Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Writing Books: It's a Jungle Out There

Do you ever feel wishy-washy when it comes to your writing? I am constantly coming up with ideas and thinking they’re great ones. I’ll start something and just stop. I find I often lose confidence in an idea or become distracted by other projects. In my world, I am trying to hustle and make money. So when a paid opportunity arises, I always take it. Unfortunately, I then find my own writing falling to the wayside.

My other issue is losing confidence in my finished work. Oh, now I know my new novel The Abused is a great read. My focus group comments were all positive. My sensitivity comes from concerns about the marketplace. I lose confidence it will sell. As a publisher I’m keenly aware of how competitive the book market has become and saturated with many self-publishers. It takes a lot of effort to move a book into the audience’s hands. Therefore, I am nervous to spend money unless I know I’ll have time to promote it.

Are you feeling my points? As an author we face many challenges. First, we have to get our books written and then we have to get them promoted and then we clap our hands together and pray. Then we have to sit back and hear the results. Reviewers make their comments and readers make their statements. Next, we hope those reviews are positive and we actually see sales results. And you can have all of those factors come together – great writing and fabulous reviews – and then what? Believe it or not, your book can still run the risk of gathering dust on a shelf somewhere.

Yet even with all of those obstacles, we writers don’t give up. And this is why if you aren’t passionate about what you do, don’t waste your time. Getting into the author game with a singular goal to write a best seller is probably the greatest defeating purpose. Writing a book because you either (a) want to support your business or (b) feel passionate about your work and have a great story to share means whatever the results you will be infinitely satisfied.

When authors come to me and their only goal is to see their name in “lights” I send them away. Of course as their publisher I want to shoot for the big dream too. But as you’ve just read we authors face a myriad of different variables on our road to success. Sometimes you have to dig in and dig deep and prepare the big guns – your time, persistence, focus and most importantly passionate desire. Without those ingredients you’ll find the entire book publishing experience a potential letdown.

In this business the words “overnight success” are the biggest fallacy of all. I don’t know one author (not even the most successful ones) whose work became an overnight success. In fact, I don’t know anyone whose work became an overnight success. What happens on the road to the so-called “next day” is typically a whole lot of blood, sweat and tears. Just look at some of the most famous names in publishing. All of them have a story to tell, and none of them brag about that “one night” it all happened where they woke up the next day rich and famous.

The only people I know who end rich overnight are Lottery winners. And that’s my .2 cents for the day.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Polish Up Your Writing Skills

I thought today it would be fun to talk about my least favorite things in prose that bog down both story and readability. Inexperienced authors tend to do this. Can you guess what it is? Probably not because I’m being super vague LOL … hey, maybe that’s it! Being too vague. Nope, but that’s a discussion for another day. This habit drives me, your intrepid editor, crazy: too much attention to unimportant minutia or details.

I saw this discussion on one of my social media groups. The question: should you describe someone’s clothes in a scene? A very good question and the answer is: yes, but don’t go too far. Actually, that answer applies to all setting descriptions – yes, but don’t go too far. The “too-far” part of the answer is the minutia. When describing people’s appearances, for example, it’s good to be straightforward to give an idea of the person’s looks and how he/she comes across in a scene. So, let me give you two examples.

Bad: She was attractive when she wasn’t in her stern counselor mode. Her medium-length brown hair hung past her shoulders and had golden highlights and a few stray strands curled up. She wore a little makeup and base with a hint of pink blush and clear-colored lip balm with her eyelashes tipped in mascara. She didn’t seem to care about making herself up too – she felt the inner was more important than the outer.

Good: She was attractive when she wasn’t in her stern counselor mode. Her medium-length brown hair hung just past her shoulders, but she always kept it in a low ponytail. She wore little if any makeup, and she didn’t seem to care about outer stuff anyway.

Now let me break it down. Why is the first one overdone? Read them both and ask yourself, “Did I really need all those details to understand Sandra’s personality? Did I need to know she wore base and blush and tipped her lashes in mascara? Or did the scene work just fine to know she “wore little if any makeup” and that was enough to tell you that this woman doesn’t obsess over looks? The point in that description is what? To know how she applies mascara? Or to know that she’s more concerned with inner work on one’s self? The latter is the answer, and the latter is achieved in the brief description.

