Friday, October 1, 2010

BAD BOOK WEEK, #5, a classic

Ugly, inaccurate,
and marred by mutual ass-kissing


This awful book was an "inside job.
 The ugly cover art comes from the author's sister,
 and a rave review was written by the author's editor!

Everybody--especially creative people--likes to receive compliments.

The book business uses reviews and blurbs (short positive comments, frequently from somebody more famous than the author) to imply quality and credibility to build sales.

While it's not possible to control what reviewers say, it is possible to control whom you ask to write a review or a blurb.

  • I've noticed a disturbing tendency to you kiss my ass and I'll kiss your ass relationships where authors write glowing words about each other's work.
  • Sometimes an editor or a business associate of an author praises a book online or on paper.
  • Some authors seem to write more as blurbs and forewords than they write as actual books.
Helen Gallagher wrote an ugly, sloppy, padded, inaccurate and poorly edited book titled Release Your Writing: Book Publishing, Your Way! 

It was published by Virtual Book Worm (I've complained about them before.)

A Five-Star review on Amazon says, "Release Your Writing: Book Publishing, Your Way offers fabulous, practical tips for writers. I had the opportunity to meet the author. She is a great advocate for fellow writers. This book is a 'must have' if you want to complete your writing project, launch it, and market your work."

  • The reviewer is Marguerite O'Connor. Marguerite is an author and funeral director and teaches bereavement counseling.
  • And, by the way, Marguerite O'Connor is also the editor of Helen's poorly edited book. Helen is a decent writer, but from the evidence I've seen, Marguerite is a terrible editor.
  • And, by the way, Helen wrote a Five-Star review for Marguerite's book.
  • BEFORE any of you readers bitch that I've written good reviews for books written by authors who also wrote good reviews for my books, I want to point out that there was no "tit-for-tat" agreement and that none of us participated in the publication of the other's books--as happened with Marguerite and Helen.
(above) The author or editor should have noticed and fixed the bad hyphenation, likely caused by Microsoft Word. Ironically, the blooper shown is in a paragraph that talks about how a computer can help you to produce a book.

(above, enlarged) I can't read the squished-together web address in the last line, as printed in the book. There is a barely visible dot before the "cfm" at the end of the line. There are ways to avoid this.

(above) This text fragment mentions "clever tricks" but didn't use even the basic tricks such as condensing, hyphenation or changing words to avoid the UGH-LEE wordspacing. The book is filled with similar reasons to cover your eyes and hold your nose.

I don't know if it is the fault of the author or editor that the book was printed with major errors such as claiming that Amazon owns POD-printer Lightning Source, or that "everyone" is hyphenated as "eve-ryone," and "avenues" is hyphenated as "ave-nues."

I wonder who decided that it was OK to call Stephen King, "Steven." The book says, "Expert editing is a requirement." It sure is.

I'm not sure who to blame for the sentence "They work is not cheap and it shouldn't be," or that the ugly book has no hyphens. The lack of hyphens caused oversize word spacing, rivers and orphans.


(above) I don't know which lady is at fault for the second-worst index I've ever seen. Readers really don't need separate listings for both "distributors" and "Distributors," or "marketing" and "Marketing," or "publishers" and "Publishers," or "small press," "small presses" and "Small Presses."

I don't know who is at fault for underlining Ebook readers in the index, or both underlining and italicizing wait on the page before the introduction.

I'm not sure who is responsible for the bad advice to use .jpg or .gif images in a book instead of  lossless .tif images.

I do know that an editor should not allow a book to contain both "bestseller" and "best-seller."


(above) This silly paragraph first mentions the Independent Book Publishers Association, and then refers to it by the abbreviation for its former name, Publishers Marketing Association. Someone should have fixed this.

I'm pretty darn sure that Helen is responsible for selecting the ugly, blurry and irrelevant collage on the cover. It's also poorly printed on the title page so it assaults readers twice. It was done by Helen's sister, Peg Miller. Peg is also credited with the ugly cover design. She apparently gets the blame for the too-long bars above and below her collage, horrid wordspacing on the back cover, and improper spacing after one of the bullets on the back cover.

(And, as long as I'm bitching about the cover) The cover proclaims that Helen is “author of Computer Ease.” While that first book may be a fine book, it did not win the Nobel Prize for literature and is in a field unrelated to the second book. If the likely reaction to a writing credit is “BFD,” "WTF?," “Who cares?,” or “So what,” find something else to put in the space that may help you to sell some books.

Neither Helen, nor Peg nor Marguerite is to blame for the ugly thick squiggle of glue that runs down the left side of the title page. That's the fault of the printer. My copy of the book should have been recycled, not sold.

Marguerite says she had the "opportunity to meet the author."

Helen says, "I thank her for editing my work softly, on lavender paper."

I have no idea why the paper color was significant. Maybe "lavender paper" is a chick-thing that my testosterone renders me unable to comprehend. I do know that this book needed more than "soft editing" and that an editor should do more than "meet the author" of a book she's editing.

Helen Gallagher is one more great example of people who try to teach self-publishing who don't know enough about the subject. Sadly, with her "insider" review, she mixed ineptness with corruption.

Tomorrow, I'll be attending Self-Publishing Book Expo in Manhattan. In honor of the event, I'll be concluding BAD BOOK WEEK with the WORST book that tries to teach self-publishing.

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