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Thursday, September 30, 2010

BAD BOOK WEEK, #4, a newbie

This author tried to do the right thing--but it turned out wrong. I don't like the book, but I do like the author.


Sadly, the author has some important things to say, but his message is hurt by bad presentation. He knew enough to get help, but he got help from the wrong people. 

Lots of self-published authors write books that try to teach other people how to self-publish. Some--such as those written by Aaron Shepard, Morris Rosenthal, Christy Pinheiro (and me, of course)--are good. Some are OK. A few are very poorly written. Several are physically unattractive. One is like a MAD magazine self-publishing parody, showing what should not be done. Some books are dangerous because of the misinformation and bad advice they provide.

Two days ago, I slammed Theresa A. Moore, author of Principles of Self-Publishing, because she was extremely careless, knows less than she thinks she knows, has an unjustified high opinion of her own editing ability, and frequently ignores her own advice. Her book is ugly, inaccurate and sometimes poorly written. Theresa did the design and editing herself--and it shows.

I have mixed feelings about 11 Secret Steps to Writing, Creating & Self-Publishing Your Very Own 'How-To' Book, Ebook or Manual by Jaime Vendera.

As with Theresa's book, there are a great many things wrong with the book, but the author tried to do things right, and was pleasantly responsive to my emailed questions and suggestions.

Unlike many self-pubbers, including Theresa, Jaime  knew enough to hire a professional cover designer, editor and interior formatter. But they simply did lousy work and Jaime didn't realize it. Jaime talks a lot about the members of his "team" and recommends them to other authors. Based on the evidence provided in the book, other authors should stay far away from this team.

If this book is an audition for Jaime's team members, they failed the audition.

If this book is a crime scene, Jaime Vendera seems to be largely the victim of others, rather than a lone perpetrator like Theresa A. Moore.

Editor/interior designer Amy Chesbro (whom Jaime calls "an amazing woman") did a TERRIBLE job.
  • Jaime wrote about a "forward" (and uppercased  "Forward") but Amy did not eliminate the unnecessary uppercase, or change the word to the proper "foreword." A book editor should know what a foreword is.
  • The book lists one possible book size as 5-1/2 X 8.5"--using both a fraction and a decimal for "one half" within the same designation. A book editor should have caught this.
  • The book says, "every singer with which I've worked." A book editor should have changed "which" to "whom."
  • The book says, "books that I layout are." A book editor should have changed the noun "layout" into the verb phrase "lay out."
  • The book uses curly typographers' quote marks to indicate inches instead of the proper straight double primes. A book editor should have known this.
  • The book repeatedly refers to "Lightning Source Printing." That's not the name of the company, and both the writer and editor should have known this.
  • The book has "self-publishing" (with hyphen) and "self publishing (no hyphen), in successive lines. An editor should have caught this.
  • "Acknowledgements" is spelled British-style. Here in the USA,  there is no "e" after the "g."
  • "Web site" and "website" on the same page.
  • There are silly typos, such as "then" for "ten" and "needles" for "needless." All books have typos, but these should have been easy to spot and fix. Ironically, Jaime quotes his website designer Molly Burnside: "Typos are unavoidable, but easily fixed. Always have 10+ people check your site for silly mistakes. Silly mistakes make you look as if you don't pay attention to details, and in today's society, every detail translates into dollars and cents, so make sure you are focused on every period, quotation, and word!"
  • "Ingram Advanced Catalog" should be "Ingram Advance."
Jaime says, "Make sure to have your book layout completed right." He didn't do that, and he also says that Amy Chesbro is "pretty well fitted in the interior design department." Jaime is not a good judge. Strangely, Daniel Middleton is also identified as the interior designer, so maybe he and Amy collaborated on the disasters.

There are inconsistent spellings, misspellings, improper punctuation, and even a fundamental lack of knowledge of the parts of a book. The book quotes Daniel about the perils of self-publishing: "substandard interior designs and garish covers, with typos, grammatical errors and phrasing issues." This book is a perfect example of what Daniel warns about. The interior shows a lack of knowledge and experience, and bad artistry.

  • Per Jaime's preference (and Theresa's), there are no hyphens, which leads to ugly word spacing, rivers and orphans--and wasted paper. It's OK to skip hyphens for a website or eBook where the settings of the viewing device cause text to reflow--but lack of hypens make a printed book UGH-LEE.
  • Ironically, this is the fifth ugly non-hyphenated book I've read that tries to instruct authors how to self-publish. The others are Worderella on Writing by Barbara Kroll, Release Your Writing by Helen Gallagher, Best in Self-Publlishing & Print on Demand by David Rising,  and Principles of Self-Publishing by Theresa M. Moore. What's the problem with hyphens, folks?
  • The footer on each page (i.e., both verso and recto in each spread) shows an abbreviated version of the title. It's unnecessary--and silly--to have it on both pages.
  • There are no chapter names in the headers. Actually, there are no headers.
  • Paragraphs are separated by empty lines, and are not indented. That's OK for a web page, but not for a book.
  • The body text is sans serif. That's OK for a web page, but not for a book.
  • The chapter titles and subheads appear to be in the same sans serif type face. The only variation is the word "TIP," probably in Courier, in the text boxes. The normal format for a book is to use a serif face for body copy and sans serif for chapter titles and subheads--or at least a different serif face. Using one face for 99.9% of the words in a book is BORING.
  • The index is strange. It was done by a PC with minimal human intervention, and the human who did intervene made some bad decisions,. There are over 100 useless listings for the word "book," but just one each for "Amazon" and "Lightning Source," (which are both on MANY pages in the book),  and none for "acknowledgment." "ISBN" is strangely set in bold face, but no other entry is treated that way. Some terms, such as "voice recorder" and "Mindset"--that nobody would likely look for--are indexed.
  • The book has useful tips presented in text boxes. Unfortunately, the text boxes extend beyond the normal margins and some disappear into the binding.
  • OK, I have a compliment. Despite abundant errors in interior formatting, the pages look infinitely better than Theresa's pages. Margins all around are ample, which make the pages both more attractive and easier to read. I did not spot any widows.
I think it's generally fruitless to argue about esthetics, but I do think the cover, designed by Molly Burnside, is cluttered and ugly, and the clumsy title is hard to read.
  • The author's name is in a barely legible script font that looks like a scribble.
  • The front cover says, "written by..." That's unnecessary and amateurish.
  • The spine of the book is covered with the image of a spiral notebook's coil binding. Upon close inspection, I found that the book's TWENTY-WORD title is buried in the graphic in fly-turd-size type.
  • Upon even closer inspection, I found that the title was printed upside down. A professional book designer should have caught this.
  • When I used a magnifying glass (I'm not kidding), I found the author's name. Unlike the title, it was right-side-up. A tip: if text on the spine (or anywhere else) is too small to read without mechanical enhancement, it's TOO DAMN SMALL.
  • The text on the back cover is in slightly-larger-than-fly-turd-size type. The mini-words are made even more difficult to read because of the multi-colored background. The words use small caps instead of lowercase letters. That's OK for a title or a headline, but not for text.
  • The back cover says the book has "solid advice" and "no filler." Some advice is definitely not solid, and there is lots of filler.
What else is wrong?
  • Jaime is very easily impressed. He notes that printer Lightning Source provides "your own username/password" for ordering books. So what!
  • He says that a book can be set up with Lightning for a little over $100, but another company charged over $500. There's a very good chance that the $500 included interior formatting, cover design and other services. It's not a fair comparison.
  • Jaime urges self-pubbers to open accounts with PayPal to accept credit cards for book purchases. That's a bad idea for two reasons. Some people don't like to use Paypal, and self-pubbers are much better off letting booksellers like Amazon handle sales and shipping and payments. Why should a writer have to operate a warehouse and shipping department? Amazon.com probably gets a million times the traffic of Jaime's website. I bought Jaime's book on Amazon--not from his own site.
  • Jaime had a very bad experience using Adobe Acrobat to produce a PDF file of a book. He warns, "if you convert and submit yourself, I can almost guarantee you that the file will be rejected." Jaime says that PDF conversion is an "art-form" and he even credits Brandy Cross for doing his PDF. Jaime says his recommended experts "both know how to...embed all fonts." It takes just a few minutes and a few mouse clicks to make a PDF with Adobe Acrobat. If I want fonts embedded, I merely uncheck a box to "rely on system fonts only." That doesn't require any artistry or expertise.
  • Jaime is similarly timid about resizing graphic images himself, and pays others to do it for him. (It's really not a big deal for anyone who owns a mouse.) Jaime warns that large photographs can "turn a 500kB book into a 3MB book." The file size for a book is a non-issue unless it's being stored on Jurassic-era floppy disks or uploaded with a Cro Magnon's modem. My newest book's file size as a Word doc is about 35MB, but the final PDF size is less than 6 megs. It  can be uploaded to my printer in less than a minute. There's no need to make the file size smaller.
  • Jaime suggests offering a discount larger than the normal 20% most self-pubbers provide because "Amazon might quit promoting your book in the 'customers who bought this item also bought...' section." The 20% discount has not affected Amazon's promotion of my books--or many other books.
  • The book has self-serving promotions for Jaime's own publishing company and website registration company. He wastes a lot of space extolling the dubious virtues of the people involved in producing the book.
  • It's a very thin book with just 134 pages of text, but it's padded with five pages copied from the Lightning Source website. There are three blank pages in the back that could have contained text, perhaps a larger index. Printers often add extra pages, but it's not difficult to figure out how to use them.
  • In his section on book pricing, Jaime recommends "viewing prices and page counts of books similar to yours." If Jaime followed his own advice, this book would be bigger and less expensive.
  • The title is "11 Secret Steps..." but I could not find any secrets. Steps such as deciding if illustrations are needed, having a cover on the book, and converting a word processing file into a PDF are not secrets equal to the Manhattan Project or Masonic rituals.
  • Jaime cautions against do-it-yourself websites because it fried his brain. It's very easy to do a website. I've done it over 100 times, with no special training. I'm an amateur, but a few of my sites have won awards, and they've sold millions of dollars worth of products (mostly not bocks).
  • Jaime says, "Many authors add an Acknowledgements section at the very end of the book." Every acknowledgment page I've seen is part of the front matter.
  • In a tip about quoting other authors, Jaime recommends using "MLA or APA style to let people know the works you drew from." He does not explain what MLA and APA are. I've heard of a Modern Language Association but don't know if that's the MLA Jaime means, and I don't know what the APA is. Anglican Province of America? American Psychiatric Association?  American Pregnancy Association?  American Poultry Association? Automatic Pizza Apparatus?
  • Jaime writes in a friendly, conversational style, but sometimes it seems juvenile, unprofessional and inappropriate. He wrote, "Hello fellow authors; my name is Jaime Vendera." and  "Now go make me proud by writing..."
So what's good about the book?
  • Jaime provides a detailed look at his bad experience with a company that provided a (failed) campaign to make one of his books an Amazon bestseller for $2,600. I knew these services were bad, but Jaime offers a valuable personal insight.
  • He provides good advice on book promotion, particularly getting reviews.
  • Jaime suggests producing an 8.5 x 11-inch instructional manual as an additional book format. I think I'll try that. Thanks for the tip.
  • His anecdotes about finding suppliers and choosing a URL are interesting.
Jaime claims to be an "internationally known vocal phenom" who has cracked a glass with his voice. He self-pubbed a few books about vocal training and self-improvement, and now thinks he knows enough about publishing to teach others. Unfortunately, he has more to learn before he is ready to teach. It's sad that an author who has some important information and valid insights to present, knew enough to hire others for designing and editing, but chose the wrong people. They produced an ugly and error-filled book.  At $19.95 for just 134 pages, it's also grossly overpriced compared to the competition. (Time for a brief commercial. My newest book, Get the Most out of a Self-Publishing Company: Make a better deal. Make a better book, has 366 pages and a $17.95 cover price.)