Want to learn a great technique? When I was a junior in college I took this great English class. We did a fabulous exercise. Take a sentence and keep cutting it down without robbing its meaning.  Here we go…

Her medium-length brown hair hung just past her shoulders, but she always kept it in a low ponytail.

Her brown hair hung past her shoulders, but she kept it in a ponytail.

I’m not proposing you take all of the “color” out of your writing, but this exercise will help you sharpen your writing. I like and encourage writers to shortcut descriptions by using specifics. Using specific references will pull the reader right to the vivid idea. For example, instead of saying “soda” use “Pepsi”. Most of us know and relate to what is a Pepsi. Want to make a point that your character watches her/his weight? Make it “diet” Pepsi. Now I’ve not only said what the character drinks, but something about their weight concerns.

Those three little tips – cutting down the descriptions, editing out extra words, and adding specific details – will instantly take your writing to the next level. Whether you’re an author or just write letters, my tip about cutting out words will also impress your co-workers and boss. Easy-to-read and understand and straightforward writing comes across more professional. As I suggested, try it. Take a few sentences and ask yourself about each word this one question:

Do I really need THAT word to make my point? If the answer is no then cut it.

And that’s Friend-Os is English class with Michelle. Do you want to learn everything I’ve been taught between my formal education and years of hands-on experience? Hire me as your book coach. It’s private lessons in writing. You can call me today at 916-300-8012 or reply to this email.

Happy writing!!!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Young Pope - Review

The Young Pope
Rating: ****1/2

The title itself caught my attention many months ago when HBO began promoting its new limited series, The Young Pope. I'm not Catholic but was certainly curious about Jude Law playing a youthful "Your Holiness," which the character insists on being called even to close friends.

I'm not sure which I find the most interesting: the often surreal scenes (episode 4 a random note about Greenland and music appears as its prime minister dances) or the deadpan jokes that are sprinkled throughout. Aside from the strange quality of the setting at the Vatican, this series is just unique. I may not be Catholic but I am spiritual. The questions raised about God's existence and belief are provoking and inspiring. I like nothing better than a show that is intelligent, and The Young Pope is deftly written and every scene interesting.

Now episode 1 was laden in too much intellectual reflection and slow-moving dialog. By episode 2 and then 3, the pace quickened and the intrigue heightened. The story line with Ester, the young married, unfaithful woman who is barren, got underway by episode 3 and fully fleshed out by 4. The scene in which the Pope drops to his knees to pray for her conception while she has sex with her  husband is intense. The Pope's prayer rings of raw sexuality and desire of his own even though he is simply praying, but he even breaks a sweat. Meanwhile, we see Ester pushed up against a window as she gives her "beauty" to her husband.

Lots of metaphors and flashbacks develop the stories and push it along with informed meaning. What I find most fascinating is the banality of the scenes' content juxtaposed against the backdrop of this sacred place, The Vatican. One never thinks about "Your Holiness" smoking, but he does. And Sister Mary's funny t-shirt scrawled with "I'm a Virgin" is a wink and smile.

In short, watch The Young Pope whether you're religious or not -- it's highly entertaining.

Monday, January 23, 2017

"Serving" vs. "Selling"

What is your experience being sold to? I always associated sales with things like car sales men rushing out to hustle you or the salesman who follows you around the store saying repeatedly, “How may I help you?” Both of these situations were met with an irritated reply, “I’m fine. Just looking.”

I’ve never approached sales that way. First, sales are the mainstay of any business. Yet if you’re like me having to “sell” something can be akin to teeth pulling – unwanted, unpleasant and avoided if at all possible.

As a result, I don’t approach sales and marketing from any of those viewpoints. In fact, I don’t think of sales as “sales”. I mean, I focus on my products and services and identifying people I can be “of service to.” My approach comes not from how can I make money off this transactions (and don’t get me wrong money is important), but how I can I make your life or business better. In that approach it’s all about what can I do? What product (think books for authors) will meet your needs? How can I improve your business with my programs and services?

