Wednesday, June 30, 2010

An open letter to Google


Dear Larry and Sergey,

I hope that mock-newspaper got your attention.

I am using this Google-operated blog to address you because I have not gotten a response to an email and phone call to your press relations people.

As you can see, since I use Blogger.com, I am a customer of yours. I actually operate seven other Blogger blogs. I also write books, and have written articles for newspapers and magazines.

Since Friday, I have been the victim of a widespread, skillful and entirely fraudulent online attack using multiple websites, mass-messaging, and a Blogger blog. That blog includes defamation, harassment, libel, lies and even copyright violation. At least one believer wants me killed!

When I tried to file an "abuse" complaint, I learned that you'll remove a blog only if I provide a court order.

You say that "Blogger is a provider of content creation tools, not a mediator of that content. We allow our users to create blogs, but we don't make any claims about the content of these pages. We strongly believe in freedom of expression, even if a blog contains unappealing or distasteful content or presents unpopular viewpoints. We realize this may be frustrating, and we regret any inconvenience this may cause you."

And: "We do not remove allegedly defamatory content from www.google.com or any other U.S. dot com domains."

And: "The language of Section 230(c) of the Communications Decency Act fundamentally states that Internet services like Google.com, Blogger and many of Google’s other services are republishers and not the publisher of that content. Therefore, these sites are not held liable for any allegedly defamatory, offensive or harassing content published on the site."

And: "US domain sites such as Google.com, Blogger, Page Creator, etc. are sites regulated only by U.S. law. Given this fact, and pursuant to Section 230(c) of the Communications Decency Act, we do not remove allegedly defamatory material from U.S. domains. The only exception to this rule is if the material has been found to be defamatory by a court, as evidenced by a court order."

I went to court yesterday. I found that I could not simply sit down with a friendly judge, get him or her to sign an order, and FedEx it to you.

Instead, I have to pay $250 to file a lawsuit, and if I win the trial at some indefinite time in the future, then maybe I can get a court order.

Well, guys, one of your other Blogger.com customers is making my life miserable every hour of the day. My neighbors have been warned not to let their children near me. At least one person has publicly stated that she wants me killed. A teenage boy was questioned by police after leaving my house. My wife is terrified and depressed. My business is suffering. I can't wait weeks or months for a trial with an indefinite outcome.

Therefore, I am preparing for a trial in the media preceding the trial in the courtroom.

  • If you won't help me by stopping the publication of lies and providing the police with the identity of my attacker, I will fight back in the best way I know.
Several other web companies have sided with truth, morality and justice and deleted attacks on me -- but you have not.

Google is under fire around the world. You have gone from being a gentle giant to being the evil empire. There are nearly 80,000 links for the phrase "Google sued" and 136,000 links for "Google was sued" -- on Google!

Some of those suits seem trivial, resulting from perceived damages caused by your allegedly providing improper travel directions.

BUT, imagine the reaction of your customers, shareholders, government regulators and the public to a headline that says, "Google sued for refusing to remove blog falsely accusing man of dog raping and wife burning."

Please get in touch soon so we can work this out. I need your help, and so do the police.

ADDENDUM:  Today's New York Times has a report about Google appeasing and placating the censors in China by no longer directing Chinese web users to Google's uncensored Hong Kong service. It's distrubing that Google cares more about its business in China, than about victims of its American bloggers.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

B&N store sales and stock price continue to decline, but overall sales are up

Barnes & Noble's  fiscal fourth-quarter loss widened despite stronger-than-expected sales, as the world's biggest bricks-and-mortar bookseller gave a weak outlook.

It forecast a first-quarter loss of 85 cents to $1.15 a share, worse than the 44-cent loss forecast by analysts. It sees same-store sales flat to up 3%.

For the just-begun year, the company predicted the bottom line could range from a 10-cent loss to a 30-cent profit excluding revenue deferrals. That compares with analysts' estimate for an 80-cent profit. B& N also said revenue would increase 20% to 25% -- analysts' revenue expectation assumes 16% growth -- with same-store sales also seen flat to up 3%.

The company heralded 2010 as the year it would transform into a major e-commerce retailer, after its results slumped through the economic downturn as shoppers migrated to discount and online booksellers. Indeed, in its sales projections Monday, the company said online comparable sales would jump 75% to $1 billion.

Its push to shift to digital sales has been vigorous. In March, the company named its online guru, William Lynch, as its new chief executive. In May, it began selling used CDs and DVDs online. And a week ago, B&N unveiled a scaled-down version of its Nook e-reader and cut the price of its premium Nook to match Amazon's Kindle. The Nook also competes with Apple's iPad and other e-readers and tablet computers.

But it continues to struggle with weak store traffic, with same-store sales down 3.1% in the most recent period. Online sales -- a small portion of revenue -- surged 51% to $141 million. Comparable sales at the company's college booksellers rose a better-than-expected 2.9%.

For the quarter ended May 1, Barnes & Noble posted a loss of $32 million, or 58 cents a share, from $2.7 million, or 5 cents a share, a year earlier. The latest results included a 25 cent benefit from tax reserves and a 7-cent boost from a favorable inventory shortage rate. Excluding them, loss widened to 89 cents.

In February, the company forecast loss of 85 cents to $1.15 a share, worse than analysts' estimates at the time. Gross margin fell to 27.5% from 30%. The stock has fallen 14% since the beginning of the year, worse than the market at large.  (info from Dow Jones)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Attack, and response

On Friday, 6/25/10, someone started a well-crafted online smear campaign using multiple websites, Facebook and mass-messaging, falsely accusing me of some terrible crimes. This blog tells the story. I hope the final blog entry will be a description of the SOB going to jail.

Several people who became aware of my sad situation early, advised me to keep quiet "until it blows over."

I decided to be more proactive, and quickly started the blog as a counterattack, hoping that anyone investigating the bogus claims would find my side of the story and believe me, or at least investigate further.
  • General Motors ignored reports ("Unsafe at any Speed") about the handling of the Corvair. Ford ignored reports about dangerous Pinto gas tanks. Both car brands are long gone.
  • Perrier delayed response to claims that benzine was in their bottled water, and people drank contaminated Perrier for months before Perrier issued a recall. The company's reputaton was hurt greatly.
  • OTOH, in 1993 Pepsi immediately and boldly reacted to reports of product tampering and achieved strong media coverage and public support. The reports were hoaxes, and the trouble was over in two weeks.
  • In 1982, Johnson & Johnson was faced with a much bigger problem: seven people in Chicago died after taking poisoned Extra-Strength Tylenol. J&J responded immediately, and proved that the poison was added to the products in retail stores, and that there was nothing wrong with the manufacturing process. Several important media experts predicted that the Tylenol brand was dead, but J&J's rapid and proactive intervention saved the brand, which is an extremely popular painkiller today.
I drink Pepsi and use Extra-Strength Tylenol, and am following their examples in crisis management.