Jaime wrote, "Be ready for a possible retaliation from the other author if you post a bad review." Actually, I don't think Jaime will beat me up or hire a hitman when he reads this. Despite my criticisms, our emails have been cordial. He appreciated my advice, and he has advised others in his field: vocal coaching. I know Jaime knows I want him to succeed. Actually, I want all writers to succeed, in whichever way they define success.

Although I have self-pubbed ten books, I am still an amateur. I never went to "book publishing school" or sat next to a master book designer. All of my knowledge comes from research, observation, experimentation and questioning. Anyone could have learned what I've learned and could make books as good as mine, or even much better than mine. I honestly think that any self-pubber can and should make at least semi-pro-quality books, and most of the mistakes I criticize could have been easily avoided.
  • Every self-pubbed book should be a learning experience. Jaime meant well, and I have reason to believe he'll learn from his mistakes and produce better books in the future.
  • Unfortunately, I strongly doubt that Theresa A. Moore, Helen Gallagher or David Rising will do any better with future books. Their main problem is not ability, but attitude.
They don't know enough to know that they don't know enough. That's a fatal mix of ignorance and ego that affects do-it-yourselfers in every field. Homemade airplanes can crash and kill.

While Jaime's book happens to be about self-publishing, it reveals the potential perils for a writer dealing with any how-to topic, whether it's skiing, cooking or carpentry. Just because you've been successful at something, don't assume you know enough to teach others how to do it. And, check out the competition so you'll know if you can offer something new or better or less expensive--or all three. If you can't do it, you probably shouldn't publish.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

BAD BOOK WEEK, #3, a classic

Infinity Publishing's book is intended to show how good the company is. Instead, it shows how bad the company is.


Does the cover show an autopsy, or a butt crack?


Infinity Publishing calls itself an "independent (indie) book publisher."  Depending on your attitude, it's really a vanity publisher or a self-publishing company.

The company has published a small book called Become a Published Author! It's aimed at prospective author-customers and explains how the company operates. It also includes some useful information on preparing a manuscript for publication. The 90-page book has a phony cover price of $14.95 which no one ever pays. Infinity gives it away for free. Sellers on Amazon.com offer new copies for 60 cents, and used ones for a penny!

It's been available since 2002, but there is not even one review on Amazon.com, and its sales rank was below 3,000,000 this morning.

The book has another stated purpose, to provide a sample of a book that Infinity has published, to seduce customers.

Ironically and stupidly, the book is made very poorly, and it's ugly.

The cover has little contrast between text and a weird background illustration that looks like some letters sprinkled on the interior of a cadaver, or someone's ass. The subtitle is A complete guide to Infinity Publishing's "just in Time" Book Publishing Method. (The subtitle of the book version shown above (from Amazon) is "Your comprehensive guide to the publishing industry. I got my copy in 2009, and I'm not sure when the cover was revised.)

"Time Book Publishing Method" should not have initial capital letters. A publisher should know this. So should an editor.

When you open the book's ugly cover, the first thing you'll see is a blank sheet of white paper. Most paperbacks begin with a title page, or a page of "blurbs" from happy readers.

If you flip over the blank, you'll see that its backside is also blank, and then you see the title page. Strangely, no author is identified on that page or elsewhere in the book (at least I couldn't find it). Amazon says the book was written by Dave Giorgio. Years ago a publisher so badly messed up a book that I wrote that I refused to let my name appear on it. I wonder if Dave feels the same way about this book.

In "normal" books, the back of the title page is the copyright page. This book shows no copyright notice there, but begins with a "Thank You." That's a nice touch--but it's the wrong way to construct a book.

After five pages of introduction, we come to a second title page, which does have a copyright notice on its backside.

In the past I've complained that companies such as Lulu never look at the books they churn out, assuming that if the author-customer approved it, it's good enough to print.

As irresponsible as that attitude is, what Infinity has done is even worse. Infinity's bosses apparently did not take a good look at a book their own employees put together to represent the company's best work.




(above) The tops and bottoms of some facing pages are badly misaligned. The page margins are much smaller than on a standard commercial book.


