Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Joel Friedlander

Fake News ~ in Self-Publishing . . .

This makes the 38th post where I pass on information from Joel Friedlander.

fake news or alternative facts

Fake News or Alternative Facts

He’s the power behind The Book Designer.

Today, I’ll share a few excerpts from his article, Fake News! In Self-Publishing, in the hope that you take that last link and read the whole thing…

Fairly soon in the piece, Joel says:

“…it’s undeniable that there’s plenty of ‘fake’ news out there, and although it may not be coming from teenagers in Macedonia, the sooner we learn to spot it, the better off we’ll be.

“Here are some examples I’ve come across recently. I bet you’ve got plenty of examples of your own.”

And, here’s a list of his examples ( you get to go to the full article to see what Joel says about each one :-)

These are All untrue…

“Nobody makes money self-publishing, it’s basically an ego trip. Sad!”

“Really good writers don’t need to self-publish, so obviously you are all losers. Sad!”

“Everything that’s self-published is low quality crap and can’t stand up to books from trade publishers. Sad!

“Subsidy publishing is a great way to make your book available to readers.”

“Completely automated social media sales funnel guarantees massive passive income.”

“Ebooks are the future of books, print is dying. Sad!”

“Let me show you my 7-step method to write a bestseller this weekend!”

So, that’s all the fake news headlines that are fit to print today…

Do go check out Joel’s facts about Self-Publishing…
If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
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Is Professional Book Design Necessary for A Self-Publishing Author?

Self-Publishing is developing so swiftly that it can be hard to keep up with what it means.

Book Designing

Image Courtesy of Ove Topfer ~

Some folks claim it means writing, editing, designing, and printing a book essentially by yourself.

Some would say the printing can be outsourced but all the other tasks are up to one individual.

Some are now urging writers to consider hiring or trading services for a team of professionals to create the physical and digital book.

The most practical approach would seem to be doing, for yourself, what you can do or learn to do and then finding others for the rest, whether you pay them or trade with them—admitting that crowdfunding is possible and crowdsourcing of editing is beginning to be used…

But, what is “Designing” a book and does an e-book need the same design considerations as a print book?

Today, I’ll share information from two folks who’ve appeared, many times, in this blog—Joel Friedlander and Jane Friedman.

The first resource-link is How Much Attention Should You Pay to Book Design?

This is an interview of Joel by Jane and I’ll only give you the questions Jane asked and let you take the link to read Joel’s answers.

By the way, in case you aren’t a regular reader of this blog, Joel is a true Expert in Book Design with over 30 years experience.

Jane is “…the co-founder and publisher of Scratch, a magazine about writing and money, and is the former publisher of Writer’s Digest” with “15 years of  experience inside the book, magazine, and literary publishing industries.”…

Here are Jane’s questions:

I’m a firm believer in the power of design. I think it affects purchasing not just in obvious ways, but also on a subconscious level. So it often frustrates me when independent authors do their own design work to keep costs low. But I also understand the need to limit financial risk. Let’s say we have to make a compromise. What do you think an author might be able to accomplish reasonably well on her own (that has least potential to adversely affect sales), and what’s the No. 1 thing an author should hire a designer for (because of its potential to increase sales)?

What are the most common mistakes you see authors make when they design their own book interiors?

How can an author find a good interior designer who’s right for their book? How do you properly evaluate one?

When hiring a designer, how much should an author expect to spend for a typical trade print paperback novel (cover and interior)?

Should an author ever use design contest sites (e.g.,

Do you think there should be a different cover design for print vs. electronic editions? What special considerations come into play for e-book covers?

If an author wanted to educate themselves on what constitutes good book design, aside from reading your blog, what resources would you recommend?

Even if you don’t take the link to read Joel’s answers, those questions should get you thinking about the issues involved in book design…

And, here’s the second resource-link—22 Top Book Designer Tasks for Getting Your Self-Published Book Into Print.

That article is from Joel, the guy with over 30 years experience in Book Design :-)
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Does Writing Have To Be A Lonely Profession?


Image courtesy of Julia Freeman-Woolpert ~

I do all my writing alone.