I urge others to do the same. If you wait until the bad news blows over, you may blow over, too.

If you are portrayed as a perpetrator, it's important to show that you are a victim
 
(Tylenol photo from J&J, Pinto photo from HunterTrek.com).

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Salon eMag is wrong about self-publishing

In a column in Salon titled "When anyone can be a published author, how do you find something good to read in a brave new self-published world?," Laura Miller wrote, "What happens once the self-publishing revolution really gets going, when all of those previously rejected manuscripts hit the marketplace, en masse, in print and e-book form, swelling the ranks of 99-cent Kindle and iBook offerings by the millions? Is the public prepared to meet the slush pile?

Laura is very wrong to assume that all or most or many self-pubbed books were previously rejected by traditional publishers. Many self-pubbers -- including yours truly -- PREFER to self-publish, but Miller and her teammates and cheerleaders just don't get it.

I've had books published by traditional publishers (including Doubleday) but I'm much happier with the quality, control and income I get when I publish my own work.

It's also FUN.

I enjoy playing with various cover concepts and title variations. I like to choose editors, designers and photographs. I'm weird enough to think it's fun to format the pages inside my books. I realize that this is not fun for everyone, but I do it out of choice, not desperation.

And as for the implied impeccable taste of the gatekeepers who work for the giants in the book business, their fallibility is demonstrated every day. Look no farther than the mountains of formerly-loved non-hits on the buck-a-book tables, or bestseller lists displaying titles allegedly written by (gasp) Sarah Palin or the latest 15-year-old anorexic, abused and soon-to-be detoxed media darling.

Try not to puke when you read this: Simon and Schuster apparently paid $2 million for the autobiography of Lindsay Lohan in 2008 (still not published), and offered a multi-book deal to Hillary Duff. Tell the Pullitzer people to get ready.

I confess that I probably would be willing to read the life story of Amy Winehouse -- but I doubt that she could sit still and concentrate long enough to write more than a few paragraphs.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Sometimes white isn't right.


I love the look of a crisp, clean, white book cover. It can look very strong when held in your hand or when on display in a bookstore.

The web is very different.

A white cover just blends into the white background of a bookseller's website, and ends up being just a group of little dark images on a big white page.

Compare the early white version of my upcoming book, with a later (not final) version on blue. The blue background holds the elements together.

If you don't want to use a color background, you can use a contrasting frame around the cover.

Be aware that with the typical plus-or-minus 1/16-inch tolerances of print-on-demand, your front cover artwork may creep a bit onto the spine, or may not quite reach the spine. One way to avoid that problem is to continue the background tone onto the spine and back cover.

This blog uses an off-white background, so what you see here is not quite as bad as what would happen on Amazon.com or B&N's website.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

My dog can't work the iPad, but he can read the New York Times -- upside down!

An unexpected advantage of publishing with CreateSpace, and an unexpected disadvantage

CreateSpace is Amazon's own pay-to-publish company, recently merged with Amazon's BookSurge pay-to-publish company.

It's easy to use CreateSpace, their prices are reasonable, book quality is good, their books have guaranteed availability on Amazon.com, and they automatically get Amazon's "Look Inside The Book" preview feature, with no work done by the author/publisher and no additional expense.

There is an additional advantage, too. Since Amazon makes money printing CreateSpace books, Amazon can afford to give readers a bigger discount (i.e., sell for less money) than with books that Amazon buys from other suppliers, such as LightningSource.

Up above is my new Stories I'd Tell My Children (but maybe not until they're adults). It has a $15.95 cover price, and Amazon sells it for $14.35 -- a  common 10% discount.

Below it is my Stupid, Sloppy, Sleazy: The Strange Story of Vanity Publisher Outskirts Press. How Do They Stay in Business? It has a $10.95 cover price, and Amazon sells it for just $7.88 -- a huge 28% discount.

  • This is particularly good news for a $10.95 book. Amazon often does not discount inexpensive books and sometimes ADDS ON a "sourcing fee," selling the book for MORE THAN the cover price!
  • A more-affordable price usually means greater sales to readers, and authors and publishers receive the same revenue per book sold at a discount, as with books sold at full price.

A word of warning: CreateSpace is a tough nanny, extremely paranoid about potential copyright violation. They demanded that I show proof that I had permission to use every photograph in the book. I’ve never encountered this, or heard of this, with other publishers or printers. They delayed publication of the book and I had to delete and substitute some images. Maybe I should feel safer now -- less likely to be sued for copyright violation -- but I wasn't worried before.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wow: a refreshingly honest and competent pay-to-publish company

This blog and my books frequently criticize and warn about lying and sleazy pay-to publish companies. Most of these companies want to be called "self-publishing companies," and critics call them "vanity publishers."

The worst of them make dishonest promises about book sales, produce ugly and poorly edited books, and grossly overcharge for promotional trinkets like bookmarks and posters. They lie about providing "free" publishing, or offer lowball prices (as low as $195) to attract writers, and then use high pressure to sell profitable extra services. They have no standards for book acceptance. (Lulu's boss bragged about publishing a huge number of really bad books). Many authors are disappointed with their books and their income.

There is one company that seems to stay way above the predominant sleaze.

Vantage Press has been in business since 1949. While that's not the Gutenberg era, it was long before print-on-demand, Amazon.com and Internet marketing. The company has a history, tradition and perspective that johnny-come-latelies can't match. Vantage has published more than 20,000 titles for more than 15,000 authors. It has a  strong brand name and a good reputation in the book publishing industry. Every Vantage title can be stocked by bookstores because Vantage agrees to accept returns. Its competitors often make their authors pay hundreds of dollars more to comply with the custom of the bookstore business.

Vantage won't publish you for $195 -- or even $595. Competing on price is ultimately suicidal, and it's no good for customers, employees or stockholders if a publisher can't afford to provide service and stay in business.

The cost of publishing with Vantage will probably be $5,000 or more, but includes copyediting, copyright registration, sending out review copies and other services that are often optional add-ons with other publishers. Authors will receive a specific proposal typically within three weeks of receipt of a manuscript for examination. Authors receive a generous royalty of 40% of the retail price. Books are readily available at Amazon.com, BarnesAndNoble.com, and at some terrestrial bookstores.

