Monday, May 5, 2014

No Free Lunch or Free Publishing

I saw an ad: How to publish your book for free. I found this annoying. I would imagine that it's how many graphic artists might feel when someone says I can color therefore I am a professional artist. We all run into those people who devalue your profession and think "anybody can do it" and then add to insult to it by suggesting it can be done FREE. I will just say one thing: free is as free does. Ever heard there is no such thing as a free lunch? There is no such thing as a free publishing service. Let me debunk some myths and then you'll see why it's never free if you want it done right.

Anybody can write. Yes, it's true we're all taught in grammar school how to write. In every writing profession (and yes many different levels of writing exist, from technical to journalistic) there are specific rules and structures to follow. Do you know what are those rules? I always like this one (it's true): you can't break the rules unless you know the rules. So, no not everyone can write professionally. And notice writing involves skill and talent.

I don't need an editor. I've said this so many times ... even the editor needs an editor. A professional editor knows those aforementioned rules and which ones cannot be broken. My other favorite: you don't know what you don't know. If you don't know something has been written incorrectly or misspelled how are you suppose to correct it OR even know to correct it? I will admit that even after 20+ years of professional editing I often forget rules or even learn something new all of the time.

I can push graphics around on a page. First, the minute I hear this belief I know the book is going to look terrible. No, not everyone knows graphic art, which is also a profession with rules and structures. Like editors graphic artists go to school to learn their profession. Graphics programs like InDesign require skill to use, and the depth of those programs require lots of hours spent in class to figure it all out.

I could go on, but back to the premise: free publishing. Unless you've got multiple college degrees, boundless talent, and many different skill sets, it's NOT free. I haven't even touched on production and project management -- other skills. So no free lunch or free publishing!

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