Ban Book Pollution, Please!

Several times a month, I get calls or emails from aspiring or just-ready-to-give-birth authors. Or so they think. Maybe they are ready for the book birth—but too many times, it’s a false labor, or should be. This past month, after an SOS from a book designer I work with, I literally pulled two books out of the “line” where the authors had jumped the gun and submitted theirs too soon and directly to him, bypassing my final round of input to save a few bucks. The authors didn’t see what the problem was … until they came into my offices to look at their books one more time. One had over 200 additional tweaks that I had recommended to get it to the final polish. If the book hadn’t been pulled … the result would be a trashy book, one that most readers would have thought, “poorly publishing, not edited, etc., etc.”

With the almost 3,000,000 books from all formats published last year, we’ve entered an era of book pollution. Don’t add to it. There are two things authors do that consistently get them, and their books, into trouble:

1                 They rush to publish.

2                 They fail to support the book after it is born.

What does rushing to publish entail? Plenty. Start with content—polishing hasn’t happened; the content can be sucky–let’s face it, not all authors can writer–they need writers to shape their words and thoughts; and editing … “editing” consists of a few friends, or maybe a relative or two, reading it vs. someone who is ready and able to yield the red pen and do slashing, burning and rebuilding when necessary. The editor–one who does it for a living.
The surest way to ID a self-published/vanity book is three-fold: obvious lack of editing, a mediocre cover, sloppy layout. Why an author would think he has the talent to create the cover that beckons to a potential buyer—           I’m here, come to me …           I have the answers …           I can solve your problem …           Buy me—

is a wonder. And not a good one. This is not an area that you go to for—get it done right. Graphics, colors, fonts and layout are the icing on your cake. Interiors need to be crisp and clean and presented so that the reader falls in. Hyphen mania, paragraph perpetuity, widows, orphans, and just too, too much text without an eye break in sight is a guarantee that the book will be quickly shut and forgotten.

At Author U, several of our Associate members create book covers that are professional and reasonably priced. Several Associate members are interior designers—bringing a book to visual life. Editors are your friends, bringing another set of eyes that every author needs. It takes a village to create a book that doesn’t add to the pollution factor.

In two months, the Extravaganza occurs–if you are an author or one that will give birth this year, attend it. This brings me to point two: failure to support the book once it’s born. Over two-and-a-half days, amazing content will be provided by seasoned pros in multiple aspects of publishing. This year promises a heavy emphasis on marketing—in just about any format an author can imagine. Because of the morphing book-selling world, if the author doesn’t support his new offspring, it’s over. Period. If he doesn’t commit to the marketing aspect of his book, the take-away is zip—nothing—it’s over. An obituary will be the next step. As mega-author Stephen King wrote:

          “If a book is not alive in the writer’s mind, it is as dead as year-old horse shit.”

Marketing will vary according to genre and format—fiction, nonfiction, eBook, aBook, pBook. It’s a different game today. And for those of you who have made a commitment to support your book, you won’t miss it or miss out. These gurus of publishing, along with a variety of Exhibitors, will show you that It Takes a Village to Create and Market Your Book. The Village is coming to Denver May 3-5. The skies will be clear—no book pollution in sight. You, and your Book, can’t afford to miss the Extravaganza. And you definitely can’t afford being cast as a book polluter!