Unlike its competitors who imply bestsellerdom for every customer, Vantage Press has some honest advice: “Please be realistic. Most books by new authors do not sell well, and most authors do not recoup the publishing fee.”

However, if you want something to strive for, be aware that the all-time Vantage bestseller sold more than 100,000 copies.

Vantage Press has an unbeatable “A+“ Better Business Bureau rating, with complaints from only two out of thousands of clients over the last five years. This is MUCH better than some competitors.

Former investment banker David Lamb purchased Vantage Press at the end of 2009 with the intention of building on Vantage’s long history "while improving client rapport, adding new services, and operating with the utmost integrity." According to Crain's New York Business, "He plans to turn the 61-year-old company into a premium player at the high end of the market, publishing a relatively small number of authors and offering 'concierge service' provided by top talent."

Alone among pay-to-publish firms, Vantage seems to like what _I_ do, and provides a link on its site to this blog. David (or one of his brilliant, honest and perceptive employees) wrote, "Michael N. Marcus's acerbic and entertaining blog crusades for true self-publishing, noting that self-publishing by using a 'publisher' is a contradiction in terms. His book "Become a Real Self-Publisher: Don't Be a Victim of a Vanity Press" provides a blueprint for the stalwart author who really wishes to go it alone. We're certain he takes exception to the Vantage Press program but authors should definitely consider his point of view."

With an endorsement like that, I can't regard Vantage Press as the evil empire.

I've looked over about a dozen Vantage books. While their authors' writing abilities varied, and a few book covers were just plain dull, the books (ranging from small paperback kiddie-lit to weighty academic hardcovers) were professionally edited, properly formatted, and well-made. I would not be embarrassed to have my name on a Vantage book. I would not say that about Outskirts Press or Infinity Publishing. 
 
Some Vantage book topics are obscure -- but that is the choice of the authors, not the publisher, and companies like Vantage enable authors to produce obscure books if they choose to. A history of Presbyterians in Utah is thick, heavy, expensive, has no reviews on Amazon, and has probably very few readers. OTOH, a Vantage book about the origins of bird names was authoritative and interesting.

If you have the urge to get published, but don't want to spend years chasing agents and publishers, or don't want to become a publisher, you can get full service, good service, and first-class books from Vantage Press. Even if you don't need Vantage yourself, you should not be reluctant to recommend the company to other writers who would benefit from Vantage's experience, expertise and honesty.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

B&N, Borders and Amazon in e-reader price war. Walmart should join the fun, too.

The eBook reader business has heated up on the first days of summer with a price war among Barnes & Noble, Borders and Amazon.

  • Barnes & Noble slashed the price on its original Nook electronic reader which has both 3G and Wi-Fi, from $259 to $199, undercutting Amazon's $259 Kindle. B&N will also offer a lower-price Nook with Wi-Fi but no 3G, for just $149. A new software update gives Nooks access to AT&T's national Wi-Fi network.
  • Borders Books is accepting pre-orders for an $119.99 Aluratek e-reader, and sells a Kobo model for $149.99, plus more expensive Sony models. Today, Borders offered a $20 gift card and double loyalty points with the purchase of a Kobo e-reader.
  • Amazon.com quickly responded to the B&N move by cutting $70 off the price of its Kindle, going from $259 to $189. The first Kindle was initially priced at $399 in 2007.  The Kindle DX, with a larger screen, is priced at  $489, just $10 less than the least-expensive iPad.
Apple's iPads have been extremely popular, with more than three million selling in the first 80 days. They're priced from $499 to over $800, and serve as e-readers and much more.

The e-reader business seems to be dividing into Apple -- and everybody else.

Don't be surprised to see BestBuy and Staples selling e-readers for $99 for back-to-school, and Walmart selling e-readers for less than $50 on Black Friday in November.

Monday, June 21, 2010

DANGER!
Warning about Microsoft Word 2010

I have previously warned about formatting a book on two different computers. Even if you use the same software, variations such as the selection of installed fonts can make unexpected and unwanted changes in the documents.

Here's another warning: Be careful if you start a book in Word 2007, and then switch to the just-released Word 2010.

A book I've been working on got greatly inflated. Most chapters gained an extra page with from one line to a few paragraph. There were also some completely blank pages.

The overall book length grew from 370 pages to 436 pages.

I may use Word 2010 for new projects, but for this book, I'm staying in 2007.

I'll have more to say about Word 2010 in a future blog, but I thought it's important to provide this warning now.

Word pricing is wacky, BTW. You can buy it by itself for $140, or get it as part of an Office suite for $125 (at Amazon). There are no upgrade prices for people who own previous versions. The $125 "Home & Student" version can be installed on three PCs "in the same household" without angering Microsoft -- but you're not supposed to use it for business purposes.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

It looks sort of like English,
but on the other hand...

(from SuperArticleLibrary.com)

Self-publishers need to think

Food Products Manufacturers are marketing experts. After the launch of new products, they hire Cruz of merchandisers to pass out samples and coupons while buying vegetables in peak times. The result of???? “A large proportion of buyers, because buyers first time after receiving free samples of their incentives to purchase. Many of these buyers after loyal customers., Self-publishers need to think like Frito-Lay. This identification, such as hardware, publishing and (probably) a relatively unknown author, have to give your customers the opportunity to buy your book, your readers by giving free samples may only need to increase sales. The point of the plots are concerned that dona???? No need to hire merchandisers or resources to empty your free choice in a study of writers is easy or free, thanks to network with current printing technology. If you have your web page (not recommended), give your readers a summary chapter or a free download. Your bill is probably ready. PDF format If youâ???? Have jobs and housing subsidies. Extract the contents of your table, a copy of your insurance development of the first chapter of your book, build relationships with them on your site. Be sure to link back to your sales page, or regions of the Amazon, Alibris, or other sites offer your book for sale. As you but on the Internet, is literate, you can submit the first chapter of the content directly with Amazon. com, BarnesandNoble. com, or on FirstChapterFree. com. Any use of???? Click-to-hitsâ???? Plans to move your pieces. If these programs are targeted, you can use words to establish a sales source, which increases the possibility that someone might buy your book. If youâ???? Ve written a lie idle like to establish yourself as a writer best expert in your field, send short articles for other web sites or ezines cover your area of expertise. SUMMARY You can use one of your chapters in your articles readers peek subject (s) in your address book. Some Web sites actively seek short, the article was written properly dress a number of topics, some of the most popular are: to improve the home, family and relationships, law, business (Traditional Internet), financial management and investments, and religion (a practical perspective, rather than theoretical? ??? homiletically discussion.) Make sure to include your school name link to your site in sales???? “Authorâ???? It Biographyâ???? Region. If you’re a poet or a screenplay written by, to provide free entertainment for your work. Indianapolis, one Starbuckâ???? For musicians and performance artists, offering the opportunity to provide one night a week. libraries, community playhouses, and even some restaurants may be open to this proposal. Finally, if you already have a familiar pattern book, consider increasing the first chapter of your book again, with sales data prepublication discount or purchase, as it is???? Then he added attractionâ???? in (your second later) prints. If your readers love your first book, theyâ???? Re sure to love your second one.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Deceptive Advertising

This ad promises super quality, high-profit book printing.