But, I’m not lonely when I do it

There’s always my Ol’ Muse there to keep me company :-)

But, writers show a vast range of differences in the ways they approach their craft.

And, with the amazing communication opportunities we now have, many writers are opening their study doors to other writers.

I get my own creative writing done while alone; but, I do hang out with other writers and share knowledge; and, I do turn my words over to editors, even if I don’t always do what they suggest :-)

Also, the whole frenzy of revolution in self-publishing is opening minds to new ways to accomplish what a writer must do, which leads me to an article on Joel Friedlander’s blogWhy Self-Publishers Should Go it Alone, Together.

The guest author, Jordan Rosenfeld, begins with:

“You’re interested in self-publishing because you’re ready to go it alone, so it might seem a little strange for me to suggest that you go it alone—with other people. Say what? Bear with me, and I’ll lay it all out.”

She goes on to relate a bit of her experience in trying to traditionally publish a novel, then talks about considering self-publishing.

She got to sharing her concerns with a writing friend:

“…Chelsea and I soon realized that we knew lots of talented writers with other skills (because all writers soon realize they need a backup plan): graphic designers, photographers, editors, marketing pros, social media experts, journalists, and so on.

“What if we came together to support one another, and cross-traded services?”

Well, they did get together and formed a Writers’ Collective—IndieVisible.

From their WebSite:

“We are a powerhouse collective of independent writers who use joint resources and collaborative social media to deliver quality books to the masses without pushing our work through a big house. We work with top notch editors, illustrators, graphic designers, and PR gurus, keeping all aspects of industry-related work within our ever growing family of freelancers, supporting a thriving community of entrepreneurs. We are real people, with a real desire to have real careers as best-selling authors. We’re reinventing publishing so that it works for us, and for our readers.”


Back on the blog post, Jordan says:

“I want to make it clear that while we share resources and have the option to publish our books with the “I.V. Ink” logo, we are all independent publishers of our own work. We own the rights to our work and do not share profits with one another, though we do offer each other free or bartered services.”

There ya go

One more excerpt from the blog post:

“Oversight: When you go it alone you leave yourself open to mistakes that you make because you don’t know you’re making them. In a collective you have people to edit and proof your work, give pointers and advice on your cover, help you brainstorm ideas, and tell you honestly what needs work.”

She then expands on those ideas with these topics:

Resource & Talent Sharing
Moral support
Joint Promotion
United Front
Creative brainstorming
More to offer
Success by Association

Their approach to independent publishing won’t work for every author, for a variety of reasons; and, some Indies do accomplish all aspects of publishing by themselves; yet, certain aspects of a Writers’ Collective might be worth any author’s consideration

Now, let’s consider a Collective that’s got very different stripes.

There’s a library in Modesto, California, USA that’s part of the Stanislaus County Library System and they’ve begun organizing a Community Novel Project.

From an article in the Merced Sun-Star, we have this:

“The Stanislaus County Library…has brought a diverse group of 15 writers together to pen a book. Each author will write one chapter, and the finished project will be bound and published in November.”

“Project members, selected from close to 40 applicants, range in age from 20s to 80s. They include published authors, a retired professor, a college student, a math teacher, a computer programmer and more.”

“…the novel will be a mystery set in Stanislaus County about a couple who find a trailer that had been submerged in an area waterway, but is now visible because of the drought. The couple then try to piece together where the camper came from and to whom its contents belong.

“Each author has two weeks to turn in an edited draft. The first draft will be given to the next author a week into the process, and so on until the final chapter.”

“The novel will begin publishing a chapter a week on the library website in April. During the writing process, there will be a contest for a local artist to create the book’s cover art. The completed work will be published online, in audio format and in print. A book launch will be held Nov. 16, which will feature Lemony Snicket series author Daniel Handler.”

So, two very different approaches to writers working together

Does either one intrigue you?

Think you’d ever become involved in either type of project?

Please, do, leave your Comments :-)
To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
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One Huge Gold Mine for Writers

Many blogs have a set day of the week when they share links form other blogs and web sites.

My tendency is to reference other folks Monday through Thursday and share my own writing on Fridays.

However, there’s a particularly interesting blog I use as one of my sources of information for things worthy to blog about.

