Monday, August 29, 2016

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


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 one week I 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 response 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/)

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Gatekeeper Press's first statement is a lie. There's no need to read any more


Publishing has been unrestricted for centuries. Since the late 20th century, publishing has been easy, quick and inexpensive.

Deceptive Gatekeeper Press has not justified its existence.

Don't reward or encourage liars. Stay away.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Before you give advice about publishing, please learn how to write

Text copied from http://www.aaymca.com.



Borat's English is better.

Almost everyone who write any books or even ebook are need a copyright. Moreover, you’ll recommended to obtained an ISBN as soon as possible. If you have considered all your choices and have decided that “self-publishing” makes the most fit for you. Please get ISBN to your as soon as possible. You may know that there is an extra in the need to “self-market” your eBook or books, but you must know that it’s also have correlation to boost your profits.

Do you Know about ISBN ?
Yeah..!! ISBN is stands for: “International Standard Book Number”. Most people aren’t know and understand what is an ISBN. ISBN is a number (commonly 10 digit)that would helps to recognize your book, ebook or even brand. The ISBN is commonly placed on the back of the book or product. This is look like a bar-code in a supermarket, wholesale and retail store. It’s capable to identify any products. It’s typically used to identify a book by the author or publisher. It’s so useful for any instance like booksellers, universities, libraries, wholesalers and many more as it’s capable to identify book or products easily and rapidly. Furthermore, it’s also applied on internet, I have seen ISBN search on valorebooks.com. That’s means you’re enabled to get books and any product rapidly and simply online.

Is it Important For Me ?
The answer of this question is depending on your needed. You would really really need ISBN if you are wanna sell or distribute your products like ebook or even book on major websites. However, it would be useless if you just purposed to distribute your ebook or books on your own sites. In a few case, this is needed to be one point of products qualification, some retailers and store won’t accept any products that doesn’t contain an ISBN. So, do you know whether or not it’s important for you ?

How To Obtaining an ISBN Number?
If you decide you’ll like to get an ISBN for your eBook or books, you could easily get it. There are various ISBN agencies in the worldwide that could aid you to joining your ebook or books to ISBN. If you’re published your book by a book publishing deal, you’ll most likely obtain the ISBN. You could also get the ISBN by self publishing agency especially through internet, if you wanna sale book yourself. Typically ISBN already provided for the publisher.

The cost
The price to buy an ISBN may seem to expensive for most people. The cost of getting an ISBN is about $80 to $ 500 or even more, it’s depending on the amount that you’ll purchase. In the worldwide, there are plenty resellers that provide and sell a single ISBN for about $50 to $ 65. Other way for the buy of an ISBN is by your book printer. The printing company usually give this as a service to the customers because they understand that you may not require a lot of ISBN numbers.

Self-publishing may looked so daunting, but if you know and understand about the strategies needed, it’s potentially could be successfully done. Furthermore, an ISBN is needed, you’ll also require to manage copyright issues.

In other words, you actually need to get an ISBN if you have a goal to market and sell your eBook on major sites, in store and many more. But, if you just wanna sell books on your sites, you could ignore this on your consideration. Firstly on your publishing, please ensure that you have already deciding your goal, so that you could prioritize the budgets for your publishing like the budget for getting ISBN.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Whistle while you work -- or have a device that whistles, hums or sings to you

Music can make life -- even work -- more pleasant.

I thought that "Whistle While You Work" came from the 1946 Disney movie Song of the South, but it was actually part of the 1937 animated Disney movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The song shows Snow White and a bunch of cute animals happily whistling while cleaning house.

This song even generated an anti-Nazi parody:

Whistle while you work.
Hitler was a jerk.
Mussolini kicked him in the peenie.
Now it doesn't work.


Snow White is the source of another popular work song. "Hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to work I go" is sung by the seven dwarfs.

When I was a kid, we sang this parody:

Hi-ho, hi-ho
It's off to school I go.
I heard the bell
And ran like hell.
Hi-ho, hi-ho.


In 1957, The Bridge on the River Kwai, showed Allied POWs whistling the "Colonel Bogey March" to maintain morale and dignity while building a bridge for their Japanese captors under horrid conditions. That song was written in 1914, but it, too, was the source of an anti-Nazi parody in the Second World War.