But when you click on the link, you go to the website of sloppy vanity publisher Infinity.

I call "BULLSHIT!"

...

Friday, June 18, 2010

Buying copies of your own book

Every author needs to have copies of her own book, to distribute to potential reviewers, to give to family and friends, to keep around the house, or maybe even to sell. This is one area where you can really get soaked if you use a "self-publishing company" (A.K.A. a vanity publisher), so investigate before you sign a contract.

Xlibris offers discounts ranging from 30% to 60%, depending on the quantity ordered, which makes sense. However, they have an absolutely insane formula for setting the cover prices of books, which in turn establishes authors’ prices. The cover price for a book with 106 pages is $15.99. If you need 108 pages, however, the cover price jumps to $19.99—even though the difference in the manufacturing cost is about three cents and can’t possibly justify a $4.00 difference in cover price. Strangely, the price for a book with 398 pages is also $19.99! But, at 400 pages the retail price jumps four bucks to $23.99, and that price holds all the way to 800 pages. The author’s cost for a book with 108 pages can be $2.80 more than the price of a book with 106 pages; but the costs for books with 108 pages and with 398 pages are the SAME.

Wheatmark says, “You may purchase additional books at 40% off the retail price.”

IUniverse offers its author/customers book discounts ranging from 20% to 65% off the retail price. The discounts depend on the quantity ordered and the company offers an extra discount to authors for special events such as book signings at a “recognized venue,” whatever that is.

Outskirts Press has a strange system of pricing authors’ copies. For a 300-page, $14.95 book, the discounts range from 34% to 48% off the cover price. You get a bigger discount with the “diamond” package than with the “sapphire” package. However, since you’ll pay $300 more for the diamond deal, with Outskirts, if you want to pay less, you’ll have to pay more.

These pricing systems demonstrate incompetence, idiocy, and ignorance.

  •  The retail price of a book—unlike a car or a hammer—is often unrelated to its production cost. One fundamental point that self-publishing companies all seem to ignore is that the retail price of a book is a marketing decision and may have little or nothing to do with its printing cost.
  • It does not cost any more to print a book with a $29.95 price printed on it than a book with a $9.95 printed on it. The self-publishing companies apply author discounts to the WRONG numbers. Even if these publishers don’t want to reveal their production costs, they could come up with discount schedules properly based on page count and trim size, NOT the cover price.
  • If my printer charges $5 to print and ship a 300-page book, and I am the publisher, I pay $5 whether the cover price is one penny, one dollar, $8.95, $10.95, $14.95, $24.95, or $150.
...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

This is MY blog. I can plug MY books



The book that I was inspired to write in sixth grade, back in 1958, is now on sale on Amazon.com -- just in time for summer reading.

Stories I'd Tell My Children (but maybe not until they're adults) is an R-rated collection of more than 100 mostly hysterical stories that span 55 years, and I guarantee that they're at least 80% true.

It's a bit like Sarah Silverman's The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee -- but written by someone who has a penis.

Culture clash is a frequent theme in my book. So are food, phoniness and incompetence. There's also sex, drugs and rock & roll. Even the sex and drug stories are funny. There are four murders.
  • One previewer said, "This book is so funny that I nearly peed in my pants. My girlfriend didn't think it was funny, so I got a new girlfriend."
  • Another said, "Fucking brilliant! Who knew that you had this much sexual depravity in your past. I'll never look at you the same way."
  • Another said, "This may be the funniest book ever! I laughed so hard reading it that the dogs got out of bed and left the room. They forgave me when I read the Cat Lasagna story to them. You are a wise man and a wiseass: a winning combination."
A 101-page $1.99 eBook sampler of the "Stories" book  is available for downloading from Lulu.com. It's in PDF format for PCs, Macs and eReaders. The title of the sampler is "What I Most Wanted to Get Out of School Was Me: a New Haven education, 1952-1964."

The sampler is mostly about going to school in New Haven, CT in the 1950s and 60s. The printed book covers much more. I’ve produced the sampler for other “kids” who went to school in New Haven, but the stories should have wide appeal for all baby-boomers, and even Gen-X-ers and Gen-Y-ers. If you enjoy the samples, I hope you’ll buy the full book.

...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Infinity will let its authors pay to plant trees to make up for trees used to make books


Vanity press Infinity Publishing (which calls itself "a pioneer in author-originated book publishing"), announced the start of a program designed to "give back" by making contributions to important causes related to the book publishing industry.

Each new Infinity author will have the opportunity to make a $50 donation to plant 100 trees for the title being published. In appreciation, Eco-Libris will authorize Infinity to incorporate into the book design an official Eco-Libris logo that reads "100 trees planted for this book" as a way to showcase the commitment to environmental sustainability.  Infinity Publishing says it is the first company in the self-publishing field to have a program like this.

Infinity's "100 Tree Project" was kicked off with a donation to Eco-Libris to pay for planting 1,000 trees in areas that have been deforested. Eco-Libris administers the project by working with partners in developing countries who make sure that the trees are planted where they provide significant value for both the environment and the local communities.

Founded in 2007, Eco-Libris is a green company working with book lovers, bookstores, publishers and authors worldwide to "green up" the book industry by promoting the adoption of green practices, balancing out books by planting trees, and supporting green books.

Infinity Publishing says it has a "unique print on demand book publishing system." The only thing that may be unique is that their presses can't handle the very common 6 x 9-inch paperback book size. If you want 6 x 9, they'll have Lightning Source do the printing -- just like their less-unique competitors.

(photo from Presque Isle Historical Society)

...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

An author who advises about publishing desperately needs an editor


Debra Thompson Roedl claims to be "one of the worlds Top speakers and experts on Information Marketing, Personal Development and Leadership." I hope she speaks better than she writes.


Characteristics Of Self Publishing

Author: Debra Thompson Roedl

Before the explosion of the web world, the established publishing houses were the moguls of the publishing world, but now there are Cafepress, Lulu, Create space plus other people that will help you to bring out your work online. The primary characteristic of the boom of the Self Publishing profession, like Lulu, is because of the established publisher’s absence from the field of play.