Here are three links to articles I gleaned from this remarkable Internet resource for writers:

100% of Independent Publishers Who Do This Will Sell More of Their Work

To Blog Or Not To Blog: Is It Really Necessary?

Getting Maximum “Bang” for Your Book Description Buck: an SEO/ Author’s Perspective

And, I bookmarked those three in one visit to this blog, which I featured here last year in the post, Joel Friedlander ~ The Book Designer.

Actually, I didn’t visit the blog for those links, it visited me—in my email.

If you visit Mr. Friedlander’s blog, The Book Designer, you’ll find much more than just links to others’ stuff—he has a Gold Mine of information for writers.

And, if you let his blog find you, by subscribing,


you’ll get his This Week In The Blogs (where I find many of the posts

and articles I blog about here).

Look for this ——————————————————————————>

in the upper left of Joel’s blog

to receive his Gifts for Writers :-)
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Blogs by Writers ~ Who Really Knows How To Do One?

I’ve spent many hours writing posts here about all the “advice” for writers the Internet is spewing out.

Part of me feels I’ve wasted a huge amount of time discovering the rotten underbelly of “Authorial Experts”.

Still, reading all the “advice” has let me, at least, warn others about where not to go

Just the other day, in a post called, Happy Birthday to Brain Pickings !, I introduced a video with these words:

“Since many writers attempt to subsidize their fiction writing by monetizing their blogs, I chose a video of Maria talking about alternatives to the ad-supported model.”

That’s Maria Popova and she really does know how to blog.

Then, there’s a man I’ve featured here many times, Joel Friedlander. { click his name in the Top Tags widget in the left side-bar }

Joel does something on his blog that inspires confidence—a seven-part Publishing Timeline—his personal journey through the Book World.

I feel it’s important to reveal a bit of Joel’s history here—give you a sense that this man has been around the block, many times, and knows what he’s talking about. So, here are some excerpts from that journey:

“My father, Royal Friedlander, had apprenticed as a compositor—when printing forms were made from metal objects—in the 1930s. I grew up around printing, and can remember my father sitting at the dinner table in our little kitchen, the creases of his hands still black at the bottom from black ink. He had big tubs of pumice-based soap in the bathroom, but no matter how hard he scrubbed, he said, he had ‘printer’s ink in his veins.’”

“As I learned more about the history of printing and the fine presses of the past, I also researched the modern rebirth of the book arts, starting in the late nineteenth century with William Morris’ Kelmscott Press and later, the Doves press. Along with a friend I started trying to render a modern version of Nicholas Jenson’s fifteenth-century original, considered by many to be the most beautiful roman face in the history of printing.”

“I had quit my day job to concentrate on publishing, which drained our reserves far faster than they ought to have been. And I had published what my heart told me were books that needed to be published—not what the market told me it wanted. Rather than increase our profitability, each book put us farther in the hole. Without a real sense of what the market wanted, or how to reach the people who would buy our books, our company was pretty much doomed from the start.”

“I decided I needed a new company structure, and started Marin Bookworks….Gradually I put a team of professionals together as my contacts expanded….There was rarely a month that went by at Marin Bookworks where there wasn’t at least one self-published book in the mix….Publishing continues to go through a somewhat chaotic revolution of technology and distribution. New technologies are emerging on a weekly basis that have the potential to radically change a business that hasn’t changed that much in 500 years.”

Joel recently published the blog post, 5 Steps to Author Blogging Success,

And, for those of you who don’t normally take all the links I put in my posts, I’ll list those steps here ( each with a link to more information on Joel’s blog :-)

Find your readers

Author Blogging 101: Where Are the Readers?

Create compelling content

7 Formats for Winning Blog Posts

Foster engagement

Writers’ Blogs: 5 Essentials for Engaging Your Readers

Network with other bloggers

Author Blogging 101: 11 Sources of Organic Traffic

Profit from your blog

Direct Marketing, Scottsdale Arizona, and Why a $10 Ebook Can Change Your Life

If you visit any of those links, I’d love it if you left a Comment about your thoughts and feelings

Also, if you know about a writer’s blog that gets it right, let us know about it in the Comments.
To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
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