(above) Infinity will be glad to sell you copyediting services.
(below) Look at the blooper they did not notice, in at least three editions of the book. The Infinity website has errors, too, like "in to" instead of "into." Where are Infinity's copyeditors?


The book's size is just 5.5 x 8.5 inches, smaller than the standard 6 x 9-inch size for similar books. Strangely, Infinity can't even print 6 x 9 books. The company lies that "Most of our competitors can produce only 5.5" x 8.5" books." That's bullshit. Infinity brags about being the only company that can print an 8 x 8 book. BFD! For most writers, 6 x 9 is much more important. Infinity tells us that it offers "the most freedom and best value of any publisher hands down." If they can't produce a common 6 x 9 book, how much "freedom" do their authors have?

The book both uses and recommends Times New Roman and Arial typefaces. Those are Microsoft's default faces and are widely shunned by publishing experts.

Infinity brags about its "accomplished copyeditors" and that the editing service is "the best of its kind." They missed some silly errors, bad grammar and bad English.

The book says, "We only publish high quality books."

That's bad English, that should have been corrected. The "only" should be after "publish." Many editors would recommend putting a hyphen between "high" and "quality" because it's a compound adjective.

If this book is an example of Infinity's best work--the sample they use to attract new business--imagine how crappy their regular books are.

The book also says, "As you hold this book in your hands, take note of the quality of the printing..." I did take note, and I almost barfed on the book.

To dig their burial hole even deeper, the book brags that Infinity has invested millions of dollars in its printing equipment. They say, "Most of our competitors...involve a third party to print and ship books, yielding lower quality and less reliable fulfillment."

That's bullshit.

I--like many independent self-publishers and most of Infinity's competitors, and many major traditional publishers--use Lightning Source to Print-On-Demand and ship books to booksellers and readers. I've never encountered a problem with fulfillment, and my books look infinitely better than Infinity's.

The book says that Infinity sells books to its authors with a 40% discount off list price and that "Our competitors sell you your book at 25% off (if you are lucky)." That's bullshit. Outskirts Press offers discounts up to 48%. Wheatmark's author discount is 40%. The discount at iUniverse can be as much as 65%.

My version of the book was published in February 2009 and is badly out-of-date. It discusses saving files onto floppy discs or a Zip disc. It provides instructions on composing a book with the ancient year-2000 version of Microsoft Word.

(below) Should we believe Infinity's book--or its website?


The book says, "We sell only printed books (not digital or downloadable books) because nothing compares to the real thing." It strongly criticizes the difficulty and the physical pain caused by reading eBooks. Infinity warns us that eBooks ruin the reading experience, and says, "Barnes & Noble stopped selling eBooks--a telling sign." B&N may have stopped selling eBook at one point, but now expects eBooks to be the savior of the company.

High up on the homepage of Infinity's website is this message: "We now offer the complete eBook Publishing solution." Apparently they realize that the warnings in the 2009 book are bullshit. Or, even if reading eBooks does cause eye strain and neck cramps, those are not reasons for the company to turn down a possible source of revenue, and to have a policy that makes Infinity uncompetitive.
  • Strangely, the book I received last year is version 3.5, with a copyright date of 2009, and a notice that it was published in February, 2009.
  • I also have a copy of another version 3.5, with a copyright date of 2007 and a notice that it was published in November, 2007.
  • A few minutes ago I downloaded what should be the latest version of the book--the one which Infinity wants prospective customers to read. This book is also version 3.5, copyrighted in 2008, and published in July, 2008. Yes--today's download is older than the physical book that was distributed 19 months ago!
  • There are slight differences among the three 3.5 versions.
All three versions of the book say that "There may be other publishers that offer low setup fees only to charge extra for things that are really important...Infinity Publishing's basic fee [$499] includes everything you need. The only extras are marketing packages [$125 to $470], copyediting [.013 per word] , our extended distribution with Ingram Book Group [$149] and photo scanning." While not every author needs a publisher to scan photos, the lack of copyediting, proper distribution and marketing will doom a book to failure.
  • Clearly, Infinity's claim that the $499 fee includes "everything you need" is BULLSHIT.
  • And so is the $14.95 price printed on the book.
  • You can get the book for nothing. It's actually worth more than nothing if you want to format a book with an ancient version of Microsoft Word, or want to see some good examples of what NOT to do with your own books.

(above) Infinity's book pricing is strange. Their suggested cover price for a book with 129 pages is a buck more than the price for a book with 128 pages. The author pays 54 cents per book for the additional page. Page number 129 is printed on a very expensive piece of paper. Independent self-publishers who have Lightning Source print their books pay .013 for an additional page. Ironically, Infinity's $149 Extended Distribution Package uses Lightning Source to print the books. Infinity pays Lightning .013 cents (or maybe less) for page number 129, but charges authors 54 cents! That's a nice markup. Infinity also says that its own printing and fulfillment are better than Lightning--but they use Lightning anyway.



(above) Infinity Publishing brags about its innovation and technology. Their book includes this pathetic picture. The caption says "Michelle Shane, sales administrator, is seen here receiving an order for a book."

The ancient CRT monitor on the desk is not the worst lapse of technology. Poor Michelle's left arm is twisted like a pretzel to hold her telephone handset against her right ear to free her right hand for writing. She's not even taking advantage of the high-tech shoulder rest that someone stuck onto the handset. Michelle should be using a HEADSET, not a handset, so both of her hands will be free to conduct business. And why is she writing on a piece of paper instead of typing on a keyboard? I suppose her method is better than using a quill on a sheet of parchment--but just barely. I wonder if Infinity's books are printed on demand, as scrolls, by monks working by candlelight.

The book warns about about neck cramps from reading eBooks. Look at the torture an Infinity employee has to endure. I wonder if Michelle was paid extra to smile for the photograph.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

BAD BOOK WEEK, #2, a newbie

A bad book that tries to teach self-publishing, from someone who has a lot to learn

A crappy 152-page book about publishing
 could have been a few decent 8-page booklets.
The cover looks childish and is badly edited.

In the first line of text above, "Christian" is spelled with a lowercase "c." The last line has a non-standard variant of "demarcation." In between is one of the ugliest paragraphs ever printed. This is from page one. Sadly, things go downhill from here.

Unlike MS. ELIYZABETH YANNE STRONG-ANDERSON (who types in uppercase only), author of yesterday's featured Classic Crapola, Theresa M. Moore is a coherent, experienced and apparently sane writer.
  • Her problems are that she is extremely careless, knows less than she thinks she knows, has an unjustified high opinion of her own editing ability, and frequently ignores her own advice.
Theresa's Principles of Self-Publishing: How to Publish and Market A Book or Ebook On a Shoestring Budget is part of a growing group of books that try to teach writers to self-publish, written by people who are poorly equipped to teach the subject.

Theresa has apparently had some success writing books in the fantasy/sci-fi genres. She says she has 30 years of experience as a writer, illustrator and publisher. She's a member of the Count Dracula Society and has an AA degree with a major in accounting and a minor in advertising design. Sadly, her experience with vampire fangs, debits and paste-ups do not qualify her to instruct others in book publishing.

Before I dissect the book, I want to point you to the comments I recently made about my reviewing competitive books. I'm not criticizing this book because I want you to buy my books instead of it. I'm criticizing it because there are lots of things wrong with it and I don't think people should buy it. I paid money for the book and know a bit about the subject, so I am entitled to comment.

And, beyond the specific subject matter, this book demonstrates major errors that self-publishing authors should avoid, regardless of the subject they write about.

I may as well start with the cover.

It's really ugly, with an illustration by the author that looks like fifty-cent clip art. The font looks like something a third-grader would scrawl on the blackboard. According to Theresa, the title's font should be "attention grabbing." The font she chose is sleep-inducing, or barf-inducing.

Instead of a title and subtitle, the book has what seem to be two titles. The main title is coma-inducingly dull. I doubt that many people buy books with "Principles Of" in the title--unless commanded to do so by a professor. Theresa wisely says, "No book is complete without a great title." Therefore, her book is not complete.