There are several online publishing companies including the three firms called forth before, to build up your creation in addition to as printing them, transporting and then distributing them, once that is done they make a few of the proceeds from your composing. Nowadays, the successful self-publishers manage the profits of the services of print-on-demand or POD.

As a author, you have nothing to be concerned about but waiting to collect your profits from the writing retail stores, and also, you’re the person to pick out how much it will cost in the market. And, as another comment, Cafepress, Lulu, Create space self-publishing services are able to accept uploaded digital contents like MS Word written documents, P.D.F’s, documents or even Rich Text Format documents.

The format, size and design of the work will originate from the book’s author. But, the departure of internet based self publishing services to a conventional publisher in your locality, is they won’t charge upon submission until there’s an order coming in.

That is when they will charge for the service, for the base monetary value of the printing on demand, but you have the control of the end cost that they will be charging to the buyer prior to mailing it out.

There are additional charges that an online self publication service will give for fly cover design, reviewing and proofreading your manuscript, as well as filing, advertising and selling your book.

There are supplementary charges that an online self publishing service will establish for fly cover design, critiquing and proofing your manuscript, as well as filing, promoting and marketing your book.As a conclusion for this piece, the primary distinctive feature of Self Publishing is to succeed against your rivals.

You do not have to amble or drive to the publishers merely to call forth your book. There is no demand to exit your home, merely take it easy and unwind when uploading your image.

Want to find out more about Debra Thompson Roedl, then visit Debra’s site on how to choose the best Wordpress Information Debra Thompson Roedl
---------------------

It's possible that a retarded robot distorted Debra's writing shown above. However, in her own, presumably pristine, blog, she wrote the following garbage:
  • "Have you ever wonder why...?" 
  • "You can employ external advisor to help"
  • "If you are using the existing employee as your advisor, they might be reluctant to provide you information of the real situation of your company"
  • "Have you ever think of how long this situation will continue...?"
  • "this kind of attitude that is actually leading us to get more and more debts."
  • "These different perceptions will cause the hardship in communicating among one another."
  • "The second barrier of effective communication is management and employees are having mistrust."
  • "Satisfaction of the member will affect the whole operation of the organization."
  • "The customers always complain that the weather is very hot and they hope to have an umbrella that not only can be use during the rain season but also during the hot season-that being able to produce a cooling effect."
She also misspelled "Rolodex;" and a website she recommends has this crap: "You must of seen or heard some of the internet marketing gurus banging on about review sites?"

Debra Thompson Roedl should not be allowed within 500 feet of a keyboard, pen, pencil, paint brush, quill, or piece of chalk.


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Monday, June 14, 2010

Why should I bother?


An independent bookstore has a consignment program intended to allow the store "to carry and feature a much wider variety of self-published and print on demand titles than we could through traditional purchasing."

They want an initial shipment of five books, and after sale will pay 60% of the cover price. There is also a $25 administrative fee. At the end of the one-year consignment period, they will return unsold books (unless the contract is re-signed). Damaged or stolen items are the sole financial responsibility of the publisher. The publisher's website must include a link to the bookstore's website.

Some numbers to consider:

A book costs me $4 to print (at Lightning Source). It costs me $12 to ship five of them to the bookstore, for a total cost of $32 for the five books. The book has a cover price of $15.95. If the five books sell, the store collects $79.75 and I collect 60%, or $47.85. The $25 administrative fee lowers the gross revenue on the five books to $22.85. When I deduct the $32 cost of printing and shipping, I'm $9.15 in the hole.

For comparison, if Amazon or Barnes & Noble sells the books, I collect 80% of $79.75, which is $63.80. If I deduct the cost of printing and shipping five books ($20), I make a profit of $43.80. That won't make me rich, but it's better than a $9.15 loss.

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Sunday sermon about hypocrisy, stealing and lying by "Christian" publisher CrossBooks


Today is Sunday. Hallelujah!

"Christian" vanity press CrossBooks says, "In the spirit of Christ, Christians should oppose racism, every form of greed, selfishness, and vice, and all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography...."

LIE: "Everything that you need to publish a quality book is included in our publishing packages." Some packages don't include editing, a Library of Congress Control Number or copyright registration. Those items are fundamental parts of publishing a book.

LIE: CrossBooks claims to provide from 10 to 425 "free books." As with less-pious vanity publishers, the books are free only if you ignore the payment of from $1,099 to $36,999 for a publishing package.

MISLEADING DISTORTION: CrossBooks brags about paying its authors a 50% royalty. That seems like much more than the approximate 8% paid by traditional publishers. HOWEVER, the 50% is based on net receipts, not the cover price.

Retail Sale Example:
$17.95 (SRP "Suggested Retail Price")
- $8.62 (48% Retail Discount)
= $9.33 (Net Retail Discount)
- $4.97 (COGS "Cost of Goods Sold")
= $4.36 (Net “Cost of Goods Sold”)
x 50% (Royalty Rate)
= $2.18 (Royalty Earned)

This royalty is pathetic chump change, just about 12% of the cover price, and far from the 50% royalty that prospective CrossBooks customers may be salivating over.

THEFT: CrossBooks charges its authors $780 for 5,000 business cards. While it is extremely unlikely that any author would need that many, a more reasonable price is $80 (from VistaPrint).

THEFT: CrossBooks charges its authors $600 for 1,000 4" x 6" color postcards. While it is extremely unlikely that any author would benefit from mailing out that many cards, a more reasonable price is $200 (for bigger cards, also from VistaPrint).

THEFT: CrossBooks charges its authors $90 for a Library of Congress Control Number. You can get one yourself -- for free!

THEFT: CrossBooks charges its authors $204 for copyright registration. You can do it yourself -- for $35.

CrossBooks says, "Each manuscript submitted to CrossBooks undergoes a Theological Review to ensure the material is theologically sound and adheres to our Statement of Faith." I guess some folks at CrossBooks missed the propoganda about righteousness and opposing greed, selfishness and vice. Maybe the Theological Reviewers should review their company's business practices. Lying and stealing is much worse than porn, non-marital sex or being gay.