I do this not just for the customers but also for myself. I don’t want to hustle people. I don’t want to convince people of anything more than benefits to them. Hustling and convincing and pushing people in certain directions isn’t appealing to me. It’s just not how I work or even want to work.

Helping other people … making dreams come true … improving lives! Those three things drive me as an individual. This matters so much. At the book launch of Habits and Attitudes a critical point got made by speaker Marc Gottlieb, one the of the contributors to the book. He said your personal mission statement and your professional mission statement must align for overall happiness. It got me thinking. Did my mission statement for 3L Publishing align with my personal statement? Let’s see …

Personal: To live my life filled with love, creativity and connectedness.
Professional: To strive for excellence in everything 3L Publishing produces and provides.

Do these match? No. Yet when I thought about how I set about conducting business I realized they align in the ways I approach things like sales. Doing something or selling something to “help” others creates the desired connectedness. Conducting business with a desire to make dreams come true is deeply personal and connected.

You see you can be in business and you don’t have to swim with sharks. You don’t have to dive into the waters filled with sharks. When you align your personal and professional missions then you do things in your business and life that don’t attract sharks and shady people. Think about it. If I hustle a sale how does the person feel about knowing they were probably hustled? And really, how do I feel about hustling them? According to my mission statement hustling doesn’t create connection, it’s not “loving” and it’s really not about creativity.

Sitting down and figuring out how to make dreams come true creates connection, engenders positive relationships (love), and it’s far more creative.

Finding happiness and fulfillment in business and life means you do things that align both areas. How you approach your daily life and business requires an alignment in both areas to find not just happiness but also peace of mind. I know I’ve done things that help other people and make positive connections that result in excellent outcomes.


Contact me if you have a book, publication(s), or content requirements for online materials. I can also help you grow your business through our top-notch public relations and marketing services. Contact me today at info@3LPublishing.com or call 916-300-8012.

Friday, January 20, 2017

"E-Book Killed the Print Book Star"

Driving Uber in San Francisco has been educational from a marketing standpoint about how to reach the younger audience. Understanding your audience is very important when trying to sell to them. If you don’t know how they do things and what they want to read about or know about then you’re missing out on a substantial portion of potential sales.

In the publishing world, the key is to know that Millennials aren’t quite as in love with paper as their parents and grandparents. Not to suggest that Gen X and Boomers aren’t into eBooks (because they are), but the younger generation is all about the Smart Phone. To a greater or lesser degree, visit a major metropolis and look around at today’s city dwellers. You will be astonished to count 1 out of every 3 people has his or her head down reading or texting on their Smart Phones.

One of the “security” gateways for Uber is the service requires a credit card and Smart Phone to work. I was talking the other day with passengers who were astonished to find a “girl” driver. I’ve had that comment several times, and in the city where you might assume more women would drive. When it came to a point about security I said, “The credit card and Smart Phone tended to weed out those segments of the population that might cause more harm.” Then I joked, “If a homeless person has a Smart Phone and nowhere to live they might want to reassess their priorities.” We laughed at the irony, but you would be surprised…

The point in all of this is the Smart Phone and its proliferation and affect on consumer behavior. In the publishing world to release a book and fail to provide the eBook version leaves out a large number of buyers who no longer buy print. I no longer recommend that authors only do a print version. The other interesting trend related to the Smart Phone is the use of Audibles. One should look no further than the tremendous success of the audio show Serial. Interestingly enough, two female entrepreneurs created the program.

Yet as was the case when online content became popular and I was the publisher of a magazine, many readers still hold dear the print version. Many people still want the feel of newsprint on their hands. I understand. And when asked what will be the long-term outcome of eBooks, my answer is based solely on my understanding of the Millennials and Gen Z, and it’s so plainly obvious. Once the Boomers and Gen X age out, you’re going to see a lot more trees being preserved. Remember the song “video killed the radio star” … well “digital killed the print book” will be a famed phrase I am certain.