Göring has only got one ball
Hitler's [are] so very small
Himmler's so very similar
And Goebbels has no balls at all


Slaves may have sung since ancient times to mitigate their misery. In the 1974 Mel Brooks comedy Blazing Saddles, Lyle (played by Burton Gilliam) taunted the mostly black railroad workers: "When you was slaves, you sang like birds. Come on! Let's hear a good, old nigger work song!"


Around 1980, I was writing about 20 hours a day to complete a book with a very tight deadline. I discovered an NPR radio show hosted by Ed Bradley of 60 Minutes. Ed played great jazz after midnight, and the music kept me awake enough to keep writing.

Although I enjoy many kinds of music, and my home is filled with radios and recordings and the equipment to play them, I somehow got out of the habit of playing music while I write. I recently rearranged my home office, and rediscovered the great Tivoli radio that had been on my desk for over a decade. While I'm in the car, I love talk radio, but when I'm writing I find that voiceless music is less distracting, very comforting, and sometimes even stimulating.

So, turn on some music -- or whistle while you work. It was good for Snow White and the prisoners.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Keep these two meaningless words off your book covers and websites





I recently encountered the website of author, artist, athlete and entrepreneur Angela Lam Turpin. The title of the site, strangely, is "The official website of Angela Lam Turpin." If this is the official site, I have to wonder if there are unofficial Angela Lam Turpin websites.

Angela is a wonderful, accomplished person worthy of admiration; but is Angela important enough to inspire fakers to produce websites not certified by Angela?

I think not.

Bing shows
one-hundred-and-sixty-five-million links for the term "official website." Google lags, with under forty-million links for the term.

This is ridiculous and pathetic.

  • Some O-sites, appropriately, are government-sanctioned websites -- but this trend has grown ridiculously. Does the Missouri Lottery really need an "official" website? Does the Vatican? Bureaucrats (some called "officials") love the word "official." 
  • Many O-sites belong to movies like Spider-Man 2, teams like the Atlanta Falcons and performers such as KISS, Madonna and Cher -- who apparently don't want fans to think that websites published by other fans are actually sanctioned. 
  • But, does The Association, now nearly 50 years old, still merit an official site? Are there pretenders?
  • Is Angela Lam Turpin as big a star as Madonna? I think not.
  •  
  • Many O-sites belong to egomaniacal businesses. Does AT&T really need an "official" website? Does Louis Vuitton? Do Orkin Pest Control and its rival Terminix? Does Greenwich Pizza, in the Philippines, really need an O-site?
  • In some cases where the actual website doesn't scream "OFFICIAL," the paid online ads for the sites do use the O-word.
  • Of course, even an unofficial site can claim to be official.

Most things that claim to be 'official something' are not official anything. Use of the label is evidence of unchecked ego, or maybe just ignorance.
  • Amazon.com shows nearly 145,000 links to books with "official" in the title or subtitle.That total is about 5,000 more than 18 months ago. The virus is spreading.

Some O-books, such as a book for diabetics produced by the American Diabetes Association, can logically claim to be "official." Others, like a book of instructions for speaking Spanish like a Costa Rican, is official nothing.

Unless your book, blog or website is officially blessed by some important person or institution, restrain your ego and don't claim that your work is official.

If you are important enough to attract copycats, then you can claim your work to be officially yours -- but copycats can claim that you approved their work too. Fame is not all fun.

"SECRET" is another extremely popular word. It's an exciting and meaningless word. Keep it o
ff your book covers.

Apparently, lots of authors and publishers think that lots of readers want to know secrets, especially "dirty little secrets."

Amazon.com (which pays for an ad for its "official" site) lists more than 217,000 books with "secret" in the title (up from a mere 150,000 or so about three years ago). Some are fiction, and many are nonfiction. "Secrets of success" is a very popular book title cliche. Thousands of books use the phrase in their titles.

Here's a dirty little secret: none of the books promising secrets actually reveal secrets because no secrets are secret after even one person reads the secret.

The author of Secrets of Self Publishing 2 is so proud of his secrecy that he put the title TWICE on the cover of the horrible book. The slim volume is badly written, badly formatted and apparently unedited. I found exactly one alleged secret in the book: "The secrets of self-publishing are the same as the secrets of success. One must be willing to research all outlets, and find a method which fits your program."
 

That's not much of a secret.

Find some way to attract readers to your book without putting "SECRETS" in the title. Avoid "OFFICIAL," too.

Monday, August 8, 2016

When should an author's face go on the front book cover?