Amen!
(photo from Saint Julian's Episcopal Church, Douglasville, Georgia. Thanks.)
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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Pathetic author's life was saved by
Outskirts Press


"I am ecstatic. From 1993 to 2006 my life was a struggle to be recognized and appreciated and now after 13 years I have achieved a goal that has been imprinted in my mind since my wonder years. [I thought "The Wonder Years" was created by Carol Black and Neal Marlens, not this guy.] You can imagine the relief that sets in when you have overcome a life’s hurdle and are helped in success by an authorized body, like Outskirts Press. [If Outskirts Press is an "authorized body," I am the Emperor of Japan and the Queen of England.] The realization that the book was in my hands and on sale to the world was a tremendous achievement [Yes, it signifies that you can type and had a sufficient limit on a credit card.] and it makes me feel whole, complete, worthy, revived, excited and motivated to live my life happily, fully and more inspired. [That's pathetic. Now, forget about the book and get a life.] I honestly feel like Outskirts Press saved my life." [It probably would have been faster and less expensive to call 911.] - Ronnie Lee, author of The Genius of the Metropolis and seven other books with Outskirts Press. [That's not exactly Simon & Schuster.]

Here's the crappy book description he wrote: The Genius Of The Metropolis is to create a more whole and holistic insight into economics, money and business. It will show you the meaning of spiritual growth as well as our Worldy monetary growth. The wisdom should lay a foundation for economic policy and truth. This book shows wisdom and knowledge through deep insights into the mechanisms of our economy so that we know how it works in the material World and in the spiritual realms. This book allows our society to grow, adapt and prosper in a World that needs logical help to maintain its own financial system through understanding. Everything is connected and the information here summarizes essential facts to create proof and security for our finances and social lives. It uses philosophical ideas based on experience and truth. It is a start of the spiritual initiation to generate a stronger economy and social system for our Metropolis.

The book sells for $31.95 and has an Amazon sales rating close to THREE MILLION (no surprise). It contains 644 pages of impenetratable non-rhyming poems. The book received  two reviews on Amazon. One has four stars, and one has five stars. The five-star review was written by the author. He's not even smart enough to use a fake name.

Friday, June 11, 2010

It's time to build your publishing vocabulary. Here are some words that may not be very useful, but may make you smile


Blad:  (Book Layout and Design) A blad is a small sample of a book used by salespeople to sell the book.  It probably will have the near-final cover design and some typical interior pages, perhaps even complete chapters with images.
Dingbat: Printers’ slang for small, icon-like drawings of hearts, snowflakes, and other shapes and items that can be used to dress up a document. Also, what Archie Bunker frequently called wife Edith on All in the Family.


Fleuron: A flower-like decoration used to enhance a book or to divide sections.


Flong: One of my favorite words! A flong was originally a dry, papier-mâché mold made from type text which could be curved to fit the cylinder of a rotary press. Later flongs were wet, and made of plastic or rubber.

Gerund: A part of speech frequently used, but seldom thought about after third grade. It’s a noun made from a verb, like “thinking,” “eating,” and “writing.”

Kern: That’s the way some people born in Brooklyn pronounce “coin.” In typography, “to kern” means to adjust the spacing between two adjacent letters. It can also mean to squish two letters together so they overlap to avoid awkward white spaces. WA is one common use of kerning, and the two letters fit together unusually well. A kern is also a part of one letter that reaches into another letter’s personal space.


Lede: The first sentence or two in a news story, with the most important information. It’s pronounced “leed”, but spelled “lede” to avoid confusion with another typographic term, “lead,” which rhymes with “bread.”

PITA: Pain In the Ass (not limited to publishing). An ISPITA in an Industrial Strength PITA.

Slush pile: Unsolicited manuscripts received by an agent or a publisher and often piled up on a desk, a shelf, or the floor, awaiting evaluation. These are also described as “over the transom” manuscripts. The phrase refers to the horizontal bar above a door and below a hinged window provided for ventilation in an office without air conditioning. Writers allegedly tossed their manuscripts over the transom of a publisher’s office and hoped for the best.

Swash: An extra bit of decoration added to a printed letter, often an extended or exaggerated serif on the first letter in a paragraph.

TK: In the graphic arts, it’s shorthand for “To Come,” a notation made on a layout to indicate that an element (such as a photograph or chart) will be provided later and space should be provided for it.

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Don't waste money or overpay on publishers' promotional packages


"Self-publishing companies" sell relatively few books to readers, so the bulk of their income comes from selling services and trinkets to writers.

Much of what they sell is unnecessary or overpriced, or worth less than they indicate.

One typical example is Infinity Publishing's "Premium Marketing 301," which sells for $275. Shipping is included.

The package includes "10 free copies of your book, 250 postcards, 500 business cards, 125 bookmarks, 10 posters, and two highly acclaimed marketing books: Dan Poynter's The Self Publishing Manual ($19.95 value) and John Kremer's 1001 Ways to Market Your Book ($27.95 value)"

  • Of course, the 10 “free” copies are not really free. Infinity’s normal price for a 300-page 5.5” x 8.5” paperback is $9.15 each for a 10-book total of $91.50. However, since Infinity owns its own printing presses, I’ll value the 10 books at $2.50 each, or $25.
  • 250 postcards can be purchased from VistaPrint for about $20.
  • 500 business cards can be purchased from VistaPrint for about $30.
  • 125 bookmarks can be purchased for about $35 from iPrint.
  • 10 posters will cost you about $100 from El-Co Color Labs.
  • Poynter’s book sells for $13.57 on Amazon (not $19.95)
  • Kremer’s book sells for $18.45 on Amazon (not $27.95)
The total real value of the $275 package is about $242. You will not waste too much money by getting the Infinity package as opposed to buying a la carte from multiple suppliers, and you'll definitely save time. HOWEVER, carefully evaluate what you really need, the productivity of each item, and the ancillary costs.

If you're going to send out 250 postcards, you'll need to spend $70 for stamps, assemble a mailing list, address the cards and apply the stamps. Of course, there's a good chance that most of the postcards will go right into recipients' wastebaskets, or might be used to scoop up crumbs on the kitchen table or to swat flies.

You probably don't need both business cards and bookmarks.

It might be nice to have a giant book cover poster in your house, but unless you're going to be making public appearances, you don't need 10 of them.

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Perpetually Imperfect: Should I try to make my books better than what the "pros" turn out?


My book, Stories I'd Tell My Children (but maybe not until they're adults), was supposed to go on sale on April 1. Because of problems at the printer, it was delayed and delayed, and finally a 6/1 pub date seemed realistic. It's a funny book, and I had to revise my press release from focusing on April Fools' Day to summer reading.

But, as publication was delayed, I read it over and over again, and found more errors that were previously unnoticed, and I had to fix them. This meant more delay, and more expense. I know that it's impossible to have a "perfect" book, but I just can't let myself publish a book that has known errors in it.

