Monday, September 23, 2013

Always Make Your Book Look and Read like You're a Professional Author

With so many self-publishing choices, many authors confuse something very important: the ability to publish OR the ability to publish it RIGHT. Many different "distribution mechanisms" like Create Space enable authors to publish on the cheap (and I use the word "publish" loosely since Create Space is not a publisher but a "publishing tool"). Authors write the book and find the tool (they call the tool their publisher, which again it is not a publisher), and they call their books published. They also believe they got such a deal, and this cheap publishing tool enabled it.

The book might sell to friends and family -- and that's all the audience it will ever find. It wasn't even done professionally. It's often not professionally edited (the author is a professional writer and their English teacher friend proofed it). They didn't have a graphic designer design it, they hit "format" in Word and it is "formatted" and not designed. The cover was an image they found on a stock photo site, and they had a friend with a copy of a graphics program insert the title -- and they call it designed. So now this poorly edited, quasi-designed book is the "professional" image they distribute NOT publish using a distribution tool.

Every now and again, one of these writers will send me their cover image that they placed text on and ask me, "What do you think?" I typically look at it and easily recognize what they've done, and my luke warm, polite reply leaves them disappointed. I didn't flip over their homemade cover. How could that be? Sorry! But I warn you that asking a professional publisher his or her opinion on a homemade cover is very likely to get you a response you don't want to hear.

So let me distill this down to the message and/or lesson: if you're going to use a publishing "mechanism" or "tool" to release your book, I ask you, "Why did you not ensure you made it professional?" If you're going to put your words in public, shouldn't you put them in the very best light? Why didn't you hire (remember, free is free) a professional editor to clean it up and then do the final proof? (Two entirely different chores.) Why did you type some text on a stock photo and call it a cover? Why did you "format" your copy in Word and call it designed?

And then when you find some book reviewers to send it to, why do you act surprised that they don't take you seriously? YOU didn't take your work seriously! So why should the reviewers?

Do you want to go with a real publisher? Do you want your book to look and read like it was written by a professional? We take your work seriously! And so should you. For more information, send an email to 3L Publishing at info@3LPublishing.com or call 916-300-8012, or log on to our website at www.3LPublishing.com.

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