The subtitle does a much better selling job, but has some silly errors. It has both uppercase and lowercase A's. It uses lowercase for the preposition "or" but uppercase for the preposition "on." When I questioned the author about this, she said these were deliberate decisions, not errors, and "It makes the subtitle easier to read." I say,  "bullshit!"

The type on the spine is light pink-brown. It's tiny type, and fades into the pea-soup-green background color. If you look closely, you'll see the same inconsistent typography as on the front cover. The title page also has the inconsistent typography, but strangely omits "or ebook" from the subtitle. The copyright page also has the weird typography and also leaves out part of the subtitle.  Like the rest of the book, the copyright page eschews hyphens, and has very ugly word spacing.  It also has "2009, 2010" and "2009,2010"--with and without a space after the comma. Someone should have noticed these errors before the book was printed.

The back cover repeats the same homemade illustration and childlike typeface. It has a copyright notice, which I've never before seen on a book cover. The back text says that the book "contains information you will find valuable to your project and can be applied to the design and production of any product." I doubt that this book will help someone design and produce tactical nuclear weapons, pillows or chocolate syrup.

Theresa says that a back cover's margins "are the mirror image of the front." There is no reason for them to be the same, as long as they meet the printer's requirements. She also says that the back cover can be "completely blank." That's true if you are going to give books away or sell them yourself. If you want booksellers to sell them for you, the back cover needs an ISBN and bar code.

On the first page of the introduction, we learn that Theresa  disliked the smell of rubber cement but loves the smell of mimeograph ink. She says, "It smelled so scholastic. Maybe her inhalation of glue and ink fumes hurt her ability to discern and correct errors in her books. WARNING: be careful what you sniff.

After mentioning the ink, she wrote, "But I digress." Unfortunately, the very slim book is filled with unnecessary digressions and unimportant information.

A few pages later, Theresa says,"The ebook was developed was developed for ease of use and convenience." Someone should have noticed the repetition before the book was approved for printing.

The introduction also says, "I succeeded at producing books that are just as good in quality as those of the big house publishers. All it takes is dedication and the will to learn, and you too can be a successful author in a matter of a few days."

To me, the "big house" is a prison; but if I assume that Theresa means a company like Random House rather than Alcatraz or Sing-Sing, she's very wrong. Her book is FAR from equal to the quality of books published by the pros. Producing a good book requires much more than dedication and a will to learn, and. I doubt that anyone can become a successful author in a few days.

  • Like an unfortunate number of self-pubbers, Theresa has a strange aversion to hyphens. This gives her pages excessive word spacing, plus rivers, widows and orphans--and wastes paper. It's the mark of an amateur publisher. It's OK to skip hyphens on a website or when formatting an eBook, but hyphens are important in print. When I mentioned the problems caused by her lack of hyphenation, Theresa responded, "I don't know what you are referring to. My proof copies do not look that way. This may be a printer artifact, and since my service uses several outside sources to print once the book is sold I have no control over that either." That response is bullshit. A digital printing press does no change word spacing. Ugly pages are ugly even when viewed as a Microsoft Word doc or an Adobe PDF. The only problem I found that can be attributed to the printing process is some tilted pages. They are not Theresa's fault--but ugly pages are.
  • Sloppiness is abundant. On the first page after the introduction, a comma is missing, "Christian" is spelled with a lowercase "c" and the word "or" is missing in a list of types of fiction. These lapses are on just one page, and are an unfortunate precursor of lapses to come.  
  • OK, it's time for a compliment: Theresa provides some good instruction for writing fiction.
  • Now back to the bitching. The book is consistently inconsistent, with variations in spelling, capitalization and punctuation. On one page we're told that Lulu is "based" in North Carolina. On the opposite page we learn that CreateSpace is "base" in California.
  • Another compliment: Theresa offers some wise advice: "...pay close attention to every part of the publishing process, including the preparation and presentation of the manuscript."
  • And more bitching: It's a shame she did not pay attention to her own advice.
  • There are awkward phrases, like "I used to use...."
  • Strangely, Theresa prefers the British "grey" to the American "gray." Gray is a color. Grey is a colour. She also uses the British meaning of "blurb," and the Brit style of putting a period after a closing quote mark--some of the time.
  • She says, "...your work will be read by others who may have the expertise you do not. They will be highly critical of your work if you cannot justify your theories with the facts to support them. Theresa is absolutely right. She says, "People who read books usually do not read blogs, and vice versa." I doubt that Theresa has facts to support this silly theory. I know lots of people who read both blogs and books. Some people read blogs about books--like this one.
  • Theresa puts "only" before verbs and gerunds when they should be after them.
  • Theresa wrote, "...write to engage the reader's interest and entertainment." How does a writer engage a reader's entertainment?
  • In a paragraph titled, "Edit, Edit, Lather, rinse, repeat," Theresa wrote, "...go over the whole thing and weed out the mistakes." In the very next sentence she typed "everytime" instead of "every time." Everytime is a song sung by Britney Spears, but is not standard English. Maybe Theresa was thinking of "everyone."
  • Theresa says it's OK to use the same title that another book uses. While titles can't be copyrighted, elements in titles can be trademarked, and it's stupid to deliberately risk lost sales, confused buyers and expensive lawsuits.
  • She says, "A major publisher receive thousands of manuscripts every day." I don't believe it.
  • She thinks that PDF stands for "portable document file." The real meaning is portable document FORMAT. It's possible to have a PDF file, but not a PD file file.
  • Theresa tells us that "Adobe has a subscription service called Acrobat that enables you to make a PDF directly through their software." Acrobat is software--available in a box or as a download. No subscription is necessary. Acrobat.com is a subscription service which enables multiple users to collaborate in producing documents which Adobe stores online.
  • She typed "ISBN number." That's redundant, because the "N" stands for "number."
  • She says, "The last number [of ISBNs] may be different on several bookselling sites owing to a check digit for inventory control." The check digit is provided by Bowker (in the USA) to ensure that the other digits are correct. It has nothing to do with inventory control. Booksellers may use their own stock numbers, but do not alter the ISBN assigned to a book.
  • The barcode usually includes the cover price. Theresa is opposed to including the price and says, "If the bookseller will not take your book without it, you are better off going somewhere else." Even with a printed price, it's tough to interest a bookseller in stocking self-pubbed books. It's stupid to walk away from a potentially large piece of business because you refuse to print the price.


Theresa tries to limit her printing cost by using the minimum amount of paper. In the example above, the header is much too close to the first line of text. The upper and lower and outside margins are too small. Strangely, the inside "gutter" margin is too large for a thin perfect-bound book.
  • In a discussion of page margins, Theresa suggests "usually 1/2 or .5 inch all around." I have not had an arithmetic class recently, but I'm pretty sure that 1/2 inch and .5 inch are THE SAME... and either one is too small for a book margin. The basic rule of thumb is that you should be able to hold the book in your hands without your thumbs covering any text. Adult human thumbs are usually wider than a half inch.
  • Theresa offers her own rule of thumb: "Never use a TIF file when a JPG will do." That's bad advice. Each time a JPG file is saved, it loses some detail. A TIF file is "lossless."  She says that most publishers prefer JPGs.  I don't believe her. Besides, this book is written for self-publishers who will be dealing with printers--not with other publishers.
  • She says that the number of pages in a book must be even or divisible by 4. If a number is divisible by 4, it's an even number. Actually, the proper number depends on the printing equipment, and varies from company to company, and may change over time.
  • According to Theresa, the title page should be the first page in a book. Actually, in many books, the first page--or pages--have comments ("blurbs") from reviewers or casual readers. Many books use a "half title" (or "bastard title") page ahead of the title page.
  • Theresa is concerned about the cost of paper. She tells us, "As the price of printing goes up due to market and paper supply issues, the greatest amount of information must fit the smallest space." Actually, POD printing prices have been stable for at least two years, and Theresa's effort to save paper results in really ugly pages. This is the only book I've ever seen that has chapters ending and beginning on the same page. The back of the book has five blank pages. If Theresa did some simple arithmetic, those pages could have carried information and/or allowed more attractive pages, and added just a few cents to the cost of printing the book.