I operate a one-person publishing company and hire freelance editors to watch over me. I can't understand why the giants in the publishing field, with huge staffs of well-paid professionals, turn out books with silly, easily spotted errors.

I'm about half through reading Toxic Talk: How the Radical Right Has Poisoned America's Airwaves by Bill Press. It was published by Thomas Dunne Books, a division of St. Martin's Press, which is part of Macmillan Publishers, owned by Georg von Holtzbrinck Publishing. Although Holtzbrinck is not as famous a name as Levi's or McDonald's it one of the "Big Six" in publishing -- not exactly a couple of kids working in a tree house.  I'm amazed that none of its eagle-eyed editors noticed a "mute" that should have been "moot" or "blond" that should have been "blonde."

In Orange County Choppers: The Tale of the Teutuls there are silly errors in geography ("Muncie" instead of "Monsey" and saying that the Teutul home was within walking distance of Yankee Stadium, when it was really a 17-mile round trip). This book was published by Grand Central Publishing, which is part of  Hachette -- the second-largest publisher in the world. It was written by three Teutuls, plus two professional authors, and there must have been a few editors involved, too. One of them should have caught the errors before I did.

When I was a writer on my college newspaper, I became the copy editor and got a job as a proofreader at the printer, so I could have complete control of my words, and no one else could mess them up. (This also meant that no one else could correct the mistakes I missed -- in retrospect, not a good way to work.)

When I was freelancing for Rolling Stone, I was always rewriting until the last possible minute. This was in the pre-fax, pre-email era, and I'd drive to the airport and pay to have my column air-freighted from NY to CA. There wasn't much profit left.

Words are almost toys for me, like a child's building blocks, Lincoln Logs, Lego or Erector Set.

Rewriting and editing -- especially now with a computer -- is fun. I love to play with words, to rearrange them and try alternatives.

The danger is that a perfectionist never finishes anything.

When I was working as an advertising copywriter, I was notorious for not "releasing" an ad until the last possible moment. Fortunately, someone older and wiser taught me a valuable lesson: sometimes "good enough" really is good enough, and I learned to let go.

Now, as a self-pubber who has to be a businessman as well as an artist, I realize that no money will come in if I don't approve a proof and let a book start selling.

So, the book that I conceived when I was in sixth grade, way back in 1958, should be on sale next week. I hereby declare that it is "good enough." I hope I'm right.

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Monday, June 7, 2010

FUCK YOU, LensCrafters (the sequel)


About half of the following post is from one of my other blogs, dated 1/15/09. It's worth clicking to see the comments to the original posting, from LensCrafters customers and employees.  My recent experience is down at the bottom.

I recently misplaced -- or actually lost -- the eyeglasses that I use when working at my computer.

After a couple of frustrating days searching my house, office and cars, and suffering with an old inadequate pair of glasses, I declared them officially gone.

I didn't need a complete pair of glasses -- just lenses that would fit into any of several no-longer-used eyeglass frames.

Not wanting to prolong the agony, I went to my local LensCrafters. I've bought from them before and was pleased with the product selection, quality and fast service -- but my wife said I paid too much.

The company advertises that they can make glasses "in about an hour" and has perpetual sales like the mattress stores. Their regular price seems to be their 25%-off price and they have lots of two-fers.

LensCrafters is part of a huge vertically integrated Italian company, Luxottica -- the biggest eyewear company in the world, with many stores and many brands, including Ray-Ban.

The company makes glasses sold with lots of "designer" labels such as DKNY, Polo and Versace. They operate the eyeglass departments in Sears, K-Mart and Target, plus their own LensCrafters, Pearle Vision and Sunglass Hut stores. With over 6,000 retail outlets and dozens of brands, it's hard to not buy from Luxottica.

There's probably no company that can make frames and lenses as inexpensively as LensCrafters. The corporate websits brags that Luxottica has "lowest production costs and the highest margins."

I expected to pay a bit extra for quick service and an expensive mall location -- but I had no idea I'd get fucked as badly as I did.

Even with my 15% AAA discount, a pair of basic single-vision lenses, with no special coating, would have cost a whopping $192.

If I was willing to buy a complete pair of glasses to take advantage of the alleged 25% discount, and settle for an ugly frame from the closeout section, the total would have been $215.

I left and ordered a perfect pair of complete glasses at Costco for $59. I had to wait about 10 days for them, but I'd rather be part blind than a complete idiot.

According to a study by MIT, a typical pair of lenses costs two bucks to make. The raw material in the frame is worth pennies. At least one online source will sell me a complete pair of glasses for under ten bucks.

I certainly don't mind if Luxottica makes a profit. But if they get greedy, I walk away.

And if the greedy bastards are stupid enough to brag about their high profit margin, I'll tell everyone to stay away.
 
THE SEQUEL:
 
A couple of weeks ago I had a cataract removed from my left eye and an artificial lens implanted. If you live long enough, various body parts need to be replaced.
 
As a result of the surgery, my left eye has excellent vision. The optician who works in the ophthalmologist's office removed the prescription lens from the left side of my "distance" glasses and installed a non-prescription "plano" lens, which worked fine.
 
Thursday, confident that my "new eye" had stabilized, I wanted to get a plano left lens for my Ray-Ban sunglasses, which were purchased at LensCrafters about three years ago.
 
Fearful of LensCrafters prices, I went to Costco. Alas, their lab does not work on Ray-Ban frames. Costco did, however, order me two new lenses for my "computer" glasses for $29, installed.
 
Desperate, I went to LensCrafters. I was surprised to learn that I would need a prescription to get a non-prescription lens. In the LensCrafters world, I suppose that cops arrest people for not breaking the law.
 
They also told me that it would be necessary to get two new lenses, because the colors of the old and new lenses would not match.
 
Friday I went back, with my prescription.
 
The thieving motherfuckers wanted $255 for a pair of lenses, after my 15% AAA discount.
 
I expressed shock, and was told that for just $231, I could have the pair of lenses AND a new Ray-Ban frame.
 
I resisted the urge to punch and puke, and walked out.
 
A local optician can replace the lenses for just $90.
 
Or I can order a Ray-Ban frame WITH two lenses, online, for $99. But I hate to buy a frame when I don't need one, and even if I spend just $99,  the hated Luxottica will still get a piece of the action.
 
I feel trapped and defeated. I don't know what to do. Maybe I'll just shut my eyes and get a white cane.
 
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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Can you really get a book published for $199? How about 195?

"Self-publishing companies" sell their services in packages, typically priced from under $200 to over $20,000. It’s important to know what you need, what you’ll get, and what you won’t get.

