Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Will anyone miss Wordclay? How did it last so long?

Wordclay was one of the least-known brands of self-publishing behemoth Author Solutions, Inc ("ASI"). It closed its virtual doors at the end of 2012 and author / customers were urged to use other ASI brands, particularly BookTango (for ebooks). ASI boss Keith Ogorek told Publishers Weekly that ASI recognized that among DIY author-publishers, e-publishing is now preferred over print. The decision to migrate its print on demand self-publishers to DIY self-publishing via Booktango is simply a reflection of today’s DIY market realities.

Wordclay said it provided "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 told 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 have a website that will help.

1 comment:

  1. Wordclay were not too bad a few years ago. Also, these images were likely chosen by the authors not Wordclay, and fonts also chosen by Indie authors. At least they offered a place for Indies to publish, so kudos to them for a jolly good effort. Thanks Marcus for your comments too. Will check out your website link.