Above is a typical and tragic example of the ugly word spacing that results when Theresa uses full justification but refuses to hyphenate. Theresa says that the Plotnik book is "especially useful in guiding the writer to craft a better book." I wonder if she read it.
  • Theresa says that "Lulu or CreateSpace will offer you a basic designer which will..." A designer is a "who," not a "which."
  • The last line on page 23 says, "Here is the sample for the back cover." The line is followed by nearly two inches of blank space, but the sample is on the next page. The lead-in line should have been moved to the next page. She does the same thing elsewhere.
  • In one of Theresa's worst fuckups, she says that Lightning Source "is a full service publisher." Lightning is not a publisher of any kind. It is a printer which works for publishers. It does NOT provide services such as editing and page formatting that a self-publishing company provides. Anyone who is advising publishers should know the difference between a printer and a publisher. Printing is part of publishing, but is not the same thing.
  • She says that Lightning provides both digital and offset printing and that if you want a book printed offset, "your files will have to be set  up for that." That's not quite true. You submit the same PDF regardless of the printing method.  The printing company does different preparation, but the self-publisher does not.
  • Theresa wants us to know that Lightning Source charges an "exhorbitant shipping fee" for a proof. Actually $30 is not bad for printing the proof and next-day shipping, and she spelled "exorbitant" wrong. A spell checker would have caught it. She said, "I don't use the spell checker. I use a dictionary. Oxford American. The standard spelling I learned had an h." I think she confused "exorbitant" with "exhort." She also misspelled "propaganda." Theresa says, "A misspelled word can stand out like a red flag in a cornfield" and "It is vitally important for you to have a clear grasp of spelling..." She's right about that. It's good to have a dictionary, but unless you're unsure about a word, you won't check it. A spell checker, while imperfect, is on duty even when you have no doubt.
  • In discussing Lulu, Theresa says, "..you will have to purchase their free distribution package." How do I purchase something that's free?
  • She tells us that "CreateSpace also does absolutely nothing to help you promote your book, to Amazon or anywhere else. They have a shopping cart and that is all, and they are the publisher of record on Amazon." This is all wrong. If you publish through CreateSpace you get automatic availability on Amazon, with "look inside the book" included, They are not the publisher of record unless you want them to be. I've used CreateSpace for two books, and they have my company's name, logo and ISBN.
  • Theresa faults CreateSpace for not accepting PayPal payments and lauds Lulu for accepting Paypal. Frankly, it's hard for me to believe that anyone would go into the self-publishing business and not have credit cards.
  • Chapter titles have "And," "The" and "A" uppercased--but not "of." That's silly--except for the chapter tiles where "and" is in lowercase.
The paragraph above has an ugly orphan which could have been easily eliminated by eliminating a word, changing a word, or hyphenation. The book is filled with orphans, widows and rivers. Someone with 30 years' experience in publishing and advertising should have known to remove them. Theresa said these defects were caused by the printer. She's wrong.

I'm not even up to page 40, and Theresa's book is not worth my writing an encyclopedia, so I'll just mention a few more notable low lights and highlights from the rest of the book.
  • There's an extensive section on antitrust laws. It's interesting, but hardly necessary for self-publishers. I'll label it "padding."
  • Some of the absolute worst publishing advice I've encountered anywhere is this: "Concentrate on selling your books from your own web site and you will do better than if you rely on others for your sales." That's irresponsible and untrue. Booksellers' websites like Amazon.com get thousands of times the traffic that any self-pubber's website gets, and it's silly for an author to get involved with running a warehouse and shipping department and handling credit cards. I bought Theresa's book from Amazon, not from her own site.
  • In addition to being wrong about PDF, Theresa is also wrong about LCCN. It stands for Library of Congress Control Number--not Certification Number. She says there is a "small fee" for an LCCN. There is no fee. She says you need to send at least two copies of your book to get an LCCN. One copy is enough.
  • She has several strings of words that begin with uppercased words and end with periods--but there are no verbs, so they're not sentences.
  • Theresa thinks that self-publishers should also be booksellers and should work to get shoppers to see their websites before they get to Amazon. That's unlikely and not useful. It's much better to let booksellers sell books.
  • The book says that if "you sell 100 [$18] books in a given month and 10 books are returned, your unit cost per book will then increase by...$1.80." This ignores the fact that some, many or all of the returned books can be sold again. Some may have to be sold at a discount if they are imperfect--but they still generate income. They are not trash.
  • There's an extensive section on HTML (HyperText Markup Language) and building a website. Authors need websites, but they don't need to know HTML. I say this section is padding, too.
  • Theresa wants self-publishers to sell books, but warns against having phone numbers on sales sites. That's stupid. Lots of shoppers need information or prefer to order by phone. She warns that telemarketers may call in the middle of the night. You should have different phone numbers for business and personal use, and there is no need to hear the business line ring after hours--and certainly no need to answer late-night calls. That's what voicemail is for,
  • She says that a press release should be headed, "PRESS RELEASE." It should not. The normal heading is "For Immediate Release," or perhaps "For Release On or After 10/1/2010."
  • The book has a page about advertising in newspapers and magazines. That's a waste of a publisher's money, and a wasted page in this slim book.
  • Theresa encourage authors to have promotional videos. They're useless unless you can find a way to make people watch them. Her own video is awful, and I don't mean awe-inspiring).
  • She talks about promotional "bill caps." "Ball caps," as in "baseball caps," is the more common expression.
  • Theresa cautions authors not to blog "too much" because it takes time away from book writing. Actually, blogging can promote book sales, and material written for a blog can be used for books. I've done it many times.
  • The ignorant author tells us, "Some online booksellers, like Amazon, take 60 to 65% [of the cover price]. I kid you not." Theresa may not be kidding, but she's way off base. Amazon is perfectly happy to collect 20%--or even just 10% when it sells a book for less than the cover price.
  • Theresa is very wrong when she tells us, "In the book world, you must always round UP to the nearest dollar less five cents or a penny, so your book's list price can be $17.95 or $17.99." While most cover prices end in 95 cents, that's a custom--not a requirement. Some books are priced in whole dollars. Xlibris likes weirdo prices like $17.84, $19.54 and $24.64.
  • According to Theresa, "Lightning Source charges $2.52 for [a 100-page book] shipped direct to you for resale. For wholesale orders, the cost goes down to...$2.20. This makes no sense, since a book shipped for resale is a wholesale order.
  • There's a long, dull, boring, sleep-inducing, unnecessary, page-wasting section on bookkeeping that few self-publishers are likely to need or be interested in. I  don't need to know about amortisation expenses or inventory control. This is more padding--in a very thin book.
  • Theresa says, "The suggested retail or list price...is the maximum a seller may charge for the book new." Actually, many booksellers offer books for substantially more than the cover prices.
  • She also tells us that "The list price is often set as the perceived value of the book on the marketplace." It's up to a buyer to perceive a value--not the publisher or bookseller. What happens if a publisher perceives the value of a book to be $50, but most shoppers think it's worth $10? Theresa perceives the value of her book to be $15.95. I paid $15.95, but after reading it, I perceive the value to be about two bucks.

