Monday, December 3, 2012

Un-aided authors do stupid things

Wordclay is one of the least-known brands of self-publishing behemoth Author Solutions.

It says it provides "by far the easiest, fastest and most dynamic DIY self-publishing experience."

I have no idea how Wordclay measured ease and speed (or if the testing was supervised by an independent auditor) and "dynamic" is a meaningless description for publishing. My dog is dynamic. So is my PC monitor screen. So is the Atlantic Ocean. Who cares?

Wordclay also tells prospective author/customers: "The steps to self-publishing through Wordclay are quick and easy. From listing your title to choosing a book size, approving the formatted interior and designing a cover, you'll be surprised how quickly a finished book can be in your hands. The flexibility of the design elements, choices and optional additional services offer a dynamic experience that will be a perfect fit for many different types of authors."

There's "dynamic" again, but even more troubling is the freedom that the Wordclay process provides. Unfettered freedom -- with no experienced expert to say, "THAT'S NOT HOW IT'S DONE" can lead to books that are dreadful -- inside and out.

Up above are two Wordclay books with the same cover illustration and nearly illegible type.
  1. The one on the left has an extra space between "God's" and "Great." 
  2. The one on the right has missing commas, a misspelled word, an unnecessarily hyphenated word and unnecessary exclamation points! The title uses an ampersand before "enemies" but the subtitle spells out "and" before the unnecessarily hyphenated "enemies."
No professional designer (or experienced amateur like me) would make those stupid mistakes. Sadly, there was nobody at Wordclay to say "THAT'S NOT HOW IT'S DONE

Below are two more books with the same cover art, and more terrible typography. 

[below] At Wordclay, tracks-and-trees are not the only popular choice. A golden sunset with purple sky is also used more than once -- maybe MUCH more than once -- and with terrible typography, of course. And, of course, there is no one at Wordclay to say "THAT'S NOT HOW IT'S DONE.

We're told that ignorance is bliss. In book publishing, it's both unnecessary and stupid to be ignorant. 

One of my Marcus Maxims, developed about fifty years ago, is:


Ask somebody for help. Hire an expert. Use a publisher that provides help. Read some books about publishing. I just started a website that will help.

1 comment:

  1. One of the biggest sins of these self publishing companies is they make it easy to 'write' a book and attract people who never question if they can, nonetheless should they do it.

    Since a writer cannot have you as an editor, you offer the next best thing and that is having you as an unoffical editor. I am very excited about your new website because I have read Book Making so long and learned so much until I am actucally thinking of creating my own publishing company to publish my own books. A few years ago I would have never considered the idea. You open doors when you open minds. Bravo Mr. Marcus.