And that’s my prediction … based on all those “youngin’s” wandering the streets of San Francisco, heads down, not paying attention.  

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Target audience + targeted message = SUCCESS

Did you know that you can waste a lot of time by doing one thing. Do you know what that thing is?

Not marketing to your target audience.

YES! Many professionals fail to target their audience. When you’re doing marketing and promotion, failure to identify who you are trying to reach will fail to find your customers. When you’ve successfully found your target believe me you’ll know it. Your sales will immediately increase. And it’s not just a matter of targeting the right audience, it involves another key to success:

Target audience + targeted message = SUCCESS.

See, you could find your right target audience, but the message you’re sending might not be the right one. So when you’re doing marketing and promotion, you need to check. First, the obvious barometer of success is sales. Your audience is not responding to your message(s). Don’t be complacent. Sometimes you need to reach for a new message. Just because your audience doesn’t respond to the first message, try another one. Don’t give up. You have to be open and willing to figure out the “marketing puzzle”.

When it comes to book promotion look at what your audience is already reading. If your book is a self-help book, check out the best sellers. A market clearly exists for self-help books, but the topics change from year to year. Sometimes people are focused on mindset other times they’re focused on manifestation. Regardless, find out what people want to know now and then refine your message to reach those people. For example, we’re promoting Habits & Attitudes and Thank God for Layovers by Lance A. Casazza. Each book has a variety of potential topics. The media kit I am writing for those books will be aiming to reach 1) editors and media producers who can present my messages and 2) consumers and readers who are interested in that subject material.

It’s very tricky. Editors and media producers aren’t necessarily interested in my subject matter. So, targeting takes 1) identifying the right media and 2) identifying what that media is looking for and 3) making sure I deliver the right message to attract their interest. The editors and media to some extent have already identified what their respective audiences want to read and see. So, my messages need to be catered to their audiences and demographics.

An effective marketer or publicist knows these areas and understand how to reach the different layers of audience members. It’s a balancing act. You have to be open and willing to sometimes let go of preconceived ideas. You cannot force a message – either it works or it doesn’t work.

One of the biggest challenges is to make your messages work for both the media and the mass consumer market. It’s no easy feat. Sometimes you will hit it right on the spot the very first time you send something to an editor or producer. Other times you will not come close. Just be willing to try new things and don’t lock yourself down to any one concept. Try and try until it works.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Sexy, Good Fun: California Girl Chronicles

I had a dream last night. I was walking through a local library and spotted California Girl Chronicles, book 1 and 2 on the shelves. They had been well worn and read. I also noticed that they had a hard copy of book 2, Brea’s Big Break. I wondered, “Who got this printed?” What a strange dream. I felt proud the books had been obviously read a lot since they were tattered up.

I’ve always called California Girl Chronicles like chewing bubble gum – it’s sweet, fun and a way to pass time, especially on the beach. Both books are sexy, funny and frivolous in many ways. I was in a different frame of mind when I wrote these books. Today five years later after so much in my life has changed, I’ve considered whether or not I need to get a little more frivolous again.

I was driving UBER and put the books behind the seats in the little pocket. A passenger picked up the second book, which says “It’s Sex in the City meets Entourage.” The girl says, “Oh cool!” Now that is an interesting way to gage reader reactions – put your book in the seat pocket and let people see it. Then listen to their reactions.

Here’s an even better situation. Now both books 1 and 2 are available as eBooks/Kindle. Get this: the first book “Brea and the City of Plastic” cost .99© … score. The second book “Brea’s Big Break” is $2.99. You can have both books for $3.99. Pretty, pretty good!

Copies are available in print, too.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Fresh Book Marketing Ideas

It’s a new year and I’ll be if you’re an author your goal is to increase your book’s sales. I am constantly trying new things and reading other people’s ideas too. Every time I find some fresh tips I like to pass them on.

Exclusive Reader’s Group on Facebook – Why not create your own Reader’s Group? Invite people to the group and do special giveaways and promo that can only be obtained in the group. Make people feel special. You will create not just “readers” but fans! Fans are loyal and loyalty buys more books.