Theresa is a big believer in promotional videos, and the book includes instructions for making a rudimentary slide show for online exhibition. She says, "If you are a complete novice at this here is where I can help you make a simple video that will do more to help you market your book than anything else you might do. The press release is effective but the video has more reach. You can make it as exciting and attention grabbing as the best movie trailer on the planet. The better you make it, the more people who will be inclined to watch it..." Theresa's video is as ugly as her book. It is NOT exciting. It is NOT attention-grabbing. It is NOT entertaining or informative. It is simply an uninteresting and unattractive commercial for an uninteresting and unattractive book and it is extremely unlikely to go viral. The only good thing I can say is that the letter A's on the opening screen are consistent--unlike the book cover.
  • Our ignorant expert says that the county where your business is located "will require you to post the registration [of your business] on your own in your local newspaper." That may be true where Theresa lives, but I've registered businesses in New York and Connecticut and did not have to advertise in either state.
  • In her inappropriate role of legal advisor, Theresa advises us that the abbreviation for Limited Partnership is "Ltd." Actually, the correct abbreviation is LP. "Ltd." is the abbreviation for "Limited'--the U.K. equivalent of an American corporation where shareholders have limited liability.
  • She says that self-publishers "must obtain a tax permit or resale certificate." If you are not actually selling books, you don't need to get involved with sales tax. If you ship books only out of your home state to a state where you have no physical presence ("nexus"), you don't need to collect or remit sales tax (but this may change in the future.)
  • The math non-wiz  tells us that "As the price of your book goes up, the demand for it will go down. [That's OK.] And then she adds, "your costs will go up as the demand for it goes up." HUH?  With Print-On-Demand, my cost of printing books does not change. With offset printing, if I order more, I pay less per book if I order more to meet increased demand.
  • The book has a section on stress reduction, sleep, avoiding stimulants, exercise, feng shui and self-esteem. It's mostly useless bullshit, and unnecessary padding.
  • In this section, she advises writers to "...keep a supply of small snacks, water, and a period of nap time by your side." Does the nap time go on my chair, on my desk, on the floor, or does it hang on the wall? An editor should have caught this!
  • Theresa tells us that Lightning Source "Will insert a generic barcode to your cover if you do not have one, but prefers you already have one." That's not true. Lightning is perfectly happy to provide a  cover template with a custom barcode to correspond to your ISBN, and it's FREE. A generic barcode would be useless. A book's barcode must correspond to its ISBN.
  • The non-expert tells us that type size is "presented in points per inch." That's wrong. Type size is expressed in points, but not per inch. Maybe she was thinking of dots per inch. In modern typography, one point is 1/72nd of an inch, so there are 72 points per inch. If Theresa was right, we could not have 80-pt type. Someone with 30 years experience in publishing and advertising should know this.
  • Theresa eschews "self-publishing company" in favor of  "self-help publisher." The world doesn't  really need another euphemism for "vanity publisher"--and her favorite term already has a different meaning: a publisher of self-help books.
  • She wants us to re-size photos "to fit the text area at 90 to 100%."  There's nothing wrong with 30% or 60% or any percentage which provides a big enough image.
  • Theresa provides OVER FORTY PAGES about bookkeeping, pricing and taxes--an awful big chunk of a 152-page book about publishing!
  • The book's subtitle emphasizes "a shoestring budget," but Theresa's cheapo design decisions have led to an UGH-LEE book.
  • She also saved money by not hiring an editor who should have caught the abundant mistakes. I asked her if she self-edited and she answered, "Of course. I have edited many others' books myself." Based on her own book, I feel sorry for her clients. No one should be her own editor. Even a professional editor who writes books needs to hire an editor. If you can't afford to hire an editor, you can't afford to publish a book.
  • Theresa wrote, "I edited my stories as many as fifteen times before I am satisfied that it is good enough to publish." Maybe if Theresa read that sentence sixteen times, she would have fixed the tenses. If she read the book seventeen times, maybe she would have noticed the paragraph missing its indentation. Sadly, even if she read the book one hundred times, she probably would not have noticed how ugly it is.
  • She talks about preparing a query letter and submitting a manuscript to a publisher. Those topics don't belong in a book for self-publishers
  • When I asked her why she did not hyphenate, Theresa responded, "Word processing software typically justifies when set that way. Why hyphenate when the whole word will be sent to the next line? This is not Linotype letter die setting." That's a bunch of shit. Her book was made unnecessarily ugly because she refused to hyphenate, and the term ""letter die setting" does not appear in either Google or Bing, and Theresa refused to explain what she meant by it.
  • I asked her, "Why didn't you provide an index? It's unusual for non-fiction how-to books." She said, "Many people using the book do not look at an index, nor care to." An index is useful, and many readers expect to find one in a how-to book. I think Theresa was being lazy or cheap or both.
Amazon.com sells this dreadful book for 8.99 as a Kindle edition and $15.95 as a paperback. It's been out for two months with no reviews on Amazon. I may be the first to review it. It is not an honor.

Theresa wrote, "Criticism helps you to see the things you missed because you are editing inside your own head. What you think is a brilliant idea may turn out to be a real clunker..." Her book is a real clunker.

Theresa knows a lot--but not nearly enough to teach about publishing. Even sadder, she does not follow the advice she provides for others. That is inexcusable.

 Stay away from this book--except to learn what not to do.
  • Come back tomorrow, for another really BAD BOOK. Please tell your friends.

(Alcatraz photo from http://www.alcatraztickets.com/)

Monday, September 27, 2010

BAD BOOK WEEK, #1, a classic

This may be the worst book ever published, and demonstrates the pathetically low standards of AuthorHouse


(left-click to enlarge)

This overpriced, ugly and weird pile of shit was ranked #9,422,172 by Amazon.com this morning. That's more than a million positions lower than when my original review appeared last April. It may be the absolute worst-seller on Amazon. Based on its title, cover, formatting and writing, it may also be the absolute worst book ever published.

Its Amazon sales rank is so low, that if every person in New York City PLUS every person in Alaska, Bermuda, Monaco and Guam wrote books, they could ALL have better sales rankings than this book!

It was published by AuthorHouse--a self-publishing company with just two requirements for publication: blood pressure above zero, and money to buy a publishing package.

AuthorHouse brags that it "assigns each author a personal publishing consultant, who provides guidance throughout the self publishing process." I'd like to see the IQ test and eye test for the consultant who guided the author of this trash.

Originally I thought this book was a spoof, a scam, a con job--published by pranksters to demonstrate the low standards of AuthorHouse. I thought it was like the deliberately bad books published through PublishAmerica: Atlanta Nights by “Travis Tea” (travesty) and The Crack of Death by “Sharla Tann” (charlatan).

Sadly, this book is real.

In the past I've stated that I don’t believe in prior censorship or the licensing of writers or publishers. Unfortunately, the ease of publication means that a lot of worthless crap gets published, and this is probably the best example. Based on this book I may support pre-publication testing and licensing. I am certain that MS. ELIYZABETH YANNE STRONG-ANDERSON would flunk the test.

This book has 648 huge 8.5 x 11-inch pages and a $150 cover price. Amazon discounts it to $135, but it's available for just $75 on the AuthorHouse website.

No lowercase letters are used in the book.

What follows is a sample of the text, and some "author" info. Keep your barf bag handy.


ARE YOU BARREN AND DISGUSTED?? OR BIRTH CONTROLING AND BUSTED?? THESE QUESTIONS IS >ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT CHAPTERS IN THIS BOOK: > REVEALING > THE SINS OF THE CHURCHES: REVEALING: HOW *THE SINS BIRTH CONTROL IN OUR CHRISTIAN MARRIAGES AND IN THE WORLD MARRIAGES EVEN IN SINFUL SEXUAL RELATIONSHIPS: HAS CALLED WORLD SIN IN ADULTERY AND FORNICATING RELATIONSHIP AND FALSE CHRIST LEADERSHIP.

THE PIT OF SPIRITUAL WHOREDOM BECAME OPEN AND THE CAUSE OF ORGANIZED CRIME IN OUR GOVERNMENT AND WORLD LEADERSHIP

THE YEAR OF 1994. THE MILITARY HELP DESTROY MY MARRIAGE OF 17 YEARS. FALSE CHRIST LEADERSHIPS BEGAN TO FORM ON TELEVISION.

BECAUSE OF SPIRITUAL SEDUCING SINS. AND SPIRITUAL DARKNESS IN OUR CHURCHE LEADERSHIP.

BELIEVE IT OR NOT: BIRTH CONTROL IS ONE OF THE MAJOR REASON: WHY HUMANS HAVE FALLEN FAILED COMES COMMANDMENTS: AND NOW THEY HAVE BECOME: WARFUL AGAIN: HEARTLESS AND SINFULLY PERSECUTING CHRISTIANS AND HOLY PEOPLE IN MANY COUTRIES. ** SINFULLY STARTING PERSECUTIONS AND RACISM: THROUGH EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATIONS. **RESULTING IN GREED AND EVIL: EVEN WORLD WHOREDOM: CAUSING > HOMOSEXUAL AND GAY SINS: USING THE MEDIA OF TELEVISION, THE INTERNET WIDE WORLD WEBSITES AND RADIO SATANIC WORSHIP.

