one in the military, and the other in a “civilian” (i.e., intelligence) capacity, service was ingrained in his very bones.
This is the basis of the book one, “The Making of a Warrior” – and is the first book of the “Warrior” mini-series. It chronicles his journey from civilian to Marine, looks back at some of the influences and events that shaped his core being as he grew up, and takes us through three harrowing Operations at the end of the war, where Bekker experiences the horrors of fierce fighting and close (sometimes hand-to-hand) combat, losing friends and being seriously wounded, and his struggles to readjust to life after war and fit back in to civilian society.
In book two (the first book of the “Protector” mini-series), Bekker gets off of active duty with the Marine Corps, but remains in the reserve, and goes on to start a civilian career in public service as a first responder. Although he really wants to be a firefighter (like his birth father and grandfather), he takes a job as a State Correctional Officer (“prison guard”), where he experiences first-hand the criminal mindset, and the underground society of prisons. Eventually, he gets his chance to join the Fire Department, and become an EMT and EMT(A) (Emergency Medical Technician – Ambulance Qual.), where he goes through the highs and lows of saving and losing patients, homes and businesses, the drama of human suffering and the joy of new life. Due to budget cuts, he is forced to leave the fire service, and returns to the Prison, until he lands a job as a Deputy Sheriff, and after serving in patrol and motor divisions, eventually makes it to the Narcotics Task Force, where he goes undercover with a violent Aryan biker gang.
In book three, “Forging the Warrior”, Bekker gets recalled to active duty with the Marines, and because of his expertise (he is a Recon Marine and Sniper) and his specialized training (as a Recon Marine, he also went through Ranger School, Special Forces Qualification – SF Engineer (explosives/demo), Intelligence Specialist, and other training), he ends up, under the guidance and direction of one of our civilian “agencies”, attached to an allied nation as an advisor in Afghanistan in 1986. Even though this is a completely different type of war than his first, the combat and the atrocities by both sides (Afghans and Russians) bring Bekker right back to where he was in 1975 when he first returned to the US, filled with rage and violence, controlled only by his core of deep inner humanity and sense of service.
Book four sees Bekker again released from active duty, and he returns to his civilian career and takes a job as security for the Royal Family of Saudi Arabia (in La Jolla, Ca. at their residence), goes on to become a Bond Recovery Agent (bounty hunter), and finally gets back into law enforcement – this time Federal. He becomes an INS Detention Officer in San Diego, and then a US Border Patrol Agent in Calexico Ca.
In book five, “Tempering the Warrior”, Bekker gets recalled and sent to the Gulf War, where as a First Sergeant he is one of the few combat experienced Marines in his unit, and is severely wounded (blown up) as he is leading a patrol to clear out an enemy sniper team right at the end of the war. This book covers the war; actions taken and men lost, and brings Bekker back home, physically and spiritually wounded.
The next five books continue to follow Bekker as he moves back and forth from war overseas to war on the streets of the US, and progresses up the career ladder. I’m really looking forward to sharing an overview of them in my next post, as well as talking about each book in the series individually and in more detail – in posts to come – and even offering up a few free samples for you to check out and share! Stay tuned!
Sure you can do it all yourself and go the road less travelled with a buck-knife and a compass but there are services out there that will help keep your knees and elbows from getting skinned.
There are so many different options for self-publishing today you should consider them all before making a decision. Think about all of the processes that are included in getting a book to print. Does that self-publishing house provide those services and then you can compare the costs.
Services that you might consider using could include:
Here are some benchmark prices for you to consider when thinking about how to get your book published. What is included in these packages vary widely but giving them a once over might give you some idea about what is involved and how much it might cost to get some professional help with publishing your “self-published” book.
If you are looking for a basic manual for Creating an Ebook you should check out “Lulu Complete eBook Creator Guide”
This should give you a good list to review and consider. Happy publishing!