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 ( and publisher of numerous award-winning books.

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