MY FIRST CHRISTIAN BOOK: ASK THE QUESTIONS:

ARE YOU BARREN AND DISGUSTED?? OR> . BIRTHCONTROLING AND BUSTED?? >REMINDING THE WORLD: > ONE IS A SIN AND THE OTHER IS A CURSE OR PERSECUTION!!

JESUS SAID: YOU CANNOT SERVE TWO MASTERS: BECAUSE > YOU WILL LEARN TO HATE ONE! > AND LOVE THE OTHER!! **

WOMEN AND CHRISTIAN MARRAIGES ON BIRTH CONTROL HAVE LEARN TO HATE HAVING CHILDREN: AND LOVE LIVING WITHOUT THEM. *CAUSING WORK DISCRIMINATIONS AGAINST WOMEN WHO DO HAVE SMALL CHILDREN. AND CAUSING DISCRIMINATIONS: AGAINST OUR CHILDRENS FUTURE BY STARTING WARS AND BY WRITING LAWS AGAINST SCHOOL PROSPERITY.

MY AUTHOR NAME IS:

MS. ELIYZABETH YANNE STRONG-ANDERSON: I AM A HOLYSPIRIT ANOINTED CHOSEN DISCIPLE OF GOD AND CHRIST JESUS. NAMED TO BE A ANOINTED APOSTLE TEACHER BY THE VOICE OF GOD: TO HELP CALLED THE TRUE CHRISTIAN CHURCH INTO TRUE ETERNAL LIFE SALVATION IN JOHN 3:16. THIS BOOK IS DIRECTED BY GODS HOLYSPIRIT VOICE: ALSO BASE ON THE HOLY COMMANDMENTS: EXODUS 20:13 THOU SHALT NOT KILL, GENESIS 1:26-31 GO INCREASE, MULTIPLY AND TAKE DOMINIONSHIP OVER ALL THINGS. AND 1TIMOTHY 2;15 *THE WOMEN WILL BE SAVED IN CHILD BEARING YEARS: IF SHE CONTINUES: WITH FAITH, CHARITY AND HOLINESS. *ALSO REVELATIONS 2 & 3:*GOD IS ASKING THE CHURCHES TO REPENT OF ALL THEIR> SINS: AND TO RESTORE THE TRUE CHURCH BACK INTO GOD EVER LASTING COMMANDMENTS. * GOD HAS CALLED AND CHOSEN: ELIYZABETH TO HELP SAVED THE WORLD AND CHURCH FROM THE FALSE CHRIST TEACHINGS. *THROUGH THIS BOOK HOLYSPIRIT PRAYERS: AND HOLYSPIRIT TEACHINGS: YOU WILL AND CAN FIND TRUE SALVATION IN GOD AND CHRIST JESUS: JOHN 3:3-16 THIS HOLYSPIRIT BOOK OF REPENTANCE AND REMEMBER OF THE WORDS AND COMMANDMENTS OF GOD: WILL HELP YOU BECOME A TRUE: BORN AGAIN CHRISTIAN: JOHN 3:3-16 REMEMBER: JESUS SAID: YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN: OF THE WATER AND OF THE SPIRIT . GOD HAS DIRECTED*ELIYZABETH HOLYSPIRIT WRITINGS IN THIS BOOK TO HELP ALL>UNDERSTAND GODS SALVATION CALLS!! GOD HAS DIRECTED THIS BOOK TO HELP ALL WHO SEEK TO BE OBEDIENT TO GODS HOLY COMMANDMENTS: EVEN OVERCOME ALL FALSE CHRIST TEACHINGS: THROUGH REPENTENCE & RESTORATION: GIVING GODS TITHES BACK INTO THE HOLYSPIRIT LEADERSHIP: STARTING WITH: THIS BOOK OF HOLYSPIRIT SERVANT: MS. ELIYZABETH YANNE STRONG-ANDERSON: WHEN YOU GIVE TO MY HOLYSPIRIT DISCIPLESHIP: YOU CAN BE SURE YOUR ETERNAL LIFE AND NAME WILL BE WRITTEN IN THE LAMBS BOOK OF LIFE. **SUPPORT GODS HOLYSPIRIT GOALS: THROUGH THIS HOLYSPIRIT BOOK WITH YOUR CHRISTIAN CHARITY DONATIONS: TO HELP ME BUILD HOLYSPIRIT CHURCHES AND TO HELP ME MENTOR ADOPTIONS OF GODS ORPHAN CHILDREN. I AM A HOLYSPIRIT BRIDE VOICE FOR GOD AND CHRIST JESUS: REPENT AND SEEK TO RESTORE YOURSELF: FROM ALL YOUR SINS: WHEN FOLLOW ME: IN THE CHRISTIAN COMMANDMENTS OF GOD AND CHRIST JESUS: JOIN YOUR HOLYSPIRT CONNECTION: SUPPORTING ME: SISTER ELIYZABETH WITH YOUR CHRISTIAN TITHES AND CHRISTIAN OFFERINGS!! *MALACHI 3:1-16 *AND MATTHEW 4:17-25. & MATTHEW 28:18-20

IT IS WRITTEN: REPENT FOR THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND!!

Is there anything good I can find to say about this book? Sure there is. It's so big and so heavy that it can be used as a doorstop. It's also a powerful example of what writers and publishers should NOT do.

  • Come back tomorrow, for another really BAD BOOK. Please tell your friends.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Important advice for self-publishers

(from http://www.beachclubbaseball.com/?p=1214&cpage=1#comment-324)

"The rule of thumb is that the number of copies you order from your printer should be the number that you are confident of selling within 12 months or a year."

Or 365 days, or 52 weeks, or 8760 hours, or 31,536,000,000 milliseconds...



Tomorrow is the start of
BAD BOOK WEEK.

I'll have new reviews of perfect-bound excreta, plus reruns of classic crapola. I'm sure to piss off some people. Stop by and join the fun. Wear protective goggles and a haz-mat suit, because the shit is gonna hit the fan!

(fan photo from www.bloglighting.com)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Lightning Source will print down-unda

G'day, mates.

Next year Lightning Source will start printing books on demand in the land of 'roos, wallabies, koalas, dingoes, boomerangs, digeree dos, shrimp on the barbie,Waltzing Matilda and Crocodile Dundee.

“The expansion of our Lightning Source global print solution into Australia is a significant step in the ongoing mission of Ingram Content Group to help content reach its destination swiftly and efficiently to retailers and readers worldwide,” said David Prichard, President and CEO, Ingram Content Group. “This expansion of Ingram’s global presence, from the United Kingdom to France and now Australia, provides publishers with expanded market reach and sales opportunities, as well as makes thousands of books available quickly and affordably to booksellers and their customers.”

Prichard continued, “Our Lightning Source operation in Australia will build on our already solid relationships as a leading retail and library supplier in this market. We now look forward to offering our customers an in-market print-on-demand model and introducing the benefits and flexibility that virtual inventory affords.”

Locating a print-on-demand book manufacturing facility in Australia gives publishers options to reduce or remove the need to warehouse local inventory and reduces transportation and potential stock write-off costs. For publishers that currently take advantage of book manufacturing and distribution from Lightning Source, adding expanded distribution to this new market will be seamless and straightforward.

Publishers can take advantage of a virtual inventory model through print-on-demand to dramatically increase the number of titles on hand in the region and drive additional sales, a benefit not only for the publisher but also for the entire supply chain. Publishers located in Australia can drive additional sales through the US and UK Lightning Source retail channels.

The Lightning Source plant in Australia will be Ingram Content Group’s fifth networked book manufacturing facility. Lightning Source North American facilities include its headquarters in La Vergne, Tennessee, and a plant in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Lightning Source international locations include a large-scale operation near London that serves the European region and a facility in France--a joint-venture with Hachette Book Group.