Wattpad (https://www.wattpad.com/) – This is a new one for me. Apparently there is a large community of readers where authors can share information about their books. You can release free excerpts from the book and attract and build readership. I’m going to check it out and share more with you down the road, but it looks perfect for authors to use as a marketing tool.

Letter from the Author in the back of your book – Many authors lose the opportunity to share links and social media information by not including this information at the end of their books. Make sure that your bio and/or letter invites and encourages readers to follow you and gives them links.

Videos are all the rage right now so make a book trailer and videos – If you are going to do videos make them professional. Nothing is worse than watching a bad video. Post VLOGs on your social media site and blog. Read from the book or make videos when you’re at signings and events.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Habits and Attitudes Will Inspire You

Here comes the launch of Habits and Attitudes by Lance Casazza. It will go on sale January 21st on Amazon. I LOVE THIS BOOK (did the all caps emphasize enough: I LOVE THIS BOOK?). Why did I fall in love with the book? It inspired me right when I needed it the most. You see I read 52 stories about people just like me and their journeys and realized: I am not alone! YES!

I’ll be honest (and some of you know) 2016 was no cakewalk. The departure of my business partner in such messy way started my year off just wrong. The financial crumbling created from the situation and the behavior that led up to it. To make matters worse, it was a personal loss as well. Stuck and facing some ugly realities left behind, I was beginning to wonder what was going to happen. Then …

I worked on Habits and Attitudes and here is what I learned:

Many, many, many successful people have faced the very same challenges and overcome them.

I was feeling like a failure. How could I have fallen so far into so many financial problems I just couldn’t get ahead? I am an educated, experienced and seasoned publisher and marketing and PR expert. How could this have happened? Yet reading these stories really encouraged me. I realized something important: this moment of struggle didn’t define who I am or my future success.

As I read the habits and attitudes used by these amazing individuals to achieve their dreams, I was inspired. I decided to put my mind only on those things that were about positive, forward motion and growth. I set up some new goals to achieve. I began ensuring that every morning I meditated and faced each day with a positive outlook. I focused on positive self-talk and inspiring mantras.

I already did some of those things, but what Habits and Attitudes reinforced is that successful people do those things, too. I decided with the new year I would get up every day and contact at least 5 people in my network to let them know I can help them prosper in some way. In my goal to help them do well then it would help my business get back on track, too. And Chris taught me this one:

Don’t forget to just breathe and take a deep breath.

Now I don’t have to endorse books I publish. In this book’s case I highly endorse it. Just reading each person’s list of habits and their attitudes is very enlightening. If you don’t do the things these people do, then you will be inspired to try them. If you do some of things already you will get fresh ideas. My favorite section is the called “The Parting Shot” where each person leaves the reader with their overall ideas about life and inspired thinking.

Habits and Attitudes releases on Amazon and in eBook on Amazon, Kindle, Nook, and iBook on January 21st. You will thank me for recommending it when you pick it up.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Sticks and Stones: The Power of Words

Funny thing happened when I posted this simple sentence on Facebook: I need to be inspired! Apparently, I should have been more specific. I need to be inspired to write my next book. The responses to that phrase ranged from generous thoughts to some outright and strange nastiness. One guy said: Look in the mirror and count your blessings??? Another guy responded with “clown ass, I don’t think she needs to hear that…” About this time, I’m laughing over the word “clown ass” … okay, new phrase. Not entirely sure why anyone would get all “pissy” over the request for inspiration, though.

The interesting point is the power of words and interpretation. A general statement turned into something that people were either telling me nice things are being jerks about. A broad range of reactions to something so innocuous and simple. Makes you think about it, doesn’t it?

In Lance Casazza’s forthcoming book Thank God for Layovers: Take your life from coach to first class, he identified the power of HOW we say something and its impact on the receiver of that communication. He gave a great story about how a blind man had a sign that read: I’m blind. Need help. A woman comes up and rewrites the sign and he starts getting immediate assistance. The woman changed the message to: It’s a beautiful day but I can’t see it.

