Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Tag Archives: The Book Designer

Should Writers Self-Edit?


I’m sure there are a few writers out there who should never self-edit; but, what if they have a burning desire to publish a book, don’t know anyone else who can help with editing, and have no money to hire someone?

Self-editing for Writers

Image Courtesy of Andrew Beierle ~ http://www.freeimages.com/profile/andrewatla

Now, let me edit that first sentence

Some writers are weak in editing, have no access to folks with experience, and can’t afford to spend thousands of dollars; but, they have a strong desire to publish their book.

There are books that can help and Corina Koch MacLeod and Carla Douglas of Beyond Paper Editing have a guest post on The Book Designer that offers support—The Indie Author’s Bookshelf: 19 Best Titles for Self-Editing.

After laying out their criteria for choosing the books they list, they say:

“…books commonly used by editors didn’t show up on this list. Why? Writers are not editors. Many books directed to editors are also written by editors, and they’re heavy on theory and discussion. Writers want accessible books that provide clear explanations, examples and instructions.”

Well, even if you’re a writer who Loves theory and discussion, you may want to consider their choices

They have four categories of books but I’m only going to list one in each category—encouraging folks who don’t take links out of blogs to spend a few more minutes reading the full article—much more there than just a list of books

Big Picture

The Artful Edit, by Susan Bell

“If you have trouble with structure, it may be helpful to choose one straight off and use it as a guardrail as you write.” — Susan Bell

Paragraph Level

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, by Renni Browne and Dave King

“Even writing that was never intended to be…read aloud can be improved if you read aloud as you revise.” — Renni Browne & Dave King

Sentence Level

Woe is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English, by Patricia T. O’Conner

“Surprisingly often a difficult problem in a sentence can be solved by simply getting rid of it.” — William Zinsser

Word Level

Missed Periods and Other Grammar Scares: How to Avoid Unplanned and Unwanted Writing Errors, by Jenny Baranick

“Use the semicolon like you would your most powerful weapon (your best pick-up line or your most effective push-up bra): carefully and sparingly.” — Jenny Baranick

Even more reason to click-through to the full article —> they have four “Books that Will Inspire You to Write”
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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,

subscribe

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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The Most Helpful Book I’ve Ever Read About Self-Publishing . . .


It sure can seem like a lot of the info on self-publishing is generated primarily to make money, not to help folks really learn what they need to know.

In fact, many sources of “expertise” are misleading and aimed right at our bank accounts.

This is my 85th post on Self-Publishing—many about my own experience and many about what I’ve found that makes sense, and has a sense of service about it

It’s also my 31st post featuring Joel Friedlander—usually about posts on his blog, The Book Designer. JoelsBook

I just finished reading his book A Self-Publisher’s Companion: Expert Advice for Authors Who Want to Publish.

In the book, Joel says:

“Instead of a how-to book, I decided to create a kind of ‘why-to’ book.”

“I went through the archives of my blog looking specifically for articles that contained my best advice for new self-publishers. I ignored the articles that dealt with specific tools like writing software or page layoutsI wanted to find, and to offer to you, the articles that would come together to give you an overview of the self-publishing possibilities we have available today, to warn you of mistakes that are easy to avoid if you only know about them, and to encourage you to use these tools to pursue the publication of your ideas, your history, your dreams, and your personal story.”

On the site Wordpreneur they say this about Joel:

“The man knows his stuff. He won the AIGA ’50 Books of the Year Award’ for his work at Aperture Publishing. And the Printing Industries of America Gold Award as well for his book design and production. Born in the Bronx, New York, and educated in Buffalo and Danbury, Connecticut, Joel now owns and runs Marin Bookworks in San Rafael, California.”

My own first impression of the book was that it definitely “has a sense of service about it”

Here’s an excerpt that exemplifies that service-attitude:

“Each author who decides to self-publish has a logic all their own. Some books may be more profitable than others, but in my experience this is not what moves authors to publish. The more you understand your own motives and goals, the more likely you are to succeed in self-publishing, because you will more accurately define that ‘success’

And, there are many comments that reveal his motivation for being so involved with the Book-World, like this one:

“I love self-publishing because of the absolute finality of the process. At the end, you are left with a book in your hand, one that will probably outlast you and most of the people you know.”

And, combining his service orientation with his own experience:

“When you self-publish, you get to define success, to set goals for your own publication. In a way, you’ve already won.”

Then, there are the warning statements, like:

when authors go looking for a way to get their book into print, all too often they are seduced by misleading or downright fraudulent advertising by the industry that’s sprung up to sell services to these authors.”

And then, the abundance of sage advice, like:

“Avoid overwhelm, burnout, and weeping in frustration. The solution is to approach your new business as . . . a business! Do what you can do well, and the things that you are interested in.”

“Leave the rest to the many skilled practitioners who are only too happy to help.”