The new operation in Australia will manufacture both paperback and hardcover black and white interior books. With a digital library of over 4.4 million books, Lightning Source has printed and delivered over 99 million books on behalf of publishers around the world.

The Lightning Source Aussie facility is expected to begin operation in June 2011. This should greatly decrease the down-under price of Lightning-printed books, increase the variety of available books, and help authors worldwide. It sounds like a good move for everyone--except Lightning's competitors.




Next week is BAD BOOK WEEK.

I'll have new reviews of perfect-bound excreta, plus reruns of classic crapola. I'm sure to piss off some people. Stop by and join the fun. Wear protective goggles and a haz-mat suit, because the shit is gonna hit the fan!

(fan photo from www.bloglighting.com)
(kangaroo photo from http://blog.bioethics.net/)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Another book that caused me to redo a book

Actually, The Non-Designer's Design & Type Books is not a book. It’s two books inhabiting one body. And, although the author is Robin Williams, it’s a woman—not the man who played Mork from Ork, Mrs. Doubtfire, Peter Pan, Vladimir Ivanoff and the Blue Genie of the Lamp in Disney's Aladdin.

The Robin Williams we're concerned with now is the author of dozens of bestselling and award-winning books. Through her writing, teaching and seminars, Robin has influenced countless disciples in design, typography, desktop publishing, the Mac and the Web.

This book comes from decades of experience and combines a new edition of Robin’s The Non-Designer’s Design Book (in color for the first time) and The Non-Designer’s Type Book. Robin defines and demonstrates the principles that govern good design and type. You’ll learn what looks best—or worst—and why.

Robin’s dual-book-pack has help for anyone who has to design a print project, whether it’s a book or a poster for a tag sale or a business card. The information and wisdom applies to experts using professional software like InDesign and Quark Express, as well as to beginners like me who use MS Word.

Here’s some of what I learned:

  • Drop caps can be more than devices to break up gray pages. They can add beauty.
  • Names should not be hyphenated. (I cheat sometimes.)
  • When sans serif text is inserted into serif text, it should be reduced in size by one point.
  • Numbers with ascenders and descenders are “oldstyle figures.”
  • An ellipsis should be looser than three periods, like . . .
  • An ellipsis at the end of a sentence gets a period, like . . . .
  • The style of punctuation should match the word it follows. However, an italic period looks like a roman period.
  • Listen to your eyes. If something looks wrong, it is wrong.
The book is (books are?) a large-format (7 by 10 inches)  paperback with 244 pages. Cover price is.$45.00. Amazon is selling it today for $24.06.

This dual-book is important, informative, useful and reasonably priced; and belongs on every self-publisher's bookshelf--whether you format your own books or hire a professional designer. I've gone through it twice, and also use it as a reference. It has given me new insights that pushed me to redesign one of my books already, and I'll probably redesign two others to incorporate what Robin has taught me. Knowledge is power, and this book will empower you.


Next week is BAD BOOK WEEK.

I'll have new reviews of perfect-bound excreta, plus reruns of classic crapola. I'm sure to piss off some people. Stop by and join the fun. Wear protective goggles and a haz-mat suit, because the shit is gonna hit the fan!

(fan photo from www.bloglighting.com)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Making lemonade out of a semi-lemon

There is a strong human urge to “do the best I can” which conflicts with other people's advice to “leave well enough alone.”

By my left elbow is what was supposed to be the final proof of Get the Most out of a Self-Publishing Company--which was supposed to go on sale on 9/1, and then on 9/15.

I discovered one sentence that printed in gray instead of black. I did not spot this on my monitor. I did not want the book to be sold this way, so I decided to delay publication, again.

As long as I was making one repair, I went through the book again, and found 29 items on 366 pages that, while good enough, could be better--so I fixed them.

While doing the revisions, always-helpful publishing maven Joel Friedlander suggested that since I will soon have five or six books about publishing, I should identify them as a series. Joel was right, and I was stupid not to have thought of this myself.

So…I took time to develop a series tag line ("Create Better Books, with the Silver Sands Publishing Series"), and asked my cover artist to make a series logo which has to work well on covers of three books that have already been designed.

Coincidentally, I was never really happy with the cover of the "Get the Most"  book. Since the cover had to be modified to add the new tag line, I requested some other changes that made the cover much stronger, and eliminated the pesky frame that seems to never get printed the same way on two books.


My cover artist is just now starting a new career teaching art, so I have to wait for her to find time for me, which delays publication even more.

If I was willing to live with a little bit of text that should have been black instead of gray, none of this would have happened. Few readers would have noticed. Probably none would complain.

The book would have been “good enough”--but not the best I could make it.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

When responding to readers--who may be reviewers--an author's attitude makes a big diffference

I read lots of books. I particularly read lots of books about publishing, both to learn and to check on possible competition for my own books about publishing.

In the last week I've read two unsatisfying books which try to instruct self-publishers. They both have useful information, but the presentations are badly flawed. Typography, cover design and editing are deficient. Both books have factual errors, reveal bad decisions (and ignorance), and include inappropriate material.

I often email authors with questions, comments and corrections. I don't identify myself as a blogger, writer, publisher or reviewer--but I don't hide my identity, either. Any author could instantly find out about me with Google or Bing.

My communication with "TM" was as unpleasant as reading her book. She made ridiculous attempts to justify bad decisions, ignored some questions, and seemed downright resentful ("Why are you asking these questions?"). Her snotty attitude killed any chance of getting a positive review from me.

The reponse from "JV" was completely different. He was appreciative of my comments, said that he knew about some of the errors and regretted them, and tried to courteously justify the decisions I disagreed with. He even said he might thank me publicly in the next edition of his book.

I was not looking for public gratitude or ass-kissing, and I did not like his book any better after the email--but I did like the author much better. And that will affect my review.

Attitude means a lot.

(smileys from http://robwall.ca/2009/05/22/smileys-in-online-courses/)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sometimes it's better to look at a book,
and not read it

Here's a proofreading tip I discovered that should be useful. After you've read your new masterpiece 70 or 183 times, sit a bit farther back from your screen and LOOK at the pages--don't read them.You'll probably be amazed at all of the errors you detect when you are not concerned with content, meaning and story-telling artistry.

I aim my eyes at the three-o'clock position and maker a clockwise scan on each page, but do what works best for you.

Check your book for these bloopers:
  1. Wrong fonts, particularly when text is pasted-in from another source
  2. Commas that should be periods--and vice-versa
  3. Straight punctuation that should be curly "typographers' marks"
  4. Curlies that curl in the wrong direction
  5. Missing spaces between paragraphs or sections
  6. Bad justification in the last line of a page
  7. Chopped-off descenders where you decreased line spacing or if the bottom of a text box is too close to the text
  8. Wrong-size bullets
  9. Rivers
  10. Too-big word spacing
  11. Normal letters that should be ligatures (more for large type than in body text).
  12. Accidental spaces after bullets
  13. Improper hyphenation
  14. Roman text that should be italic, and vice-versa
  15. Ignoring highlighted warnings in MS Word.
  16. Automatically accepting MS Word suggestions
  17. Gray text that should be black.
  18. Insufficient space adjacent to images
  19. Images or text boxes that floated over the margin.
  20. Images or text boxes that "slid' down and covered up footers
  21. Missing periods at sentence ends
  22. Missing opening or closing quote marks.
  23. Periods that should be inside a closing parentheses--or outside.
  24. Repeated words caught by the software
  25. Wrong headers, missing headers, switched verso and recto headers
  26. Subheads that are too close to the text above and too far from the text below
  27. Too much space between lines in a multi-line title, chapter name or subhead
  28. Pages with numbers that should not show nunbers ("blind folios")
  29. Words that shifted from the bottom of one page to the top of the next page
  30. And one that does require reading: chapter names in the table of contents that don't reflect a change made in the actual chapter
  31. And another: a topic not in the index because you added something after completing the index