Think about how that applies to your sales and lead generation. What words are you using to get people to work with you or buy your product? I started thinking about it. Writing and communicating from a position of LACK vs. positive ideas and beneficial outcomes. Words can impact emotions. Words can influence people. Words can change lives. The reason you should never say something mean to anyone is you can’t take it back. Once you’ve said it, it’s out there.

I recently read some great pitch Subject lines designed to get an editor’s attention. A fabulous tip the author suggested was never to use phrases like: Book Pitch. Let me be specific. I am working on the public relations campaign for the Habits and Attitudes book. A great pitch line might be for a Valentine’s subject:
Make someone fall in love with just the right attitude

I booked Lance on the radio show Get Real with Bob & Stacey that airs out of Boston based on this pitch. They posted a query looking for entrepreneurs and authors. My subject line read:

Two Birds with One Stone – An Author AND Entrepreneur

Notice I didn’t use or reference anything to do with “pitch”. I addressed what the query was asking for in the description. They were looking for either an author or entrepreneur. My client is both – win! My bet that paid off was to immediately communicate that my proposed guest for their show met ALL of their needs.

When you’re pitching your book to various media and book reviewers, here is an important tip:

Don’t pitch from the viewpoint of here is my book for you. Pitch from the perspective of how can I serve or meet a need for you.

The latter idea aims to meet their needs. Reality is that journalists and editors NEED your content. You can help them meet their professional goals by giving them something they’re looking for in the first place. Sometimes you forget that the media NEEDS sources and content. Notice the name Help a Reporter Out (HARO). They’re asking for content. Your job is to show them HOW your content meets their NEED NOT the other way around.

For all of my many Friend-Os I am here as an excellent publicist, too. Are you not getting the proper responses to your pitches? Are your book sales flat? Then it’s time to start a strong public relations campaign to increase your book or product’s visibility. People can’t buy a book they’ve never heard about. I’ve got a leg up on many other publicists because I was a magazine editor and publisher for 15 years. I’ve been on both sides of the desk and I know how the media thinks.

Contact me at info@3LPublishing.com if you want to increase your visibility and therefore sales.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Editor vs. Writer: What is the difference?

The professional editor conundrum. I discovered that many people mistake “editing” vs. “rewriting”. Perfect example is a lovely client who wanted me to “edit” his travel book. He mentioned that the previous editors had not done the book justice. When I reviewed his material, I realized “editing” wouldn’t fix the problem, but rather rewriting was in order. I explained to him that the reason he loved my work vs. the other editors’ work was because I wasn’t editing I was rewriting.

Why did I need to rewrite him? He’s not a native English speaker. Since English was not his first language, he used many words and phrases either awkwardly or just wrongly. When you hire an editor, it’s his/her job to make grammar corrections, tighten sentences, and make overall content comments or rearrange organization. Editors are not writers. So, if you want your document to perhaps flow better or present a professional approach to its content, do not hire an editor. You need a writer to fix the writing. Two equally different jobs.

In fact, I know some editors who don’t consider themselves gifted writers but rather excellent grammarians. They know the rules and style. They may or may not be creative and talented writers. Grammar, punctuation and style are more like math. 1 + 1 always equals 2. Also, true is that nouns + verbs + subject matter = writing. I’m being a little tongue and cheek in what I’m saying, but the real message is that grammar isn’t as subjective as you might believe. Rules are rules. Math is math. Grammar has rules and those rules apply in their own perfect state.

Rewriting is writing based on someone’s thoughts and research. You don’t necessarily use their word or phrase choices. You rewrite the sentences and make the flow of the work read smoothly. This client loved my writing NOT my editing. I was completely revising the entire sentence and smoothing it out. I wasn’t using his words anymore, but rather his concepts to convey new words.

Editing doesn’t take as long as rewriting. So the value of the service is different. If you’re paying for an editor but you’re really getting a writer, it doesn’t cost the same price. Rewriting takes twice as long and requires completely different talents. Any truly honest editor who receives a document that is poorly written will waste the person’s time by trying to edit what really needs a rewrite. The client won’t be happy. He/she will be like my client and mistakenly believe the editor failed at his/her job. So, the best approach in this situation is to be honest:

“Your document won’t do what you want it to do with an editor’s touch. You really need it rewritten.”

