Tom claims he “went from adolescence to senility, trying to bypass maturity.” He graduated from Harvard Magna Cum Laude at age 18 and made Phi Beta Kappa. He taught at MIT, Harvard, Wellesley and the University of California, but is best known for hilarious songwriting, much of it political satire in the 1950s and 60s. His musical career was powerful but brief. He said he performed a mere 109 shows and wrote only 37 songs over 20 years. Britain’s Princess Margaret was a fan and so am I. I can still sing Tom Lehrer lyrics I first heard in seventh grade, in 1958.
Tom provided excellent advice in his Be Prepared: "Don't write naughty words on walls if you can't spell."
An important corollary for publishing company executives: Don't publish unedited websites or distribute unedited press releases. Errors make you look stupid, and may cost you business.
Yesterday I received a press release distributed for McKinney Publishing, a new pay-to-publish company that is apparently a part-time business operated from the home of attorney/author Lesley McKinney. It uses the address of a UPS store in Jacksonville, Florida.
(I see nothing wrong with having a home-based business. I had one for many years. However, I don't like using a phony address unless it's necessary to hide from assassins or pissed-off customers. It took me less than a minute to find Lesley"s real address. Fortunately, I am not an assassin.)
Lesley's website says, "Out network is at your disposal."
- "Out" should be "Our."
- One of those editors should have changed "We've got" to "We have."
- "Choose" would be a better choice than than "chose." I'm not sure if Lesley meant to use the past tense, or thinks that "chose" (like "lose") is present tense.
- I don't know who does the vetting for Lesley, but a knowledgeable copywriter or editor would have written "employ only."
- Assuming that the editors are human beings, "who" is better than "that."
- Maybe it needs more of a human touch and less technology. Maybe the sentence should be two sentences: "We use state-of-the-art technology to ensure that your book has a professional, polished appearance. You'll be proud that the book bears your name."
- I have no idea how to implement a professional printer, or even an amateur binder. And, while I've used lots of software, I don't remember ever bringing software to bear. YUCK!
Lesley says that all of her freelancers "are intensely vetted to ensure they are very good at what they do."
If you wait a few minutes or a few days, there should be another new company which wants to publish your book. Maybe it will be better vetted.
According to a "Whois" lookup, the McKinney website went live a little over a month ago (on 1/18/11).
- The site includes comments from five happy customers -- some of them located very far from Lesley in Jacksonville. It's hard to believe they found Lesley without a website. I know how long it takes to publish a book, so it's hard for me to believe that the books were published in such a brief time. I am reluctant to call a lawyer a liar, but I am skeptical about the endorsements. It's strange for a publisher's website not to show or list any books it has published, and not to have the full names of its happy authors. If Lesley can substantiate these endorsements, I'll gladly delete this section. If not, I call "BULLSHIT!"
- Sorry, Lesley, "unique" is an ABSOLUTE. The word should not take a modifier. Every unique item is equally unique. McKinney Publishing may be especially unusual -- but not especially unique, and maybe not even slightly unique.
- Unfortunately, Lesley did not learn that she should hire an editor.
Sadly -- and stupidly -- the press release carries ads with convenient clickable links for lots of Lesley's competitors. This is common with the freebie press release distribution companies, and a good reason to PAY to create publicity.
Finally -- and stupidly -- Lesley's Linkedin page has a link to what should be her lawyering website. Although she registered a domain name nearly a year ago, a website has not yet been published (perhaps Lesley is too busy publishing books). The default page provided by her hosting company shows clickable ads for other law firms!