Do Self-Published Authors Need to Follow Publishing Conventions?

Have you ever flipped through a book and sensed there was something odd about it? Though you couldn’t identify what was different, you knew something was off. It felt wrong. This has happened to me.

Perhaps the feeling was so strong that you opted not to read the book. Again, this has happened to me. Because my reaction to something in the layout was so negative, I have decided not to bother reading it. read more>>

The Two Extremes of Self-Publishing: Both Are Wrong

With changes in publishing and advances in technology, it’s never been easier to publish a book. This isn’t to imply publishing a book is easy, just that the barriers are disappearing and the costs are dropping.

This emerging reality leads to two extremes for do-it-yourself authors who want to publish their books. read more>>

Be Smart If You Self-Publish: Don’t Be An Idealist

I recently heard about a group of self-published authors who criticized other self-published authors for having professionally designed covers and hiring editors. They accused them of selling out. They claimed it wasn’t truly self-publishing if you didn’t do it all yourself. Rubbish.

No one can truly self-publish a book all by him or herself. Will you buy a printing press to print copies? Will you cut down a tree to make the paper? Will you hand mix the ink? Will you ship boxes of books to each retail store and personally deliver a copy to each buyer? read more>>

What Do Readers Care About?

When readers consider our book, few will bother to look to see who published it. They won’t care if a major publisher, let alone any traditional publisher, produced it. When it comes to publishers, there is little brand loyalty, let alone much brand recognition. The imprint is of no consequence. How the printed book gets into their hands or the e-book gets into their reader doesn’t matter to them.

Here’s what does matter:

Cover: What they will look at is the cover. They will, in fact, judge our book by its cover. First impressions matter a great deal. read more>>

Lessons From a Published Author: It’s Never a Sure Thing

A couple years ago I blogged about a young adult (YA) book that I really, really, really liked – and the author honored me by leaving a comment to my post. Since then we’ve shared a few online interactions, with her offering careful communication and me trying hard not to come across as a creepy fan who is cyber-stalking her.

Ever since reading her first book, I’ve clamored for her next YA one.

Since then she published three junior (mid-grade) titles – all are on my Christmas wish list – and a fourth book in the series has a 2015 release date. She also has a children’s picture book scheduled for publication. read more >>

The Seventh Error of Self-Publishing: Having a Homemade Look

To address the seventh of eight self-publishing errors, let’s take a step back and look at the bigger picture, that is, the book as a whole. Some self-published books simply look homemade.

In years past, this may have included photocopied pages, a simplistic cover, spiral binding (or three-hole punched for a binder), 8 1/2 by 11 size, crooked pages, missing pages, or out of order pages. Some books suffered from all these production problems. read more>>

The Sixth Error of Self-Publishing: Font Abuse

I call the sixth error of self-publishing, font abuse. Font abuse is using multiple font styles, with varying point sizes throughout a manuscript.

The author may view this as creative formatting, but the only thing it accomplishes is irritating the reader. At best, this barrage of fonts slows readers down; at worst, it causes them to stop reading altogether. read more>>

The Fifth Error of Self-Publishing: Poor File Conversion

If we avoid the first four errors of self-publishing (poor content, cover, title, and editing), we can still ruin our hard work with a poor file conversion. Just because a book looks good in Microsoft Word, doesn’t mean it’s going to convert nicely. Even one conversion error will lower a reader’s esteem for our work; numerous ones will cause them to stop reading altogether.

Here are some conversion errors I’ve encountered with books. These mostly relate to e-books, but I’ve also seen some of them in printed books: read more>>

The Fourth Error of Self-Publishing: Poor Editing

After poor content, cover, and title, the fourth error is skipping or scrimping on the editing.

I’ve never met anyone who could self-edit with complete success. Yes, some writers are better than others. And, with time, we can all improve our self-editing skills, but we will never catch every error in our own work.

We need others to edit for us – but not just anyone. Your aunt who’s good at English doesn’t count or your friend who likes to read. These folks might serve well as first-readers but not for a final edit. read more>>