As an editor if you want to make a client happy, sharing this information will be far better than trying to truly do an “edit”. At that point, you can adjust your price and do revisions NOT edits or just refer your client to an actual writer.

Michelle Gamble, CEO of 3L Publishing, provides editorial and writing services to both B2B and B2C organizations as well as fiction and nonfiction book coaching. She can be reached at info@3LPublishing.com.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

I am a bad author

Violating my own rule of being an author, I have been caught many times now without any of my books to sell. Driving UBER as a quick way to bring in cash, many riders have asked me, "Why don't you have your book in the car?" OMG! Why don't I?

My imagination went wild. I need a magazine-like rack on the back of my car seat. Yeah, you know ... like the doctor's office. If they browse the book and want to buy it, I can sell books via my car. Is this just crazy or what?

Then I thought, "Man who am I to lecture authors about having their books on them all of the time when I'm not carrying mine?" You know what everybody, I had to stop and wonder about my card-carrying author rights about then. Good question.

Well, I need some "braggadocio" going on here. Yes, I am not really an UBER driver. I'm a publisher/author pretending to be an UBER driver. It's like Halloween year-round. See my easy costume? Sweater and pants -- just need to now bring the books! Many of the riders I pick up in the City would love California Girl Chronicles.

Well, back to the grindstone... and now I'm going to sell drive-a-book services! :)

Monday, January 2, 2017

Self-Publishing on Speed Heads for a Crash

Lately I’ve noticed some “publishers” offering these “crash courses” on publishing. They are teaching people to write a book in a DAY. The old saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day” applies to this scenario. Any business professional knows that trying to take what is a complex, skilled process and distill it into a day’s work is akin to building a house of cards and expecting it not to collapse when the breeze blows.

You cannot write and publish a quality book in a day. You can watch all of those online and video programs suggesting it’s easy, but it’s not. When it comes to publishing the idea that you can churn out a book in 24 hours will only lead to a bad book. Some people believe that grammar and spelling really don’t matter. Content is king. Who cares if there are 10 errors on a single page? It’s my message, right? Wrong. Professionals care if something looks like it was sloppily put together with very little thought to professionalism and excellence.

The point of writing a book (and especially a book to support your business) is to open doors of opportunity, build a platform, define your message, and build credibility. I know from years of experience that no matter how much skill you possess, you’re going to make mistakes. I always use an editor on my own books. I realize copyediting is valuable. I know that my “content” will speak volumes about my knowledge and skills. I know I make mistakes. I also know that if I try and write an entire book in a day, which I couldn’t do anyway, mistakes would be all over the place. The reader will spend more time fumbling over my mistakes than paying attention to my content.

Editorial mistakes detract from content. Grammar mistakes foul up the message. You might think you said it the right way, but it’s the wrong word. I used to constantly mess up the use of perspective vs. prospective – and each means very different things. If your reader doesn’t know what you mean then how can he or she receive the RIGHT message?

I once read this book that had it not been so messed up, I would have given it five stars. I spent more time wanting to correct the mistakes than reading the message. The author had some great points, too. Then to add further insult, her print run must have been messed up because the second half of the book had another unknown book’s content in it. Would this have happened with proper proofing? Would she have had a mistake on every page with a great copyeditor?

My point: writing a quality book that is professionally done will give you the desired results – a book that has an easily understood message and valuable content. What is your goal in writing a book? Most people want the aforementioned end result. So, a book written in a day isn’t going to achieve those outcomes.

If your goal is to write a book to support your business, please DO NOT use these online courses or video tutorials that promote churning out your product. My absolute guarantee based on years of experience is that book will lead to one outcome: you look very unprofessional and sloppy.

You want your book or publications done by professionals and NOT in a day? Use a professional publisher. Work with people who know what they are doing. Any other choice will defeat your purpose.

Michelle Gamble is the CEO of 3L Publishing (www.3LPublishing.com) and publisher of numerous award-winning books.