A while ago I was speaking to a "book shepherd," a woman who guides wannabe authors through the publishing process. She works with writers with a wide range of ability, experience, expectation and ego. She said that many writers have such strong egos that they expect their portraits to be on their front covers. 

Some authors deserve this super-star treatment but not many, and certainly not many newbies.
  • If you are writing your first novel or a book of poems, it's highly likely that very few people have ever heard of you and that neither your portrait nor your name will provide a good reason for anyone to invest money and time in reading your precious words. It's much more important to have a great title and cover design.
  • If you're writing nonfiction, whether about the Korean War, cooking pizza or climbing mountains, unless you are famous for achievements in the subject you are writing about, neither your name nor face are likely to convince anyone to invest money and time in reading your precious words. It's much more important to have a great title and cover design.

(above) If you are as famous as Martha Stewart or Suze Orman, and an expert in the field you are writing about, by all means put your portrait on the cover.


(above) If you're famous mainly for being famous, it's critical that your smiling face be on the cover of your books.


(above) If you have a lot of fame or a bit of fame and your physical image will enhance the mood of the book, put your pic on the cover.


(above) If you're famous for your written or spoken words, your face belongs on your book covers -- even if you're dead.


(above) If you're well-known for politics, your image gets to smile at book shoppers.


(above) Everyone who wants to be president of the USA -- or to be remembered for what was accomplished while president -- is assumed to be a professional writer. Fortunately ghostwriters are readily available to aid the inept. The photo on the cover shows the politician, not the actual writer, and sometimes serves as a campaign poster.


(above) Sometimes, not often, books by presidential hopefuls do not have faces facing readers.


(above) If your main claim to fame is that you impregnated a relative of a politician, sure, put your photo on the cover.


(above) If you're not famous, but your appearance adds credibility and implies expertise, sure, put yourself on the cover.


(above) If you're not famous and the presumed audience for your memoir consists of people you know, your portrait certainly won't hurt sales. This is a very interesting book, by the way. I recommend it.

If you're not famous and your face does not closely relate to your book's topic or genre, keep it off the front cover until your third book, or sixth.



(above) Unfortunately, many authors use amateur photos with bad poses, bad lighting, bad focus and distracting backgrounds -- on a bad hair day. The book shown above may be the worst book ever published, so the horrid author photo is sadly appropriate.


(above) Even a well-done photo may be inappropriate if the person has no known connection to the subject of the book. This cover has another, bigger problem -- the text is extremely difficult to read. Also, the circular necklace ornament right in the center is distracting.


(left) My recent book shows my highly modified face on the front cover. It's a very personal book, so it's appropriate for my face to be there. If I was writing about Richard Nixon, chocolate cake or the Peloponnesian Wars, my face would be on the back.

Here's some advice from Hobie Hobart of Bowker (the ISBN and book research company): Many authors think that putting their picture on the front cover will make them famous. This is not necessarily so. Unless you are well known in the media, bookstore buyers will not accept your book which pictures you on the front cover. However, if you are selling exclusively to a tight niche where you are well known, or your intention is to start branding yourself to a specific market, your photo on the front cover or the spine can be an advantage. 

Friday, August 5, 2016

When responding to readers, 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 one week I 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 like to be helpful, and I'm an unabashed know-it-all.

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

The response from "#2" 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 affected my review.

Attitude means a lot.

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

Monday, August 1, 2016

That backwards “P” can help you edit better



The ribbon bar at the top of the Microsoft Word screen is very crowded. There’s a good chance that you’ve clicked only on a small percentage of the symbols and words up there.

Many of them won’t help you, but the backwards “P” can be very useful. It’s called a pilcrow, and normally indicates the beginning of a paragraph. 

If you click on the pilcrow icon, the text on your screen will change greatly, revealing formatting indicators for such items as spaces between words and section breaks as shown below.
The sample reveals an extra space before the word “spaces” that might not be visible on a normal page.

The pilcrow icon’s “show/hide” function will probably reveal problems every few pages that you would not have otherwise noticed and will help you make a better book.

While editing, you should take advantage of Pilcrow Power. However, the extra indications can be annoying and fatiguing during regular reading—so tap the icon to shut off Pilcrow Power when you don’t need it. Also, when PIlcrow Power is in effect, your document will expand and the page numbering will temporarily change.

(from my book, Self-Editing for Self-Publishers (What to do before the real editor starts editing -- or if you're the only editor). It's an Amazon Kindle ebook, readable on many e-reading devices, including computers. You don't need to own a Kindle to read it.)