The $199 “Emerald” publishing package from Outskirts Press actually provides what looks like a “real” book. The package is notable not for what it includes, but for what it excludes.

Most notable is the lack of an ISBN, which means the book can’t be sold by bookstores. An Emerald book is not even included in the Outskirts website online bookstore. Strangely, Outskirts says that you can choose the retail price. So what.

For $199 you are limited to one book size (5.5” X 8.5”) and a choice of two cover designs. You get exactly one book which you can read, give away, sell, or display on your mantelpiece. You can order more books if you want to. They won’t be pretty, but they are books.

Strangely named Aachanon Publishing beats the $199 Outskirts Emerald deal by $4, and provides THREE “free” books — not just one. With its “Budget” package, you are limited to a maximum of 10 black and white illustrations or photos in the text, the book size is 5" X 8" (a bit smaller than the Outskirts competitor), and you can have up to 300 pages. The color cover is preformatted, and can include two author-provided photos or illustrations. As with the Outskirts Emerald package, there is no ISBN. You must provide distribution — booksellers won’t handle it. Additional 300-page books cost $5.50 each.


Strangely named Wasteland Press calls itself, “‘the cheapest full service press on the internet.” Its “Basic” package matches the Aachanon $195 price but provides FIVE books in either 5.5" X 8.5" or 6" X 9" size. Maximum book length is 275 pages and there is no limit to the number of photos or illustrations. Wasteland offers faster publishing than most competitors, and its covers are “designed from scratch and are uniquely individual.” The samples I saw are quite nice. Books are sold on the Wasteland website, and provide a 15% royalty.

In a few months, some company may offer a publishing package for $179, or $99.

Or, if you're willing and able to do some more work, you can publish a book for less than $20 with Lulu or CreateSpace.

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Friday, June 4, 2010

Low-priced eBook reader from Borders


On Tuesday, Borders and Aluratek announced that Borders will feature Aluratek's "Libre" eBook Reader Pro in Borders' growing lineup of eReaders. Pre-orders are now being taken at www.borders.com/libre with shipments to begin in early July. The Libre will be available in Borders stores within special digital shops called "Area-e" in August.

The Libre will be sell for just $119.99, significantly lower in cost than many of the eReading devices now available. The new eReader is in line with Borders' plan to provide a "good, better, best" selection of eReaders to appeal to many customers. With the included link to the Borders eBook store, Libre users can access the upcoming Borders eBook store.

The Libre offers multi-function features such as the ability to play digital music and display digital photo albums at a low price point. Other features include auto-off, page advance, and "innovative LCD technology and superior battery life that powers up to 24 hours of continuous use. "

Borders plans to offer up to 10 different eReaders by the end of the year. Current offerings beside the Libre are the Kobo at $149.99 and Sony Readers at $149.99 and $199.99.

I paid a lot more for my iPad, and every day I become more confident in my decision.


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Thursday, June 3, 2010

The worst mistake of authors who use self-publishing companies


Books that bear the name and logo of a "self-publishing company" are subject to immediate derision in the publishing business, even before the cover is opened and pages are turned. Reviewers often assume that the books will be unprofessional (or worse), and a writer must do everything possible to overcome the initial prejudice.

By far, the worst mistake of self-published authors is lack of editing or inadequate editing. Because editing is an option with self-publishing companies, some writers — either out of ego, ignorance, or economic necessity — skip editing.

This can be a fatal mistake.

No writer should be her own editor. Even professional editors who write books should hire other editors. It’s not just a matter of making spelling or grammatical errors. If you write a book, you may have words in your mind that you think are on the page, but are really not there. You may “fall in love” with a word, phrase or chapter that is really unlovable. A fresh set of eyes with a different point of view is critical. You need someone to make corrections and to ask, “Is that really what you meant to say?” and "Do you have to include this?"

I recently read an entertaining and inspirational book, written by a very talented storyteller. Unfortunately, the book was packed with errors. I thought the author had chosen a terrible editor, and I wrote this:

“There are many missing commas, improper capitalizations, and even wrong words (e.g.: laying instead of lying, badly instead of bad, dribble instead of drivel, loosing instead of losing, waving instead of wavy, that instead of who, crouch instead of crotch). There are also style inconsistencies in your use of numbers, and some formatting problems. I can't predict how other reviewers will react, but these errors (coupled with the Outskirts Press label) unfortunately brand the book as an amateur production, despite your professional writing talent. You are competing with a huge number of authors and books, and your book needs to be as good as possible to be successful.”

I was unprepared for the author’s response. The editor wasn’t terrible. The book had no editor.

But sometimes even having a “professional editor” will not lead to a professional quality book. I received this email (slightly shortened) from another author:

“I have had some scathing reviews due to the errors that were left in my book after I paid a small fortune for editing with the Outskirts editing team.

I was so excited when my book was first released, but after a few family members pointed out the mistakes left behind, I can’t describe the restraint it took for me not to explode. The marketing representative simply would not assume any responsibility for mistakes that Outskirts made.

Outskirts made me feel paranoid about not getting their editing service, but when I did it was as if I had no editing at all. The only consolation that I have, is that I have a few fans that were willing to give me a chance as a new author. They loved my book.

I’m sure other writers would hate to be scammed out of their money for a service as unreliable as Outskirts’ editing. I purchased the editing service for peace of mind, not to hold my breath each time a review comes out, only to be criticized for editing I paid for but did not receive.”

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A question that probably should not be answered


"Is their a cheap book publishers? I want to publish a book and have look up some book publishers online and they are a lot of $$$$Money$$$$. So want are some cheap book publishers."

I recommend some cheap lessons in English, first.

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

This doofus* should NOT be giving advice

"Self Publishing a Book explained in one minute"


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LL6KiC7i0Mk&feature=player_embedded


From Lull Mengesha: 1) Register for a copyright. 2) Get ISBN and Barcode. 3) Find Print on Demand Publisher. These are just the things that took me a LONG time to figure out that really shouldn’t have been so difficult. Again, if you need anything that I could possibly answer, feel free to email me lullmengesha@gmail.com

From Michael N. Marcus: The first thing you do is NOT to register for a copyright. That’s one of the last things you do, and you can do it months after the book is published. It’s also a bad idea to produce a promotional video that shows your book with a left-right reversal. Lull has a lot to learn before he starts giving advice, and he needs an editor, or a better editor, for the book. Finally, of course it's not possible to explain self-publishing in one minute. My book about self-publishing has 432 pages, and probably takes a few days to read.
_____________________

* Doofus: Someone who hasn't got a clue! (from Urban Dictionary)

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