Last, a summation of the book itself, about three-quarters of the way through:

“Think about what you know that others might find interesting. Know your niche and how to market to people with similar interests. Create a quality product. Take one step at a time and build credibility, leveraging into larger and larger networks. Take the long view, seeding success tomorrow by your actions today.”

I should add that he gives an even-hand to fiction and non-fiction writers.

This is an extremely valuable book, written in a voice that makes consistent sense, based on hard-earned experience.

Here’s his table of contents:

A Self-Publishing Orientation

Why Self-Publishing is Entering a Golden Age
“I Want to Be a Book Publisher”
Two Kinds of Self-Publishers ~ Which One Are You?
7 Scenarios for Successful Self-Publishing
The Self-Publisher’s Self-Questionnaire
Four Ways to Publish Your Book
5 Good Reasons to Self-Publish Your Book
What Hasn’t Changed in Self-Publishing
5 Things That Shouldn’t Surprise You About Self-Publishing
8 Answers That Help Self-Publishers Get Up and Running
What Does It Take to Make a Publishing Company?
Is It Time to Kill “Jerry”?
How to Get Unstuck
Top 10 Worst Self-Publishing Mistakes ~ Explained!
The Secret to Successful Self-Publishing
Things I Love—and Hate—About Self-Publishing
26 Ways to Win at Self-Publishing

Bookmaking

Does Book Design Really Matter?
Book Design Tips for Authors
Cover Design Tips for Self-Publishers
3 Ways Self-Publishers Fail at Cover Design
What Book Designers Do to Get Your Self-Published Book Into Print
The Death of Book Design
Designing Books

Social Media for Authors

Rise of the Content Creators
The Hub & Outpost Method to Organize Your Social Media Marketing
How to Get Started on Twitter
Self-Publishing Pro and Con(temptuous)
17 Ways for Writers to Publish Their Content
Why Authors Shouldn’t Blog Their Books
The Big Problem With Blogging Your Book
Self-Publishers and the Social Media Divide

The Ebook Revolution

The Problem With “E-Books”
Is the Paradise We’ve Lost the Beautiful Page?
Less Expensive, Bite-Sized, Available for Take-Out: The Book of the Future
EBooks Today: Futility or Utility?
6 Keys to Self-Publishing Success in the Age of the Ebook

The Electronic Life

Why Self-Publishers are Exhausted
I Am My Keyboard
Frustrated Self-Publisher Escapes DIY Trap
The 5-Million Word Typewriter and How to Stay Focused
Tribe
Two Things All Content Creators Can Do

You Are the Market

How I Sold 10,000 Copies of My Self-Published Book
What Writers Need to Know Today
Why Self-Publishing Is a Long-Tail Business
Author Branding: The You That Is Everywhere
Author Platform: What Are You Waiting For?

Read it—Come back here—Tell me what you think :-)
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Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
* Google Author Page

Joel Friedlander ~ The Book Designer


Some blogs throw-off info in all directions yet still remain helpful or entertaining.

Joel Friedlander’s blog is well-crafted and focused on helping folks build the best book possible.

This post makes the 26th time I’ve referenced Joel on this blog —> click his name in the Top Tags widget in the left side-bar for the others

I almost did a post on his article 10 Quick Tips to Get Your Manuscript Ready for Publication but paused and thought it was time to give his whole blog a shout-out :-)

One of the more revealing parts of his blog is the Publishing Timeline where he details his “personal journey from the early 1970s working on letterpress, offset and digital printing equipment.”

One feature of his blog that I make sure I engage with each month is Self-Publishing: The Carnival of the Indies, an opportunity to submit a recent post of mine that has a chance to be linked-back-to by Joel.

The categories for the Carnival are Indie Author, Writing Tools & Tips, Book Design & Production, Marketing & Selling Your Books, EBooks and EBook Readers, and Self-Publishing Success.

Plus, I was honored when Joel asked if I’d Guest Post on his blog about my non-normal method of book promotion: Second Life: Virtual Book Promotion and Word of Mouth.

Joel has over 700 focused, helpful articles on his blog and, for those who may not have the time to go explore in detail but still might have an interest in one of his specialties, here are links to Collections of his Topic-Related Posts:

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Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
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Word of Mouth and Book Promotion ~ Virtually Amazing!


Ever been in a virtual world, like Second Life?

That’s where I do 99.9% of my Book Promotion

It’s also where I have fun and fascinating relationships, deal with people’s hang-ups and foibles, and, quit often, hang-out on my houseboat and Chill :-)

Joel Friedlander asked me to do a guest post for him about my experiences on Book Island in Second Life.

Hop on over to, Second Life: Virtual Book Promotion and Word of Mouth, give it a read, and perhaps leave a comment; and, if I’m real lucky, you’ll also come back here and comment :-)
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For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com